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How to Read More Diversely: Travelling Bookworms Reading Challenge


Do you want to read more diverse literature? Do you want to explore other cultures through literature? Then join me on the Travelling Bookworms Reading Challenge, created by me here at What’s Hot!

This summer I’ve decided to challenge myself on my travels by only reading books that are written by authors from the country that I’m in. This includes translated works by authors born in those countries but also those who have grown up elsewhere but are of that country’s ethnicity (e.g. British-born Chinese).

Keep on reading to find out more… 

This challenge is about reading more diverse authors, so books simply set in another country do not count. I have made this rule simply because there are, unfortunately, many authors who have very little knowledge of the foreign cultures that they describe and end up creating or propagating false stereotypes. Of course, this is not always the case, but it is a problem I have personally faced and one I have read many other readers complaining about in their reviews.

So here’s an example of how this works…

If you’re off to Paris this summer, you could read books set in Paris by French authors such as Flaubert or Amelie Nothomb.

If you’re off to Nigeria, you could try something by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie or my current read, Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo.

If you’re off to Croatia, you could look for books set in Croatia by Croatian authors such as Our Man in Iraq by Robert Perisic.

I’ll be off to China, Japan and Korea in a couple of weeks so I’ve been thinking hard about some titles I can bring with me. Some obvious ones like Murakami spring to mind, but I’m hoping to branch out a little further than that. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

China (4 weeks)

  • Dai Sijie – Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
  • Jung Chang – Wild Swans
  • Sun Tzu – The Art of War
  • Ken Liu – The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

Japan (10 days)

  • Murakami (obviously) – I already own Norweigan Wood but I’m thinking of getting another one of his titles to bring along with me. Perhaps 1Q84?
  • Shusaku Endo – Silence
  • Soseki Natsume – Kokoro
  • Banana Yoshimoto – Kitchen. This author has been compared to Marguerite Duras, a female French author I did a huge essay on in my penultimate term at university!

Seoul (5 days) 

  • Gong Ji-Young – Our Happy Time
  • Han Kang – The Vegetarian
  • Yeonmi Park – In Order To Live

Want to join in?

To join me on the Travelling Bookworm Reading Challenge, please create your own post letting us know what countries you will be travelling to and what books you’re aiming to read. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to whatshotblog.com or this post and drop me line via email or social media to let me know you’re taking part!

If posting about this on either Twitter or Instagram, don’t forget to use the hashtag #travellingbookworms so I can find your posts!

The graphic below is also available for you to use in your own posts.


If you’re not quite sure what to read, why not ask the bookish community for some suggestions?

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Laura is a culture and travel blogger based in London. She studied French at Oxford University and now studies Law in London. She’s an avid reader and traveller and loves to combine the two with literary travel. Find her tips and reviews on the best reads, eats and destinations on whatshotblog.com.

Find me on: Web | Twitter



  1. Nelu
    8th July 2017 / 10:05 PM

    I like the idea of reading diversely. I think a lot of times we’re too stuck in out comfort zones and our own echo chambers that we don’t realize there are other people who think differently from us out there.

  2. Kacie Morgan
    9th July 2017 / 5:23 PM

    I keep meaning to read more travel content so this sounds like the kind of reading challenge I could get into! Plus, how exciting that you’re heading off to SE Asia soon!

  3. 9th July 2017 / 8:03 PM

    What a great idea for a reading challenge! Good luck with it and have an amazing trip!

  4. 9th July 2017 / 8:13 PM

    Ahhh i love this! What a great idea for a book challenge with a twist! xo

  5. Mummytimestwo
    9th July 2017 / 10:17 PM

    This is a brilliant idea. We are going on a cruise this year, it would be great to try to read something from all of the countries we visit.

  6. Gareth Torrance
    10th July 2017 / 12:41 PM

    I love the idea of getting people to read a more diverse range of authors! There are some true hidden gems out there!

  7. Lauretta
    10th July 2017 / 2:25 PM

    This sounds like a great idea. I think reading books from authors of the country where you’re at would let you connect more to the place.

  8. Laura
    15th July 2017 / 10:05 PM

    This is such a fantastic idea and a great way to really remember each place and book! xxx

  9. 24th July 2017 / 10:38 PM

    I really like the idea of this one! I have to say that I am in Spain and have been for the past month so it would have been ideal to have known about it before. But I am off to France soon, so it’s not too late for me!

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