Ritacate's World Tour

TalkThe Global Challenge

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Ritacate's World Tour

Edited: May 23, 2021, 6:21 pm

visited 27 states (12%)
Buy Douwe's Machine Learning Book
Very excited to join this challenge as well as the 50 States and ROOTS to encourage a wider variety of reading.

Edited: Jan 12, 2021, 9:06 am


1 Afghanistan
- The Kiterunner by Khaled Hosseini *2020 March

2 Albania
3 Algeria
4 Andorra
5 Angola
6 Antigua and Barbuda
7 Argentina
8 Armenia

9 Australia
- Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty *2020 September

10 Austria
- Exile Music *2021 January

11 Azerbaijan

Edited: Jan 11, 2021, 7:38 pm


12 Bahamas
13 Bahrain
14 Bangladesh
15 Barbados
16 Belarus
17 Belgium
18 Belize
19 Benin
20 Bhutan

21 Bolivia
-Exile Music

22 (Plurinational State of) Bosnia and Herzegovina

23 Botswana
- No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith *

Edited: Aug 6, 2021, 12:29 am


29 Cambodia
30 Cameroon
31 Canada
- His Hand in the Storm by Ritu Sethi 2020 September

32 Cape Verde
33 Central African Repubic
34 Chad
35 Chile
36 China
*Shantung province
- The Death of Woman Wang by Jonathan D. Spence *2020 December
37 Colombia
38 Comoros
39 Congo
40 Costa Rica
41 Côte d’Ivoire
42 Croatia
43 Cuba
- Island Treasures: Growing Up in Cuba by Alma Flor Ada *2021 July

44 Cyprus
45 Czech Republic

Edited: Jun 24, 2021, 9:42 pm


46 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
47 Democratic Republic of the Congo
48 Denmark
49 Djibouti
50 Dominica
51 Dominican Republic
-In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez *2021 March 18

52 Ecuador
53 Egypt
- Lion in the Valley and other Amelia Peabody mysteries by Elizabeth Peters *bef. 2016

54 El Salvador

(182) England
- Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie. *2019 October
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society *bef. 2016
- Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders by Tessa Arlen *2020 June
- In This House of Brede *2021 April
-Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen *2021 May 26

55 Equatorial Guinea
56 Eritrea
57 Estonia
58 Ethiopia

59 Fiji
60 Finland
61 France
- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. *2019 August
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr *2021 June

Edited: Jun 24, 2021, 9:43 pm


62 Gabon
63 Gambia
64 Georgia
65 Germany
- My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me by Jennifer Teege *2017 August
-The Book Thief by Markus Zusak *2020 December
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr *2021 June

66 Ghana
67 Greece
68 Grenada
69 Guatemala
70 Guinea
71 Guinea-Bissau
72 Guyana

73 Haiti
74 Honduras
75 Hungary

Edited: Aug 9, 2021, 8:52 pm


76 Iceland
77 India
- That Way and No Other by Amy Carmichael. *2020 April
- Dreaming in Hindi by Katherine Russell Rich *2021 July

78 Indonesia
79 Iran (Islamic Republic of)
80 Iraq
- They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie *2020 December 20

81 Ireland
-Voyage of Mercy: The USS Jamestown, the Irish Famine, and the Remarkable… by Stephen Puleo *2020 November 25
- Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín *2021 August

82 Israel
- Joy to the World: How Christ's Coming Changed Everything by Scott Hahn *2020 December

83 Italy
- Bakhita: From Slave to Saint by Robert Zanini *2019 August
- Night's Bright Darkness by Sally Read *2020 March

84 Jamaica
85 Japan
-Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand *2020 May

86 Jordan

87 Kazakhstan
88 Kenya
89 Kuwait
90 Kyrgyzstan

Apr 5, 2020, 7:59 pm


91 Lao People’s Democratic Republic
92 Latvia
93 Lebanon
94 Lesotho
95 Liberia
96 Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
97 Liechtenstein
98 Lithuania
99 Luxembourg

Edited: May 23, 2021, 6:05 pm


100 Madagascar
101 Malawi
102 Malaysia
103 Maldives
104 Mali
105 Malta
106 Marshall Islands
107 Mauritania
108 Mauritius
109 Mexico
- Blessed Miguel Pro: 20th Century Mexican Martyr by Ann Ball *2019 August

