Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books Set Outside the US

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by  The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, bloggers get a topic which entails giving a list of ten things based on the topic.

This week’s instructions were as follows: July 19: Ten Books Set Outside The US (I don’t know about you but sooo much of what I read is set in the US and I love finding new recs of stuff set outside of it!)

Books that I have reviewed

Click on the book title to read my review

Paris (France) – Anne and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. The settings was one the best aspects on this book. Perkins did a fantastic job with portraying Paris through Anna’s eyes which was great because she was experiencing Paris for the first time. Paris is one of my dream destinations.

Barcelona (Spain) – The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon- Beautiful setting with some wonderful history along the way

Nazi GermanyThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak- This was the first book that I read set in this location and time period. Heartbreaking but beautiful story. This remains one of my favorite books of all time

Burma, TasmaniaThe Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flannagan and Ireland– Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt- Two of the saddest books that I have ever read set in unique locations.

Kabul(Afghanistan) The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns and the Mountain Echoed– Khaled Hosseini- Khaled gives a wonderful perspective of life in Afghanistan especially pre-war. The rich culture and traditions come alive in the pages of his books.

Kyoto (Japan)Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden- Another wonderful setting rich with culture. The book gives perspective of the life of Geisha’s the tea parties (sake), the intricate dressings (kimonos) and other cultural aspects of the Japanese. The cinematography is breathtaking.


“Africa is mystic; it is wild; it is a sweltering inferno; it is a photographer’s paradise, a hunter’s Valhalla, an escapist’s Utopia. It is what you will, and it withstands all interpretations. It is the last vestige of a dead world or the cradle of a shiny new one. To a lot of people, as to myself, it is just ‘home.”
Beryl Markham, West with the Night

Nigeria– It’s a well known fact that Nigeria is the home of African Literature. Some of my favorite Nigerian authors include Chinua Achebe and Chimamnda Ngozie. The last book that I read set in Nigeria is The Fishermen by Obioma Chigozie.Another book set in Nigeria that I have reviewed this year is The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin.

Kenya- All books by Ngugi Wa Thiongo– Ngugi’s books are full of history and culture that helps readers understands Kenya especially in the pre-colonial and colonial era. Ngugi writes about the Agikuyu(my ethnic tribe) which makes his books more endearing to me.

Sierra Leone A Long Way Gone: The Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Baeh- This was the first book that I ever read concerning child soldiers. Heartbreaking but beautifully narrated by Baeh.

South AfricaCry, the Beloved Country by Alan Palton- A wonderful classic that reminds me that I need to read more books set in South Africa.

Which are some of your favorite books set outside the US? Have you read any of the books on my list? If you participated in today’s Top Ten Tuesday, share the link to your post and I will visit you.





58 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books Set Outside the US

    1. Oh wow, Barcelona does sound like quite an enchanting place.Lucky you to call that home:-) I hope to visit someday and yes, that is one awesome book 🙂

  1. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I didn’t think of the Shadow of the Wind! It’s such a good book and is also set in a place I haven’t read anything else set in. *mentally slaps herself* xD I’ve also only read the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, though I’ve had my eye on his other works.

    Great post! 🙂

    ~ Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks

    1. You should read Khaled’s other books if you get a chance, his writing is quite remarkable. I suggest starting with A Thousand Splendid Suns. I hope you will enjoy his other books though.And I agree with you concerning Shadow of the Wind,no mental slaps though 🙂

  2. I really enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind and can’t believe I forgot about it for my TTT this week! I’m definitely gonna check out the books you mentioned that are set in various countries in Africa – I want to read more books set in Africa.
    My TTT.

    1. Hey Elena,I hope you will find some good African Literature.I would suggest that you try out any works by Chimamanda Ngozie.She’s an amazing author.Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Great list! I haven’t encountered most of your books set in Africa. I’ll have to look Ngugi Wa Thiongo up. 🙂

    1. Thanks.Ngugi is pretty good.He has been nominated for the lit category-nobel prize a couple of times.I hope you enjoy his books if you get to read them.Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    1. Yay!!!nice to meet you Julianne and I’m your new follower too.What’s the second language on your blog apart from English?

  4. Everyone seems to have Anna and the French Kiss on their lists! No wonder though it’s ADORABLE ❤ I personally prefer Isla but same difference 😛 I haven’t read And the Mountain Echoed but I enjoyed The Kite Runner quite well!

      1. Ohhh you should! The books are so sweet and adorable and fluffy it would make you smile 😛 the second book, Lola and the Boy Next Door is set in San Francisco, where Anna and Etienne went for college and Isla and the Happily Ever After sets in France but occasionally also in Manhattan and Barcelona. My favorite is Isla and Josh they’re the best! Happy reading ❤

    1. Thanks Amy for returning the visit 🙂 It seems like Anna and the French Kiss made it to a number of lists today but its such a cute story.

