Places Tess has read

TalkThe Global Challenge

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Places Tess has read

Edited: Mar 30, 2023, 8:28 pm

I'm going to jump in! Location, location, location! My rule is lax: books set in a specific country. My reading at this stage in my life is for pleasure, for the most part. That being said, if the book does not provide an atmospheric feeling or a historical tidbit, I'm not going to count in my global reads. My fav genre is historical fiction, psychological thrillers, and classics. I do not like fantasy or magic realism, which might be why I put down many of the books I peruse set in South & Central America.

I must have joined in 2016 and this has fallen by the wayside. I'm for the most part retired now, still teach just one class per semester, so I should be able to keep current!

I will start with books I have read beginning in 2022 as well as those I had posted in 2016. (A couple were earlier--they were unique) I'm also going to limit my books in this group to 5 books per country. My main thread is in the Category Challenge group where I keep lists by years.

I hope to pick up many BB's I need to fill in my blanks!

ETA I also added Tahiti, Puerto Rico, and the Lesser Antilles. I have read books from all of these locations and feel that putting them with France or the US doesn't do the reads justice. Also added historic Sicily.

ETA If the books are rated 4/5 I will post them even if I already have 5 for that area. Besides, it will remind me to read more widely!

Edited: Mar 31, 2023, 4:00 am

visited 64 states (28.4%)
Try Neptyne, the programmable spreadsheet

Oct 24, 2016, 1:54 pm

Great to have another member on this challenge!x Very addictive, I warn you...

Edited: Mar 5, 1:52 pm

1. Caravans by James Michener
2. Hammerhead Six: How Green Berets Waged an Unconventional War Against the Taliban to Win in Afghanistan's Deadly Pech Valley by Ronald Fry
3. The Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
4. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini
5. The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini

1. Country Where No One Ever Dies (Eastern European Literature Series) by Ornela Vorpsi

1. The Eight by Katherine Neville (France & Algeria)

Andorra Revealed by Clare Alcard


Antigua and Barbuda

1. Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Pears Paul Read


1. The Dry by Jane Harper
2. The Women in Black by Madeleine St John
3. The Mother-in-law: A Novel by Sally Hepworth
4. The Nowhere Child by Christian White (took place in Both US/Australia)
5. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

1. Hotel Sacher by Rodica Doehnert
2. The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth
3. The Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell







1. Gas! The Battle for Ypres, 1915 (The History of World War One) by J. McWilliams (took place in Flanders, in modern day Belgium)





Bosnia and Herzegovina
1. The Judgment of Richard Richter by Igor Stiks





Burkina Faso




Canada (unamed specific locations)
1. The Arctic Fury by Greer Macallister
2. Journey by James Michener

1. Obasan by Joy Kagawa

British Columbia


New Brunswick


Northwest Territories

Novia Scotia
1. Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

1. The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King


Prince Edward Island

1. The Bride of New France by Suzanne Desrochers


Cape Verde

Central African Republic



Edited: Oct 10, 2023, 10:46 am

1. Pavilion of Women by Pearl S. Buck
2. The Secret Talker by Geling Yan
3. One Bright Moon by Andrew Kwong (also took place in Australia)
4. The Last Rose of Shanghai by Weina Dai Randel
5. A Single Swallow by Ling Zhang
8. Mao's Last Dancer by Cunxin Li
9. The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang

1. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
2. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

38 Comoros

Congo, Democratic Republic of the
1. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
2. The Taste of Fear by Jeremy Bates

40 Congo, Republic of the

41 Costa Rica

42 Croatia

1. The Price of Paradise by Susana Lopez Rubio

44 Cyprus

Czech Republic
1. A Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare. Most of this book was set in Bohemia, today mostly encompassing the Czech Republic.

1. Music and Silence by Rose Tremain
2. The Two Baronesses: A Romance by Hans Christian Anderson

47 Djibouti

48 Dominica

49 Dominican Republic

50 East Timor

51 Ecuador

1. The Sekhmet Bed by L.M. Ironside
2. The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt by G.A. Henty
3. The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George
4. Brothers by Angela Hunt

Equatorial Guinea


1. The Girls, Alone: Six Days in Estonia by Bonnie Rough


1. The Wife's Tale: A Personal History by Aida Edemariam



1. The Dressmaker's Gift by Fiona Valpy
2. The Nutmeg Tree by Margery Sharp
3. The Designer by Marius Gabriel
4. The Chanel Sisters: A Novel by Judithe Little
5. Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Laura Redniss
6. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens My 2nd fav book of all time!
7. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy My 4th fav book of all time!
8. Leap into Darkness: Seven Years on the Run in Wartime Europe by Leo Bretholz