110 Micronesia (Federated States of)
111 Monaco
112 Mongolia
113 Montenegro
114 Morocco
115 Mozambique
116 Myanmar

Edited: Aug 28, 2021, 11:43 pm


117 Namibia
118 Nauru
119 Nepal
120 Netherlands
- The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom 2021 May

121 New Zealand
122 Nicaragua
123 Niger
124 Nigeria
125 Norway
- The Wreath (Kristin Lavransdattar #1) by Sigrid Undsett *2020 April
- Northernmost by Peter Geye *2021 August

126 Oman

Edited: Aug 6, 2021, 12:04 am


127 Pakistan
128 Palau
129 Panama
130 Papua New Guinea
131 Paraguay
132 Peru
133 Philippines
- Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly 2021 January
- The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman *2021 August

135 Portugal

136 Qatar

137 Republic of Korea
138 Republic of Moldova
139 Romania
140 Russian Federation
- The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Distoyevsky *2020 August
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky *2021 May
-The Endless Steppe: by Esther Hautzig *2021 July

141 Rwanda
- Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza *about 2010

Edited: May 23, 2021, 6:13 pm


142 Saint Kitts and Nevis
143 Saint Lucia
144 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
145 Samoa
146 San Marino
147 Sao Tome and Principe
148 Saudi Arabia
(182) Scotland
-Blue Bells of Scotland by Laura Vosika *before. 2016

149 Senegal

150 Serbia
151 Seychelles
152 Sierra Leone
153 Singapore
154 Slovakia
155 Slovenia
156 Solomon Islands
157 Somalia
158 South Africa
159 Spain

160 Sri Lanka
161 Sudan
162 Suriname
163 Swaziland
164 Sweden
165 Switzerland
- Geneva - When in French by Lauren Collins *2020 June

166 Syrian Arab Republic

Apr 5, 2020, 8:16 pm


167 Tajikistan
168 Thailand
169 The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
170 Timor-Leste
171 Togo
172 Tonga
173 Trinidad and Tobago
174 Tunisia
175 Turkey
176 Turkmenistan
177 Tuvalu

Edited: May 27, 2021, 12:47 pm


178 Uganda

179 Ukraine

180 United Arab Emirates

182 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

183 United Republic of Tanzania

- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald *2020 March
- My Antonia by Willa Cather *2020 February
- The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley *2020 February
- Meg Langslow series by Donna Andrews 2019 fall -2020 January
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain *2021 May 26

185 Uruguay

186 Uzbekistan

187 Vanuatu
188 Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
- The Assault on Khe Sanh: an Oral History by Eric Hammel *2019 January
- Dragon Sea: A True Tale of Treasure by Frank Pope *2020 February

- The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers 2020 June - July

191 Zambia

Apr 9, 2020, 1:08 pm

Wonderful! Another participant! xx

May 1, 2020, 10:51 am

A belated welcome from me too :)

Edited: May 27, 2020, 12:41 pm

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

I thoroughly enjoyed this book which follows the amazing life of Louis Zamperini from his childhood through death, with a focus on his time as a Japanese prisoner of war.

Louis Zamperini was a rambunctious child who was always finding trouble. He probably gave his mother the bulk of any gray hair she had! Fortunately his brother encouraged him in running for the school team and Louie really took to it. As his ability developed he set his sights on the Olympics and was generally expected to be the first man to break the 4- minute mile.

World War II, however, changed all that. Louie joined the Army Air Corps and served in the Pacific theater of war as a bombardier. On one mission his plane went down and he drifted with two other airmen across the Pacific for 47 days. The bulk of the story recounts the horrific experiences in the Japanese POW camps and the ongoing resilience of Louie and the other POWs.

The last few chapters deal with Louis' return home, his struggles and eventual resolutions. The book also followed some of his fellow prisoners and their journeys through camps and rescue as they intersected with Louie's life.

This book had so much tragedy (I've only heard the horror of the A- bomb, never the atrocities the Japanese committed against our soldiers), but also so much hope in the goodness some men were able to bring to the terror.

I read fiction much more easily than non-fiction, but this was an easy read as it was set as a story. And of course the intensity kept me intrigued. I highly recommend this book.

Edited: Sep 2, 2020, 10:32 pm

When in French by Lauren Collins


Madame Collins was an American working in London when she fell in love with a French man. They lived in Geneva for his job and as she realized how much she was missing in the present, communication with her in- laws and neighbors, and how much she would miss in the future as their children grew up speaking French, Madame Collins decided to actively learn the language.

