Around the World in 80 Books Reading Challenge

I would love to travel the world and for this stage of my life with young kids, I will have to travel vicariously through my joy of reading. I found this Around the World in 80 Books Reading Challenge at Have Books, Will Travel . For the Around the World in 80 Books Reading Challenge, I have 5 years to read at least 80 books from 80 different countries. Plenty of time to explore new countries and cultures in a fast and convenient way. Thankfully the rules are fluid so I can customize it for my reading patterns. Click on the button below or head to Stacey’s site to join the challenge and see where in the world the other participants are heading to in their reading journey. I hope you will stay tuned to see where my reading journey takes me as when I complete a book review, I will post it on my blog.

My Challenge:

1. I have five years to complete my journey. My start date is December 18, 2012 {but you can join this challenge any time} and my end date will be December 17, 2017. Should be plenty of time to make it around the world in 80 books.

2. I’m choosing my books that take place in a particular country {since one of my primary goals is to learn about other countries} therefore it does not matter to me what country the author is from. If a book takes place in multiple countries then I will count it towards the country that it is mostly set in.

Stacey at Have Books, Will Travel has set herself some other admirable challenge goals including:
In addition to reading a book set in a particular country, she will also do some research on that country and will include some “Fun Facts ” about the country along with each book review.

She will release 80 books “into the wild” via BookCrossing and watch them {hopefully} travel the world.

She will donate 80 books to her local library.

Ok, the challenge is extended and the rules in place…now, where to go? Here’s my preliminary list of ideas of books to read for each country, your suggestions are welcome. When I finish a book, I will link up the review and put it in the completed books section below and highlight it on the map.

Links in this section take you to Goodreads. Book suggestions I have not read yet.

Belgian Congo –The Poisonwood Bible
Bora Bora – The Bungalow
Botswana – The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
Burma – The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
Cambodia, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, India – Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
China – Chinese Lessons: Five Classmates and the Story of the New China
Columbia – Love in the Time of Cholera
Czech Republic – Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Egypt & Spain – The Alchemist
England – The Mysterious Affair At Styles
Ethiopia – Cutting for Stone
France – Anna and the French Kiss
France – Paris in Love
France – The Three Musketeers
France –Scaramouche
France – The Painted Girls: A Novel
France & Hungary – The Invisible Bridge
Greece – Song of Achilles
Italy – Beautiful Ruins
Italy – The Shoemaker’s Wife
Japan –1Q84
Kenya – Chai Tea Sunday
Korea – The Orphan Master’s Son
Luxembourg – The Expats
Noirmoutier Island (France) A Secret Kept
Pakistan – Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time
Russia – Anna Karenina
Saudi Arabia – Finding Nouf
Serbia – The Tiger’s Wife
Spain – The Shadow of the Wind
Spain – Zorro
Sweden – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Syria – The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights
Tibet – The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
Turkey & Croatia – Murder on the Orient Express
UK – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Vietnam – The Lotus Eaters

Here’s a map to keep track of where the books I finished have taken me…

visited 13 states (5.77%)
Create your own visited map of The World

Completed Books and Travels
Links take you to my book review.

1. Dominican Republic and US – The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (finished 12/28/12)
2. Germany – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (finished 1/1/2013)
3. England – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (finished 1/7/13)
4. China – Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
5. Ireland – In the Woods by Tana French
6. France – Sarah’s Key by Tatiana deRosnay (finished 3/24/13)
7. Netherlands – The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
8. Netherlands/Switzerland/Iceland/Qatar/UK – The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the World’s Happiest Places by Eric Weiner
9. England – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
10. UK – Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
11. India – Monsoon Memories by Renita D’Silva
12. Guam/Singapore/Mexico/Ghana – Here We Are and There We Go by Jill Dobbe
13. Russia – The Last Romanov by Norbert Mercado
14. India/UK- Under the Jeweled Sky by Alison McQueen – review and author’s guest post about growing up multiracial
15. China – Lethal Circuit by Lars Guinard
15. Italy – At Least You’re In Tuscany by Jennifer Criswell
16. India – Karma Gone Bad by Jenny Feldon
17. India – First Darling of the Morning by Thrity Umrigar
18. France – Paris, Rue des Martyrs by Adria Cimino


Leave me a comment with your favorite books in different countries. It’s cold here, I am thinking somewhere tropical to start. I hope you will join Stacey, I and others on our journey around the world through books!


