Around the world in 100 books

I’m a book nerd. Always have been. Always will be.

Since childhood, I’ve taken books with me everywhere: in the backseat, at the beach, on the lawn, at the pool, under the covers, in the crook of a plum tree (like Brick from The Middle). I sniff out bookshelves, libraries, and bookstores wherever I go. Good books are presents I’ll never refuse.

One of the cheapest ways I travel is from an armchair. Even if I can’t literally visit a country, I still experience it through reading. This is a list of books from across the globe that I’ve read over the years.

Disclaimer: For each entry, I’ve included which country is featured in each book rather than the author’s country of origin. I know I haven’t read the whole world yet so this list is not definitive. It’s also highly subjective (based on my own personal biases) and is a work in progress. Adding solid titles is my lifelong commitment.

Around the world in 100 books

  1. A house for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul (Trinidad and Tobago)
  2. The mystic masseur by V.S. Naipaul (Trinidad and Tobago)
  3. Miguel Street by V.S. Naipaul (Trinidad and Tobago)
  4. Minty Alley by C.L.R James (Trinidad and Tobago)
  5. A brighter sun by Sam Selvon (Trinidad and Tobago)
  6. Ways of sunlight by Sam Selvon (Trinidad and Tobago)
  7. The hummingbird tree by Ian McDonald (Trinidad and Tobago)
  8. The dragon can’t dance by Earl Lovelace (Trinidad and Tobago)
  9. Green days by the river by Michael Anthony (Trinidad and Tobago)
  10. Crick crack monkey by Merle Hodge (Trinidad and Tobago)
  11. The jumbie bird by Ismith Khan (Trinidad and Tobago)
  12. The swinging bridge by Ramabai Espinet (Trinidad and Tobago)
  13. Raise the lanterns high by Lakshmi Persaud (Trinidad and Tobago)
  14. Prospero’s Daughter by Elizabeth Nunez (Trinidad and Tobago)
  15. Trinidad Noir edited by Lisa Allen Agostini and Jeanne Mason (Trinidad and Tobago)
  16. The old man and the sea by Ernest Hemingway (Cuba)
  17. Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid (Antigua)
  18. Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid (Antigua/US)
  19. John Crow’s Devil by Marlon James (Jamaica)
  20. Kingston Noir edited Colin Channer (Jamaica)
  21. The annihilation of Fish and other stories by Anthony Winkler (Jamaica)
  22. The bones and my flute by Edgar Mittelholzer (Guyana)
  23. Beka Lamb by Zee Edgell (Belize)
  24. The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato (Argentina)
  25. One hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Colombia)
  26. Like water for chocolate by Laura Esquivel (Mexico)
  27. Into the wild by Jon Krakauer (US)
  28. The Diamond as big as the Ritz and other stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald (US)
  29. To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (US)
  30. East of Eden by John Steinbeck (US)
  31. The Pearl by John Steinbeck (US)
  32. On the road by Jack Kerouac (US)
  33. The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac (US)
  34. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (US)
  35. A streetcar named Desire by Tennessee Williams (US)
  36. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (US)
  37. Brown girl, brownstones by Paula Marshall (US)
  38. The Beloved by Khalil Gibran (US)
  39. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Canada)
  40. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (Canada)
  41. The Stranger by Albert Camus (Algeria)
  42. Distant view of the minaret by Alifa Rifaat (Egypt)
  43. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Congo)
  44. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (Congo)
  45. The beautyful ones are not yet born by Ayi Kwei Armah (Ghana)
  46. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Nigeria)
  47. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
  48. The god of small things by Arundhati Roy (India)
  49. An area of darkness by V.S. Naipaul (India)
  50. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (India)
  51. Cracking India by Bapsi Sidwa (India/Pakistan)
  52. Clear light of day by Anita Desai (India)
  53. Games at twilight by Anita Desai (India)
  54. Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai (India)
  55. Malgudi Days by R.K. Narayan (India)
  56. The lady and the monk: four seasons in Kyoto by Pico Iyer (Japan)
  57. Glimpses of an unfamiliar Japan by Lafcadio Hearn  (Japan)
  58. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (Japan)
  59. A personal matter by Kenzaburo Oe (Japan)
  60. Waiting by Ha Lin (China)
  61. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini  (Afghanistan)
  62. A thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan)
  63. Pillars of salt by Fadia Faqir (Jordan)
  64. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (UK)
  65. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (UK)
  66. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (UK)
  67. Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy (UK)
  68. Of human bondage by Somerset Maugham (UK/Germany)
  69. The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon (UK)
  70. Macbeth by William Shakespeare (UK)
  71. Hamlet by William Shakespeare (Denmark)
  72. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (UK)
  73. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (UK)
  74. Women in love by DH Lawrence (UK)
  75. White Teeth by Zadie Smith (UK)
  76. Brick Lane by Monica Ali (UK)
  77. Dubliners by James Joyce (Ireland)
  78. Men and Gods by Rex Warner (Greece)
  79. Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk (Turkey)
  80. Therese Desqueyroux by Francois Mauriac (France)
  81. La Casa de Bernarda Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca (Spain)
  82. Yerma by Federico Garcia Lorca (Spain)
  83. The sun also rises by Ernest Hemingway (France/Spain)
  84. The girl with the dragon tattoo by Steig Larson (Sweden)
  85. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder (Norway)
  86. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria/US/UK)
  87. Open City by Teju Cole (Nigeria/US)
  88. The amazing, absorbing boy by Rabindranath Maharaj (Trinidad/Canada)
  89. The mimic men by VS Naipaul (Trinidad/UK)
  90. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (India/US)
  91. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (India/US)
  92. The inheritance of loss by Kiran Desai (India/US)
  93. Small Island by Andrea Levy (Jamaica/UK)
  94. The Buddha in the attic by Julie Otsuka (Japan/US)
  95. A tale for the time being by Ruth Ozeki (US/Japan)
  96. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (Jamaica/Dominica/UK)
  97. Voyage in the dark by Jean Rhys (Caribbean/UK)
  98. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Spain/Egypt)
  99. Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert (Italy/India/Bali)
  100. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (India/Pacific Ocean)

