cover image The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe

The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe

Ann Morgan. Norton/Liveright, $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-63149-067-5

As journalist Morgan relates in this introspective debut, she took it upon herself to learn more about international literature after looking at her shelves and realizing that her reading had been almost exclusively British and North American. Her project (which she turned into a blog, A Year of Reading the World) was to devote a year to reading books from each of the world’s 196 countries. Morgan explored cultural differences in storytelling styles while reading the mythology-steeped Telesa YA series by Samoan author Lani Wendt Young. She also learned about propaganda and censorship from Uzbek novelist Hamid Ismailov’s The Railway, and she reflected on how the West views totalitarian regimes after reading My Life and Faith, the memoir of North Korean war hero Ri In Mo. The book’s themes include the difficulties of getting published in other languages, the imperfection of translation, and the inequities of a global cultural tradition still dominated by Western imperialism. While Morgan briefly touches on the individual books she read (a full list appears in the back), her purpose is to examine publishing and access to books on a global scale, not to summarize her reading experience. For that, readers can go to her blog. The reward for readers of this volume is a greater appreciation of global literature and the inspiration to reexamine one’s own reading habits. [em]Agent: Caroline Hardman, Hardman & Swainson. (May) [/em]