Friday, December 23, 2016

Around the World in 80 Books - A 5 Year Project

Last year, Book Riot published a list of books entitled Around the World in 80 Books, a Global Reading List. I was thinking today about what I'm missing out in my reading habits, and I decided I need to read about other places / cultures more often. So I think I'll make a 5 year project out of this. Here is my modified list. The books in bold are the ones I already own and will start with - though I can't promise much this year. 

Afghanistan – A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Algeria – Algerian White by Assia Djebar
Angola – Good Morning Comrades by Ondjaki
Argentina – He Who Searches by Luisa Valenzuela
Australia – The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
Bangladesh – A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam
Belarus - Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich
Belgium – Wonder by Hugo Claus
Botswana - The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Brazil – Symphony in White by Adriana Lisboa
Burkina Faso – The Parachute Drop by Norbert Zongo
Cambodia – First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung
Cameroon – Houseboy by Ferdinand Oyono
Canada – The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Chad – Told by Starlight in Chad by Joseph Brahim Seid
Chile – Ten Women by Marcela Serrano
China – Empress Orchid by Anchee Min
Columbia – Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Congo – Full Circle by Frederick Yamusangie
Cuba – Farewell to the Sea by Reinaldo Arenas
Egypt – Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
Ethiopia – Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
France – Gigi by Colette
Germany – The Quest for Christa T. by Christa Wolf
Ghana – Changes by Ama Ata Aidoo
Guatemala – The President by Miguel Ángel Asturias
Guinea – The Dark Child by Camara Laye
Haiti – Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat
India – The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Indonesia – Saman by Ayu Utami
Iraq – Dreaming of Baghdad by Haifa Zangana
Italy – The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) – Allah Is Not Obliged by Ahmadou Kourouma
Japan – Woman on the Other Shore by Mitsuyo Kakuta
Kazakhstan – The Silent Steppe by Mukhamet Shayakhmetov
Kenya – The River and the Source by Margaret A. Ogola
Madagascar – Voices from Madagascar, Edited by Jacques Bourgeacq & Liliane Ramarosoa
Malawi – The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
Malaysia – The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka
Mali – The Fortunes of Wangrin by Amadou Hampaté Bâ
Mexico – Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Morocco – Secret Son by Laila Lalami
Mozambique – Sleepwalking Land by Mia Couto
Myanmar – Smile as they Bow by Nu Nu Yi
Nepal – Arresting God in Kathmandu by Samrat Upadhyay
Netherlands – The Dinner by Herman Koch
Niger – The Epic of Askia Mohammed, Recounted by Nouhou Malio
Nigeria – There Was a Country by Chinua Achebe
North Korea – In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park
Pakistan – The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
Peru – Conversation in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa
Philippines – State of War by Ninotchka Rosca
Poland – House of Day, House of Night by Olga Tokarczuk
Romania – The Land of Green Plums by Herta Müller
Russia – The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Rwanda – Our Lady of the Nile by Scholastique Mukasonga
Saudi Arabia – Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea
Senegal – So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ
Somalia – Links by Nuruddin Farah
South Africa – The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer
South Korea – The Future of Silence, Translated by Ju-Chan & Bruce Fulton
South Sudan – God Grew Tired of Us by John Bul Dau
Spain –
Sri Lanka – The Legend of Pradeep Mathew by Shehan Karunatilaka
Sudan – Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih
Syria – Sabriya by Ulfat Idilbi
Taiwan – Notes of a Desolate Man by T’ien-wen Chu
Tanzania – Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah
Thailand – Four Reigns by Kukrit Pramoj
Turkey – My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk
Uganda – Abyssinian Chronicles by Moses Isegawa
Ukraine – Wave of Terror by Theodore Odrach
Uzbekistan – A Collection of Uzbek Short Stories by Mahmuda Saydumarova
Venezuela – Doña Barbara by Rómulo Gallegos
Vietnam – The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Yemen – I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali
Zambia – Bitterness by Malama Katulwende
Zimbabwe – Without a Name and Under Tongue by Yvonne Vera


  1. I'm super impressed that you're actually planning to tackle this entire list over the next five years. Good luck and speedy reading!

    1. Thanks Kate! And thanks for going through the work it takes to put together a list like that. But 5 years was just a goal so I can figure out how many books to read in a year to finish in a reasonable amount of time. If it takes 6 I'm still going to feel like I accomplished something. :)

  2. This is a great idea and that looks like a superb list of books.

    I also do not read enough material from other cultures.

    I do not think that I would be able to get through all those books and everything else that I would like to read in five years. However, I would like to read some of them.

    I have read The Name of the Rose and I thought that it was excellent.

    1. Yeah, I'm thinking of adding a few more countries that I feel were left out by the "arbitrary" number of 80 countries (I understand why that number was picked, of course! Definitely has a ring to it!) My choices won't be as informed as the author of that article's of course. But it'll drag the goal out a few more years.

  3. Wow. That's an impressive list! I've read all of three. But reading the titles of all those other books makes me think I should try to branch out a little more this year and see how many of these books I can find a read. Good luck with with project! :)

    1. I've read three of the books that were on the original list, and switched that book out for another. So it's possible you would have read more of them.

  4. What an ambitious project! I should probably try something similar. I've done a decent job of reading translated fiction this year, but I'm not doing as good a job as I would like of reading translated fiction from new countries or even new authors.

    1. Yeah, I try to fit in a variety of good books, and I've done well with nonfiction and classics lately, but not so good with cultural books. I'm going to change that. Though I might tweak this list and goal length around a little.