World in Books

A couple of years ago, I realized that I have read substantial amount of European/American literature but nothing from many countries. So, I have decided to read at least one book from each country in the world.

Here is the list I started compiling. This list will in the end include 193 UN member states and 2 observers. I tried to find the most celebrated writers/novels from each country (not about the country or set in the country). I mainly go for fiction and try to forego poems, biographies, etc. Wherever possible, I prefer to go for classics, instead of the books published in the last couple of years. Another point – I include one or two books per country, otherwise some countries’ book list would end up immense.

Of course, given the limited number of languages I can read in and the limited availability of some books, finding the titles on this list is not always easy. As a result, some of these are the novels I liked, others are simply the only ones I have read from that particular country.

Many of the books on the list I have already read, some are waiting on my bookshelves to be read and copies of some I am still looking for.

This list is still missing titles from a lot of countries and I will be happy to receive any recommendations whether from the countries missing from the list or other suggestions of the writers from the countries on the list.

You may or may not agree with the list. So I will be happy to hear about your favourates and any additions/alternatives to these below.

 

  1. Afghanistan

Khaled Hosseini – Kite Runner

Atiq Rahimi – Patience of Stone

  1. Albania

Ismail Kadare – Broken April

  1. Algeria

Mohammed Dib – Algerian Trilogy

Assia Djebar – So Vast the Prison

  1. Andorra

Albert Salvadó – The Teacher of Cheops

  1. Angola

Agualusa – My father’s wives, The Book of Chameleons

Ondjaki – Good Morning Comrades

  1. Antigua & Barbuda

Jamaica Kincaid – Lucy

  1. Argentina

Julio Cortázar – Hopscotch

Borges – Ficciones

  1. Armenia

Khachatur Abovian – Wounds of Armenia

William Saroyan – My name is Aram

Hovhannes Tumanyan

  1. Australia

Colleen McCullough – The thorn birds

Markus Zusack – the book thief

  1. Austria

Stefan Zweig – Mary Stuart

Elfriede Jelinek – the piano teacher

  1. Azerbaijan

Ali and Nino

  1. Bahamas

Ian Strachan – God’s angry babies

  1. Bahrain

Ali Saeed – Quixotiq

Sarah Shaffi- Yumai

  1. Bangladesh

Tahmima Anam – Golden Age

Zahir Raihan – For Thousand Years

  1. Barbados

George Lamming – In the Castle of My Skin

  1. Belarus

Svetlana Alexeevich – Voices from Chernobyl

  1. Belgium

Amelie Nothomb – Bluebird

  1. Belize

Zee Edgell – Beka Lamb

  1. Bhutan

Choden – The Circle of Karma

  1. Bolivia

Alcides Arguedas – bronze Race

  1. Bosnia & Herzegovina

Ivo Andrich – The bridge on Drina

Meša Selimović – Death and Dervish

  1. Botswana

Bessie Head – When rain clouds gather

  1. Brazil

Jorge Amado – Gabriela, Dona Flor

Machado de Assis – Dom Casmurro

  1. Brunei

Aammton Alias – The Last Bastion of Ingei, Imminent

  1. Bulgaria

Ivan Vazov – Ude Yoka

Georgi Gospodinov – Natural Novel

  1. Burkina Faso

Norbert Zongo – Parachute Drop

  1. Cambodia

Vaddey Ratner – In the Shadow of the Banyan

Loung Ung – First They Killed My Father

  1. Cameroon

Mongo Beti – Mission to Kala

Ferdinand Oyono – Houseboy

  1. Canada

Margaret Atwood – Handmaid’s tale

  1. Cape Verde

Germano Almeida – The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo

  1. CAR

Pierre Makombo Bamboté – Princesse Mandapu

  1. Chile

Isabel Allende – House of Spirits

  1. China

Mo Yan – Red Sorghum

Cao Xueqin – Dream of the Red Chamber

Eileen Chang – Love in the fallen city

  1. Colombia

Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Love in the time of cholera

  1. Comoros

Mohamed Toihiri – The Kafir of Karthala

  1. Congo

Alain Mabanckou – Broken Glass

  1. DRC

Valentin Y Mudimbe – Before the Birth of the Moon

  1. Costa Rica

José León Sánchez – Island of Lonely Men

  1. Cote D’Ivoire

Ahmadou Kourouma – Allah is Not Obliged

  1. Croatia

Krleza – Edge of Reason, Return of Philip Latinowicz

Diakalic – Café Europaine

  1. Cuba

Alejo Carpentier – Explosion in a Cathedral

Leonardo Padura The Man Who Loved Dogs

  1. Cyprus

Panos Ioannides – Census

  1. Czech Republic

Bohumil Hrabal – I Served the King of England

Milan Kundera – The Unbearable Lightness of Being

  1. Denmark

Henrik Ibsen – Doll house

Blixen – out of Africa

  1. Djibouti

Abdourahman A. Waberi – Passage of tears

  1. Dominica

Jean Rhys – Wide Sargasso Sea

  1. Dominican Republic

Junot Diaz – The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

  1. East Timor

Cardoso – The Crossing

  1. Ecuador

Jorge Icaza – Huasipungo

  1. Egypt

Baha Tahir – Aunt Safiya and the Monastery

Naguib Mahfouz – The Cairo Trilogy

  1. El Salvador

Horacio Castellanos Moya – Senselessness

  1. Equatorial Guinea

Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo – Shadows of Your Black Memory

