About the blog

World Lit, as in World Literature.

World Lit Up, as in, the world is illuminated.

In 2010, I decided to read my way around the world.  One book for every country.  The book might be fiction or nonfiction, but preferably written by a native author. I wanted the book to portray some facet of its country – a historical event or person, the environment, the language or even just the life experience of someone from a culture different from my middle-class American one.

WorldLitUp.com will be a record of these books.  I created this project for myself in order to shine a light on some of those places and peoples that are dark to me.  I believe that the more you know about the world, the bigger and more fascinating it becomes.  You can bet that I’d prefer to pack my suitcase and discover the world firsthand, but finances and time (and in some cases, nerves) dictate that I do my traveling armchair-style.

Follow my trail of pages along the way.

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Responses

  1. What a clever name – love it!

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  2. What a great idea Holly! My humble suggestions:

    Guatemala – “Men of Maize” = fabulous!
    Ecuador – “Huasipungo”
    Chile – “House of the Spirits” = fabulous!
    Colombia – of course, “100 Years of Solitude”, but it’s a tome, so “Love in the Time of Cholera” is a second choice, or anything else by Marquez.
    Argentina – I sent a request to my friends in Argentina on the ‘best’ book to read about Argentina… they are going to discuss it and get back to me…. I’ll let you know…

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  3. This is a great blog – I learn so much from it!

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  4. Very, very cool idea for a blog. My husband and I have been doing something similar with films, but not blogging about it. I’ll definitely be passing it along for others to check out. And thanks for highlighting some neat world lit. texts–I’ll be checking some of them out.

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    • Thanks! How far are you along on the films?
      My top 5 so far:
      By the Lake – John McGahern (Ireland)
      Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight – Alexandra Fuller (Zimbabwe)
      A Long Way Gone – Ishmael Beah (Sierra Leone)
      Waiting for Snow in Havana – Carlos Eire (Cuba)
      The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo – Peter Orner (Namibia)

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      • We’ve not been keeping track. (It’s been more as we happen to be interested in something.) This has totally inspired me to keep track, though. We can think of 15 off the top of our heads that we’re sure we’ve seen. Ones from: Australia, U.K., U.S.A., Mexico, France, Bosnia, Italy, China, Japan, Finland, Germany, South Africa, Sweden, New Zealand, and The Netherlands (and a Russian one in the queue).

        I loved A Long Way Gone. I literally couldn’t put it down. I haven’t read any of the others…yet.

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  5. Also, I’d be interested maybe a shortlist of your favorites.

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  6. Holly, I find your little project truly fascinating. Cross-cultural books are always something have interested me and I enjoy reading them; however, your project takes it a step further. I will eagerly check back to see what you’ve learned and probobly pick up some of the books. If you haven’t read them yet, I recommend Snowflower and the Secret Fan (China) by Lisa See; Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald (Iranian/Americans); Kite Runner by Khaled Houssini (Afghanistan); Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (Indonesia, Italy, India). You should also check out goodreads.com –it’s sort of like a facebook for readers and a great way to get suggestions on something like this (if you aren’t already on there).

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    • I dig recommendations! Haven’t read any of those yet. Thanks for passing them on.

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  7. Great idea! Flying is a pain anyway ;). Thanks for documenting your journey so we can come along!

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    • This is cheaper too. Glad to have you as a fellow armchair traveler.

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  8. Awesome blog, lady! Such a fun idea. I might have to follow in your footsteps. 😉

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    • Thanks for stopping by! There are a lot of fantastic books out there by foreign authors that deserve to be read…dive in!

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  9. I took comparative world literature this semester and went from the shortest book of my degree so far (The Sorrows of Werther) to the largest (Don Quixote)!! with Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary and my absolute favourite, The Artificial Silk Girl (by Irmgard Keun) inbetween. The most illuminating aspect of the course for me was how foreign language books can sometimes lose some of their more subtle aspects with different translations – a good translator who captures the original intention because they understand the nuances of that language and historical context of the setting makes such a huge difference! I love your blog and congrats on the Freshly Pressed!

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    • You’ve got a great start on international classics…are you going to keep going now that class is over? I am forever wondering if the translated books I’ve read have been done justice by the translator. Just recently, I thought Hunting and Gathering was a strange title change from the French Ensemble, c’est tout.
      Thanks for visiting and contributing your thoughts…being “Freshly Pressed” has added a lot of excitement to my day!

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  10. What a great idea for a blog. I travel a lot (for work and fun) and I always take a novel along with me set in the place I’m headed. Look forward to getting some good ideas from you. Good luck with your project!

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    • Share your readings with us! Even if I’ve already covered a country, I’d still like to hear about your favorites (or disappointments).

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  11. Such a wonderful idea! I can’t wait to follow you around.

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    • Great, come along…there’s 123 countries left!

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  12. […] reads and even a world map of the countries she has visited through her readings. Check it out at https://worldlitup.com/about/ . Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

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    • Thank you for the pingback. But this reading adventure won’t be over in a year…I started in March 2010 and at the rate I’m reading/blogging, it will probably stretch into 2014. Physically traveling around the world would take less time, but I can’t afford to spend more than $14/country!

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  13. You got such a great idea here, I really love your project to shine a light on all these countries by books. It’s truely bibliophilic and simply wonderful. I’m excited to read about your upcoming book travels!

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    • Bibliophilic – I like it! Headed off to Afghanistan next.

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  14. I think this is an inspiring idea and maybe something that I should start to encourage myself to do more often as well!

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    • Go for it! I recommend supporting your local independent bookstores and public library if you have the opportunity.

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