1. My Dear Son: The Memoirs of Stalin's Mother by Keke Jughashvili

1. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
2. The Woman in the Moonlight: A Novel by Patricia Morrisroe
3. A Small Circus by Hans Fallada
4. Irretrievable by Theodor Fontane
5. The Berlin Zookeeper by Anna Stuart
6. The Children of Hamelin by Theresa Sinclair
7. No Man's Land by Michael Califra (Eastern Berlin/Germany)
8. The Pastor's Wife by Elizabeth von Arnim

66 Ghana

1. A Man At Arms by Steven Pressfield
2. The Complete Fables by Aesop
3. The Last Days of Socrates by Plato
4. The Theban Plays by Sophocles
5. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
6. Erasmus: Ten Colloquies by Erasmus

68 Grenada

1. In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende Takes place in the U.S., Chile, Guatemala

70 Guinea

71 Guinea-Bissau

72 Guyana

1. Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende

74 Honduras

1. The Girl with the Golden Scissors: A Novel by Julia Drosten (takes place in the old Austria-Hungarian Empire

Edited: Apr 30, 12:10 pm

1. The Greenhouse by Audur Ava Olafsdottir
2. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

1. Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March
2. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
3. The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
4. The Rains Came by Louis Bromfield
5. Rani Laxmibai: Warrior-Queen of Jhansi by Pratibha Ranade


1. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

1. The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford
2. The Gardener of Baghdad by Armad Ardalan

1. The Hungry Road: The gripping and heartbreaking novel of the Great Irish Famine by Marita Conlon-McKenna
2. Tread Softly on my Dreams by Gretta Curran Browne
3. Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth
4. Shadow of a Century: An Irish Love Story by Jean Grainger
5. West Cork by Bungey
6. Ulysses by James Joyce

1. The Land Beyond the Sea by Sharon Kay Penman (Crusades, primarily in Jerusalem)
2. The Lost Sea of the Exodus: A Modern Geographical Analysis by Glen Fritz (is thought to be primarily in modern-day Israel)
3. The Source by James Michener
4. All the Rivers by Dorit Rabinyan

1. Galileo's Daughter by David Sobel
2. Meditations: A New Translation by Marcus Aurelius, translated by Gregory Hays
3. The Silver Pigs (Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries) (Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries, 1) by Lindsey Davis
4. The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough
5. The Grass Crown by Colleen McCullough
6. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

1. The Kingdom of Sicily, 1100-1250: A Literary History (The Middle Ages Series) by Karla Mallette

Ivory Coast

1. The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

1. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
2. The Honjin Murders (Detective Kindaichi Mysteries) by Seishi Yokomizo
3. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
4. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hildebrand
5. Hiroshima in History and Memory by Michael J. Hogan
6. Hiroshima by David Hersey


1. Atomic Steppe: How Kazakhstan Gave Up the Bomb



Korea, North (Democratic People's Republic of)
1. The Bridges at Toko-Ri by James Michener. Action took place at the border(s) between North/South Korea.

Korea, South (Republic of Korea)
1. Three Tigers, One Mountain: A Journey Through the Bitter History and Current Conflicts of China, Korea, and Japan by Michael Booth
2. The Living Reed: A Novel of Korea by Pearl S. Buck


1. Jamilia by Chingiz Aitmatov

The Coroner's Lunch (A Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery Book 1) by Colin Cotterill




Lesser Antilles
1. The Violins of Saint Jacques by Patrick Leigh Fermor








1. Old Filth by Jane Gardam (Takes place in Malaysia, Singapore, and Great Britain equally)
2. The Disappearing Act: The Impossible Case of MH370 by Florence De Changy




Marshall Islands



1. Down the Santa Fe Trail and into Mexico: The Diary of Susan Shelby Magoffin, 1846-1847 (Yale Western Americana Paperbound, Yw-3.) by Susan Shelby Magoffin. (Encompasses both New Mexico and Mexico)
2. 438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea by Jonathan Franklin. Memoir begins and ends in Mexico.
3. Narrative of the Texan Santa Fé expedition. Containing a description of a tour through Texas. With an account of the capture of the Texans and their march, as prisoners, to the City of Mexico by George Wilkins Kendall
4. The Tiger Came to the Mountains by Silvia Moreno-Garcia



Edited: Mar 26, 12:17 pm




1. The Lioness of Morocco by Julia Drosten


1. The Narrow Road to the Deep North: A novel by Richard Flanagan Took place during WWII when Myanmar was called Burma
2. The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason (Burma)
3. Burmese Days by George Orwell (Burma)




1. Dancing with the Enemy: My Family's Holocaust Secret by Paul Glaser
2. Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach
3. Far Away Across the Sea by tellegen-toon
4. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

New Zealand
1. Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World by Joan Druett



1. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
2. Half a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
3. The Palm-Wine Drinkard and his Dead Palm-Wine Tapster in the Dead's Town by Amos Tutuola
4. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

North Macedonia

1. The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter (The Ingrid Winter Misadventure Series) by J. S. Drangsholt
2. Kristin Lavransdatter by Ingrid Undset

1. Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi



1. Cruising Panama's Canal: Experience the sights, sounds and thrills of cruise travel, told with the wit and charm of travel memoir writers Al & Sunny Lockwood by Al Lockwood

Papua New Guinea
1. Victory An Island Tale by Joseph Conrad (called New Guinea when the book was written)
2. Lost in Shangri-La (Enhanced Edition): A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II by Michael Zukoff (New Guinea)



1. Along the Broken Bay

1. Night by Elie Wiesel
2. Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally
3. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
4. The Thief of Auschwitz by Jon Clinch
5. The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe
6. From Ashes to Life: My Memories of the Holocaust by Lucille Eichengreen


Puerto Rico
1. Into the Raging Sea: Thirty-Three Mariners, One Megastorm, and the Sinking of El Faro by Rachel Slade


1. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

1. Dreams of My Russian Summers: A Novel by Andreï Makine
2. Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov
3. Journey into the Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg
4. The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Parts I & II)
5. A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
6. Journey into the Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg
7. The Gates of November by Chaim Potok
8. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
9. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

1. Inside the Hotel Rwanda: The Surprising True Story…and Why It Matters Today by Edouard Kayihura

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines


San Marino

Edited: Mar 26, 12:16 pm

151 Sao Tome and Principe

152 Saudi Arabia

153 Senegal

1. The Tiger's Wife by Tia Obrecht (Yugoslavia at the time)

155 Seychelles

156 Sierra Leone

1. The Seventh Moon by Marcus Gabriel

158 Slovakia

159 Slovenia

160 Solomon Islands

161 Somalia

South Africa
1. War Serenade: An EPIC WWII Love Story by Jill Wallace
2. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
3. The Covenant by James Michener
4. The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner
5. A Conspiracy of Mothers by Colleen van Niekere

South Sudan

1. Miracle in Seville by James Michener
2. The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen
3. Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving
4. The Saracen Storm by J.M. Nunez

Sri Lanka
1. The Elephant Keeper's Daughter by Julia Drosten
2. The Rifle and the Hound in Ceylon Samuel White Baker

1. Running for My Life: One Lost Boy's Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games Lopez Lomong


1. The Dark Heart: A True Story of Greed, Murder, and an Unlikely Investigator by Joakim Palmkvist
2. The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

1. The Gustave Sonata by Rose Tremain


1. The Moon and SixPence by W. Somerset Maugham




1. What Could Be Saved by Liese O'Halloran Schwarz



Trinidad and Tobago

1. The Ardent Swarm by Yamen Manai

1. Madonna in a Fur Coat by Sabahattin Ali
2. The Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin set in Turkey/France





United Arab Emirates

Edited: Jul 23, 2023, 10:55 am

United Kingdom

1. The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Chronicles #1) by Bernard Cornwell
2. The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill
3. Miss Mackenzie by Anthony Trollope
4. The Chilbury Ladies' Choir: A Novel by Jennifer Ryan
5. The Tudors by Neville and Antonia Fraser Williams
6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte My #1 fav book of all time!

Northern Ireland

1. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
2. Mask of Duplicity by Julia Brannan
3. Mask Revealed by Julia Brannan


United States
US South, West, Alaska, Hawaii
1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
2. West from Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915 by Laura Ingalls Wilder
3. Uncle Tom's Cabin: Or, Life Among the Lowly by Harriet Beecher Stowe
4. A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
5. Hawaii by James Michener
6. Orphan Train Rider: One Boy's True Story Andrea Warren
7. The Gift Upon the Shore by M.K. Wren My 6th favorite all time book! (Pacific Northwest)

US North, East
1. Mrs. Poe by Lynne Cullen
2. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
3. Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati
4. Chesapeake by James Michener
5. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne by 3rd fav book of all time!
6. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George
7. Starling of the White House; The Story of the Man Whose Secret Service Detail Guarded Five Presidents From Woodrow Wilson to Franklin D. Roosevelt by Edmund Starling My 5th fav book of all time!
8. Homeland by John Jakes

186 Uruguay

187 Uzbekistan

188 Vanuatu

189 Venezuela

1. The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai
2. Postcards from Nam by Uyen Nicole Duong (takes place in the U.S. and Vietnam)
3. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien short stories, some take place in Vietnam, some in the U.S.

191 Yemen
1. I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali

192 Zambia

193 Zimbabwe

UN General Assembly observer states:
Vatican City

Other states:
Cook Islands
Northern Cyprus
South Ossetia

Non-UN recognized possibilities:
1. A Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
2. To the Edges of the Earth: 1909, the Race for the Three Poles, and the Climax of the Age of Exploration by Edward J. Larson Encompasses, Arctic, Antarctica, and K2
3. Shackelton's Journey by William Grill


Mar 24, 2023, 2:12 am

As expected, the US, UK, France, Germany, and Australia filled up quickly! Surprised by China! Lots of holes to work on here!

