Streamsong's Global Reading

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Streamsong's Global Reading

Edited: Jan 25, 12:48pm

Wow, the ultimate list and a couple maps thrown in!

Countries Visited in 2023

visited 5 states (2.22%)

Create your own visited map of The World

Countries new for me in 2023
Tunisia Book #1 - The Ardent Swarm -Yamen Manai - 2021 - Fic (location, author - translated from French) - 1/2023

Countries completed in 2023 with 5 books read

Countries previously visited - working toward 5 books
Greenland Book #2 (autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark) - Cold Earth - Sarah Moss - 2010 - Fic (location/UK author) 1/2023
Oman Book #2- Bitter Orange Tree - Jokha Alharthi - 2022 - Fic (partial location, Omani author) 1/2023

Additional books in countries already completed with 5:
Ireland The Colony - Audrey Magee -2022 - Fic - (location, author) - 1 2023

Edited: Jan 25, 12:45pm

CUMULATIVE: 104 countries visited

visited 104 states (46.2%)

Create your own visited map of The World

26 Countries Completed With Five Books:

Canada (still working on the read every Province thing)
Israel (2021)
Italy (2017)
Kenya (2018)
Nigeria (2018)
Norway (2022)
Myanmar (2022)
North Korea (2020)
Pakistan (2020)
Poland (2019)
Russian Federation
South Africa (2020)
United Kingdom
United States
Viet Nam

Here are some very helpful links for me to remember:

Very cool interactive map with suggestions from all (?) countries:

A few years ago, the writer, Ann Morgan took on a personal challenge to read a book from every country in the world in one year.

Two wiki pages started by the Category Challenge group last year. I plan to keep updating and hope others do too!

Fiction Location Wiki
Non-Fiction Location Wiki

This thread is a very comprehensive listing of mystery locations:
LittleMissBashful's Crime, thriller and mystery location thread

Books that Students Read in 28 countries around the world:

More Interesting lists on LT:
Best African Books

Good Reads lists:
1001 Books Around the World
Around the World in 80 books
Resources for Finding World Literature

Edited: Oct 23, 2021, 5:33pm

✔ 1. Afghanistan
1. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini - 2003 - (location, author), F - pre- LT
2. The Bookseller of Kabul - Asne Seierstad - (location, Norwegian author) - 2002 - NF Rd 2008
3. A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini - (location, author) - 2007 - F - 2011
4. The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan - Jenny Nordberg - (location, Swedish author), NF, 2014 - Reread in 2015 for RLBC - still just as good!
5. These Happy Heroic Dead - Luke Mogelson - 2016 - (location, US author) - 2/28/2016

Additional books for Afghanistan:
And the Mountains Echoed - Khaled Hosseini - 2013 - Fic (location, author) audio and print - 9/15/2021

2 Albania
1. The File on H.: A Novel - Ismail Kadare - 1989 - (location, author) - F - 2008

3. Algeria
1. Stop Being Mean to Yourself - Melody Beattie - (location), NF, 2014
2. The Tongue's Blood Does Not Run Dry - Assia Djebar - 1997 - Fic/SS (location/author) 3/6/2019

4 Andorra
5 Angola

Edited: Aug 14, 2022, 10:03am

6. Antigua and Barbuda
1. Annie John - Jamaica Kincaid - 1985 - (location, author) - F - 1001 4/24/2016

7 Argentina
1. Alive - Piers Paul Read - 1974 - NF (location, UK author)
2. Mouthful of Birds: Stories - Samanta Schweblin - 2019 - ss - (location, author) Intl Booker Longlist - 4/2019
3. Labyrinths - Jorge Luis Borges - 1962 - ss, essays, (author) - 1001 - Aug 2019
4. Blow-Up - Julio Cortázar - 1960 - (location, author) short stories; read 1/2020
5. Fever Dream - Samanta Schweblin - 2017 - novella - (location, author) - library - read 12/2020

Additional books for Argentina: 6.The Dangers of Smoking in Bed - Mariana Enriquez - English translation 2021 - Fic/SS Author & location - library 3/2022

8. Armenia
1. Three Apples Fell From the Sky - Narine Abgaryan - 2020 - Fic: Author, location - library - 7/2022

9. Australia
1. In A Sunburned Country - Bill Bryson - (location) NF, 2013
2. A Town Like Alice - Shute, Nevil - (location, author) F, 1001
3. The Rosie Project - Graeme Simison - (location, author), F 2014
4. Elizabeth Costello - J. M. Coetzee - 2003 - (location, author) F 1001 - 08/13/2016
5. The Immortal Irishman - Timothy Egan - 2016 - (partial location- Tasmania, US author) NF - 04/2017
----Additional books for Australia:
------The Arrival - Shaun Tan - 2006 - Australian author
------The Rosie Result - Graeme Simision - (location, author) F 2019 - Aug 2019

10. Austria
- The Hare With Amber Eyes - Edmund de Waal -(location), NF 2014

Edited: Jan 19, 2022, 5:36pm

11 Azerbaijan
12 Bahamas
13 Bahrain

14 Bangladesh
- 1. White Teeth - Zadie Smith - 2000 - (location, UK author), F , 2008
- 2. Brick Lane - Monica Ali - 1999 - (location, author), F, 2008

15 Barbados
-1. How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House - Cherie Jones - 2021 - Fic (location, author) 9/2021
-2. Washington Black - Esi Edugyan - 2018 - Fic - partial location - read 1/2022

Edited: Nov 10, 2015, 11:04am

16. Belarus
1. Voices From Chernobyl - Svetlana Alexievich -(location, author) NF 11/10/2015

17 Belgium
18 Belize
19 Benin
20 Bhutan

Edited: Jun 3, 2019, 12:26pm

21. Bolivia
1. Women Talking - Miriam Towes - 2018 - Fic - (location, Canadian author) - 6/2019

22 (Plurinational State of) Bosnia and Herzegovina
1. People of the Book: A Novel - Geraldine Brooks - 2008, (location), Fic 2009
2. The Cellist of Sarajevo - Steven Galloway - 2008, (location, Canadian author), Fic, 2011
3. The Fixer - Joe Sacco - 2003 - (location), Graphic Journalism (NF), 4/22/2016

23. Botswana
1. Return to Nisa - Marjorie Shosak - 2002 - (location, US(?) author) - NF, 2011
1. The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon -Alexander McCall Smith - (location, resident author), F, 2014

24 Brazil
1. The Devil and Miss Prym - Paulo Coehlo - (location, author) Fic, 1001
2. State of Wonder - Ann Patchett - 2011 - (location, US author), Fic, 2013
3. The Hour of the Star - Clarice Lispector - 1977 - Fic (location, author) - 1001 books - Dec 2018

25 Brunei Darussalam

Edited: Aug 16, 2020, 11:56am

26 Bulgaria

27 Burkina Faso
1. American Spy - Lauren Wilkinson - 2019 - (location, US author) 2020

28 Burundi

29 Cambodia
1. Love Songs From a Shallow Grave - Colin Cotterill - 2011 - Fic - (Partial Location; US expat author)- 5/2019

30 Cameroon

Edited: May 24, 2022, 11:50am

✔ 31. Canada
1. British Columbia: We Like it Wild - Bradford Angier - (location, resident author), NF 2014
2. Newfoundland: The Shipping News - Annie Proulx - 1993 - (location, US resident author), F 2016
3. Nunavut: Barren Grounds: The Story of the Tragic Moffatt Canoe Trip by Skip Pessl - (location) NF, 2015
4. Ontario: Lives of Girls and Women - Alice Munro - (location, author), F/SS, 2014
5. Ontario: Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood - (location, author), F, 2014

I'm continuing to list Canadian books as I am trying to read all the provinces in Canada.

6. Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables - L. M. Montgomery - (location, author); Reread 2014
7. Saskatchewan: Canada - Richard Ford - (location) - F, 5/14/2015
8. Nova Scotia - Someone Knows My Name - Lawrence Hill - (partial location, Canadian author), Fic, 2008 Counted the country under Sierra Leone, another partial location
9. Manitoba: Canoeing With the Cree - Eric Sevareid - 1935 - (location, US author) NF 04/06/2017
10. Quebec: Still Life - Louise Penney - 2005 (location, author) F 07/18/2018
11. Quebec: Fight Night - Miriam Toews - 2021 - Fic, (location, author) May 2022
New Brunswick
Northwest Territories

visited 9 states (69.2%)
Create your own visited map of Canada

32 Cape Verde
33 Central African Republic
34 Chad

35 Chile
1. Daughter of Fortune - Isabel Allende - - 1999 - (Partial location, author), F, 2011
2. Of Love and Shadows - Isabel Allende - 1984 - (unnamed S American country, author) F, 1001, 12/17/2016
3. The Long Petal of the Sea - Isabel Allende - 2020 - Fic; (Chile - also Spain & Paraguay; Chiliean author) read March 2021

Edited: Nov 6, 2022, 8:19pm

36 China
1. Monkey - Wu Ch'eng-en - F, 1001
2. The Man Who Loved China - Simon Winchester (location), NF 2014
3. Beijing Bastard - Val Wang - (location, ex-pat) NF, 2015; Pub 2014
4. A Map of Betrayal - Ha Jin - (location, author) F, 2015; Pub 2014
5. The Painted Veil - W. Somerset Maugham - (location) Fic, 2015, Pub 1925

--More From China:
--- The Most Wanted Man in China - Fang Lizhi - 2015 (location, author)- NF - LTER; 2/2016
--- Street of Eternal Happiness - Rob Schmitz - 2016 - (location, resident author -US) - NF- LTER - 6/2016
--- China - Hong Kong: Hong Kong Noir - Jason Y Ng - 2018 - Fic/ss - (location, authors) - LTER 5/2019
-- Beijing Payback - Daniel Nieh - 2019, (fic, loc) - 2020
-- Boxers (Boxers and Saints) - Gene Luen Yang - 2013 - (GN, fic, loc) 2020

37. Colombia
1. Reputations - Juan Gabriel Vasquez - 2013 - Fic- (author, country); Read 2018
2. Giant Steps - Karl Bushby - 2005 - NF - (British author, travel memoir, many countries) Read 2022

38 Comoros

39 Congo
1. Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver - 1998 - F (location, US author) 1001, 2008
2. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad - F, (location) - 1001 2013

40 Costa Rica

Edited: Jul 2, 2019, 1:43pm

41 Côte d’Ivoire

42 Croatia:
1. The Museum of Unconditional Surrender - Dubravka Ugrešić - 1996 - Fic (author, partial location) - 2/2018

43 Cuba
44 Cyprus

45 Czech Republic
1. The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka - 1915 - Novella (Location, author); 1001; 6/2019

Edited: Jan 13, 11:30pm

✔ 46 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea)
1. The Living Reed - Pearl S Buck F, 2014
2. Without You, There is No Us - Suki Kim - 2014 (location, US author) NF 01/26/2015
3. The Ginseng Hunter - Jeff Talarigo -2008 - (location, US author) - F
4. The Girl With Seven Names - Hyeonseo Lee - 2015 (location, author) 8/2016
5. The Orphan Master's Son - Adam Johnson - Fic - (location, US author) - 2012

47 Democratic Republic of the Congo
1. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver - F - (location)
2. The Emerald Labyrinth - Eli Greenbaum - 2017 - NF (location, US author) 3/2018

48 Denmark
1. Hamlet - William Shakespeare - P - (location, English author)
2. To Siberia - Per Petterson - F - (location, Norwegian author)

48B Greenland - autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark.
1. Migrations: A Novel - Charlotte McConaghy - 2020 - Fic; (partial location- also Antarctica; UK author) - read Jan 2021
2. Cold Earth - Sarah Moss - 2010 - Fic (location, UK author) read 01/23

49 Djibouti
50 Dominica

Edited: Nov 30, 2022, 12:47pm

51 Dominican Republic
1. In the Time of the Butterflies - Julia Alvarez - 1994 - (location, author) - F - 2010
2. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents - Julia Alvarez - 1991- (location, author) - F - 2012
3. Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz - 2007 -(location, author resident of DR & US) 08/04/2016
4. Clap When You Land - Elizabeth Acevedo - 2020 - Fic YA Novel in verse - (partial location, author) 2020

52 Ecuador
1. (Galapagos Islands) - The Beak of the Finch - Jonathan Weiner - 2007 - NF (location - Galapagos Islands; US author) - 2/2018

53 Egypt
1. The Time and the Place - Naguib Mahfouz, (location, author), F/SS
2. Moon Tiger -Penelope Lively - (location), F, 2015
3. Midaq Alley -1947 Naguib Mahfouz - (location, author) - 1001, 9/30/2015
4. That Smell and Notes From Prison - Sonallah Ibrahim - 1966- (author, location) Fic & NF; read 3/2018

54 El Salvador
55 Equatorial Guinea

Edited: Mar 15, 2019, 3:12pm

56 Eritrea
57 Estonia

58 Ethiopia
1. Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese -2009 - (location, author birth country) F 2011

59 Fiji

60. Finland
1. The Wife: A Novel - Meg Wolitizer - 2003 - (partial location, US author) - Fic 2019

Edited: May 11, 2022, 2:19pm

61. France
1. The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Barbery, Muriel - (location, author) - 1001
2. The Little Prince - de Saint-Exupéry, Antoine - (location, author) - 1001
3. The Count of Monte Cristo - Dumas, Alexander -(location, author) 1001
4. Suite Française - Némirovsky, Irène - (location, author) 1001
5. Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay - (author, location), F, 2014

