Reading My Way Around the World

Saturday 20 February 2021

Books Around the World Update

I've been very lax about keeping up with my record of books read so here goes to try and catch up.   I'm now up to 49 countries - you can read the (almost) whole list here.  

I got a bit world weary into the Autumn and Winter and found that a lot of the books I was picking up, just to tick off another country visited, were very hard reading - a lot telling harrowing tales of war and cruelty.   So I had to take a pause and find lighter things to read and ended up with quite a few YA fictions, a bit of detective fiction and tried and tested favourite authors and bestsellers.   Anyway I've included most of them here.   

However, reading is without doubt one of my favourite ways to travel and even through YA fiction, you learn something about a country and its culture.  The book links here will take you to the Goodreads page to read more about them.   More coming in the next few weeks.    


Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens 

This was a big hit book a few years back and deservedly so.   Beautiful detailed descriptions of the salt marshes on the East Coast of America through the eyes of a poor neglected wild backwoods child who has a unique view of the world. 

What the blurb says:  For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her.  But Kya is not what they say. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life's lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies.   


War by Candlelight by Daniel Alarcón

This was Alarcón's first book, published in 2006, a collection of short stories set mostly in Lima in Peru.  I've not been a fan of short stories, but this collection drew me in very quickly to the stories about a varied collection of people - from an unrepentant revolutionary to a writer who gives up his typewriter to be a clown.   There are also a couple of stories set in New York.   


The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by  
This is one of the books I received through Shelterbox Book Club and was also a Reese Witherspoon bookclub choice and I enjoyed it.  It was a fun read travelling to the sunshine and a different culture.  

The British-born Punjabi Shergill sisters—Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina—were never close and are even further apart now as adults.   But on her death bed their mother has one request - that they go together on a pilgrimage to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar.  
For me it was really interesting to read about Sikh traditions and to read more about the Golden Temple and the rituals surrounding it.  Thte three sisters are very different and their relationship is well drawn - one's a school teacher, the second a failed actress and the third in a bad marriage.  

A New World/UK            

1984 by George Orwell
This was on my "must read before I die" list and I have to say I really got into it.   Sometimes I think this world isn't too far from his vision but it's a frightening view of what could be.   
Published in 1949 it really is quite a spectacular view of the not too distant future.


Zorro by Isabel Allende

Growing up I loved the stories of Zorro - remember Errol Flynn playing the masked hero.  

This book tells the story for the first time of how Diego de la Vega became the masked man.  Born in southern California late in the eighteenth century, he is a child of two worlds - his father  an aristocratic Spanish military man turned landowner and his mother, a Shoshone warrior 

And it was a jolly good swashbuckling read - although I was a bit annoyed with him as a character at points.   However, he remains the hero in my heart :) 


  1. Hi Fil - thanks for these ... they sound interesting. I've recently bought one of Isabel Allende's books - can't remember which! - but I'll get down to reading it in due course. I've got George Orwell's Critical Essays ... so will be reaing that soon too. Lots to read ... so good to know about these. All the best - Hilary

  2. I must admit to reading a lot less than I used to - don't get me wrong, I do read - mostly factual (like planting distances for white onions and how to prune a maiden heritage pear tree - riveting stuff), things like .... add your finely diced onions to ..... and k2 p2 until last three stitches then S1K1PSSO......

    SO my head and eyes are kept busy but not by novels or fiction - something I should really amend :D


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