Mar 24, 2023, 5:01 pm

Nice to see you here, Tess - this is an amazing group for obscure BBs! :)

Mar 25, 2023, 3:34 am

>11 Jackie_K: TY! Obscure BB's, just what I need!;)

Mar 25, 2023, 1:32 pm

Welcome, Tess! I've added several countries to my list, thanks to you! Specifically: Tahiti, Puerto Rico, and Antarctica .I passed on the Lesser Antilles, since I am struggling with all the small island countries I already have on the list.

Mar 25, 2023, 1:38 pm

>13 labfs39: I added the Lesser Antilles because I read a book set in St. Jacques

Mar 25, 2023, 1:39 pm

>14 Tess_W: I would add it too, if that were the case for me. :-)

Mar 30, 2023, 8:17 am

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende. A great read that begins in Haiti, moves to Cuba, and finally New Orleans. I'm going to count this as Haiti, as I already have fulfilled by US category and I have another book on my shelf based in Cuba.

Edited: Mar 30, 2023, 8:05 pm

I've decided to break the U.K out a little more: England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Also going to divide the U.S. into north/east and south/west/Alaska/Hawaii

Apr 7, 2023, 11:44 am

I read The Gates of November by Chaim Potok. This was a non-fiction read, but read like a novel. It was the story of the Slepak family from the days of Bolshevism to the son's eventual emigration to Israel. Potok collected information from the family through taped interviews and photographs. This Jewish family suffered terribly under Brezhnev, Kosygin, and Tikhonov regimes. From Potok's epilogue, ""Can we learn something from these chronicles about iron righteousness and rigid doctrine, about the stony heart, the sealed mind, the capricious use of law, and the tragedies that often result when theories are not adjusted to realities?" 272 pages 5 stars

Apr 9, 2023, 9:26 pm

>18 Tess_W: I have that one on the shelves. Nice to know that it will be a good read.

Apr 16, 2023, 10:31 pm

All the Rivers by Dorit Rabinyan Can a young Jewish woman and a young Palestinian man find love? Written by an Israeli author. Most of the story takes place in NYC, but the last quarter takes place in Tel Aviv and Ramallah. Since the author is Israeli and the book is partially set in the Mideast, I'm placing this under my Israeli reads.

Edited: Apr 29, 2023, 8:23 am

The Price of Paradise by Susana Lopez Rubio This was a free Kindle read of 2019. It was billed as a historical fiction; although I would disagree. It is PERHAPS a historical romance, but that is even stretching the historical sense. This book takes place in Cuba during the 1950's and deals with the lives of those involved with the Mafia. I found it to be fantastical and little is mentioned of history at all. Che does make an appearance for three pages and one sentence about Batista. The book does not evoke either place or time in me. The writing is rudimentary while the reading was the perfect Castilian accent. (The main character was an emigre from Spain) 385 pages 2.75 stars and a meh!

Apr 29, 2023, 9:15 am

>21 Tess_W: Ugh. I'll pass.

May 21, 2023, 7:37 pm


I read 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez This book is all over the place, so it is very difficult for me to review. Firstly, I needed a family history chart to read the book. Many male children had the same exact name as their father, for generations. I started out listening to this on audio, but had to also get the book to follow along as just listening was not enough to keep my thoughts organized. Yes, Marquez won the Pulitzer Prize for this book. But is it readable? Is it enjoyable? Both negatives for me! I guess at the core of my dislike is the magical realism. Magical realism is inane to me; I can't take it seriously. It is a very pessimistic book set in the "fictional" town of Maconda for 100 years. Maconda is both desolate and also a very busy town with the banana plantation and the uprising of the slaves. The theme of this book, according to Tess, is the futility of life. If you are upset by pedophilia, incest, child abuse, rape, prostitution, and bestiality, senseless violence and killing, just to name a few, this book is not for you!

Edited: May 30, 2023, 7:44 am


The Tiger Came to the Mountains by Silvia Moreno-Garcia This was a short story that took place in Mexico and was really a comment on the 1905 (?) revolution as played out in the fears of fending off wild animals. 27 pages Free Prime reading from March, 2022. In this case, I got what I paid for! 2.5 stars

May 30, 2023, 7:45 am


Doctor Zhivago by Boris Paternak, a re-read for about the 3rd time. This book touched my heart when I was in my early 20’s, and now that I am aware of the history behind the book and of the USSR/Russia from 1905-WWII, it means even more. I’m not going to review the particulars because I’m sure everyone is aware of them. I think this is a novel that has withstood the test of time and imparts place and time very succinctly. I will probably re-read again if I am still on planet earth in 20 years! 5 stars (as usual). 706 pages "They loved each other, not driven by necessity, by the "blaze of passion" often falsely ascribed to love. They loved each other because everything around them willed it, the trees and the clouds and the sky over their heads and the earth under their feet.”

