The List So Far

Below are the books that I’ve read (in the order I read them) and am counting towards my 100 books. There may be some books you’ll read about on my blog that won’t appear in the list – either because I’ve already read an author from that country but couldn’t resist another, or because they aren’t relevant to the 100 countries challenge. This list will be updated as I finish books, so keep checking back and feel free to make suggestions for future reading!

Total count so far: 61 countries


Spring Flowers, Spring Frost, by Ismail Kadare (Albania)

Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka (Austria)

No Saints or Angels, by Ivan Klíma (CzechRepublic)

Journey In Blue, by Stig Dalager (Denmark)

The Czar’s Madman, by Jaan Kross (Estonia)

Les Enfants Terribles, by Jean Cocteau (France)

Reunion, by Fred Uhlman (Germany)

Les Liaisons Culinaires, by Andreas Staïkos (Greece)

In Lucia’s Eyes, by Arthur Japin (Holland)

Embers, by Sándor Márai (Hungary)

The Fish Can Sing, by Halldór Laxness (Iceland)

If This Is A Man & The Truce, by Primo Levi (Italy)

Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson (Norway)

Yosl Rakover Talks To God, by Zvi Kolitz (Poland)

The Land of Green Plums, by Herta Muller (Romania)

The Fatal Eggs, by Mikhail Bulgakov (Russia)

The Three Cornered Hat, by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón (Spain)

The Bastard of Istanbul, by Elif Shafak (Turkey)

The Red Queen, by Margaret Drabble (UK)


The Book of Chameleons, by Jose Eduardo Agualusa (Angola)

As The Crow Flies, by Véronique Tadjo (Côte d’Ivoire)

Woman At Point Zero, by Nadal El Saadawi (Egypt)

The God Who Begat A Jackal, by Nega Mezlekia (Ethiopia)

The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, by Ayi Kwei Armah (Ghana)

Mugasha: Epic of the Bahaya, by Nyambura Mpesha (Kenya)

This Blinding Absence of Light, by Tahar Ben Jelloun (Morocco)

Sleepwalking Land, by Mia Couto (Mozambique)

Home And Exile, by Chinua Achebe (Nigeria)

A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali, by Gil Courtemanche (Rwanda)

So Long A Letter, by Mariama Ba AND Scarlet Song, by Mariama Ba (Senegal)

Ancestor Stones, by Aminatta Forna (Sierra Leone)

Thirteen Cents, by K. Sello Duiker (South Africa)

Desertion, by Abdulrazak Gurnah (Tanzania)

Nehanda, by Yvonne Vera (Zimbabwe)

Middle East & India

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan)

The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy (India)

My Father’s Notebook, by Kader Abdolah (Iran)

If You Awaken Love, by Emuna Elon (Israel)

Ports of Call, by Amin Maalouf (Lebanon)

Salt and Saffron, by Kamila Shamsie (Pakistan)

Girls of Riyadh, by Rajaa Alsanea (Saudi Arabia)


Ali and Nino, by Kurban Said (Azerbaijan)

From the Land of Green Ghosts, by Pascal Khoo Thwe (Burma)

Waiting, by Ha Jin AND A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, by Yiyun Li (China)

Shipwrecks, by Akira Yoshimura (Japan)

In Search of Kazakhstan, by Christopher Robbins (Kazakhstan)

Jamilia, by Chingiz Aitmatov (Kyrghyzstan)

The Aquariums of Pyongyang, by Kang Chol-Hwan (North Korea)

Please Look After Mother, by Kyung-Sook Shin (South Korea)

Red Poppies, by Alai (Tibet)

The Sorrow of War, by Bao Ninh (Vietnam)

North & Central America

Pedro Páramo, by Juan Rulfo (Mexico)

The Lights on the Hill, by Garth St Omer (St Lucia)

The Lonely Londoners, by Sam Selvon (Trinidad)

South America

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho (Brazil)

The Obscene Bird of Night, by Jose Donoso AND Memoirs, by Pablo Neruda (Chile)

Memories of My Melancholy Whores, by Gabriel Garcia Márquez (Colombia)

