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Exactly five years ago today, I did something eccentric. Sitting in my living room in south London, I decided to spend 2012 trying to read a book from every country in the world.
To this end, I registered the domain name ayearofreadingtheworld.com and posted a short appeal online asking the planet’s book lovers to suggest what I should read from different parts of the globe.
On that dank October day, I had no idea whether anyone would be interested. Yet within hours of my request going live, I had numerous comments and messages from people I’d never met offering all sorts of ideas. Just four days later, a stranger in Kuala Lumpur had volunteered to go to her local English-language bookshop to choose my Malaysian book and post it to me.
What followed was an extraordinary quest that challenged and remade me in ways I could never have imagined…
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