Book Bloggers Abroad 2011 Challenge

Book Bloggers Abroad is the popular weekly series where a book blogger tells us about their country and about blogging and finding the books they want to read.

From January 2011 I will no longer run this feature. It has been running for about 6 months and participants are now harder to get hold of. Also, isn’t it best to stop while it’s so popular rather than waiting for it to die down?

I will start one or two new events and also, I will be running the Book Bloggers Abroad 2011 Challenge. Maybe just for myself, but maybe there are people around who would like to join in.

If you do like to join in, leave a comment with a link to your own post about this challenge (if you are writing one). Tell me how many you hope to read.

How does it work?

Below I’ve listed all the guest posters of Book Bloggers Abroad and the author(s) and book(s) they recommended. Choose one book from each guest post. As some countries appear more than once, you can read more than one book for that country (but a maximum of one from each guest post). I’ve highlighted some books and authors, just so you can get a quick overview, but of course you can read any of the other books and authors recommended.

If only one particular book is recommended, you can replace it with another book by that author if you prefer. If you can’t find the recommended author(s) in your library/book shop feel free to replace with another author from the same country (but only do this if you have to).

I suggest trying to read 5 books as a minimum (Reluctant Traveler), 10 as an intermediary option (Experienced Traveler) and aim for 15 if you want to be an Ultimate Traveler. I’m going for 10 myself.

The challenge will run for the whole of 2011.

You can combine with other challenges to your heart’s content!


1. Rachel from Australia

The Book Thief by the Australian writer Marcus Zusak. This is a wonderful book about Nazi Germany and a little girl who loves books. Although, if you are looking for a book not only by an Australian writer but Australian “themed” I would go for something by Bryce Courtenay.

2. Rikki from Germany

One book in specific [I’d like to recommend] is by Walter Moers and is called “The 13 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear“. It’s highly imaginative and fun. It is a book you either love or hate.

3. Bellezza from USA

E. B. White’s Charlottte’s Web, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, and Madeleine L’Engle’s novels, such as The Love Letters, are my favorite.

4. Jane from the UK

The national author I’d like to recommend is Dodie Smith, the author behind the children’s classic The Hundred and One Dalmatians. I love her debut novel, I Capture The Castle, about a young girl and her family who live in a decaying English castle during the 1930s, and I re-read it whenever I have chance. And although it might lose me any literary cool cred, I have a huge soft spot for the Harry Potter series too. Crime noir queen Cathi Unsworth is one of my favourite current authors, and her most recent novel Bad Penny Blues provides a fascinating insight into what London was like during the swinging sixties!

5. Novroz from Indonesia

Two years ago, I fell in love with this awesome Indonesian writer, he is Andrea Hirata. He writes books based on his past and it is written beautifully. His book called Rainbow Troops has already been translated to English.

6. Amanda from Australia

An Australian author that I recommend is Adrian Hyland. He’s a crime writer who write thrillers set in the Australian Outback. They are most authentic fictional representations of the Outback I’ve ever encountered. If you want to learn about Aboriginal life in the 21st Century, Hyland’s books area  must read. His books are: Diamond Dove and Gunshot Road.

7. Charlotte from France

I recommend The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which is a classic here and totally deserves its success around the world!

8. Mari from USA

I would pick The Poisonwood Bible (by Barbara Kingsolver), The Blue Notebook (James Levine) and both novels by Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Her Fearful Symmetry). They are not new titles but each book is different, well written and unlike anything else I have read.

9. Mystica from Sri Lanka

Roma Tearne, Michelle de Kretser, Michael Ondaatje, Ashok Ferrey, Romesh Gunasekera. V.V. Ganeshanathan are a few that come to mind. Some of them are of Sri Lankan origin.”

10. Kinna from Ghana

I recommend books by Ama Ata Aidoo, Nii Ayikwei Parkes and Ayi Kwei Armah.  For those who are interested in crime fiction, I recommend Yaba Badoe’s True Murder and Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey.

11. Gnoe from the Netherlands

A Dutch book I can recommend is Nooit meer slapen (Beyond Sleep) by the late W.F. Hermans. The novel is about a young geographer on summer expedition in the nightless wilds of Lapland, dying to impress his mother by becoming famous in proving that the region’s lakes were created by meteorites. The oppressive atmosphere of this story is haunting and lingers on a long time after!

12. Carol from New Zealand

New Zealand has some first rate children’s authors so, for those fellow bloggers with children, one of our family’s top favourites are the wonderful Hairy Maclary books by Lynley Dodd. For adult reading – have you read Katherine Mansfield’s short stories? Wonderful.

13. Kah Woei from Malaysia

The books I love and enjoye are actually folk tales written in our national language, Bahasa Malaysia, such as Hikayat Sang Kancil (Tales of Sang Kancil) , Hang Tuah (The adventures of Hang Tuah), Puteri Gunung Ledang (Legend of Puteri Gunung Ledang) and so on which are mostly written for children.

