Hey! I’m trying something new this week, and participating in That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday. If I like it, I may continue with these on Tuesdays instead of my typical book reviews. (Those might get bumped to Monday, or I might actually start reading a little slower and only do Thursday and Saturday – we’ll see!)
This week’s topic is “Books That Take Place in Another Country” – and while I could probably cheat and list a bunch of fantasy, I’m going to try to stick with actual real-world countries!
Top of my list is definitely The Astonishing Color of After. It was my Book of the Month this month and it was outstanding. A small part of it is set in the US, but the majority of the book takes place in Taiwan.
#2 is Trevor Noah’s Born A Crime – It’s set in South Africa. I’ve really enjoyed Trevor as the host of The Daily Show, and his book was laugh-out-loud funny.
#3 I’m going with Oliver Pötzsch’s The Hangman’s Daughter. Really the entire series. These are set in 17th century Germany, and they follow the Executioner, his daughter, and her man as they solve mysteries. They are translated from their original German, and they’re excellent.
#4 – I feel like The City of Brass only barely counts, as it began in Egypt and then moved to a fantasy realm, but it was amazing so I’m listing it anyway! I love non-Western inspired fantasy, and this has djinns, ifrits, court intrigue, a little bit of romance, hidden magic – everything, basically!
#5 – I’ve read a lot of Canadian books in the past year for my Read Canadian Challenge, but surprisingly several of those were still actually set in the US! (Well, let’s be real, it’s unsurprising that most of their dystopia has its roots in the US, who’s more likely to be the cause of the end of civilization?) That Inevitable Victorian Thing was YA alternate future. I don’t want to call it dystopia because it was surprisingly positive. Though I really want to see the darker side of the world it’s set in, because that technology could be twisted to nefarious purposes SO EASILY. And as I was writing this, I realized THIS is what I know this author from – I was just looking at my bookshelf at the Star Wars Ahsoka book (which I haven’t read yet, I need to fix that!) and thinking the author looked familiar.
#6 – The London Steampunk series! Bec McMaster’s brand of steampunk romance and political intrigue is exactly my kind of escapist fluff. Vampires, werewolves, robots and London court politics and underground crime bosses – this series was great.
#7 – The Places in Between by Rory Stewart is a book I read MANY years ago before I started this blog – Stewart chronicles his travels as he walks(!!) across Afghanistan. It’s REALLY good, and I really liked his style of writing. He also wrote The Prince of the Marshes and Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq.
#8 – You know, it might be cheating a little bit, but I’m going to throw in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s a harrowing book, and it’s technically set in Gilead, even if it is supposed to be what’s left of the US. But it’s definitely one of my all-time favorite books, and it somewhat fits the theme! (It’s also free via Kindle Unlimited right now!)
#9 – The Crown’s Game and The Crown’s Fate are Russian fantasy, and they’re beautiful. I cried like a baby at the end of the first, and the second was wonderfully bittersweet. Game was Evelyn Skye’s debut novel, and I WEPT at the end. It didn’t actually end on a cliffhanger; I didn’t know there was a sequel until much later.
#10 – The Temeraire Series covers the Napoleanic Wars, if there were dragons involved! It ranges from Britain, to France, to China. I’ve only read the first six books and there are apparently nine now. I got a little bored with the series and moved on to other things, but the world building, like all of Naomi Novik‘s work, was really good. (Uprooted, another book of hers not in this series, is an absolute favorite of mine!)
So those are my top ten picks for books not set in my country (The United States). It was actually a little difficult, because I didn’t want to use books set in entirely fictional countries, and I read a LOT of fantasy! I also didn’t want to use a ton of books set in the United Kingdom, and that’s where a lot of romance and urban fantasy are based. Honorable Mention probably goes to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which I almost included. Also anything by Philippa Gregory. I’ve reviewed several books that I didn’t include here that would fit, but I didn’t think they were good enough to warrant a spot in a Top Ten list.
This was kind of fun. What do you think, should I continue doing these on Tuesdays? Next week’s theme is “Characters I liked that were in Non-Favorite/Disliked Books.” That’s gonna be a tough one!