Reading My Way Around the World

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A well written novel can take you to so many different places geographically.  Here’s a just for fun list of my 5 favourite novels set around the globe:

A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute: My all time favourite novel.  We meet our heroine, Jean Paget, post Second World War when she lives in my bit of West London.  This sweeping tale of love, war, fortitude, bravery and immense courage then takes us across the Malay peninsula and into Australia’s Northern Territory.

Tara Road by Maeve Binchy: This is my favourite of Binchy’s novels, one that I can return to time and time again.  With Dublin as the backdrop, the story follows Ria through marriage, family, betrayal and divorce. Her saving grace comes in the unlikely form of a house swap with an American woman.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith: Francie is the star of this story and we follow her and her family as they experience life in the Williamsburg slums in Brooklyn during the early years of the 20th Century.  I have two copies of this novel, my own and the one Mum purchased from Barnes and Noble in New York City.  The book also makes a cameo appearance in one of the later episodes of the TV mini-series, Band of Brothers.

Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon: This fantasy novel (the first in the series now known generically as Outlander) sees Claire Randall with a husband in one century and a lover in another.  The Highlands of Scotland at the time of the Risings threaten to steal the show from Claire’s romp across history with the delicious Jamie.  The first three books have now been dramatized and can be seen in the UK on Amazon Prime or More4.

King Rat by James Clavell:  The incredible based on fact story of a British prisoner of war in Changi jail, Singapore during World War 2.  “Changi was set like a pearl on the eastern tip of Singapore Island, iridescent under the bowl of tropical skies. It stood on a slight rise and around it was a belt of green, and farther off the green gave way to the blue-green seas and the seas to infinity of horizon.  Closer, Changi lost its beauty and became what it was – an obscene forbidding prison.”   It’s not always an easy read, but my goodness, this heroic story of survival will stay with you.

Where in the world do your favourite books take you?

Melissa has a similar post here.

3 thoughts on “Reading My Way Around the World

  1. That is surely one of the joys of reading – you can go any where, experience any time in history & be with people that you normally wouldn’t get to spend time with. It’s one of the many reasons to read, that & learning 🙂

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  2. Oh, yes, we were thinking along the same lines this week! (Thanks for the shout-out!)

    The only one of these five that I’ve read is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve added the others to my (ahem!) rather long list of books to read. So many books . . . so little time!

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  3. As you know I love and have read A Town Like Alice several times. I also have read the Diana Gabaldon series. I love books set in France and the latest one I read was set in Paris in WW2 – The Betrayal by Kate Furnivall.

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