What titles should I add? Make your recommendations below!

Published by

Suzanne Bhagan

Trinidadian writer and content creator.

38 thoughts on “Around the world in 100 books”

  1. Love this idea! I’m not that much of a reader myself but in the few recent years I’ve tried to change that. It’s not going to well unfortunately, but seeing this list motivates me! Do you have any personal all time favorites you recommend reading first?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Swati, I mentioned more than a couple Indian authors, like Anita Desai and Arundhati Roy (among others). Who do you recommend?


  2. I have always loved books and reading. Sadly, I don’t read half as much as I would like to nowadays. Even sadder is the fact that younger people don’t seem to hold the same appreciation at all for books and would always choose to watch a movie instead. Your list of books is just fabulous. You can really get so immersed in a place through some wonderful stories that just add a fascinating additional dimension – that broadens the mind, imagination and enriches the soul. Virtual travelling through literature is such a great way to escape the everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love reading especially while traveling. And the one I love the most is #99 – Eat, pray, love. Your list seems outstanding and will be truly handy as I haven’t read many of them and would love to do that. I specially like fictions – Try out Divergent series if you like fiction too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My mum loves reading books about other countries. She has traveled the world through books! I’m not really a book reader but have read 2 books from the 100, Macbeth and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I’ve seen the Life of Pi movie but I don’t think that counts!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fantastic list! I haven’t heard of several of them. I love the whole Anne of Green Gables series! I’ve been dreaming of visiting Prince Edward Island since I was a little kid because of these books!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Awwwnn. I’ve read some of these books and I’m glad they made it to the list. I remwbwr having to read Achebe’s Things Fall Apart in classics class. It was so interesting, probably it was the prof. I got to know about Nigeria that I was kind of obsessed at one point. But I’m glad that I could live my dreams of visiting countries just by reading about these countries. That’s why I’m always interested in reading traveling blogs too since they come with pictures too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is seriously the coolest idea for a post. There’s so many books out there about places I’d love to go, and now I have a new reading list! I love how you organized it too, super handy. Thanks so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. wow, great list, I have actually read some of these on your list already! I;m a book nerd too, i like to read of the legends and mythology of a country, just opens up a new version of travel experience when i visit the country. I think the one book thats great in its description of South Africa is the fictional novel called Summer by Chris Barnard.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ooh these are such great choices, and I’ve read a few of them. I like an Italian author called Elena Ferrante, and she wrote a series based in Naples. It’s engrossing, rich in detail and transports you there!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This list is amazing. So many titles we have never heard of. One that we definitely did hear of is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Such a good book and really happy that many education systems make young teens read it mandatory for school.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Nice to see a lot of titles that refer back to India. I have read most of those – Anita Desai and Kiran Desai being two of my favorites. I liked Jhumpa Lahiri too but felt that it was a little too deep. I should try out the other books as well. Have tried Geisha and the 3 swans too. Loved those.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I love reading and how they take me to places I’ve never been. I can definitely relate with this and know that you don’t have to physically travel to explore different parts of the world. You made me miss reading a lot – I haven’t read a book in ages!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is a lovely idea of knowing the world. Through books we can know the culture of whole world at one place. Your list of 100 books are great and I would save it, when I go to shop for books next time. Some of the books I have read, but some I have not read and wish to read. I would prefer to read Unaccustomed Earth and A street car name Desire.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m also a big book nerd and I always pick a book (not a guide) of the country I’m visiting to get a better understanding of the culture. I love your idea of a such a post and I think I’m going to write something similar even though I always share a reading suggestion to all my travel posts. However, may I say that Eat, Love and Pray maybe isn’t the best and only book about Italy out there?? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Oh I love, love, love this idea! I’m a huge book nerd as well, and have thought about doing something similar, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I would look at Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabelle Allende to open up parts of Latin America on your list.

    For the USA, I could give a list of 10,000 books, but Gone With the Wind is a classic with a huge sense of place worth adding on. There’s also hiking memoirs, like Wild by Cheryl Strayed or A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, to get the feel for the USA’s amazing nature!

    Liked by 1 person

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