Dirty Havana, by Pedro Juan Gutierrez (Cuba)

The Old Man Who Read Love Stories, by Luis Sepulveda (Ecuador)

Death In The Andes, by Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru)

The Lady, The Chef and The Courtesan, by Marisol (Venezuela)


22 responses to “The List So Far

  1. Wow, what a great idea! Can I make a recommendation for Australia? Cloudstreet, by Tim Winton. It’s just beautiful.

  2. Voula

    Hi. I like your spot and good luck with your list. I read two great (world) books this year Vesna Goldsworthy’s “Chernobyl Strawberries” (Serbia) and Chinua Achebe’s “Things fall apart” (Nigeria).

    Ah! and a question. How many countries in the world??

  3. Meli, thanks for the Australia recommendation – I just made a new page for books I’d like to read and recommended books, so I’ll add that on there.

    Voula, yours is a much debated question, and there is no definite answer. But somewhere between 189 and 194 is the general agreement. Boundaries blur between places like the Vatican City, which is a state on its own and independent, but is it a country? And can Taiwan be considered a separate country from China? Impossible to say really! But the important thing is, there is plenty of room for me to pick 100 countries to read books from!

  4. Hi, I really like your blog! Good luck with getting to 100.
    Interesting choice of Paulo Coelho for your book from Brazil. It sounds like you really like his writing as in your post you mention that you had already read The Alchemist. But if you decide to look into reading anything else from Brazil, I can highly recommend writers such as Jorge Amado, Chico Buarque and Patricia Melo all of whom have books available in English translation, and will give you much more of a ‘Brazilian’ theme/setting than Paulo Coelho.
    I am also curious to know – is there any reason why you don’t list the names of the translators of each book on the list?
    Hope you enjoyed your trip to China!

  5. Max

    Hey Spectacled Bear; the reason I read Coelho was because the book was on my shelf and it was relatively short, and I had not read anything from Brazil…I also have Amado’s Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, but was feeling a distinct lack of time! Lazy of me, I know, but I fully intend reading it some time in the future.

    In response to your question, the only reason I have not been listing translators is because it never occurred to me to do so, but I shall start naming translators in future. Good point, thanks!

  6. “My Brilliant Career” by Miles Franklin is a good choice for Australia, too. Not everyone realizes that it’s a work of fiction. “The Legacy,” by Nevil Shute — “A Town Like Alice” was based on this work, and some books now carry this title. And “Voss” by Patrick White. Lots of good choices. If you fancy D.H. Lawrence, he wrote a book about Australia — “Kangaroo.” Lots of good choices. And that’s just fiction — get into nonfiction, and the landscape opens up further.

  7. It might help you out if you broke the UK into its separate countries. Check out these sites: for Scotland, for Wales and for Northern Ireland.

    Margaret Drabble was, of course, born in Sheffield so you have England covered.

  8. LK

    Amazing list. I will find some great choices in here, I am guessing…

  9. Great boys15e4ff44d768bdef17bf4b69211e6810

  10. Hey! I don’t know if you still update this thing or not, but I still find it awesome!
    Anyway, it is so cool you have García Márquez up there, but is such a shame you read that last book… it is not his best work. Can I recommend Chronicle of an Announced Death? It is great, and light 😉

  11. Vimal

    This is a nice idea, but I personally am not happy with the kind of books selected/mentioned.
    books are prophets of the country they represent and when you choose a book from a country it should reflect that country’s soul.

  12. TP

    Hi! I realize you already have read Arundhati Roy for India, but if you have place for one more, you should definitely try ‘Shantaram’ by Gregory David Roberts. The book has managed to do the erstwhile impossible – put the country into words. And oh, don’t let the size of the book scare you 😉

  13. May we suggest a book for Iraq? Tova Murad Sadka’s Farewell to Dejla: Stories of Iraqi Jews at Home and in Exile will be available soon. A press release is included below. If you are interested, we can send you a galley copy.

