The Global Voices Book Challenge

Myrthe from the Armenian Odar Reads points out a great reading challenge hoisted by Global Voices: to read a book during the next month from a country whose literature you have never read anything of before, and post about it in honor of UNESCO World Book Day on April 23.

[Hey, I didn’t even know there was a World Book Day, did you? What a shame…]

I don’t often join reading challenges, but this one does appeal to me. It seems easier to manage than longer, more specific challenges (a sure way for me to fail, in my sense). And it suits my project of trying something new in every aspect of my life. Catherine Millet was not a brilliant success, so let’s try exotism.


I have no particular destination of choice for this challenge, but trying a literature from a foreign country I’ve never read about crosses North America, Europe and North-East Asia off the list. What about South America, Middle East, South Asia, Africa? I’ve never tried anything from these places, nor does any writer’s name come to my mind.

So, for an added twist to this challenge, I put myself in the hands of fate. Or even better, in the hands of our local librarians. When we enter our library, there are two tables with not only recent acquisitions, but books of interest. You don’t exactly know why the librarians have put them on the table because most of the time there’s no special animation, but probably they’re just books they liked. I decided to take the first book I found on these tables from an unknown country.

And the winner is… Togo, with a book by Kossi Efoui, “Solo d’un Revenant” (Solo by a returnee or Solo by a ghost, depending how you want to read it).  The writer is living in France, but it still counts as Togo, right? I’m not even quite sure where to put it on a map, but it’s a French-speaking country, which means I won’t have to trust a translator to get to the real thing. It looks quite tough (the returnee is coming back home after ten years of massacre), but I’m eager to give it a try.

If you’re curious about world literature, here’s your chance!


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