Discussion Forums - Foreign-Language/World Literature

Topic: 2014 World Literature Mini Challenge Lists

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: 2014 World Literature Mini Challenge Lists
Date Posted: 12/14/2013 3:29 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,879
Back To Top

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.   We can create a discussion thread if you wish.

Choose a read (six for those who want to do it all)

...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 or by 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.  I've just discovered Elizabeth Cook-Lynn and read From the River's Edge.

...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: 1/1/14 10:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 5
Date Posted: 12/14/2013 5:58 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
Back To Top

2014 WORLD LITERATURE MINI CHALLENGE   CHALLENGE COMPLETED!!

Choose 6 reads (doing 7):

...associated with (even loosely, or peripherally) the Islamic world---

The Journey of Ibn Fattouma   by Naguib Mahfouz DONE

...by a "hispano-hablante" (a writer in Spanish or Portuguese)

The Invention of Morel   by Adolfo Bioy CasaresDONE

...by a writer from sub-Sahara Africa

Weep Not, Child   by Ngugi wa Thiong'o DONE

...written by an author of the world's "islands"  (Australia, New Zealand, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Haiti, Iceland,  but NOT England and Ireland) 

Voss   by Patrick White DONE

...by a writer from Asia exclusive of the sub-continent of India

An Artist of the Floating World   by Kazuo Ishiguro DONE

by a writer from India

The Namesake   by  Jumpha Lahiri DONE

Instead of a substitute, I'm just adding a 7th category...Scandinavian

The Howling Miller   by Arto Paasilinna (Finnish)DONE



Last Edited on: 8/15/14 6:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 14
Date Posted: 12/15/2013 1:40 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2010
Posts: 143
Back To Top

Choose a read (six for those who want to do it all)

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

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

Arturo Perez-Reverte. Captain Alatriste

...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). Peter Carey. Theft, a Love Story

...by a writer from Asia exclusive of the sub-continent of India:  (there are lots of Chinese writers from whom to select) Dai Sijie. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress. Completed 11/ 17/14. Excellent, 4 stars

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

a Nordic author: read Leena Lehtolainen, My First Murder. Finnish. Completed 11/14/14

Substitute or include  a read substitute Victor Pelevin. The Sacred Book of the Werewolf. Completed 10/27/14. Russian author. 4 stars

...about Native Americans,

...or, by a Canadian author,. 

...or, by a 

 

 



Last Edited on: 11/18/14 9:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 6
Date Posted: 12/15/2013 5:54 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
Back To Top

from the Islamic world:  The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie---I started this, had trouble 'tuning in' to it, and have deferred it to another time.

from Scandinavia: The Saga of Gösta Berling, by Selma Lagerlof (Sweden)--I expect to read this one to close out the year, when II am again in Ohio for the winter.

from one of the world's islands: Breath, Eyes, Memory, by Edwige Danticat   A touching tale of growing up female in a troubled corner of Caribbean, Haiti; Living in the Maniototoby Janet Frame, a New Zealander.  It's my first experience of this writer.

from sub-Sahara Africa: The River Between, by Ngugi wa Thiongo (Kenya); This Side Jordan by Margaret Laurence (Ghana)

                                       Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee (South Africa);  Do They Hear You When You Cryby Fauziya Kassindja (Togo)

from India: The Lowland, by Jumpha LahiriI

about a Native American people:Pigs in Heaven, by Barbara Kingsolver.(the Cherokee Nation)

I chose to read the classic historical novel  All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque because this year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I.  (I am ashamed to say that I had not read this classic anti-war novel earlier in my life.)  The author recounts his first-hand experiences as a teen-age German soldier in the trenches and on the front, in the rat-infested trenches, under bombardment, under poison gas attack, and on "No Man's Land" gathering up wounded, corpses, and body parts.



Last Edited on: 12/4/14 3:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 24
Date Posted: 12/17/2013 10:56 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,879
Back To Top

Choose a read (six for those who want to do it all)

...associated with (even loosely, or peripherally) the Islamic world

...by a "hispano-hablante" (a writer in Spanish or Portuguese) includes authors in Spain, Portugal, Central and South America:  The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz ZafonLucia Graves (Translator), 1/15/2014, 4.5 to 5 stars.  

...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):  The Bone People by Keri Hulme and/or The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, Dominican Republic, 1/3/2014, 4 starssmiley

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

...by a writer from India:  Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Substitute or include as you wish to read

...about Native Americans

...by a Canadian author

...by a Nordic author (Norwegian, Swede, Finn, Danish, Icelandic):  Norwegian, I Curse the River of Time by Per Petterson



Last Edited on: 1/17/14 7:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 18
Date Posted: 12/17/2013 5:39 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
Back To Top

bigstone:  Scandinavia includes Denmark . . . . .Danes, its inhabitants are called



Last Edited on: 12/17/13 5:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/1/2014 3:11 AM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 244
Back To Top

(I am going to include books set in one of these locations and/or involving characters from these groups.)

