Around the World in 80 Books

In reaction to the xenophobia and general racism going on with our president (and around the world) I decided to fight back by learning more about other countries, particularly those with which I’m not familiar and have not visited. had an article listing a book from each of the 80 most populated countries in the world (sorry, Sweden) so I’m getting right to it.


I went to the local library branch with the list and before I could so much as find any African novel I found a novelization of the TV show Sons of Anarchy. This is a 7 season show about an outlaw motorcycle club in fictional Charming, California. Although it’s a fictional town, by the cities the show mentions, it is located about an hour from where I live. Is there anything more lowbrow than a novelization of a TV show? No, but I checked it out anyway since I’m in the middle of re-watching the entire series.


The one book from the list that I did find in my local branch is The Dinner by Herman Koch, set in the Netherlands. So, again, not outside the white comfort zone. Both my Dad and my Mom’s sister recently had their DNA tested (this is the kind of gift you give to retired people who don’t need anything) and the results are in: I’m 99.98% white. Whitey McWhite, if you will. Fraulein Blanche, more accurately. OK, I’ll start there.


Most of the books on the list are novels, which are not my favorite thing to read. They’re like movies about boxing – one every 6-12 months is about all I can manage. I prefer a mystery series or non-fiction, so I’ll add those to the mix to dilute the novel ratio. Bookriot also had an article about books from the countries affected by the US’s latest travel ban (which has already been challenged in the courts), and it include a list of young adult (YA) novels. Now that interests me more so I’ll read some of those also.


If anyone has any book recommendations, please feel free to share them. So far I’ve gotten tipped off to The Skull Mantra by Eliot Pattison, a mystery set in Chinese-occupied Tibet.




PS – please forgive the poor quality of the visuals. I’m working on upping my game blog-wise but I wanted to get started with this.



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