TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books That Take Place in Another Country

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic was made for me! I’m attempting to read a book from every country in the world before I’m 30, this is the Read the World Project, so I’ve read some great books that take place outside of the UK. Here are ten of my favourites I’ve read for that challenge and just generally.

Frangipani by Célestine Hitiura Vaite
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this book a lot now but it’s just so nice. Set in Tahiti, it’s about the relationship between a mother and daughter and their lives spanning about thirty years. It’s like an insight to a normal family’s life, it’s got the highs and lows but it’s also funny and never overly dramatic.

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Riley
This book was like an action film playing in my head. Set in China, it’s revealed that scientists have actually created dragons, but of course, things don’t go to plan, nature can’t be controlled and the special guest have to survive when the dragons go on the rampage. It’s like Jurassic Park but with dragons and is a lot of fun.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Set in South Korea and Japan, Pachinko follows one family through the generations and you get to see how their lives change, for the good and the bad, and time moves on and they are affected by some major historical events.

Asking for It by Louise O’Neill
Set in a small town in Ireland, Asking for It is about rape and rape culture. It’s a tough read, and it has a frustrating and generally unlikable main character, but the way it’s written makes you never feel like she deserved what happened to her.

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi-Adler Olsen
Set in Denmark this is a gripping Scandinavian detective story. The detective is kind of old and cranky and his relationship with his assistant is really funny, and the crime itself is both horrible and a great mystery.

Papi by Rita Indiana
Sent in the Dominican Republic, Papi is the story about a young girls relationship with her father who is often out of her life for long periods of time. It’s a quick read and as it’s from the point of view of a child, it can be quite fantastical and full of imagination.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
This is another family saga, where you follow generations of the same family through the decades. Here they start off in Ghana and as the years go by different characters move away either from their own choice or against their will.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Set in Iran and France, Persepolis is a graphic novel memoir about a young girl growing up in the Iranian revolution. The fact that it’s a black and white graphic novel makes some of the scenarios in her life both easy to understand, and also more blunt and matter of fact.

Zorro by Isabel Allende
Set in America and in Spain, this is the story of the young man who became the legend that is Zorro. It’s an interesting take on the Spanish controlling California, the treatment of Native American people while still having action and adventure as a boy grows up and gains the skills to be a legendary protector of those in need.

The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall
This takes place in America and in France. This is the first book in what I believe is a trilogy and I really need to read the rest of the series. It’s a mystery with secret societies, romance, and adventure and is a lot of fun.

What are some of your favourite books that take place outside your home country?


    1. I know what you mean, Asking For It was such a compelling book and I recommend it a lot but I’m not sure I’d say I enjoyed it. I do like reading books that can make you feel uncomfortable now and then

  1. Oh I remember wanting to read The Great Zoo of china- never did get to it. It does sound fun. Tahiti would be a nice setting as well.

  2. Amazing list! I also tend to do a similar kind of project where I want to read books from all the countries. But I haven’t set any time limit for it 😛 I checked your project page and I want to know how you are showing that world map if you don’t mind? I would definitely like to show something like that on my page too 🙂

    From your list, Pachinko is definitely on my TBR.

    My TTT:

    1. That’s cool! Yeah, I’m not so sure I’ll meet the before I’m 30 time limit, but I’m giving it a good go and I do want to read a book from every country in the world in my lifetime.

      I make the map here, I found the website after googling fill-in-yourself world maps. It’s a bit annoying you have to fill in all countries from scratch each time you update the map but it’s not too much of a hassle.

      Good luck with your project and I hope you enjoy Pachinko when you get to it 🙂

      1. Okay so are you reading a book set in each country or a book written by an author from that country?
        Ahh I’m check that website. I thought you are using some kind of plugin 😀

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