For a while now I have been toying with the idea of expanding my TBR list to include books from around the world. Last year I made a new year’s resolution to read a book from a different country every month, and while I broadly stuck to this, I don’t feel like I gained what I wanted from the resolution. So, after some umming and ahhing, I’ve decided for the foreseeable future that each year I will focus on reading from two different countries, both fiction and non-fiction as well as watching films and tv shows, with the aim of improving my knowledge of those countries’ histories and cultures.
Logistically, with this method, I will never be able to read from every country in the world – I’d have to live to around 127 years old which I doubt will happen – but I hope I can gain a more in-depth understanding of the countries that I do read about.
I won’t exclusively be reading from these countries, I still have a huge owned TBR to get through, but the aim is that the majority of what I read will be from these places. So which countries are they? *drumroll*
Australia and India!
I have wanted to learn about aboriginal culture for a long time, having been lucky enough to have visited Australia several times, so this seemed an excellent place to start. I have family living there now and if my Grandad’s family had decided to stay there a hundred years ago then maybe I would have grown up there too, not sure on the biology of that, but hey ho.
With regards to India, it is a country that has cropped up in my education and reading, many a time, but mostly when talking about the British empire. I’d like to discover its own history from the country’s own perspective, rather than a British one.
Having made my choices, I went away and did a little research on where to start, which non-fiction books give a good overview of each country’s history, and which fiction books, recent and past, have been well received and sound interesting to me. Here are the results:
- Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia by Anita Heiss
- Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray by Anita Heiss
- The Little Red Yellow Black Book: An Introduction to Indigenous Australia by Bruce Pascoe
- Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe
- Survival in Our Own Land: Aboriginal Experiences in South Australia Since 1836 by Christobel Mattingley
- Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman
- Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Garimara Pilkington
- Blue Mountains Dreaming: The Aboriginal Heritage by Eugene Stockton
- Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
- The Good People by Hannah Kent
- Forgotten War by Henry Reynolds
- Fight for Liberty and Freedom: The Origins of Australian Aboriginal Activism by John Maynard
- The Essence of the Thing by Madeleine St. John
- Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko
- True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
- Aboriginal Australians: A History Since 1788 by Richard Broome
- The Yield by Tara June Winch
- Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton
- The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity by Amartya Sen
- A Time Outside This Time by Amitava Kumar
- The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
- The Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru
- India: A History by John Keay
- Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh
- Polite Society by Mahesh Rao
- A Mirror Made of Rain by Naheed Phiroze Patel
- The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee
- India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha
- A Death in Shonagachhi by Rijula Das
- Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300 by Romila Thapar
- Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
- An Era of Darkness by Shashi Tharoor
- The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota
- The Begum and The Dastan by Tarana Husain Khan
- The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857 by William Dalrymple
- The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan by Yasmin Khan
Highlighted are the titles I have managed to borrow from the library so far, with some more left to borrow at a later date. However, I have really struggled to find the majority of the non-fiction, and across these two lists I have been unable to find 20 titles in my library’s catalogue or on BorrowBox. Considering these are meant to be important texts on these countries, the lack of access to them in local libraries is not great, but I can’t massively say that I am surprised. I will keep my eyes peeled in charity shops and obviously, for some of the bigger titles, I know I will find them easily online.
So, that’s the plan, I just need to finish the three books I have left over from 2022 then I’ll get started!
If you have read any books or watched any tv shows or films from either Australia or India that you would recommend, I would really appreciate you letting me know in the comments so I can continue building my list.