The Belletrista Challenge

A Perpetual Challenge

I have decided to do a personal challenge which is based in my love of literature by female authors AND my desire to read more translated books as well as novels from around the world. There is a fantastic electronic magazine called Belletrista which is the brainchild of one of my friends. This wonderful literary magazine has introduced me to a wide variety of books which you will rarely seen being marketed on the bestsellers lists, although they perhaps SHOULD be.

Belletrista is a not-for-profit, bimonthly web magazine which seeks both to encourage cross-cultural understanding through international literature written by women and to increase the visibility of that literature.

Here is my challenge idea (which is perpetual in nature). I am going to start making a list on this post of the books from each issue which interest me. Since I can see this list quickly spiraling out of control, my goal will be to read at least 75% of the books listed. Feel free to join me in this venture if you wish – although this challenge is completely informal – pick your own list of books, decide how many you want to read – and I am not creating a sign up or links to reviews (but if you are playing along with me, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your blog so others can find you)!

Here are the links to the Belletrista Issues so far and my list of books under each issue that I want to read (with links to the review of them). Books I’ve read are in red with links to my reviews. A few of these books have already made it to my physical TBR pile (indicated by an asterisk):

Issue #1 (September/October 2009):

  • Ancestor Stones by Aminatta Forna (review) – Sierra Leone
  • Delirium by Laura Restrepo – Translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer (review) – Columbia

Issue #2 (November/December 2009):

  • For Grace Received by Valeria Parrella – Translated from the Italian by Anthony Shugaar (review) – Italy
  • *The Boy Next Door by Irene Sabatini (review) – Zimbabwe
  • Brixton Beach by Roma Tearne (review) – Sri Lanka

Issue #3 (January/February 2010):

  • God’s Mercy by Kerstin Ekman – Translated from the Swedish by Linda Schenck (review) – Sweden
  • *The Disappeared by Kim Echlin (review) – Canada and Cambodia
  • *The Seamstress by Frances de Ponte Peebles (review) – Brazil
  • *The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow (review) – United States

Issue #4 (March/April 2010):

  • Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste (review) – Ethiopia
  • *The Vera Wright Trilogy by Elizabeth Jolley (review) – England
  • The Passport by Herta Muller (review) – Romania (COMPLETED November 26, 2009; rated 5/5; read my review)
  • *Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa (review) – Palestine

Issue #5 (May/June 2010):

  • Touch by Adania Shibli – Translated from the Arabic by Paula Haydar – (review) – Palastine

Issue #5 (July/August 2010):

  • *Map of Home by Randa Jarrar (review) – Egypt
  • *The China Garden by Christina Olsen (review) – Australia
  • *Thursday Night Widows by Claudia Pinero – Translated from the Portuguese by Miranda France (review) – Argentina
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  1. Oh, Wendy! What a great list and a great challenge! I hadn’t known of the e-zine before; thanks for the introduction …

    • Megan on May 8, 2010 at 17:15

    I’ve given up “challenging” my reading, but thanks so much for introducing me to Belletrista. It looks like a great resource for reading more books from around the world. I can see my TBR pile growing already! 🙂

    • Wendy on May 9, 2010 at 08:28

    Dawn: Glad to introduce to the e-zine…I think you’ll find some great books there 🙂

    Megan: I think a lot of people are whittling down their challenges, which is why I didn’t make this one formal 🙂 Glad you will be able to find some great books from around the world, though!

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