What is a "country?"
I knew it was going to be a bit of challenge to read one book from every country in the world. Between now and the grave, I only have a limited number of hours to set aside for reading.
What I didn't expect was the roadblock I hit on day one of the challenge when I tried to count up how many books I'd have to read.
What is a country?
Depends who you ask. There are 193 members in the UN. But that leaves out countries like Taiwan and Palestine, and they publish some good books in both those places.
The CIA book of knowledge lists 267 "world entities," which gives them plenty of choices of things to overthrow, topple or otherwise depose. However, it includes places like the uninhabited Palmyra Atoll, now wholly owned by the Nature Conservancy.
205 countries participated in the 2012 London Olympics. Maybe that's a nice in-between compromise?
What about countries I've visited that don't exist any longer? I once spent a day in East Berlin, in the
now-defunct Deutsche Demokratische Republik, where I bought a Russian-English disarmament dictionary.
For now, I've decided to start with the countries everyone agrees is a country. There are plenty of those, and I can sort out the more esoteric places later.
Should keep me busy for a while.
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