Want to travel the world, but don’t really have the funds (or the time) to hop on a plane and fill up your passport? Reading books based in other countries is really the next best thing! Instead of traveling around the world in 80 days, how about reading your way through the world in 80 books? This is probably my longest reading list ever, so bear with me! I’m making it as simple to get through as possible. Ready to start traveling?
Around the World in 80 Books
Affiliate links included will take you to the Amazon page for the book. I broke it up into chunks of five, with a featured book from each group, so you’re not slammed with 80 different pictures. Obviously, I didn’t include every single country, since there are like 250+ of them. Around the world in 257 books doesn’t sound as good! Don’t ask how I decided which countries made the list, it was kind of a mix of random choices, countries that I’d like to visit and stories that just sounded interesting.
Huge thanks to Lora for pointing out that it would be easier to follow along if I gave you a printable checklist. Here is a “quick and dirty” plain version in PDF format that won’t take up all your printer ink. I’ll make a prettier one asap, but for now, this is really all you need.
Click Here to Print this List!
Afghanistan: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Algeria: The Stranger by Albery Camus
Antarctica: Subterranean by James Rollins
Argentina: Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Read
Australia: The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Austria: When Nietzsche Wept by Irvin D. Yalom
Bahrain: Round the Bend by Nevil Shute
Bangladesh: The Zoya Factor by Anuja Chauhan
Belgium: On Black Sisters Street by Chika Unigwe
Bolivia: Turing’s Delirium by Edmundo Paz Soldán
Brazil: The Boys from Brazil by Ira Levin
Chile: The Killer’s Tears by Anne-Laure Bondoux
China: The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan
Colombia: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
Croatia: Radiant Days: A Novel by Michael A. FitzGerald
Cuba: 90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis
Denmark: Ophelia by Lisa M. Klein
Dominican Republic: What about Your Saucepans? by Lindsay De Feliz
Ecuador: Goodnight Sunshine by Mark Cameron
Egypt: The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George
Ethiopia: The Prince Who Walked with Lions by Elizabeth Laird
Finland: The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
France: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Germany: Loyal to a Degree by Horst Christian
Greece: The Island by Victoria Hislop
Guatemala: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Haiti: The Serpent and the Rainbow by Wade Davis
Honduras: Hurricane by Terry Trueman
Hungary: Prague by Arthur Phillips
Iceland: The Blue Fox by Sjón, Victoria Cribb
India: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Iran: Sky of Red Poppies by Zohreh Ghahremani
Iraq: The House of Wisdom by Florence Parry Heide
Ireland: Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy
Israel: Homesick by Eshkol Nevo
Italy: Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
Jamaica: The Long Song by Andrea Levy
Japan: Geisha, a Life by Mineko Iwasaki
Kenya: A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve
Korea: The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble
Kuwait: A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar
Liberia: Beyond the Mango Tree by Amy Bronwen Zemser
Libya: In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar
Lithuania: Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story by Ken Mochizuki, Dom Lee
Macedonia: The Campaigns of Alexander by Arrian, Aubrey de Sélincourt
Madagascar: Once on this River by Sharon Dennis Wyeth
Mexico: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Morocco: Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud
Nepal: Sleeping Tigers by Holly Robinson
Netherlands: The Coffee Trader by David Liss
New Zealand: The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera
Nicaragua: The Butterfly Workshop by Gioconda Belli
Norway: Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
Pakistan: Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
Panama: The Tailor of Panama by John le Carré
Peru: The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
Philippines: When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holthe
Poland: Dark Hour of Noon by Christine Szambelan–Strevinsky
Portugal: The Hammer of Eden by Ken Follett
Romania: The Seamstress by Sara Tuvel Bernstein
Russia: Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
Saudi Arabia: Aladdin and Other Tales from the Arabian Nights by Anonymous
Scotland: The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell
Singapore: The Song of Silver Frond by Catherine Lim
South Africa: Many Stones by Carolyn Coman
Spain: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
Sri Lanka: Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje
Sudan: The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Sweden: Blackwater by Kerstin Ekman
Switzerland: I’m Not Stiller by Max Frisch
Syria: A Hand Full of Stars by Rafik Schami
Taiwan: The Third Son by Julie Wu
Thailand: Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski
Turkey: The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk
Uganda: War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay
United Kingdom: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Uruguay: The Tree of Red Stars by Tessa Bridal
Venezuela: Black Magic by Cherry Adair
Vietnam: The Quiet American by Graham Greene
Zimbabwe: A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer
There you go! Books to read that will whisk you away to 80 different countries! If you want to get super fancy and make it fun, print out a fake passport and “stamp” it every time you finish a book about a different country. You can make your own stamps, take a picture of the cover and stick it in there, or whatever else you come up with. I’m not that creative. I just write all the books I read down in one big “book list” book.
