Books Set Around the World II

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted byΒ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we’re revisiting a past Top Ten Tuesday topic and redoing or updating it. I’m revisiting my past post Top Ten Books Set Outside the US and adding more books I’ve read that are set around the world! I love travelling, but sometimes outside factors affect your ability to travel – like time, finances or, you know, being in the midst of a global pandemic. Luckily we have books so that we can explore other countries and cultures from our own homes. And here’s hoping travel can safely open up soon!

Normal People by Sally Rooney (Ireland)

“It’s not like this with other people.” A lonely love story, Normal People follows two characters with an intense connection over the course of several years. Marianne and Connell’s miscommunications, insecurities, and vulnerabilities keep getting in the way; they break each other’s hearts over and over, but keep finding their way back to each other. I am so glad CBC Gem picked up the BBC adaptation; I am thoroughly enjoying watching it.

Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno (Cuba)

This novel is deeper than its young, teeny-bopper cover suggests – a lyrical and magical ode to family, love, diaspora, and Cuba. Described as Gilmore Girls meets Jane the Virgin due to its multi-generational relationships, Latino culture, and quirky small town vibe, this novel is full of family curses, sailors and sea breeze, pastelitos, and a mysterious boy with tattoos of the ocean. Although much of the novel is set in a Florida beach town, it is infused with Cuban culture, and the last act takes place in Cuba, as Rosa comes to terms with her family and heritage.

Small Damages by Beth Kephart (Spain)

Small Damages is Spain alive. It is hearts broken and healed. It is heat and color and soul.” This lyrical and introspective coming-of-age novel follows an eighteen-year-old girl who is sent to Seville to give birth to her child. A love letter to Spain.

A Bad Character by Deepti Kapoor (India)

A Bad Character is a coming-of-age story of a young woman living in New Delhi – full of sexual awakening and female desire, abuse and power struggles, and sensuous descriptions of modern Delhi.

The Strays by Emily Bitto (Australia)

The Strays has the 1930s Australian art scene at its centre. Lily reflects on her childhood with her best friend Eva, whose father was a famous Australian artist and whose family started a bohemian artists’ commune. Although at first the freedom and magic of the family’s bohemian lifestyle is seductive, dysfunction and darkness eventually emerge. This novel reminded me a bit of Atonement, with its young narrator telling of adult events she doesn’t quite understand and the unintended, far-reaching consequences of her actions and inexperience.

Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman (Italy)

This beautifully written novel perfectly captures the agony of longing, and the obsession and intensity of infatuation and first love – when everything the object of your affection says or does is intoxicating, when every word or sideways glance or secret touch is overanalyzed and means so much more. The Italian Riviera is the perfect backdrop for this summer of longing, intimacy, and introspection.

What other books have you read that are set around the world? Have books inspired you to travel to other places?

Leave me a comment, and feel free to share your Top Ten Tuesday as well. πŸ™‚

26 thoughts on “Books Set Around the World II”

  1. Love this idea! I read and am currently watching Normal People. I didn’t really like reading Normal People though- is Call Me By Your Name written in the same vein?

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  2. “sometimes outside factors affect your ability to travel” — BOY, DO THEY. *eyeballs your third reason*

    Although I don’t really have the means to travel outside my state normally anyway, so I think this is a great topic. Vicarious travel is underrated, and a lot of these sound like they would really bring the places to life. While I haven’t read any of these, I’ve seen it recced a few times so I’ve been thinking about trying Small Damages for a while now (Kephart is hit and miss for me; sometimes she’s exactly perfect and sometimes her writing style just obfuscates what should be a more action-/event-oriented plot).

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    1. Haha indeed… :\

      Yeah, vicarious travel is awesome! I know what you mean about Kephart being hit and miss at times… Sometimes I feel that she has such an interesting concept or theme, set in a cool location, but there’s just something missing in terms of plot.

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  3. Thank you for this list! I am always on the lookout for books set in other countries. I’m trying to read around the world as much as possible.

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  4. Such a great topic choice! I recently just finished Normal People–the book and Hulu adaptation–and I’m a bit obsessed now. πŸ˜‰ I’m looking up all your other suggestions to add to my tbr. ❀

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  5. Always love a good “armchair” adventure story! I haven’t read ‘Rosa Santos’ but do have the book on my shelf. It sounds like SUCH a fun read. πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for the visit to Finding Wonderland. Appreciate this.

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