Orbis Terrarum Challenge – Germany

Well, this has been long in the works, thanks for everyone that gave me the tips on how to over come my writers block. It feels good to finally be able to sit down and update this site again. I’m almost as behind in my reading as I am in my writing but I hope that will turn around soon.

The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear is the second novel I read for the Orbis Terarrum Challenge. I’m still really excited about this challenge and it really is helping me to expand my reading, in that I typically only read novels from Canada or America. It was a lot of fun reading something from Germany and reading a genre that I typically don’t read.

This is the story of your typical bluebear growing up in a not so typical way.  Each chapter is dedicated to one of Captain Bluebear’s lives.  The art work by Walter Moers adds to the story, this isn’t a graphic novel but author added his drawings to enhance the tale being told.  The story is full of fanciful characters and the time could be used to describe them is shorted because of the drawings.

The story was good but became very predictable after the first few chapters.  Bluebear would get into difficult situations and when it looked like he wasn’t going to get out of them he did exactly that.  And the escapes were not very practical and made to sound like a simple solution.  Aside from this little fault the book was quite good.  Throughout his travels Bluebear is guided by the Encyclopedia of the Marvels, Life Forms and Other Phenomena of Zamonia and its Environs’ which is being relayed to him in some telepathic way.

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Orbis Terrarum Challenge Meme

As part of the festivities for the Orbis Terrarum Challenge we’ve been asked to participate in this meme. I’ve had the chance to see what some others have had to say. I’m not really sure I have much I can say here because I’ve joined the challenge to help expand my reading of other nations, because I really haven’t done much of that.

1. What country do you always go back to in your travels (not just while reading for OT)?

Since taking Canadian Literature I’ve been fascinated with the writing from this country.  I’ve found that I want to read all I can from this country and as a result have participated in the Canadian Book Challenge.  Being involved in that particular challenge has helped me expand my CanLit knowledge.

2. If you could visit 4 of the countries you have read about in your life (that you haven’t been to yet), which would they be and why? (you can also include the book that makes you want to visit if you remember)

This is one of the more difficult questions, one I may have to return to after the challenge is over.  There are a number of countries I’d like to travel to but not because I’ve read any of their literature.  There are a couple of books that have helped to feed the travel bug.  An Appointment with my Brother by Yi Mun-Yol, despite that it takes place in China and South Korea has made me want to venture to the norther part of the the Korean peninsula.  The story is about the meeting two brothers meeting after having been separated by the Korean war.  I’ve already been to the Southern part but the north is of more interest and has been of more interest for quite sometime, the book has made the urges to visit that particular country stronger.

The other book that was What is the What by Dave Eggers.  I’ve always wanted to travel to the African continent but What is the What has encouraged it.  Africa has always ad a place in my heart and hope to travel there one day.  There are a few specific countries that I’d like to go to but given the number that I’d like to go to I wont list them here.

Australia is a country I’ve also wanted to travel to, I think this is the one place I’ve always wanted to travel to more than anything.  I’ve never read anything from here but would love to.  I think I get more enjoyment from reading something that is familiar to me though.  I find a book that talks about a place I’ve been more interesting because I can picture the places better.  The best example of this would be Spadework by Timothy Findley.

3. Have you ever dreamed about a country you have read about, that you have not actually traveled to – except in your dreams?

No, this has never happened.  Then again I don’t remember many of my dreams so I guess it could have happened but I don’t remember.

4. In what ways has reading about different countries opened up your perspective about global issues?

My perspective on global issues has dictated my reading habits sometimes but I cannot think of global issues being affected because of my reading.  If anything my reading of other countries has expanded my knowledge of a particular issue.  I’m not sure if this is due to my need to expand what I read or that I’m already quite aware of global issues.

5. What countries have you felt your judgment was off about – after reading about that nation?

I wouldn’t say my judgment of a nation has been altered because of what I’ve read.  Maybe my judgment of a writer or genre has changed.

6. Which is your favorite book that you would recommend for this challenge (you don’t have to read it during the challenge)?

The one book that I would recommend for this challenge would be Dave Eggers’ What is the What.  There are many aspects of the novel that I loved and I’ve already reviewed the book so I wont go a lot into a review.  The book is fascinating because it deals with the lost boys and the hardships they have gone through in order to get freedom and feel safe.  It’s a book that is very difficult to put down.

7. Anything else you’ve been wanting to tell us about? Let us have it!

I’ve enjoyed this challenge so far, it’s expanding what I read and I’m finding some great literature from other nations.  It’ll be interesting to do this meme again once the challenge is over to see how answers change due to the challenge.