...the Islamic world: When Gravity Fails by Effinger (1/21/14) 4 stars

..."hispano-hablante" (a writer in Spanish or Portuguese): The Fencing Master by Perez-Reverte (8/6/14) 4 stars

...sub-Sahara Africa 

...the world's "islands"  (but NOT England and Ireland): The Forgotten Garden by Morton  

...Asia exclusive of the sub-continent of India: Khan: Empire of Silver by Iggulden (7/21/14) 3.5 stars

...India: Midnight's Children by Rushdie

...Native Americans: Comanche Moon by McMurtry (12/14/14) 4.5 stars

...Canadian

...Nordic



Last Edited on: 12/15/14 12:08 AM ET - Total times edited: 10
Subject: A Late Bloomer -DONE
Date Posted: 4/17/2014 3:27 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2007
Posts: 1,131
Back To Top

I thought to look for a challenge like this when I found that I was reading some world lit this year.  Better late than never....

The Islamic World:  An Unnecessary Woman - Rabih Alameddine 3/26 Lebanon.  My favorite of year so far...

"hispano-hablante" (a writer in Spanish):  The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon 11/25 Gothic, plods along til p 278.  Then, WHAM!

Sub-Saharan Africa:  We Need New Names - NoViolet Bulawayo  12/25 Zimbabwe 2013 Int'l Booker listed. The immigrant experience; the 1st half in

     Zimbabwe in times of upheaval, yet children still play. The 2nd half in Michigan with the dislocation experienced by a teenager. Well-done.

Islands:  The Greenhouse - Audur Olafsdottir 3/4  Iceland, Roses, a young man, and a monastery garden

Asia (not India):  Sightseeing - Rattawut Lapcharoensap 5/20  Thai short stories published 2005, look anew at what shapes us, author something of a short story specialist, hope to see more of his work.

India:  The Lowland - Jhumpa Lahiri 3/7  Naxalite, Maoist rebellions, love and lies and consequences.  Very good.

Scandinavia, Canadian, Native American extras

 



Last Edited on: 12/25/14 4:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 7/4/2014 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
Back To Top

A little progress report------half a year past already!  but I've accomplished four of the World Lit categories---Islands; Sub-Sahara Africa; Native American; and Indian (the sub-continent).  Now, with July, I'm into my "Islamic world" book, The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie.

All the books I've read thus far have been interesting, and I'm glad we undertook this Challenge.  I hope you all are, too.
 

Date Posted: 7/30/2014 7:29 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 2,671
Back To Top

what is World Lit? If you live in the USA everything that is not USA is World? or is there a theme or subject that makes something World?

It seems that sometimes World is really thought of as 3rd world (whatever that entails).

Date Posted: 8/9/2014 7:02 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
Back To Top

Charles, Not just the "Third World", but everything beyond the USA.  And if we do this Challenge again in the coming year, I've been thinking of proposing an additional category, "Emigrants and Immigrants" , because there is such a considerable body of interesting books by persons who left their "homelands" for various "foreign strands".   To give a few examples: The American, by Henry James; Call It Sleep, by Joseph Roth; The Frozen Waterfall, by Gaye Hiçyilmaz; and White Teeth, by Zadie Smith.



Last Edited on: 8/12/14 7:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/11/2014 6:48 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 2,671
Back To Top

It might be that there have been so many immigrants it would not be a very unique category. Joseph Conrad, T S Eliot, I'm not sure of Henry James. Did he move to England? Paul Bowles, Junot Diaz, V Nabokov, Isabel Allende. The list goes on.

I own Call it Sleep but I have never read it. Have you read it? what's it like?

The Sheltering Sky by Bowles would be a great book for world lit since it takes place in Morocco.

Date Posted: 8/12/2014 6:53 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
Back To Top

Charles: Let me elaborate a bit----For our purposes here, a book would deal with the emigrant experience, as Vilhelm Moberg's The Emigrants. (or Utvandrarna) , or the immigrant's experience, as the young boy in Joseph Roth's Call It Sleep.

