Take up the challenge to expand your interests this year

I think most of us have certain interests/hobbies/pastimes right? Reading, music, star gazing, gaming, photography, and so on. And what most of the passionate ones have likely done is, say music lovers, bought and downloaded music online, bought records from shops, attended every gig in cafes in their city, attended the city’s annual music fest, and maybe attended a concert of an international artist or DJ if they happen to live in one of those cultural cities.

What next?

Now challenge yourself to take your interest a step further. For the passionate music lover bloke we just talked about above, look beyond your city and experience your interest someplace else. No city or country is like the other. Even the same thing can be perceived differently by your friend. The thing about art, music, literature or anything for that matter is that everything is open to interpretation, which manifests in change, resulting in a certain unique outcome to a particular group of people, or region.

Art, music, and literature are also a form of expression of a region and its people, reflecting the way of life, sociopolitical scenarios, and issues plaguing society.

My pastime is reading books. I either buy them online or borrow them from libraries. I generally read books whose synopsis interests me, is a literary prize-winner, or maybe a bestseller. I have been recently pondering over how I could take my reading interest further this year. Read 100 books this year? Join a book club? Choose one author and read all their works? Or save up to attend a literary fest?

I’ve decided to do none of them now thanks to a TED talk I heard yesterday by writer Ann Morgan on “My reading a book from every country in the world.” Her inspiration for this project came from the realization that she mainly possessed books from English-speaking countries. I love her ambition and project, so I’m going to follow in baby footsteps; set the goal to read a few books this year from different parts of the world.

If any of you are interested in charting Ann’s journey or looking for recommendations, you can take help from the interactive maps provided on go.ted.com/readtheworld. You can find book recommendations from 196 countries along with a short review from the writer.

Follow your heart, your interests, and let them take you to wonderful places and new experiences.

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