Several years ago, I saw the brilliant TED talk by Ann Morgan about how she managed to read a book from every single country in one year. I was really inspired by this, and decided to set myself my own Read Around the World challenge, only without the time constraints!

I love reading challenges as it’s always a great way to expose myself to new literature and authors and I’ve learned so much already from the books I’ve read.

I’ve set myself two main rules that I try and follow whenever possible which are that the book needs to be by an author from the country and the book be set in the country itself. Part of the reason I’m doing this challenge is to learn more about the countries themselves and so I felt this was the best way to do so. Sometimes I may need to make exceptions if I can’t find books that fit that criteria (for example the only book I could find for Andorra in English was set in Egypt).

I try and also stick to fiction, although again I’ll likely have to switch to non-fiction for some of the harder countries.

I don’t have a particular order for how I’m reading the books, it tends to be based mostly on availability (I try and get most books from the library) however whenever I visit a country I do then try and focus on that country next.

Here is a map showing all the countries that I have read so far:

A map with countries highlighted in green that I've read as part of my Read Around the World challenge

Books Read for my Read Around the World Challenge


Afghanistan – A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Democratic Republic of the Congo – Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujilla

Egypt – The Republic of False Truths by Alaa Al Aswany

Ghana – His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

Kenya – A Grain of Wheat by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Madagascar – Return to the Enchanted Island by Johary Ravaloson

Nigeria – The Bride Price by Buchi Emecheta

Senegal – So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ

South Africa – Dancing the Death Drill by Fred Khumalo

Sudan – Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih

Zimbabwe – This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga


Bangladesh – I Remember Abbu by Humayun Azad

Cambodia – In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

China – Broken Stars by Ken Liu

Hong Kong – Love in a Fallen City by Eileen Chang

India – The A-Z Djinn Detective Agency by Parinita Shetty

Iran – The Immortals of Tehran by Alireza Taheri Araghi

Iraq – Iraq +100 by Hassan Blasim

Israel – Central Station by Lavie Tidhar

Japan – The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide

Kazakhstan – The Dead Wander in the Desert by Rollan Seisenbayev

Malaysia – The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

North Korea – Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee – A Look Inside North Korea by Jang Jin-sung

Philippines – Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 1 by Dean Francis Alfar

Saudi Arabia – HWJN by Ibraheem Abbas

Singapore – How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee

South Korea – One Hundred Shadows by Hwang Jungeun

Taiwan – The Man with the Compound Eyes by Ming-Yi Wu

Yemen – A Land Without Jasmine by Wajdi Al-Ahdal


Albania – The Accident by Ismail Kadare

Algeria – The Sexual Life of an Islamist in Paris by Leila Marouane

Andorra – The Teacher of Cheops by Albert Salvadó

Catalonia – The Selected Stories of Mercè Rodoreda by Mercè Rodoreda

Croatia – Kontakt: An Anthology of Croatian SF by Darko Macan

Czechia – The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Denmark – The Brummstein by Peter Adolphsen

England – Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

Estonia – The Man Who Spoke Snakish by Andrus Kivirähk

Finland – Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta

France – The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

Germany – Nightmare in Berlin by Hans Fallada

Greece – The Odyssey by Homer

Iceland – Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was by Sjón

Ireland – The Tain

Italy – Under The Jaguar Sun by Italo Calvino

Kosovo – My Cat Yugoslavia by Pajtim Statovci

Poland – One Human Minute by Stanislaw Lem

Romania – Carpathica 2020 by Cristian Cârstoiu

Russia – War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Scotland – The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan

Sweden – Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep by Peter Öberg

Switzerland – Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Turkey – The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

Ukraine – Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov

Wales – The Mabinogion

Antigua and Barbuda – A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid

Barbados – The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord

Canada – Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Grenada – The Bone Readers by Jacob Ross

Jamaica – Augustown by Kei Miller

Mexico – Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

United States of America – The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan

South America:

Argentina – A Russian Doll and Other Stories by Adolfo Bioy Casares

Chile – Daughters of Fortune by Isabele Allende

Colombia – One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez


Australia – The Silver Brumby b Elyne Mitchell

Micronesia – My Urohs by Emelihter Kihleng

New Zealand – The Bone People by Keri Hulme


Antarctica – Escape from the Antarctic by Ernest Shackleton


Do you have any book suggestions for countries I’ve not yet read as part of my Read Around the World challenge? Are you doing a similar challenge and would like some recommendations? Let me know!

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