Sunday, July 12, 2009

Where in the World? Weekly Geeks Week

I love, love, love this week's Weekly Geeks topic:

This week's Weekly Geeks asks you to tell us about your globe trotting via books. Are you a global reader? How many countries have you "visited" in your reading? What are your favorite places or cultures to read about? Can you recommend particularly good books about certain regions, countries or continents? How do you find out about books from other countries? What countries would you like to read that you haven't yet?

Use your own criteria about what you consider to be "visiting" -- whether a book is written about the country or by a native or resident of the country.

Those who know me know I've been bitten by the travel bug. From a young age my parents had us trotting around from place to place and we've certainly started that tradition with our children.

I'm trying to think of the best for me country to feature in this. I could cheat and say the States (because I'm Canadian), but somehow that doesn't have the same effect. I also read a lot of books from Great Britain, but that doesn't seem foreign enough for me either. My husband is English and we've been there a few times visiting relatives.

So I'm going to look at one of my favorite authors and one of my favorite countries to read about that I've never been to.

First focus on the author I adore, Maeve Binchy. Maeve Binchy is Irish and reading a book of hers is like sitting down with a good friend over a cup of tea. I've never been to Ireland (yet!), but I feel as though I know it a bit from reading her books. She has written books ranging in era from the 1950's to present times, so you really get a sense of how Ireland has changed over recent time. Her stories set both in rural Ireland and contemporary Dublin (quite a contrast). I had read once that she was looking to retire from writing, but thank goodness I've seen at least 2 more publications since then and I look forward to more that she has to offer.

Now onto the country I love to read about but have never been to, India. Ahh India, I've visited you many times in many eras. It's such a fascinating place for me. I attribute this in part to my hometown of Abbotsford, BC. Abbotsford boasts the highest concentration of immigrants from India to Canada. I taught in schools where my students were mostly Indo-Canadian. They are lovely people.

I really got into reading about India from an Indo-Canadian author, Rohinton Mistry. He is phenominal. The first book of his I read was 'A Fine Balance' and if you haven't read it, I whole heartedly reccommend it. I've never read another book that quite captures the notion of being in a place that you've never been and being able to see, taste, smell, touch and hear it so accurately. I've enjoyed many more of Mistry's books too. He is an author worth checking out. I've read other stories set in India, but none so good.

The map below highlights countries I've read of, but not necessarily visited. I know that I've probably left out some and I apologise to that country!

create your own visited country map
or check our Venice travel guide


farmlanebooks said...

A Fine Balance is my favourite book!

I love books set in China too. A great place to start is anything by Amy Tan. The Joy Luck Club is probably the best.

Good luck with painting your map red!

CarolineR said...

Thanks for the Rohinton Mistry recommendation - I didn't have anything for India on my map but would like to read more about it.

Maree said...

If it weren't for Q & A, I wouldn't have India on my list at all. No New Zealand ... hmmmm ... I feel a post coming on ...

Lahni said...

I also love Maeve Binchy. I think my favourite thing about her is her simple no-nonsense writing style.
Have you read Family Matters, by Mistry? I think I liked it better than A Fine Balance.