Top 10 Tuesday: Books for the Homeloving World Travelers
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Brokeandbookish.com, so clearly not my idea!
This weeks topic is rather wide spread, "Ten Books every X should read (up to you! Examples: every history nerd, memory lover, ballet lover, feminist, college student, etc etc...)"
I decided I wanted to share the books that i read that share a little piece of a different part of the world.
So that you can "travel" there without actually having to go there. Which is my personal favorite kind of "Traveling" since i don't have to leave the comfort of my own home and still gain the knowledge of someplace else.
And who doesn't love that?
Or in other words, i am sharing diverse books if that want you want to call it. Which honestly for me is a bit of an overused word in the book word (since "diverse" books go from different countries to disabilities to non-white main characters and that is as wide of a genre to me as "fiction"), so i won't and just call it the travel lovers books.
So lets get started with the books that deserve a visit. Pun intended.
1. The Pearl diver - Jeff Talarigo
I just re-read this book last week for the #yearathon read-a-thon.
And it reminded me just how beautiful and wonderful this book really is.
It takes place in Japan, is told from a Japanese girl that gets leprosy at nineteen in 1948. And that means that she is taken to a separated island where other sick people "live".
Those sick people are kept completely separate from the rest of the population, they are not allowed to leave and are not even given real money but their own kind of money that is worth nothing in the "real" world.
This book is heartbreakingly honest and realistic in a way that fiction books very rarely are. The writing is beautiful, the main character is such a wonderful person, strong and honest and just... its a beautiful book and more people should read it.
And while you get a good view into the culture of Japan- because it is taking place in this different very separate place- you mostly get a very specific view into how people think. Which is one of the reasons i love it.
It really is just a wonderful book and you should read it.
2. Heidi - Johanna Spyri
This is a children book, but it is beautiful no matter your age. I am certainly no child and i did enjoy the very carefree nature of Heidi and the nice view into the historical aspect of how live back then was.
This takes place in the Swiss Alps, if you did not know that yet and it has a very nice portray of what live in the Alps is like.
How the people work together and at the same time kind of like to rip each other apart with gossip because up in the Alp villages there is really not that much entertainment -back then even less then today. So it is a fantastic view into that part of the Alps.
It also has such a very pictures and beautiful description of how the alps looks and make you feel when you are in that kind of nature.
Its also beaituflly writing in both english and german BUT if you are able to read it in german? Do that because the dialect is so much better portrait in that version and you actually really get a few of that the Swiss Alps are like. Sadly that is missing in the English version. But both versions are beautiful and a wonderful read, if for nothing else then to get a beautifully painted picture of what the Alps are like. And who doesn't love wonderful mountains?
3. In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom - Yeonmi Park
Okay this book is wonderful but it doesn't make you want to go visit North Korea -which in my option is a good thing if you ask me but to each their own.
It is however a wonderful book showcasing a very different type of culture and country. And it is a wonderful book.
It is heartbreaking and horrible in many ways because of what this young woman had to survive and go through to get to where she is today. But it is still such a wonderful book that gives you a view into a part of the world that you rarely hear something about.
It is Non-Fiction and it is -as i said- a not very easy book.
It has rape, and beatings, starvation and other horrible situations in it. People die, people survive after horrible ordeals. People get lost, people get found and people do what they have to survive in this book.
All those things in a way make the book as wonderful as it is. But just be prepared that it is not one of those non-fiction books that you read and forget about.
This story sticks with you. And really, what is better then that especially in a non-fiction and a real life story?
4. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith aka J. K. Rowling
This book takes place in London if you did not now that yet.
And if you haven't read this yet? I really do recommend this book.
Not necessary because this is the best crime book i ever read.
It actually is not. There are some parts that really drag in this book and sometimes i wish i could be that kind of reader that was able to skip a few pages.
But the second book is soooooo much better that the first is worth the read simply to get to the second.
Also the characters? Wonderful.
And since Cormoran -the main character- is constantly running around london and describing in very great detail what he is seeing and doing? You get a very detailed view of London and parts that you might not get to read about that often otherwise.
It is also just overall a completely English book in my option. I also loved how Rowling describe the flats and the office in this book because after having visited london? That is kind of what i am used to and it was fun to read about it and notice something that i personally experienced.
So want to know more about London? Read this.
5. The Seamstress - Frances de Pontes Peebles
This book takes place in Brazil. First in the backcountry of it, basically in the middle of know where and then in Recife - a bigger seaside city of Brazil.
Not only is this book taking place in a part of the world where i am pretty sure not many books take place in -i haven't really found that many anyways (not that have been actively searching for them, you guys know what i mean!)- but it is also such a wonderful book.
It is more or less a historical fiction, about two sisters, both Seamstresses both wanting to leave their little backcountry village and go somewhere with their lives. And both getting there in very different and in a way interesting ways.
It is a family story, but also a country and culture story because there are so many descriptions what the people in Brazil do, believe in and eat and how they live that you really do feel like you get a very big chunk of history delivered into your own home.
It also just shows the different ways that people think and hope for and survive and how much family can mean if that is literary the only thing that you ways had in your life.
It is also beautifully writing and i just love it and don't understand why more people rave about this book. So i saw the chance to include it in another TTT and took it. And now you really should go off and read this fantastic book, if you haven't yet.
6. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares - Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
This plays in New York City.
And i never been anywhere in the USA, and with that clearly not NYC.
And i loved the little dare game that the two play and with that chase each other through different parts of New York.