14. Lisa from Canada

I have two authors to recommend. For urban fantasy fans, Kelley Armstrong writes some great novels in her Women of the Otherworld series beginning with Bitten. For those who are interested in science fiction I can recommend Robert J. Sawyer, author of FlashForward and a book I particularly liked, WWW: WAKE.

15. Carly from England

I’d say Louise Rennison and Sarra Manning. Louise Rennison of course for the brilliant Georgia Nicholson series that I loved in my teen years and Sarra Manning for the HUNDREDS of excellent books she’s written. My favourites of Manning’s are the Diary of a Crush series that were given away with J17 magazine years ago – I loved them so much! Both brilliant writers that are definitely worth checking out.

16. Misha from India

Some Indian authors I would suggest are Jhumpa Lahiri, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Vikram Seth, Rohinton Mistry, Anita Desai and Kiran Desai.

17. Esme from USA

One of my favorite Canadian authors is Mordecai Richler. He grew up in Montreal, which is where all his books take place.  My favorite is The Apprentice of Duddy Kravitz. Of course I also have to mention Lucy Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables.  I am a huge fan of Daniel Silva, his books are very well researched and always have a bibliography that leads me to other books. Michelle Moran is another favorite. [Esme lives in USA but comes from Canada]

18. Milka from Finland

There is one book I really want to recommend to everyone; ‘Purge’ by Sofi Oksanen. A couple of years ago Oksanen won the Finlandia book prize, the most valuable book prize in Finland, with Purge. It is definitely one of those books you just can’t put down.

19. Chachic from the Philippines

I would like to recommend Tall Story by Candy Gourlay, because I read a lot of YA books and this is the first YA book by a Filipino author that I’ve read and it’s really good.

20. Cathy from the USA

I’m going to choose Jon Talton. His David Mapstone mystery series, which begins with Concrete Desert, is set right here in Phoenix. The stories and characters are excellent, and Talton gets Phoenix and its history just right.

21. Larissa from Brazil

I’d like to recommend a Brazilian author to you, but the only one I know that has been translated into different languages is Paulo Coelho. A lot of people love him, but I’ve never read any of his books, so I really don’t know.

22. Alexandra from Belgium

My recommendation: the series Les Cités Obscures (in English, Cities of the Fantastic, available on Amazon) by François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters. Visually they are right up my alley and the stories are fascinating.

23. Jackie from the UK

The Lake District holds a special place in my heart and so I particularly enjoy books written by Sarah Hall. I would especially recommend her book Haweswater.

24. Tes from India (Thailand recommendations)

I’d like to suggest books that are very dear to me by authors from Thailand. One is Look Isan or The Child of the Northeast by Kaboon Boonthavee. It’s the heartfelt story of the people living in Northeast Thailand, where I come from. It’s so close to heart and it actually a S.E.A. Write Award-winning book.

The second book is the book from the reading lists in my high school which I never forgot to love, The happiness of Krati by Ngarmpun Vejjajiva, the stories of a little girl who lived with her grandparents and the sorrow and happiness viewpoint of this small girl. This book is also a S.E.A Write Award-winning book.

25. Colleen from USA

I recommend Carl Hiaassen, Christopher Buckley and Dave Barry, all of whom have made me laugh until I cried at various times, to truly experience the snarky side of American intellectualism. Buckley’s Boomsday was a favorite.

26. Lydia from Canada

A local Ottawa writer I enjoy is Alan Cumyn. His novel Losing It is absolutely hilarious. He was writer-in-residence for a period of time at the University of Ottawa, my old academic stomping grounds.

Will you be joining in?

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

46 Responses to Book Bloggers Abroad 2011 Challenge

  1. lemon123 says:

    This is going to be fun. I love to read about other countries. I don’t see Africa on the list. I would like to choose Africa.

    • leeswammes says:

      Teakettle, how nice you want to join in! I had one guest poster from Africa and that was Kinna from Ghana. She’s number 10 in the recommendations list. So, hopefully you’ll like one of the authors/books she recommends. I myself hope to read the book by Yaba Badoe.

  2. Robbie says:

    Oh poo!! I love this feature. I really think you should reconsider discontinuing it!!

    • leeswammes says:

      Aw, sorry Robbie. I know people will be disappointed. But I do have the plan to maybe start it up again in half a year or so. I just need to get to know some new bloggers from a variety of countries that are willing to take part.

      • Robbie says:

        I’ve been living in Croatia for the past two years…I would have loved to take part. Now we are moving back to Canada though. Well, if you need somebody from Canada next year I’d be happy to take part.

        And, I am going to take part in your terrific challenge, I am going to go for the full Ultimate Traveler, because I think I can pull it off in conjunction with some other challenges of a similar nature. I am planning on doing the sign up post later this week, so I will link back here when I do.

      • leeswammes says:

        Fantastic Robbie. Good to see someone with spirit amongst us travelers!

        I’ll just do a plug for your own challenge here, the Atrocious Cover Challenge. Oh yeah! Sign up, everyone, this sounds good (but only after you signed up for the Book Bloggers Abroad Challenge, of course):

  3. Dorte H says:

    No, I won´t join this one as I only review crime fiction. But I think you have come up with a great idea, and good luck to you (and all the other participants).

