Thursday, May 29, 2014

Armchair BEA (Thursday) - Leave Your Comfort Zone Behind!

Here's today's Armchair BEA prompt:

Beyond the Borders 

It’s time to step outside your comfort zone, outside your borders, or outside of your own country or culture. Tell us about the books that transported you to a different world, taught you about a different culture, and/or helped you step into the shoes of someone different from you. What impacted you the most about this book? What books would you recommend to others who are ready or not ready to step over the line? In essence, let’s start the conversation about diversity and keep it going! 

Diversity in books has become a super hot topic this year. There's been a big push to read books by minority authors, women, and books with LGBT characters and more. 


I'm all about doing my part. So in July, every book that I'm reading/reviewing/posting about will be written by a woman author. I'm call it All Lady July! I'm really looking forward to sharing them all with you! (Would you like to guest post and talk about your favorite female author? Look in my about me section for my email,or twitter me, or send me smoke signal, whatever)


I also really love to read books about different countries, especially if it's an expat situation and you get to read about their efforts to fit into a new place. They pop up on the blog a lot!


Here's a couple that I've read and enjoyed:


"Paris I Love You But I'm Bringing Me Down" by Rosencrans Baldwin. A man gets a job in France (knowing minimal French) and brings his wife to Paris. The struggles of living in a country where just getting the cable hooked up is a struggle like you wouldn't believe makes for great reading!




Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down
Also, obsessed with the cover.


"Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing and Havana" by Stephanie Elizondo Griest. A woman lives in the aforementioned places and compares it to her life in an American democracy. (I thought Moscow and Havana were the most interesting sections).



"Chasing Chaos: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid" by Jessica Alexander. A woman chronicles her journey throughout the world working for different humanitarian causes. It's so interesting and heartbreaking at points.


"Lenin Lives Next Door:Marriage, Martinis and Mayhem in Moscow" by Jennifer Ermeeva. An American woman lives next door to the building where they store Lenin's mummified corpse when they are working on it or when it's not on display. Also I think the author is doing a signing at IRL BEA on Friday? I read so many books about Russia I'm pretty sure NSA has a file on me.


Lenin Lives Next Door: Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow
Anyone have books like this they've read and would recommend?

21 comments:

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    1. Thanks! I think they're all awesome reads

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  2. I enjoyed very much this book on Paris too.
    I actually often read similar books. I have a meme I love France: http://wordsandpeace.com/category/i-love-france-2/
    And if you are interested, you could get similar books for free to review, at my France Book Tours: http://francebooktours.com/
    I still need 1 reviewer for The French House, also an expat experience: http://francebooktours.com/2014/05/22/don-wallace-on-tour-the-french-house/
    here is my list of books beyond borders:
    http://wordsandpeace.com/2014/05/29/armchair-bea-2014-giveaways-and-beyond-the-borders/

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    1. Great! I will definitely be checking out the tour! Maybe if I stick with France more than Russia the NSA will give up on me :)

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  3. There are lots of mediocre "white Anglo expat in South Korea" self-published works out there, which are essentially their blogs in one collected deadtree form. Maybe one day I'll finish writing my wacky expat in South Korea novel and it'll actually be a ~real~ book. Until then, though....

    The Sun Also Rises is maybe for me the ideal expat novel. I never liked anything else of Hemingway's until I read this, and I loved it.

    Your Republic is Calling You by Kim Young-ha is about a different kind of expat: a North Korean spy living in Seoul who gets the order to pull out and evacuate. There is an English translation available but I never see anyone who ISN'T interested in Korea talking about it, which is too bad. Continuing on the Korean theme, This is Paradise! isn't a novel, but it's one man's biographical account of growing up North Korea and how he got to South Korea. The writing isn't really anything special (translated from Korean to I think French to English), but the subject matter is interesting.

    Ahhh I have so many thoughts women and writing and women writers! I would love to do a guest blog post if I can decide exactly what angle I want to take on it.

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    1. Well if you get your thoughts in order and want to do something for All Lady July you just let me know! :)

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  4. I've found that in the last few years I read A LOT more female authors than male. This is exactly flipped from my experience between 2005 and 2007 or so (in grad school). Bring on All Lady July!

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    1. I guess I never really pay attention to an author's gender when I'm picking a book. But when I went through my read list on goodreads I realized how man heavy it was. I'm learning to pay more attention now!

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  5. In middle grade fiction, it's harder to find books by male authors, so your July challenge would be easy for me. I know so little about adult literature, but I've learned a lot blog hopping for BEA!

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    1. Oh I know, all the blog hopping is making my TBR list even bigger than it already was!

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  6. Ooh interesting list. I don't read a lot of books from other countries, so that is definitely a good way to branch outside my comfort zone.

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    1. Whenever I review a book that kind of fits this theme I link it up to my tab up top that says themed posts, just in case you're ever looking for inspirations!

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  7. I got a kick out of expat books last year when I was reading all about France. Paris, My Sweet by Amy Thomas was my favorite. An earlier read, My Life in France by Julia Child was even better.

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    1. Oh Julia Child, that would be a fun read! She had such an interesting life.

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  8. I'm so terrible, I haven't heard of any of these! Must expand my tastes :D

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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    1. Haha no worries, I think the Lenin book just came out very recently.

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  9. Most of the books I read are by female authors anyway, lol. I think if I were to expand my horizons, I'd need to read more male authors. :D Have fun reading all those, though!

    My Armchair BEA Post

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    1. That's great! I'm looking forward to July!

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  10. I have so many favorite woman authors! I mean, it's MAINLY female authors for YA which is what I typically read, BUT STILL! ;P

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  11. I love the cover on that last book, looks like an intriguing read! Definitely not my usual type of books to read, but will have to check out some of these titles.

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Thank you so much for your comment. I'd love to talk books with you!