This book chronicles the personal intricacies of a relationship conducted in second languages, interspersed with a multitude of information on the study of language, the French and English languages, how languages shape us, etc.

I particularly enjoyed her evolution of thought as she became fluent in French. A very enjoyable book.

Edited: Sep 2, 2020, 10:33 pm

Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders by Tessa Arlen

England, WWII

This book is set in a remote English village during WWII and our main character is Poppy Redfern, a young and newly minted Air Raid Warden. When two young women are found murdered within days and Poppy believes they have arrested the wrong man, she begins her own quiet investigation.

I enjoyed both the historical background of this book and the story itself. It's hard to imagine the privations of a war torn country or even one whose resources are limited, as England suffered due to blockades, when I have the privilege of living in the modern US.

Edited: Sep 2, 2020, 10:33 pm

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers


This is the story of Mukhtar Alkhanshali's quest to bring Yemeni coffee to the US market. He grew up in San Francisco, the son of Yemeni immigrants, and was floundering after high school, trying to earn enough money to attend college. In an almost mystical experience, he felt a calling to bring the coffee of his ancestors from the land of its birth to our modern American coffee houses. We follow the development of his dream from a less than professional business plan through finding backers to his treks through Yemen searching out coffee growers willing to change their methods to supply a superior product. The last portion of the book details his frantic escape from Yemen, with his coffee samples!, in the wake of the emerging war.

I enjoyed learning more about the tree to coffee shop portion of the coffee process and getting a glimpse of Yemeni life before and during the war. I am NOT an entrepreneur and was amazed at this young man's dedication to his dream and how quickly he was able to bring it to fruition. I was also impressed with how quickly he thought on his feet while in Yemen. An enjoyable read.

Edited: Aug 23, 2020, 5:41 pm

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Russia (pre-revolution)

I enjoyed this book and am glad I finally read it. At times I had to force myself to read because it did not go as lightly and quickly as a modern mystery. Not only is my copy 700 pages of small print, but the characters are deeply developed and there is a lot more happening than just the action. I would like to better understand how two long, well-written books can read so differently.

Edited: Oct 21, 2020, 8:13 pm

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Australia, Sydney

I usually read mysteries, but very much enjoyed this book. The whole book revolves around what happened at the barbecue, which is slowly revealed as we go along. I remember thinking near the end how complex the characters had become in the course of the story. Chapters transitioned among different characters viewpoints. This was occasionally confusing, but led to their greatest depth as we saw in their minds very personally rather than the third person view of an outside narrator.

Overwhelmingly this book could have taken place anywhere in the western world. It focused on characters shaped by and interacting with modern western society, no specific impact of being in Australia.

Edited: Sep 11, 2020, 3:02 pm

His Hand in the Storm by Ritu Sethi

Canada, Quebec

This was a free Kindle police mystery. Detective Gray James is trying both to solve a murder and prevent further deaths, including his own. I was a little slow getting into this book, don't know if it was the book or my other interests and commitments, but now that I'm done I'm ready not only to read the next book in this series, but even pay for it!

Edited: Dec 16, 2020, 9:56 pm

Voyage of Mercy: The USS Jamestown, the Irish Famine, and the Remarkable… by Stephen Puleo


I really enjoyed this book. What I knew of the Irish potato famine consisted of those three words and that it was really bad. I'd never realized just how devastating it was.

Mr. Puleo does a wonderful job of weaving together his research and direct quotes into a fascinating story. He covers the roots of the famine, British response (and non- response) and how America became involved. He also follows the personal lives of the main movers and shakers which makes the story much more compelling for me. This was not only America's first humanitarian mission, but the first country to country mission on such a large scale. 👍👍

Edited: Dec 16, 2020, 9:55 pm

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Set in early WWII Germany

This story is narrated by death as he tells us about a young girl he met as her brother died. She is on her way to a foster family and we follow her transition to this new life. The story is filled with vibrantly drawn characters, whimsy and pathos, heart wrenching moments and pure delight.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and hope the author has others just as good.