  4. Pingback: Book Bloggers Abroad 2011 Challenge (via Leeswammes' Blog) | My Book Journal

  5. I’ve really enjoyed this feature but I get that it might be hard to find people to take part. I’m trying not to buy new books until I make a serious dent in my TBR but I’m sure I can find some of these titles at the library so I’m in!

  6. Rachel says:

    If I had to recommend one Bryce Courtenay book which is ‘Australian’ I would have to go with Jessica.. it’s set in the outback so it’s got an Aussie feel to it.

  7. Suzanne says:

    I’m sorry to see the Book Bloggers Abroad come to an end because I enjoyed hearing from readers in different countries and learning about world literature.

    The challenge does sound interesting though — I’m looking at potential challenges for 2011 and I like this one….

  8. Sorry to see this feature end. I always found it very interesting to read about bookbloggers in out-of-the-way places of the world.
    I won’t be joining the challenge since I don’t do challenges, but do second Gnoe’s recommendation of W.F. Herman’s Beyond Sleep. It’s a great book.

    • leeswammes says:

      Anna, who knows? Book Bloggers Abroad might be back later in the year…

      Gnoe’s recommendation of *Beyond Sleep* is also getting my vote. In fact, it’s my ever-very-favoritest book!

  9. LOL I might join as a travel planner! (>5 books)

    How about books you’ve already read but not yet blogged about… Do those count when I to post about them in 2011? Just trying 😉 LOL

    • leeswammes says:

      Hey, great that you are joining me on my travels! At least for a little while.

      If you find it a challenge to blog about these books that you have already read, then be my guest. A challenge is a challenge and I’m not going to be too strict. To you, that is. The rest of them out there… better follow the rules. 🙂

  10. Stephanie says:

    I love this feature! I’m bookmarking this page as many of these authors are new to me.

  11. Robbie says:

    I’m officially signed up. My sign up post is here

  12. I’m sorry to hear that the book bloggers abroad feature is coming to an end too.

    I’m not planning to do any challenges in 2011, but I will be back to look at all the book recommendations – I love finding different books from around the world 🙂

  13. Novroz says:

    This sounds really fun, but I don’t know if I can find those books. I’ll think about it first.

    If people interested in reading Indonesian book, you can tell them I have a giveaway soon, probably sooner than I thought.

    • leeswammes says:

      Novroz, OK, I will tell people about your giveaway if they ask about Indonesian books. I’m not sure how many of the books for this challenge I will be able to find, but I’ll try.

  14. I would love to participate but I no longer join challenges… to much stress for me and reading shouldn’t be stressful (okay… I’m competitive with myself… need to finish everything I start).

    I have read several of the books on the list though which makes me happy!

    I will have to pick a title or two to read (hopefully listen).

    • leeswammes says:

      I know what you mean, Mari. I’ve decided not to do any challenges, then find there are lots of interesting challenges coming up, so I have given in, I will be doing a few, but only at the lowest level. My own I’ll be doing at the medium level, mainly because I think I won’t be able to get hold of all the books.

  15. Cindy says:

    I’m from South Africa and would love to join in 🙂

  16. Kris says:

    I’m sorry to see this feature won’t be around in 2011 – I love it! I imagine it’s hard to get submissions though and of course understand why you won’t be doing it anymore.

    • leeswammes says:

      Hi Kris, glad you like BBA so much, but yes, it is getting harder to get people to participate, and in the end it’ll get too similar week by week. But I may start it up again sometime next year – or something similar. We’ll see.

  17. Pingback: My Plans for the Book Bloggers Abroad 2011 Challenge « Leeswammes' Blog

  18. Pingback: Looking Ahead | Pink Sheep Cafe

  19. Wendy Sice says:

    I’ll give it a go! My Australian pick that I’ve just read is Bryce Courtenay’s April Fool’s Day. Brilliant true story of Bryce Courtenay’s son who was born a haemophiliac and eventually died of AIDS. This is a brilliant book about how to care for a person with special medical needs and how to keep your dreams alive.

    Next book…hmm…I’m thinking what I can get for my e-reader. Keep up with my progress at my blog! xx

  20. I absolutely cannot say no to this one! Although I am by no means a Reluctant Traveler, I think I’ll start out at that level, and see where I get to 🙂

  21. I’ve finished my second book for the challenge — Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake. Many thanks to Misha for the recommendation!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Very nice, Col! I loved that book. I am almost starting on my first book in this challenge. Not actually very fast, but I’m determined to get there.

  22. maya says:

    hi, nice to know you. i’m a book blogger from indonesia 🙂

  23. I finally reviewed my third book for this challenge, Judith: Ama Ata Aidoo’s Changes, A Love Story. My review is here.

  24. Here’s another one for the challenge, Judith — but I don’t think my review will be moving it to your TBR pile :). My review of The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear is here.

  25. Okay, here’s my last review. Challenge complete! This was a great idea, Judith. Thanks so much for hosting it. You’ll find my last review here.

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