Quite possibly one of my favourite things about being a reader is getting the chance to travel the world from the comfort of my couch! Over the past few years there have been an influx of books focusing on other cultures, whether its a retelling of a folklore or mythological tale or simply set in a different country. I live for delving into other cultures, learning all about their history, and as much as I love a good fictional world, there is something special about reading a book set in a place you can actually visit. I was lucky enough to knock quit a few countries off my travel list over the past couple of years, but after reading some of these books my list just seems to keep growing.
This weeks Top Ten Tuesday was scheduled to be “most anticipated reads for the rest of the year” but I’ve done this post sooo many times over I thought I should do something different. If you want to read those posts though you can find them here 1, 2.
Top Ten Tuesday is run by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl and you should definitely go give her blog some love.
The Winternight Trilogy – Katherine Arden
I feel like I talk about this trilogy waaaaay too much, but its just that good!! Katherine Arden drags you into Russia and gives you the chance to learn not just about Russian culture, but its folklore too. These books are beautifully written and I’ve wanted to visit Russia ever since finishing them.
Gods of Jade and Thunder – Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Steeped in Mayan mythology I devoured this book in one sitting. Though I had heard of Xibalba from …now dont laugh at me… The Road to El Dorado, I loved being able to learn more about the Mayan underworld. Silvia’s descriptions have you convinced you’re part of Casiopea and Hun Kame’s adventure and I would love to tick some of the places mentioned off my bucket list.
The Rebel in the Sands – Alwyn Hamilton
This is another series I scream about at every chance. This was the first book I read that allowed me the chance to delve into Arabian folklore and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on more.
The Shadow in the Fox – Julie Kagawa
As soon as I read the description for this book I knew I would enjoy it. Steeped in Japanese folklore, I loved getting the chance to learn all about the Kitsune, Oni and all the other types of demon she introduces us too as well as Samurai and Ronin.
The City of Brass- S.A. Chakraborty
I pretty much saw the word Djinn associated with this, and took the chance to delve into one of my favourite mythological worlds. This book opened up the Djinn world for me, I was able to learn about Ifrits and Marids etc.
The Poppy War – R.F. Kuang
I didn’t actually know before reading this, but though loosely based, parts of the book were based on an actual conflict that happened in the Sino-Japanese war. Kuang pulls no punches with this book, and although parts might be hard to read for some I was gripped from the first page. China has always been a country I would love to visit and this certainly didn’t change my mind.
Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi
One of the first books I read set in West Africa and although Adeyemi creates a fictional world, you can see parts of the mythology seeping through. Africa has been on the top of my ‘to travel to’ list for a while now so I jumped at the chance to read this and feel, if only for a little while, that I was there.
The Glass Woman – Caroline Lea
I was lucky enough to travel to Iceland a few years ago and fell in love. It truly is a beautiful county, and as soon as I saw this book was being released I knew I would enjoy it. Though not exactly steeped in folklore, this book shows the hardship of growing up on an isolated island and Lea’s descriptions had be right back in the beautiful but solitary country.
Empire of Sand – Tasha Suri
Set around Medieval India I adored delving into the lush and vibrant world that Suri creates. This is another fictional world, but you can feel the author touching on parts of Indian folklore and mythology.
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
This book broke me in so many ways. However I couldn’t get enough of seeing Afghanistan going through the changes that made it into the country it is today. Not what I would class an enjoyable read, but if you’re looking for something steeped in history, and would like to have an inside eye into Al Qaeda’s rise to power, I would highly recommend.
These are all such awesome books but I’m always looking for recommendations, so hit me up with some of your favourite books set in other countries!