Last March, in search of a book with wide appeal  that we could share and discuss online, I decided to leave you to choose among this year’s Canada Reads selections (INSPIRED BY CANADA READS: THE BOOK DISCUSSION FORUM’S 2014 REBOOT), 

Next, came the Blue Metropolis festival, which gathered together writers and readers from all over the world, including Italy, Austria, Tunisia, the USA, Uruguay and Angola.

imagesAnd then, just recently, a new Online Book Club reader wrote to tell me about a blog that had put the wind back into her reading sails. It is Ann Morgan’s blog, A Year Reading the World, an ambitious, adventurous project that tested Morgan’s stamina and commitment without actually requiring her to leave home.

The blog’s concept is simple enough:

“In 2012, the world came to London for the Olympics and I went out to meet it. I read my way around all the globe’s 196 independent countries – plus one extra territory chosen by blog visitors – sampling one book from every nation.”

Reading 196 books in 365 was the easy part! Morgan’s huge challenge was tracking down the stories, narrative poems, novellas or novels from countries so small she had never heard of them. It’s a testament to her determination and to the willingness of strangers to hop on board and share in her literary journey, that her globe-trotting-adventure-by-book-proxy was such a smashing success.


Which got me thinking  that there MUST be a way for us to incorporate some of the spirit of adventure that inspired Morgan into our own shared reading experience, without, of course, taking on what to me is the reading equivalent of an Ultra-Triathlon race.

Here are some ideas that I’ve come up with from which, with your input and suggestions, we could develop a reading itineraryimages (1) to take us through the summer:

–         Reading Canada: which would require us to choose and then read books, stories, novellas or narrative poems written about or by authors from every province, and from the 3 territories (for a maximum of 13 books or as few as a single book);

–        Reading Cities: where we would make our selections based on our love of any city in the world.

Other themes could be reading the regions of one country, or reading the literature of the world’s islands…

If it includes armchair voyages with a touch of discovery or exoticism, then I’m all ears (and eyes). So take some time to consider where you’d like to travel , fictionally, through the summer months, and send in your ideas.

No passport required!





5 thoughts on “NO PASSPORT REQUIRED!

  1. Hi Michelle,

    I decided to go ahead and start my summer of “Reading Canada” with Mister Sandman by Barbara Gowdy. I’d be happy for others to come on the journey with me!


  2. Hello Cathy,

    Great! You’ve taken the initiative!
    What made you choose “Mister Sandman”?
    (I haven’t read it, and I’m curious!)
    That means that you have started your Canadian literary journey right smack in the middle of the country–as Gowdy is from Ontario.
    Should I perhaps begin at one of Canada’s ends?

    I’ll let you know.

  3. A friend from work (Jason!) lent me the book as he thought I’d like Gowdy’s style. He was right – I’ve found it hard to put down. At first look, it’s an everyday story about an everyday family with everyday secrets hidden in the closet, but what I find compelling is that the characters seem to exist almost entirely separate from each other and Gowdy slowly but surely laces them together with a series of details and clues throughout the story. She also has a way of relating extraordinary occurrences in a matter-of-fact way that is quite reminiscent of the magical realism of Latin American literature.

    I’m almost finished and am already thinking of where to travel to next. All suggestions are welcome! Perhaps you could recommend something set in Quebec; I might even be brave enough to tackle it in French…

    Maybe you could start with one of the Territories?

    Have a great weekend!

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