Around the World in Eighty Books

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Hello, my dearest readers!

How are you? How’s everything going? I’ve had a lot of work, which is why I haven’t been around lately. But today I come before you with a reading challenge. Not for one year or even two; this goes for as long as each one of you likes and in whatever order you prefer.

Every reader knows that sometimes we can get stuck on a single genre, author, country or language. We have our favourites and thus we ignore what others have to offer. Echoing John Lubbock’s words, here is a list of books that introduces us to eighty countries in the form of essays, memoirs, historical novels, contemporary novels, autobiographies, and other stories of fiction and non-fiction.

“We may sit in our library and yet be in all quarters of the earth.”
– John Lubbock

Africa (20)

Algeria: Algerian White, Assia Djebar

Angola: A General Theory of Oblivion, José Eduardo Agualusa

Botswana: Juggling Truth, Unity Dow

Burkina Faso: The Parachute Drop, Norbert Zongo

Burundi: Baho!, Roland Rugero

Chad: Told by Starlight in Chad, Joseph Brahim Seid

Egypt: Vertigo, Ahmed Mourad

Ethiopia: Fuchsia, Mahtem Shifferaw

Ghana: Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi

Kenya: One Day I Will Write about this Place, Binyavanga Wainaina

Morocco: This Blinding Absence of Light, Tahar Ben Jelloun

Nigeria: Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe

Republic of Congo: The Lights of Pointe-Noire, Alain Mabanckou

Senegal: Africa Beyond the Mirrors, Boubacar Boris Diop

Somalia: Links, Nuruddin Farah

South Africa: Born a Crime, Trevor Noah

South Sudan: God Grew Tired of Us, John Bul Dau

Uganda: 100 Days, Juliane Okot Bitek

Zambia: A Cowrie of Hope, Binwell Sinyangwe

Zimbabwe: The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician, Tendai Huchu

Asia + Pacific (22)

Afghanistan: Songs of Blood and Sword, Fatima Bhutto

Australia: Cloudstreet, Tim Winton

Bangladesh: Rifles Bread Women, Anwar Pasha

China: Frog, Mo Yan

India: God’s Little Soldier, Kiran Nagarkar

Indonesia: Man Tiger, Eka Kurniawan

Iran: Women without Men, Shahrnush Parsipur

Israel: A Horse Walks into a Bar, David Grossmann

Japan: The Life of a Stupid Man, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa

Kazakhstan: The Silent Steppe, Mukhamet Shayakhmetov

Malaysia: The Garden of Evening Mists, Tan Twan Eng

Nepal: That’s My Love Story, Santosh Kalwar

North Korea: In Order to Live, Yeonmi Park

New Zealand: Once Were Warriors, Alan Duff

Pakistan: In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, Daniyal Mueenuddin

Philippines: Ilustrado, Miguel Syjuco

South Korea: I Have the Right to Destroy Myself, Young-Ha Kim

Sri Lanka: Circles of Fire, Kathleen Jayawardena

Taiwan: Notes of a Desolate Man, T’ien-wen Chu

Thailand: Letters from Thailand, Botan

Vietnam: The Sorrow of War, Bao Ninh

Yemen: A Land without Jasmine, Wajdi Al-Ahdal

Europe (19)

Belgium: Invitation to a Voyage, Francois Emmanuel

Bosnia and Herzegovina: How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone, Saša Stanišić

Bulgaria: Is there Anybody to Love You?, Kalin Terziyski

Czech Republic: I Served the King of England, Bohul Hrabal

England: A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf

Finland: Memory of Water, Emmi Itäranta

France: The Stranger, Albert Camus

Germany: The Hunger Angel, Herta Müller

Hungary: Skylark, Dezsö Kosztolányi

Italy: In the Sea there are Crocodiles, Fabio Geda

Netherlands: Amsterdam Stories, Nescio

Norway: Lasso Round the Moon, Agnar Mykle

Poland: Like Eating a Stone, Wojciech Tochman

Portugal: Death with Interruptions, José Saramago

Romania: The First Moment after Death, Carmen Firan

Spain: The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Turkey: My Name is Red, Orhan Pamuk

Ukraine: Requiem, Anna Akhmatova

North and South America (19)

Argentina: Hopscotch, Julio Cortázar

Brazil: Dona Flor and her Two Husbands, José Amado

Bolivia: El loco, Arturo Borda

Canada: Dear Life, Alice Munro

Chile: The Savage Detectives, Roberto Bolaño

Colombia: The Sound of Things Falling, Juan Gabriel Vázquez

Costa Rica: La guerra prometida (The promised war), Oscar Núñez Oliva

Cuba: The Road to the Sea or We Cubans, Guillermo Rodríguez Rivera

Ecuador: Huasipungo, Jorge Icaza

El Salvador: Senselessness, Horacio Castellanos Moya

Guatemala: Mr. President, Miguel Ángel Asturias

Haiti: Claire of the Sea Light, Edwidge Danticat

Honduras: Points of Light, Guillermo Yuscarán

Mexico: Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel

Nicaragua: Infinity in the Palm of Her Hand, Gioconda Belli

Paraguay: I, the Supreme, Augusto Roa Bastos

United States: Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry, Maya Angelou

Uruguay: Let the Wind Speak, Juan Carlos Onetti

Venezuela: Doña Bárbara, Rómulo Gallegos

Total Books: 6/80


I will read my way through it slowly, switching between the books here and those I have waiting on my bookshelf. I hope you enjoy it. Don’t forget to share with us your progress.

Thank you so much for reading. Share the page, leave a comment or subscribe.

Happy Tuesday!

Paola.

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