Around The World In 5 Books  

I’m sure most of you are like me, eager to see what the world has to offer. Unfortunately for us though, our dreams and our money don’t really tally. Which is why for me, I escape into my world of books where I can travel the world for less than $20 at a time.

Chapter 1: Afghanistan, South Asia
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Kite Runner Cover


“With me as the glaring exception, my father molded the world around him to his liking. The problem, of course, was that Baba saw the world in black and white. And he got to decide what was black and what was white.”

What makes someone a father figure in your life? Amir, the son of a wealthy merchant in Kabul, and his constant companion amidst the turmoil of life is Hassan, a member of the lowest caste. Their uncommon bond is torn when Amir betrays Hassan to cope with the increasing political and social tensions of the Afghan monarchy. Years later, Amir tries to right the wrongs of his past by rescuing Hassan’s son.

Why should you read it?
This novel is heavy- not in a literal sense, but this novel is heavy with traditions and rich in culture. While reading this, Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha, suddenly popped up in my mind. Similar to Golden, Khaled Hosseini was able to paint such a detailed picture of Afghanistan to put the readers in that particular place.

Chapter 2: Nigeria, Africa
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart Cover


“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.” 

Okwonkwo is the definition of a true man in the Igbo tribe of Nigeria. He has wealth, high social standing, a big estate and respect from the villagers. This is a tale of how he grew up to be this man, and most importantly, how he fell from grace.

Why should you read it?
Chinua Achebe weaves in the rich African culture with such mastery. He gives you a taste of the traditions, superstitions, and rules of the tribe as you read into the story while making sure the story flows on at a comfortable pace. It also eases you into the world of the tribe with its straightforward descriptions of the surroundings.

Chapter 3: Moscow, Russia
The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia

The Secret History of Moscow

Source: elbakin

“He was still wide awake when the morning came – the light changed imperceptibly underground, with the glowtrees flaring up brightly, and the shimmer of golden dust that remained suspended in the musty air, as if millions of butterflies had shed the scales of their wings in midair.” 

Set in the tumultuous times of 1990s Russia, this book centers on Galina, a young woman(amongst many others) caught in the lawlessness of the new Russia. Her sister turns into a jackdaw and flies away, prompting Galina to go on a chase in search of her sister. In doing so, she discovers a hidden underworld full of the creatures only heard of in fairytales.

Why should you read this?
Who doesn’t like a mix of fantasy and reality? We all need that in our lives. Her novel seems to be slightly thin at 300 pages, with glimpses into the fairytales that haunt Russian childhoods. Considering that the novel was quite short, not many of these fables were gone in depth.


Chapter 4: South America
The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara

The Motorcycle Diaries Cover

Source: goodreads

“This is not a story of heroic feats, or merely the narrative of a cynic; at least I do not mean it to be. It is a glimpse of two lives running parallel for a time, with similar hopes and convergent dreams.” 

This is the story behind the Marxist revolutionary imprinted on the shirts. He and his friend, Alberto Grenado decided to explore the South America they knew through books. The book ends with a declaration from Guevara. But what exactly is that declaration and why did he write it? It is for you to find out.

Why should you read it?
This book has been described as a classic coming of age story. It really questions what you want in life, where your priorities are and if you are bold enough to take that first step forward.

Chapter 5: Saudi Arabia, Middle East
Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia by Jean Sasson

Princess Cover


“When Ali found baby kittens, he would lock them away from their mother and howl with glee as the mother cat tried in vain to reach them. No one in the household dared to chastise Ali, for our father saw no harm in Ali’s cruel ways.”

Sultana, a Saudi Arabian princess born into a life of wealth. It sounds like the perfect princess story but in fact, she is living in a gold prison. Her jailers are the men in the family and the price she has to pay for being a woman is her freedom. This is her true story.

Why should you read it?
Sultana is just like us, she is trying to find herself yet she is trapped. This story is about her trying to take a stand against her oppressors and it really sheds light on the human endurance. This however, did happen in the past, things have changed since then.

Culturally rich and eye-opening reads, perfect for all book lovers. You will be transported to another world through the words scrawled on the page, crying and laughing along with the protagonists. These books are definitely worth your time and I hope they will inspire you to start saving up, pick up that backpack, see these places with your own eyes and experience them for yourself.

What are your thoughts on the books? Leave it in the comments below. Feel free to give us your book recommendations too! We love to hear from you!

The Kite Runner – wikipedia
Things Fall Apart – goodreads
The Secret History of Moscow- goodreads
The Motorcycle Diaries – telegraph
Princess – goodreads