Around the world in 80(+) books

I do like to challenge myself every now and then, though I’m not sure why I put the pressure on myself. This time I’ve decided I want to read a book or short story set in, or at least partly taking place in,Β  or written by someone from every country in the world. Now of course I have already read some books set in a few of the countries on the list, often many times. But I’d like to do some armchair travelling so I’m going to see how far I can wander from now on.

I’ll be keeping a track of at least one book that lands in the right destination on here. I don’t think I’ll get this done in a year but it will be interesting to see how far I have ‘travelled’ by the end of December.


  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Andorra
  • Angola
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Australia – The Lost Man by Jane Harper
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan


  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi


  • Cabo Verde
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Central African Republic (CAR)
  • Chad
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Costa Rica
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic


  • Denmark
  • Djibouti
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic


  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Estonia
  • Eswatini (formerly Swaziland)
  • Ethiopia


  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France – The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton by Anstey Harris


  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana


  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Hungary


  • Iceland
  • India – The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Ireland – When All is Said by Anne Griffin
  • Israel
  • Italy – Unto Us a Son is Given by Donna Leon


  • Jamaica
  • Japan – Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami
  • Jordan


  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Kosovo
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan


  • Laos
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg


  • Macedonia (FYROM)
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Malta
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar (formerly Burma)


  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • North Korea
  • Norway


  • Oman


  • Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Palestine
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal



  • Qatar


  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Rwanda


  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • South Sudan
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Swaziland (renamed to Eswatini)
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Syria


  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu


  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • United Kingdom (UK) – Tell Me a Secret by Jane Fallon
  • United States of America (USA) – The Wedding Guest by Jonathan Kellerman
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan


  • Vanuatu
  • Vatican City (Holy See)
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam


  • Yemen


  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Do let me know if you have any recommendations for any of the countries listed. I may just cheat and read this:

31 Comments Add yours

  1. This is such an exciting project! I also try to get out of the English-countries bubble and read as much as possible books from other countries, even though it’s not an organized endeavour.

    For your “journey” to Romania I recommend reading something by Mircea Eliade (Bengal Nights) or Mircea Cartarescu (Nostalgia or Blinding).

    Good luck with your project, I am really looking forward to see what books you discover πŸ™‚


  2. Raili Taylor says:

    Two recommendations for your armchair trip to Finland, both by Antti Tuomainen: Palm Beach Finland or The Man Who Died. Both are entertaining quick reads.


    1. janetemson says:

      I have some of his on my TBR! Thanks for the suggestions πŸ™‚


  3. That’s some challenge!


  4. jen_bookworm says:

    I like this idea. I’m going to read a book from Wales and Scotland. Already read books set in Ireland or by Irish writers by chance. You could split the UK up into it’s actual countries would be more interesting. The people on a book forum I go on are reading a book from each county in England. I like reading books in different places especially when I can’t afford a holiday. Reading the second Chris Stewart memoir this year Parrot in a pepper tree I just liked the story and setting. Have to check back to see what you’re reading need more books that are a holiday alternative


    1. janetemson says:

      Splitting is a good idea. I’ve read Chris Stewart’s books years ago and really enjoyed them. I hope you did too πŸ™‚


  5. I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines, Janet. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.


  6. Simon T says:

    Great idea! I think I read my most countries ever last year, and it was still only about ten (though covering six continents!) Good luck πŸ˜€


  7. Nordie says:

    Lisa See or Xinran for China – they’ve written several books each, in various timeframes and different areas, so it depends on what floats your boat.

    I also read a book called “The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter” set in then Ceylon. Based during the English army occupation, it can be difficult at times (lots of violence, some times graphic), so it’s up to you


    1. janetemson says:

      Oh brilliant suggestions, thanks πŸ™‚


  8. lel2403 says:

    Reblogged this on The Bookwormery and commented:
    Sounds like a fun thing to do


  9. Karen says:

    A great challenge Janet. If I think of something will let you know.


  10. TripFiction says:

    That is quite a challenge! Enjoy!


  11. Very challenging indeed! Good luck!


  12. winstonsdad says:

    Looking forward to see what you read from where I’ve read books from most of the countries so lots on blog to look at


  13. Can highly recommend Ismail Kadare’s Broken April for your Albanian travels – it’s short (probably helpful!) and gripping!


  14. Kaitlin (leviosanotleviosa) says:

    The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson is set in South Africa AND Sweden, and is really quirky and fun.


    1. janetemson says:

      Brilliant! Thanks for the suggestion πŸ™‚


  15. Kate W says:

    I’ll watch with interest Janet. I have been undertaking a similar challenge and although I haven’t been deliberately seeking books out, I’ve been surprised at my progress (19 countries in the first year and 17 in the second – I suspect it will get harder as I go along).


  16. Sent you a few novella length recommendations on twitter, books I loved from a few countries that came to mind, some of them deserved of being modern classics, some of my absolute favourites over the years. Love that you are doing this, I try to read around the world every year, not from a list, but just having that as an intention, I think I managed 18 countries last year without trying too hard.


  17. Tony says:

    This is a great challenge.
    If you’re open to suggestions – Pereira Maintains by Antonio Tabucchi is a fantastic little novel set in Lisbon


    1. janetemson says:

      Oh brilliant, thanks very much πŸ™‚


  18. Interesting idea, can’t wait to see how you get on.


  19. What a fantastic challenge! Recent reads I would recommend are Vernon Subutex (France), We That Are Young (India) and A Whole Life (Germany). Good luck!


  20. Great challenge! Like Kate I’m doing the AW80Books challenge (at snails pace) and it’s really enjoyable. I’m sure I’ll be stealing a few of your reads to help me along πŸ™‚


  21. Rob Campbell says:

    For Spain, it has to be “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Best of luck with your challenge.


    1. janetemson says:

      Good suggestion. I’ve read that one but I’ve not read the follow up ones. Thanks πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Krista says:

    I’m working on the same thing. Take a look at my book list on my page for some recommendations. But so far my favorites have been what I’ve read on Bhutan, Uzbekistan, and Egypt!


    1. janetemson says:

      Will do, thanks! I hope yours is going well πŸ™‚


  23. Diana @ Thoughts on Papyrus says:

    Good luck with the challenge! I am doing a similar one, and I know how hard it is to find some books from some little or obscure countries. For example, for Botswana, I can recommend When Rain Clouds Gather (1969) by Bessie Head.


    1. janetemson says:

      Thank you, and thanks for the recommendation. I hope your challenge is going well πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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