Weekly Geeks – Where in the World…

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This week’s Weekly Geek task is to talk about travelling via books. I thought it would be interesting to compare where I have actually travelled, with my virtual travel through reading and see if there is a correlation.

So here are the countries I have visited:

and here are all the countries I’ve read about in the last year:

create your own visited country map

There are some similarities, but I was struck by the differences. I have never been to India, but I have read 5 Indian books this year. Japan and China are also favourite book settings for me, although for some reason I haven’t read any Chinese books in the past year – I do have one coming up soon though.

My main reading deficiency is in South America. The only book I read from this continent in the last year, and possibly the only one in my whole life, was The Bride From Odessa by Edgardo Cozarinsky. I am going to try to seek out some more South American books in the future.

Can anyone recommend any South American books?

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  1. Try some Gabriel Garvia Marquez. I just finished News of a Kidnapping, which is about Pablo Escobar and his hostages in the days prior to his arrest. It was amazing. Of course, you’ve got Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude as well.

    1. Jackie says:

      Yes, I’ve thought about that, but for some reason I find them quite intimidating. I’ll try one soon and see if I just have the wrong impression.

  2. Christina says:

    I find it interesting that you’ve been to China, but haven’t read any Chinese books.

    South America is a weakness for me, too. I’ve read 53 books taking place in England over the past two years, but can’t seem to find anything to read taking place in the Middle East, South America, or Southeastern Asia.

    1. Jackie says:

      I have read lots of Chinese books, but not in the last year. I have only seen one interesting Chinese book released this year – Brothers by Yu Hua. I’ve got it here ready to read. I don’t see many other people reading Chinese books though, so I sometimes miss them.

      I am missing much of South East Asia too. I did read The Kings last Song, set in Cambodia a few years ago, but since then nothing. Now I’m aware that I’m missing these countries I might seek out a book set in Indonesia.

  3. Isabelle Allende is one of the best SA writers around. The House of the Spirits, Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, Zorro. She’s Chilean. Wonderful stuff.

    1. Jackie says:

      I’ve heard of her, but never tried any of her books. I think I’ll try to find one though – thanks for the recommendation!

  4. Claire says:

    Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a must! If the more famous ones intimidate you then try his shorter fiction or even the short stories. I cannot recommend Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Memoirs of my Melancholy Whores, Of Love and Other Demons and the short story/novella “The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Eréndira and her Heartless Grandmother” highly enough.

    Isabel Allende is a good access point.

    I enjoyed The Book of Chameleons by Jose Eduardo Agualusa.

    I’ve heard good things about Sandra Cisneros and Julio Cortazar although I have read neither as yet.

    1. Jackie says:

      I nearly bought the Book of Chameleons a while ago. I think I’ll get a copy soon, and I will try a Gabriel Garcia Marquez at some point too.

  5. Mel says:

    Another idea might be El Señor Presidente (The President) is 1946 novel written in Spanish by Nobel Prize–winning Guatemalan writer and diplomat Miguel Ángel Asturias-available in translation. For Chile, if you do not want to start with either 2666 or Savage Detectives, Nazi Literature in the Americas is a great really funny book.

    1. Jackie says:

      The President sounds like an interesting book – I’ve added it to my wish list. I’m half way through 2666 at the moment, but Nazi Literature in The Americas also sounds good. Thank you for commenting on my blog for the first time!

  6. Sandy says:

    I was sitting here saying to myself that I didn’t know of any South American novelists, but I HAVE read Isabelle Allende. Sum of our Days, a memoir of the author since the death of her adult daughter, is fabulous. I listened to it on audio. I think she is from Ecuador?

    1. Jackie says:

      I’ll have to try to find an Isabelle Allende book – I think I might have one in my garage actually – time for a bit of rummaging!

  7. pussreboots says:

    I have South American books on my post. Check it out.

    1. Jackie says:

      That is a really good post – so many ideas!

  8. bellezza says:

    I can recommend The Queen of The South by Reverte found on Amazon here. (Boy, I hope that link works! If not, the title is still correct. ;) It was a wonderful read about drug trafficking, of all things, in Mexico, Spain and Morrocco. I still remember the drama and excitement on every page.

    1. Jackie says:

      Thanks for the link! Mexico is one of the countries I’m missing, so that fills a gap nicely!

  9. iliana says:

    I need to do this Weekly Geeks – such a neat way of seeing where my reading is taking me to.

    And, I’ll jump in with everyone else and say Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende. Both are just wonderful.

    1. Jackie says:

      It is nice to see it so easily. I didn’t realise how much I concentrate on certain countries. Time for a change!

  10. bellezza says:

    Um, I realize that’s not exactly South America. But, the tip of Africa is closer than somewhere in the North, right? :)

    1. Jackie says:

      3 countries in one – perfect!

  11. Care says:

    cool! The southern hem comparisons are almost dark images of each other. This WG is a great starting point for me to kick off my book shopping to complete the World Citizen challenge.

    1. Jackie says:

      You’re right – weird isn’t it?

  12. wendy says:

    I’m short on books in South America as well (I’ve only read one from Brazil and one from Peru). I’ve started a “wishlist” by country in South America which you can find here. Maybe one will catch your eye!

  13. Jackie says:

    You’re doing better than me! I can feel a rush of South American books coming on!

  14. Violet says:

    I have a few books based in South America in my TBR pile but I cannot recommend any to you before reading. There are some great suggestions in your comment section though.

  15. I need to visit Central America and more of Africa!
    Weekly Geeks

  16. Kristen says:

    I’m searching for South America and China too – your post and comments gave me some ideas

  17. Kerrie says:

    You’ve done well Jackie. If you are looking for an Australian book to enjoy look for DIAMOND DOVE (aka MOONLIGHT DOWNS) by Adrian Hyland, or THE BROKEN SHORE by Peter temple, or SHATTER by Michael Robotham

  18. Jason Gignac says:

    I’m going to read Che Guevara’s ‘Motorcycle Diaries’, hopefully later this year, they take place in large part in South America… but I don’t know if that’s a ‘fun read’ or not. :) .

  19. Jason Gignac says:

    Oh! And, Jorge Luis Borges is supposed to be a beautiful poet.

  20. sususan says:

    II I have a few books by Isabelle Allende but haven’t read her.

  21. Dreamybee says:

    I can’t recommend any S. America books/authors either, so instead I’ve been recommending the blog Walking the Amazon which is a journal of one man’s attempt to walk the length of the Amazon. His travels through different terrain and countries and his encounters with different tribes of people might be inspiring for future reading about a particular area. The blog is here if you’re interested.



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