I made the decision when starting my book-from-every-country project that I wouldn’t count books that I had already read. I think that was a good decision, but there are some wonderful books that I have read in the past that I feel a bit sad not to be able to include. To make myself feel better, I’ve decided to make a list of some favorite books from other countries that I would include if I could.
Afghanistan: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
A fairly obvious choice.
Antigua and Barbuda: A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid
A beautifully written memoir about life on Antigua. It’s one of the few books I’ve read as a class assignment that I’ve truly loved.
Dominican Republic: In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
Reading it as a teenager, this book opened my eyes to the impact of political oppression in the world.
France: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Another fairly obvious choice.
Hungary: The Good Master/The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy
Children’s books about growing up in Hungary in the early 20th century. The Singing Tree is set during WWI.
Israel: The Nimrod Flipout by Etgar Kerat
Brilliant often surrealist short stories. (I saw Etgar Kerat speak and got him to sign a book for me. He included a picture of a parachuting sheep!)
Italy: Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
An unusual book in which each chapter is a page or two describing the unique characteristics of an imaginary city.
Japan: Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto.
A beautifully lonely and poetic novella.
Norway: Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
All of western philosophy in one novel.