Have you read a great book that took place in another country? Share your recommendations below!
It’s nice to see some of my favorites on your list; Like Water for Chocolate and Under the Tuscan Sun. I book really can take you on a journey to a foreign land.
I pinned this for when I am in need of a new book. I can never think of one that I want to read until I need a new one.
Thank you for pinning! I tried to include a lot of different genres, too, so hopefully you’ll find something you love!
This is awesome! It’s really interesting reading stories that take place in completely different environments.
Wow! That’s a really amazing list. The reason I read books is that it takes me to adventures way beyond my reach and in a matter of minutes too! It’s really nice to be able to read these this summer!
That’s my favorite part about reading. Whether it’s a journey to another country or a whole other world, it’s a vacation in my mind!
Wow. Thank you for this extensive list. The titles alone are very interesting. They all must be good reads. I will check out a few and add them to my reading list.
That’s a very nice long list! I think some of these books would be great to read. I haven’t been able to read for a while though. They all sound so interesting.
I just got back into reading after a bit of a hiatus. I used to read all the time, then got so busy with life. I made it a mission to read 52 books this year, though. I’m halfway there!
This is amazing. Would love to see the rest of the list too!
Ooooo so many awesome books! I will have to add a few of these to my summer reading!!
This is such a magnificent concept, I like the idea of having and reading books from all around the world! I feel a bit embarrassed not knowing my own homeland’s book up there but that’s my first target from this list.
Oh my gosh! Love this list! I will be sitting here quite a while going through all these.
Oh, I want to go back to reading again. It’s been a long time since I read a book.
I do love when a book has an awesome setting. It takes you right to another time and place. What better way to spend the summer, if you can’t be out and about for real. 🙂
Iraq- The Gardener of Baghdad
Nigeria – Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
Great list! I would add The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, which takes place in Alaska. Ok, I know Alaska is not a country per se, but it is so different from the other states, that perhaps it does deserve to be its own country!
List looks great but one correction is in order…The Zoya Factor is not related to Bangladesh…It is based in India and has the Indian cricket team as the central theme
I would also add ‘Call me by your name’ by André Aciman (set in Italy); Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (set in Japan); And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (set in Afghanistan; Greece; France and the USA); Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (set in Nigeria; UK and USA); Youth by JM Coetzee (set in South Africa and the UK); The hypnotist by LARS Kepler (set in Sweden); In the woods by Tana French (set in Ireland).
I only just stumbled on your post — thank you so much for the “travel” tips! Mine: Italy, especially Venice, anything by Donna Leon.
Could you find any books with Costa Rica ??
I wondering why there qas no selection for Canada?
From The Faroe Islands: The lost musicians by William Heinesen
The Dr. Siri books by Colin Cotterill are set in Laos and the country is very central to the stories.
Ma’am you need to correct a
piece of information. The
Zoya Factor is an Indian
book, not Bangladeshi.
This is a good list. The only thing I would have done differently is wherever I could, I would have chosen an author from that country. For example, Nagib Mahfouz was an amazing Egyptian author who wrote about his home country (Nobel Prize for Literature too) and certainly would be a better choice than Margaret George to give one a sense of the country.
Interesting list but I was so disappointed when I had a closer look and realized that although the books were about the named country, they were not written by a native of that country. Bit of a cheat I think. To leave out Canada is inexcusable. We have thousands of fantastic authors, including the Nobel prize winner, Alice Munro.