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2010-11 Challenge Complete

Thought I'd post my final book count for the challenge. I completed it as an "Impressive World-Traveller"! I had wanted to complete it as a "Backpacker", but alas, it didn't end up working out that way. I set out on this challenge with an overly ambitious game plan, which got sidelined after I started college (I didn't complete as much of Europe, Asia, The Middle East, or Oceania than I originally planned to), but I'm terribly proud of doing as well as I did (especially since I was doing another challenge which entailed reading a book set in each of the United States). I'll probably attempt to finish what I didn't complete this year.


North America (with smatterings of Northern Europe) and Central America
In Canada, I was witness to the marriage of a sex advice columnist and his adorable boyfriend while their son hid under a coffee table. After that, I took a road trip across the U.S. with Odin and participated in a war between the Old and New Gods before delivering something to Iceland. After hopping a ship from Reykjavik back to the states (with a pitstop in Greenland), I went fishing for lushes in New York City, tried to kick a junk habit in Lexington, Kentucky, and trolled the gay bars in New Orleans before laying low in Mexico City -- where I made a croaker for a script, are you hip to the jive? ...Hepcat? After that, I spent some time learning about Aztec/Toltec mythology and following John Stephens and Frederick Catherwood's tour of the Mayan ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula, before heading down to Guatemala to learn about the Popol Vuh and Mayan Story of Creation. After spending a stint in El Salvador, I traveled down through Nicaragua and spent some time witnessing Chaos Theory at work on the Costa Rican Isla Nublar, 120 miles west of the mainland. After that, I sailed back to the mainland, docking in Panama.

Canada - The Commitment - Dan Savage
United States - American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Iceland - American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Greenland - World War Z - Max Brooks
(United States, again, with Junky by William S. Burroughs)
Mexico - Junky - William S. Burroughs
Guatemala - World Mythology - Donna Rosenberg
El Salvador and Nicaragua - The Twentieth Century - Howard Zinn
Costa Rica - Jurassic Park - Michael Crichton
Panama - The Serpant and the Rainbow - Wade Davis

Running Total: 10 countries traveled, 8 books read:

The Caribbean
I stayed briefly in Panama before sailing north through the Caribbean Sea to Port Spain, Jamaica, where I met a couple forced into a marriage that will end disastrously for them both. I then took the boat to Cuba where I visited Finca Vigia, Ernest Hemingway's home for 22 years, and several of his haunts in Havana. After that, I traveled to Haiti where I learned about the country's revolution, vodoun culture, and the possible scientific explanation for creating a zombi before crossing the border into The Dominican Republic. There, I learned the history of a family with a wicked fukú on their heads and how they, like so many others, suffered under the dictator Rafael "El Jefe" Trujillo. I spent some time bumming around Puerto Rico with the avatar of a certain Gonzo journalist, before we headed to St. Thomas (Virgin Islands, U.S.) to catch Carnival. I searched for treasure in the British Virgin Islands and sailed aboard a privateer in the French port of St. Martin. Then, I sailed down the Lesser Antilles to Guadeloupe where I watched a doctor save the life of a would-be sacrifice and then to Dominica where I again encountered the unhappy couple, now on one hellish honeymoon. I hurried along to Martinique, where Carnival was still in full swing, to have glasses of Absinthe in an aristocratic lady's parlor. In Barbados, I listened to the stories of a mercenary in a small dive, before travelling to Grenada to learn about the U.S.'s 1983 invasion of the island. I ended my tour of the Caribbean in Trinidad & Tobago, where I followed the misfortunes of a Tobagan orphan girl who runs away to Trinidad to escape her vile step-uncle.

Jamaica - Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys
Cuba - Literary Trips - Victoria Brooks
Haiti - The Serpant and the Rainbow - Wade Davis
Dominican Republic - The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz
Puerto Rico and The Virgin Islands, U.S. - The Rum Diary - Hunter S. Thompson
British Virgin Islands - Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
Collectivity of St. Martin - The Letter of Marque - Patrick O'Brian
Guadeloupe - Who Slashed Celanaire's Throat? - Maryse Conde
Dominica - Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys
Martinique - Music for Chameleons - Truman Capote
Barbados - World War Z - Max Brooks
Grenada - The Twentieth Century - Howard Zinn
Trinidad & Tobago - Lime Tree Can't Bear Orange - Amanda Smyth

Running Total: 24 countries traveled, 17 books read

South America
After my journey through the Caribbean, I sailed down to Suriname, where I learned about the fertility myth of the Trio people, which establishes them as firm believers of the belief that without women, men would be screwed. In Brazil, I joined up with an expedition of British adventurers, eventually leading to a plateau in Venezuela where we found... dinosaurs? Again? After that, I witnessed a young Harvard student find his spirit animal in Colombia before embarking on an adventure in the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) with pirates! And Charles Darwin!. In Peru, I watched a young woman exact revenge on those who tried to murder her when she was only a baby before moving on to Bolovia to learn the Tiahuanaco story of Creation. In politically tumultuous Chile, I visited a hacienda ruled over by its monstrous patriarch and his enchanted wife and spent time in Argentina getting lost in the labyrinths of Jorge Luis Borges. Finally, in Montevideo, Uruguay, I learned more the infamous Uruguayan Air Force Flight Flight 571.