    Farewell to Dejla: Stories of Iraqi Jews at Home and in Exile
    by Tova Murad Sadka

    In her collection of stories about the diaspora of Iraqi Jews, Tova Murad Sadka explores the migration of a people that has previously received very little publicity. The stories capture the experiences of a people escaping oppression, only to be confronted with the difficult realities of new nations and customs. In this work, Sadka’s stories span Iraq, Israel, and the United States.
    The short stories and novella included in Farewell to Dejla: Stories of Iraqi Jews at Home and in Exile (Academy Chicago Publishers, 978-0-89733-581-2, 250pp, Paperback, $16.95) portray characters struggling with drastic social changes: a man about to wed tries in vain to balance family tradition with the lavishness of American life; a frail, dying woman prolongs death just long enough to triumphantly take part in the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Iraqi immigration to Israel.
    Each finely crafted story serves as an elegant exposition of not only the absurdity of cultural idiosyncrasies, but also the inspiring universal themes of human resilience that transcend differences in gender, nationality, and religion.
    Murad takes experiences from her own life and knowledge of the facts of the destruction of the world’s oldest Jewish community. It is estimated that there were 150,000 Jews in Iraq in 1948; Israel has absorbed some 132,000. At the moment, there are about eight Jews remaining in Iraq, half over eighty years old. Murad herself grew up in Baghdad and immigrated to Israel in 1951 and then to the United States in 1967. Presently, Murad lives in Long Island, New York.

    Contact: Jordan Miller or Jacob Schroeder
    363 West Erie Street, 7th Floor East, Chicago, IL, 60610
    Phone: 312-751-7300, Fax: 312-751-7306, @

  14. Polly

    I’m trying to find a work of fiction for a country for each letter of the alphabet, e.g. A= Afghanistan Kite Runner B = Botswana, No 1 Ladies Detective Agency etc. (except X because there isn’t one)
    I’ve found some really good recommendations on your list, especially for difficult letters (even though we’re working on slightly different parameters – mine are mostly not authors from the country they’re writing about). Here are a couple in return – Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi for Iran, anything by Boris Akunin for Russia e.g. the Winter Queen, Pelagia and the White Bulldog and The Iliad for Turkey. If you do split up the UK, I can also recommend the 44 Scotland Street books by Alexander McCall Smith for Scotland.

  15. Well gosh — if a publisher can recommend its own book (Academy Chicago above), then can an author recommend her own book? If so, I’d certainly recommend adding Waltzing Australia to your list. Reviewers have been kind — comparing me to Annie Dillard and Bill Bryson. It’s a journal of my six-month, 20,000-mile around-and-across Australia wander, back when I bailed out of the corporate world in order to become a writer.

  16. Erwin

    Belgium is one of the few European countries missing on your list. Two suggestions:

    – The sorrow of Belgium by Hugo Claus (about postwar Belgium)
    – Cheese by Willem Elsschot (about economy)

  17. Karl

    Hey, can I recommend Noli Me Tangere by the Philippines’ (the country where I was born & I’m currently live in) national hero, Jose Rizal on your list?

  18. Nicole

    I’m glad you read one of the best Dutch books from the Netherlands out there for your entry for the Netherlands (Holland). Arthur Japin is a great author.
    Another Dutch one you might like, is “the discovery of heaven” by Harry Mulisch. A truly fantastic book, although a lot of pages… 🙂
    I do enjoy your site and I really recommend you for your original initiative!

  19. I started a similar challenge recently. I would like to read one book per country for all countries in the world. I think it will take more than a year. I am happy to find your list. I will keep it because it will save me time researching books! Many thanks…. 🙂

  20. I’m working on a book-from-every-country project myself. Are you still going with your 100 books project? I hope so!

    • Max

      Hi Biblioglobal, I am continuing with this – although I stopped blogging, I never stopped reading fiction from around the world! I’ve just started logging my reads on Goodreads, and will be blogging reviews etc again shortly. I’ll check out your blog; are you on Goodreads?

      • Glad to hear you’re still reading. I can definitely understand giving up on reviews for a while. I am on Goodreads (also as Biblioglobal) though I mostly just use it to keep a list of books and save my commentary for my blog.

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