A Map of Literature around the World

It is easy to get stuck inside our own reading bubbles, so I was excited to find this map of literature around the world. For the zoomable version of the map, click here.

Literature of the World by Backforward24

The map was created by redditor Backforward24 and use book covers to highlight a single book from every country. Though some of the titles make sense – To Kill a Mockingbird is a pretty good one for the USA – others fit less well. I don’t know that I would have chosen The Dream of the Red Chamber to represent China for example.

Still, a map like this is a great way to begin reading literature from parts of the world that you know less well. I’m mentally adding books from South America and Africa to my reading list as we speak.

If you have other reading suggestions from around the world or if you think the map got it wrong, please share! I certainly wouldn’t say no to learning about more books.

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Image Attribution: Backforward24, Reddit, 12 March 2017.


23 thoughts on “A Map of Literature around the World

  1. It’s a great idea, Kristen. Like you, I think it’s generally been done very well, though I did wince a bit when I saw that ‘Pride and Prejudice’ extended allll the way up into Scotland – surely ‘Treasure Island’ would have been more appropriate…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting. It seems strange to equate one book to a country. For Canada, it is Anne of Green Gables. Yes, we love our Lucy Maud Montgomery and Anne is a classic, but Canada is a land of writers, as are other lands. It’s a moment in time~

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think this is a nice starting point for readers hoping to expand into world literature. All the titles appear to be ones available in English, many of them are very popular and readily available. I was a little disappointed with Alexander McCall Smith being chosen for Botswana though, because his literature is so colonialist.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I definitely got the impression that some of the book choices were…less well thought out than others. Out of curiosity, is there a particular author from Botswana that you would recommend as a starting point? I’d love any suggestions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadly, I have yet to read any #ownvoices novels from Botswana. Most of the African fiction I read is Nigerian because I have a few friends who point me to the good stuff (and it is more readily available in English). For South Africa, the nonfiction memoir Born a Crime did a great job of introducing the country and culture.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It can definitely take more effort to find books from certain places that have been translated in English.

        And thanks for mentioning ‘Born a Crime’; I’ve seen several people talking about it but haven’t gotten around to reading it myself yet. Maybe it’s time to move it up the reading list!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Neat idea! I’ll have to zoom in and poke around a bit.

    Recently, I came across a blog ( devoted to suggesting books from other countries. I just finished reading In the Time of Butterflies, the book suggested by Projected Librarian for the Dominican Republic. Come to think of it, you would probably enjoy Butterflies a lot. It tells the story of four missing women!

    PS- I read When We Go Missing on a road trip from Brazil to Paraguay. I enjoyed it very much! I just left a review on Amazon for you. If I can do anything else to help get the word out, please don’t hesitate to let me know!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thanks for sharing that blog with me! I spent some time reading through it today, and I love the read around the world project.

      And I’m glad that you enjoyed the book! You are very kind. (And your road trip sounds like it was amazing.)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I need this as a poster!!!!! Although, I do agree that some titles seem to be a bit off. For example, I would think Empress Orchid by Anchee Min would be a better fit for China. Most of them seem to be on point, though (and they picked Persepolis for Iran, which is perfect!!!!).

    I have a list of books for each country of the world myself, actually! I recognize some of those titles here, although I’m trying to read books that have been published within the 21st century, whereas this map includes some of the more well-known (but older) titles like Pride and Prejudice. If you’d like a recommendation on any books for South America or Africa, let me know! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your reading around the world project is a great one. And if you are willing to share some titles from South Africa, I’d love to hear them! I know that you’ve done nice write ups on books from Somalia, Ghana, and other countries, but I would certainly appreciate a little more guidance.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d definitely suggest The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu for Zimbabwe over The No. 2 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Alexander McCall Smith may have been born in Zimbabwe, but it would be a stretch to describe him as a “Zimbabwian.” Bonus: The Hairdresser of Harare was only published a couple years ago, in 2015! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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