Published by Harvill Secker
In 2012, Ann Morgan set herself a new literary challenge: to read one book from every one of the 196 countries in the world. It is salutary to be reminded just how hopelessly western-centric are our current reading tastes and the marketplace that serves them.
But there’s a contrived quality to the challenge Morgan sets herself. Many of the chapters are given over to breezy discussions of vast and complex issues – censorship, big business and the internet, national identity – that feel like clever syntheses rather than new insights.
Somehow the pleasures and discoveries of reading the unknown gets lost in the translation.