Thursday, May 29, 2008

MEME: Orbis Terrarum Challenge

The Orbis Terrarum Challenge meme:

1.) What country do you always go back to in your travels (not just while reading for OT)?
England would be my favorite country to read about. I live in Canada, and see so much America that those settings are not that unusual, but England is one of my favorite settings.

2.) If you could visit 4 5 of the countries you have read about in your life (that you haven't been to yet), which would they be and why? (you can include the book that makes you want to visit if you remember)
Thailand (Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding)
Portugal (Alentejo Blue by Monica Ali)
Iceland (Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indridason)
Ireland (all Maeve Binchy)

I didn't even mention England. I'd love to go to England for all the books I've read.
ex: Neverland to see the subways, Pillars of the Earth for the cathedrals, Bridget Jones for modern London, the countryside for all the novels set during WW2, Bath for Northanger Abbey, the castles and country mansions from the Victorian novels, the monastery from the Brother Cadfael mysteries, and so on.

3.) Have you ever dreamed about a country you have read about, that you have never actually traveled to- except in your dreams?
I seldom remember my dreams, so I can't really answer this one.

4.) In what ways has reading about different countries opened up your perspective about global issues?
The rights of women, or the lack of, in other countries is certainly something I notice when I read novels set in other countries. It makes me not take for granted the options available to me. Also, the rampant consumerism that I live in versus a simpler life depicted in some other countries.

5.) What countries have you felt your judgment was off about-after reading about that nation?
I wouldn't say my judgment was off; it is more a recognition of the assets and beautiful aspects of a country; and an acknowledgement that the human condition is the same everywhere. We are all more alike than different.

6.) Which is your favourite book that you would recommend for this challenge (you don't have to have read it during the challenge)?

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (India)

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Spain)

7.) I am thinking about hosting again, for a full year next time starting in January, do you have any constructive criticism, is one book a month about right...more? less? Give me some thoughts.
I am preferring the more random challenges, that start at some point in the year and run for several months, like this one. If it goes to a year, I would rather see less than 1 book per month, maybe 8-9 books.

8.) Anything else that you have been wanting to tell us all about? let us have it!
I am really liking this challenge, and the effort you are putting in to it to make it fun. I like that you put the restriction that the country is the country of the author, and not just the setting. Thank you to wikipedia for sources of information of author nationality.

I think it is neat the concept of 'other country' in this challenge, because for someone else, my country is one to read for the challenge, and I am picking countries that other people live in. It is weird, and egocentric, to see Canada listed as a country on the review lists. It jsut changes my perspecitve a bit.


  1. That was so fun to read!!! I am so glad you answered the questions, yay!!!

    I am very thankful for your input too, it really helps to have different perspectives on the challenge....glad you like it!

  2. I agree with Bethany -- that was very fun to read! England is my favorite place on the planet, btw. Definitely go. It helps a lot to ask a British friend or two for advice, before you do (when you go -- 'cause you just must). When my husband had a conference and I got to tag along at my own expense, my friend Martin listed great places to visit -- like the village of Avebury, which has its own stone circle. I would have totally overlooked Avebury, if he hadn't advised me.

  3. bethany - great questions, and a fun challenge

    bookfool - Oh, I'll get there someday. I was excited to even have a layover in Heathrow for a few hours. I wanted to buy a Hello and bag of crisps, just like Bridget Jones might. We landed after an all night flight, and my sister was exhausted, so she slept and guarded the bags while I shopped and then excitedly would come back and say - 'There's a Herrods at the airport!'
    The whole UK would be fabulous as my husband and my heritage is Scots/Irish.

  4. Great answers. I love the British settings as well and would love to go back someday and visit all of the places I've read about (Part of the reason why I'd like to visit the Maritimes one day). It's funny, I listed Canada for one of my countries (Atwood), even though I'm part Canadian, but I didn't list any British books because I already read so many of them. I'm not sure what that means, but your comment about it being weird to see Canada listed got me to thinking a little about that.


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