  1. Eritrea

Sulaiman Addonia – The Consequences of Love

  1. Estonia

Kross – The Czar’s Madman

Mati Unt The Autumn Ball

  1. Ethiopia

Dinaw Mengestu – All our names

Maaza Mengiste – Beneath the Lion’s Gaze

  1. Fiji

Epeli Hauʻofa – Tales of the Tikongs

  1. Finland

Väinö Linna – Under the North Star

Tove Jansson – Tales from Moominvalley

  1. France

I simply can’t make a choice here, I have too many favourates, what with Hugo, Stendahl, Dumas, Verne, Balzac, etc. etc.

  1. Germany

Herman Hesse – Steppenwolf

  1. Georgia

Guram Dochanashvili – First Robe

As his novella – “The man who loved literature” is not translated, if at all translatable

  1. Ghana

Armah – The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born

Gyasi – homegoing

Aidoo – No Sweetness Here

  1. Guatemala

Asturias – Senor President

  1. Guinea

Camara Laye – The Radiance of the King

  1. Greece

Nikos Kazantzakis – Zorba the Greek

  1. Guyana

Wilson Harris – Palace of the Peacock

  1. Haiti

Danticat – Breathe, Eyes, Memory

  1. Honduras

Ramón Amaya Amador – Cipotes

  1. Hungary

Antal Szerb – Journey by moonlight

Imre Kertész – Fatelessness

  1. Iceland

Haldor Laxness – The Fish can sing

  1. Israel

Amos Oz – My Michael

  1. Italy

Italo Calvino – If on a winter’s night a traveler

I will bypass the classics like Dante and Bocaccio.

Well, I quite like Eco and Pirandello as well J

  1. India

Arundhati Roy – The God of small things

Amitav Ghosh – the Glass Palace

  1. Indonesia

Pramoedya Ananta Toer – The Buru Quartet

  1. Iraq

Fadhil Al-Azzawi – The Last of the Angels

Ahmed Sadawi – Frankenstein in Baghdad

  1. Iran

Goli Taraghi

Marjane Satrapi – Persepolis

  1. Ireland

As Ulysses is one of those few books lying on my shelf for ages, though I just can’t get around reading it, here are some other books 🙂

George Bernard Shaw – Pygmalion

Oscar Wild – Picture of Dorian Gray

  1. Japan

Kobo Abe – The woman in sand

Haruki Murakami – Norwegian wood

  1. Kazakhstan

Mukhtar Auezov – Abai

  1. Kenya

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o – A Grain of Wheat

  1. Kiribati

Teweiariki Teaero – Waa in Storms

  1. Kyrgizstan

Chingiz Aitmatov – Jamila

  1. Kuwait

Saud Alsanousi – Bamboo Stalk

  1. Latvia

Alberts Bels – The Cage

Blaumanis – in the shadow of death

  1. Lebanon

Amin Maalouf – Samarkand

  1. Lesotho

Mofolo – Chaka

  1. Liechtenstein

Iren Nigg

  1. Libya

Ibrahim Al Kuni – The Bleeding of the Stone

  1. Lithuania

Ričardas Gavelis – Vilnius Poker

Balys Sruoga Forest of the Gods

  1. North Macedonia

Venko Andonovski – Navel of the World

  1. Madagascar

Naivo – Beyond the Rice Fields

  1. Malaysia

Tan Twan Eng – Garden of Evening mists

Samad Said – Salina

  1. Malawi

Steve Chimombo – The Basket Girl

  1. Maldives

Abdullah Sadiq – Dhon Hiyala and Ali Fulhu

  1. Mali

Amadou Hampâté Bâ – The Strange Destiny of Wangrin

  1. Malta

Immanuel Mifsud – In the Name of the Father

  1. Mexico

Carlos Fuentes – The Death of Artemio Cruz

  1. Morocco

Taher Ben Jelloun – The Sand Child

  1. Mozambique

Mia Couto – Terra Somnambula

Paulina Chiziane – Niketche

  1. Nepal

Narayan Wagle – Palpasa Cafe

  1. Netherlands

Anne Frank’s Diary

Herman Koch – Naked lunch

  1. New Zealand

Keri Hulme – Bone people

  1. Nicaragua

Ruben Dario – Azul

  1. Nigeria

Chihua Achebe – Things Fall Apart

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  1. Norway

Hamsun – Mysteries

  1. Oman

Abdulaziz Al Farsi – Earth Weeps, Saturn Laughs

  1. Palestine

Ghassan Kanafani – Men in the Sun

  1. Pakistan

Mohsin Hamid – The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Mohammed Hanif – The case of exploding mangoes

