Help me complete my reading list….

Reading is knowledge…..knowledge is power….to understand and explore the world.

Hello Readers!

Unfortunately I’ve been doing too much playing around with my blog and accidentally deleted my “Worth a Read” page along with all the comments! I am trying to recompose it but need your help…..Please let me know your favorite books that are worth a read! I’ve started a new “Worth a Read” page here.

I’m trying to make this a good international, culturally-diverse list and I am betting that you all have some excellent books to add to my repertoire and long queue of books to be read.  Plus it will help us all by having a huge list of recommended reads to further our knowledge and passion of the world.

Subjects I’m especially interested in:

  • Any book set in another country that helps me learn and understand about the history and culture of that place.
  • Books on social justice, social change, non-profit work and organizations
  • Books on traveling
  • Photography
  • Fun, light-hearted books (I tend to read very powerful, heavy books)
  • A book that changed your viewpoint on life.

What’s your favorite “must-read” book? 

Thanks for your help!



  1. I have recently discovered the author Haruki Murkami and i love his books, if you haven’t read any of them yet, i would definitely recommend his books 🙂

  2. A Nature Mom

    I look forward to seeing what people suggest. I’m looking for some fresh reading on these topics, too!

    • Well, looks like I have a ton of responses! Some I’ve left here and others I’ve moved over to the “Worth a Read” page under reader recommendations. The list is growing and getting big! I sure love to read…now I’ll need the time!

  3. I have always like Walden by Thoreau, even though I’m Canadian. This book has brought me a lot of solace over the years. Thoreau talks a lot about simplicity. All you need are two plates, he says – one for yourself and one for a guest. People can get too consumed with materialism, apparently even in Walden’s day.
    I would also suggest anything by William Styron, yes, another American.

    • Why thank you! I read all sorts of writers no matter what their nationality :)…..Any good Canadian writers you can recommend as well to “add to my list”? Thanks again!

    • Thanks so much Jennifer! Wow, now I’m going to be busy! An entire reading list. I would love to join the book club but given how insanely busy I seem to be lately it will have to wait. But to have discussion guides with them is awesome! Thanks for the great tips!

  4. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry, Three Cups of Tea – Greg Mortenson, Shake Hands with the Devil – Romeo Dallaire (very dark, I read it before I met him, cried my whole way through it. If you want something lighter…I have to think about that, right now I am reading the Hunger Games, had to see if the hype is right.

    • Thanks Kendra! I will add these to my list! As for the Hunger Games, I read the entire series two years ago before they came out. I could hardly put them down. I think if you dig deep and look at how S. Collins is portraying life, violence and what is happening in the world, then it is really an excellent book. I wonder though how younger children will understand its true meaning. I loved the series!

  5. Best book I’ve read in a while is Cutting for Stone, which takes place in India and mostly Ethiopia. Fantastic and compelling novel. The best thing I’ve read recently about Kenya (where I live) as a non-fiction book called “Our Turn to Eat” about a govt corruption whistle blower.

  6. I agree with the suggestions for Walden and Three Cups of Tea; will be back later with some of my favorites – (like the Old Man & the Sea!

    (When a spammer deleted some of my posts, WordPress was able to reclaim them by rolling back to an earlier date. )

    Sorry that you lost your post and comments, but this request will glean lots of great titles!

    Will be back tonight,

  7. Many great writers in our world. The writers I enjoy the most in my life are Nevil Shute and Kosinski. They wrote with a real life pen and held your attention to the last word of their stories.

    • Thank you! I haven’t hear of either of these writers but will add them to my ever-growing list, thanks to everyone for commenting like you! 🙂

  8. It’s a quarter to three so I’ll be quick (you’ll be grateful for that!) – Vickram Chandra’s “Red Earth and Pouring Rain” is a phantasmagorical romp through Indian history with a touch of diaspora experience, and I think his ‘Sacred Games’ is superior to ‘White Tiger’. For another light romp – and very short – Michael Ondatje’s “Running in the Family’ is a delightful look at old Sri Lanka. Off to bed before the girls wake and say it’s time to get up, it’s the morning 🙂

    • Thanks! I haven’t read anything on Sri Lanka so am really interested in checking this one out in particular. So many great books to add to my list!!!! 🙂

  9. I prefer Mortensen’s second book to 3 Cups of Tea. It’s called Stones into Schools or Schools from Stones or something like that. But since we’ve learned that Mortensen lied about the beginnng of his first book, I don’t consider him a trustworthy voice in the field of humanitarian aid. Still the second book was a great read.

