Around the World in 80 Books Part 1

One of the great pleasures of books to my mind is all the wonderful places and times I can visit. But can I make a trip around the world by book? Let’s find out!

1. To start, we’ll find a book that takes place in San Diego, CA. To my great surprise, Somewhere in Time was written by Richard Matheson, and he placed the action in San Diego. I haven’t read the book, but I’m taking a gimme since I have both the movie and the sound track CD. I didn’t know there were conventions just for this film! Have they figured out where the watch came from yet?

2. Moving up the coast to Los Angeles, lots more Richard Matheson books as well as Raymond Chandler take place in the City of Angles, but I’m going with Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler I listened to this recently, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope I made that clear last time I mentioned it here.

3. San Francisco is easy, as a Christopher Moore fan, so I’m going to start with Bloodsucking Fiends, A Love Story.

4. Finding books set in Northern California is not easy. So I am going with Marin County and a book I have not read, Just Breath by Susan Wiggs. Sounds delightful!

5. To move things along, I’m jumping to Oregon via Backwards to Oregon by Jae. A very interesting romance premise centered on a long trip.

6. Kristen Proby writes a series of contemporary romances set in Seattle, Washington. The first one, Come Away With Me, has a drool-worthy cover and a plot that would be a dream come true for many of us.

7. Check your passport, we’re off to the Pacific Northwest wilderness, British Columbia style. I Heard The Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven is a classic coming of age tale with a side order of culture shock.

8. Now to an island off the coast of Canada, to enjoy a bit of dark humor in Let’s Kill Uncle by Rohan O’Grady (not her real name).

9. We stop in the Yukon to read Kat Martin’s Midnight Sun, one of the original stories of a tough Alpha male who is NOT a werewolf attempting to help an independent woman in the wilderness.

10. I could easily list 80 books about Alaska, even given the criteria of fiction only. Recently, I formed an interest in Werewolf Romances. I blame a specific friend on Scribophile (You know who you are, ED!). So this particular book is now on my Goodreads list. How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper is the first in a series, so the fun won’t stop at the end of the book.

11. Russia is a bit tricky. I wanted to hop through a number of geographical areas, but guess what? Russia is vast, hugely unpopulated in some areas, and perhaps a bit paranoid about letting Google Earth take pictures from space. So here’s a book that hooked me in the brief description, The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall, again the first in a series.

12. Impossible to cover Russia in even two books, nonetheless here is one more offering before we move on. Anna by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, number one of a series. Governesses rule!

13. Has it dawned on you yet that I won’t get all 80 books listed in one blog post? I had thought to do 40 at a time, but 20 is taking up lots of space. And Mongolia could take up the rest of the list. Goodreads to the rescue! The Blades of the Rose starts with Zoe Archer’s Warrior. I love a good western Mongolian magic fantasy, don’t you?

14. China brought tea to the world. Before that, we just drank hot water with sugar and cream. (Anyone read/watch Asterix the Gaul?) So I think a modern story about porcelain art items will be the perfect summation of Centuries of vast intelligence and culture. A Cup of Light by Nicole Mones caught my attention for that reason.

15 & 16. North Korea opens up to us in a pair of books by James Church, the first one is A Corpse in the Koryo, and the sequel, Blood and Bamboo.

17. South Korea is the country of origin for many children adopted by citizens of the United States. My family has adopted but not across borders and oceans. I know my niece worked through her urge to find her birth mother, and had instead found happiness in just being who she is. The Lucky Gourd Shop by Joanna Catherine Scott explores adoption of three siblings, the eldest able to remember their life in the shop.

18. Japan is another country that spans many centuries with amazing culture and knowledge. So many books have been written about Nippon that I could, easily, do 80 books here. Instead, I will indulge my fondness for Ninjas and look at a Young Adult book. Young Adult, by the way, only indicates the approximate age of the main characters. The story is still well crafted and engaging. Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn is certainly such a story, and Book One in a series!

19. I’m not usually interested enough in Christian fiction to read much of it, but in looking for books set in Taiwan, that is the first type of book to come up. I should not be surprised, I am acquainted with a minister who teaches English in Taiwan. Maybe that helped spark my interest in Heaven Lake by John Dalton. A test of faith due to romantic inclinations? I want to read it!

20. Last stop on the first leg of the journey, The Village by T. F. Rhoden is listed in the genre of Other. Yep. Reading the description or blurb, it sounds a bit like a modern parable. Set in the pinpoint location of Southeast Asia, it’s a tale of man’s inhumanity to man. Oh, wait. It says the immutability of the human condition. So close.

Have a good rest stop. I’ll put up something else on Wednesday and then hit the road once more on Sunday.

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