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Topic: the armchair traveler "reads" the world - my reading goal

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Subject: the armchair traveler "reads" the world - my reading goal
Date Posted: 8/24/2010 4:01 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,717
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I am going to try to read at least one travelogue/essay from every country in the world. According to Google there are currently 257 of them. I'm not going to put any kind of time limit on this. But I am going to list them all here and if I am having trouble finding a book set in a specific country, I would love suggestions!

If I put a yes next to a country, I already have books about it. If there is nothing next to a country, I don't currently own any books about it. Once I figure out which books I am going to read for each country, I will list them.

1 Afghanistan - The Places in Between by Rory Stewart, The Afghan Amulet by Sheila Paine
2 Akrotiri
3 Albania
4 Algeria
5 American Samoa
6 Andorra
7 Angola
8 Anguilla
9 Antarctica - yes
10 Antigua and Barbuda
11 Argentina
12 Armenia
13 Aruba
14 Ashmore and Cartier Islands
15 Australia - Tracks by Robyn Davidson
16 Austria - yes
17 Azerbaijan
18 Bahamas, The
19 Bahrain
20 Bangladesh
21 Barbados
22 Bassas da India
23 Belarus
24 Belgium
25 Belize
26 Benin
27 Bermuda
28 Bhutan - Beyond the Sky and the Earth by Jamie Zeppa
29 Bolivia
30 Bosnia and Herzegovina
31 Botswana
32 Bouvet Island
33 Brazil - Brazil on the Move by John Dos Passos
34 British Indian Ocean Territory
35 British Virgin Islands
36 Brunei
37 Bulgaria
38 Burkina Faso
39 Burma - God's Dust by Ian Buruma
40 Burundi
41 Cambodia
42 Cameroon
43 Canada - yes
44 Cape Verde
45 Cayman Islands
46 Central African Republic
47 Chad
48 Chile
49 China - Journey Across Tibet by Sorrel Wilby
50 Christmas Island
51 Clipperton Island
52 Cocos (Keeling) Islands
53 Colombia
54 Comoros
55 Congo, Democratic Republic of the
56 Congo, Republic of the
57 Cook Islands
58 Coral Sea Islands
59 Costa Rica
60 Cote d'Ivoire
61 Croatia
62 Cuba
63 Cyprus
64 Czech Republic
65 Denmark
66 Dhekelia
67 Djibouti
68 Dominica
69 Dominican Republic
70 Ecuador
71 Egypt - A Border Passage by Leila Ahmed
72 El Salvador
73 Equatorial Guinea
74 Eritrea
75 Estonia
76 Ethiopia - In Search of King Solomon's Mines by Tahir Shah
77 Europa Island
78 Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
79 Faroe Islands
80 Fiji
81 Finland
82 France - yes, many
83 French Guiana
84 French Polynesia
85 French Southern and Antarctic Lands
86 Gabon
87 Gambia, The
88 Gaza Strip
89 Georgia
90 Germany - yes
91 Ghana
92 Gibraltar
93 Glorioso Islands
94 Greece - yes
95 Greenland
96 Grenada
97 Guadeloupe
98 Guam
99 Guatemala
100 Guernsey - yes
101 Guinea
102 Guinea-Bissau
103 Guyana
104 Haiti
105 Heard Island and McDonald Islands
106 Holy See (Vatican City)
107 Honduras
108 Hong Kong
109 Hungary
110 Iceland
111 India - The Camel Knows the Way by Lorna Kelly, the Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux
112 Indonesia
113 Iran - Mirrors of the Unseen by Jason Elliot
114 Iraq - A Hundred and One Days by Asne Seierstat
115 Ireland - yes, many
116 Isle of Man - yes
117 Israel - A Crack in the Earth by Haim Watzman
118 Italy - yes, many
119 Jamaica
120 Jan Mayen
121 Japan
122 Jersey
123 Jordan
124 Juan de Nova Island
125 Kazakhstan
126 Kenya - yes
127 Kiribati
128 Korea, North
129 Korea, South
130 Kuwait
131 Kyrgyzstan
132 Laos
133 Latvia
134 Lebanon
135 Lesotho
136 Liberia
137 Libya
138 Liechtenstein
139 Lithuania
140 Luxembourg
141 Macau
142 Macedonia
143 Madagascar
144 Malawi
145 Malaysia
146 Maldives
147 Mali - Timbuktu by Marq de Villiers
148 Malta
149 Marshall Islands
150 Martinique
151 Mauritania
152 Mauritius
153 Mayotte
154 Mexico
155 Micronesia, Federated States of
156 Moldova
157 Monaco
158 Mongolia
159 Montserrat
160 Morocco - Caliph's House by Tahir Shah
161 Mozambique
162 Namibia - Horn of Darkness by Carol Cunninghma
163 Nauru
164 Navassa Island
165 Nepal - In Search of the Medicine Buddha by David Crow
166 Netherlands
167 Netherlands Antilles
168 New Caledonia
169 New Zealand - Kiwi Tracks by Andrew Stevenson
170 Nicaragua
171 Niger
172 Nigeria
173 Niue
174 Norfolk Island
175 Northern Mariana Islands
176 Norway
177 Oman
178 Pakistan - yes
179 Palau
180 Panama
181 Papua New Guinea - yes
182 Paracel Islands
183 Paraguay
184 Peru - Trail of Feathers by Tahir Shah
185 Philippines
186 Pitcairn Islands
187 Poland
188 Portugal
189 Puerto Rico
190 Qatar
191 Reunion
192 Romania
193 Russia
194 Rwanda - Land of a Thousand Hills by Rosamond Halsey Carr
195 Saint Helena
196 Saint Kitts and Nevis
197 Saint Lucia
198 Saint Pierre and Miquelon
199 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
200 Samoa
201 San Marino
202 Sao Tome and Principe
203 Saudi Arabia - yes
204 Senegal
205 Serbia and Montenegro
206 Seychelles
207 Sierra Leone
208 Singapore
209 Slovakia
210 Slovenia
211 Solomon Islands
212 Somalia
213 South Africa - My Old Man and the Sea by David Hays
214 South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
215 Spain - yes
216 Spratly Islands
217 Sri Lanka
218 Sudan
219 Suriname
220 Svalbard
221 Swaziland
222 Sweden
223 Switzerland
224 Syria - yes
225 Taiwan
226 Tajikistan
227 Tanzania
228 Thailand - Dream of a Thousand Lives by Karen Connelly
229 Timor-Leste
230 Togo
231 Tokelau
232 Tonga
233 Trinidad and Tobago
234 Tromelin Island
235 Tunisia
236 Turkey - A Byzantine Journey by John Ash, Turkish Reflections by Mary Lee Settle
237 Turkmenistan
238 Turks and Caicos Islands
239 Tuvalu
240 Uganda
241 Ukraine
242 United Arab Emirates
243 United Kingdom - yes, many
244 United States - Wandering Home by Bill McKibben
245 Uruguay
246 Uzbekistan
247 Vanuatu
248 Venezuela
249 Vietnam
250 Virgin Islands
251 Wake Island
252 Wallis and Futuna
253 West Bank
254 Western Sahara
255 Yemen
256 Zambia
257 Zimbabwe - Rainbow's End by Lauren St John


