Hey readers, we want to challenge you to read a book from every continent around the world! We are always encouraging people to read widely, and this is a great way to start! What better way to know the world than through books from different continents!
Are you up for it? Here are some recommendations!
Book: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
of a Yellow Sun is a thought-provoking novel set in 1960s Nigeria, during the Biafran War. It’s a remarkable story that illustrates the devastation of post-colonialism, issues of class and race, and the complications of human relationships.
The story centres on a few characters – Ugwu, a houseboy employed by a university professor; Olanna, the professor’s beautiful mistress; and Richard, a shy young Englishman captivated by Olanna’s sister. As the Nigerian troops advance, the lives of these characters drastically change as their ideals and loyalties are
Continent: North America
Book: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
House on Mango Street is a book that is taught in many schools across America and has been translated all over the world. It is an intimate, coming-of-age novel that covers a year in the life of Esperanza, a Chicana (Mexican-American girl) growing up in Chicago.
During that year, she moves with her family into a house in Mango Street, which is a neighbourhood she is determined to escape from. The story, written in a series of vignettes, charts Esperanza’s experiences, observations of her family and the people in her neighbourhood, and her physical and emotional
Continent: South America
Book: The Time of the Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa
Time of the Hero is by Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, who won the Nobel Prize in 2010. The book is based, in part, on the author’s own experience as a teenager in a military academy in Lima, Peru.
It is written in multiple voices from the community of cadets, who went through sadistic ragging, military discipline, confinement and boredom. The novel portrays the academy as violent and corrupt – it was so controversial that the authorities publicly
burned a thousand copies!
Book: Brothers by Yu Hua
follows the story of Baldy Li, a ne’er-do-well, and Song Gang, his bookish, sensitive stepbrother. They are very poor and are orphaned as teenagers. Despite the hardships they face, they vow to never forsake each other. However, they struggle to maintain this bond over the years as they weather the ups and downs of rivalry in love, and making and losing millions in the newly capitalist China.
This book shows how the madness of the cultural revolution has transformed into the madness of extreme materialism.
Book: Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye
book won the Prix Goncourt in 2009. It tells the story of three
women: Norah, Fanta and Khady, who are West African immigrants in France.
Norah’s story is built around the departure of her father, who takes with him his son, but abandons his wife and daughters. Years after, Norah is summoned to go to Dakar by her father to help her brother.
Fanta leaves a modest but contented life as a teacher in Dakar to follow her boyfriend back to France, where his delusional depression and sense of failure poison everything.
Khady is a penniless widow abandoned by her husband’s family. The only person she knows who might help her is a distant cousin (Fanta) who lives in France. She begins her journey out of desperation.
Salt by Maurice Gee
is a fantasy adventure novel that was awarded
the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Award: Senior Fiction in 2008.
Hari, who has a secret gift of communicating with animals, goes on a rescue mission to save his father who has been captured and enslaved to work in ‘Deep Salt’.
Pearl, born into the privileged world of the ruling class, flees for her life when she is arranged to marry a powerful and ambitious man. When their paths cross, Hari and Pearl realise that together, they must discover the secrets of Deep
Book: The Worst Journey in the World: Antarctica by Apsley Cherry-Garrard
Published in 1922, this memoir of the 1910-1913 British Antarctic Expedition is recounted by the youngest member of the expedition, Apsley Cherry-Garrad, who was one of the three men to have survived the notorious Winter Journey. The team, which is led by Robert Falcon Scott, braved near-death conditions in complete darkness and temperatures that went below -40 Celsius to collect some Emperor penguin eggs for scientific research. Cherry-Garrad draws on his own experiences as well as the diaries of his compatriots to create a detailed account of this legendary expedition. Borrow it here.
there you have it – 7 books, 7 continents. We hope you’re inspired to take up the challenge yourself!