International literature recommendations from ambassadors

My cousin (thanks Karen!) sent me a link to an article with the recommendations of 22 foreign ambassadors to the US of what one book people should read before visiting their country. Only seven of these were already on my list, so I got to add a few new titles. After the jump, what I added and what I didn’t, and why.

An irrelevant picture of some nice wallpaper

Added to the list:

  1. The Tobacconist, Robert Seethaler, 2012 (Austria)
  2. Treasures of the Thunder Dragon: A portrait of Bhutan, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, 2007 (Bhutan)
  3. The Man Who Spoke Snakish, Andrus Kivirak, 2007 (Estonia)
  4. Tschick, Wolfgang Herrndorf, 2010 (Germany)
  5. Selected Poems, Louise Bennet, 1982 (Jamaica)
  6. I Saw Her That Night, Drago Jančar, 2010 (Slovenia)

Books I didn’t add (and why I didn’t add them)

  1. With Faith and Goodwill, 100 years of Canada-U.S. Friendship, (Canada)
    1. A book of essays written by prime ministers. Not my type of thing and I already have 25 Canadian books on my list
  2. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Colombia)
    1. I’ve already read it a few times, and I also already have 2 Marquez books on my list
  3. The Moomin books (Finland)
    1. I know these are beloved, and maybe I’ll get them to read to my daughter, but I don’t really enjoy reading children’s literature for its own sake
  4. Freedom and Death, Nikos Kazantzakis (Greece)
    1. I already have 2 options by this author on my Greece list (Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ).
  5. Freedom at Midnight, Dominique LaPierre & Larry Collins (India)
    1. This is a work of history, not a novel, so already unlikely to be chosen for my list, and it’s not written by authors from the country.
  6. Transatlantic, Colum McCann (Ireland)
    1. I’ve already read this. It was fine, not amazing. I don’t need to read it again.
  7. The Snowman, Jo Nesbo (Norway)
    1. I love mysteries, but I’ve read one Harry Hole mystery (The Redbreast) already and I wasn’t sold. I’ve got 25 Norwegian books on my list, so I don’t need to add any more.
  8. Nordic Ways (Sweden)
    1. These are essays from all five Nordic countries. Again, I’ve got plenty of selections from all the Nordic countries, and I don’t particularly like books of essays.
  9. Atonement, Ian McEwan, UK
    1. Already read this.

What do you think? Any books I’ve added that aren’t worth reading? Any I’ve chosen not to add that I should give a second chance?

2 thoughts on “International literature recommendations from ambassadors

    1. Thanks! It’s good to have confirmation that they’re worth reading. 🙂 I noticed when adding them that my most recent book from Austria was published in 1990, and my most recent book from Germany was published in 1977, so it’s also good to have a couple of more current works to add to the list!


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