This week's Weekly Geeks asks you to tell us about your globe trotting via books. Are you a global reader? How many countries have you "visited" in your reading? What are your favorite places or cultures to read about? Can you recommend particularly good books about certain regions, countries or continents? How do you find out about books from other countries? What countries would you like to read that you haven't yet?I decided to interpret visiting to mean any book about or set in a particular country; but I ignored the nationality of the writer. If that country’s not there on the pages of the book, it doesn’t count. After combing through my bookshelves and reading records, I came up with this:
Use your own criteria about what you consider to be "visiting" - whether a book is written about the country or by a native or resident of the country.
Looks impressive, doesn’t it? But ... some of those books are historical novels, or non-fiction history. (Can I really say I’ve been to Macedonia when what I mean is I’ve read a book about Alexander the Great?) Some visit a place only briefly, or pay only cursory attention to the setting. Some were written too long ago to give any idea of life there now. After weeding out the old, the historical, and the literary equivalents of stopovers or just passing through on a tour bus, this was the result:
And even that’s being generous ... so I’m not the best-travelled of readers. America, Britain, and Australia account for the great majority of what I read. No matter how many times I think that I must branch out into other parts of the world, I still gravitate to my beloved British history. After seeing the maps, instead of thinking of other parts of Europe to read about I’ll start hunting for books set in South America, Africa, and Asia which are all sadly lacking in my reading history ... and more novels that aren't set in the distant past!