'What?' you say, 'So soon?'
Sure! I'm taking up the reading challenge on the Penguin Blog: Round the World in Eighty Books. Sam the Copywriter intends to read from country to country around the world, without leaving home. It's inspired me, and I'm off on my own journey.
Here's a quote from Sam about the rules he's made for himself:
1. I can travel only between countries that share a border, or are either side of a body of water that needs crossing. Thus, I could go England-France-Spain-Portugal-Morocco-USA, but not Japan-Mongolia-Finland. I'm sorry if you could all work that out that without having to refer to a map - geography is unfortunately my Achilleus' heel.Check out the full post on the Penguin Blog for the fabulous first instalment: "The marshes, and London, England".
2. The suggested book can be set in the country, set in one city of that country, or even set in space but by a famous author from that country. Translations get bonus points, but not if they are so complex that my eyes start revolting [-or is that 'revolving'? - B]. And I'd prefer fiction, but if pushed will do the odd non-fiction.
3. Hopefully that's it. More rules may appear should I find the current ones make this as much effort as stressful real travel.
Are you tempted to play along? I think I will! I may make my own rules, or follow lines of conquest and colonisation, but the idea is great, and I need to break out of a reading rut.
So, last night's book is as good a starting point as any:
First stop: Paris -- with Georges Simenon's Inspector Maigret.
Book: The Sixth Omnibus: Maigret and the Wine Merchant
(My edition is published by Penguin, 1972.)
Ross introduced me to the sheer variety of Maigret novels, and I read several of his copies when we were in Halifax in July. So when I hit the buy-sell-trade bookshop last week, BookTalk Cafe, and I saw a row of Simenon novels on the shelf, I knew that some of them would make up an essential part of my trade for the day.
I picked up two Omnibuses and a single title. They're wonderful light reading, and I'm enjoying Paris.
Conclusions as a traveller:
Invest in a bottle of Cognac and a warm overcoat.
Where am I going next?
I'm not sure! From France, according to the rules, I can go to Spain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland or Belgium - or I can cross the Channel to the UK, or hop a ship into Northern Africa. I would even let myself visit any of the former French colonies. Suggestions welcome!
Stay tuned for postcards.
PS. James says he can go all the way around the world reading only Biggles books. Bah.