Last year, I resonated with Okidokiboki’s 2018 Read Harder challenge update. She was disappointed with BookRiot’s recommendations for the BRICS challenge which got me thinking about what picks would have been. BRICS is the acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. These countries are pegged as the fast-growing developing countries and wield significant influence on regional (and global). Hence, they are part of the G20. This Wikipedia article should give a quick overview of the bloc.

I browsed both my physical and Goodreads bookshelves to see interesting titles that I have read and those on my TBR. Here are a couple of picks:

Brazil

To be honest, it was a bit of a struggle to find Brazilian authors other than the infamous Paulo Coelho. I read The Alchemist and it was not one of my best reading experiences.

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The Air You Breathe examines female friendships that include envy and jealousy and takes readers from the sugar plantations to Los Angeles during the Golden age. I can’t wait to read this 2018 release

Russia

In most cases, when Russian literature comes up, chances are that top titles that will come to mind will be Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina or War and Peace and if you stretch it, probably Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. None of which I have read by the way. But I am sure that you would all like a book that you would have a higher probability of finishing in this lifetime.

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My pick would be One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I put it on my ” paused for now” shelf because it was due at the library and I was not in the correct frame of mind to read it. But I have to admit that it liked the witty tone of the book. So I would like to pick it up again soon.

India

Ghachar Ghochar was an internet darling in 2017 which I reviewed thanks to the complimentary ARC I received from NetGalley and I loved it.

I have bumped up Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers on my to-buy and TBR list. This popular non-fiction pick that highlights the inequalities present in modern-day Mumbai which I am very interested in.  Then there’s Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake that has been on my unread shelf for at least a year. I hope that eventually in 2019, I will get round to it.

China

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

I read Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang after it was recommended by one of my lecturers in world civilizations undergrad class. I really enjoyed this inter-generational story but I have to admit that this tome will definitely require some investment. I have to admit that I was pretty disappointed when I discovered that Jung Chang was at the Story Moja festival a few years back but I did not attend!

China's Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa

China’s Second Continent by Howard W. French does a beautiful job of highlighting how the Chinese have created their new lives in Africa. Seasoned journalist, Howard French takes a road trip across West and Southern Africa interviewing local and Chinese immigrants. I loved that he tried to balance the narratives about the Chinese taking over the continent. While it is true that China and Chinese culture has effused to our everyday life thanks to their tough business acumen but there are some people come to Africa because they like the way of life in Africa,

South Africa

I am sure that a lot of you may be aware of Trevor Noah’s highly acclaimed memoir, Born a Crime However, some classics set in the apartheid era include Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton and Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela would also be a good place to start.  I had to Paton’s book for one of my undergrad classes but honestly, I don’t feel like I really appreciated it. So I would love to revisit it in the near future.

Cry, the Beloved Country

I hope that these titles get you started. Let me know, which books from BRICS would you highly recommend?

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Last Updated: March 21, 2019

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