If you are grounded but love to travel, Ann Morgan’s The World Between Two Covers may offer a tonic. Listening to Morgan’s British accent as she narrates her book on Audible has me transported to some places I am revisiting and others new to me.
When the book opens, Morgan refers to familiar authors as she describes the University Library at Cambridge – Robert Macfarlane, Helen Oyeyemi, Ali Smith. Her frustration at not being able to keep up with all the library’s offerings struck a chord and her discovery of a wonderful book she had never heard of before, leads to her attempt to read around the world in books. Like Morgan, I tend toward the British and American bestseller writers, with a few from authors in translation and some from deep-thinking award winners – possibly like Morgan’s words – “a literary xenophobe.”
As she “takes on the world’s stories,” I am ready for the trip, prepared for ten hours of listening, already enamored by Morgan’s academic quest and her British sense of humor. So far, I am vicariously sitting in a lecture hall in Cambridge, listening to a talented and enthusiastic world literature professor – agreeing with some statements and eagerly learning some new ideas. Not for everyone – but I like it.
Note of Caution: From the reviews I checked before starting, I was not put off by Morgan’s clear focus in her book to describe the planning of her project rather than reviewing the books read. The World between Two Covers is not a discussion of the individual books – although her reviews are available at the blog ayearofreadingtheworld.com – rather, it is a study of the idea of literature around the world.
I did check out her blog and found the list of books Morgan read in her year-long quest for world literature: The List of Books