March – an ever so exciting month

The end of another month is upon us and it’s been quite a month. I started my new job which I’m really enjoying and being back on the tube for 2 hours a day, my reading has really taken off again, huzzah!

I also went to a country music festival where I got to see two of my favourite acts – Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts who were both awesome and a week later I was still buzzing!

But you want to hear about what I’ve been reading right?  Well a few weeks back I decided that I wanted to read more foreign literature and I vowed to read at least one book from a new country each month. This month I managed two. I was already most of the way through one when I decided to make this vow but I felt like it would be cheating to use only that one so I went out and tracked down a second entry for March’s map and here they are.

IcelandFirst up was a crime novel from Iceland – Someone to Watch Over Me (Horfðu á mig) by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir (translated by Philip Roughton), number 5 in the Thora Gudmundsdottir series. Part ghost story, part detective fiction, part commentary on the effect of the financial crash in Iceland, this book had plenty going for it.

The story has a number of strands which twine together slowly as more layers of the plot are unveiled but at its heart it features a young man, Jakob, who has Down’s syndrome and is imprisoned for burning down his sheltered accommodation and killing  five people. Thora is a lawyer employed by a convicted paedophile (and one of the creepiest characters I’ve encountered) to prove Jakob’s innocence. But what does the ghost haunting  Berglind and her son tie in? And just what does the residence’s supervisor have to hide?

I loved the way all these elements wove together but what I liked most was that it avoided so many of the clichés often seen with crime fiction. Having said that I felt that the ending was a bit anti-climactic until the very last page sent a chill down my spine that is. I hadn’t read any of the other books in the Thora series but I will certainly look out for them from now on.

South KoreaMy second international offering this month is The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly (마당을 나온 암탉) written by Hwang Sun-Mi and translated by Kim Chi-Young and originally published in the Democratic Republic of Korea.

Choosing this book was a bit of  a no-brainer if I’m honest – I’ve had a soft spot for South Korea since taking up Tae Kwon Do many years ago and one of my dearest wishes is to own a chicken or two. Since this book united two of my loves it was a must-read!

The titular hen is Sprout, a battery chicken who wants nothing more than to be allowed to sit on one of her egg rather than have them snatched away from her as soon as they’re laid. From her coop she can see the other animals prancing around the barnyard and raising their own offspring and she yearns to join them. Alas, when she makes it out of the coop, life in the wild isn’t everything she dreamed it would be but Sprout is relentlessly optimistic and finds a friend in Straggler, a wild mallard with a broken wing who might know how to make Sprout’s dreams come true.

This story has been described as a modern-day fable and it certainly has a lot to say about the value and true meaning of family and the importance of being willing to persevere if you want to follow your dreams. It’s only a short tale but perfectly formed.

So with those two additions here’s the updated map and pie chart:

March 2014

 

Slide1Next month I need to get Africa on the map!

 

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12 responses to “March – an ever so exciting month

  1. I really enjoyed The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly and I love the idea of reading books from all over the world. How did you make the map? It’s so cool to have a visual representation of which countries you have read books from!

    • It’s great to hear from someone else who’s read it, glad you enjoyed it too!

      I found a black and white map on Google (freeware of course!) and coloured it in on Paint. Drawing it myself would have been a disaster!!

  2. A country music festival?!?!??! What WHAT? Where was this? I adore country music and I’ve never come across any!

    Preddy preddy please hit me with the details. 😀

    *Ahem* Sorry, I’m calm, I’m totally calm. 😛

    Well done for picking up more books from around the world!

    • Hahaha! It was called Country2Country and it was at the O2 – http://www.c2c-countrytocountry.com/ – I’m afraid it’s an annual thing but you’ll know about it for next year 🙂

      I found it by chance when I was looking up gigs on the off chance there’d be something country and I saw Rascal Flatts, then I saw Brad Paisley then I nearly passed out with excitement.

      We are sadly bereft of country themed events this side of the pond 😦

      • Yeah I assumed it was an annual thing but wow, I will definitely look into this for next year!

        I KNOW right. I wish we had a country radio station, I would be permanently tuned into it. I’ve yet to come across one though. :/ Thanks for the link!

      • That would be awesome. the best I have is GrooveShark which is really good at recommending stuff and they have ‘broadcasts’ which are kind of like radio stations.

  3. What a great idea! I love the map of the world and your pie graph. These books both seem really interesting. I might have to give them a try.

  4. Great Idea to read around the world! Ooh for Africa? Could we suggest Corinne Hoffman’s books – My Passion is one that shows Africa and the tribal community from an outsider’s point of view. Happy reading! We will have to try some of your reads ourselves!

    • Thanks! There’s a blog I mentioned in one of my previous posts, and I’m basically copying her idea because I want to make my reading more widespread. She did the whole world in a year and is now writing a book about it (far more ambitious than me!).

      Thanks so much for the recommendations I will definitely try and get hold of a copy 🙂

      • You’re welcome! Let us know how you get on and what you discover on your journey around the world. Great idea to discover more about other countries and read more widespread. Ann Morgan’s reading list would take us a lot longer too!

  5. Pingback: Ten Influential Books Tag – The Perks of Being a Bookworm

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