What is the Around the World Reading Challenge?

I first read about this on the Book Club Forum, of which I have been a member for five years. The idea is to read a book for every country in the world. The trouble is, as more and more countries seek independence, new ones are created, so this challenge could be pretty much endless. It also depends on your definition of what a country is.

According to Wikipedia, "a country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously independent people with distinct political characteristics." If you can understand this, then you are doing better than I am!

The criteria I used for creating my own list is that the country in question has to fulfil at least 2 of the following criteria:

a) have its own nationality - in some overseas territories of France for example the natives are classified and treated as French citizens rather than citizens of their own country.
b) have its own flag and
c) have some form of its own Government such as for example in the Isle of Man.

This may not be perfect, but it is perfect for me.

Some diehards (and I have no wish to die in any way, whether hard or soft) state that the books should be written by someone who has been born in the country in question. This though creates a number of problems - just because someone was born in a particular country does not mean that they have spent the majority, or indeed any significant amount of time there. I have African born colleagues at work who left their home country at a young age and have spent most of their lives here. On the other hand, I also have British born friends who have spent more than 30 years living in Spain. This is not to mention the logistics of actually finding such books, particularly for those places which are further off the beaten track. For me, it works just as well for the book to be merely set in a particular place.

Click here then to read my list of countries and books read to date.

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