Jun 12, 2023, 5:08 pm


Maybe I went too fast and skimmed; but I don't think I did. When I started reading Ulysses, by James Joyce, I had intended on reading with a group (#80daysofulysses) and take it slowly. However, my thinking after the first five episodes was that it was so bad that I could not imprison myself in this book for 80 days! I was not prepared to read this book as each section (chapter) was entitled with the name of a Greek myth of which I was not aware. I had read Homer's Ulysses some 50 years ago in college and don't remember it being "too bad." I have never liked to read mythology so I had to look up every mythological event or person and get some background to try to understand the section. It didn't work. As much as I want to experience broad types of literature, I can honestly say I will never read a book written in stream of consciousness again! This book was nothing more than blathering to me. It reminded me of the Marx Brothers and slap-stick comedy, which I don't find funny. I can honestly say that I am not a better person for reading this. Since I'm in the minority, I'll admit it must have gone right over my head! I even used SparkNotes to help me try to understand each unit. I understood what I read in SparkNotes, but how that was deduced from what Joyce wrote, I am unable to understand. I won't be reading anymore Joyce! 768 pages 2.5 stars (only because I finished it). This was published in 1920. (Banned in the U.S. until 1933 when the Supreme Court allowed it to be published)

Jun 12, 2023, 7:37 pm

>26 Tess_W: I read Ulysses with the help of Delaney's podcast ReJoyce and LOVED it. Never in a million years thought I would, but Delaney unpacked everything and brought it to life. Skip Finnegan's Wake but maybe try A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (haven't read Dubliners yet so can't comment) - it's infinitely more readable, understandable and quite good. That was my first James and I was really surprised at how readable it was.

Jun 13, 2023, 8:28 am

>27 Yells: I have read Dubliners and did not appreciate it, although I am not a short story fan to begin with. I may take your suggestion, but I will have to "heal and recover" (!) from this experience first.

Jun 13, 2023, 8:35 am

>26 Tess_W: I must admit that Joyce has never appealed to me, and you've not persuaded me to think otherwise! Well done for sticking with it, you're a better person than I am!

Jun 13, 2023, 8:35 am

>28 Tess_W: Good idea :)

Jun 16, 2023, 12:21 pm


Burmese Days by George Orwell
This was Orwell's first novel and I'm very glad he improved. This wasn't a "bad" work, but not as well written or as satisfying as 1984, Animal Farm, or Keep the Aspidistra Flying. There was no subtly in this book, nothing graceful, nothing to ponder and chew on. It seemed as if everything was large, loud, and in your face. The characters were either reprehensible, idiotic, or pathetic. The story takes place in Burma during the British Empire. It was the story of racism and corruption. I listened to this on audio (10 hrs 17 mins=269 pages) 3 stars

Orwell was well qualified to write about such as he served for almost 10 years as a minor British official in Burma.

Edited: Jun 17, 2023, 12:02 am

GERMANY (East/East Berlin)

No Man's Land by Michael Califra was a novel about the effects of the Berlin Wall while standing and also after the fall. This book was very confusing to me. I'm unable to ascertain if this was just purely a novel, a satirical piece, or a piece of historical fiction. If it was a novel, it will suffice. If it was a piece of historical fiction, it's pretty much trash. The world between East Berlin and West Berlin was not portrayed as I've always read or imagined it. The main characters travel back and forth almost on a daily basis for work between the two with nothing more than official papers. That's not nearly as brutal as everything I've previously read. There are no reviews on either LT or Goodreads so I really don't know how to interpret this book! Anyway, the emphasis was not so much on any political drama, but the effect that the wall had on relationships, specifically love relationships of the main character. Meh 333 pages 2.75 stars I got this as a Kindle free read of the month in 2015.

The Pastor's Wife by Elizabeth von Arnim was a very sad book about "good" Christian church people and the walls they enclosed people within. The primary setting of the book was Prussia, but the first two chapters took place in England.

I also read books 1 & 2 in the Jacobite Chronicles series. This series is written by a native Scot and thus far is very good.

Jun 20, 2023, 8:00 am

>26 Tess_W: I read Ulysses in college, pre-Internet, so no popping online to look things up or translate one of the many passages in another language (12? different languages?). It was very difficult, and I was left with an appreciation but not a love.

Jul 15, 2023, 9:04 am


I finished The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. The story starts and ends in Sweden and the author is Swedish. The book is from the theatre of the absurd. Sadly, I did not get any Swedish culture; instead I got slapstick humor.

Jul 20, 2023, 8:38 pm


I completed The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom This was a re-read from about 30-40 years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, even though the topic was depressing. I'm still impressed with Corrie's physical and spiritual strength. 267 pages 5 stars

Jul 21, 2023, 10:11 am

>35 Tess_W: 30+ years is when I last read that book too!