Dec 20, 2020, 4:21 pm

They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie

As I started this book I thought Victoria just flying off to Baghdad after a young man was a little unrealistic, but that's the pleasure of fiction, we suspend our disbelief. About two- thirds through I remembered that back in '89 I quit my job and flew off to Germany after a young man with whom I had fallen head over heels in love. 31 years later we're still happily married and he's built me the wonderful library in my profile photo!

Fortunately my exciting adventures did not include any kidnapping, death threats, espionage or the fear that went with them. I'm not sure I actually caught all the nuances of the complicated story, but I enjoyed it all the same.

Edited: Dec 21, 2020, 12:00 pm

The Death of Woman Wang by Jonathan D. Spence

China, Shantung province

Professor Spence uses three primary sources to weave together a glimpse of T'an-ch'eng county in seventeenth century China. The book begins with some general history of the wars, rebellions, brigands and natural catastrophes that plagued the country throughout the century and then focuses on specific events between 1668 and 1672.

The Local History of T'an-ch'eng was compiled in 1673 and thus had fresh memories and first-hand experience for the narrated events. Huang Liu-hung, the county magistrate from 1670 -1672 authored A Complete Book Concerning Happiness and Benevolence, "a personal memoir and handbook on the office of magistrate." P'u Sung-ling, an "essayist, short-story writer and dramatist," lived in bordering Tzu-ch'uan country and traveled through T'an-ch'eng in our focus time, so professor Spence included excerpts from his work to round out the more human aspects of daily life in the poor county.

Wow! Life was rough! The corruption, lawlessness, tax evasion make our current American protagonists look like children at play. Today's poor may not be able to hire the best lawyers, but most of our daily life is protected by even-handed laws. My wealthy neighbor can't keep all the proceeds of his work, yet claim it was mine for tax purposes. A person can't just move into my house and get by with it because the police don't want to tangle with his thugs.

I also appreciate the respect for women in our society. My husband can't sell me as a slave, concubine or prostitute for any reason, let alone he needs more gambling money! While widows did have some rights, the law meant to protect them actually had the opposite effect and many just quit fighting.

I really enjoyed this book for the glimpse into another time and culture. As my husband said, it makes you rethink the trauma of not getting data when the wind is wrong!

Edited: Dec 26, 2020, 12:01 pm

Joy to the World: How Christ's Coming Changed Everything (and still does) by Scott Hahn

This seemed a good book to complete my goal over the Christmas season. Dr. Hahn gives us a deeper look at the Christmas story presented in the Gospels and it's significance both at the time and up to the present day. He looks at all the aspects from Mary, Joseph and the shepherds to the wise men and the king. He looks at the journeys from Nazareth to Bethlehem to Jerusalem and to Egypt. He shows relationships between the Old Testament and New, and gave some historical background on the expectations of the Messiah.

In itself this is a quick read, but I kept jumping to the internet for more information on items he brought up. May we all find that deep joy of being truly and completely loved.

Edited: Jan 11, 2021, 7:37 pm

Exile Music

Austria and Bolivia

I generally enjoyed the writing in this book and the lush descriptions of both Vienna and Bolivia. Unfortunately it also felt like this young Austrian Jewish girl in WWII viewed the world around her through 21st century adult American eyes. '9000 people were arrested; over 1000 of them were Jews.' No further mention of the almost 8000 others who were also falsely arrested. Sadly too many people embraced the Nazi regime, but there were also multitudes fighting against it, both directly and behind the scenes. It seemed like everyone got tarred with the same brush in this book.

And then we had bait and switch as the story of professional Jewish musicians trying to escape Europe became a lesbian coming of age story. I quit reading at the point where it appeared we would be moving into a scene of sexual exploration between two 13 year old girls. I really prefer not to be in anybody's bedroom for graphic details, but especially not that of children.

I would have liked to read more about Bolivia.

Edited: Jan 23, 2021, 2:18 am

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly


Somehow I'm choosing Holocaust stories. This was so much better than Exile Music. The characters rang more true and three dimensional. They also, mostly, seemed a lot more in keeping with their time. At the end I found out that they were indeed based on real people and the author had read a lot of primary source material to get a real feel for them.

This story focuses on three women: Caroline, a New York socialite with a love for France and helping people, Cassia, a young Polish girl arrested by the Nazis and sent to a women's "re-education" camp, and Herta, an aspiring female physician. The story started just before Hitler invaded Poland and followed the women until about 1957. I am constantly amazed at the resilience of the human spirit in the midst horrific circumstances.