  10. Three Daughters of China (I think is what it is called) is a great read on the 20th century and changes in China through the eyes of three women. A great read.

  11. I also enjoyed Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson.

    A further suggestion would be The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini which is about two boys growing up in Afghanistan in the 1970s. It´s a very touching and thought provoking book.

  12. sas

    The Island by Victoria Hislop. It’s set on a tiny Greek island called Spinalonga, which is just off the coast of Crete. Spinalonga used to be a leper colony, and nowadays you can take a boat over and visit it with a guide. The stories from Spinalonga are a lot more uplifting than you would imagine. If you haven’t visited Greece already, you’ll want to when you read this book. I used to live opposite Spinalonga, and as soon as I saw your post it was the first book that cam to mind. It’s also reminded me to check out Hislop’s other books, so thanks for that 🙂

    • This sounds lovely! I will have to add it to my list and long queue. I’m so glad as I’ve been getting some really wonderful recommendations! How cool to have lived on a Greek Island! My husband and I spent three weeks cruising around on our honeymoon in the Greek Isles and I truly fell in love with her spell.

  13. Heidi, your old neighbor

    I loved a book set in Minnesota! It is about a young immigrant adjusting to the ways of our society. Great perspective on what our culture looks like to someone new. It’s called “Home of the Brave,” by K. Applegate.

  14. My favorite travelogue of all time is “I Wonder as I Wander” by Langston Hughes, describing his travels in the 1930s Russia, Soviet Central Asia, segregated American South, Cuba, Haiti, Japan, China, and Spain (during its civil war). His experiences were breathtaking, and he captured them beautifully, bringing an open mind, curiosity, and his own background.

    I would also highly recommend Orhan Pamuk’s “Istanbul: Memories and the City,” coupled with photographs by Ara Güler (my copy of Pamuk’s “Istanbul” carries many of Güler’s photographs, but you might wish to get Güler’s “Istanbul: 40 Years of Photographs,” a time-capsule of daily life in 1940s-1980s Istanbul).

    When I think of St. Petersburg and Moscow, these books instantly come to mind–they are part of these cities: Nikolai Gogol’s unnerving short stories in “Petersburg Tales”, Alexander Pushkin’s “Queen of Spades” and “Eugene Onegin” (St. Petersburg; Tchaikovsky wrote beautiful operas based on these), Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” (St. Petersburg), Bulgakov’s “Master and Margarita” (Moscow), and Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” (Moscow and St. Petersburg).

    I think it’s worth checking out John Steinbeck’s, “A Russian Journal”–accounts of his travel in post-Word-War II Soviet Union, accompanied by photographs by Robert Capa (it is an interesting companion to Langston Hughes’ “I Wonder” above, although I think Stenbeck’s journey was, unbeknownst to him, carefully orchestrated, so his experiences are a bit skewed, while Hughes traveled relatively freely, especially during his time in Central Asia. Still, Stenbeck’s account of an American in Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia is a good background read).

    Finally, I’d recommend reading Kundera (especially, “Life is Elsewhere” and “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting”), anything and everything by Kafka, and Jaroslav Hasek’s delightful “The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War” before going to the Czech Republic. Sorry, it’s so long! This is an exciting topic!

    • WOW!!!! This is incredible! Thank you so much for taking the time and sharing your favorite books with me! I truly appreciate it and will keep this list in the comments along with the others so I’ll never be worried about not finding a good book again! This is fantastic! 🙂 Nicole

  15. You have a excellent list of books to read! One book I always enjoyed that is light hearted and sarcastic is (Avoiding Prison and Other Noble Vacation Goals) By Wendy Dale. There are chapters that had me laughing for hours.

    • Thanks so much! Now when I’m ready to get some new books, I can go back to my comments on this page and will have tons of excellent recommendations! Now I just need more time to read! 🙂

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