More From France:
My Life in France - Julia Child - 2004 - NF (location, US expat author) 4/19/2017

62 Gabon
1. One Dry Season: In the Footsteps of Mary Kingsley - Caroline Alexander - (location) NF

63 Gambia
64 Georgia

65 Germany
1. Threepenny Novel - Bertolt Brecht - (location, author) 1001, F
2. Siddhartha - Hermann Hesse, - (author) - 1001 - F
3. Stones From the River - Ursula Helgi - 1994 - (location, author), F - 2008
4. Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut - (location), 1001- F, 2014
5. All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr - (location) - F, 2015
---Additional Books for Germany:
-----Transit - Anna Seghers - 1944 - (France, German author) F, 1001 2017
---- The Women in the Castle: A Novel - Jessica Shattuck - 2017 - (fic, location), 2018

Edited: Jul 7, 2021, 5:38pm

66. Ghana
1. Homegoing - Yaa Gyasi - 2016 F (author, location) 4/2017
2. Transcendent Kingdom - Yaa Gyasi - Fic (author, partial location) 5/2021
3. The Missing American - Kwei Quartey - 2020 - Fic-myst: author, location 6/2021

67. Greece
1. Phedre - Racine - 1677 - (location - Greek myth, French author) - P - 2007
2. Spies of the Balkans - Alan Furst - 2010 - (location) - F - 2012
3. The Moonspinners - Mary Stewart - (location - Crete) - F
4. The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood - (location) - F, 2014
5. Travels With Epicurus - Daniel Klein - (location) - NF, 2015

More from Greece:
* Night of Rain and Stars - Maeve Binchy - 2004 - (location, Irish author) - F - 2011

68 Grenada
69 Guatemala
70 Guinea

Edited: Jan 22, 2022, 12:10am

71 Guinea-Bissau

72. Guyana
1. Jungle Peace - William Beebe - 1918 - (location, US author) NF

73. Haiti
1. Haiti After the Earthquake - Paul Farmer - 2011 - (location, US author) NF (read 2012)
2. Mouths Don't Speak - Katia D. Ulysse - 2017 - fic - (location, immigrant) - LTER- 4/11/2018
3. Finding Chika - Mitch Alborn - 2019 - non-fiction (partial location) - 1/19/2022

74 Honduras

75. Hungary
1. I have lived a Thousand Years-Growing up in the Holocaust - Livia Bitton-Jackson - 1997- (location, author) - NF
2. Enemies of the People: My Family's Journey to America - Kati Marton - 2009 - (location, author) - NF 2010

Edited: Aug 21, 2022, 2:51pm

76 Iceland
1. Independent People by Halldór Laxness - (location, author), F; 1001
2. Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland - Sarah Moss - 2009 - Non Fic, location, UK author; read 4/2021

✔ 77. India
1. The Inheritance of Loss - Kiran Desai - India/UK 1001
2. Family Matters - Rohinton Mistry - India/Canada; 1001
3. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie - India /UK; 1001
4. Buddha - Karen Armstrong - (location), NF 2014
5. Gandhi An Autobiography - Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi 1925 - (location, author) NF 2015

More From India:
----- Life of Pi - Yann Martel - 2001 - (Canadian author who lived in India, location) F - 2016

78 Indonesia
1. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert - 2006 - (partial location, US author) - 2008

✔79. Iran (Islamic Republic of)
1. Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi - 2003 (Location, author) NF - 2006
2. Not Without My Daughter - Betty Mahmoody - 1987 - (location, US author) - NF - 2006
3. Persepolis - Marjane Sartrapi - 2003 - (location, author/artist) - GNF - 2012
4. Tehran Noir - Salar Abdoh - (location, authors, most translated from Farsi); F/SS Feb 2015
5. The Ungrateful Refugee - Dina Nayeri - 2019 - (partial location, birth of author, NF) 10/2020
Additional books for Iran:
Read Dangerously - Azar Nafisi -2022 - NF, (Iranian/US author, Iranian/US locations) library 8/2022

80 Iraq
1. Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell - Janet Wallach - (location, US author) - NF 2009
2. Coppola: A Pediatric Surgeon in Iraq - Chris Coppola - 2010 - (location, US author), - NF - 2010 -(LTER)
3. Abu Ghraib After the Scandal: A Firsthand Account of the 344th Combat Support Hospital - Anthony Esposito - 2013 - (location, US author) - NF 2013 (LTER)

Edited: Jan 11, 11:11am

✔ 81 Ireland
1. How the Irish Saved Civilization - Thomas Cahill - 1995- (location, US author) - NF - 2007
2. Across Time And Death: A Mother's Search For Her Past Life Children - Jenny Cockell - (location, author), F
3. Heart and Soul - Maeve Binchy - (location, author), F
4. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde - Ireland/UK - 1001
5. Castle Rackrent - Maria Edgeworth - (location, author), F, - 1001; 2015

---More From Ireland
------ Bowen, Elizabeth - The House In Paris
1935 - (location =France & UK/ Irish /UK author)
------Boyle, Mark - The Way Home: Tales From a Life Without Technology - Mark Boyle - 2019 - NF (loc, author) - LTER - 10/2019
------ Egan, Timothy - The Immortal Irishman - 2016 NF (location, US author) 4/2017
------ Magee, Audrey - The Colony 2022 - Fic (location, author) 1/2023
------ Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels - 1726
------ Swift, Jonathan - A Modest Proposal - 1729
------ Toibin, Colm Brooklyn - 2009 - Fic (partial location, author) 10/2017
------Williams, Niall History of the Rain - 2014 - Fic - (location, author) 6/2022

✔ 82. Israel
1. A Tale of Love and Darkness - Amos Oz - (location, author), NF, 1001
2. Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan - (location, author), F/GN 2014
3. City of Secrets by Stewart O'Nan - 2016 - (location, U.S. author) F 03/2017
4. Judas - Amos Oz - 2014 - Fic - (location, author) - 4/2018
5. Homo Deus - Yuval Noah Harari - 2016 - NF - Israeli author - 5/2021

✔ 83. Italy
1. Metamorphoses - Ovid - (author, location) poetry, 1001
2. Pope Joan - Donna Woolfolk Cross - 1996 - (US author, location), F , 2010
3. The Leopard - Giuseppe Di Lampedusa F 1001
4. Monster of Florence - Douglas Preston - (location, co-author), NF 2014
5. My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante - 2011 - (location, author) F - 2017

---More from Italy:---
-----Oil and Marble - Stephanie Storey - Fic (location, US author)

84. Jamaica
1. Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys - 1966 - (location, UK/West Indies author) F 1001
2. Bivouac - Kwame Dawes - 2019 - (location, Ghana author) - F - LTER 7/2019
3. Cane Warriors - Alex Wheatle - 2020 - LTER - (YA fic, location, author of emmigrant parents) - 1/2021

✔ 85. Japan
1. Across the Nightingale Floor - Lian Hearn - 2002 - (location), F 2012
2. Unbroken - Lauren Hillenbrand (location); NF 2014
3. A Tale for the Time Being - Ruth Ozeki (location) F 2015
4. Silence - Shusaku Endo - (location, author) F - 1001 - 8/08/2015
5. Library Wars Love & War Vol 1 - Kiiro Yumi - (author, location) manga - 2010
More Japan:
- Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden - 1997 - (US author; location); 1001; 7/2017
- Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami - 2002 - 1001; (author, location) 8/2017
- The Cat Who Saved Books - Sosuke Natsukawa - 2021 - Fic - (location, author, translated) - library - 8/2022

Edited: Jun 12, 2020, 12:17pm

86 Jordan
87 Kazakhstan

✔ 88. Kenya
1. West With the Night - Beryl Markham - 1942 - (location, colonial author) NF
2. Born Free - Joy Adamson - 1960 - (location colonial author) NF
3. The Flame Trees of Thika - Elspeth Huxley - 1959 (location, colonial author) NF - 2013
4. Dance of the Jakaranda - Peter Kimani - 2017 (location, Kenyan author) F (LTER) - 2017
5. A Guide to the Birds of East Africa - Nicholas Drayson - 2008; Fiction(location, UK author)

Additional books from Kenya:
Nairobi Noir - ed Peter Kimani - 2020 - LTER - Fic-ss (location, authors)

89 Kuwait
90 Kyrgyzstan

Edited: Nov 7, 2022, 12:34pm

91. Lao People’s Democratic Republic
1. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down - Anne Fadiman - 1997- (partial location, US author), NF, 2007
2. Curse of the Pogo Stick - Colin Cotterill - (location, resident author), F, 2014
3. The Song Poet - Kao Kalia Yang - (location, US expat)- NF, LTER 2016 (7/17/2016)
4. The Merry Misogynist - Colin Cotterill - 2009 - Fic - (location, US expat) - 3/2018

92 Latvia

93. Lebanon
1. The Gabriel Hounds - Mary Stewart - 1967 - (location, UK author) F
2. Uncompromised: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of an Arab American Patriot in the CIA - Nada Prouty - 2012 - (location, author) - NF 2012 (LTER)
3. An Unnecessary Woman - Rabih Alameddine - 2013 - Fic (location/Lebanese American Author) - Aug 2021
4. One Thousand and One Nights: A Retelling - Hannan Al-Shaykh - 2011 - Fic (location, Lebanese author) - Aug 2022

94 Lesotho
95 Liberia

Feb 25, 2015, 1:41pm

96 Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
97 Liechtenstein
98 Lithuania
99 Luxembourg
100 Madagascar

Edited: Aug 11, 2022, 11:33am

101 Malawi

102 Malaysia
1. The Garden of Evening Mists - Tan Twan Eng - 2012 - (location, author) F ,
2. The Gift of Rain - Tan Twan Eng - 2007 - Fic (location, author) 6/2018

103 Maldives

104 Mali
1. The Bad Ass Librarians of Timbuktu Joshua Hammer - 2017 - NF (location, US author) read Audiobook 7/2022

105 Malta

Edited: May 11, 2022, 2:18pm

106 Marshall Islands
Book listed under Republic of Palua: Legends of Micronesia (Book Two)Eve Grey - 1951 (also The Federated States of Micronesia partialy) August 2021 Republic of Palua:

107 Mauritania
108 Mauritius

✔ 109. Mexico
1. Gaby Brimmer: An Autobiography in Three Voices - Gaby Brimmer - 2009 - (location, author) - NF - 2009
2. Like Water for Chocolate - Laura Esquivel - (location, author), F, 1001
3.Oaxaca Journal - Oliver Sacks - 2002 - (location, US author), NF ,
4. All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy - (location, US author) F, 2014
5. Mexico: Stories - Josh Barkan - 2016 -(location, US expat author) LTER, Fic-ss; 2016

Additional books for Mexico:
- Faces in the Crowd - Valeria Luiselli - 2011 - F (author, partial location) 4/2019

109B**Martinique (Insular Region of France) Not independent
1. Texaco - Patrick Chamoiseau - 1992 - Fic (author, location) 03/20/2017

110 Micronesia (Federated States of)
Book officially listed under The Republic of Palua: Legends of Micronesia (Book Two)Eve Grey - 1951 Also contains tales from the Republic of the Marshall Islands). August 2021

Edited: Dec 5, 2021, 4:19pm

111 Monaco

112. Mongolia
1. The Horse Boy - Rupert Isaacson - 2009 - (location, US author) - NF - 2009
2. Rough Magic: Riding the World's Loneliest Horse Race by Lara Prior-Palmer - 2019 - (location, UK author) NF - 4/2020

113 Montenegro
114 Morocco

115 Mozambique
1. Woman of Ashes - Mia Couto - 2015 - (location, author) - Fic- October 2021

Edited: Dec 12, 2022, 12:20pm

✔ 116 Myanmar (Burma)
1. Saving Fish From Drowning - Amy Tan - 2005 - F (location, US author) pre LT
2. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats - Jan-Phillip Sendker - 2002 - (location, German author), fiction, Read 2010
3. Burma Chronicles - Guy Delisle - 2007 - (location, Canadian author), Graphic novel - 6/25/2017
4. Elephant Company - Vicki Constantine Croke - 2014 (location, UK author) NF 10/03/2022
5. The Glass PalaceAmitav Ghosh - 2000 - Fic (Indian author, locations: Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, India) read 10/22

117 Namibia
118 Nauru

119 Nepal
1. The Guru of Love - Samrat Upadhyay - (location, birth country of author) fiction - 2003- 8/22/2015
2. Don't Let the Goats Eat the Loquat Trees - Thomas Hale - 1986 - NF (location, US author) - 12/11/2022

120 Netherlands
1. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank - 1947 - (location, author) NF
2. The Girl With a Pearl Earring - Tracy Chevalier - 1999 - (location, US author), F
3. The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen - Hendrik Groen - 2015 - F (location, author) - 9/20/2019
4. Darwin Comes to Town - Menno Schilthuizen - 2018 - NF (partial location, author) 6/2020

Edited: Jul 19, 2022, 12:26pm

121. New Zealand
1. Colour Scheme - Ngaio Marsh - 1943 - (Location, author), Fic
2. The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton - 2013 - F - (author, location) - 9/2019
3. A life on Gorge River : New Zealand's remotest family - Robert Long - 2010 - NF (location, author) 5/2020