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    1. I hope you do Andrea, I always love reading your book reviews. I finished Book Thief set in Nazi Germany just after ringing in 2013 so hopefully I can get that review done soon. I got distracted by the fun My life in books recap I saw on your blog and had to do it too!

    1. Please do Marianna. I am excited about it, as you can see from the extensive number books on my to read list! I hope to make it to many countries I otherwise would not be able to visit. Let me know if you join up or if there are good books you think I should read for this challenge.

    1. Thanks for visiting Pragya. Now that my transfer is complete I will be uploading my list of book ideas that I would like to tackle. Looks like we have some books on our lists in common. I reviewed Strength in What Remains and I see it was on your TBR list also for the challenge. I look forward to seeing what you read for the coming year.

  3. I’m seriously considering joining this one. I love reading about other places. I am challenging myself to read books about attaining strength next year, so I will have to see. Stopping by from SITS.

    1. Thanks Valery, it’s a fun challenge to join. Luckily it’s flexible so you can set your own timeframe. Happy holidays!

  4. Hi Irma, thanks for stopping by. Well the good thing about the flexibility of this challenge is you can set your own time period to complete it. I bet you could post reviews on things you have already read. I am taking suggestions though, let me know if you have some recommendations for me! I hope you link up to the challenge, I look forward to hearing from you again soon. Have a happy, warm and healthy holiday!

  5. Tanya, this sounds like a wonderful idea! I wonder if what I’ve already read qualifies! I like to read about different countries and different genre’s all the time. I look forward to seeing what books you are reading. I’m always on the lookout for something else to read, while the pile next to my bed grows and grows.

    1. Hi Irma, thanks for stopping by. Well the good thing about the flexibility of this challenge is you can set your own time period to complete it. I bet you could post reviews on things you have already read. I am taking suggestions though, let me know if you have some recommendations for me! I hope you link up to the challenge, I look forward to hearing from you again soon. Have a happy, warm and healthy holiday!

    1. Thanks Rebecca, I will add Brick Lane to my list that I am tracking in Goodreads. Bangladesh is one country I don’t have a book idea for yet! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. This one sounds SO interesting. I love how you are also releasing 80 books into the wild as well as donating the same amount to the library. Talk about giving back! Enjoy and good luck!

    1. Stacey (the challenge host from Have Book, Will Travel) is the one donating the 80 books, I was copying her challenge rules into my post. I don’t have 80 books to donate but I wanted to copy her rules in to hopefully inspire others to do the same, just in case they didn’t click into her post. I think it’s very generous!

  7. Wow! That’s an incredible idea. I have difficulty making plans for next week and tonights dinner- let alone 5 years in advance. I’m impressed with your stick-to-it’dness, I can’t tell if I’ll be on a Greek Mythology phase next year or if I’ll still be on an autobiography stint.
    I look forward to seeing your books off about about all over the WORLD!

    1. Thanks Angi, I figured 5 years is long enough of a time to finish 80 books that I might just do it. 🙂 Btw, I am with you on sticking to plans…in fact, you’ll have to see my review of the book Finish What You Start because that’s just my problem is following through with my goals. But it’s supposed to be a challenge, and a challenge it willl be! What have you been reading? Thanks for returning the visit, hope you visit again soon!

  8. I love this challenge – it’s similar to my Olympics reading challenge, so I probably won’t participate. So for recommendations – Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor, set in the Czech Republic has been on of my favorite reads this year, as is Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn. I recently wrote a blog post that has more suggestions -> You Should Read This! 10 Super Awesome Books From 10 Countries {Reading Books From Around the World}

    1. Thanks for the great ideas Tanya. I checked out your blog post and commented. I like both your suggestions and will have to try them out. Someone else recommended Daughter of Smoke & Bone to me too, guess I should give it a shot!

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