One World, Many Stories: Sharing Books from the Challenge

By Suroor Alikhan
25 November 2014

We finally held our reading event at the ICV Arcade last Wednesday (19 November)—on the one day that the Geneva public transport system decided to go on strike! I was worried that people wouldn’t come, what with no buses or trams running, and traffic jams because more people were taking their cars. But we had a decent turn out, given the circumstances.

The readings covered the world (see list below). The audience enjoyed it, and we now have two new members! Judging by the discussion after the readings, people want us to do more events like this. Someone suggested having fewer readings with more time for an interactive discussion about the books. So it looks like we’ve really started something!

We had seven readers, with two joining us by Skype—Usha Raman from Hyderabad, India, at almost midnight Indian time, and Nora El Qadim from Lille, France. Readers in Geneva were: Ben Baxter, Jenifer Freedman,  Joannah Caborn Wengler, Karen Moir and Suroor Alikhan. Jordi Vaqué was our official photographer. The photographs are on the Facebook event page, which you can access even if you’re not on Facebook.

The ICV Arcade team designed the poster and set everything up. ICVolunteers (International Communications Volunteers) is an international non-profit organization specializing in communications, in particular languages, communication technologies and conference support. The group runs the ICV Arcade, which holds cultural events. It’s a lovely, intimate space, and we look forward to doing more events with them.

List of books we read from:

  • Breaking Knees: Modern Short Stories from Syria, Zakaria Tamer (Syria)
  • Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru)
  • Between Friends, Amoz Oz (Israel)
  • The Song of King Gesar, Alai (Tibet)
  • A Concise Chinese English Dictionary For Lovers, Xiaolu Guo (China)
  • Friends, Lovers, Chocolate, Alexander McCall Smith (Zimbabwe/Scotland)
  •  “Sound and Vision” in The Book of My Lives, Aleksandar Hemon (Bosnia)
  • Native Speaker, Chang-rae Lee (Republic of Korea)
  • How to Read the Air, Dinaw Mengistu (Ethiopia)
  • When the Frog Croaked, Ismail Fahd Ismail (Kuwait)
  • The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt (USA)
  • Dreams of Trespass, Fatima Mernissi (Morocco)
  • The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz (Dominican Republic)
  • Independent People, Haldór Laxness (Iceland)
  • Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
  • Night Vision, Kendal Hippolyte (St. Lucia)
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