Read Around the World: Iceland to Japan

By September 22, 2019Discussion and Recommendations

We’re well into our blog series now, storming through the world alphabetically 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 Hungary, so today we’re covering ten countries from Iceland to Japan.

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


Burial Rites – Hannah Kent

Hannah Kent’s debut novel brings to life Iceland’s stark landscape in this tale, inspired by a true story. The final days of a young woman accused of murder and awaiting execution in Iceland in 1829 is brough to life in this stark, noir novel.

Burial Rites

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Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts

The very moment I thought of India, I thought of Shantaram and it’s beautiful descriptions of this vast and culturally right country. Based on the true story of Gregory David Roberts who escaped from prison in Australia and found himself in India.


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The Ten Thousand Things – Maria Dermout

The Ten Thousand Things is a book recommended within a book (Cheryl Strayed, Lost) where she recommends the book. It is the story of Felicia, who returns with her baby son from Holland to the Spice Islands of Indonesia, to the house and garden that were her birthplace, over which her powerful grandmother still presides.

The Ten Thousand Things

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Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi

A coming of age graphic novel as Satrapi grows up in Iran during the Islamic revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq.


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Frankenstein in Baghdad – Ahmed Saadawi

A bold novel of occupied Iraq, following Hadi, an oddball from a local cafe who collects body parts and sews them together in the hope that if he can create a whole person, the authorities will be forced to recognise it and give it a proper burial.

Frankenstein in Baghdad

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The Dubliners – James Joyce

We were spoiled for choice when it came to Irish novels, but finally settled on this classic collection of short stories. Don’t be put off knowing it’s Joyce, this is James Joyce at his most accessible in this collection of tales about his ‘Dear, dirty Dublin’.

The Dubliners

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A Story of Love and Darkness – Amos Oz

A Tale of Love and Darkness is the story of a boy who grows up in war-torn Jerusalem, in a small apartment crowded with books in twelve languages and relatives speaking nearly as many. The story of an adolescent whose life has been changed forever by his mother’s suicide.

A Story of Love and Darkness

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Under the Tuscan Sun – Frances Mayes

Twenty years ago, Frances Mayes—widely published poet, gourmet cook, and travel writer—introduced readers to a wondrous new world when she bought and restored an abandoned villa called Bramasole in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. This now classic tale inspired a generation.

Under the Tuscan Sun

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A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James

On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert to ease political tensions in Kingston, seven unnamed gunmen stormed the singer’s house, machine guns blazing. This is a fictional exploration of that story.

A Brief History of Seven Killings

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Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel tells with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha.

Memoirs of a Geisha

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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 Jordan

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

France to Greece

Grenada to Hungary

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