I like making a map of the real world locations of the books I read. It lets me see where I have gaps in my reading.  Usually Australia and South America are barren.  I did a little better in 2016.  I see that Central and East Asia were totally neglected in 2016 so I’m going to focus on that area more in 2017.

Where I Read in 2016







South Africa


Asia/Middle East

Hong Kong – 2

India – 4



Saudi  Arabia



North America


U.S. – 70

South America/Caribbean







Czech Republic


England – 19

France – 6

Italy – 2


Australia – 2


Jean at Howling Frog Books is starting a long term challenge to read around the world.

“You may read literature by a person from the country, or non-fiction about the history, culture, language, etc. of the country.  Fiction set in a country but not written by a person who lives there does not count, because we are trying to get an inside view as much as possible; in fact, you may wish to make an effort to choose books by long-term residents rather than by people who have moved there more recently and written about it, but that is entirely up to you because I am not your mother, nor am I here to judge fine distinctions.  By no means does the book have to be new; if your choice for Japan is the 900-year-old Tale of Genji, that’s great.

You do not have to plan your list ahead of time; I would advise you not to.  Just make a list of the countries you plan to read in, and fill them in as you go along.  This is an adventure, so don’t pick all easy ones!  Challenge yourself.

Since this is such a big project, I’ve decided to allow you to retroactively fill in slots for six months — if you read a great novel from Azerbaijan five months ago and want to count it in this project, that is OK.  No counting the French novel from five years ago, though!  Six months is as far back as you can go from your join date.”

Full rules and sign ups are here.  Since she gave us the ability to use the last 6 months, I started my map.  I have 18 countries so far.  Because I can’t resist a challenge, I’m going to go for all of them!  She said the challenge can take up to 5 years if we want.  I’ll celebrate whenever I fill in a continent.  I guess that starts now because I have Australia done.


The key to this map:

  • Purple teardrops – fiction set in that country by someone who has lived there
  • Purple circles – translated fiction from that country
  • Green stars – nonfiction about that country
  • Green checks – nonfiction written by someone from that country

Here is the best list I’ve ever found of books by country. It is still being updated. Some of them won’t fit the criteria for this challenge but it is a starting place. I have a copy of Smile As They Bow, a translated Burmese novel to share if anyone needs it for this challenge.