While I’m rounding up my 2021 reading, I wanted to take a look at how I did with my goal of reading more books written or set in in different countries of the world (see my Around the World page for full details of what I’ve read so far). I was pleased to see that I managed quite a few this year, although non-European countries were weakly represented. I’d like to read more of those next year.
I’m a bit loose in deciding what books count for this project, including authors who have lived in or thoroughly researched a country, as well as those who were born there and speak the native language. Mostly I try to focus on books that are mainly set in a single country, with a few exceptions for interesting cross-cultural or immigrant narratives. And I count multiple books from the same country. I find this gives different perspectives that are fascinating. I also count regions that are not officially separate countries, like Wales and Crete, when historically and geographically they do have a separate identity. And I included a historical novel set in ancient Italy (Pompeii), because the setting was so wonderfully imagined.
Have you read any of these, or would you like to? What would you recommend for an around the world reading tour?
- Japan/Canada – A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki – January
- Switzerland – The Swiss Summer by Stella Gibbons – February
- India / US – Missed Translations by Sopan Deb – March
- Switzerland – Swiss Watching by Diccon Bewes – May
- Italy – The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper – June
- Crete – Daughters of the Labyrinth by Ruth Padel – July
- Germany – Die Kleine Hexe by Ofried Preussler – July
- Algeria – L’étranger by Albert Camus – July
- Iran – Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi – August
- Wales – A String in the Harp by Nancy Bond – October
- Switzerland – In the Mountains by Elizabeth von Arnim – October
- Korea – A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park – December
- Algeria – The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud – December
- Korea – Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim – December