Lots – and some of them have authors living in them. Ann Morgan knows all about that. In 2012, she set herself the challenge of reading a book from every independent country, all 196 of them, to celebrate the Olympics. Writers do mad things, don’t they? You can read the whole story over on her blog – it’s quite inspiring, especially if, like me, you’re somebody who mindlessly sets themselves challenges for no apparent reason.
Today was a typical case in point. In Ann’s latest blog post, she asks her readers to pop along to their local bookshop and count how many countries are represented on the shelves.
“I can do that”, I thought. But then I thought I could do so much more. I decided to find out how well represented each country was within the fiction section, create an Excel spread sheet, and make a pie chart.
It got a little out of control and, between helping my beloved customers and chatting to my colleagues, it took all day. Now that it’s done, I have to wonder what I’ve gained from the experience…other than a pretty rubbish-looking pie chart.
I suppose the joy of a job thoroughly completed is reward enough. I’m better equipped to do my job as well. Let’s say somebody comes in looking for a book from Kyrgyzstan. Can you name one? Did you even know there was such a thing as Kyrgyzstan? I can’t say I did, but today I discovered Jamilia by Chingiz Aytmatov…a guy from Kyrgyzstan!
I learned something and you can’t put a price on that.
In closing, here’s the list for all of you anoraks out there.