In my last Make me read it poll, blog readers selected Sweet Bean Paste as the book I should read next, out of several that I’d recommended to the library. And I enjoyed it, but I find that I do not have much to say about it. It was a heartfelt little tale about prejudice and loneliness and unexpected connections. I’m really curious now to taste dorayaki, the sweet bean pastries that provide the link between the characters, as well as opportunities for learning and transformation.
This was also a book that I could count for my Read All Around the World project, and I thought I’d look back at how it’s been going this year. I was quite impressed to see that I can count at least 18 books toward this project, and I’ve been on some amazing journeys! You may notice that I have included some areas or regions that are not technically independent countries, like Texas and Biafra. Both of these were independent or fought for their independence for a short time, and the books are about that history, so it seems reasonable to list them separately.
I also have counted more than one book from the same country, as it’s always interesting to gain different perspectives on the same place.. My project is less about checking off names on an official list and more about learning as much as possible about different regions of the world. In that, I have been remarkably successful this year.
Have you read any of these, or would you like to? Have you read any outstanding books from or about other parts of the world this year?
- Cloudstreet by Tim Winston – Australia
- Haven by Emma Donoghue – Ireland
- All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, translated by A.W. Wheen – Germany
- The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker – Norway
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby, translated by Jeremy Leggott – France
- The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak – Cyprus
- Portrait of an Unknown Lady by Maria Gainza, translated by Thomas Bunstead – Argentina
- Forget the Alamo by Jason Stanford, Bryan Burrough, and Chris Tomlinson – Texas
- When We Were Birds by Ayanno Lloyd Banwo – Trinidad
- The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré – Nigeria
- Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Nigeria / Biafra
- In the Land of Invisible Women by Qanta Ahmed – Saudi Arabia
- Autobiography of a Yogi – India
- Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikawa Kawaguchi, translated by Geoffrey Trousselot – Japan
- Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa, translated by Alison Watts – Japan
- Auntie Lee’s Deadly Specials by Ovidia Yu – Singapore
- Nervous by Jen Soriano – Philippines
- The Great Divide by Cristina Henriquez – Panama