I love this week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesdays! As a South African, I’m acutely aware of the importance of reading local and international books, but our market is mostly saturated by books from the USA and the UK (I love you guys, but representation matters!)
I have two prior lists with more or less the same topic (links provided at the end), so I will mention different books here. And also, I’m not selecting any South African books because I have a whole list of them here!
1. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine (YA, sci-fi)
Setting: Egypt (mostly)
A book set in an alternate reality where the Great Library was never destroyed. I felt the book had some problems with character development, but I did enjoy it – especially the setting, and the fact that it was ABOUT BOOKS!!!
2. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (saga, historical fiction)
Setting: Ethiopia (mostly)
Touted as a must-read for medics, I enjoyed this epic saga. The author mentioned in an interview that Ethiopia was as much a character in the book as any other person, and I completely agree.
3. Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa (historical fiction, politics, war)
Setting: Palestine/Israel (mostly)
Easily one of the best books I’ve read this year; a wonderful book about friendship, perseverance, war, belonging, and land.
4. Kalyana by Rajni Mala Khelawan (historical fiction, abuse)
Setting: Fiji (mostly)
Themes of belonging, disenfranchisement, abuse (CW), and family.
5. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (historical fiction, WWII)
Setting: East Prussia (then)
WWII books seem to be saturating the market, but I enjoyed this for its different setting and also the different plot, namely of inhabitants of East Prussia fleeing towards the many ships that hope to carry them to safety.
6. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (historical fiction, disability, WWII)
The best thing about this novel for me was the young blind protagonist and her adventures.
7. The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell (YA, contemporary)
This YA book deals with a pretty heavy issue, as the main character struggles with his newly diagnosed ALS.
8. The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson (contemporary, coming-of-age)
I knew close to nothing of Barbados so this was a great experience.
9. As Red As Blood by Sala Simmuka (YA, sleuth)
I felt like the forests and landscape really contributed to the thrill of this book.
10. Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat (short stories, feminist lit)
Reading this made me research Haiti because I clearly understood so little about its history. Danticat has a knack for relatable writing, even though her experiences are so different to mine. She finds common ground in our humanity, but illuminates her culture and history with wit and candour.
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For more international books, try these lists: