Continue your journey around the world with this reading list featuring books from every continent. In our first installment, guest blogger Sharon K. took us on a tour of Africa. This week, she focuses on the Americas and the Caribbean, highlighting authors from a dozen countries spanning two continents and stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.
With its diverse cultural heritage, historic political upheaval, and rich social backdrop, it's no wonder that some of the world's greatest novels are set in Latin America. And looking to the north, Canadian authors are dominating television (have you watched The Handmaid's Tale yet? SO GOOD.) And the literary journal Granta recently dedicated an entire issue to new Canadian writing.
Three of my favorite authors hail from the Americas: Clarice Lispector (Brazil), Isabel Allende (Chile), and Margaret Atwood (Canada). I look forward to reading many more on this list!
Argentina Martin Kohan Seconds Out / César Aira How I Became a Nun; An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter / Ernesto Sábato The Tunnel / Alicia Steimberg Musicians and Watchmakers / Jorges Luis Borges / Tomás Eloy Martínez Purgatory / Matias Nespolo 7 Ways to Kill a Cat / Carlos Gamerro The Islands / Luisa Valenzuela The Censors: A Bilingual Selection of Stories / Manuel Puig Kiss of the Spider Woman/ Adolfo Bioy Casares Where There’s Love, There’s Hate / Julio Cortázar Blow-up And Other Stories / Samanta Schweblin Fever Dream / Ernesto Che Guevera The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey
Brazil João Ubaldo Ribeiro House of the Fortunate Buddhas / Rubem Fonseca Crimes of August / Clarice Lispector The Complete Stories / Jorge Amado Jubiabá; The Double Death of Quincas Water-Bray / João Guimarães Rosa / Paulo Coelho The Alchemist / Machado de Assis Dom Casmurro / Chico Buarque Budapest / Raphael Montes Perfect Days
Canada Margaret Atwood Alias Grace or Blind Assasin / Nicole Brossard Mauve Desert / Alice Munro Dear Life or Runaway / Lauren B Davis Our Daily Bread or The Empty Room / Anne Michaels Fugitive Pieces / Thomas King Green Grass, Running Water / Elizabeth Hay Late Nights on Air / Frances Itani Deafening or Tell / Joseph Boyden Three Day Road / Carol Shields The Stone Diaries / Michael Crummey Galore or Sweetland / Anita Rau Baudami Tamarind Mem; The Hero’s Walk / Zoe Whittall Bottle Rocket Hearts or The Best Kind of People
Chile Roberto Bolaño The Savage Detectives / Alejandro Zambra The Private Lives of Trees / Isabel Allende The House of the Spirits / Alberto Fuguet / María Luisa Bombal House of Mist and Shrouded Women (Texas Pan American Series) / Luis Sepúlveda The Old Man Who Read Love Stories / Antonio Skármeta / Lina Meruane Seeing Red
Colombia Evelio Rosero The Armies / Pilar Quintana Tickles in the Tongue / Juan Gabriel Vasquez The Informers / Eduardo Garcia Aguilar Boulevard of Heroes / Fernando Vallejo Our Lady of the Assassins / Hector Abad Faciolince / Laura Restrepo Delirium / Gabriel García Márquez One Hundred Years of Solitude or Love in the Time of Cholera
Mexico Juan Pablo Villalobos Down the Rabbit Hole / Octavio Paz The Labyrinth of Solitude / Laura Esquivel Like Water for Chocolate / Martín Solares The Black Minutes / Carlos Fuentes The Death of Artemio Cruz / Rosario Castellanos The Book of Lamentations / Carmen Boullosa Leaving Tobasco / Mario Bellatín Beauty Salon or The Large Glass / Sergio Pitol The Art of Flight or The Journey / Juan Rulfo Pedro Paramo / Valeria Luiselli Faces in the Crowd
Venezuela Alberto Barrera Tyszka The Sickness / Ana Teresa Torres Dona Ines vs. Oblivion / Romulo Gallegos Dona Barbara
Violent pasts and sunny presents find their place among the titles here. At the top of my to be read pile is A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Jamaica).
Antigua and Barbuda Jamaica Kincaid Lucy; Annie John / Marie-Elena John Unburnable / Althea Prince Loving this Man; Ladies of the Night / Gisele Isaac Considering Venus / Joanne C. Hillhouse et al. Pepperpot (pan-Caribbean anthology)
Barbados Karen Lord Redemption in Indigo / Agymah Kamau Flickering Shadows; Pictures of a Dying Man / Glenville Lovell Fire in the Canes or Too Beautiful to Die
Cuba Mayra Montero Dancing to Almendra / Ena Lucia Portela One Hundred Bottles / Alejo Carpentier / Reinaldo Arenas / Antonio José Ponte / Leonardo Padura / Reinaldo Arenas / Leonardo Padura Fuentes / Virgilio Piñera / José Lezama Lima / Severo Sarduy / Gu
Haiti Marvin Victor / Lyonel Trouillot Children of Heroes / Dany Laferriere How to Make Love to a Negro without Getting Tired or I am a Japanese Writer / Louis-Philppe Dalembert / Edwidge Danticat The Farming of the Bones or Brother, I’m Dying / Myriam Chancy The Loneliness of Angels or The Scorpion’s Claw
Jamaica Kei Miller / Lindsay Barrett / Margaret Cezair-Thompson The Pirate’s Daughter / Colin Channer / Brian Meeks Paint the Town Red / Patricia Powell / Victor Stafford Reid / Vanessa Spence / Marlon James The Book of Night Women or John Crow’s Devil / Marlon James A Brief History of Seven Killings or The Book of Night Women / Una Marson Selected Poems / Aliecia McKenzie Stories From the Yard or Sweetheart/ Velma Pollard Considering Woman 1 & 2 Short Stories
About the author: Sharon K. is a neo-homesteader learning the ins and outs of country living by luck and pluck and a lot of expert advice. She is the host of the Portland, Maine chapter of Silent Book Club. You can follow her on Instagram here.
One of my favorite aisles in any bookstore is the one stocked with memoirs, collections, biographies and road journals of bands. Here are five books focused on music that I’d recommend. Put on a playlist and dive in.