  1. Panama

Gloria Guardia – Freedom in flames

  1. Papua New Guinea

Vincent Eri – The Crocodile

  1. Paraguay

Augusto Roa Bastos – I the Supreme

111. Peru

Ljosa – Aunt Julia and the Screenwriter

  1. Phillipines

Rizal – Noli me Tangere, El Filibusterismo

Bob Ong – ABNKKBSNPLAko?!

  1. Poland

Sienkiewicz – Quo Vadis, With Fire and Sword

Boleslaw Pruss – The Doll

  1. Portugal

Saramago – Blindness

  1. Romania

Herta Müller – The Hunger Angel

Mircea Eliade – The Forbidden Forest

  1. Russia

Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev – choice is very difficult

Dostoevsky – Crime and Punishment

  1. Rwanda

Scholastique Mukasonga – Our lady of the Nile

  1. Saint Lucia

Derek Walcott – Omeros

  1. Samoa

albert wendt – leaves of the banyan tree

  1. Saudi Arabia

Rajaa al-Sanea – Girls of Riyadh

  1. Senegal

Mariama Ba – So Long the letter

  1. Serbia

Milorad Pavich – Khazar Dictionary

  1. Sierra Leone

Aminatta Forna – The Devil That Danced on Water, Memory of Love

  1. Singapore

Rachel Heng – Suicide Club

125. Slovakia

Peter Pišťanek – Rivers of Babylon

  1. Slovenia

Vladimir Bartol – Alamut

Drago Jančar – I Saw Her That Night

  1. Solomon Islands

Rexford Orotaloa – Two Times Resurrection

  1. Somalia

Nuruddin Farah – From a Crooked Rib ; Crossbones

  1. South Africa

Coetzee – Life and Times of Michael K , Disgrace

Nadine Gordimer – Burger’s Daughter

  1. South Korea

Han Kang – the Vegetarian

  1. Sri Lanka

Michael Ondaatje

Shyam Selvadurai – Cinnamon Gardens

  1. Spain

Cervantes – Don Quixote

Unamuno – Mist

133. Sudan

Tayeb Salih – Season of Migration to the North

  1. Suriname

Cyntia McLeod – Cost of Sugar

  1. Sweden

Astrid Lindgren – well, anything J

Selma Lagerlof

  1. Switzerland

Max Frisch – Homo Faber

Friedrich Dürrenmatt – The Pledge

  1. Syria

Rafik Schami – Dark side of love

Salwa al Neimi – The proof of the honey

  1. Taiwan

Li-Hung Hsiao – A Thousand Moons on a Thousand Rivers

  1. Tanzania

Abdulrazak Gurnah – Desertion

  1. Thailand

Kukrit Pramoj – Four Reigns

  1. Tonga

Joshua Taumoefolau – A Providence of War

  1. Trinidad &Tobago

V.S. Naipaul – A House For Mr Biswas

Shiva Naipaul – Chip Chip Gatherers

  1. Tunisia

Hassouna Mosbahi – A Tunisian Tale

  1. Turkey

Reşat Nuri Güntekin – The Wren

I am not such a fan of the famous modern authors, Pamuk or Shafak.

145. UAE

Maha Gargash – The Sand Fish

  1. Uganda

Isegawa – Abysinian Chronicles

Plot p’Bitek – White Teeth

  1. Ukraine

Gogol – Taras Bulba

  1. UK

Shakespeare to Austen, Dickens to Hillary Mantel it’s extremely difficult to choose a favourate

Orwell – 1984

  1. USA

Another difficult choice, but I will go for

Bradbury – Fahrenheit 451

Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby

  1. Uruguay

Juan Carlos Onetti The Shipyard

Eduardo Hughes Galeano – Walking words

  1. Venezuela

Rómulo Gallegos – Donna Barbara

152. Vietnam

Viet Thanh Nguyen – Sympathizer

Bao Ninh – The Sorrow of War

153. Yemen

Zayd Mutee Dammaj, The Hostage

154. Zambia

Luka Mwango – Perdition

  1. Zimbabwe

Tsitsi Dangarembga – Nervous Conditions

Charles Mungoshi – Waiting for the rain

Visited 50 countries and counting, Lived in 3 cities and collected a lot of useful information to help fellow travel junkies out there.

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