Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside the U.S.

Foodie Facts About Me-2Happy Tuesday! It’s time to take a trip around the world with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme: Top Ten Books Set Outside the U.S. As I was looking through the books I’ve read on Goodreads in preparation for writing this post I was surprised by how difficult finding ten unique global bookish settings was. I’ve read plenty of books set in England and the rest of Europe, but hardy any set in the other continents. Creating today’s TTT list has taught me that I definitely need to expand my reading horizons when it comes to international settings. With that said, let’s get on with the list!

Jellicoe-Road-by-Melina-Marchetta_thumb1. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta {AUSTRALIA}

I’m sure you’re tired of me gushing about this fantastic novel, but that’s not going to stop me from expressing my love for it one more time! It’s also one of the first books I ever read that is set in Australia.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway2. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway {SPAIN}

Although many of the characters in this classic novel are American, the story itself primarily takes place in Spain. Even though I have a love-hate relationship with this novel, I really enjoyed learning more about the culture of Spain during this time period through Jake’s eyes.

All the Light We Cannot See3. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr {FRANCE & GERMANY}

This is another novel that I’ve talked about constantly on this blog, but it’s just too beautiful not to mention again. I love the dual perspectives of this narrative and the way it plays with time in a historical setting.

eat pray love4. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert {ITALY, INDIA, INDONESIA}

If you’ve ever wanted to visit these three countries, this memoir is your chance to do so right from your favorite reading spot! Although the perspectives we get of these cultures are by no means complete, they are nevertheless fascinating to read about.

life of pi cover5. Life of Pi by Yann Martel {INDIA, CANADA, MEXICO, PACIFIC OCEAN}

This novel is an international adventure in itself! Though it primarily takes place on a raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you still get to learn quite a bit about Pi’s life in India as well as many different religions.

78243226. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys {SIBERIA & LITHUANIA}

This hard-hitting work of historical fiction is set in countries that I knew absolutely nothing about beforehand. Reading about new places and cultures certainly helps put your own life in perspective.

the rook cover7. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley {ENGLAND}

I’ve read countless books set in England and the UK in general, so I had to mention at least one of them! The Rook is a gripping novel set in the bustling city of London, and you really get to feel the chaos and fast-paced lifestyle that often comes with living in a city.

24291358. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson {SWEDEN}

One of the challenges of reading a book set in Sweden is remembering the names of characters, places, etc. They are all so long and difficult to pronounce! I believe this novel was actually translated into English from Swedish, which adds that extra layer of complexity into the mix.

tfios9. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green {THE NETHERLANDS}

I know this is probably technically cheating because the majority of this novel does take place in the United States, but the part set in Amsterdam is just too interesting not to mention!

The Martian by Andy Weir10. The Martian by Andy Weir {MARS}

This book isn’t just set outside of the United States– it’s set outside planet Earth! I love science fiction, so I thought it was only right to include at least one sic-fi novel in this list. Fancy a trip to Mars, anyone?

What great books have you read that take place outside of the United States? Any recommendations? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!



67 Replies to “Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside the U.S.”

  1. I love your selection of books! I’ve read Eat, Pray, Love and while I didn’t love it, I did enjoy how we got to explore those countries through Gilbert’s eyes.

    I also really loved Life of Pi… though I am fonder of the movie, haha. I thought the scenes were very well-shot and the film overall really gorgeous cinematographically.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The film of Life of Pi is soo gorgeous!! I remember seeing it in theaters with my friends after we had read the book for our English class in high school and we were so impressed. It’s definitely a bizarre story, but they captured it perfectly!


    1. TFiOS is definitely well worth the read! It is hyped up, but it’s genuinely a fantastic story. Personally, I think John Green is an excellent writer and storyteller and I would read anything he writes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!! Apparently Eat, Pray, Love has some pretty mixed reviews, because a lot of people seem to feel meh about it. I’ve heard the movie is good, though, so I might try watching that!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Life of Pi is a great one! I had to read it for my English class when I was a sophomore in high school and I really enjoyed it (although some of my classmates felt differently haha).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Life of Pi is a great one! I had to read it for my English class when I was a sophomore in high school and I really enjoyed it (although some of my classmates felt differently haha).