Suriname - World Mythology - Donna Rosenberg
Brazil and Venezuela - The Lost World - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Colombia - The Serpant and the Rainbow - Wade Davis
Ecuador - Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists - Gideon Defoe
Peru - Who Slashed Celanaire's Throat? - Maryse Conde
Bolivia - World Mythology - Donna Rosenberg
Chile - The House of The Spirits - Isabel Allende
Argentina - Ficciones - Jorge Borges
Uruguay - Alive - Piers Paul Read

Running Total: 34 countries traveled, 22 books read

Antartica and Africa
(This was the point where things got sidetracked, so backpacking sort of went out the door, hence the geographical gaps between countries)
Antarctic, Madagascar, and Niger- Guns, Germs, and Steel - Jared Diamond
Mauritius and Reunion - The Mauritius Command - Patrick O'Brian
South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia - Long Way Down - Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman
Angola and Somalia - The Twentieth Century - Howard Zinn
Rwanda - Deogratias - Jean Phillippe-Stassen
Uganda - The Last King of Scotland - Giles Foden
Central African Rep. - Witches and Witch-Hunts - Milton Meltzer
Cameroon, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania - Dark Places - Jon Evans
Mali, Nigeria, Benin, and Ghana - You Don't Know Much About Mythology - Kenneth C. Davis
Cote D'Ivoire - Who Slashed Celanaire's Throat? - Maryse Conde
Sierra Leone - The Commodore - Patrick O'Brian
Western Sahara and Guinea - Our Dumb World - The Staff of the Onion
Egypt - Treasure's Harbour - Patrick O'Brian
Algeria - The Hundred Days - Patrick O'Brian
Morocco -Literary Trips - Victoria Brooks

Running Total: 68 countries traveled, 33 books read

Europe
Norway -Literary Trips - Victoria Brooks
Latvia - The Letter of Marque - Patrick O'Brian
Finland - World War Z - Max Brooks
Gibraltar, Albania, Croatia - The Hundred Days - Patrick O'Brian
England - Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Russia - Sex With the Queen - Eleanor Herman
Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine - Long Way Round - Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman
Ireland - Faithful Place - Tana French
Denmark - Fairy Tales - Hans Christian Andersen
Lithuania - Hannibal Rising - Thomas Harris
Austria - The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka
Vatican City - March of Folly - Barbara Tuchman
Malta - Treasure's Harbour - Patrick O'Brian
Bosnia - The Twentieth Century - Howard Zinn
Turkey - Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides

Running Total: 93 countries traveled, 42 books read

The Middle East
Jordan - Literary Trips - Victoria Brooks
Syria - World Mythology - Donna Rosenberg
Palestine and Kuwait - World War Z - Max Brooks
Oman - Our Dumb World - The Staff of the Onion

Running Total: 98 countries traveled, 42 books read

Asia
Kyrgzstan, Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea - World War Z - Max Brooks
Laos, Phillippines, Timor-Leste - The Twentieth Century - Howard Zinn
Myanmar - Guns, Germs, and Steel - Jared Diamond
Nepal - Dark Places - Jon Evans
Kazakhstan and Mongolia - Long Way Round - Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman
China, Vietnam, Camodia, Thailand - The March of Folly - Barbara Tuchman
Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan - Galilee - Clive Barker
Malaysia and Singapore - The Merlion and the Hibiscus

Running Total: 117 countries traveled, 44 books read

Oceania
French Polynesia, American Samoa, Samoa - World Mythology - Donna Rosenberg
Micronesia - World War Z - Max Brooks
U.S. Minor Outlying Islands - The Twentieth Century - Howard Zinn
Papua New Guinea - Guns, Germs, and Steel - Jared Diamond
Australia, Norfolk Island, and Tonga - Clarissa Oakes - Patrick O'Brian

Running Total: 126 countries traveled, 45 books read




The Final Total: 126 countries traveled, 45 books read

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
christina_reads
Apr. 2nd, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC)
That is crazy impressive! Congrats on finishing the challenge!
chaucerettescs
Apr. 2nd, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks! The challenge coincided with my gap year (hence why I slowed down the second half- I started uni), so I had plenty of time to read. :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )