Visiting New Countries


If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve already got at least one experience of international travel under your belt. Maybe you took a semester abroad as an undergrad or went on a family trip over the summer. But no matter what your travel history is, it’s likely that these 10 countries have shown up somewhere on your bucket list. In the United States, France, Spain, and China. planning a vacation to any of these places can be daunting for travelers who want to get off the beaten path and do more than just touristy things. So instead of thinking about how to visit these most popular countries in the world without feeling like a tourist (which can end up making you feel even more like one), why not try something new? Pick up some books by local authors and get inspired by their stories. You may find yourself becoming deeply immersed in the literature of your chosen destination; so much so that when it comes time to take that vacation you’ll feel like an insider!

France: Under the Tuscan Sun (1996) by Frances Mayes

This is a memoir written by Frances Mayes, an American author who moved from California to Tuscany in 1983. The book describes her life and experiences as she settles in Italy, learns to cook and make wine, travels around Europe, and deals with issues such as loneliness and health problems.

Spain: The Shadow of the Wind (2001) by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This is a book about a boy named Daniel, who lives in Barcelona and visits the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. There he finds a mysterious book that has been written by Julian Carax.

The story begins when Daniel’s father returns from the war with some mysterious injuries and burns. He gives his son an old book for his birthday which becomes something special to him. But soon after this, Daniel finds out that someone is searching for him and they want the novel back!

United States: Between the World and Me (2015) by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Coates’ book has been described as a letter to his son, but it’s an essay. In this book, Coates reflects on race relations in the United States and how they have evolved throughout history. He also conveys his perspective on what he believes will happen with race relations in the future.

The book is written in a personal tone that makes you feel like you’re having a conversation with Coates himself. It covers topics such as slavery, police brutality, and black history that are often ignored or avoided by mainstream media outlets like CNN or Fox News.

China: A Dream of Red Mansions (1791) by Cao Xueqin

If you’re looking for a book that will transport you to China and all its culture, history, food, and people this is it.

The book follows the lives of several characters in late 18th-century Chinese aristocratic society and chronicles their struggles against each other through the eyes of an anonymous narrator known as “Jing Ke.” The novel also provides insight into the customs and traditions of imperial China at that time through its meticulous descriptions of clothing, architecture, artworks, military equipment, and other aspects of daily life in the Qing dynasty (1644–1911).

Italy: The Divine Comedy (1320) by Dante Alighieri

Dante’s masterpiece, The Divine Comedy is not only a must-read for any Italian literature enthusiast, but also for anyone who wants to get a taste of Italy. Set in the 14th century (the same period as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales), this Italian epic poem tells the story of Dante’s journey through hell, purgatory, and paradise.

Dante was an Italian poet from Florence during a time when most people were illiterate and only spoke Latin or their regional dialects so it was incredibly impressive that he wrote his works in his native Tuscan dialect rather than Latin. It’s often called “The first modern major work in any language” because it helped develop the Tuscan vernacular into what we now know as modern Italian! It also contains some pretty cool characters like St. Francis and Beatrice Portinari who served as inspiration for many future artists including Botticelli’s Birth of Venus statue (see below).

Mexico: Like Water for Chocolate (1989) by Laura Esquivel

Like Water for Chocolate, written by Laura Esquivel in 1989, is a classic tale of romance and fate. It follows Tita (the main character) as she struggles with her love for Pedro and the secrets that keep them apart. Esquivel’s writing style has been compared to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s magical realism work. The story takes place in Mexico during the Mexican Revolution, which might make some readers hesitant about reading it but don’t worry! This book is accessible to everyone who enjoys a good love story with plenty of heartbreak and drama.

Turkey: My Name is Red (1998) by Orhan Pamuk

The Turkish author Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006 for his novel My Name is Red, a murder mystery set during the time of Ottoman Sultan Murat III. The story follows a group of miniaturists (illustrators who painted intricate images on paper) who are working on an epic manuscript called The Book of Kings that features several historical figures from the 16th century. When one of their own is murdered and his death linked to the book they are working on, they must solve this mystery before they become victims.

Germany: The Metamorphosis (1915) by Franz Kafka

Another classic novel from the early 20th century with a distinctly German flavor is The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. This short but powerful piece of literature was published in 1915, and it tells the story of Gregor Samsa, a salesman who wakes up one day to discover he has turned into a cockroach.

His family, however, does not react well to this sudden change: they try to kill him by locking him in his room and leaving him alone for days on end (they think he’s dead). They’re so upset by his new form that they can’t bring themselves to touch their father anymore and even though he’s still human enough to communicate through written notes on scraps of paper left around the house (the only way he can communicate now), it doesn’t stop them from treating him like some kind of monster or pestilence!

United Kingdom: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997) by J.K. Rowling

British writer J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997) is a children’s fantasy novel. The story follows a boy wizard who discovers he has magical powers that enable him to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he makes friends with fellow students Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. Together, they embark on an adventure that involves saving their school from an evil wizard named Lord Voldemort.

Start With These Books

  • You’ll be able to learn about these countries through the most popular books that are available.
  • You’ll get a better understanding of these countries by reading them.
  • These are some of the best books out there for learning more about these countries and their cultures.


Visiting new countries is one of the best ways to learn more about different cultures, lifestyles, and people. Reading books from other countries will help us get a better understanding of what their society is like. With that in mind, I have compiled a list that includes some popular novels written by authors from all over the world! The next time you feel curious about another country or just want to escape reality for a bit, pick up any one of these books and start reading!

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