Around the World Through Reading

I am thankful for Jules Verne’s great novel Around the World in 80 Days but must admit I’d rather see the whole world myself. But since we can’t all drop our responsibilities at home, I’ve decided to bring the wonders, blunders and ponderers of the world to us.

In collaboration with our staff, Twitter and Facebook fans, we’ve put together a list of books that take you from antebellum Virginia to the inner walls Vatican City, from war-torn Somalia to the bright lights of Shanghai – and everywhere in between.
What’s your favorite book on this list? If you could visit any place in the world to write a story, where would it be and what would you tell?
The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
The Piano Man’s Daughterby Timothy Findley

Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro

The Game by Ken Dryden

The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy

I Know Here by Laurel Croza and Matt James

Canada: A Visual Journey by Tanya Lloyd Kyi


The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

One for Sorrow by Christopher Barzak

Rain Dogs by Sean Doolittle

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

This House of Sky by Ivan Doig

11/22/63 by Stephen King

Nickle and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

Ansel Adams in the National Parks by Ansel Adams


In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alverez

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The War of the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa

The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara

In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin

Tree of Rivers: The Story of the Amazon by John Hemming

The Decapitated Chicken by Horacio Quiroga

Ana’s Story by Jenna Bush

Latin America by Olivier Follmi


The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz

The Journey is the Destination by Dan Eldon and Kathy Eldon

Dispatches from the Edge by Anderson Cooper

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

They Poured Fire On Us From the Sky by Alephonsion Deng, Benson Deng and Benjamin Ajak

The Africa House by Christina Lamb

The Bang Bang Club by Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith


The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone

Vilnius: City of Strangers by Laimonas Briedis

A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain

Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones

Sarum: The Novel of England by Edward Rutherford

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Paris Mon Amour by Jean-Claude Gautrand

Wild Wonders of Europe by Peter Cairns, Florian Mollers and Staffan Widstrand


The True Memoirs of Little K by Adrienne Sharp

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier


Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

Beer in the Snooker Club by Waguih Ghali

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

Murder on a Kibbutz by Batya Gur

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

Israel Through My Lens by David Rubinger


Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

The Spare Room by Helen Garner

The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

Dirt Music by Tim Winton

Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington

Australia: The New Frontier by Gianni Guadalupi


Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Genji & Heiki by Helen McCullough

The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama

Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer

Inside China by Jonathan Spence, Elizabeth Economy and Joseph Fewsmith

The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam


Dreaming in Hindi by Katherine Russell Rich

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Street Food of India by Sephi Bergerson

India: In Word & Image by Eric Meola


A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean by Tori Murden McClure

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Among Penguins by Noah Strycker

Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox

Antarctica: The Global Warning by Sebastian Copeland


  1. Thomas A Brown says:

    A step in the right direction thank you. Would it be possible to add to the search feature the ability to search BWB based on the author’s country of origin?

  2. Pingback: Lauded Author Says Thank You to Fans of BWB - Better World Books Blog - Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Community Outreach & more

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