    1. I’ve never seen the Eat, Pray, Love movie, but I really enjoyed the book. I think a lot of people don’t like the feeling of privilege she apparently exudes (she’s a well off white woman who can afford to travel the world and do some soul searching) but I don’t think that’s the point the book is trying to get across. It’s really about finding yourself, being mindful, experiencing new things, and viewing life from a different perspective. I hope you enjoy it whenever you get around to reading it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t help myself– TFiOS is just too wonderful to not mention! The Amsterdam parts made me feel so many emotions that I feel like they’re a really significant, essential component of the story.


  2. I am seeing so many books here that I have loved and some that I really should get to. All the Light We Cannot See sounds like an amazing read and the German setting is so intriguing. This is such a fantastic concept for a post! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I highly recommend All the Light We Cannot See!! The writing is absolutely beautiful and the story itself is stunning, heart-wrenching, and brilliant. I hope you enjoy it whenever you get around to reading it! 🙂


  3. I liked all the light we cannot see and I really should read Jellicoe Road *nods* I also should read Between Shades of Grey (I’ve read Out of the Easy and it was quite good) and Life of Pi. (you are such a cheater for including the fault in our stars, by the way 😛 ) I recently read Invaded, which was set on an alien Planet. It was super cheesy and dumb (actually, there was some parts in the US too #hypocrite). I also recently read Me Before You and A Darker Shade of Magic, set in England/London, and it really depresses me when I think about how many books are set in the US. AUTHORS YOU HAVE SO MANY OTHER CHOICES. *rant over*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right!! The vast majority of the books I read are set in the US, and more often than not if they’re set anywhere else it’s in the UK. What about the rest of the world, authors?! Don’t other countries exist, too???
      P.S. I’m a cheater with no regrets 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Exceptional list! I absolutely adore Jellicoe Road (and everything by Melina Marchetta), I’ve read a few of the other books too, but there are definitely a bunch I am adding to my to read list (and a few that are getting bumped up – like All the Light We Cannot See).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oooh I have one for you! Michael Ridpath has a series called the Magnus Jonson series. The first book is called “Where the Shadows Lie”. It’s about an Icelandic-American who, through events in the US is brought back to Iceland where he grew up to help solve a murder. I’ve read the first and the second, which is called Far North in the states and 66 degrees North outside the US. They’re great if you like mysteries. I’ve read a few on your list and I’ll definitely have to add some more to my Goodreads!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. *facepalms really hard* I totally forgot Eat, Pray, Love even though it is one of my favourite books. I had it with me when I was in France and it was eye opening in many ways. Which part is your favourite? I think mine was Pray.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely a great way to take a vacation when you’re home haha I haven’t traveled much, so I loved how she takes the reader to so many different places. Thanks for commenting! 🙂


  7. Hi holly I just discovered your blog and already I’m have a real talent in blogging .For your next blog could you maybe do top ten books for an 11 to 13 year old it would be really helpful

    From OceonWaves464

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, that means a lot!! Each Top Ten Tuesday post has a designated theme already, but I’ll definitely make a post about that soon! Thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂


  8. This is a fabulous list Holly. I cannot agree more with ‘Jellicoe Road (in fact all Melina Marchetta’s books are amazing).

    Have you read ‘ The Bronze Horseman’ by Paulina Simmons? Highly recommend it, based in ww2 in Russia. So descriptive and of course, addictive!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t, but I’ll definitely have to check it out! The majority of the WWII historical fiction I’ve read has taken place in Germany, France, etc., so it will be interesting to read it from the perspective of a Russian setting. Thanks for the recommendation!

      Liked by 1 person

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