122 Nicaragua
- 1. Animal Dreams - Barbara Kingsolver - 1990 - (location), Fic, 11/20/2015

123 Niger

✔ 124 Nigeria
1. Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe - (location, author), F, 1001
2. Survive the Fittest - Henry Amaechi Onwubiko - (location (Biafra), author), F, 2007
3. What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky - Lesley Nneka Arimah - 2017 - (short stories, location, author) August 2018 PBS/NYT Now Read This;
4. Lagos Noir - Chris Abani - 2018 - LTER - (location, authors) short stories; read 2018
5. Binti trilogy - Nnedi Okorafor - Read 2018

Additional for Nigeria:
- Welcome to Lagos - Chibundu Onuzo - 2018 -Fic - LTER; audiobook - 2018
- My Sister the Serial Killer - Oyinkan Braithwaite - 2018 - Fic; location, author - March 2019

✔ 125. Norway
1. Out Stealing Horses - Per Petterson - (location, author) - 2003 - English translation 2005; F 2005
2. Kristin Lavransdatter - Sigrid Undset - 1920 - (location, author), F 12/2015 - 1001
3. Norwegian By Night - Derek B Miller - 2012- (US author, location) F 04/xx/2016
4. Northernmost - Peter Geye - 2020 - (Fic, location, US author) 4/2021
5. The Bell in the Lake - Lars Mytting - 2020 - (Fic, location, Norwegian author) - 5/2022

Edited: Jan 25, 12:29pm

126 Oman
1. Celestial Bodies - Jokha Alharthi - 2018 - Fic (location, Omani author) 11/2022
2. Bitter Orange Tree - Jokha Alharthi - 2022 - Fic (partial location, Omani author) 1/2023

✔ 127 Pakistan
1. I Am Malala - Malala Yousafzai - (author, location), NF, 2014
2. The Upstairs Wife - Rafia Zakaria - (author, location), NF 6/2015
3. An American Family: A Memoir - Khizr Khan - 2017 - NF; (partial location, author) 1/2018
4. Exit West - Mohsin Hamid -2017 - Fic; (?location/ Pakistani author); read 4/2018
5. The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid - Fic; (location/author) read 1/2020

Additional Reads for Pakistan:
Homeland Elegies: A Novel - Ayad Akhtar - 2020 - global reading: Pakistan (Pakistani American author; partial location) 7/2021

128 Palau (Republic of Palua)
#1 Legends of Micronesia (Book Two)Eve Grey - 1951 (also The Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of the Marshall Islands).

128-B (add on) Palestinian Authority
1. The Lemon Tree - Sandy Tolan - 2006 - (US author, location), NF, reread 2016
2. The Drone Eats With Me - Atef Abu Saif - 2016- NF (location, author) 12/2016
3. Apeirogon - Colum McCann - 2020 (Fic, location, Irish author) 8/2021

129 Panama
130 Papua New Guinea

Edited: May 7, 2022, 12:24pm

131 Paraguay

132 Peru
1. Ines of My Soul - Isabelle Allende -2007 - F location - (also Chile & Spain); Chilean author - read 3/2022

133 Philippines

134 Poland
1. Maus : A Survivor's Tale - Art Spiegelman - 1986 - NF, GN, (location), 2013
2. The Property by Rutu Modan - (location, Israeli author), GN, 2014
3. Inherit the Truth, 1939-1945: The Documented Experiences of a Survivor of Auschwitz and Belsen - Anita Lasker-Wallfisch - (location, author), NF,
4. Night - Elie Wiesel - 1958 - (location, author) NF
5. Solaris - Stanislaw Lem - 1962 - fiction/sf - (author) -1001 Books - Read 4/2019

135 Portugal
1. The Elephant's Journey - Jose Saramago - 2008 - Fic - (location, author); 2017

Edited: Jan 29, 2020, 10:51am

136 Qatar

137 Republic of Korea (South Korea)
1. Please Look After Mom - Kyung-sook Shin (author, location), F, 2008 - (2013)
2. Human Acts - Han Kang - 2016 - F (author, location) - 2017
3. Pachinko - Min Jin Lee - 2017 - Fic (location, author) - also Japan (8/2018)
4. Grass - Keum Suk Gendry-Kim - 2017 - NF graphic novel (location, author) 1/2020

138 Republic of Moldova

139 Romania
1. The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova - 2005 - (location, US author) 2013
2. For Two Thousand Years - Mihail Sebastian - 2017 - fic - (author,location) - translated from Romanian - LTER - 2017

✔ 140 Russian Federation
1. Doctor Zhivago - Boris Pasternak - 1957 (location, author), fic, 1001
2. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - 1962 (location, author), f, 1001
3. Summer in Baden-Baden - Tsypkin, Leonid - 1982 (German location, Russian author), f - 1001
4. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy 1868 - (location, author) 3/28/2016
5. Gorky Park - Martin Cruz Smith - 1981 - (location, US author) read 2013

More from Russia:
6. Child 44 - Tom Rob Smith - 2008 - (location, UK author) -
7. The Girl From the Metropol Hotel - Lyudmila Petrushevskaya - 2006 - NF (location, author); read Dec 2018
8. Secondhand Time - Svetlana Alexievich - 2013- NF (location, author) read 2019

Edited: Sep 16, 2018, 2:07pm

141 Rwanda
1. Say You're One of Them - Uwem Akpan - 2008 - (location, author) - F-short stories (also Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia)
2. Woman in the Mist - Farley Mowat -1987 - (location, Canadian author) NF 3/28/2016

142 Saint Kitts and Nevis
143 Saint Lucia
144 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
145 Samoa

Edited: Dec 5, 2022, 1:36pm

146 San Marino
147 Sao Tome and Principe

148 Saudi Arabia
1. Princess: a True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia - Jean Sasson NF (Location, author) - 2006
2. The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century - Steve Coll - 2008 - NF (location, US author) - 2009
3. Daring to Drive - Manal al-Sharif - 2017 0 NF - (location, author)

149 Senegal

150 Serbia
1. The Tiger's Wife - Tea Obrecht - 2010 - F, (unnamed Balkan location, Serbian/American author) read 2017
2. The Moravian Night - Peter Handke F (location, Austrian author) - 1/2020
3. An Uncertain Place - Fred Vargas - 2011 - Fic/mystery (French author, Serbia partial location) read 11/2022

Edited: May 18, 2022, 2:40pm

151 Seychelles

152 Sierra Leone
1. Someone Knows My Name - Lawrence Hill - 2008 - (partial location, Canadian author) Fic
2. Happiness - Aminatta Foma - author from Sierra Leone/Uk-fiction - library - 1/2022
3. The Devil That Danced on the Water - Aminatta Forna - 2002 - NF; (location, author) library 4/2022

153 Singapore
154 Slovakia

155 Slovenia
1. Veronika Decides to Die - Paulo Coehlo, - (location, Brazilian author) F, 1001

Edited: Dec 7, 2021, 3:13pm

156. Solomon Islands
1. Bride in the Solomons - Osa Johnson - NF (location, US author)

157 Somalia
1. One Goal: A Coach, A Team and the Game That Brought A Divided - Amy Bass - 2018; (Somalian refugees in US; US author) 4/2020
2. When Stars Are Scattered - Victoria Jamieson, Omar Mohamed - 2020 (Somalia/Kenya) - fictionalized memoir; GN - read 1/2021
3. This is What America Looks Like - Ilhan Omar - (Somalia/Kenya/US) - NF - 2020

✔ 158 South Africa
1. Cry, The Beloved Country - Paton, Alan - 1948- (location, author) f. 1001
2. The Pickup - Nadine Gordimer - 2001 F (location, author) 2009
3. Born A Crime - Trevor Noah - 2016 - (location, author) NF 4/9/2017
4. Expedition to the Baobab Tree - Wilma Stockenstrom - 1981 - F (location, author) 2/3/2019
5. Smokescreen - Dick Francis - 1972 - Fic/mystery - (location, UK author) read 7/2020

159 Spain
1. The Dumas Club - Pérez-Reverte, Arturo - (location, author) F, 1001 - 1993
2. Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon (location, author) F, 2001 - 10/2015
3. Out in the Open: A Novel - Jesus Carrasco - 2013 F, (location, author) 10/2019
4. The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books - Edward Wilson-Lee - 2018 - NF (location, UK author) - library - March 2021

160 Sri Lanka
1. A Disobedient Girl - Ru Freeman -2011 - (location, author), F , 2013
2. On Sal Mal Lane - Ru Freeman - (location, author) F, 2014
3. Wave - Sonali Deraniyagala - 2013 - NonFic (location, author) 5/2018
4. The Boat People - Sharon Bala - 2018 - Fic; (partial location, Canadian author)- library 10/21

Edited: Feb 19, 2020, 11:32am

161 Sudan
1. The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur by Daoud Hari - (location, author) - NF - 2008
2. What is the What - David Eggers - 2008 - (location, US author) 2010

161- B. South Sudan - recognized as independant 2014
162 Suriname
163 Swaziland

✔ 164. Sweden
1. Pippi Longstocking - Astrid Lindgren - (location, author), fic, 1001
2. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larsson - (location, author) - F, 2014
3. Waiting for Willa - Dorothy Eden - (location, UK author) F 2014
4. Yes, Chef - Marcus Samuelsson - NF (location, author) 2016
5. The Invoice - Jonas Karlsson - 2016 - F (location, author) read 9/30/2016

Additional books for Sweden:
1 - Still Waters - Viveca Sten - 2008 - Fic (author, location) - 2/2020

165 Switzerland
1. Einstein: His Life and Universe - Walter Isaacson - 2007 NF (location, US author) 2014
2. The Manticore - Robertson Davies - 1972 - F (location, Canadian author) 2016

Edited: Mar 28, 2021, 4:18pm

166 Syrian Arab Republic
1. Stripped to the Bone: Portraits of Syrian Women - Ghada Alatrash -2016; Fic/ SS; LTER; 2017
2. City of Jasmine - Olga Grjasnowa - 2019- - LTER - fic - (location, German author) June 2019

167 Tajikistan

168 Thailand
1. Killed at the Whim of a Hat - Colin Cotterill 2011 - F (mystery series); (location, US author in residence), 2012
2. The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi - 2009 - F (dystopian future); (location, US author) 2012
3. Now You See the Sky - Catharine H. Murray - 2018; LibraryThing Early Reviewer; NF (location, US expat author) 4/2019
4. Bangkok 8 - John Burdett - 2003 - (fic, location, UK author) read March 2021

169 The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
170 Timor-Leste

Edited: Jan 2, 2021, 12:28pm

171 Togo
172 Tonga

173. Trinidad and Tobago
1. Not For Everyday Use - Elizabeth Nunez - (author, location) NF 2014

174 Tunisia

175 Turkey
1. My Name is Red - Ohrman Pamuk - 1998 F (location, author) - 2009
2. Snow - Orhan Pamuk - (author, location) fic, 1001 - 2002
3. A Recipe for Daphne: A Novel- Nektaria Anastasiadou - (author, location, fic) - LTER - 1/2021

Edited: Oct 19, 2017, 3:30pm

176. Turkmenistan
1. Joe and Azat - Jesse Lonergan - 2009 - (peace corp worker, location) F- GN, 2/17/2016

177 Tuvalu
178 Uganda
179 Ukraine

180 United Arab Emirates
1. How to Be a Muslim: An American Story - Haroon Moghul - 2017 - LTER - NonF/Memoir (partial location: Dubais) - 2017

Edited: May 9, 2022, 3:34pm

182. United Kingdom
1. England - The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro - (location, author), F, 2015
2. England - Mansfield Park - Jane Austen - (location, author) F, 2015
3. England - Fingersmith - Sarah Waters - (location, author), F, 2015
4. England - The Children Act - Ian McEwan - (location, author) F, 2015
5.Scotland - To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf - (location, author), F, 2015

183. United Republic of Tanzania
1. Gravel Heart - Abdulrazak Gurnah - 2017 - Fic (location, author) 4/2022

184. United States of America
1. Rabbit Run - John Updike (location, author), F, 2015
2. Winter Wheat- Mildred Walker (location, author), F, 2015
3. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers, , (location, author), F, 2015
4. The Last Report on the Miracle at Little No Horse - Louise Erdrich, (location, author), F, 2015
5. Main Street - Sinclair Lewis - (location, author), - F 6/2105

185. Uruguay
1. The President and the Frog - Carolina De Robertis - 2021 - Fic, (Location -although unnamed, author) 2/2022

186 Uzbekistan

Edited: Sep 7, 2017, 10:51am

187 Vanuatu
188 Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

✔ 189 Viet Nam
1. The Lotus Eaters - Tatjana Soli - 2010 - (location-Vietnam war, US/Austrian author) 2013
2. The Quiet American - Graham Greene - (location, UK author), Fic, 1001, 8/26/2015
3. Another Man's Moccasins - Craig Johnson - (location), fic, 9/5/2015
4. The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien - 1990 (location, U. S soldier fought in Vietnam), fic - short stories; 10/20/2016
5. The Sympathizer - Viet Thanh Nguyen - 2015 - fiction (location, author) 9/5/2017

190 Yemen
191 Zambia

192. Zimbabwe
1. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness - Alexandra Fuller - (location, resident), NF, 2015 (also Zambia, Malawi, Kenya)

Edited: Sep 30, 2015, 11:08am



Edited: Sep 16, 2018, 2:07pm

Books with multiple countries: (may move these around)

- The Hare With Amber Eyes - Edmund de Waal - Austria - also:
- Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness - Alexandra Fuller - Zimbabwe - also Zambia, Malawi, Kenya
- Say You're One of Them - Uwem Akpan - 2008 - (location, author) - F-short stories (Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia)

Mar 16, 2015, 9:44am

- Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness - Alexandra Fuller - Zimbabwe - also Zambia, Malawi, Kenya

This is the story of the author's mother who liked to style herself as 'Nicola Fuller of Central Africa' using as inspiration the protagonists in such books as Out of Africa, The Flame Trees of Thika, and West With the Night. We meet bipolar Nicola in later life and see her in a manic phase while learning to fly an airplane.

She's amusing, but it all seems quite surface-y until later in the book, through a series of flashbacks, we learn her life story. Born in Skye, she moved to Kenya at an early age where she met and married her husband. But pushed out by the Mau Mau rebellion they decided to choose a more peaceful setting to establish a large ranch and chose the relatively peaceful and remote Rhodesia. Little were they to know that this would also be the site of bloody civil war as the British colonial government was overthrown and the free states of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawa were established.

Besides being a memoir of living with a bipolar mother, it's a love letter to that mother (although one not appreciated by Nicola A she refers to the the first installment of the story, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight as That Awful Book.) It's also a love letter to Africa. And finally it's an anti-war story as we grieve with the unimaginable losses that occur with the death of one regime and the beginning of another
“No one starts a war warning that those involved will lose their innocence – that children will definitely die and be forever lost as a result of the conflict; that the war will not end for generations and generations, even after cease fires have been declared and peace treaties have been signed. No one starts a war that way, but they should. It would at least be fair warning and an honest admission: even a good war – if there is such a thing – will kill anyone old enough to die.” p196

Edited: Mar 16, 2015, 4:56pm

Tehran Noir - Salar Abdoh (February 2015) - Iran

These are short stories by Iranian writers showing the noir side – the dark underbelly – of Tehran.

There are stories of crime, stories of people living with the scars and displacement of war, stories of living in a totalitarian state closely watched by state sponsored police as well as the morality police.

Some of them were too dark and disturbing for my taste – as examples, the story of a woman stoned to death, and another about a revenge-seeking pedophilic mullah.

If one can learn a bit about the middle by reading the extremes, I do feel I learned a bit about the lives and thoughts of Iranian people. Although this is a collection from a variety of authors, I thought all were well written, and that the translations from Farsi were well done.

This is one of a series by this publisher, featuring noir stories from cities around the world and is the first I have read in this series.

(This book was received through LTER.)

Mar 16, 2015, 3:13pm

thanks for the references and title recommendations!

Apr 18, 2015, 12:22am

:) Love the lists! And, of course, the maps. This year I'm not mapping myself out because I'm HOPING to work on already started series for most of the year. Unfortunately, of my 20 books so far, 3 of them are new series and one of them an old series. *sigh*

Edited: Jul 1, 2015, 10:15am

Second one for Pakistan: The Upstairs Wife - Rafia Zakaria

I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program in exchange for a written review.

In 1947, as the British domination of India was coming to an end, Britain partitioned India into the nations of Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan. In a bizarre twist, Pakistan actually consisted of two areas separated from each other by India proper and situated on the coasts of two different seas. After bloody fighting, one part broke away and became Bangladesh.

Author Rafia Zakaria has written this beautiful memoir, braiding together the history of Pakistan and the history of her family, refugees from India who settled in Karachi in 1962. It's also the story of her aunt, relegated to a few rooms in an upstairs apartment when her husband took a second wife, whom he loved.

The history of the Pakistani nation, while short and bloody, has deep roots. Zakaria brings to life its wars and struggles, as well as the internal struggles of the people. Life for post-partition immigrants from India was often quite limited in opportunities – and life for women became even more so.

I came away from this with a richer understanding of Pakistan's history including the conflicts of religion against religion, ethnic group against ethnic group, refugees against established inhabitants, men against women, and even sadly, women against women.

This one will stay with me for quite a while. Recommended. 4 stars

Oct 28, 2015, 9:56am

Keeping up with listing my reads, but I haven't been very good about commenting on them.

A second one for Spain:

Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon - 2001 (October 2015)

From the publisher: "Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets--an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

This is one of those novels that I know has been a favorite with many people here on LT besides being an international best-seller.

I found it a delight of a read, with events in Daniel's life braided together and echoing those of the mysterious author Julián Carax with an identical strand of evil wound into both. Part mystery, part romance, I may well go on to the next in this series. Has anyone else read the other parts of this trilogy?

Edited: Nov 20, 2015, 10:52am

My first for Belarus: Voices From Chernobyl by recent Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich. Review on book page.

And my first for Niceragua: Animal Dreams - Barbara Kingsolver - 1990 - (location) 11/20/2015 This one was only partially set in Niceragua - it may get bumped as I read more.

I'm starting to add books pre- 2014 from my LT tags. (Afghanistan)

Nov 30, 2015, 5:11pm

Thanks for feedback on Voices from Chernobyl which is on my TBR list for next year.

Dec 18, 2015, 9:33am

>50 starbox: Hi and thanks for stopping by! It's an emotionally tough read, but well worth it.

Here's a very cool map with book suggestions for all (?) countries.

Dec 28, 2015, 6:32pm

what a great link! thanks for the suggestion!

Feb 18, 2016, 9:56am

.52 You're welcome! I'm trying to accumulate links in my top post for global book lists.

# 2 for North Korea: Without You, There Is No UsSuki Kim - 2015


Suki Kim was born in South Korea and moved to the United States with her family when she was 13. She grew up with stories of missing family members who were separated when the Outside Powers divided Korea in 1945. It was a horrific division with casual decisions separating families forever, as those in the North utterly disappeared to their families, never to be heard from again, without even the possibility of knowing whether they were dead or alive.

As a result, Ms. Kim had an abiding interest in North Korea. A journalist, she had managed several trips to North Korea and written articles about the regime. When she applied as a teacher to the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, she was accepted as an English teacher.

The University is entirely unique. It is entirely run and funded by a Christian organization, but its teachers are forbidden to mention God; their only mission is to be kind so that if policy ever does become more liberal, Christians will be remembered favorably. Nevertheless, it is an evangelical Christian mission. Ms. Kim had to pose as a Christian – even if her deception was a message of omission.

Ms Kim taught in North Korea in the summer and fall of 2011. All other Universities in North Korea had been disbanded just prior to this time,and their students sent to manual labor. In retrospect, Ms Kim speculates that this was due to the imminent death of the Great Leader, Kim Jong-Il, in order to prevent student unrest on his death. The boys who were exempted from this manual service and sent to the Pyongyang University are sons of the elite.

She found a country with total and constant indoctrination.

Any slip up by a foreign teacher would result in instant deportation of the teacher. Anything that the teachers said that might cause the students to question their regime's indoctrination, could lead to death for the student and his family.

This is really a fascinating glimpse into the mysterious world of North Korea, and Ms Kim felt that it was important that this story be told. It's well written and kept me interested and page turning until the end.

However, there's a bit of a dilemma.

It is unlikely that she would have been hired or retained if it had been recognized that she was a journalist who had written previous articles about North Korea. A bit of googling about the fallout from this book, leads me to believe that there were reprisals against the Christian organization running the University and perhaps against some of her students, although she endeavored to disguise their identities. For me, at least, this leads to a bit of a moral ambiguity – it is more important for a journalist to get a story to the public, or to 'Do No Harm' to the subjects as Hippocrates advised the health care profession?

Nevertheless, 4 stars.

Edited: Mar 12, 2016, 4:32pm

Joe and Azat - Jesse Lonergan - 2009

This is a very short (96 pages) YA graphic novel.

It's loosely based on the author's experiences as a Peace Corp volunteer in Turkmenistan. The author pretty much sums it up in the opening frame. "It was a strange place. A lot of the strangeness came from the President for Life, Turkmenbashy."

Very quick read and both enlightening and entertaining. And hey! My first read set in Turkmenistan!

3.75 stars.

Edited: Mar 12, 2016, 4:54pm

My fifth book for Afghanistan:

These Heroic Happy Dead - Luke Mogelson LTER - review 3/9/2016

The epigraph and title are from e e cummings poem 'next to of course god america'

“ … why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
iful than these heroic happy dead
who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
they did not stop to think they died instead”

This is a series of intertwined short stories set both in Afghanistan and the US.

The protagonists are soldiers who went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq where they found a reality both improbable and impossible with morality twisted inside out, and hung upside down.

They returned to the US and their US lives, but something inside them had been changed forever; it had died just as surely as some of their friends had physically died. Some of these returnees have been physically wounded; some have been psychologically wounded – all no longer fit where they once belonged.

The stories share their time in Afghanistan; later we see a character pop up in a story in the US.

It's very thought provoking and beautifully written.

My one wish for this book is that although, we see women in the book who are partners and mothers; we do not, see any women soldiers.

Although Luke Mogelson chose the e. e. cummings poem as his epigraph, he might as easily have used another of my favorites: The Second Coming by Yeats

"Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Edited: Dec 2, 2016, 12:10pm

I just added my first book set (partially) in Sierra Leone: Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill. Great historical fiction about about slavery and the slave trade in the US beginning in the mid-1700's. I enjoyed it very much

Dec 2, 2016, 12:12pm

Book number two for the Palestinian Authority (which I added on to the original list): an LTER book called The Drone Eats With Me by Atef Abu Saif, a memoir of daily civilian life in the Gaza Strip during the Israeli War in 2014.

Jan 1, 2018, 12:47pm

I think I'm all updated on my countries list for 2017. Onward to 2018. I'll try to be better with reviews!

Jan 17, 2018, 2:15pm

First review of the year for a book read in 201 and first book for Colombia - both author and setting!

I read this book for the literature seminar I attend. I thought it was interesting that due to Colombia's heated political situation, it was first published in Spain.

1. Reputations - Juan Gabriel Vasquez - 2013
- January lit seminar
- Global Reading Challenge: First book from Colombia
- acq'd 2017 ROOT #1; 1 ROOT point

This is an incredibly intriguing short book.

Political cartoonist Javier Mallarino is at the zenith of his career in Bogata, Columbia. He has endured 40 years of political death threats, given up his dream of becoming a serious artist, and lost his wife and daughter who have fled from the man he has become.

But now he is being feted and even featured on a new postage stamp.

After the ceremony, a woman comes up to him. Was she molested in Mallarino's house 30 years ago when she was a child? Mallarino thought so, and with a political cartoon brought down the accused man, who committed suicide soon afterwards.

But what happened that night? What are the responsibilities of power? How true are memories? After all, as the White Queen said to Alice “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards”.

4 stars.

Edited: Jan 24, 2018, 11:53am

Pakistan : Book # 3

An American Family: A Memoir - Khizr Khan
- 2017
(partial location, author) 1/2018
Other locations: United Arab Emirates, US

You probably know of author Khizr Khan even if you don't recognize the name. He was the Muslim gold star father who spoke at the Democratic National Convention. However, he doesn't fit into a Democrats-only box. He is also inspired by Republican Ronald Reagan's vision of the United States as a city on a hill and statements by George W. Bush. He spoke at the DNC due to a deep love for America and the feeling that the anti Muslim rhetoric had reached a frightening turning point.

This is a very intelligent, thoughtful man who has a lot to say regarding reasonable discourse about divisive matters. He also has a flair for telling his story.

Born in Pakistan, he came from a family of farmers. His father, although uneducated, was an insightful man who instilled a love of God, fellow humans and education in his son.

As a student, Khan found a copy of the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution in a used book store. He was completely unfamiliar with US history, but was immediately struck that some people believe that some truths about freedoms and rights were self-evident and God given. His homeland of Pakistan did not recognize of these concepts.

So began his journey to America.

This is probably one of the most uplifting books you will read this year. Don't miss the experience.

Feb 13, 2018, 10:59am

12. The Museum of Unconditional Surrender - Dubravka Ugrešić - 1996
- lit seminar;
- 1001 Books To Read Before You Die;
- Global Reading Challenge: Croatia;
- TIOLI #3: Read A Book of which the title contains something that you love;
- purchased 2018

From 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die: “The novel attempts to capture the slow and constant sense of loss and displacement caused by exile, and the disappearance of anything one could call home. Its scattered, Postmoderm method of narration moves between magic realism, diary entries, essaysitic prose, and even a recipe for Caraway soup. This allows the author to recognize herself as a kind of museum exhibit, as are all those who have left behind a home that no longer exists. She refers many times to the two different types of exile, those with photographs (ties to the past) and those without...”

“Rilke once said that the story of a shattered life can only be told in bits and pieces …” p107

The novel begins with a description of the contents of a stomach of a walrus which died in the Berlin zoo; unimaginable bits of random, plastic modern life, which, no matter how one may try to fit together, stay a random collection, but still describe the walrus's life and ultimately his death.

So it is with Ugrešić's novel. There are random bits and pieces which one is in despair of fitting together, and yet describe the refugee's life.

Beautifully written, but a tough book for me to get through; less because of the subject matter than the episodic, patchwork style. Perhaps this only reflects my lack of experience with postmodernism.

By the end I had a little clearer understanding of living with a life ripped away.

