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Reading Challenge Spring Update
March's pick and future installments
Good afternoon from Ciudad de Panamá! It’s siesta hour, so I decided to make an appearance in your inbox as my escape from the afternoon sun. Today has been a gift, full of new friends and delicious food. Some day soon, I’ll tell you all about it.
For now, I’m sharing a much-delayed reading challenge update. If you’re new around here, first of all, welcome! Second, if you’re lost in this letter and have no clue what I’m talking about, I created a reading challenge in January. You can see that post here:
The idea is to read one novel per month by the listed topics, but it’s more of a loose guide for you to design your own journey. Aside from the reading challenge here, I’m also loosely following the challenge from my local indie bookshop and Rebecca Makkai’s 84 Books Project, a touching tribute to her late father (who was a literary translator).
Both of the spring reading challenge picks will vary wildly from reader to reader. As a reminder, these are the two categories:
March — Read a novel set in a country you’ve never been to, by an author from that country
April — Read a novel set in a country you have been to, by an author from that country
My March Pick: Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe (set in Nigeria)
I first read this novel in 10th grade English class, and that was 11 years ago. It’s safe to say I don’t remember enough of the plot, which will make this novel like a new experience all over again. I believe it should be required reading, because it depicts characters’ lives in an area of southeastern Nigeria and what happened when Europeans invaded their home.
As you can see, this email is going out in April and I haven’t gotten through the March pick yet. I want to take the time to really pay attention to this novel, and life has been crazy lately. It looks like I’ll be celebrating March in April, and that’s okay!
My April Pick: Trespasses, by Louise Kennedy (set in Northern Ireland)
I technically haven’t been to Northern Ireland yet, but I’ve been to Ireland and the United Kingdom. So I’m counting Louise Kennedy’s novel as my April pick. I don’t want to wait any longer to read it. The plot details life in Belfast during The Troubles. I don’t know more about it than that, because I want to be surprised; the synopsis is here if you want read more about it.
I’ll be back again in May with a new reading challenge update leading into summer. Does anyone else here love summer reading as an adult? I have posts on Sarah L. Travels here and here from 2022. They were as much a treat to write as the books were to read while the sun blazed in Tennessee.
If you’re following the reading challenge, what are your March and April picks? What have you enjoyed reading so far in 2023?
P.s. If you want to see in-the-moment updates from Panamá and Ecuador, my Instagram Stories are alive and well! I already started a Panamá highlight here.
P.p.s. I don’t currently plan to publish a regular From the Aisle Seat issue this Friday. I will probably write the next one when I get back to Nashville. :-)