    1. Agreed.I am definitely going to expand my SA reading list.I loved your post on reading around the world.Will look for the books that you recommended

  5. Yes to many of these! Anna and the French Kiss rekindled my desire to travel to France (still haven’t been though), and Khaled Hosseini gave me a new view of Afghan culture. I haven’t read any of the books you mentioned set in Nigeria and Kenya, but I’ll be checking them out for sure.

    1. Thanks and I hope you will enjoy the books if you get them.Paris is definitely one of my dream destinations.Cheers to visiting someday ❤

  6. Great great list – I have so much respect for Khaled Hosseini and Ishmael Beah – absolutely heartbreaking works. I will have to look up Ngugi Wa Thiongo.

    1. I agree about Khaled and Baeh.I cried through all those books but I would read anything else the authors ever publish.I hope you will enjoy Ngugi’s work if you get his books.

    1. Yesss,give it a try.Wonderful book set on a wonderful location.I hope that you will enjoy it if you get to read it though 🙂

    1. Yay!Always nice to meet readers who liked The Book Thief as much as I did. It is such a wonderful book. Thanks for stopping by. Heading over to your list now.

  7. I knew you would have a great list this week!! I haven’t read any of these books, but I’ve been curious about a few (like the Kite Runner). I just worry at the huge emotional impact….I’m kind of a chicken.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Its true, Khaled’s books are usually so sad but really well written with beautiful stories that will stay with you so the tears will be worth it:-) I hope you get to read Kite Runner someday.

  8. I thought a Thousand Splendid Suns was an amazing list. I’ve read a few of your choices this week – also loved The Geisha. I will definitely take a look at the other book by Khaled.
    Lynn 😀

    1. I am glad you liked A Thousand Splendid Suns and I hope you will enjoy his other books if you get to read them especially The Kite Runner. Thanks for stopping by. Happy reading 🙂

  9. What a wonderfully thought out list. 🙂 I love reading books set outside the U.S! I’ve learnt a lot about other countries through books.

    1. I agree. Books always open us up to diverse cultural experiences. I have also learned a lot about other cultures through books. Thanks for stopping by. Happy reading 🙂

  10. You have an amazing list with SUCH GOOD selections on it. I am glad to see you chose selections where the culture of the country is evident. I tired to do the same thing. Love Memoirs of a Geisha and A Long Way Gone.
    My TTT

  11. I enjoyed a lot of these: The Book Thief and Memoirs of a Geisha, specifically. Some other books from slightly more obscure countries to check out: They Poured Fire On Us From The Sky (Sudan), The Sex Lives of Cannibals (Vanuatu), and A Dictionary of Maqiao (Tibet/China). Don’t forgot to come over to my blog and say hey 🙂

    1. Oh wow, thanks Jacob. I have never read anything set in Sudan, Vanuatu or Tibet. I will check if our library has the titles. I appreciate the recommendations. See you on your blog soon 🙂

    1. I promise, they really are wonderful books and I hope that you will enjoy them if you get a chance to read them. Thanks for stopping by. Happy reading 🙂

    1. hehe sorry about that. It was a wonderful book and I am sure that you agree the setting was pretty good too. Thanks for stopping by. Happy reading 🙂

  12. Love that you included many African books on your list. I read Cry the Beloved Country in high school, back when apartheid was still the law of the land in South Africa, and I read Things Fall Apart in college as part of an African history course. I was also somewhat obsessed with Isak Dinesen/Karen Blixen for awhile there. But I haven’t read hardly any current African lit that I can think of, so thanks for the suggestions!

    1. I really need to read Karen Blixen’s books. I watched Out of Africa and it was a great movie but never gotten around to reading the book. I will definitely try and get her books now. I read Things Fall Apart in school too, Chinua Achebe was a really remarkable writer.Thanks for the comment and visit Wendy. Happy reading 🙂

  13. It’s pretty much a “rule” to include ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ in this week’s topic methinks. 😉 Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland.

    1. Thanks for visiting too and yes, I can’t even count how many posts had Anna and the French Kiss. Popular book, though I get why. Have a lovely weekend. Happy reading 🙂

  14. The Shadow of the Wind is a beautiful book! And I love Memoirs of the Geisha! There are so many on your list that I still need to read, and want to 🙂

    1. Glad to hear that you also enjoyed the two books. They are so wonderful. I hope you will enjoy any other book from this list that you get to read. Thanks for stopping by. Have a lovely weekend.

  15. What a wonderful list! Anna and the French Kiss, The Shadow of the Wind & The Book Thief are ones we have in common , but I’d also love to read others – especially the ones set in Africa, because that’s such a rare setting.

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