My book-blogging amiga Bethany has asked all participants in her 2008 Orbis Terrarum Challenge to write a wrap-up post about the challenge with links to books read for it and answers to some survey questions about our participation in the challenge. Since I really enjoyed this challenge (my first completed and still the most interesting one I've seen offered to date) and read some of my favorite books of the year during the course of it (the top two from the list itself are starred in red below), I encourage you to check out a preview of the 2009 Orbis Terrarum Challenge on Bethany's blog here. Meanwhile, read on--or don't--for the info that was requested about the 2008 challenge.
Books Read (title/author/author's country of birth)
- El invierno en Lisboa [Winter in Lisbon], Antonio Muñoz Molina, Spain
- Là-Bas [The Damned or Down There], J.-K. Huysmans, France
- Gomorra* [Gomorrah], Roberto Saviano, Italy
- She, H. Rider Haggard, U.K.
- All She Was Worth, Miyuki Miyabe, Japan
- Cicatrices, Juan José Saer, Argentina
- Estrella distante* [Distant Star], Roberto Bolaño, Chile
- Los de abajo [The Underdogs], Mariano Azuela, Mexico
- Maqamat [The Assemblies of Al-Hariri: Fifty Encounters with the Shaykh Abu Zayd of Seruj], Al-Hariri of Basra, Iraq
Orbis Terrarum 2008 Challenge Survey (Bethany's questions in bold red)
- 1.) What did you like about the challenge? I liked that the challenge was international in focus and that the countries were represented by their authors' birthplaces rather than just the settings where the works took place. I don't understand many U.S. book bloggers' obsession with American and U.K. authors to the exclusion of almost everyone else, so this was a nice way to see what people thought about writers from some other places in the world.
- 2.) What would you like to see change for next year? I like the challenge just the way it is/was. The only change I'd root for in the future is making it 12 books in 12 months rather than 9 books in 9 months. However, I'm glad it was shorter this year since I discovered it so late in the game!
- 3.) About the rules, or the non-existent rules...did you like that? Yes, I did. It's kind of a turnoff seeing some of these challenges where they start with a nice idea and then ruin it by attaching 50 rules at the end. Challenges should be fun--not exercises in observing somebody else's obsessive-compulsive ways.
- 4.) Are you going to join us next year? Definitely. I'm looking forward to it--unless the rules change too much. See #3 above!
- 5.) Pretty please give me any suggestions for changes, the betterment of the challenge, or just anything that you would like to see changed for next year. OT is fine as is. Don't mess with success! Don't fix it if it's not broken!!
- 6.) Would you like the challenge to be more involved? What if we read books together sometimes? Would that interest you? I wouldn't mind reading one novel or a bonus book together as part of a group as long as I reserved the right to maintain my other choices intact. Might be fun. However, I'd hate to have to give up somebody like Roberto Bolaño to read some hack like Stephen King instead!
- 7.) Would you be interested in helping somehow next year? How would you like to help? I'd be happy to help. I have a few books in mind that I could see offering as giveaways, but feel free to shoot me an e-mail, Bethany, if you have anything else in mind. By the way, thanks again for hosting the challenge--it was a lot of fun, and I appreciated your enthusiasm!