Jul 23, 2023, 10:53 am


I read I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali. The story was very elementary and I'm sure skipped a lot of the brutality, which is good if this was for a younger audience; but nowhere is this indicated. I'm sure this was a horror for Nujood as it still is for many young women around the world. This was a success story as one lone attorney spoke to her on the street. Most young women don't have this opportunity. I would prefer a book with more meat, but not sad that I read it. 194 pages

Jul 24, 2023, 8:29 am

>35 Tess_W: I read the book back then too, and when I was in Amsterdam, I visited the Ten Boom house. Interesting family.

>36 Jackie_K: When I read this one, I wondered if it wasn't written this way because she was still so young when she wrote it. The tone mirrors emphasizes her extreme youth.

Jul 26, 2023, 7:10 pm


The Saracen Storm by J.M. Nunez
This was a historical fiction about the Moorish invasion of Spain AD 711. Very good read! A great balance between history & fiction.

Jul 26, 2023, 7:11 pm

>38 labfs39: I am jealous of your visit to the Ten Boom house. As far as Nujood, you are probably correct. However, she was 23 when she wrote the book.

Aug 4, 2023, 10:19 am


Ferrara by Giorgio Bassani This is a collection of 6 novels by Bassani. They all take place beginning with the Racial Laws of 1922 in Italy. This is a very understated, subtle read. It portrays the Jews going about their normal daily lives, oblivious, for one reason or another, of what about is to happen. I found the book tedious and mundane, but glad that I got a glimpse of Bassani. I read 3/6 novels and wont' be reading the other 3.

Aug 6, 2023, 10:16 am


A Conspiracy of Mothers by Colleen van Niekerk
This novel takes place in 1994 in South Africa with the anti-apartheid voting to take place later that year. It is a country divided: Boers/Afrikaners (whites), colored, and Africans (Xhosa, Zulu). This was the story of three generations of colored women; a story of love and hatred based on skin color. Niekerk does a great job invoking time and place, descriptions and personalities seem to sizzle. The only downside for me were the chapters that dealt with dreams/hallucinations of grandma. They were too long and I'm not a fan of magical realism. Because of that, I'm knocking off 1/2 star. 352 pages

Edited: Sep 20, 2023, 9:50 pm

From Ashes to Life by Lucille Eichengreen is a memoir of a young Jewish, Polish woman and her life, especially during WWII. Lucille managed to survive 3 camps. Her story is chilling. This was a re-read of 20-30 years ago. 256 pages Not sure where to place this--first half takes place in Poland (Lodz Ghetto) and second half in Bergen Belsen. Think I will go with Germany.

Oct 10, 2023, 10:39 am


I completed Erasmus: Ten Colloquies by Desiderius Erasmus Another academic book off the shelf, read, going bye-bye! It is my understanding that Erasmus wrote these discussions so that school boys could memorize them as part of their education. He started out serious, but by the time he got to about the 100th one, his tone became ironic--or so my old notes from 50 years ago say. Craig R. Thompson is the translator of this book (1957) and has been criticized for his selection of the ten. It would seem others have varying opinions on which ones were more significant. My favorite was "Cyclops or the Gospel Bearer." This was written in play form where Cannius comes upon Polyphemus, a known womanizer and drunkard. Cannius discovers that Polyphemus is actually reading the Gospels. Cannius goes on a long rant/rave about wolves in sheep's clothing. The dialogue ends much as it began, with Cannius fully accusing Polyphemus as being a drunkard and Polyphemus admitting to the same 208 pages

Edited: Oct 11, 2023, 6:42 am


Attempted read-Ancient Egyptian Literature (World Literature in Translation) by Miriam Lichtheim. (Volume 1-The Old and Middle Kingdoms) This is a supplemental textbook from a course that I regretted taking for my Master's degree. I was required to take 10 hours outside of my area of concentration (modern history) and I thought, Egypt, boy, that would be fun! NOT! Of course, I always bought ALL the books, much like now, thinking I would read them all. NOT! And I'm taking a DNF on this 872 page book. I've read 200 pages and I'm done! My favorite, which still was not good, was "From Instructions of Ptah-hotep", which were instructions from the mayor of the city, Vizier Ptahhotep, on social etiquette and laws. He also expounds on being virtuous in all relationships. Some great advice, "Conceal your heart, control your mouth."

Oct 10, 2023, 10:42 am


Monkey: The Journey to the West by David Kherdian is considered a classic Chinese novel of the 16th century. It is the story of a Buddhist monk, Tang Zang, who travels to India, by order of the Emperor, to worship the Buddha and bring back sacred texts. Tang Zang has four traveling companions, all fallen individuals who, by making this trip, are atoning for a sin and hoping for a better life (form) in the next life. From the critical reviews that I have read, the point of this novel is the travel toward enlightenment. The Chinese consider this an epic folktale. This book was 404 pages in length. When I had completed it, I discovered it was an abridged edition. Nowhere on the book did it say this was the case. The original version is 872 pages. I will not be rereading the unabridged version.

