5 Best Books … Set In A Foreign Country

5 Best BooksCassandra of Indie Reader Houston has started a new meme: “5 Best Books”. Every week, a different topic is suggested by Cassandra and participants list what they think are the 5 best book for that topic. Click HERE to see the topics for the next few weeks.

This week, the topic is 5 Books set in a foreign country.

I’m living in The Netherlands and many of the books I read are set in a different country. So, it’s easy!

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo IshiguroMy first choice is The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro.

This book is about a butler, Stevens, in England in the 1950s, when hardly anyone has butlers anymore. He is very loyal to his American boss, who turns out not to be quite such a nice person.

Stevens describes the man in the best possible way, but between the lines you can read what sort of a man the boss really is. Also, Stevens is so loyal that he passes up on his one chance to romance.

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki MurakamiMy second choice is The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, taking place in Tokyo, Japan. Really I could have chosen any of these books by Murakami: A Wild Sheep Chase, Kafka on the Shore and Hard-Boiled Wonderland or the End of the World. I like them all a lot!

Murakami’s books are of the magical realism genre. Most of what happens, could happen in reality, but there is something not quite right about it. I find this intriguing and good fun. Murakami’s books don’t always end in a traditional way, i.e., there isn’t always a satisfactory resolution to the story, but that has a charm of its own.

Under the Skin by Michel Faber

Under the Skin by Michel Faber is my third choice. This is the debut novel by the writer of The Crimson Petal and the White, another book that I loved, but that is very different from this one.

Under the Skin takes place in Scotland, where a buxomly woman is driving in her car around the countryside, picking up muscular male hitch hikers. They are quite attracted to her larger-than-life breasts. The woman sometimes drops the men off as arranged but other times….

Not what you might expect!

The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef PenneyMy Fourth choice is The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney. In Canada,1867, a local boy of 17 disappears after a man has been murdered in an isolated settlement. He is an immediate suspect and a search party is formed.

Several different teams of people go looking for the boy, all experiencing their own adventure in the harsh Canadian wilderness.

Although it is a murder mystery at heart, it is much more than that.

Chocolat by Joanne HarrisAnd my last choice is Chocolat by Joanne Harris. This book, set in France, tells the story of a mother and daughter who settle in a small town in rural France to start a chocolate shop.

The local priest turns against them when they want to hold a chocolate festival on a Sunday. But one by one the villagers fall under the spell of Vianne, the shop owner.

Add into the equation a handsome gypsy-type man that comes to her rescue a few times, and you have the ingredients for a magical and romantic story.


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

25 Responses to 5 Best Books … Set In A Foreign Country

  1. Mystica says:

    For once just once I have read three out of your five!!! The Ishigura was wonderful. I did not like the next one of his I read. Murakami is always good and the one set in rural France was idyllic.

  2. Alex says:

    I like the new look! 🙂 Remains of the Day is lovely and really captures the “englishness” on the time.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Thanks, Alex. Yes I thought Remains of the Day was brilliant. I can see how some people would find it boring, as not much really happens, but I loved it.

  3. Novroz says:

    Great idea for a list….Too bad I couldn’t finish The Remains of The Day

  4. Cassandra says:

    I think you have a great list! I haven’t read any of them, and I’ve only ever heard of two, so I’ve got some reading to do! Thanks for joining up!

  5. Tes says:

    I really wanna own “chocolat”… i’ve been searching in many bookstore in India for a while now….
    These books sounds really interesting.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Chocolat is a great book, Tes. I think you would like it a lot. Have you got an online story in India? That would make the search a bit easier. 🙂

  6. winstonsdad says:

    I ve read two of these ,good idea sure I d be able to find five books from different countries to read ,all the best stu

  7. LindyLouMac says:

    I think Chocolate would be on my list as well 🙂

  8. Suzanne says:

    I too loved the Crimson Petal and the White so I will need to check out this new Michael Faber book.

    I have only seen the movie Chocolat but I wasn’t thrilled with it; I probably should read the book. I just read Five Quarters of the Orange by the same author and really liked

    • Leeswammes says:

      Suzanne, the Michel Faber book is very different from The Crimson Petal so I can’t really guess whether you will like it or not. But I thought it was brilliant.

  9. Chinoiseries says:

    I’ve just started Remains of the Day. Not sure whether I like it, but I’ll continue anyway.
    Murakami and Harris are familiar to me (love their books!), but I haven’t heard of the others before. Will check them out 🙂

  10. RFW says:

    Read Remains of the Day and Chocolat – thanks for the tip on the other three – will look them up.

  11. Cindy says:

    I only know The Remains of the Day, memorable.

  12. I don’t join Memes myself, but this is a fascinating one. I’ve read all those authors, though in a couple of cases (Murakami and Faber) not those specific books. They are great choices.

    The Stef Penney is very evocative of place isn’t it?

    • Leeswammes says:

      Good to hear you’ve read the same authors, whisperinggums. Yes, the Stef Penney book was so great. And do you know, she didn’t even visit the place that she wrote about? In fact, she’d never been to Canada, if I remember well. IT’s so amazing.

  13. It’s a good thing I read your blog all the time – you keep me informed! 🙂 Seriously, I found the lit blog hop and now this fun meme from reading your blog. This looks like a great meme, I don’t like to participate in the same ones every week (sometimes I have no answer to the question) so I love finding new ‘smart’ ones.

    I loved Chocolat but my list would like much different than your (since I haven’t read any of the other titles) HA.

    Have a great weekend!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Glad you enjoy finding new things on my blog, Mari! I think it’s a nice meme and I decided to try it instead of a Friday blog hop. It didn’t affect my number of hits on the blog at all, so for me, it is fine to do a different meme every now and then.

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