I came across this tag on Farah’s awesome booktube channel  (A Booktube Book) and thought it would be a good opportunity to share books that I have read from outside the Western world and would be interesting to pick up.

Photo by Himesh Kumar Behera on Unsplash

I came across this tag on Farah’s awesome booktube channel  (A Booktube Book) and thought it would be a good opportunity to share books that I have read from outside the Western world and would be interesting to pick up. In case you are interested in the original challenges are normally posted on the Top 5 Wednesday (T5W) Goodreads page.  It’s definitely worth checking out.

I must preempt this list by saying that my definition of the western world: North America, Western Europe, Scandinavia and Australia.

A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe

Achebe ‘s gift of storytelling is amazing. He has a knack for capturing the African context- the plot was peppered with all sorts of wise sayings like “he took too much for the owner not to notice”….It brought back a lot of good memories since I read in high school especially our attempts at trying to speak pidgin. A great read for an African election year.

How to be Kenyan by Wahome Mutahi

Though this quick read is outdated (written in the 90s),  the satire is on point. It is painfully true and would be a good introduction to Kenyan peculiarities.

China’s  Second Continent by Howard W. French

This one comes recommended from one of my favourite podcasts, China-Africa podcast. French takes a trip across Africa to find out more about the presence of Chinese immigrants in both rural and urban parts. I found it to be a balanced narrative and would be an important starting point.

So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba

My complete gushing review here:

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Lina tries to make sense of her life when she and her family are uprooted from their normal comfortable life and sent to a work camp in Siberia. Separated from her father, Lina, her mother and younger brother are forced to dig up beets just to fend for themselves and to stay alive.  The only thing that keeps her going is her art that helps her document the events. Needless to say, Ruta Sepetys portrays her characters with such incredible inner strength. I seriously believe that Sepetys has a knack for sharing untold stories and she has quickly jumped up the list of my favourite authors of all time.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

This book follows four different characters, young Lithuanian nurse, a  gifted Prussian artist, a pregnant Polish girl and an enthusiastic German recruit towards the end of WWII as they strive to escape the horrors of Europe upon the M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff.  I was surprised to learn the M.S. Wilhelm Gustloff is one of the greatest maritime disasters…yes greater than the Titanic but hardly referenced. I appreciated that this book was well-researched and well-written. The multiple points of view reminded me that everybody faces life situation. I can’t rave enough about this book.

Honorable mentions

  • If you want to learn more about Colonial Kenya and loved Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa: The Flame Trees of Thika by Elspeth Huxley.
  • Short story collection from well-known authors:  Life from Elsewhere  

 

I am curious, do you have any book recommendations set in Eastern Europe, MENA or Latin America?

 

Related Posts:

2 For 1: Ghachar Ghochar and Memoirs of a Muhindi

 

2 thoughts on “Books Set Outside the Western World

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