Read Around the World: France to Greece

We’re well into our blog series now with sixty countries covered to date as we read around the world, featuring a book from every country in the world. We’ll work alphabetically through all the countries in the world and add in some smaller countries and islands too, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe!

We’ll work alphabetically and the last list ended at Finland, so today we’re covering ten countries from France to Greece.

Join us on our literary world trip as we read around the world in more than 200 books.


The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery

Set in the centre of Paris, The Elegance of the Hedgehog centres around the story of a cantankerous female concierge who loves art, philosophy and music, and a smart 12 year old who is the daughter of one of the tenants who has decided she will end her life on her 13th birthday. A New York Times bestseller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog is a brilliant read.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

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French Guiana

Papillon – Henri Charriere

Henri Charrière, nicknamed Papillon, for the butterfly tattoo on his chest, was convicted in Paris in 1931 of a murder he did not commit. Sentenced to life imprisonment in the penal colony of French Guiana, he became obsessed with one goal: escape. After planning and executing a series of treacherous yet failed attempts over many years, he was eventually sent to the notorious prison, Devil’s Island, a place from which no one had ever escaped . . . until Papillon. His flight to freedom remains one of the most incredible feats of human cunning, will, and endurance ever undertaken.


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French Polynesia

Trustee from the Toolroom – Nevil Shute

Keith Stewart is an ordinary man. However, one day he is called upon to undertake an extraordinary task. When his sister’s boat is wrecked in the Pacific, he becomes trustee for his little niece. In order to save her from destitution he has to embark on a 2,000 mile voyage in a small yacht in inhospitable waters. His adventures and the colourful characters he meets on his journey make this book a marvellous tale of courage and friendship.

Trustee from the Toolroom

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Tropic Moon – Georges Simenon

Tropic Moon follows Frenchman Joseph Timar who travels to Gabon carrying a letter of introduction from an influential uncle. He wants work experience and he wants to see the world but in the oppressive heat of the equator he doesn’t know what to do with himself and no one seems inclined to help. From here the novel degenerates into crime and secrets, a suspenseful read from this old colonial outpost.

Tropic Moon

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(The) Gambia

Chaff on the Wind – Ebou Dibba

Chaff on the Wind is a fast paced coming of age story featuring two young, and very different boys Dinding and Pateh, two young Gambians who move to the big town from their villages full of ambition and youth, sporting very different attitudes. Dinding is more cautious, a planner, a hoarder. Pateh is spontaneous and frivolous.

Chaff on the Wind

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Bread and Ashes – Tony Anderson

Tony Anderson set out in the summer of 1998 to walk through Georgia. He wanted particularly to visit the Georgian mountain tribes – Tush, Khevsurs, Ratchuelians and Svans – to discover if they shared a common mountain culture, and to test the old idea of the Caucasus as an impenetrable barrier from sea to sea.

Bread and Ashes

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Alone in Berlin – Hans Fallada

Based on the real life story of the Hampels, who were executed in 1943, Alone in Berlin tells the story of Otto and Anna Quangel who having lost their son fighting in France begin to pen anti-war propaganda on a small scale distributing postcards and leaflets around their Berlin neighbourhood.

Alone in Berlin

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The Housemaid – Amma Darko

A dead baby and bloodstained clothes are discovered near a small village. Everyone is ready to comment on the likely story behind the abandoned infant. The men have one opinion, the women another. As the story rapidly unfolds it becomes clear that seven different women played their part in the drama. All of them are caught in a web of superstition, ignorance, greed and corruption.

The Housemaid

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Solitude House – M. G. Sanchez

Meet Dr John Seracino, predatory ladies’ man and born misanthrope. All he wants in life is a property free of any annoying neighbours. But Seracino has a problem: he resides in Gibraltar, where almost everybody lives in flats and where detached properties come at a premium. For the last few years he has been attending property auctions in the hope of bagging himself one of the old colonial bungalows that intermittently come up for sale. His luck is about to change, or is it?

Solitude House

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My Family and Other Animals – Gerald Durrell

My Family and Other Animals is Gerald Durrell’s hilarious account of five years in his childhood spent living with his family on the island of Corfu. With snakes, scorpions, toads, owls and geckos competing for space with one bookworm brother and another who’s gun-mad, as well as an obsessive sister, young Gerald has an awful lot of natural history to observe. This richly detailed, informative and riotously funny memoir of eccentric family life is a twentieth-century classic.

My Family and Other Animals

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We hope you’re enjoying this new blog series, we’ll be back with the next journey through literature in a few days, starting with Grenada

As the series continues, you can try this search to find the rest of the blogs in this series. Alternatively if you’re looking for a specific country so far we have covered:

Afghanistan to Aruba

Australia to Belize

Benin to British Virgin Islands

Brunei to Central African Republic

Chad to Cuba

Curaçao to Egypt

El Salvador to Finland

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