I enjoyed the bonus of Cassia coming from the same town where my husband has family. When we visited 25 years ago I had no idea that the town had had a concentration camp. I'd like to learn more.

Grandson will be up too soon so I have to go to sleep.

Jan 12, 2021, 2:59 am

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Edited: Mar 19, 2021, 1:46 am

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

Excellent book. This is a fictionalized account of four sisters living in the Dominican Republic during its decades of oppression under the dictator Trujillo. Three were members of the resistance movement and were killed for their opposition. I had known nothing of the Dominican Republic, especially the years of dictatorship.

The audio version did not have any info regarding the author's research and how much artistic license she took. I enjoy learning history as the story of people rather than dry facts, but always wonder in books like this how closely the characters' personalities and private thoughts follow the real person versus the author.

May 23, 2021, 6:03 pm

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

What a beautiful woman, a beautiful family, a beautiful book! I loved the gentle wisdom and faith of Corrie's father throughout the book and seeing it grow in his family members. This book shows perfectly how God equips us as needed for His missions. Corrie was quite happy working in her father's watch shop, but through simple love of neighbor she became, almost without realizing it, a major party of the Dutch underground. I pray that I can grow to this level of love and faith.

May 27, 2021, 12:34 pm

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky


Last year I struggled to get through The Brothers Karamazov. It was very heavy reading for me and while I enjoyed it and am happy I read it, I would not pick it up again for a quick weekend's read!

This academic year I joined The Well-read Mom and our May/ June book is Crime and Punishment. After The Brothers Karamazov I was very thankful to see two months allowed to read this! Once started, however, I flew through and had to stop myself so I wouldn't need to reread it (though I might anyway) before our June meeting. A good portion of the book takes place in the mind of our protagonist as he contemplates, justifies and struggles through the aftermath of turning away from societal norms. And we are present to see his thought process.

This book encompassed a wide cast of characters, all of whom seemed a bit exaggerated to me. I don't know if this reflects Russian culture of the time, a certain writing style or what. I read that several of the names have specific meaning related to the character so this over the top behavior could be one more aspect of driving home the story.

I also found literature guides at coursehero.com which helped me review just "Who is this? And what is his place in the story again?" Five stars, two thumbs up and highly recommended. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Jun 24, 2021, 9:41 pm

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

France and Germany

I really enjoyed this book. It had a beautiful blend of the good in human nature amid the horrors of war, brutality and gentleness. I don't know if it would qualify among the greats of literature and certainly didn't explore every aspect of WWII, just one little corner, but I enjoyed the writing, the story and the characters.

Edited: Aug 6, 2021, 12:14 am

Island Treasures: Growing Up in Cuba by Alma Flor Ada


This was a brief book, a collection of long essays, from a child's point of view. It was delightful and gave a great sense of place.

Edited: Aug 28, 2021, 11:49 pm

The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig

Russia - Siberia

Another book of people's experiences in World War II. It seems the bulk of personal experience stories of WWII focus on the Nazi's horrific treatment of the Jewish people. We seldom hear of their other victims, the disabled, the intelligentsia, the priests. We also don't hear of Stalin's outrages against humanity.

This book is about a Polish family, deported from their home in Poland by Russia to Siberia for the crime of being "capitalists." It's told from Esther's perspective as a child going through this experience. I enjoyed learning more of this era from a first-hand account.

Aug 6, 2021, 12:16 am

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

Poland - WWII

I seem to have a World War II theme this year. I had the opportunity to watch this a couple years ago, but couldn't because my husband's Polish great grandparents all died in Poland during the war. I didn't think I could handle it emotionally that day. I'm glad I finally read this. It's based on the diaries of Antonina Zabinski, the zookeeper's wife of the title. This filled out a little more of the history of WWII. It was interesting to hear the names of places we visited where my husband's family

Edited: Aug 9, 2021, 8:51 pm

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín


A beautiful story of an Irish immigrant in New York. At first I was upset by the ending, then realized I really appreciated it.

Aug 28, 2021, 11:48 pm

Northernmost by Peter Geye


This book followed the story of Greta in 2017 and her great, great, great grandfather in 1897. When I first started listening I was amazed that Norway sounded so much like the north shore of Lake Superior; then I remembered the book was also set in Minnesota! Obviously the author did an excellent job of capturing the sense of place.