I urge you to read Roth's book, and would have you note the interesting way he handles the dialogue between the boy at the center of the story and the other young immigrant boys in the American city to which his parents bring him from some eastern Europe country or other (Russia?  Poland?  ??)  When the boy and his parents are talking, at home, they speak in impeccably grammatical Yiddish, and Roth writes in altogether grammatical English.  When the boy and the other immigrant boys (from various and sundry 'old countries')are trying to communicate with each other, or with some English-speakers, and are obliged to use the difficult new language, English, Roth indicates their stumbling grammar and pronunciation by writing in a kind of "layman's phonetics".   It was curious, but I think it adds to the 'flavor' of the novel.

The reason I included James' The American as a possible choice for such a category is that it features the experiences of an American 'self-made' man who goes to Europe with the hope of finding a wife of high social standing.  The differences in attitudes and values between Continental persons and 'New World' persons is pointed up in this novel.

The Frozen Waterfall is about a Turkish father who goes to Switzerland to work to provide his family a better life.  In time, he finds himself reluctant to return 'home', but missing his family very much.  He opts to stay in Switzerland, and have his family join him.  Much of the book is about the necessary changing of one's ways in order to fit in in their new home.

Zadie Smith's novel is about life in the North London area teeming with immigrants, many of whom have come to "the mother country" from various corners of the former British Empire.  How they all commingle, cooperating at times, clashing at others, makes for some interesting mixing of customs.

My all-time favorite books about immigrants to the USA are The Education of H*Y*M*A*N  K*A*P*L*A*N; and The Return of H*Y*M*A*N  K*A*P*L*A*N , by Leo Rosten.   But two newer books that delighted me were Funny in Farsi and Laughing With an Accent, by Firoozeh Dumas.  I  had the opportunity of hearing her speak, and she was a charming young woman who had been brought from Iran to the  USA as a little girl.   If you have time for 'humor' books, I recommend these.



Last Edited on: 11/12/14 6:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 5
Date Posted: 8/13/2014 7:26 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 2,671
Back To Top

I see. The novel has to be about immigrants not just written by an immigrant.

Have you read The Bread Givers by Anzia Yeziersk. That would be very much in your area. The author has several other books about immigrant experiences. Maybe Enemies: a Love Story by I B Singer would work also.

Date Posted: 8/13/2014 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
Back To Top

Yes, Charles, Isaac Bashevis Singer is the grand old man of literature about Jewish immigrants in the USA, wouldn't you say?   I recall when Bharati Mukherjee"s book of short stories, The Middleman, first appeared, some critics billed her as a kind of spiritual descendant of Singer.  If you decide to check out that book, you'll find that she wrote about a variety of "'new Americans" , not just Indians.   Speaking of her makes me think of Jumpha Lahiri, who won a Pulitzer with her novel, The Lowland, about two brothers whose lives took very different directions after one remained in India and the other emigrated to the United States.

I haven't read The Bread Givers, but I hope to locate a copy of it, and will very likely add it to the TBR 'treasure trove'.

Date Posted: 8/15/2014 6:20 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
Back To Top

CHALLENGE COMPLETED!!..........I must say I really enjoyed this mini challenge. It helped stimulate my interest in foreign writers.

Date Posted: 8/16/2014 8:50 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
Back To Top

Barbara B.,   Your post was gratifying to read, and I'm glad you found it a rewarding experience.  I hope that this Forum will attract more participants if it is proposed again for 2014.   Failing that, I hope that the Classics Forum will incorporate more of the kind of books with which the   World Lit Forum participants  undertook to become more familiar.   (I'm still working on my World Lit list, having gotten side-tracked a couple of times by other reading.  I am determined to return to it soon.)

Date Posted: 12/19/2014 6:29 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
Back To Top

Charles:  I got hold of a copy of The Bread Givers, by Anzia Yezierska.  The local library got it for me on an Inter-library loan.  I'm very glad you told me about it.  I find it especially interesting as an early example of what might, later on, be called 'feminist literature.'   Additionally, it was of particular interest to me because the author wrote in her 'acquired' language, English.  I saw, first-hand, for many years, the efforts of newcomers to the United States, to learn English.  It is a far more difficult thing to do than native speakers of English think!  I will now join you in recommending this book to anyone reading into our World Lit 2015 category of "Emigrant/Immigrant".

And when I got to Part 2  of The Bread Givers,( Between Two Worlds), about Sara Smolinsky's determined  efforts to obtain an education, I found that she and I are kindred spirits, except that her 'uphill' struggle was far more desperate than mine, and took place several decades earlier than mine.  Still, there were more than a few passages that read as if I had written them . . . .



Last Edited on: 12/28/14 11:59 AM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 12/19/2014 6:57 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 2,671
Back To Top


Last Edited on: 1/26/15 6:44 AM ET - Total times edited: 4