Ugrešić herself fled war torn Yugoslavia as it disintegrated into five separate nations. Her birthplace became part of Croatia and she writes in Croatian.

Since this is the first book I have read from Croatia, I thought a map might be fitting:

Wikipedia map of Croatia:

Feb 16, 2018, 1:42pm

A Guide to the Birds of East Africa - Nicholas Drayson - 2008;
- Global Reading: Kenya (book #5 for Kenya);

Widower Henry Malik has been in love with widow and fellow bird enthusiast Rose Mbikwa for quite some time. He has just screwed up his courage to ask her to the Nairobi Hunt Ball.

But a schoolfellow nemesis of his, Harry Khan, appears and is equally taken by Rose. In order to settle who has the right to ask Rose to the ball, the two men engage in a top secret wager as to who can identify the most species of birds.

Enough Nairobi details to give a feeling for the realities of Kenyan life – street gangs, crime, raiders from across the Ugandan border, dangerous politics, AIDS, and the eco tourists.

But mostly this book is fun; more so if you would enjoy details of the rich bird life this area has to offer.

This is the fifth book I have read set in or by Kenyan authors and the first country I have 'completed' in Africa.

So another map is in order:

Edited: Mar 9, 2018, 12:34pm

Book #1. (Galapagos Islands) - The Beak of the Finch - Jonathan Weiner - 2007 - NF (location - Galapagos Islands; US author) -

Nearly everyone has heard of the Galapagos Islands and the finches which sparked many of Darwin's theories of evolution.

This is an in depth look at the evolution of these finches and the continuing selective pressure they are under as they continue to evolve, season by season, as each year brings a bit different conditions to these islands.

Most of this is seen through the lens of Peter and Rosemary Grant, two dedicated scientists who have devoted their careers to the teasing out the secrets of evolution as shown by these birds.

It's not just about finches, though, as later chapters deal with topics such as climate change, pesticide and antibiotic resistance.

This classic book was first published in 1995 and won a Pulitzer. Nevertheless, while older, the information is still solid. I feel this book is accessible and downright fascinating.

Mar 24, 2018, 12:16pm

People's Republic of the Congo: Emerald LabyrinthEli Greenbaum - 2017; Read 3/2018

Author Eli Greenbaum is a herpetologist and evolutionary biologist. He's also a modern adventurer.

He's been to the People's Republic of the Congo several times in his quests to document new or rare species of amphibians (and the occasional snake). There is real urgency for this work, as with each acre of jungle that disappears, undiscovered species may disappear forever.

This is also a modern day travel adventure account as central Africa, with its continuing wars and unrest, along with its remote, difficult to access locations, has been overlooked and little understood by the West for many years.

Each chapter begins with a bit about the area he will be traveling in – history, such the colonial ambitions of Belgium's King Leopold II and more current events including wars, uprisings and civil wars including the Hutu/Tsutsi conflict and genocide. We're also introduced to some of the geology of the area that formed the Great Rift; and of course, the endangered gorillas and elephants of the area.

The chapter then continues with the story of his expedition , including the obstacles to travel due to terrain, illnesses such as malaria, and hostile inhabitants. And of course, he describes the creatures that he found, and how they are is important to his research and to understanding our changing planet as a whole.

I enjoyed the sheer adventure of this book, the scientific work and also learning about the Congo. I came away from it with an increased knowledge and appreciation of central Africa. If you're an armchair scientist or an armchair adventurer, I think you'll find this book of interest.

I received this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers' program in exchange for an honest review.

Edited: Apr 23, 2018, 3:05pm

Israel - Book #4: Judas - Amos Oz - 2014 - Fic (location, author) - read 4/2018

Schmuel Ash is a grad student at Hebrew University, interested in creating his thesis on 'The Jewish View of Jesus'. But after two thousand years, it is hard to produce new thought on this. He believes he has struck on one: Judas, instead of being the reviled traitor, is the kernel of the story. Judas is Jesus's first true believer, but frustrated with how Jesus is not cooperating, Judas pushes events forward.

Discouraged by his advisor's unenthusiastic reception and having money problems, Schmuel drops out of school and becomes the caretaker to a mysterious old man, whose son was killed in fighting for the Israeli state. His current caretaker is his son's widow. Her father fought for a more moderate Israeli nation, with compensation for the displaced Palestinians.

So we have two traitors, Judas and the widow's father; and two heroes – Jesus and Israeli leader Ben-Gurion. But who is traitor and who is hero? Who is trying to do the right thing and how will history remember them?

Tough read for me, because while I am familiar with the nuances of the story of Jesus and can see the skews, I am not familiar with the nuances of Israeli politics at the time it was becoming a nation. Is Ben-Gurion's story also a bit skewed? I just don't have the experience to know, although I spent a bit of time researching his positions since I read this as part of a literature seminar.

Still, it's an interesting look at the complexities of the Israeli/Palestinian situation and the mistakes that may have been made leading to today's conflict.

And Oz's writing is fine and thought provoking.

Edited: Sep 16, 2018, 2:14pm

Pakistan Book #4 Exit West - Mohsin Hamid - 2017
Read April 2018

"Saeed wondered aloud once again if the natives would really kill them, and Nadia said once again that the natives were so frightened that they could do anything. “I can understand it,” she said. “Imagine if you lived here. And millions of people from all over the world suddenly arrived.” “Millions arrived in our country,” Saeed replied. “When there were wars nearby.” “That was different. Our country was poor. We didn’t feel we had as much to lose.”

Saeed and Nadia are young adults, working in a city in a non-specified Middle Eastern country. As their relationship grows, so does the war. The city they live in crumbles: bombings and killings on the streets, lack of water and infrastructure and their jobs disappear. They fear the indiscriminate killing on both sides of the conflict.

And then they hear of magic doorways – secret exits to other countries. Desperate and afraid for their lives, they decide to pay a smuggler to get through the door. While Nadia doesn't have any family, Saeed's father decides to stay behind. Everyone know this means they will be unlikely to see each other again.

But refugee camps are chaotic places, not as safe or as hopeful as they imagined. There is a great deal of sadness as they can never return to their country, and the people they knew before are also lost to them. They decide to chance the magic doors as they move onward through other doors to find a safe, more permanent life.

Interesting and well written, I read this along with the March PBS/NYT Now Read This Book Club.

I probably would have been more impressed by this work had I not read the spectacular Stripped to the Bone: Portraits of Syrian Women by Ghada Alatrash last year. Alatrash's short stories affected me emotionally in a way this book did not quite capture.

Sep 16, 2018, 2:15pm

Haiti: Book #2: Mouths Don't Speak - Katia D. Ulysse - 2018

A hard book to summarize without spoilers!

Jacqueline is an immigrant from Haiti, married to an ex-Marine with several combat tours behind him and untreated PTSD. They have a young daughter.

Jacqueline was neglected and had little contact with her upper class Haitian parents as a child. When she was very young, she had been left in a boarding school while her parents toured the world. She saw little of her parents from that point onward.

Nevertheless, she is frantic when she cannot contact them after the Haiti earthquake. She dials their unresponsive phone obsessively as the days turn into weeks. And yet, sometimes the unexpected happens.

Jacqueline decides to return to Haiti with her daughter to renew family ties and to reconnect with her home country. Her husband refuses to go with her as he considers the chaos in Haiti to be a virtual state of war.

Tragedy happens. The marriage is tested to its limits. Then once again we return to the Haitian class divisions.

This is actually a very short novel, with many different themes braided into it. They are all interesting strands, but I felt that they were worthy of more development. Too many themes, like too many spices in a dish, can muddle the story. In addition this fairly bleak novel was tied up with a bow at the end, which was rather unexpected and I'm not sure fit with the rest of the novel. Can trauma be solved that easily?

However, it was a compelling read, that kept me quite interested. I also was fascinated by this look at the wealthy in Haiti and this view of the country. This is an interesting novel by a young writer. I would definitely be interested in her next book.

I received a copy of this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.

Sep 16, 2018, 2:18pm

Sri Lanka: Book #3 Wave - Sonali Deraniyagala - 2013; read May 2018

In 2012, Sonali Deraniyagala was celebrating the New Year week with her beloved family and friends at a national park on the Sri Lankan coast, only a few miles from where she had grown up. She, her husband and sons had traveled from London for a happy holiday reunion with Sonali's Sri Lankan parents.

Suddenly a friend alerted her to the curious fact that the sea was rolling in on their hotel. It took a few moments for them to realize it was a tsunami. She and her husband grabbed their boys and started running in a panic, not even pausing to pound on her parents' next door hotel room and warn them of the coming disaster.

They leaped into a good Samaritan's jeep, but could not outrun the wave. Sonali does not remember seeing her husband and sons disappear; she knows only that after being swept by the water for a long time, she grabbed a branch above her. She remembers herself being rescued as she was curled motionless and speechless into a ball. Her rescuers told her that she was spinning, spinning, spinning....

She never saw any of her family alive again.

This is not just a disaster tale, but a story of surviving the unimaginable. She tells of moving through a world where her family no longer exists: the near catatonia in the first months, followed by the incredibly slow inchworm acknowledgment (but never becoming forgetful) of her unimaginable loss.

Sep 16, 2018, 2:20pm

Malaysia: Book #2 The Gift of Rain - Tan Twan Eng - 2007 - Read June 2018

Set in Malaya before the Second World War, Phillip Hutton is the son of a powerful British businessman who is one of the wealthy elite of the island. Phillip is also the only child of his father's second wife, a Chinese lady cast out by her family due to this marriage.

Phillip found himself never quite fitting in: not in his British, white family; not as a half Chinese child growing up in Malaya; and certainly not with his estranged Chinese grandparents whom he had never met.

But then he met a Japanese diplomat, Endo-san, who was renting a home on an island owned by Phillip's family. The diplomat, also very much alone in Malaya, took on Phillip as his martial arts disciple, molding his philosophy as well as his physical body. The two became deeply connected; the sensai revealed that the two had been connected in many lifetimes.

When Japan invaded Malaya, it became obvious that much of what Phillip believed about his beloved teacher was not true.

Where do loyalties lie? How can Phillip best help his family and his country? This is a wonderfully complex novel investigating connections and conflicting loyalties. The world is real enough to touch; the people are wonderfully three dimensional. It's a hard novel to put down. 4.5 stars

Sep 22, 2018, 2:12pm

>66 streamsong: That's a really interesting review and conclusions. I haven't read Exit West, but I did read The Reluctant Fundamentalist a few months ago and thought it was excellent. I also read Stripped to the Bone the other year as I won it as an Early Reviewer book, and thought it was OK but honestly couldn't rave about it. I do remember in my review saying that I thought it would work better reworked as an epic novel weaving the various stories together - I found the short stories really frustrating as I never felt like I was able to do any more than scratch the surface with the characters.

Nov 28, 2018, 4:05pm

>70 Jackie_K: Thanks for stopping by, Jackie! I love divergent views of books. And I understand that short stories aren't for everyone.

I really, really enjoyed the short about the old woman wanting to take her plant starts with her to the US. Reminded me so much of my grandmother.

Edited: Nov 28, 2018, 4:10pm

Nigeria: Book #4 Read August 2018

What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky - Lesley Nneka Arima - 2017
- August PBS/NYT Now Read This Bookclub;

This is a wonderful, thought provoking collection with many different genres represented. It's my favorite collection of short stories that I have read this year.

Two of the best which I am stil thinking about months after reading them:

'What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky' – a future society where mankinds' troubles have been assuaged – people will even professionally bear your emotional burdens. But then it starts to go wrong.

'Who Will Greet You at Home” - This is based on an African tale that I felt was similar to 'The Snow Child' – wanting a child so much that an inanimate object comes alive. But this one was quite darker than the Nordic version.

Read these and enjoy. Your knowledge of Nigeria (although some of the stories also take place in the US) and human nature will both be the better for it

Edited: Jan 11, 2019, 5:19pm

Read in December 2018 for a literature seminar in January 2019

Brazil Book #3: The Hour of the Star - Clarice Lispector - 1977

Clarice Lispector is one of Brazil's iconic writers. Born in 1920 in the Ukraine, she moved at an early age with her family to Brazil. She was only the third women to go to law school in Brazil and the first Jew. This book is the last published before her death in 1977.

Lispector often uses nonconventional syntax and grammar. This can make it quite hard to translate; previous translators have often given in to the urge to 'clean' up her writing.

This is an unusually styled book. The first character is an unnamed male narrator who is writing the story of a young impoverished woman in Rio de Janero; a woman not only living in physical poverty, but in spiritual and emotional poverty. She ekes out a daily living, living almost anonymously in the huge city and so beset by each day that she cannot imagine a future.

The male narrator steps out of his character several times to chide himself that he must not become sentimental and 'write like a woman'. There's a bit of humor, a large measure of pathos and a story line that will stick with me.

Edited: Jan 11, 2019, 5:20pm

First review of 2019! This book was a selection last fall in my lit seminar. Although fascinatating, I had to take it in short chunks.

1. Secondhand Time - Svetlana Alexievich - 2013
- Global Reading: Russia (additional book);

This book is written in a similar style to the only other book of Nobel laureate Alexievich's that I have read: Voices From Chernobyl. Both volumes feature recollections of people who have lived through the events. In this case , these are people who lived through the breakup of the Soviet Union.

The dissolution of the USSR was much more chaotic and violent than I imagined. While older people struggled that the ideology they had based their lives on was no longer relevant, they also faced the dissolution of their work places and the loss of their pensions. Professional people ended up on the street selling small goods for whatever tiny sums they could get.