I also love the description of the book shop given in this book. Just saying. Beautiful wonderful sounding book shop that i cam kind of jealous about that i don't have anything like that anywhere live.
But I think with my non existing experience of NYC, that this book gives a very nice view of the city.
It is not the best book ever. But it is fun and cute and a very nice holiday story. Just don't expect something world chancing, it is a contemporary YA, so yeah... don't go in expecting to find the solution for all of worlds problems. But it is still a cute read and i really enjoyed getting to read about all those different locations across New York.
So if you are like me and never been to New York and want a little view into different locations? Might give this a try.
7. Outlander - Diana Galadon
I did rave about this book a lot on here. So if you have ever been on my blog before, you might know that i was not the biggest fan of this book.
it really is just a very long overhyped erotica. Lets just face the facts, people.
Also the characters are all very dull.
So overall this book is not one that i loved.
BUT the way Scotland is described in this book? Kind of made it all worth the endless pages of ho unbelievably unearthly sexy Jamie Fraser is and how everyone from child over women to men wants to bang the red head.
It sounds wonderfully beautiful with all those rolling hills and grass and woods and just... i always wanted to visit Scotland and see all those beautiful old castles but after reading that book i really wanted to go. So while Gabladon really does need to work on her characters and should not have marketed this book as a time travel but rather a complete and utterly historical erotica, the woman can write nature descriptions.
So there is that. Decide for yourself if all the sex is worth the Scotland nature porn you get as well.
8. Night Train to Lisbon - Pascal Mercier
This book starts out in Swiss and then makes the travel from there to Lisbon -via Train so clearly there is traveling in this book itself so it fits alone because of that. But also because it is such a wonderful portray of Europe and I think Portugal.
It is a stunning book all about love, life, loneliness, togetherness, friendship, hate, loyalty and betray. It makes you think about life and what is important and that it is over so fast, but at the same time reminds you that you have time to do everything you want to do if you really want to do it.
It has basically everything you can pack into one fantastic book.
But it is not overdone or too much, it just has the right amount from everything in it.
Its beautifully written -at least in original german and i hope the translation was done well.
I loved that this is an adult book told from a male point of view without any violence in it. The guy that tells the story is a teacher that loves languages and there is never even one action or violence scene in this book. Which i find rather rare if the narrator is a man. Maybe that is just me.
It really is a wonderful book that showcases the culture of Europe as a whole, but also the individual differences between each European country and what a difference language makes.
Its just beautiful and makes you really want to go and see what it is that the main character experienced and take a night train to an European city in a very spur of the moment kind of thing.
9. Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
Paris is one of the main points in this book. In a way it is a character as well since many things take place in specific parts and places that in a way the city itself plays just a big a role in the story as the actual characters.
I loved how Perkins descriptor the city and the people in it and how Europeans in non-English speaking countries do appreciate if people at least try to speak their language, but don't expect you to be fluent and actually enjoy your tries.
And while the story itself is not anything special and sometimes even a bit overdone -in my option with the rather overdone love story- it is a very cute story and if you want a cute Paris story? this is certainly it.
10. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
I know that this book is one of those that people either love or hate.
But i do love it .
Maybe because it was my first view into the Russian world. Maybe because i just enjoy Tolstoys writings. Maybe because i am just as incapable as Tolstoy seems to be to make a sentence not grow into half a page.
What ever it might be. I loved the book. And i loved how the culture of Russia is portrayed in this book.
I really do think that this book shows the very clear difference between Europe and Russia. It also shows that while similar, the culture and important aspects are shifted and clearly different.
And many people that are not European or Russian and try to write a book placed in one of those places seem to constantly forget that there is a big difference between the countries and nations.
This book shows many of those differences very clearly.
And yes, i do understand why some people might have problems with the names, but honestly? Just try and you will clearly notice the differences between the names without a problem.
I think it is all about how you go into a book, if you go into it expecting to have problems with those hard russian names? You will have them. If you don't go in expecting that, you will have no problems.
I also really do think that this book is worth all the hype it always gets. And that if you give this book a real and fair chance? It is beautiful and wonderful and a great family story.
I also have -for the first time i think- honorable mentions:
- All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr which takes place in France and Germany and is just a wonderfully poetically written book that shows a very real view of how the second World War was in Europe.
- The Paris Wife by Paula McLain is a wonderful book that shows what it might be like to come to Europe from America during the 1950s and live in Paris -finding it different then the expectations you have before actually being there -and then figuring out that Europe is beautiful but different then America.
- Between the Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys this book and Anna Karenina, i had a really hard time choosing. So that is why this is here. It is such a realistic World War 2 story and how the war doesn'T end simply because peace is declared and how horrible those war "criminals" had it that actually didn't do anything at all and where treated horribly in very hard to survive in area of Russia. And if you haven't read this book yet? Read it.
- Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn which is a book i so rarely talk about it clearly had to make this list as well. This is taking place in Japan -a fictional version of i but still. And it is a wonderful historical fiction YA that while it is fiction in many parts because it has huge fantasy aspects in it, also portraits beautiful actual real Japanese cultural aspects. So if you want to learn about some aspects of japan but are not the typical non-fiction kind of person? This might be a wonderful book for you.
Okay to there are men 10 (14) books i recommend from different places around the world that are both interesting to read about simply because of the place and most of the time because those books are just such great stories and have some of the best writing i have written up tot this point.
I would love for you to tell me the books that take place in different parts of the world that you have read.
Or if you read any of the books i just talked about and want to share what you thought.
Let me know, lets chat.
Write more later....