There are parts of the world that, for whatever reason, I’ve always been fascinated by. Russia and the Middle East probably top the list, and so I’ve read quite a few books set there and even been privileged to travel and teach there. But, there are other cultures and parts of the world that have always baffled me, and I’ve just never read or experienced that much about them.
A couple months ago I randomly found myself reading several books in a row that were set in China. Although I’ve always wanted to live overseas, I’ve never been able to picture myself in China, I think because the culture is just so far removed from my natural personality and way of thinking. But, as I was reading (and enjoying) these books, I was thinking about how good it is for me to have my thinking challenged and my heart stretched a bit. That got me thinking about other areas of the world that I’m not as naturally drawn to, wondering what I could learn from those cultures and whether I might find myself developing a heart for them if I’d just put some time into learning about them.
That’s where the idea to “Read Around the World” came from, and the goal is to take the rest of the year to read as many books set in different countries as I can. I asked a bunch of friends for book recommendations, and I now have thirty-six books on my Around the World reading list. I may not get to them all, but I love having options! I’m deliberately keeping it broad genre-wise: fiction, non-fiction, modern-day, history, fairy tales, travelogues…as long as they’re set in or come from another country it’s fair game.
So, now it’s your turn: do you have a favorite book set in another country, or a part of the world you’ve always had a heart for? If so, please leave me a comment! And it would be so fun if you’ll join me on this “journey!” I will try to update this post with links to my reviews as I go, so if you want to follow along feel free to bookmark it and check back, or subscribe to the blog! If there is a book listed that I have not reviewed and you would like to hear more about, please comment and let me know. Also, if this sounds fun to you, please share this post so I can get comments and suggestions from your friends, too!
Alright—ready to read around the world?? 😀
What I’ve Read So Far:
- Antarctica: Endurance
- China: Mao’s Last Dancer, Dreams of Joy, Home is a Roof Over a Pig
- Egypt: The Heretic Queen
- England: Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor
- Ethiopia/Yemen: The Legend of Sheba
- France: Bringing Up Bebe, The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry
- Germany: In the Garden of Beasts
- India: Behind the Beautiful Forevers
- Israel: Song of Redemption, The Strength of His Hand, The Legend of Sheba
- Ivory Coast: Too Small to Ignore
- Japan: Unbroken
- Latin America (Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina): All Roads Lead to Austen
- Mongolia: Book of a Thousand Days
- Morocco: The Caliph’s House: a Year In Casablanca
- Russia: Catherine the Great–Portrait of a Woman
- Spain: A Valley of Betrayal
- Uganda: Kisses from Katie
- Queens of Russia, Norway, Spain, Romania, Greece: Born to Rule
P.S Are you planing an around-the-world reading excursion? Why not get a few friends to join you and schedule a “Books and Chocolate” party to discuss them afterwards?