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Topic: 2014 World Literature Mini Challenge???

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Subject: 2014 World Literature Mini Challenge???
Date Posted: 11/20/2013 8:50 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
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Should we do a world literature mini challenge this year?  I enjoy this one very much but participation is low.  If we do one, what categories should we choose?

Date Posted: 11/20/2013 4:28 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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bigstone:  If you do, how about subdividing the globe into continents,  or "cultures", or even language families?   For instance---a book by

someone associated with (even loosely, or peripherally) the Islamic world---Naguib Mahfouz, Anton Shamass, Orhan Pamuk, Salman Rushdie, etc.;

a "hispano-hablante" (a writer in Spanish or Portuguese) that would include authors in Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Central America, and South America;

a writer from sub-Sahara Africa such as Chinua Achebe, N'gugi wa Thi'ongo, or Buchi Emecheta;;

a writer from one of the world's "islands"  (Australia, New Zealand, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Haiti, Iceland, etc, etc, etc, but NOT England and Ireland  (Examples:Patrick White, Thoams Keneally, Peter Carey, Keri Hulme, Oscar Hijuelos, Esmeralda Santiago, Edwige Danticat, Olafur Olaffson. Peter Hœg)

a writer from Asia exclusive of the sub-continent of India:  Japan: Yasunari Kawabata, Junichiro Tanizaki, Yukio Mishima, Fumiko Enchi; China:  Pearl Buck, Anchee Min, Jung Chang, Maxine Hong Kingston;

a writer from India, such as V. S. Naipaul, R. K. Narayan,  Anita Desai, Arundhati Roy, Bharati Mukherjee, Jumpha Lahiri, Kamala Markandaya



Last Edited on: 11/6/14 4:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 7
Date Posted: 11/29/2013 1:59 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
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I'm definitely interested in doing a mini challenge, and I really like Bonnie's proposal.

 

Date Posted: 11/30/2013 8:22 AM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2010
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This challenge sounds good to me! Am assuming the works can be fiction or nonfiction? ( such as memoir travel writing, etc.?)

Date Posted: 11/30/2013 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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Janet:  I would think that any literary work would qualify to give a sample of the part of the world from which it stemmed.  A friend who had returned to Minnesota from Barcelona, Spain, gave me a copy of Merce Rororeda's The Time of the Doves, and I learned about the Catalans' deep-rooted feeling that they are not Spaniards, but Catalans.

Janet, if you search in PBS "Lists" you will find one I made of eminent Latin American authors,  Some of them are Nobelists, but there are lots more very worthwhile literary voices there to be heard, after some competent translators have given us anglophones  translations from the Spanish or Portuguese into English.

I hesitated about including a category about Native Americans, though, because such books are in English and are set in North America.  But, think of books such as Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Black Elk Speaks, Laughing Boy, House Made of Dawn, When the Legends Die, some of the novels of Louise Erdrich, such as The Painted Drum, The Oregon Trail, by Francis Parkman, and even Blue HIghways, by William Least Heat Moon.

For much the same reason, I did not include Canadian authors, although there are some excellent ones, such as Margaret Atwood, Margaret Laurence,Alice Munro, Susanna Moodie, Anne Hébert, Mavis Gallant, Robertson Davies, Rudy Wiebe, Jack Hodgins, Ernest Buckler, Sinclair Ross, Farley Mowat, Frederick Philip Grove, Stephen Leacock. Mordecai Richler,  Hugh MacLennan,   And I suspect there are more that have slipped my mind for the moment.,

I really do believe in the  "eclectic" approach to choosing one's reading material.   Even if you read widely diverse books, if you keep at it a long  time, what you learn will begin to synthesize more and more.



Last Edited on: 12/4/13 8:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 5
Date Posted: 12/1/2013 1:04 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2010
Posts: 143
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Bonnie, thanks, I will look for your list. I enjoy South American writers and look forward to seeking out some good titles to read! As usual, this year I over extended myself with the reading challenges and didn't meet all of my goals. However, I did meet some, and have decided that that is good enough. Plus, this past year I've gotten into taking Coursera courses. These are free online courses taught by some very good, sometimes amazingly excellent teachers from all over the worlld as well as students from all over, which brings some fascinating perspectives to the online discussion forums. On the other hand, the courses have, regrettably, cut into my reading-for-pleasure, not for coursework time... 

Best, 

janet e

Date Posted: 12/2/2013 11:11 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
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As per Bonnie's suggesstion, let's organize a mini challenge.  Anyone up to organizing it?

Date Posted: 12/2/2013 7:28 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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If I do the Lite Classics Challenge for '14, I could participate in a Lite World Lit Challenge for '14, too, I believe.  And three of the categories I would select would be (Islamic World) The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie; (Subcontinent of India) The Lowland, by Jumpha Lahiri; and (Island Authors) Breath, Eyes, Memory, by Edwige Danticat.   Does this help the rest of you with your decisions?



Last Edited on: 12/2/13 7:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/4/2013 8:45 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
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Let's make this fun.  Comment freely about your reads and read only what you feel you wish to read that somehow fits the descriptions below..  No constraints.  How about this as creative Bonnie and Barbara suggested?

