It was fun looking at how far I’ve travelled through time in my books, so I figured why not look at where in the world they’re taking me, too? I was also inspired by an amazing TED talk by Ann Morgan, who committed a year of her life to reading a book from every single country in the world. I’ve talked before about how my current reading list isn’t great from a diversity perspective, so I knew that my book passport wouldn’t have that many stamps, but it wasn’t quite as bad as I was expecting. Take a look…!
Unsurprisingly, given that I’m reading English-language books and I’m based in Australia, the most frequently-visited countries are Australia (The Dressmaker, The Rosie Project, and so on), the U.K. (Austen, Dickens, and so forth), and the U.S.A. (To Kill A Mockingbird, The Age Of Innocence, etc.). However, it would seem I’m also doing frequent trips to France, which I hadn’t realised before now (Tropic of Cancer, The White Mouse, and others).
I’ve also been to India a couple of times (A Passage To India, Kim), and to Spain (The Alchemist, Don Quixote), and to Germany (The Book Thief, All The Light We Cannot See). I put together this map, for a visual representation:
Of course, by necessity, this tally excludes trips to apocalyptic futures (The Hunger Games, A Clockwork Orange, and the like), and fantasy worlds (A Game of Thrones, Gulliver’s Travels, and similar), and space (The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, The Martian, and more).
I’d really love to spend some more time in Africa, so that will be one focus when I put together my next reading list. I’m also surprised that I haven’t yet “been” to Canada or New Zealand! It’s been such a useful exercise to look at my reading this way, I think I’ll keep checking in and (hopefully) someday this map will be a sea of green.
Aren’t books magical? It would take me years to plan, save for, and undertake a trip to all of these places, but through books I can visit them all in a day or two. Where have your books taken you lately? Share your travels in the comments (or over at KUWTP on Facebook!).
June 21, 2019 at 8:25 AM
I’m currently in both Germany (The Book Thief) and Russia (War and Peace), and my books have also taken me to France (All the Light We Cannot See), New York City (The Fountainhead), the South Pacific (Lord of the Flies), World War I-era Italy (A Farewell to Arms), Alabama (To Kill a Mockingbird, Looking for Alaska), and Sweden (the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson). In my ebook collection TBR, I’ve also got Canada (Anne of Green Gables), Nepal (Siddartha), Ireland (Ulysses, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Dubliners), and China and San Francisco (The Joy Luck Club).
June 22, 2019 at 9:47 AM
Check you out – your book passport is chockers with stamps! Love it! I’ll be visiting Sweden very soon, in The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared, really looking forward to it. Happy travels! 😉
June 21, 2019 at 9:54 AM
I love this! What a fantastic idea. I actually wonder how diverse my list is since I read so much fantasy and those wouldn’t count here.
June 22, 2019 at 9:49 AM
Yep, I noticed pulling this together that I had no idea what to do with the fantasy books! Maybe I could have put together a collage of fictional maps (Middle Earth, etc.)? But even then, they’re not available for all fantasy… Hmmm. 😉
June 22, 2019 at 4:43 AM
I just applied to renew my actual passport, so this is a perfect topic for me right now. Let me see. This year, I’ve read books set in the US, UK, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, Pakistan, Syria, Greece, the Netherlands, Austria, Australia, Palestine, Italy, France, Russia, Germany, and Singapore!
However, not all of the authors have been from those countries, so it might not be quite as diverse as I’d like.
June 22, 2019 at 9:50 AM
Holy Oprah, you’ve barely sat still! That’s a fantastic roll of adventures, and the year’s only half done. Can’t wait to see where you go next! 😉
June 22, 2019 at 12:09 PM
I love this idea! I just visited Jeju, an island off the coast of South Korea, Vietnam, America, far north Queensland (don’t need my passport for there) and Cornwall in England. 🙂
June 22, 2019 at 12:55 PM
What a journey – love it! I haven’t been to FNQ in a while, in literature or in life… are you *sure* you don’t need a passport? 😛 x
June 25, 2019 at 6:14 AM
Am so glad you did this exercise. I have had this long “Around the World in Books” project for some years now. (https://shadesofwords.com/around-the-world-in-books/)
I have read a significantly large number from UK and India. I always try to read a book from a country I have visited so that always helps!
And I have actively gone down the alphabet to pick up books from Algeria and Albania ( yes I am still at the As, haha!)
My website page is however not up to date so have read more countries than show up there….maybe this will inspire me to get started!
June 25, 2019 at 1:48 PM
What a great project! And I love the tracker bar you have at the top, tracking your % progress – if you can keep up with it, I’d love to follow your progress! Happy reading/travelling!
June 26, 2019 at 4:45 PM
Yer I would have thought New Zealand as well. Off there next year if I spot any great local authors on that trip I’ll let you know.
June 27, 2019 at 10:08 AM
Brilliant – thanks Phil!!
June 28, 2019 at 8:41 AM
What a great idea. I’ve never been out of Australia physically but i’ve visited many countries through my reading. I’m really interested in doing what you have done and note each country from my reading. It will be on my list of things to do next year.
June 28, 2019 at 8:50 AM
Oooh yes! Please do let me know when you give it a go, I’d love to take a look! 😍
July 3, 2019 at 11:51 PM
Well this is a fun project! So far, my reading in 2019 has taken me to London and Hogsmeade (Harry Potter), the Forest of Arden (Shakespeare), Washington state and Finland and back to London (Sisterchicks on the Loose!), Heaven and Hell (The Great Divorce), Minnesota and Maine (Orphan Train), Monte Carlo and Cornwall and another quick trip to London (Rebecca), and France and Italy (The Count of Monte Cristo). Oh the places you’ll go when reading!
July 4, 2019 at 2:41 PM
The places you’ll go indeed! That’s quite a journey you’ve been on – can’t wait to see where you go next! 😉