Edited: Oct 12, 2023, 10:51 pm


The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini translated by John Addington Symonds What a raucous soap opera this book was! Cellini is best known as being a master goldsmith as well as a sculptor. His first noted great work was a silver salt cellar for the King of France. Cellini was a juvenile delinquent from the age of 12 when he roamed the streets of Florence. His parents were musicians and tried to reign him in and apprentice him to musicians, but he rebelled, and he was finally apprenticed to a goldsmith. He didn't like the instruction so at age 19 he ran away to Rome. While there he found an old friend who lent him a workspace and gave him a piece of silver which began his career. Cellini tells fantastic stories, although I'm not sure all are believable. He hobnobbed with the likes of Da Vinci and Michelangelo. According to his own writings, he took part in the sack of Rome in 1527, was sued four times for sodomy, and committed murder several times. He writes that he found those who sued him and "stabbed him so badly in the arms and the legs, that he would not be mobile again." He sought out the second subject for the same, but as the man repented during the stabbing, Cellini did not injure him as badly. Cellini also believed he could conjure up devils to do his bidding. He was imprisoned several times while in Rome and believed that he had a halo around his head indicating divine protection. Eventually, he was exiled from Rome and returned to Florence where Cosimo Medici became his patron. Per his own story, Cellini was quite a narcissist who exploited almost everyone with which he came into contact. 465 pages

I've spent so much time on my last 3 books, none of which filled a hole in this challenge. I must make a commitment to read more globally!

Edited: Oct 12, 2023, 12:19 pm

>47 Tess_W:
Wow, some tough reads (even if abridged in one case!).

Oct 12, 2023, 10:55 pm

>48 Willoyd: Yes, but I've made a commitment that by the end of 2024 my shelves will be cleared of academic books that need to be read and then gone! I want to downsize by one bookshelf. The upside is that for three of those books I've been able to sell on Amazon for a total of about $150. It's a win-win--more shelf space and some reimbursement. However, Amazon takes 1/3 of the sale, so in reality I cleared about $100. I think I have about 20 more to go!

Oct 12, 2023, 10:58 pm


I read The Coroner's Lunch (A Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery Book 1) by Colin Cotterill. This story was set in Laos where Dr. Siri was the new communist installed National Medical Examiner. This mystery involved an official's wife and the bodies of tortured Vietnamese soldiers. Although the mystery was passable, I found a lack of anything cultural or historical--it did not evoke time or place for me. The communists were mentioned twice and the Pathet Lao once. This same mystery could have been any mystery anywhere there is a body of water. This is book one in the series. I'm not inclined to read further. 287 pages

Oct 13, 2023, 2:31 am

>49 Tess_W:
I see! Out of curiosity, as I've been doing some selling of my books on ebay with a similar aim as yours (not academic books, but still aiming to clear shelf space), why do you choose Amazon over, say, ebay? I've been paying a lot less than 1/3. Or do you get a better price, better market for academic books, etc?

Oct 16, 2023, 7:51 pm

>51 Willoyd: No reason, really! Whenever I've bought used books, Amazon is cheaper for books that I purchase. I'm a prime member and therefore pay no shipping fees. On Ebay I have to pay shipping. I find the books turn over fairly quickly on Amazon. If I don't sell them within 2-3 weeks, I donate them. I'm actually only "live" (books posted) on Amazon maybe 4 weeks of the year, when I have 3-4 books to get rid of. I don't sell fiction because there is no market. I also don't buy paper books anymore, only purchase E-books or audio-books--if available.

Oct 17, 2023, 10:29 am

The Gardener of Baghdad by Ahmad Ardalan is billed as a historical romance. I was hoping to get more "historical" and less romance, but twas not the case The story takes place in Baghdad in the 1950's, a time of the assassination of the royal family as well as the end of British "occupation." About the content: this was the best part of the book, the stories of the daily life, gardens, political situations, etc. About the writing: left much to be desired. The sentences were short and stilted. This may be due to translation. I listened to this on audio and the reader was very monotone. This was a short novel of 226 pages, so it was a quick read. (5 hours 21 mins)

Oct 18, 2023, 8:15 am

>53 Tess_W: I almost picked this up last summer. After reading your review, I'm glad I passed. Is it just me, or does there seem to be a plethora of books around lately with the title "The (insert occupation) of (insert city)"?

Oct 18, 2023, 8:18 am

>54 labfs39: Yes, there definitely is! And all the cities/places are places of tragedy (Kyiv, Aleppo, Auschwitz), so it feels very ghoulish somehow.

Edited: Oct 22, 2023, 10:32 am

>54 labfs39: I agree! The Watchmaker's Daughter, The Heretic's Daughter, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, etc. Also, I've noticed "The Things We..........." titles: The Things We Left Behind, The Things we Forget, The Things we Choose To Burn, The Things We Cannot Say, etc.

