I personally love to travel. I’ve visited, lived, and traveled through quite a few countries and states and can’t wait to do more. In the interim until I travel again, I figured the best way to experience other countries and cultures is to dive into some stories and learn from those who are from other places. So I’ve made a list of places that I want to travel to via books and I hope you join me on the journey!
This is by far an original idea. A few years ago, a blogger made national news for reading a book from every country and this inspired me back then. I’ve also seen a few other Booktubers and Goodreads groups that focus on reading books from other places or that are translated as well. I’ve combined their ideas to mold it into something that works for me and then expanded upon it.
I started by purchasing two different maps – a World Scratch-off Map and a United States Map.
I didn’t want to count 1 single book as representative for the US as each state is so unique and the stories that come out of them are as well. That began to spin the wheel and I figured I should do the same for other large countries like Canada, Russia, China, and Australia. I also lived in the UK and know how different England is from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and how each have counties and territories that should also be considered. So I broke it out further.
There may be some other countries that I will try and read multiple books from, such as Japan (mainland vs. Okinawa for example) or Germany (Bavaria vs. Berlin for example) to really experience different stories. I did not break apart countries that are smaller in size simply because it’s too much work at this time and will cause me to never finish this. So while I acknowledge there are many countries with more than one region, the geographically large ones are broken apart. I also have to consider translations and availability so that creates further problems to read each region.
So there you have it! This is how I will try and read the world! I am so excited and know this is such a huge project, that I’ve gone through my Goodreads Read Shelf and counted those I’ve already read (whether it was in school as assigned reading, or just individual reading I did several years back). With this in mind, I’ve read:
– 6 unique countries
– 3 UK counties
– 7 US states
Here is what that looks like. Notice, I won’t mark off the countries I’ve broken apart until I’ve read at least a good chunk that represents the region (in my opinion).
What I won’t count: After going through my Goodreads, I noticed that a ton of what I’ve read is fantasy and therefore won’t count for this. I also don’t think I will count anything that takes place equally in 2 locations unless I can’t find anything else representing that country. For example, I read Station Eleven, which takes place in Toronto and Minnesota. I am sure I can find stories set in them individually so I’d rather keep this off the list (for now). I also don’t think I will count anything that isn’t plausible, such as paranormal fiction. For example, I’ve read a few of the Laurell K. Hamilton “Anita Blake” novels and they are set in St. Louis. However, I just would rather count something set fictionally but more realistic in the same area. I also won’t count anything I’ve DNF’d.
What I will count: I think memoirs, autobiographies, history books and other nonfiction is a good consideration. I will also count literary and historical fiction and some genre fiction if it’s plausible, such as a dystopian setting in a particular country or science fiction that focuses on one region. This will be a little more analyzed with each book and I’ll determine if they count as I read them. I will also count more than one province, county or state for the countries I’ve broken into parts. For example, Pride & Prejudice takes place in both Hertfordshire and Derbyshire, so I will consider them both as read under England Counties.
I am looking forward to this project! I know it will likely take me forever to do this and I may never finish it, but at least it gets me motivated to branch out more. I’ve always loved experiencing other countries and cultures and consider “wanderlust” as one of the most accurate words to describe me. So much that I actually have a tattoo of it! While I know I can’t go see every place I’d like to in real life, I can experience them through books. I’m pretty excited and will provide updates whenever I’ve read a few and scratched off some areas on the map.
What have you read that is from a country other than your own and do you have any recommendations? Even if a country is marked off, I am totally ok with reading another from the same area because each story is unique and it relieves my travel itch!
Books in the United States