A World Expo on My Bookshelf

My voracious reading habits of the past few weeks have helped me move a fair amount of books from the “to-read” pile to the “already read” pile…while adding more books to the former, of course. As I was going through the books I had recently finished, I realized most of them took place outside of the United States in various capacities. Is that my subconscious telling me to get some more travelling in before the end of the year? I’ll go with yes. And now I’m reading a book by Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey. Decidedly un-worldly, so go figure. Still a great read, though.

While there are too many books to dedicate individual posts to each, I wanted to share them anyway. You know me, I love sharing.

Life of Pi – Not so much as a mention of America, although Canada and Mexico get shout-outs. Interesting book if you can handle the sometime heavy-handed religious tones. Considering that a major portion of the book has very few characters and little plot advancement, it’s a testament to the author, Yann Martel, and his skills that it doesn’t become monotonous in the middle.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – No one steps foot in the USA, and they’re only mentioned in passing (it’s the Cold War, how can you avoid it?). Loved this book, despite it’s confusing nature. I’m sure not all spy novels are written this well, but if they are, I need to do some further digging into the genre.

Solitude of Prime Numbers – America who? The entire book takes place in Italy as two damaged kids grow up. Loved it. Quick read, one of those books that you just wish had more pages in it by the time you get to the back cover. I’m really looking forward to following this author, Paolo Giordano, as his career develops.

Vintage Ceylon postcard.

Covert Affair – A book about the beginnings of American intelligence gathering and espionage, this one has a pretty good split between taking place in the USA and in the many places our personnel were scattered. Geography isn’t my strong suit, so I was glued to Wikipedia, continuously typing in the names of places that no longer exist as Western Imperialism gave way to independent countries in the Middle and Far East. Who knew Sri Lanka was once called Ceylon? Not this girl, that’s for sure. But anyway, the book itself wasn’t that great, but I knew going into it what to expect. The publishes really pushed the Julia and Paul Child elements, but their story seemed to be shoehorned into a larger story about a friend of theirs who ended up getting accused of being Red. Long story short: not a must-read, but an interesting one.

City of Thieves – Russia, World War II. Two young men on an impossible journey through a war-ravaged country. So good. So highly recommended. Oh, there is some Florida involved, but only in the capacity that it is where old people go after they retire.

Mutiny on the Bounty – My knowledge of the mutiny was about as barebones as you can get: I had heard of it once before. I didn’t know about the characters involved, I didn’t know what happened to them, and I didn’t know what breadfruit was. Now I do. This novel is a perfect blend of true historical events and narrative. High seas adventure, some romance, drama and intrigue. It crosses over all sorts of genres and is better for it.

Basically? Go add all of them to your own to-read list (you can leave Covert Affairs for last). And if we’re not friends on Goodreads yet, find me, friend me, let me ravage your book lists too.

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