Oct 22, 2023, 10:33 am


Greek Lyrics Second Edition: More than a Hundred Poems and Poetic Fragments from the Great Age of Greek Lyric Poetry Trans by Richmond Lattimore This was a compilation of Spartan society and values readings. The major work contained within was "The Spartan Creed" by Tyrtaeus and "From the Laws and Customs of the Spartans most likely written by Xenophon. They were both good, however, Tyrtaeus was in a more poetic style, while Xenophon wrote a prose narrative, which I much preferred. Also contained some works by Sappho. Another academic book off my shelf and gone! 100 pages 4 stars

Oct 22, 2023, 10:33 am


The Rule of Saint Benedict by Saint Benedict. I'm not sure if this is an academic book or one I just purchased to read because I was interested at the time. When I pulled it off the shelf to dust, I noticed it was shorter and looked fairly easy to read, so here it is! St. Benedict founded his monastery in Monte Cassino in southern Italy. He drew on Egyptian and Syrian traditions for his guidelines for his religious community. In theory, the monastery was a self-sustaining entity where all members prayed and worked. They valued: obedience, silence, and humility. I found the piece and defense of silence to be very interesting. It was taken from Psalm 39:1-2: "I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle, so long as the wicked are in my presence. I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good..." I believe that is taken out of context, but what do I know?! Other advice: "..idle words, or such as move to laughter, we utterly condemn and ban them in all places. We do not allow any disciple to give mouth to them." How somber and sad--no laughter! 112 pages 4 stars

Edited: Nov 21, 2023, 11:01 pm


The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America is a non-fiction read by Thomas King that focuses on indigenous peoples of North America, their stereotype, their realities, and land that has been stolen from them since the 16th century. The author himself is a "Native Indian" (a term he spends a chapter on and what he prefers to be called) and focuses on Alaska, and Nunavut. I counting this as a read from Nunavut.

Jan 11, 2:11 am


8. Andorra Revealed by Clare Allcard This is an anthology of essays about life in Andorra. All are informative and most are entertaining; some being written tongue in cheek. I can honestly say, "I never knew....." 282 pages 4.5 stars

Jan 11, 11:32 am

>60 Tess_W: Ooh, interesting...

Edited: Feb 26, 7:12 pm

We Die Alone by David Howarth A biography of Jan Baalsrud. Jan was a Norwegian who was a British trained commando in WWII. A group of 10 left the Shetlands and landed in Norway to disrupt the Nazi's who had entrenched themselves. Jan's group was betrayed and he was the only survivor. Through amputating his own toes and suffering the interminable cold, he finally was taken by charitable Sami (Northern Scandinavians), who were fired at, across Finland into Sweden. He found the Norwegians very gracious and they helped him even though to do so put themselves and their families in peril. A great survival against all odds story. 257 pages 4.5*

Feb 26, 7:26 pm

>4 Tess_W: I was interested in your Australian section, but don’t understand why Woman in Black was included. Maybe a typo? Or am in misunderstanding?

Feb 26, 7:31 pm

I see - Woman in Black had the wrong touchstone. This is the correct one.

Feb 26, 7:32 pm

I see - Woman in Black had the wrong touchstone.

Feb 27, 10:49 am

>62 Tess_W: I thought this was an amazing story too.

Mar 5, 1:56 pm

>63 kjuliff: The title was incorrect, it should have been WomEn in is now been corrected!

I debated on whether to add this one to Malaysia, but I think I will:
The Disappearing Act: The Impossible Case of MH370 by Florence De Changy.

This is the story of the still missing Malaysian Airliner 370. I decided to include it because the book did provide some background and culture. There were chapters on the governmental and police corruption as well as customs in the Malay Islamic religion, family structure, etc.

Mar 5, 1:58 pm

>67 Tess_W: Thanks. I ended up looking it up from the author.

Edited: Mar 26, 12:15 pm

40. Along the Broken Bay by Flora Solomon is the story of Manila and the Philippines from 1941-1945 under Japanese occupation. Specifically it is the story of two women and how they lived trying to get supplies, protecting their children, and yes, even aiding the guerillas. Although a work of historical fiction, I found it to be very accurate, even if glossed over for the sake of brevity. Nicely done, Ms. Solomon! 398 pages 4.5 stars I read up on the author, thinking that perhaps because of her first and last names she might be of Filipino heritage, but not!

Mar 27, 12:28 pm

>69 Tess_W: That sounds interesting. I'll have to keep an eye out for it.

Edited: May 11, 11:43 am

Atomic Steppe: How Kazakhstan Gave Up the Bomb by Togzhan Kassenova A great non-fiction read about the fall of the USSR/communism and dealing with the left-overs.

May 8, 12:51 pm

>71 Tess_W: Thanks, that's gone into my wishlist!