Traveling the world with books

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I love reading about reading challenges. As I recently read about several bloggers traveling the world with books, I decided to check how international my reading has been in 2019. For each book I read in 2019, I will check what is the nationality of the author and then list all the books by country

Traveling the world with books

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  • The Rosie Project (Graeme Simsion): This was a fun and lovely romance novel. You can read my review here.
  • The Rosie Effect (Graeme Simsion): This is the sequel of The Rosie Project and it was also a very nice read.
  • Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow (Jessica Townsend): This is a very compelling YA fantasy book. I loved following Morrigan’s adventures in Nevermoor. Actually, I loved the book so much that when I came to the end of the book, I nearly believed I was a wundersmith too.


  • Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery): this is a classic and I liked it very much. Anne is lively, smart and sensitive and you can’t help loving her. I only read the first book but there are several sequels.


  • Journey in Tears: Memory of a girlhood in China (Chow Ching Lie): This is a memoir written by the famous Chinese pianist Chow Ching Lie. This is a very powerful text. The author was raised in a loving and educated family but she still got married when she was only 13 to the son of a very rich and powerful family. The book is interesting because you can both learn a lot about Chinese daily life and traditions and about Chinese history. Chow Ching Lie was still a young woman when the Chinese revolution and then the cultural revolution took place. I was however a little surprised how mild she was when speaking about Chinese communism. I am not sure whether she is sincere or whether she was too afraid to criticize the Chinese government.


  • Couleurs de l’Incendie/The Colours of the Inferno (Pierre Lemaitre): This is the sequel of The Great Swindle, a book for which Lemaitre won the prestigious Prix Goncourt. Both books are historical novels and the stories take place between the WWI and WW2. In the Colors of the Inferno, the book follows Madeleine, the daughter of a rich banker. When her father dies, she is the only heiress. However, during the funerals, Madeleine’s little son tries to commit suicide. He does not die but will never be able to walk again. Madeleine is upset and loses control of her life. Her enemies plot against her and ruin her. Then, Madeleine plots her revenge. At first, I nearly gave up this book after a few chapters but then I kept reading and I ended up loving it.
  • Mon étrange soeur (Marie Le Gall): I let the title in French because the book does not seem to have been translated in English. You could translate the title with “My strange sister”. In this book, the author writes about her 19 years older sister, a young woman who suffered from a mental disease. The book is very moving. It shows the way the whole family tried to face the drama of the oldest daughter’s disease and how the younger daughter tries to solve the mysteries around her sister.
  • Le Gardien de nos Frères (Ariane Bois): The book does not seem to be translated in English. This is the story of Simon, a French Jewish architect whose family was decimated during WWII. Desperately trying to find his lost youngest brother, he joins a group of young Jewish people trying to find the Jewish children hidden during the war to give them back to their families. There, he meets Lena, a Polish Jewish girl who escaped from the ghetto of Warsaw. Both fall in love with each other.
  • Il y a des monstres sous mon lit ( Florence Millot): The French title can be translated with “There are monsters under my bed”. This was a good written book about children psychology that focused on children fears and how to deal with them.
  • Le mystère Henri Pick/The mystery of Henri Pick (David Foenkinos): a young publishing executive and her boyfriend, a young writer, visit a library of books refused by publishing companies, in a small village in Brittany. They find a book they find fantastic. The young woman convinces the publishing company she is working for to publish the book and it becomes a best seller. Everyone in France wonders about the author, Henri Pick, a discrete pizzaiolo who died years ago and hardly showed any interest for literature.



  • W.B. Yeats, poems selected by Seamus Heaney: I had already read this book before but I reread it.


  • Los días felices (Mara Torres): I bought this book because I have been learning Spanish for some time now and I wanted to read a novel in this language. I chose this book because it was short. I could understand the story pretty well because there were many dialogs but I had difficulties with the descriptions


  • The Furthest Station (Ben Aaronovitch): This is a novella that belongs to the urban fantasy series Rivers of London. You can read my review about the series here.
  • Lies Sleeping (Ben Aaronovitch): The book also belongs to the Rivers of London series.


  • Educated (Tara Westover): This is a memoir written by Tara Westover, a young woman raised in a radical mormon family with a deep distrust towards the state. Her father did not want his children to go to school or to see a doctor. I found the book fascinating, first because her life was so different from mine or the lives of the people I know, and because of the way she is able to analyze what she has been living. The book made me think about different topics such as religion, education or relationships between men and women.
  • Hidden Persuaders (Vance Packard): This is an essay about advertising and its impact on society. The book was written in the fifties so advertising methods have evolved since but the book was still very interesting.
  • Circe (Madeline Miller): This is a great novel and a book that anyone who is interested in mythology should read. You can read my review here.

So far, I read books from 9 different countries. This is not bad, but I will have to read authors from more different countries if I want to travel the world with books. I also read mainly books from European countries and from the USA. I read 3 books from Australian authors this year but this was rather unusual.


  • matthewrbaker

    This is a great idea and a great list! “Educated” is on my to-read list, and now I think I need to add “The Hidden Persuaders” as well. I think at the end of the year, I will do a similar list by country, and maybe also by U.S. state.

    • momslovelearning

      Educated was one of the best book I read this year.
      By American authors, I do not really check from which state they are. I thought there were relatively little cultural differences between the states if you except the North/South opposition. By the way, I usually prefer the literature from the South of the USA.

      • matthewrbaker

        That’s a fair assumption to make. American movies and media tend to make it seem like the whole country’s culture is the same. There are some commonalities. I’ve not visited every state, but I can definitely say that there are cultural differences among the states.

        The North and the South are one big difference, but the “North” is really just the northeastern states including New England, and the “South” is really all the states east of Louisiana and Arkansas, and south of Kentucky and Virginia. People from the South (in my experience) tend to be much more open and friendly than folks from up north.

        There’s the East Coast (older, with colonial roots) and the West Coast (much younger and trendier, and a more international, I think).

        There’s the Midwest, which includes the “middle west” states like Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri as well as the prairie states from Kansas to North Dakota—this area is highly rural and agricultural but also has some big cities like Chicago, St. Louis, and Omaha.

        Then there’s the Southwest, which includes the Four Corners states, Nevada, and California, which is heavily influenced by Mexican culture (the area used to be part of Mexico). Each state is very unique though; for example, there is a big “outdoor culture” in Colorado and Utah due to the mountains and natural wonders, but New Mexico and Arizona are pretty much deserts. Nevada is also mostly desert but it does have Las Vegas. 😉

        Then there’s the West (as in the Wild West), that overlaps parts of the Southwest and the prairie states, extending from the Mexican border in Texas to the Canadian border in Montana and Idaho.

        And then there’s my state, Texas, which has elements of the South, the West, the Southwest—and even Europe (lots of German and Czech immigrants from the late 1800s). So we’re kind of an anomaly, but we’re proud of it. 🙂

        I guess for comparison, when most Americans think of France they think of Paris. I’ve never been to France (I hope to go someday!), but I know there’s much more to France than just Paris: the Riviera, the Basque Country, and Normandy come to mind.

        Just thought you’d find this info interesting and helpful as you read American books! And if you’re looking for a good laugh, you might find these pictures that stereotype each state funny:

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