Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jena at That Artsy Reader Girl.
I love reading books that take place in other countries. One of the things I love most is traveling and since I don’t quite have the funds to go everywhere I want (everywhere!), a book is the next best thing! I also love learning about the history, culture, and language of like, everywhere, so books that immerse the reader in these have always been my favorite.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
I just recently read this one, and it immediately jumped onto my favorites list. Pachinko is set in Korea and Japan and follows one family through several generations. It hits on a lot of major issues for Korean people at the time (lack of identity, loss of national pride, no where they belong, not knowing fate of family and friends, etc.) that, as an American, I would never have learned about if I hadn’t taken a Korean history class in college.
Paris by Edward Rutherford
Edward Rutherford is my favorite historical fiction writer. His books are all set in one city/location and follow a few families over several generations. And holy cow, how? He always makes me fall in love with (most of the members of) these families and I absolutely love being able to witness these cities (i.e. Paris, London, New York) grow from a small settlement into the amazing cities they are today.
The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty
I’m not sure exactly where The City of Brass takes place – it starts in Cairo, but they leave and go somewhere else. Somewhere in northern Africa or maybe the middle east, I think. This story is based on myths from the region, and I always love me a good myth-based story.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
You would think a story about a man stuck living in a hotel for 30 years would be kind of boring. Yet somehow, A Gentleman in Moscow was anything but. Amor Towles’ writing was absolutely beautiful, and I completely fell in love with all of the characters in this story.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Salt to the Sea is a heart-wrenching WWII story, though I suppose all WWII stories are quite heartbreaking. This one follows three young refugees and one ex-soldier as they make their way to the William Gustoff, a ship they’re hoping will take them to safety. Seriously though, be prepared to cry at the ending.
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
I learned a lot more than I thought there was to know about tea from The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane. It was also fascinating to read about a character from a Chinese ethnic minority and how she went from a rather primal way of living to a modern 21st century lifestyle.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A Man Called Ove is set in Sweden and is centered on a cantankerous man named Ove. He likes things the way he likes them and frankly doesn’t care if you disagree. He starts out seeming to be just a bitter old man, but as you get to know his backstory and get to see his relationships with the people (who force their way into) his life, you might start to get some warm fuzzy feelings.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Crazy Rich Asians is about exactly what the title promises. Some crazy-rich Asians, and some crazy, rich Asians. It’s about some extremely rich families based in Singapore, though they do travel the world quite frequently, and the drama surrounding the idea of bringing an average person into their world via marriage. It’s kind of mind blowing to realize that some people actually have the lifestyle portrayed in this book.
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand
My Lady Jane is about Jane Gray, the woman who was queen for about a week after Edward VI died. While this story clearly deviates from historical fact, it makes Jane Gray’s story significantly less depressing. In fact, it makes her story completely hilarious and wonderfully romantic, yet still has idea of the religious turmoil that was going on at the time, just without the religion. I am also super stoked that the next book will be released soon!
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
And what TTT list would be complete without one of my all time favorite books, The Count of Monte Cristo? If you enjoy tales of betrayal, revenge, adventure, love, buried treasure, mind games, and more, this book is for you! And don’t be intimidated by the length – as I’m sure many people are aware, Dumas was paid by the line, so there are a lot of short dialogue lines, and not so much lengthy, winding description as there is in many other classics. 🙂
What are your favorite books set in other countries? What other types of books do you like to live vicariously through?