Choose a read

...associated with (even loosely, or peripherally) the Islamic world---Naguib Mahfouz, Anton Shamass, Orhan Pamuk, Salman Rushdie, etc.

...by a "hispano-hablante" (a writer in Spanish or Portuguese) that would include authors in Spain, Portugal, Central and South America

...by a writer from sub-Sahara Africa such as Chinua Achebe, N'gugi wa Thi'ongo, or Buchi Emecheta;;

...written by an author of the world's "islands"  (Australia, New Zealand, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Haiti, Iceland, etc, etc, etc, but NOT England and Ireland  (Examples:Patrick White, Thoams Keneally, Peter Carey, Keri Hulme, Oscar Hijuelos, Esmeralda Santiago, Edwige Danticat, Olafur Olaffson. Peter Hœg)

...by a writer from Asia exclusive of the sub-continent of India:  (there are lots of Chinese writers from whom to select)

...by a writer from India, such as V. S. Naipaul, R. K. Narayan,  Anita Desia, Arundhati Roy, Bharati Mukherjee or Jumpha Lahiri

Substitute or include as you wish, again per our creative Bonnie, a read

...about Native Americans, such as Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Black Elk Speaks, Laughing Boy, House Made of Dawn, When the Legends Die, some of the novels of Louise Erdrich, such as The Painted Drum, The Oregon Trail, by Francis Parkman, and even Blue HIghways, by William Least Heat Moon.

...or, by a Canadian author, such as Margaret Atwood, Margaret Laurence,Alice Munro, Susanna Moodie, Anne Hébert, Robertson Davies, Rudy Wiebe, Jack Hodgins, Ernest Buckler, Sinclair Ross, Farley Mowat, Frederick Philip Grove, Stephen Leacock. Mordecai Richler,  Hugh MacLennan.

...or, by a Nordic author such as 

Norwegians Sigrid Undset (Kristin Lavransdatter, in three volumes); Per Petterson (Out Stealing Horses), Knut Hamsun (HungerThe Growth of the Soil); and Norway-born American  Ole Rölvaag (Giants in the Earth);

Swedes Selma Lagerlöf (The Saga of Gösta Berling),  Vilhelm Moberg (a series of four--The EmigrantsUnto a Good LandThe Settlers, and Last Letter Home) ;  Stieg Larsson)

Dane Isak Dinesen - pseudonym of Karen Blixen: (Seven Gothic TalesWinter's TalesOut of Africa);

Finn Frans Sillanpää; and

Icelander Halldor K. Laxness

 

 



Last Edited on: 12/10/13 3:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 7
Date Posted: 12/6/2013 5:58 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
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 So it will consist of 6 categories? My only suggestion would be to include some other substitution options to broaden the definition of "world lit". I would include an option for the Nordic nations (besides Iceland) for sure.



Last Edited on: 12/6/13 6:35 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/7/2013 5:17 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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Barbieofmpls's suggestion is a good one to expand the selectivity of the challenge.  Iceland could be moved into a category dubbed "Scandinavia", which is composed of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland.  (Over the years, several Scandinavian writers have been recipients of the Nobel Prize for Literature (I have not listed them all here.)

Some Scandinavian authors are:

Norwegians Sigrid Undset (Kristin Lavransdatter, in three volumes); Per Petterson (Out Stealing Horses), Knut Hamsun (Hunger, The Growth of the Soil); and Norway-born American  Ole Rölvaag (Giants in the Earth);

Swedes Selma Lagerlöf (The Saga of Gösta Berling),  Vilhelm Moberg (a series of four--The Emigrants, Unto a Good LandThe Settlers, and Last Letter Home) ;  (Yeah, I know------Stieg Larsson. . . . .)

Dane Isak Dinesen - pseudonym of Karen Blixen: (Seven Gothic Tales, Winter's Tales, Out of Africa);

Finn Frans Sillanpää; and

Icelander Halldor K. Laxness

I have not read anything by the last two authors named here, but I can recommend the work of the previous six writers.



Last Edited on: 2/13/14 4:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/7/2013 6:35 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
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Thanks Bonnie. I've read works by 43 Scandinavian authors at last count, including all those you mentioned, and I have to say they've made an important contribution to world literature.

Date Posted: 12/7/2013 10:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
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Ok!  Let's add Scandinavian authors and maybe a free choice?  Any other suggestions?  I've read many of the authors on Bonnie's latest list, too, but I'm certainly up for more so I added the group to the suggestions above.  

Are six categories too man for a mini challenge?



Last Edited on: 12/7/13 10:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/8/2013 8:42 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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I've found that doing TWO Challenges is 'way too much for this old dame, but I'm going to try for TWO "Lite" Challenges of a half-dozen Classics, and a half-dozen World Lit books for 2014.   I'm still trying to finish Charles Dickens's Dombey and Son at this point.  It's 948 pages.  It's great that some of you bibliophiles care enough to do some international reading!

Date Posted: 12/10/2013 3:28 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
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I'm ready to post the challenge unless there are more suggestions or I missed some.  I'll wait a couple of days to do that.