Leslie's Bookcase

celebrating and recommending unforgettable books

Read around the world

I’m participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish; this week’s theme is 10 books set outside of the U.S. 

A benefit of reading, of course, is that we can travel to another place and time without leaving our comfortable chair. These novels all touched me deeply while providing perspective from other parts of the world.

From the bottom of my heart and bookcases (which hold all of these books I’m listing) I fully recommend:

South Africa: Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

A beautiful novel about racial injustice but also hope.


India: Midnight’s Children: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best Novels) by Salman Rushdie

I first read this masterpiece about this history of India with a dose of fantastical in my “modern British lit” class.


England: White Teeth: A Novel by Zadie Smith

Like most readers, I have read many many novels set in England. It was hard to pick one, but this is one I consider a modern classic. It is set in London but is themed around immigration and the multi-acculturation of a modern England.


Germany: Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi

Set during the two world wars, from the perspective of a dwarf. This book has it all and is unforgettable.


Cuba: The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway.

I remember in high school when people used to read this for book reports because it was so short. It’s still my favorite Hemingway novel.


Sweden: The Invoice: A Novel by Jonas Karlsson

This is a new book I just reviewed and loved. It is not set in a “real” Sweden but this list gives me another chance to mention it 🙂


France: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

This goes back to my Hemingway obsession. This is A Moveable Feast from the wife’s point of view.


Columbia? or somewhere on the sea in South America (unnamed): Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I could never put my thoughts about this book into words; it was that complicated for me but it remains unforgettable!


Ireland: Ulysses (Gabler Edition) 1st (first) edition Text Only by James Joyce

And of course I have to include the epic masterpiece of Ireland, which I studied in depth.


Feel free to comment below on your favorite novel set in any of these countries!


  1. The Paris Wife was so good – I almost forgot I was reading historical fiction there!

    Check out my TTT.

  2. This is my first time hearing about many of these books. I want to start reading more books that are set outside of the US, so this helps! 😀 Great Top Ten!
    My Top Ten Tuesday!

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