One Reader, and so many Countries

At long last, I have been able to migrate the list of the books read over the last 10 years to GoodReads, a very neat site to keep track of one’s reading. Despite its very simple interface, I did like Bibliophil but it is not very intuitive or exciting to use. I also maintained a list on an html page. Except for a few minor glitches the list on goodreads is pretty accurate. I was quite tardy in keeping a record between 1991- 1997 though I do have a record for the four years before ’91 and will add them soon. That will more or less cover the entire history of my life as a reader, and bookshelves, I think Alberto Manguel remarked somewhere, tell the autobiography of their owner. In my case, for whatever its worth.

Over the past few years I have read mainly fiction, and the countries of the authors’  origin is displayed on the map below as well as tagged over at goodreads. I am quite proud of having covered South America  reasonably well (~ 75 or so)- especially countries like Uruguay, Bolivia and Nicaragua. There are quite a lot of writers from Argentina and though the count of books from Chile and Peru is also high, these are limited to single authors- Roberto Bolano and Mario Vargas Llosa respectively. I am still waiting for an English translation of Dona Barbara so Venezuela may remain uncovered till then, and am totally clueless about anything from Paraguay.

Some pose a problem when classifying. Roberto Bolano was born in Chile but lived most of his life in Mexico. Joseph Conrad in Poland but lived in England and wrote in English. Llosa is from Peru but his great novel The War at the End of the World is located in Brazil. Koestler’s Darkness at Noon is based in Russia (Soviet Union to be precise), while he was from Poland but wrote in English. some of these classifications are therefore arbitrary. Bolano appears under the tag Chile, all of Llosa’s works under Peru with The War.. under Brazeil as well. Darkness at Noon, under Russia, though that’s not accurate either.

The Russian authors too make up a large contingent though most are not listed as yet. Canada and US show a large land mass, but my reading from these countries is rather meager – just 1 from Canada and half a dozen from the US.

There is still a long way to go as yet- particularly Africa and most of Asia. If this looks bad, it ain’t the worst. I cannot claim to have read works from more than three or four states in India. Of these, there are about half a dozen novels in Hindi by Rahi Masoom Raza, a couple by Dharamvir Bharti, three by Indira Goswami and one by the Oriya writer Fakir Mohan Senapathy who was recently translated into English.

Map Legend: 9%, 26 of 263 Territories

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