Hello, World Partiers! We’re moving into our second month of the World Party Reading Challenge. Now that our April celebration of French authors/books/books set in France is coming to an end (although you can certainly keep posting links to those books throughout the year…I’ll confess, I still have to read my choices!), it’s time for a new holiday and country. This time, the country is your choice, as long as it’s a communist country.
For May, we are going to celebrate May Day with communism (hi Homeland Security!). When I was a kid living in rural Oregon, we used to celebrate May Day with May Baskets. Did anyone else do that? When I was in college and spent a quarter in London, I spent May Day on the lawn at Westminster Abbey, watching children dance around a May Pole. That was pretty cool. However, this year, in honor of May Day, I’m challenging you to read a book set in a communist country. The country doesn’t have to still be communist, but for the sake of this challenge, the setting of the book has to be in a time when the country was communist. Make sense?
So why communism, you ask? Well, because May Day is also International Workers’ Day (aka Labor Day) for most of the world. But most of the world isn’t communist, you argue. And you’re correct. But the US has traditionally been a bit ummm, what’s the word I’m looking for here…scared? rabid? appalled?…when it comes to both socialism and communism. Since the late 1800s May Day has been an important day for celebrating (and demonstrating for) workers’ rights. It has also been a huge holiday for communist countries. Of course, the US wanted to distance itself from anything that smacked of socialism (and that shared a date with the Haymarket Massacre), which is why us US folks have a holiday in September. So, in my perverse mind, it makes perfect sense to celebrate May Day by reading about life in a communist state.
Current Communist countries:
- North Korea
Some former Communist countries:
- East Germany
I’m not going to post a reading list, but if you have suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments. (Oh! And be sure to check out Eva’s fabulous reading list!) I just finished reading Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, which is a fabulous novel set in Ethiopia in the early 1970′s, and would totally work for this challenge.
And finally, you can post your links to your reviews here: