Around the world in Books
Ever since I was a kid and I learned that there are different countries and different places on Earth, I wanted to visit them all. As a child, with no limits to my imagination, I would tell myself that someday I would see all of the world. As I grew up, I understood that reality was different. Trips to any place apart from the hometown of Mangalore were a luxury. I barely traveled and the only other trips that I went on apart from the ones to Mangalore were the yearly trips that my school took us on. I had to give up some of those as well because I was saving up to go on that big trip in Class 10 which I ended up not going to as I had Typhoid. And then there was another one which I had to miss because I fell ill on the night before the trip. So trips while growing up were definitely not my thing. But the wanderlust was always there. And I traveled around the world in books!
Yes, books were my escape from reality. Books were my way of traveling the world. I visited different places through books and I imagined how it would feel like to be there. I didn’t physically travel to a lot of places in the first 25 years of my life. But in the 26th year of my life, I traveled a lot more than I had in the rest of my life.
And it was during these journeys, that I realized the importance of all the books that I had read. Those places that I had read about were now all there and they were no longer in my imagination but they were here for real. Be it the streets of Paris, the mountains of Switzerland, the churches of Rome, I was mesmerized. In fact, when I was visiting Rome, my friends and I were so inspired by Angels and Demons that we visited almost all the places mentioned in the book. (Here’s proof). And it was during all those trips that I decided that I was going to read books set in different parts of the world. I know that there are a lot of articles about each place on the map, but for me it is fiction set in a place that actually works for me.
I decided to read books from different countries and I have been trying to diversify the countries that I have been reading about. Trust me, that there are a lot of books out there about the well-known places and it is difficult to read about lesser known places in the world. I started this journey of consciously picking out books set in different places some time last year and I have only started! There are so many awesome books set in many wonderful places. While I was trying to find out more about books set in different countries, I came across Ann Morgan’s website. She took up on this journey of reading a book set in each country of the world in a single year (2012). I was inspired!
I may not be able to read books set in all the countries in the world in a single year, for it is a journey that I wish to take at my own pace. With the COVID-19 pandemic spoiling our travel goals for a while now, reading a book set in a different part of the world would be the best journey that you can take!
One of my friends asked me how I look for books set in different countries, sometimes I Google for books set in a particular place, at times I look for titles in Ann Morgan’s website, at times I come across books while looking for something else on Pinterest or Goodreads, at times friends suggest or at times I pick a book while browsing the bookshelves of a bookstore. At times I read about the book before I decide to read it or at times I just start reading a book!
Since a lot of us would like to travel to different places and since I’ve already been in the lookout for books, I decided to compile a list of books set in different countries. It is a work in progress. I don’t have books set in all countries yet. And I haven’t read all of the books on this list. But yes, here is a list of books set around the world! I’ll try updating the list whenever possible. Let me know if you have suggestions for books set in countries that I haven’t listed here.
Happy going around the world in books.
The list :
- Afghanistan – The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseni, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseni, And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseni, The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez.
- Australia – Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
- Austria – The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson
- Belgium – The Bells of Bruges by Georges Rodenbach
- Bhutan – Beyond the Sky and the Earth, a Journey into Bhutan
- Bosnia and Herzegovina – Rose of Sarajevo
- Botswana – The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
- Bulgaria –Street without a name
- China – Happy Dreams
- Colombia – Love in the time of Cholera, One Hundred years of Solitude
- Czech Republic – Farewell Waltz
- Denmark – Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow
- Egypt – The Cairo Diary
- Ethiopia – Cutting for stone
- France – All the light we cannot see, Chocolat
- Germany – The Book Thief
- Greece – The House by the River
- Hungary – The Door
- India – Malgudi Days, The God of Small Things
- Iran – The Stationery Shop
- Israel – About the Night, O Jerusalem
- Italy – Under the Tuscan Sun
- Japan -The Travelling Cat Chronicles , Any of Keigo Higashino’s books
- Lebanon – Where will my heart beat?
- Mexico – The Murmur of Bees
- Netherlands – The Dairy of a Young Girl
- Nigeria – Purple Hibiscus
- Oman – Celestial Bodies
- Poland – The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, The Tattoist of Auschwitz
- Portugal – The High Mountains of Portugal, The Elephants Journey
- Qatar -The Girl who fell to Earth
- Romania – The Passport
- Russia – The Bear and the Nightingale
- South Korea – White Chrysanthemum
- Spain – The Shadow of the Wind
- Sweden – A Man called Ove, The Millennium Trilogy
- Turkey – Forty rules of love
- United Kingdom – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Though technically Guernsey is not a part of the UK)
- United States of America – To kill a mockingbird, Little Fires Everywhere
- Vietnam – Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam
- Yemen : The Hostage
- Zimbabwe – We need new names
Have you read any of these? Do you have suggestions for any of the countries? Let me know! Hope you found the list useful!
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I like visiting lovely bookshops to. You can read about one such beautiful book store here.