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26 Books From Around The World You Need To Read Before You Die

Next stop: your local bookstore.

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1. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

First published in: France

What it's about: A pilot crashes his plane in the Sahara Desert and meets an alien boy he calls "the little prince." Once their kinship is established, the little prince tells him of the asteroid he calls home and the rose he loves.

Suggested by jasminec4b30246b0 (and many others)

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2. Kartography by Kamila Shamsie

First published in: United Kingdom

What it's about: Karim and Raheen grow up together as friends in Karachi, Pakistan, aware that their parents were once engaged to one another until they swapped fiancées. The secret behind the exchange illustrates larger national struggles and changes the course of their relationship.

Suggested by NathaliaVR

3. Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

First published in: Sweden

What it's about: Oskar's life is changed by his friendship with Eli, his mysterious neighbor who is revealed to be a 200 year old vampire.

Suggested by dawnaurora

4. Your Name Shall Be Tanga by Calixthe Beyala

First published in: France

What it's about: Tanga is dying in a West African prison cell, while her fellow inmate Anna-Claude may be going insane. By not allowing Tanga's story to die with her, Anna-Claude's identity begins to meld with hers.

Suggested by Ericka Skinner, Facebook

5. Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa

First published in: Japan

What it's about: Mari is high school dropout, stuck working in her mother's run-down hotel when she meets a middle-aged translator and is drawn into a sadomasochistic affair with him.

Suggested by Kerry Cullen, Twitter

6. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

First published in: Spain

What it's about: In post-war Spain, a father takes his son to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. When Daniel selects The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax, he must protect the book for life.

Suggested by Bell Johnson (and many others)

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7. The Path to the Spiders' Nests by Italo Calvino

First published in: Italy

What it's about: During World War II, Pip comes of age after stealing a Nazi soldier's gun and becoming entangled in the Italian resistance movement.

Suggested by Ale Pelliu, Facebook

8. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

First published in: Mexico

What it's about: Bound by familial traditions, Tita cannot marry Pedro, who marries her sister to remain close to her. Tita expresses her love and desire for him through her cooking, which has unexpected consequences.

Suggested by eileenc43c39ba3a

9. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

First published in: Australia

What it's about: While a turf war unfolds in Jellicoe between children at a boarding school and the visiting cadets, Taylor Markham is preoccupied with the disappearance of her guardian Hannah, who has only left an incomplete manuscript concerning five children who lived on Jellicoe Road twenty years earlier.

Suggested by Rosemary Hallmark, Facebook

10. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

First published in: United States

What it's about: Reverend Stephen Kumalo leaves for Johannesburg to help his sister and search for his missing son. There he encounters the harsh realities of pre-Apartheid South Africa..

Suggested by schoolmarm

11. Brothers by Yu Hua

First published in: China

What it's about: Spanning over the course of forty years, Brothers follows the lives of Baldy Li and Song Gang against the backdrop of the turbulent and changing landscape of twentieth century China.

Suggested by strawberrypineapple36

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12. Wild Thorns by Sahar Khalifeh

First published in: Israel

What it's about: Wild Thorns examines life in Palestine after the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip through the eyes of Usamah al-Karmi, a translator who is a member of the resistance movement.

Suggested by megand4d3ff7283

13. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

First published in: United Kingdom

What it's about: Okonkwo, a leader in the fictional Nigerian village of Umuofia, attempts to balance his cultural values and beliefs during the arrival of Christian missionaries and British colonists.

Suggested by Edmundo Luna, Facebook

14. The Aleph by Jorge Luis Borges

First published in: Argentina

What it's about: After the death of his lover, the narrator encounters his lover's cousin Carlos Argentino Daneri, a poet who hopes to write a poem that encompasses the entirety of the universe.

Suggested by mariemdover

15. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

First published in: United States

What it's about: In her Pulitzer Prize-winning collection, Jhumpa Lahiri illustrates various intersections between Western and Indian cultures, most memorably in the titular short story.

Suggested by Saumya Kedia, Facebook

16. The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz

First published in: Egypt

What it's about: The Cairo Trilogy follows the family of Al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad through the turbulent years of the British occupation of Egypt.

Suggested by Frank OConnor, Twitter

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17. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

First published in: Japan

What it's about: During a taxi ride, Aomame realizes she is living in a parallel universe. She calls it "1Q84," which in Japanese is a play on the homophonic letter 'q' and the number 9.

Suggested by Megha Kumar, Facebook

18. Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin

First published in: United States

What it's about: Angel Tungararza works not only as a masterful baker, but as a comforter and mother-figure to her customers and neighbors in Rwanda, six years after the genocide.

Suggested by liberryin

19. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

First published in: Sweden

What it's about: Allan Karlsson has dined with Winston Churchill and Harry Truman, but he's not content to leave his adventures in the past. On the occasion of his 100th birthday celebration at the nursing home, he decides he's had enough and leaves for a new journey.

Suggested by Ryan Carterét, Facebook

20. Please Look After Mom by Kyung-sook Shin

First published in: South Korea

What it's about: When 69 year old So-nyo goes missing in a busy Seoul train station, her children are forced to confront their failure to care for their mother.

Suggested by sarahbowler28

21. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

First published in: France

What it's about: Deeply philosophical, The Unbearable Lightness of Being focuses on the intertwining lives of faithful and unfaithful lovers against the climate of political unrest in Prague.

Suggested by Parvati Mohan

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22. The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak

First published in: United States

What it's about: Asya Kazanci lives with her mother, grandmother and aunts. Their family life is interrupted by a visiting Armenian-American cousin, who has come to learn about her past.

Suggested by Ani Deanna Chakiryan, Facebook

23. Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig

First published in: Spain

What it's about: Written mostly as a dialogue, Kiss of the Spider Woman explores the relationship between two inmates in an Argentinian prison.

Suggested by jaymed4d3fb7dcb

24. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

First published in: France

What it's about: Renée is the concierge of a rich apartment building in Paris; there, she hides her intelligence behind her work until a tenant's child, Paloma, forms a bond with her.

Suggested by sarahb4d36e0695

25. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

First published in: India

What it's about: The tragic lives of twins Rahel and Estha and their family illuminate the socio-economic hardships of the Indian caste system in the 1960s.

Suggested by Alyssa Kate Pierce, Facebook

26. Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

First published in: Russia

What it's about: In a world where supernatural tensions lie just out of human sight, the Night Watch guards against the Dark. But with the discovery of a powerful Other, the uneasy balance between the Dark and the Light may break.

Suggested by mikaelap3

Did we miss your favorite international book? Tell us in the comments below!

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