Many people longed for their previous lives and felt they had traded a lifetime of idealism for salami in the shops.

The USSR satellite countries saw violence. Russians and other minorities were purged, and killed in the streets by citizens who had formerly shared the status of USSR citizens. The reverse also happened with Russian citizens in Russia purging those from former member countries.

The crumbling of the social and economic left huge holes which led to the rise of the Russian oligarchs and Vladimir Putin.

Those who lived through this era tell their accounts vividly. As with the Chernobyl book, I came away with a much better understanding of both the events and the way individual lives were upturned.

A fascinating and highly recommended read.

Jan 19, 2019, 10:18am

>74 streamsong: I'm reading Secondhand Time at the moment too, and finding it fascinating.

Jan 19, 2019, 11:09am

>75 Jackie_K: Hi Jackie! Are you part of the February group read in the category challenge? I thought I'd see people have to say about it.

Jan 21, 2019, 6:37am

>76 streamsong: Yes, I'm just waiting for the thread to go up!

Edited: Feb 10, 2019, 12:31pm

South Africa #4: The Expedition to the Baobab Tree: A Novel - Wilma Stockenstrom - 1981 - Fic (author, location)
- February Lit Seminar

This stream of consciousness novel opens with our narrator living in a baobab tree, utterly alone, and ignorant in the ways of fending for herself in the middle of the African veld.

Living in Africa just before the coming of the white man, she has been a slave her entire life and schooled in the art of pleasing men.

Now she reflects back on her life. She is devoid of human contact but fills her life with bits and pieces of memory, just as she arranges and rearranges three small beads into a variety of patterns.

“And I fill my thoughts with all sorts of objects to obliterate everything, endless row upon row, not to be counted, I thank providence, I can think of enough objects to obliterate everything, and in addition I can make up objects if the remembered ones run out. I have good remedies against being empty.” p 14

“If I could write, I would take up a porcupine quill and scratch your (the baobab tree's) enormous belly full from top to bottom. I would clamber up as far as your branches and carve notches in your armpits to make you laugh. Big letters. Small letters. In a script full of lobes and curls, in circumambient lines I write round and round you, for I have so much to tell you of a new horizon that became an expedition to a tree. “ p 34

This is a beautiful novel.

Translated by J. M. Coetzee.

Apr 6, 2019, 12:26pm

Finland #1 - The Wife - Meg Wolitzer - 2003
- PBS/NYT Feb book club
- Global Reading: Finland (partial location/ US author)
- library

Joseph Castleman is a world-famous novelist. Although he's won many literary prizes, the major prizes have eluded him until now.

As a young man, he taught writing in a prestigious girls' college. He lived in a cramped apartment with his wife and newborn baby who was actually born the very day he met Joan, a student who appeared to be a gifted writer and soon became his lover.

After his wife physically attacked Joan, he divorced the wife, married Joan, and published an acclaimed semi-autobiographical novel of the incident.

His writing career skyrocketed from there with many acclaimed novels. And now, he's won a major prize, considered to be a stepping stone for the Nobel. He was always a man who lived for acclaim and enjoyed the rarefied limelight his novel writing gained for him.

As always, wife Joan, accompanies him and supports him at the award ceremony in Finland. She had long ago given up writing and subjugated her promising career to be the support her famous husband required throughout their 40 year marriage.

But there's a secret in their life that a sharp eyed journalist writing a biography of Joe has discovered – and which Joe and Joan's grown children have also long suspected. Joan herself has tired of the deceit.

If you've seen the recent movie, you know the twist. This is an interesting novel of a gifted woman's place in the literary field and the still-too-prominent promotion of male over female authors.

4 stars.

Apr 6, 2019, 12:28pm

Nigeria (Additional Book) My Sister the Serial Killer - Oyinkan Braithwaite - 2018
- Women's Prize longlist; also TOB
- Global Reading: Nigerian (author, location); extra book beyond 5
- library

From the book jacket: "Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now, Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead."

Three boyfriends gone sour – followed by their three deaths that big sister Korede has helped her beautiful black-widow younger sister, Ayolla, cover up. But the family of the last victim insist on searching for the missing man ... and neighbors saw the two girls acting suspiciously around Korede's car which the police impound for evidence.

And …. Ayoola has now set her sights on Korede's love-from-afar, Dr Tade Otumu. Dr Otomu falls hard for Ayoola, just as every man does.

Protecting her crush would betray her sister. Protecting her sister means abandoning a good man to certain death.

Where do Korede's loyalties lie?

I found this an entertaining, quick read. The sisters' relationship and bond ring true in an exaggerated, co-dependent way. The tension builds.

4 stars

May 27, 2019, 10:25am

Argentina - Book #2 - Mouthful of Birds - Samanta Schweblin
- short stories
- Long list Booker International Prize 2019

This is an odd, offbeat, and sometimes downright creepy collection of short stories.

It starts out with a roar with a bride left causally at a roadside stop – only to find that she is not the only one there.

And then there’s the aid worker who arrived at a town to find things are very wrong.

Or perhaps you’d rather ponder what one does when your beloved daughter begins to eat live birds?

Of course not every story was a home run; and there were those that I was left wondering what that was about.

But, this collection had more hits than misses for me. And the hits were very good.

3.8 stars.

Jun 3, 2019, 11:26am

Poland Book # 5 SolarisStanislaw Lem -1962 - fiction/sf (author; location outer space) -1001 Books - Read 4/2019
- (translated from French by Joanna Kilmartin and Steve Cox; Previously translated from Polish to French)

This is a science fiction classic written in 1962.

Solaris is a small planet orbiting a double star system. Physics predict that its orbit should be unstable, but it’s not. Something prevents it from plunging into one star or the other. The only thing to be observed on the planet, however, is an ocean with highly unusual properties. Despite decades of research comprising thousands of volumes, it still begs the question of sentience.

Until an ethically questionable experiment using high powered x-ray begins to change events. Then the astronauts inhabiting a small space station above Solaris, start seeing humanoid figures from the deepest part of their subconscious.

What happens when humans encounter a life form so different that there is no way to communicate, even with mathematical equations or energy beams? And how would such an entity feel about the presence of humans?

Jun 3, 2019, 11:35am

Cambodia #1 - Love Songs From a Shallow Grave - Colin Cotterill - 2011
- Fic - (Partial Location; US expat author)- 5/2019

In this mystery series set in the 1970’s Dr Siri Paiboun is the sole coroner for the nation of Laos. He’s seen it all and is often a thorn in the side of the authorities for his cynical, wisecracking ways. If he wasn’t so efficient at what he does, and also a founding fighter in the Laotian Communist movement, he’d probably have been shipped off for reeducation long ago.

This 7th volume of the series opens with Dr Siri being brutally tortured in a Khmer Rouge prison in Cambodia. The novel alternates between chapters of torture and his probable death with Dr. Siri’s day to day life in Laos as he works through a puzzling trio of murders done with fencing epees and a trademark “Z” carved into the victims’ thighs.

I thoroughly disliked the scenes of torture and death within the Khmer Rouge prison, although they made the Khmer Rouge regime and killing fields real in a way that I won’t forget. They were also quite effective in making the reader question Dr Siri’s ultimate fate. I put this book aside several times and then decided to just skip through the alternating torture chapters.

I love Dr. Siri. I enjoyed the complicated murder plot and Dr. Siri’s unraveling of the mystery. I enjoy the word play and humor in this series and the unique and well-realized recurring secondary characters. But I enjoy mysteries in between reading heavier stuff and the torture in this particular novel took it out of the light, enjoyable realm.

I will definitely continue the series, but this is one I won’t reread. - Fic - (Partial Location; US expat author)- 5/2019

Jun 10, 2019, 12:16pm

Bolivia: Book #1: 52. Women Talking - Miriam Toews - 2018 - Fic - (location, Canadian author) - 6/2019

A Note on the Novel by the author:
"Between 2005 and 2009, in a remote Mennonite colony in Bolivia named the Manitoba Colony, after the province in Canada, many girls and women would wake in the morning feeling drowsy and in pain, their bodies bruised and bleeding, having been attacked in the night. Some members of the community felt the women were being made to suffer by God or Satan as punishment for their sins; many accused the women of lying for attention or to cover up adultery; still others believed everything was the result of wild female imagination.

“Eventually, it was revealed that eight men from the colony had been using an animal anesthetic to knock their victims unconscious and rape them. In 2011, these men were convicted in a Bolivian court and received lengthy prison sentences. In 2013, while the convicted men were still in jail, it was reported that similar assaults and other sexual abuses were continuing to take place in the colony.”

This is an amazing story based on a true incident that happened in a Mennonite colony in Bolivia. As the story opens, the rapists have been caught and are in jail; those men not in jail are in the city, trying to post bail so the men can be released back to the colony. The women have been told that they must forgive the rapists or their eternal salvation is forfeited.

They convene a secret meeting to consider their three options; forgive, stay and do nothing; stay and fight; or leave the colony. They briefly consider asking the guilty men to leave the colony, but this is a laughable option; they have to no power to ask a man to do anything, much less compel one to leave.

For these women, leaving is a serious business. They are unable to communicate with anyone except fellow Mennonites as they speak only low German. They have been forbidden to learn the local language, which is Spanish, or the more universal English. They are unable to read. They have no idea where they might go, but believe a world map might help them find their way, although none of the women know how to read a map. They would have to leave sons above the age of fourteen behind, most likely never to see them again.

The novel has a unique form: it’s presented as minutes to their meeting written by the schoolteacher, August, who is considered less than a man because he is not a farmer.

A wonderful novel of completely powerless group of women exploring their options and becoming empowered.

Both the story and the form are unique and brilliant. 4.5 stars

“We’re not members she repeats. We are the women of Moloschna. The entire colony of Molotschna is built on the foundation of patriarchy (note by August) Salome didn’t use the word “patriarchy – I inserted it in the place of Salome’s curse, of mysterious origin, loosely translated as ‘talking through the flowers’). Where the women live out their days as mute, submissive and obedient servants. Animals. Fourteen year old boys are expected to give us orders. To determine our fates, to vote on our excommunications, to speak at the burials of our own babies while we remain silent, to interpret the Bible for us, to lead us in worship, to punish us! We are not members, Mariche, we are commodities!” p 120 – 121

Edited: Oct 19, 2019, 4:40pm

Syria #2 City of Jasmine - Olga Grjasnowa - 2019- - LTER - fic - (location, German author) June 2019

This novel follows several young people caught in Damascus at the beginning of the 2011 Syrian revolution.

Hammoudi is a Paris trained doctor who must return to Syria to get his passport renewed. When he is denied an exit visa, he is trapped, earning governmental sanction finally including a death contract as he refuses the government mandate not to treat revolutionaries.

Amal is a young actress; Youssef a young director.

Author Grjasnowa paints a portrait of a pleasant although sometimes tense pre-war lifestyle in Damascus and Syria. As one by one basic necessities and finally safety itself disappear into chaos, a vivid answer is given to those who ask “Why don’t the refugees stay and fight?’, a rather ugly refrain that I have seen on social media multiple times.

Grjasnowa was a child refugee from Azerbaijan to Germany when she was eleven. She has lived in a variety of countries and is married to a Syrian national. Her understanding of the plight of refugees shines authentically from every page.

While I cared for both the characters and their outcomes, I didn’t care much for the writing.

It’s adequate, but often feels a bit stilted and not at all like the cover blurb which states that author Grjasnowa “writes sensuously and vividly”.

Some of the phrases are almost funny – “enough incense sticks to kill a cow” (how does one kill a cow with incense sticks?) And while I received a version which contains the warning that it is an uncorrected advance proof (although except for the small blurb on the back cover, it appears to be a regularly bound paperback version), I can’t imagine that there will be a total rewriting of the flow of the story. Whether this is indicative of the author, or the translator is impossible to tell.

There are definitely enough positives about this book that I will try another by this author.
Edit | More

Edited: Nov 29, 2019, 2:03pm

Czech Republic #1: The Metamorphosis: And Other Short Stories (Unabridged Classics in Audio) - Franz Kafka - Guy De Maupassant - 1915/ late 1800's /1992
-1001; audiobook
- library - Read 6/2019

I read this for the second quarter ReadingGlobally theme of translated speculative fiction. I have come to a crawl on the 1001 book list, and so The Metamorphosis became only my second 1001 of the year; it also became my first read with an author from Czechoslovakia for my Global Reading challenge. map >9 streamsong: streamsong:

I don’t need to say much about the plot of The Metamorphosis: a man wakes to find himself changed into a huge repulsive bug (sometimes translated as cockroach). His life is deeply changed; as an object of horror, he is confined to his bedroom except for the odd expedition within his house. His family react with deep loathing to his appearance; they seem most deeply affected by the inconvenience it causes to their lives.

The other stories in this audiobook volume are by Guy De Maupassant. They are labeled ‘horror’ but as they were written in the late 1800’s, to me they seemed fairly mild noir. They include:

The Englishman
The Piece of String
The Necklace
A Crisis
The Will
Love the Inn
Was it a Dream

A good introduction to these two authors.

Edited: Apr 5, 2020, 8:39pm

Thank you for all your helpful links. I will keep your post starred for when I need ideas!

