It's just a few days until July so I'm here with some recommendations of awesome books for you to add to your TBR for #Readtheworldathon. If you're not familiar with the concept of the Around the World Readathon you can check out my announcement post with all the details.
Some of these are books I've read and some are ones that are on my TBR, and if you have your own recommendations I'd love to hear them in the comments.
Firstly, I'll recommend a few publishers that are particularly great to browse for world literature and books in translation. Pushkin Press, Peirene Press, And Other Stories, Charco Press and Tilted Axis Press all specialise in translated literature and/or literature from around the world and all have fantastic catalogues that you can browse. You'll find a few of their titles below too.
The Gurugu Pledge by Juan Tomas Avila Laurel was I think one of the first times I'd read a book about a refugee camp. You can find my thoughts about it here, but it's a really great, unusual and thought -provoking book!
Country: Equatorial Guinea
Squares it fits: Africa, Political Controversy, In Translation, Diaspora
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng is a beautiful gem of a book. It's set in Malaysia after the second world war and its protagonist is a girl who was a prisoner of the Japanese during the war. Later on she becomes apprentice to a master gardener and uses the garden to make sense of her past life.
Squares it fits: Asia, Historical
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is one of the best books I've read in several years. Although most of us probably read a lot of authors from the UK and USA, if you're looking for something for the latter this brilliant YA novel set in the beginnings of the Black Lives Matter is a great place to find it! Starr is a sixteen year old when the book starts, who witnesses her friend shot by the police and the fallout from that. It's a book about injustice and social inequality and it will make you feel all of the things.
Squares it fits: Political Controversy, Americas, Celebrate WOC
Sealskin by Su Bristow is another that might not fit as its author is from the UK, but it's set in Scotland and based on the traditional Scots myth of the selkies, so I think it's worth putting in. Plus it's a fantastic story! The character development is second to none and it'll pull you in and not let go.
Squares it fits: Traditional Style, Short Hop, Genre, Staycation
Murder in Montego Bay by Paula Lennon is the first in a crime series starring Detective Raythan Preddy and Detective Sean Harris and it's a very enjoyable mystery set in beautiful surroundings. Jamaican culture is prevalent throughout the story so although authors aren't here to educate us, it's nice when you read a book that does some of that. The story is fun and compelling and we've got it available for pre-order in a bundle with the sequel that's about to come out too!
Squares it fits: Caribbean, Celebrate WOC, Genre, Dream Visit
If you Look for Me, I am Not Here by Sarayu Srivatsa is a quiet novel full of big ideas. The protagonist, Siva, is a child who lost his twin sister at birth. His mother by turns is convinced that he is his sister, or devastated that he survived and his sister didn't. The book moves slowly through Siva's struggles to identify who he is and immerses the reader in his world along the way.
Squares it fits: Asia, Celebrate WOC
We That Are Young by Preti Taneja
Winner of the 2018 Desmond Elliot Prize, We that Are Young is a reimagining of King Lear set in contemporary India. Each section is told from the point of view of one of the main characters and it follows the power struggle between two sisters inheriting their fathers' company, and their youngest sister, their fathers' favourite, who runs away to avoid being involved...
Squares it fits: Asia, Celebrate WOC
Love/War by Ebba Witt - Brattstrom (trans. Kate Lambert). This is a really unusual book. It's a conversation between an unnamed female protagonist ('She') and an unnamed male protagonist ('He') and follows their journey from hating each other, through reminiscing about good times and potential reconcilliation and back again.
Squares it fits: Europe, In Translation
The Impossible Fairytale by Han Yujoo (Trans. Janet Hong)
One of the many things independent publishers are great at is unusual fiction, and this definitely fits that category. It follows the protagonist, known only as 'the Child', an unhappy, unlucky person, and her classmate Mia who is everything that the Child is not. The Impossible Fairytale explores the darker side of childhood and is a really compelling read.
Country: South Korea
Squares it fits: Asia, In Translation, Celebrate WOC,
When I asked twitter for titles to add to this list Nevsky Books responded, and thus I continue to be amazed at the wealth of independent publishers that exist! They're a pretty new publisher and only have two titles out at the moment but they both look great, as does their upcoming catalogue so definitely worth a look!
The Around the World Readathon kicks off on July 1st and runs for an entire month. I am co-hosting it along with Louise and Elena. We'll be using #Readtheworldathon on twitter and Instagram and we'd love you to join us.