“Heeft u misschien boeken over India?”
“Ik ben heel erg geïnteresseerd in Japan. Is daar nog iets nieuws over uitgekomen?”
“My friend is going to travel through South America. Do you have any novels that take place there?”
“Zijn er boeken van Nederlandse schrijvers die zich afspelen in Australië?”
“Can you recommend any books that take place in Amsterdam?”
Can you read around the world?
Day after day, bookshop owners get questions about books and whether or not they have any recommendations. But when customers ask about books that take place in a specific country or city, then even the most experienced bookshop-employee might be in trouble. The readers who ask this question can usually be placed in three groups:
- Travelers. Travelers want to read about their favourite destinations, to relive the travel-experience, or to learn new things about a future destination. They also read books about countries they will visit soon to gain some insight.
- Present-buyers. They are either very close, or not close at all to the person they are buying a present for. So they either know that the person is very interested in a certain country, dreaming of an amazing trip, or even planning it already. Or the only thing they know about someone is that they told them they are going on a trip soon.
- Couch-lovers. There are many people who love their couch, but still want to ‘see the world’. And for that reason they watch tv and read. It can also be the case that a book club choses a specific country as a theme, or people feel like reading more after watching a documentary or movie. Couch-lovers are the least common group who ask for country-specific books though.
All these division find their way into a bookshop at one point in time or another, all with the same question: “Do you have a book that takes place in […] country?”
And while booksellers try their hardest, there is a limit to the human memory and mind. So we can’t always remember what books are taking place in what city or country, or we just have just one recommendation with the risk that you’ve already read that one. Countries also get mixed up in your mind, and recommendations later proof no good. This is never done on purpose, but it does become annoying to answer questions like those above with just a confused look and a shrug after which the bookshop keeper turns to Google.
And just for that, this page and its subdivisions exist. It will answer your questions about titles taking place in certain countries. With every book categorized in its own country, and even its own town or region. So you can read around the world. Just click on the continent’s below, which will give you some background information of its literary traditions, and from there on look around on the map to see some suggestions. These maps will always be a work in progress, and will continuously change, or have more countries added.
Enjoy your trip!