After a couple of years of very little activity, I finally got back into the Reading All Around the World project and I’m so glad I did. It reminds me of how powerful reading is as a way to learn and expand our horizons while staying in one place. Here’s what I’ve read since the last time I checked in.
(Two stars** after the author name indicates the author is a native of the country described. One star* indicates the author’s ethnic background is from that country. Other books have a strong and well-researched setting; usually the author has lived in the country for an extended period.)
- Venezuela – Octavio’s Journey and Black Sugar by Miguel Bonnefoy** – February 2018
- Egypt – The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson – August 2018
- Spain – Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes** – July 2019
- Australia – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin** – October 2019
- Saudi Arabia – Daring to Drive by Manal Al-Sharif** – December 2019
- South Africa – Born a Crime by Trevor Noah** – December 2019
- Ghana – All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou* – January 2020
- Chile – The House of the Spirits and My Invented Country by Isabel Allende** – January 2020
- Korea/Japan – Pachinko by Min Jin Lee* – January 2020
- Bhutan – Married to Bhutan by Linda Leaming – February 2020
- Iceland – Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – February 2020
- India – The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sunja Massey* – February 2020
- Nigeria, Senegal, and West Africa – In Search of Disobedient Women by Dionne Searcey – March 2020
My favorites? I found Daring to Drive and Born a Crime both absolutely stunning in their portrayal of life in a repressive, unjust society, while also celebrating the human spirit that comes to light in these dark surroundings.
All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes was interesting for its perspective: a Black American woman living in Africa, looking for a sense of coming home that proved elusive.
I enjoyed the novel The House of the Spirits but I think I liked Allende’s memoir My Invented Country even more — an exile’s love letter to her homeland.
Burial Rites was another stunner, one of those historical novels that makes you feel “this must be how it was.” I really felt transported back to 19th century Iceland (and I’m so glad I’m not stuck there permanently).
I’m excited to keep going with this journey. What books have you found to transport you to other parts of the world?