In April 2017, I decided to start reading books from around the world and asked the few people that were subscribed to my booktube channel back then, if they wanted to join me. The caveat was that I only wanted to read female authors from around the world as it is still much harder for women to get published then it is for men.
I set up a Goodreads Group and each month around the middle of the month, I suggest three books for to be read in the next but one month (so January, we choose March, February we choose April etc.) on my youtube channel. We then vote which book people want to read and that’s basically it.
Here is a list of countries we have visited so far and the books we read.
April 2017 – Israel
All The Rivers by Dorit Rabinyan, translated by Jessica Cohen
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by Random House (first published May 1st 2014)
I quite liked this story of the love between an Israeli women and a Palestinian man, who meet in New York. The overall reviews were a bit mixed
May 2017 – Malaysia
Evening is the Whole Day by Preeta Samaresan
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published May 15th 2008 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 2008)
A generational family tale set in Malaysia after the independence from Britain’s Empire. Mixed reception, but I think overall, we all got something out of it.
June 2017 – Kenya
Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
Hardcover, 369 pages
Published January 28th 2014 by Knopf (first published June 5th 2013)
As you read around the world, you can see all these places that are devastated by the effects of colonialism.
July 2017 – Portugal
Now and at the Hour of our Death by Susana Moreira Marques – Translated by Julia Sanches
Paperback, 128 pages
Published October 13th 2015 by And Other Stories (first published October 1st 2012)
A interesting non-fiction book about end of life care in rural Portuguese communities.
August 2017 – Japan
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder
Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 3rd 2009 by Picador (first published August 2003)
This tale of friendship and memories (and the lack of memory) was pretty much a hit with all of us.
September 2017 – Iran
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, translated by Mattias Ripa
Paperback, 153 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Pantheon (first published 2000)
The first graphic novel for some of us, but most of us loved the story.
October 2017 – Sweden
The Ice Princess by Camilla Laeckberg, translated by Steven T. Murray
Hardcover, 393 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Pegasus (first published 2004)
Not a hit for most of us, sadly.
October 2017 – Belarus
Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich, translated by Anna Gunin and Arch Tait
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 21st 2016 by Penguin Classics (first published 1997)
Hard hitting non-fiction about the Chernobyl Disaster.
December 2017 – Netherlands
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Groundwood Books (first published January 2006)
This middle grade book was sadly not a resounding success.
January 2018 – Bangladesh
A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam
Hardcover, 276 pages
Published 2007 by John Murray (Publishers)
Historical Fiction about the War of Indepence in Bangladesh during the 1970ies. Interesting to find out more about a period most of us had very little insight before reading this book.
February 2018 – Dominican Republic
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
Paperback, 324 pages
Published August 1995 by Plume (first published 1994)
March 2018 – Haiti
Claire of the Sea Light – Edwidge Danticat
Hardcover, 238 pages
Published August 27th 2013 by Knopf (first published 2013)
April 2018 – Kuwait
The Hidden Light of Objects – Mai Al-Nakib
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 20th 2015 by Bloomsbury USA (first published April 10th 2014)
May 2018 – New Zealand
Chappy by Patricia Grace
Paperback, 253 pages
Published May 29th 2015 by Penguin New Zealand
June 2018 – Romania
The Fox was Ever the Hunter by Herta Mueller
Hardcover, 237 pages
Published May 10th 2016 by Metropolitan Books (first published August 14th 1992)
July 2018 – Taiwan
Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin
Paperback, 242 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by NYRB Classics (first published May 11th 1994)
August 2018 – Zambia
Patchwork by Ellen Banda-Aaku
Paperback, 216 pages
Published August 31st 2011 by Penguin (first published January 1st 2011)
September 2018 – Cameroon
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 26th 2017 by Random House Trade (first published March 15th 2016)
October 2018 – Finland
Purge by Sofi Oksanen
November 2018 – Hungary
Iza’s Ballad by Magda Szabo
December 2018 – Mauritius
January 2019 – Oman
Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi
February 2019 – Uganda
Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
March 2019 – Venezuela
Iphigenia by Teresa de la Parra