I’ve read a few interesting articles lately about trying to find fiction books that come from more diverse sources. Much of what we read comes from a predominately white, male group of authors. And living inthe US means most of them are American. This isn’t to say many of those books aren’t great. But, there are plenty of great women writers, and writers of different backgrounds in the US. There are also many options from countries across the world. I’ve been very lucky that I’ve been exposed to some of these writers. I thank independent bookstores and online sites that highlight “unconventional” authors.
So, I got to thinking about what I’ve read and tallied up authors from 57 different countries. I thought that was pretty cool. I’ve read almost all of them in English or English translation, but I’ve read several in French, one in German and snippets of pieces in classical Greek (Homer, Plato, Euclid and a few others). For some of the countries, I only read a short story, but each thing I read was both similar and unique.
I thought I’d share some stats. Countries I’ve read books from: Algeria, Australia, Austria-Hungary, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America and Wales. I have read one or more novels from 27 different countries. For eight of those countries, I’ve read both male and female authors. They are England, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, the US and Wales. I only read a female author for Brazil (Edla Van Steen), Czechoslovakia (Iva Pekárková), and Lebanon (Hanan Al-Shaykh).
I’ve read short stories from Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Egypt, Finland, Hungary, Iraq, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen. Most of these came from three books: An Anthology of Modern Palestinian Literature, Arabic Short Stories and Best European Fiction 2010.
This post isn’t meant to “toot my own horn” but to show people that there are so many books out there that are a pleasure to read and mind-expanding. As you can see from my blog, I read a great deal of 18th and 19th century British literature and poetry, but I still seek out other ideas, other points of view to enrich my life. I still have a lot to read!