Last Edited on: 8/24/10 4:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/25/2010 5:21 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2007
Posts: 225
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Holy crap! That's awesome!

Last year I read through the 50 states.

This year I am reading 12 countries in 12 months.

Date Posted: 10/16/2010 9:28 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 335
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Ambitious! Best of luck.

Date Posted: 5/19/2011 4:39 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
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For Mexico, one of my favorite books is A Village in the Sun by Dane Chandos, and also its sequel, A House in the Sun. They're about a British expatriate who goes to live in a tiny Mexican rural community on the shore of Lake Chapala and eventually builds a house there. Or for something by a noted Mexican author, try anything by Octavio Paz or Carlos Fuentes. Or you might like Tony Cohan's two books about living in San Miguel de Allende. For a historical perspective, there's Frances Calderon de la Barca's Life in Mexico. She was the Scots wife of the first Spanish ambassador to Mexico after Mexico gained its independence from Spain. She wrote detailed letters to her family at home - very candid and not intended for publication, but the historian Prescott, who was a friend of the family, thought the letters were so wonderful that he urged their publication. It's a large book, but I've found that you can either read the letters in sequence or sample them at any point.
Subject: Rep. of Congo
Date Posted: 5/29/2011 2:41 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 244
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Very cool reading idea!!!
This one's on one of my reading lists...
Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart
Author: Tim Butcher

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-River-Journey-Africas-Broken/dp/0802118771/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1306694834&sr=1-1

 



Last Edited on: 5/29/11 2:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Ecuador & the Middle East
Date Posted: 5/29/2011 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 244
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(Read these years ago & enjoyed them.)

