Expanding Horizons, and other Book Challenges


Happy New Years! As part of my goals for 2008, I’m looking to read more. Especially more diverse literature, beyond education books. Leave it to my dear friend Dave to inspire and direct me to a few book challenges.


I’m signing up for the Expanding Horizons book challenge found at Book Nut’s blog. The whole idea is to expand your reading horizons beyond the typical white, American writer.

There are two ways to approach this challenge. Either read four books by authors in one of the six categories (you can read more than one category, but you must read four books; not two books in one category and two in another) OR read six books, one from each of the six categories. The categories are:

1. African/African-American.
2. Asian/Asian-American (This is not just East Asian — Chinese, Korean and Japanese — but also Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, and the Central Asian -Stans.)
3. Hispanic/Latin American
4. Indian/Indian-American (Again, books by Indian authors; not books by white authors set in India.)
5. Middle Eastern (Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Turkey…)
6. Native Peoples (Can include Native American, Inuit, Polynesian –Maori, Samoan, etc — Siberian natives and Australian Aborigines.)

Melissa has set up a separate blog for the reviews, so if you’re looking for some good reading, keep an eye out here.

I’m taking this challenge as a Option #2: reading books, from each of the 6 categories. My list, so far, for this challenge is:

1. African: A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

2. Asian/Asian-American: In the Name of Honor: A Memoir by Mukhtar Mai

3. Hispanic/Latin American: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

4. Indian: Pilgrimage: One Woman’s Return to a Changing India by Pramila Jayapal

5. Middle Eastern: Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi I reserve the right though to change this one. . . I’ve been wanting to read Queen Noor’s memoirs, as a part of my study of women in leadership roles. But she’s not born in the Middle East, so we’ll see.

6. Native Peoples: I’m going to hold off on this one until I can raid my sister’s bookshelf. She’ll know exactly what I’ll want to read.

Other challenges I was looking at and may still join:

Young Readers Challenge–I am in a K-8 school right now, and am grossly undereducated on children’s literature.

Young Adults Challenge— Literature for ages 13 and up. I did propose a secondary school and could use some time to brush up on contemporary young adult literature. My Darling, My Hamburger–anyone? (Just kidding!–Can anyone name the movie reference?)

Russian Reading Challenge (y’all know my heart is there!–I may even push it to read a few in Russian. We’ll see how comps go in January)

Dave’s African Reading Challenge— He is one of the smartest men I know, and everyone knows I need to learn more about Africa!

For a clearing house of other reading challenges, see A Novel Challenge.


About jaimeanne

I'm me. Graphic designer extraordinaire, urban master teacher of social studies, former adjunct professor, high school principal, and now most importantly-- Mom to the cutest little girl ever. I try to live by the quote, "Work like you don't need money, Love like you've never been hurt, And dance like no one's watching." I believe in Christ, and sometimes I'm just trying to figure out what He wants me to do. This blog chronicles that journey.
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5 Responses to Expanding Horizons, and other Book Challenges

  1. Melissa says:

    Thanks for joining up! You’ve got a great list.

  2. stacy says:

    If you ever need recommendations on children’s or YA, you know who to call. 🙂 I can even recommend a few YAs that fit your current criteria. I know one YA fantasy by a Nigerian woman, and numerous Asian/Asian American novels (some realism, some fantasy). Also, not YA, I picked up The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri over the summer and haven’t had a chance to read it but my friend who’s Indian American says it’s really good.

  3. dave says:

    oh yeah, making a difference! you’re very kind.

  4. dave says:

    oh, and just fyi, it’s “a long way gone”. i’m about to read that one myself. let’s compare notes.

  5. jaimeanne says:

    Doh! Can you tell I need more sleep?! 😉 Thanks for catching that. We’ll have to compare notes. I’m so engrossed in Mukhtar Mai’s book right now.

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