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The Global Bookshelf: A Challenge to Read the World

Starting the challenge of reading a book from every country!

"Books are uniquely portable magic. They hold the power to ignite imagination, reveal hidden truths, shatter biases, and unlock the door to empathy, offering a profound understanding of the human experience." - Carl Sagan

assorted title book lot

This year I made a goal to read 50 books. Almost a book a week. So far, it has been challenging but equally rewarding, and halfway through 2023, I am slightly ahead of my goal. After each book, I tend to scour online for my next pick, and during a recent search, I stumbled upon an article by Ann Morgan sharing a literary challenge that got my attention. She aimed to read a book from every country—a whopping 196 books.

I thought back to some of the books I’ve enjoyed from foreign authors. From Ousman Umar’s treacherous journey from Ghana to Europe or the kaleidoscope-like worlds that Murakami creates in Japanese towns. Whether fiction or non-fiction, each book was a window into another life, a look at the intricacies of human existence from a different walk of life.

And that desire to gain perspective and better understand our vast world serves as the impetus for wanting to pursue this challenge. So with no set timeline, I am building a long checklist of books from every country, fiction and non-fiction. I plan to share my list and updates on my progress periodically, but if you are curious about what I’m currently reading, I regularly track my books and progress on Goodreads.

My first pick from Colombia is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.

Is this something you’d like to also partake in? Do you have any recommendations? If so, I’d love to hear from you! 

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