Savages by Joe Kane

http://www.amazon.com/Savages-Joe-Kane/dp/0679740198/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1306694560&sr=1-2

Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks

http://www.amazon.com/Nine-Parts-Desire-Hidden-Islamic/dp/0385475772/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1306695210&sr=1-1

 

 

 



Last Edited on: 5/29/11 2:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/28/2011 11:20 AM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2011
Posts: 473
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So envious! Maybe, I'll tackle the more do-able goal of 12 countries in 12 months for my New Year's resolution. Or... to revisit vacations past. Keep us posted with your progress!



Last Edited on: 11/28/11 11:21 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/3/2013 11:26 AM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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You haven't really made any guidelines here -- are you looking for travel narratives only? For novels set in X country? For books written by an author from X country?  So, I'll offer some good books set in different countries.

For #30, Bosnia, I'd recommend People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.

For Japan, I recommend Hiroshima by John Hersey or The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima.

For Norway, Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset is a classic of Norwegian literature. Out Stealing Horses by Per Peterson is a more contemporary Norwegian prize-winning novel.

For Poland, James Michener's Poland or Push Not the River by James Conroyd Martin.

For Romania, Bury Me Standing by Isabel Fonseca.

Also, in case it is helpful, over in the Historical Fiction section we've made a list of useful tags, many of which are geographical in nature -- there are links for tags to places like Denmark and Wales and South Africa, among others.  They're not limited to Historical Fiction titles, since any member can use any tag. http://www.paperbackswap.com/TAG-Ging-Historical-Fiction/topic/76801/



Last Edited on: 1/3/13 11:49 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/3/2013 6:47 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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For No.104 Haiti, I suggest Breath, Eyes, Memory, by Edwige Danticat, or another title by her.

Date Posted: 2/26/2013 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
Posts: 314
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These are classic travel narratives.

  1. Albania: High Albania – Edith Durham
  2. Chile: Travels in a Thin Country – Sara Wheeler
  3. Congo: Congo Journey – Redmon O’Hanlon
  4. Indonesia: Into the Heart of Borneo - Redmon O’Hanlon
  5. Japan: The Roads to Sata – Alan Booth
  6. Paraguay: The Tomb of the Inflatable Pig - John Gimlette
  7. Romania: Transylvania and Beyond – Dervla Murphy
  8. Russia: Lost Cosmonaut - Daniel Kalder, In Siberia - Colin Thubron
  9. Serbia and Montenegro: Black Lamb Grey Falcon - Rebecca West
  10. Vietnam: Catfish and Mandala – Andrew X. Pham

Update:

  1. Turkmenistan: Unknown Sands - John W. Kropf
  2. Czecho: The Coast of Bohemia - Edith Pargeter
  3. St Helena: The Emperor's Last Island: A Journey to St Helena- Julia Blackburn
  4. Hebrides: Sea Room: An Island Life in the Hebrides - Adam Nicolson.
  5. Togo: Village of Waiting - George Packer
  6. Ireland: The Aran Islands - J. M. Synge
  7. Rajasthan: Desert Places - Robyn Davidson
  8. Mexico: A Visit to Don Otavio - Sybille Bedford
  9. Thailand: The Fruit Palace - Charles Nicholl
  10. Crete - Barry Unsworth
  11. Brazilian Adventure - Peter Fleming

Another Update. I made this list for somebody who wanted to know travel books by female writers.
The Road to Miyama - Leila Philip
The Gobi Desert - Mildred Cable
Holy cow! - Sarah MacDondald
Finding George Orwell in Burma - Emma Larkin
Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens - Sofka Zinovieff
Tracks - Robyn Davidson
So Close to Heaven: The Vanishing Buddhist Kingdoms of Himalayas - Barbara Crossette
Lose Your Mother" A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route - Saidiya Hartman
Turkish Reflectioins - Mary Lee Settle
The Towers of Treboizond - Rose Macauley
Travels in a Thin Country - Sara Wheeler
English Journey - Berly Bainbridge
Wonderful Adventures - Mary Seacole



Last Edited on: 8/8/13 12:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 5
Date Posted: 4/5/2013 7:34 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2008
Posts: 533
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Matt, Thanks for this helpful list.  Most of these titles are new to me.

Valerie

 

Date Posted: 7/8/2014 11:08 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 2,823
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There are some single books that touch on several countries.

Sailing Alone around the World by Joshua Slocum. this book will deal with several island countries.

The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux. actually several of Theroux's travel narratives will deal with various countries. The Old Patagonian Express deals with central America and several countries in South America. Dark Star Safari goes from Egypt to S Africa overland.