Edited: Apr 9, 2021, 12:49pm


1. Turkey book #3 A Recipe for Daphne: A Novel- Nektaria Anastasiadou - (author, location, fic) - LTER - 1/2021

TurkeyThe romance(s) are light, fluffy, and feel-good with many happy endings and a good sprinkling of humor. If you enjoy arm-chair traveling and are looking for a novel set in current times with descriptions of modern Istanbul, this novel may fit the bill. Lots of good history worked into the story as well as the current cultures showing the tensions between the Greek Orthodox Christians and the Muslims.

3.5 stars. I received a copy of this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program in exchange for an unbiased review.

Edited: Apr 9, 2021, 12:49pm

Greenland - book 1 Migrations: A Novel - Charlotte McConaghy - 2020 - Fic; (partial location- also Antarctica; UK author) - read Jan 2021

Spain book 4. The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books - Edward Wilson-Lee - 2018 - NF (location, UK author) - library - March 2021

Edited: May 9, 2022, 12:28pm

Chile book 3. The Long Petal of the Sea - Isabel Allende - 2020 - Fic; (Chile - also Spain & Paraguay; Chiliean author) read March 2021

Two brothers were among the Republican fighters in the Spanish Civil War. When the Republicans were routed by Franco’s Fascist Nationalists, tens of thousands of refugees had to flee or be shot by the new government. Thousands fled secretly on foot across the mountainous border of France, but France had neither the resources nor the will to care for so many refugees, and they were placed in concentration camps there.

One brother died during the war. His pregnant fiancé, Roser, and the remaining brother, Viktor face hopeless conditions in the French camps – until they were chosen as part of two thousand refugees to go to Chile on the USS Winnipeg, a ship underwritten by poet Pablo Neruda. To take advantage of this offer, Viktor and Roser had to marry.

But soon, the political situation in Chile began to mirror that of Spain – first with the democratic Socialist President Allende, followed by the military coup and dictatorship headed by General August Pinochet. Once more there were concentration camps and exile eventually to Venezuela.

But through all of this, there are stories of family and love and learning how to live life and begin again each time, no matter what the odds.

There are a wonderful variety of characters in this book. The women, especially, were diverse and interesting, as were the mix of historical and fictional characters.

I’ve only read a few of Allende’s books, but this is my favorite.

Edited: Apr 9, 2021, 12:44pm

Iceland Book 2: Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland - Sarah Moss - 2009 - Non Fic, location, UK author read 4/2021

Sarah Moss had spent a summer in her teens touring Iceland with a friend. She fell in love with the people and the physical landscape. So, when in 2009 she saw a job as a lecturer at an Icelandic college, she packed up her two kids and husband and committed for a year.

She had expected to experience the most egalitarian democracy in Europe. However, she arrived during the collapse of Iceland’s economy due to banker’s overextending themselves. This, of course, changed many of the things she experienced – including having her salary worth about half of what she expected, making it a challenge to make ends meet.

Sarah Moss is a wordsmith and I loved her account of her year – the day to day challenges of living and raising children in a country with winters without sunrises and extreme cold, the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption, her friend’s participation in the ‘Pots and Pans’ uprising and her explorations of the culture.

There were many topics that you’d expect her to explore – such as knitting and the hidden folk (faeries).

There were also many surprises for her – including the complete lack of Icelandic grown fruits and very few vegetables, causing her to explore the traditional Icelandic cooking. Other unexpected aspects included the cars Icelanders drive, and the total lack of opportunity to buy things second hand - which was the way she had planned to furnish her family’s apartment for the year.

Highly recommended – and I’ll definitely continue reading Sarah Moss.

Apr 9, 2021, 1:59pm

>91 streamsong: That sounds right up my street - adding to the wishlist!

Apr 10, 2021, 10:56am

>92 Jackie_K: Hi Jackie! It was a great book. I hope you enjoy it!

I hope to get caught up on reviews on this page ... I've been doing them on my 75 books challenge thread but I do want to get this page current, too.

Edited: Jul 7, 2021, 5:47pm

Norway #4 Northernmost - Peter Geye - 2020 - (Fic - location, US author) 4/2021

This is a double time line story – perhaps one even may call it triple time line, since the 1897 time line of Odd Einar Eide is its own double time line after he recounts his survival adventure after arriving home to find his funeral in progress.

It had been reported that Odd Einar and his partner had been killed by an ice bear on Krossferden while hunting for seals. Since only Odd Einar’s boots, but no part of his body was found, his beloved hardingfele (a traditional Norwegian musical instrument) was buried in his grave.

The modern story is of Odd Einar’s great great granddaughter Greta Nansen, who, a hundred years later in 2017 finds her marriage is over. Did she ever really love her husband? Her husband has returned to his homeland of Norway, where he is having an affair. Greta determines to follow him from their home in Minnesota to Oslo to confront him. Once in Norway, she turns aside to go to Hammerfest, a town where her ancestors lived. And there she meets a man.

She determines over the course of the next year that although her happiness with her husband is over, she still must create a nurturing home for her children. She realizes that her husband, despite his affair, still loves her and that leaving him may destroy him; but she can no longer stay without destroying herself.

So this novel is the story of two very different types of survival - with Odd Einar surviving physically and Nora struggling to survive emotionally. Both must search out the meanings of life and of love after life changing circumstances.

It seems like an odd combination of subjects - yet somehow it worked for me.

Aug 9, 2021, 9:03pm

>94 streamsong: this sounds good AND I live a Scandinavian area of Minnesota!

Apr 27, 2022, 12:43pm

Although I usually enjoy noir short stories, I think this was not the right time for me to read this. There is too much noir happening in the world.

Argentina #6: The Dangers of Smoking in BedMariana Enriquez - English translation 2021 - location & author/Fic/ss – library

Argentine writer Marianne Enriquez has a deft hand with these noir stories, consisting of some horror, and some of a more paranormal bent.

One of my favorites involved street kids believed to have been killed, returning in droves as if from the dead.

Enriquez has a way of building tension and then ending the story just as the horror is set to begin. It’s an effective technique, but as almost every story follows this pattern, I personally would have enjoyed some stories using a different arc.

May 7, 2022, 12:46pm

Peru #1: Ines of My SoulIsabel Allende - 2006 - Fic; location - (also Chile & Spain); Chilean author - read 3/2022

Inez Suarez was born approximately 1507 to a poor family in Spain. She seized her destiny full heartedly. She was not content to continue to live quietly in Spain merely supporting herself after her husband Juan de Málaga left to find his fortune in the New World with the Pizzaro brothers.

Instead after several years, she set off after him, not knowing where in the Spanish new world he might be.
After discovering de Malaga had died, she became the mistress of Pedro de Valdiva'

Inez accompanied de Vadiva on his hazardous expedition south from Peru into the unknown wilderness which became known as Chile. During the trek south, she acted as a healer and also saved the expedition by her miraculous ability to find (“witch”) water in the desert.

She had a major role in the defense of their new outpost Santiago, devising a bloody plan that turned the tide of the uprising against the small force of Spaniards by thousands of Mapuche natives.

According to Wikipedia, Inez is still “seen as a symbol of a Chilean woman standing up to authority, … and as a role model to contemporary protestors against mistreatment.”

I was not familiar with the history of South America other than a mere sentence or two in my long ago high school history books. And so, Allende’s fictionalization was fascinating, though the brutal treatment of the Mapuche natives was eye-opening and saddening; they are more examples of the ‘might makes right’ against people willing to stand and fight for their land and their way of life.

I’ll definitely be reading more of Allende. Although I realize these are novelizations, I always find interesting history in them and appreciate the way she can tell a good tale, making me care about her characters. I also appreciate the strong women in her stories.

May 7, 2022, 7:41pm

>97 streamsong: I have never read anything by Allende and wasn't particularly inspired to pick up House of the Spirits. This sounds of more interest to me. I like good historical fiction too.

May 8, 2022, 10:04am

>97 streamsong: >98 labfs39: The only Allende I've read is her memoir Paula. That was really outstanding. It included a lot of history, but also the day to day of looking after her dying daughter. It was beautiful.

May 9, 2022, 12:29pm

>98 labfs39: >99 Jackie_K: Hi! I haven't read either House of the Spirits or Paula. Paula sounds interesting since I enjoy memoirs, especially author's memoirs. .

I've read two over the years for my in-person book club - Daughter of Fortune about the Alaska gold fields and A Long Petal of the Sea. I didn't care for the first, but enjoyed the second quite a bit. I mentioned it in >90 streamsong: but just now added my review to that post.

May 18, 2022, 2:46pm

Sierra Leone Book 3 The Devil That Danced on the WaterAminatta Forma - 2002 - NF - (location, author) - 4/2022

Aminatta’s Scottish mother met her Sierra Leonean future husband Mohamed Forna while he was a medical student studying in Britain. He’d always planned to return to his native land to help his fellow countrymen.
And with wife and small children in tow, he did exactly that. But he soon found that healing the bodies of his countrymen was not enough. And so, as colonialism was ending in Sierra Leone, he threw his political fortunes in with the All People’s Congress (APC) led by Sjaka Stevens.

Forma served as Minister of Finance in Stevens’s new government. However, the new government was plagued by political coups and disention, and quickly devolved into corruption and violence. Forma resigned in protest. He soon became an outspoken critic of Stevens’ plan to form an autocratic one party government.
Eventually Forma was arrested on false charges, imprisoned, tortured, and convicted by false testimony of other torture victims. He was tried, condemned and executed.

This is the story that his daughter Aminatta tells of returning to Sierra Leone decades later and trying to put together the pieces of her father’s life. It’s a story of reconciling her childhood memories with a story of corruption and lies during a failed attempt at democracy.

I found this memoir well written and page turning. Besides being an insightful look at a post colonial African nation, it also has lessons for current democracies as they struggle to preserve their freedoms.

May 18, 2022, 5:53pm

>101 streamsong: I ran off to add this to my wishlist and found it was already there. Whoops. Guess it's time to get a copy!

May 19, 2022, 9:46am

>102 labfs39: It's a good one. I had read Happiness by this author earlier this year and was inspired to read this one. It's not always an easy read, but I'm glad to have read it!

May 20, 2022, 10:50am

>101 streamsong: Aminatta Forna is on my radar too, I'm really keen to read some of her work.

May 20, 2022, 3:00pm

>103 streamsong: I read Memory of Love years ago and enjoyed it.

Aug 18, 2022, 12:17pm

>105 labfs39: I glad you enjoyed it, too!

Aug 18, 2022, 12:21pm

Norway- Book 5. The Bell in the Lake - Lars Mytting - 2020 - (Fic, location, Norwegian author) - Translated - 5/2022

1880 Butangen Norway. After one of his parishioners froze to death during a church service, young city-bred pastor Kai Schweigaard agreed to finance a snug new church by selling the 700 year old stave church with its pagan carvings and wonderful bells to a group of investors. The investors wanted to carefully dismantle the church and then reassemble it in a city where it coulc be preserved and admired.

But the church seemed to be a living part of the community. Astrid’s forefathers in the 16th century had the bells created in memory of conjoined twins Halfrid and Gunhild and their mother who died in childbirth. The bells are said to have magical powers to protect the small town. Many of the townspeople, including Astrid, are highly skeptical of having the town’s iconic church so removed. But then architect Gerhard Schonauer arrived from Dresden to oversee the project and Astrid is captured by a type of man she has never seen before and his description of a lifestyle that is completely different than the local farming community she’s known.

To complicate the matter further, the young pastor also admires Astrid and contemplates abandoning his fiancé and promising future to stay in the small community if only Astrid would join him.

Wonderful historical fiction. I did not know about stave churches and their oft combined Nordic and Christian symbols. I really enjoyed Astrid’s character and the bit of old magic in the air. In checking character names for this review, I see this may be the first of a trilogy. It works well as a stand alone, but when the next one comes out, I will certainly read it.

Aug 18, 2022, 1:12pm

>107 streamsong: That's a book bullet for me! Thank you for the review :-)

Aug 21, 2022, 12:25pm

>109 streamsong: I hope you like it! I found out that the next in the series, The Reindeer Hunter will be out this fall in the US. It's apparently already available in some countries.

Aug 21, 2022, 1:05pm

>107 streamsong: I will definitely keep an eye out for this one as well. Sounds Kristin Lavransdatter-ish (which I loved).

Nov 6, 2022, 8:40pm

This was chosen by my book club since the daughter of one of the members had met this man while they were vacationing in Mexico. Mexico appears to be Bushby's current residence while he awaits the next part of his trip.

After reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, I went into this expecting vivid descriptions of the area he traveled through, the people he met and his internal journey.

This was definitely not that type of book. The book club debated whether this was due to the difference in descriptions of a man's journey versus a woman's journey or the fact that Bushy confessed he is dyslexic and not a reader himself.

I can't decide if or where to add this to global reading, although he crossed through quite a few countries. Chile - where he began? I'm leaning towards Columbia - because I thought his description of crossing the Darien Gap one of the more interesting parts of the book.

Columbia: Book 2: 2. Giant Steps - Karl Bushby - 2005 - NF - (British author, travel memoir, many countries) Read 10/2022

In 1998 British ex-paratrooper Karl Bushby undertook the longest world walking trip possible. He began at the tip of the Pan-American highway in Punta Ares, Chile with plans to walk through the Americas and cross the Bering Strait. From there he planned to cross Asia through Russia, continue across Europe, and walk through the Channel Tunnel to return to Britain. He planned this feat as a solo journey, beginning with few sponsors and little back up. He originally pulled a modified golf cart with his gear. He hoped to complete his entire trip by 2011.

