This is the day when schoolchildren all over the UK dress up as their favourite literary character and receive a book token to spend in their local bookshop. To mark this day I’m recommending some books from around the world which I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed during the past 30 years or so; some from the 70s right up to the last decade.
North America : Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (2001). Unlikely liaisons and even love develop in a hostage situation after a bungled attempt to kidnap the president. Mr.Vertigo by Paul Auster (1994). Young Walt learns to levitate and so begins the adventure of his life.
South America : The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (1986). Epic family saga spanning four generations. Magical Realism at its best. From the Heat of the Day by Roy Heath (1979). First part of The Armstrong Trilogy about life and love in Guyana.
Europe : Brick Lane by Monica Ali (2004). A young bride stuck in an arranged marriage with an older man discovers new pleasures and independence in London. I’m Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti (2004). Six children amusing themselves during the long, hot Italian summer holidays come across a frightening secret.
Asia : The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan (1991). After her upbringing in Shanghai, Winnie arrives in America in 1949. She is keeping secrets from her daughter, who in turn is hiding truths from her mother. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (1993). Huge novel about a mother’s search for a husband to wed her daughter.
Australia : The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville (2002). Divorcee supports a rural heritage project, sews a patchwork quilt and falls for a civil engineer. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton (1991). Two families in pre-to-post-war Western Australia live their quirky and humorous lives.
Africa : Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2003). Religion and violence play major parts in the life of a fifteen year old Nigerian girl. An Instant in the Wind by André Brink (1976). An educated white woman and a male runaway slave are stranded in the South African wilderness. On their long trek back to civilisation they find out a lot about each other.
For more books please have a look at my Librarium pages.