Midweek @ Musings: My “Belletrista Challenge”

A year ago friend of mine launched Belletrista, a “bimonthly web magazine which seeks both to encourage cross-cultural understanding through international literature written by women and to increase the visibility of that literature.”  Each issue is packed with reviews, interesting features, and a host of “new and notable” books.  It’s amazingly wonderful.

At the time Belletrista launched, I had lost interest in and motivation for international reading, mostly because my approach — reading authors from as many countries as possible — had grown stale.  Belletrista revived my interest, and allowed me to combine two interests:  reading “globally,” and  reading books by women authors.  For 2010, I set myself a personal challenge to read 6 books featured in Belletrista.  That doesn’t sound like a lot, but then I have lots of other goals, too, and didn’t want to over-commit.

I’ve just finished my fifth book, the highly suspenseful Cold Earth, by Sarah Moss.  I need to think about this one a bit before writing a review, because it was a really cool book but I don’t want to give anything away.  It was fun to read this at the same time as Belletrista‘s first birthday, simply because doing so made me appreciate how Belle has become one of my go-to sources for reading inspiration.  Allow me to tempt you with my other Belle-inspired reads (the links take you to my reviews):

I need to choose one more book to meet my goal (and of course I can always read more!)  Can you help?

If you already follow Belletrista, leave a comment recommending a book.  If you’re new to Belle, then I encourage you to go have a look, and come back with a suggestion when you’re finished (it’s OK, I can wait …)


7 thoughts on “Midweek @ Musings: My “Belletrista Challenge”

  1. Well, I was eyeing “The Novel Bookstore” and “Horse, Flower, Bird” in the latest issue of Belletrista (#7), “Granada” by Radwa Ashour back in issue 5, and “For Grace Received” way back in issue #2.

    Like you, I set a personal goal for myself. I’ve read 7 so far (The Housekeeper and the Professor; The Earth Hums in B Flat; Moonlight in Odessa; Manazuru; Infinity in the Palm of Her Hand; Anitya, Halfway to Nowhere; Wolf Hall (I would have read it anyway, to be honest) and have Kalpa Imperial from issue 4 sitting here tbr, along with “The Disappeared” and “American Salvage” from issue 3, and “The Flying Troutmans” from #1 (and I gave “The Heart Specialist” as a gift to a budding young forensic scientist). I hope I read at least 3 of those as my goal was 10.

    Also like you, I had fallen right off with any exploratory reading, stuck in a rut. Belletrista has revitalised my reading with enormously expanded horizons. I love literature from India, am intrigued by writing from Japan, have learned that I don’t connect particularly well with literature from Africa to the south but really enjoy Egyptian writing (funny, that).

    Good luck with it and happy reading!

  2. I’m looking back on the books I reviewed for Belle over the year and my top recommendations are:

    Brixton Beach, Roma Tearne; For Grace Received, Valeria Parrelli; or Horse, Flower, Bird, by Kate Bernheimer.

    I love the cover of the Iris Murdoch book on the right side of your page, btw!

  3. Tui & Joyce, thank you so much for your recommendations! I will definitely look into those further for my next selection(s).

    And Joyce, I like that cover, too. It actually looks better in that image than on my “real” copy, which is a bit rough around the edges.

  4. What an incredible project! It’s almost overwhelming… so many lovely books. I can’t make any recommendations but I will go back and have another look…

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