10 Great Books That Transport You Around the World #BookLoversDay

Yesterday it was International Cat Day and today it’s BookLovers Day, well any day will do to celebrate reading, so since it’s summer and I’m not going away this year, here are some easy travelling locations to visit by book, all great reads. Click on the title to read my review

10 Books That Transport You Around the World

Snowy Alaska – The Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

Northern England – The Drowning of Arthur Braxton by Caroline Smailes

Coastal Italy – The Enchanted April by Elisabeth von Arnim

Spanish Pyrenees – The Yellow Rain by Julio Llamazares tr. by Margaret Jull Costa

France – The President’s Hat by Antoine Laurain

Turkey – Portrait of a Turkish Family by Irfan Orga

Afghanistan – The Honey Thief by Najaf Mazari (as narrated to Robert Hillman)

Ethiopia – Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese


Cuba – Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia

Vietnam – Ru by Kim Thuy

New Zealand – Hummingbird by James George

And since I’ve already read all of these, today I’m choosing to go to Guadeloupe and will begin reading The Bridge of Beyond by Simone Schwarz-Bart,

“A masterpiece of Caribbean literature – an intoxicating tale of love and wonder, mothers and daughters, spiritual values and the grim legacy of slavery on the French Antillean island of Guadeloupe.”

Happy Reading!

Bridge of Beyond

Click Here to Buy Any Of These Books at Book Depository

28 thoughts on “10 Great Books That Transport You Around the World #BookLoversDay

  1. These all sound wonderful. I’ve read “Enchanted April” only – a treat!
    Noting the rest on my list..
    And, if you wish to travel to Kyrgyzstan, be sure to get Chingiz Aitmatov’s stories – “Jamila” or “The Girl With the Red Scarf” for example..
    If, by a chance, you crave for travelling out of time, into the myth, check out his “Spotted Dog Running On Seashore”. Magnificent! 🙂


    • Oh thank you Anna, I love recommendations like these, especially when they come preloved. I’ve read a book from Kazakhstan, The Dead Lake by Hamid Ismailov, but not Kyrgyztan, thank you. I like the sound of travelling out of time into myth too!


  2. What a great idea for a post, Claire. The Enchanted April is in my heap – everyone speaks so highly of it that I’ve been trying to save it for a rainy day!

    I love the cover of The Bridge of Beyond. NYRB always seem to find such interesting books, don’t they?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, well I wouldn’t want a wish a rainy day upon you in summer, but couldn’t think of a better escape when it does arrive! Yes, really excited to discover this NYRB classic and loving it as much as I hoped, I have a bit of a penchant for the novels of Caribbean women writers!


  3. The only one in your list I’ve read is Dreaming in Cuban. I adore Cristina Garcia!

    Thank you for this wonderful and eclectic list. It’s so impressive that you have read and reviewed all these stories.
    I have never read a book set in Ethiopia, and I am always looking to fill gaps in my reading, so Cutting for Stone has caught my interest.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a great list! I love Dreaming in Cuban and have Cutting for Stone waiting on my shelf, hope I’ll get to it soon, but have heard that it packs a punch 🙂 Really like the sound of Portrait of a Turkish Family by Irfan Orga and The Honey Thief by Najaf Mazari, I haven’t heard of either, so glad you put them on your list. Have a great WITM!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wasn’t Dreaming in Cuban fantastic, I adored it, as I have many women novelists from the Caribbean, there’s something quite magical in their depictions of generational connections, even when they are separated from their birthlands, a literary trait I love.

      Oh you must read The Honey Thief, it is so much better than anything else I’ve ever read about the region, so true to the culture and traditions, stories we never, ever hear! Bravo to the author for publishing them, they’re priceless.

      And Portrait of Turkish Family is wonderful, all the more so because it was recommended to me by the bookshop owner when I was in Istanbul, it’s a classic and another excellent insight into the culture at a certain period in time.


  5. By coincidence I finished a book by an author from Guadeloupe last week. Maryse Conde was my choice for women in translation month with her novel A Tree of Life. I wasn’t all that thrilled by it. Perhaps your recommendation would have been a better option.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t read that one by Maryse Condé, the first of her books I read, was the one she recommends people start with Tales From the Heart, True Stories From My Childhood, which is excellent and certainly helps the reader understand how her fiction has evolved. After that I read Victoire:My Mother’s Mother, also a wonderful read, about the grandmother she never knew, based on research and talking to older people in the community – she discovers her mother and her grandmother had childhoods worlds away from her own experience, she who was raised in a bourgeoise, educated family and knew more about Paris than her own roots, something she attempts to rectify and addresses in her fiction.

      I’ve also read, what is considered by many her masterpiece, Segu – it requires dedication, a vast, all encompassing novel that through it’s characters hails many of the significant changes that changed the way of life in the Kingdom of Segu, in Africa.

      I just finished the book I mention here The Bridge of Beyond and it was a 5 star read for me, I absolutely loved it and highly recommend it. It follows the life of a grand-daughter, who recalls the lives of her mother and grandmother, who she lived much of her life with and is infused with a deep understanding and depiction of the landscape, the oral tradition of tales grandmothers tell their young to teach them, stunning prose, it’s definitely going to be one of my Top Reads of 2016. It’s dog-eared with multitides of passages I want to reread!


        • I recently listened to her speak at our local library, which was amazing as he has not left France and returned to Guadeloupe and I noted that she mentions her own personal favourite if The Story of the Cannibal Woman, which I had forgotten I actually have a copy of, so I may read that one this month too.


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