There were two parts of the book that I thought the most interesting. The first was crossing the Darien Gap, the jungle between the border of Panama and Columbia, which the book describes as ”having swallowed explorers alive for centuries, today guerillas, drug-runners, poachers and jaguars rule this vast no-man’s land” p 150

The second of course, was the crossing of the Bering Strait which he chose to do in the winter to minimize the amount of open water. In this part of the expedition he was joined by French adventurer Dimitri Kieffer.

However, I was somewhat disappointed by his descriptions of the lands he traveled through – mostly on roads- and the peoples he met. This is not a travelogue with vivid accounts but his daily diary entries consisting mostly of miles traveled, things he ate and individuals he met who gave him a helping hand. He managed quite a bit of his trip by relying on his charm (and seemed to be very proud of his attractiveness to women).

While this book ends after his crossing of the Bering Strait, his continuing expedition was slowed trying to get permission to cross through Russia which eventually he was able to do. He is now stalled out at the Iranian border as he has not yet been granted permission to continue through that country.

Nov 6, 2022, 9:05pm

>111 streamsong: Interesting idea behind the journey. Too bad the writing doesn't live up to the idea.

Nov 6, 2022, 11:59pm

Myanmar (Burma) Book #5 The Glass PalaceAmitav Ghosh - 2000 - Fic (Indian author, locations: Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, India) read 10/22

In 1885, Great Britain deposed the king of Burma and sent him into exile in India. During the subsequent looting of the palace a young homeless orphan named Rajkumar saw a breathtakingly beautiful young servant girl named Dolly. Unknown to Dolly, Raj vowed to become rich and then find her. Dolly went with the royal family into exile and Rajkumar kept the promise he made to himself.

So begins a historical fiction lasting through the generations and World War II. It’s wonderfully detailed about the history, politics and chaos in Burma, Siam and Malaysia, and of course, the impacts of British colonialism in these areas.

As we approached WWII, I felt the novel was beginning to drag a bit – but then the war begins and Burmese soldiers who have finally been allowed to fight proudly for India in the British army, are now faced with the choice of continuing to fight for the oppressor Britain, or fight with the Japanese soldiers against Britain.

It’s a highly nuanced historical novel with characters I felt sad to leave behind.

Nov 7, 2022, 7:15am

>113 streamsong: I have The Glass Palace on my shelves and your review makes me want to read it sooner rather than later. I like Ghosh's writing, and I read a Burmese memoir recently, so feel better prepared to read about Burma's history.

Nov 7, 2022, 7:23am

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Nov 7, 2022, 11:28am

>112 labfs39: This is what I wrote on my thread in the 75's group:

"This was chosen by my book club since the daughter of one of the members had met this author while they were vacationing in Mexico. Mexico appears to be Karl Bushby's current residence while he awaits the next part of his trip.

After reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, I went into this expecting vivid descriptions of the area he traveled through, the people he met and his internal journey.

This was definitely not that type of book. The book club debated whether this was due to the difference in descriptions of a man's journey versus a woman's journey or the fact that Bushby confessed he is dyslexic and not a reader himself.

I can't decide if or where to add this to global reading, although he crossed through quite a few countries. Chile - where he began? I'm leaning towards Columbia - because I thought his description of crossing the Darien Gap one of the more interesting parts of the book.

It's exactly as you said - great promise and not a bad read, but it left me wanting much more.

Edited: Nov 7, 2022, 11:46am

>114 labfs39: I really liked The Glass Palace and gave it 4.5 stars. I would definitely read more of Ghosh's works.

This was also a book club book for the second book club I belong to, through my local library. The person who had suggested this book had read this for the first time when she was traveling in this area. We also have a couple who lived in Burma (Myanmar) for two years teaching at an English language school in the capitol. So we had an incredibly wonderful conversation about the history of this area.

By complete coincidence this book club's earlier September book was also about a non-fiction about Burma. I've either missed doing quite a few reviews altogether or missed putting them on here so below is that one.

And I've now read five books from Myanmar/Burma. I'll have to check out your thread to see which you've recently read.

Nov 7, 2022, 11:47am

Myanmar: (Book #4) Elephant Company - Vicki Constantine Croke - 2014 - NF- (location, UK author) 10/03/2022

Billy Williams, saw too many of the horrors of World War I. On returning to Britain he found he craved peace and solititude and so answered an ad to work for one of the giant British Teak companies in the jungles of colonial Burma.

There he was given a job as a supervisor. Without any knowledge of the jungle, the Burmese people, logging teak or the elephants under his charge, he found it a steep learning curve.

But he’d always had a fondness for animals and so was especially intrigued by the elephants. He oversaw their routine health problems, instituting more humane ways of caring and training them and putting an end to the cruel practice of shikar where wild elephants were captured and their spirits broken with starvation and abuse.

When WWII erupted, Williams anticipated Burma would be a quiet backwater. Instead, it became a hotly contested battle zone as the Japanese used it as a stepping stone to China, their hated enemy.

Williams convinced the British army that the logging elephants would be of great use – not just as pack animals but in actually building bridges and roads. And as the Japanese realized the elephants’ usefulness, they determined to capture or kill them. The only way out for the elephants and the people under Williams’ command was through rugged unexplored country to India – including over a cliff in a feat never attempted before with elephants. The elephants trusted Williams and he knew them almost like he knew his family. But was such an escape even possible?

Another interesting facet of WWII that was unknown to me.

Nov 7, 2022, 11:57am

>118 streamsong: And that one went straight to be wishlist!

For Ghosh, I've read the first two books of the Ibis Trilogy. I loved the first, Sea of Poppies. Early this year I read and really enjoyed The Hungry Tide.

For Burma, I just finished From the Land of Green Ghosts, a memoir by a tribesman who went to college, got involved in the revolution, and had to hide in the jungle. Fascinating book about a country of whose history I was ignorant.

Nov 22, 2022, 11:50am

>119 labfs39: Thanks for your comments! I definitely want to read more Ghosh and From the Land of Green Giants also sounds fascinating.

Nov 22, 2022, 11:56am

Lebanon: Book 4 One Thousand and One Nights: A Retelling - Hannan Al-Shaykh - 2011 - Fic (Arabic classic, Lebanese author) - Oct 2022

Shahrayer’s wife betrayed him by taking part in massive orgies. She was seen by Shahrayer’s brother Shahaman who duly reported it. In an act of retribution, Shahrayer not only executed his wife but vowed to take a new untouched virgin each night, deflower her and execute her at dawn.

Until, of course, Shahrazad volunteered to become one of the doomed virgins. She mesmerized the king with her storytelling who agreed to let her finish her story before she was executed.

Stories within stories within stories. It’s a bit like the Noel Harrison song Windmills of your Mind: “like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel - Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel”.

Author Hannan Al-Shayk chose to beautifully retell nineteen of these stories. According to Wikipedia she chose to leave the stories continuing while the traditional ending is that after one thousand and one nights the stories end, and Shahrazad presented Shahrayer with the three children she had borne during the telling of the tales.

A few quotes:

Foreward by Mary Gaitskill:”The action of the stories in One Thousand and One Nights is dark and full of cruelty – especially toward women who are constantly being accused of adultery and then murdered or beat up. But the animating spirit here is light and full of play, especially on the part of the female characters, who are consistently resourceful and witty”. P.x

Author’s Preface : “I heard that a girl in my class had Alf Layl wa layl, (One Thousand and One Nights) and I hurried with her to peer at a few volumes in a glass cabinet, next to a carved tusk of an elephant. The volumes were leather- bound, their titles engraved in gold. I asked my friend if I might touch one, but she said that her father always locked the cabinet and kept the key in his pocket, because he said he feared that if anyone finished the stories they would drop dead. Of course I didn’t know then, and neither did my friend, that the reason her father didn’t want any of the women of the house to read Alf Layla wa Layla was because of its explicit sexuality.” Pxvii

“I felt as if I had opened the door of a carriage which took me back into the heart of my Arab heritage, and to classical Arab language, after a great absence. I was astonished at how our forebears had shaped our societies, showing us how to live our daily lives, through these tales which were filled with insights and moral and social rules and laws, without the influence of religion, but derived from first hand experience and deepest natural feelings towards every living thing. The effect of Alf Layl wa layl was so strong and real that Arab societies shaped themselves around it; the names of its characters were embedded in our language, becoming proverbs, adjectives and eve modes of speech. I was in awe of the complex society the stories evoked, which allowed relationships between humans and jinnis and beasts, real and imaginary.” P xviii

Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 11:04am

Oman: Book 1: Celestial Bodies - Jokha Alharthi - 2018 - Fic (location, Omani author) 11/2022

I purchased this book after it won the International Booker Award in 2019. I was eager to read a book by an Omani author, but other books pushed in ahead of it.

This is a character and family driven story of contemporary Oman. But no matter how contemporary the plot, there are echoes straight out of A Thousand and One Nights – a wealthy merchant whose wife was once a slave and came to her position after his first wife mysteriously sickened and was imprisoned until she passed away; rich men and street beggars; and three sisters – one going to med school and applying for a divorce, one consenting to an arranged marriage and the third waiting for a man she considers her betrothed who has gone to school in Canada and most probably will never again return.

It's a book of interesting portraits narrated by alternating voices. But the family structures are quite complicated and as the time line is also not always linear, it can be a bit difficult to keep the characters separate. Unless you have an interest in this region or culture, I would only half-heartedly recommend it.

Edited: Dec 5, 2022, 4:18pm

Serbia: (Book 3) An Uncertain Place - Fred Vargas - 2011 - Fic/mystery (French author (translated), Serbia partial location) read 11/2022

This is number 6 in the Parisian Commissaire/Chief Inspector Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg police procedural mysteries, but it's actually the first I've read.

While the Commissaire is attending a meeting in London, he and an English policeman discover eight and a half pairs of shoes with severed feet in them. Bizarrely, they are lined up as if wanting to enter the ancient and eerie, much-storied Highgate Cemetery.

After returning to Paris, the Commissaire is called to the site of an incredibly violent murder. The victim was not only dismembered but entirely severed into very small pieces.

The two macabre events converge and part of the answer seems to lie in Serbia at the grave of a ‘centuries old horror’ (quote from back cover) of a still feared vampire.

Lots of nicely written twists and turns kept me guessing; the bit of supernatural horror was just enough to make it interesting, but not necessarily push it into another genre of mystery. It’s a series that I will continue.

Jan 24, 12:43pm

Ireland: Additional books in countries already completed with 5: The Colony - Audrey Magee 2022 - Fic - (location, author) 1/2023

It’s 1979 and the English Mr. Lloyd (no first name) arrives at a remote island off the coast of Ireland. He is planning to spend the summer in seclusion to revive his painting skills. In his heart, he knows he is a second-rate painter and is also losing his marriage.

Soon after his arrival Jean-Pierre Masson arrives. Masson is a French/Algerian linguist, who has spent the last five years studying the island as one of the last remnants where Irish is spoken almost exclusively. He, of course, is not happy to have the English speaking painter on the island.

The family acting as landlords to both men include an exclusively Irish speaking grandmother, a mother who speaks Irish but also speaks some English and a 15 year old boy who refuses to speak Irish.

The boy is intrigued by the painter; he falls in love with the art of painting and , under Lloyd’s instruction, has more aptitude for the art than his instructor.

This is a microcosm of colonialism and its expectations: honor the old ways or anticipate there may be more advantages from the new. How do people treat each other after decades (centuries?) of expectations?

After each chapter there is a short description of a murder during the Irish/Catholic English/Protestant Troubles of the era.

The story is disturbing. The writing is excellent. I believe this one will stay with me for a while.

Jan 24, 12:49pm

Oman: Book #2: Bitter Orange TreeJokha Alharthi - 2016 - Fic (partial location, author)

Zuhour is a modern Omani woman attending a British university.

Nevertheless, she is a creation of the women she knew growing up as well as a reflection of the women she knows now. All (except for the independent (British?) vegan Christine are dependent on men for their existences.

One of the Zuhour’s earliest relationships is with the woman she called Grandmother – a distant relative taken in by her family who acts as a nanny to several generations. But she is much more than a nanny. Never married, she and her brother were kicked out of their birth family by her father on his second marriage. She cherishes each child of her new family. But each leave her behind, even in her last days as she pleads with them not to go.

In the present, Zuhour has a Pakistani roommate, from a wealthy and well-born family. Her roommate’s sister, Kuhl, has fallen in love with a fellow medical student. His peasant background ensures that Kuhl’s parents will never accept him as a proper mate for their daughter. And although Kuhl and her lover find an imam willing to perform a temporary marragie so the the two can be together, both know it can never last.

There were two blurbs on the back of this book that I thought summed up the book well. Author Kali Fajardo-Anstine, says “Jokha Alharthi points her pen at some of the harrowing circumstances facing women and girls across the world. “ while author Jennifer Croft says it illuminates “the precariousness of sisterhood in a world that encourages the domination of men. “

I preferred this less complicated story line focusing on women's lives to Alharthi’s International Booker Prize winning novel, Celestial Bodies.

Jan 24, 7:04pm

>125 streamsong: I haven't read anything from Oman. Would you recommend this as a good starting point?

Jan 25, 12:26pm

>126 labfs39: I've only read the two from Oman, both by this author. I much preferred this one!