Books Around The World

Long ago in 2016, a friend of mine came up with this brilliant idea of reading a book from every country in the world. What had started off as a fun year quickly turned into a lifestyle. I still haven’t read a book from every country in the world because once I started my journey I realized that a single book isn’t enough to capture all the facets and all the history and all the diversity of a single country. And so my literary adventure continues with many meandering wanderings and backtrackings, a perfect medley of my love for books and travel.

My preferences:

  • The author must be a native of the country. Most book lists don’t seem to adhere to this one, but in a world full of immigrant stories and euro-centric narratives, I’ve been much more impressed and surprised by what I think of as “authentic voices”, after all, it’s why I wanted to read books from around the world to begin with.
  • The book should preferably be about or set in the country, but this is flexible since I also believe that the stories that we make up says a lot about us and the changing times, which is why I often find that fantasy is a better representation of the many cultures of a country that “realistic” fiction or non-fiction.
  • Ancient epics are fine, but modern day books are preferable. Too often I find myself talking to people who have an impression of well, my country, as ancient, exotic or other nice ways to say “backward” and I find myself alternately amused and exasperated at how ignorant a person in the Internet Age could be and obviously I don’t want to be that person. But, similar to the previous point, I think it’s important to know the stories part of the fabric of the society that I’m reading about since it makes it easier to understand the cultural context of the contemporary works and makes them more enjoyable because of it.
  • I try to read as many books by women as possible. This small rebellion is one that I stumbled upon quite by accident since many of the truly fantastic gems tend not to feature in “authoritative” (googleable) book lists. What do they have in common across borders? They’re written by women. *facepalm* [Or perhaps the problem is my (read: my Google’s) filtered anglophone view of the world.]


List of countries is here. Countries read: 21/195

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Canada
  3. China
    • Three Body Problem
    • AI Superpowers
  4. Colombia
  5. Egypt
  6. Germany
  7. Ghana
    • Homegoing*
  8. India
  9. Iran
  10. Israel
  11. Lebanon
    • One Thousand and One Nights
  12. Netherlands
  13. Pakistan
  14. Saudi Arabia
  15. South Africa
  16. South Korea
  17. Spain
  18. Sri Lanka
  19. Turkey
  20. United Kingdom
  21. United States of America