114 Books From Around The World I Want To Read Before I Die

This post is an editorial digest by Culture Trip’s Social Media Director, and a repost from Medium.com
I’ve always been an utter bookworm: from my teenage years spent reading the likes of Anna Karenina and Crime and Punishment, to university where I studied and devoured French and German literature at Oxford, to ‘real’ adulthood where I find myself drawn to anything that doesn’t smell of airport bestsellers.

I can read like a madwoman, but there is method in the madness. Let me tell you about it: I’ve no time for bad literature, or accidental book choices. Most of the books you’ll see me reading have gone through a meticulous selection process: for years, I’ve been keeping a carefully curated list of all the books I want to read before I die – a lot of it filtered to fascinating, little-known contemporary novels, as opposed to the classics which I’ve already covered. Call me a control freak, but I really care about the quality of my intellectual consumption. And so should you.

Now, I want to share this mini-library with you. It contains all the books on my personal list I haven’t yet read.

A few points to note before you get reading:

1. The vast majority of ‘books to read before you die’ lists are terribly biased towards American and British literature. My list is biased towards the whole world. Around 80% of it is literature in translation. All available in English. Categorized by region, and then alphabetically.

2. This is my Wish List. Books I’ve yet to read, or books I want to re-read. Every time I read one, I’ll mark it as such and add in a date.

3. The list is subjective. I am no book critic. I just pick my reading very carefully.

EUROPE

A Heart So White | Author: Javier Marías | Country of Origin: Spain
Alone in Berlin | Author: Hans Fallada | Country of Origin: Germany
The Atom Station | Author: Halldor Laxness | Country of Origin: Iceland
Baise-Moi | Author: Virginie Despentes | Country of Origin: France
The Book of Disquiet | Author: Fernando Pessoa | Country of Origin: Portugal
Contempt | Author: Alberto Moravia | Country of Origin: Italy
Dead Souls | Author: Nikolai Gogol | Country of Origin: Russia
The Dig | Author: Cynan Jones | Country of Origin: Wales
Down and Out in Paris and London | Author: George Orwell | Country of Origin: UK
The Encyclopedia of the Dead| Author: Danilo Kiš | Country of Origin: Serbia
Enemies: A Love Story | Author: Isaac Bashevis Singer | Country of Origin: Poland
The Elegance of the Hedgehog | Author: Muriel Barbery | Country of Origin: France
Everything Flows | Author: Vasily Grossman | Country of Origin: Russia
Ferdydurke | Author: Witold Gombrowicz | Country of Origin: Poland
The Foundation Pit | Author: Andrey Platonov | Country of Origin: Russia
The Garden of Departed Cats | Author: Bilge Karasu | Country of Origin: Turkey
The Hare With Amber Eyes | Author: Edmund de Waal | Country of Origin: UK
Hunger | Author: Knut Hamsun | Country of Origin: Norway
I Served The King Of England | Author: Bohumil Hrabal | Country of Origin: Czech Republic
Intimacy | Author: Hanif Kureishi | Country of Origin: UK
Invisible Cities | Author: Italo Calvino | Country of Origin: Italy
Journey to the End of the Night | Author: Louis-Fernand Celine | Country of Origin: France
The Leopard | Author: Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa | Country of Origin: Italy
The Maker of Heavenly Trousers | Author: Daniele Varè | Country of Origin: Italy/China
My Struggle | Author: Karl Ove Knausgaard | Country of Origin: Norway.
Petty God | Author: Kaur Kender | Country of Origin: Estonia
Possession | Author: A S Byatt | Country of Origin: UK
Satantango | Author: László Krasznahorkai | Country of Origin: Hungary
Satan in Goray | Author: Isaac Bashevis Singer | Country of Origin: Poland
The Sense of an Ending | Author: Julian Barnes | Country of Origin: UK
A Short History of Decay | Author: Emil Cioran | Country of Origin: Romania
Skylark | Author: Dezső Kosztolányi | Country of Origin: Hungary
Steal You Away | Author: Niccolò Ammaniti | Country of Origin: Italy
The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories | Author: Bruno Schulz | Country of Origin: Poland
The Lost Daughter | Author: Elena Ferrante | Country of Origin: Italy
There But For The | Author: Ali Smith | Country of Origin: Scotland. Amazing title.
This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen | Author: Tadeusz Borowski | Country of Origin: Poland
Three Elegies For Kosovo | Author: Ismail Kadare | Country of Origin: Albania
The Time Regulation Institute | Author: Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar | Country of Origin: Turkey
Too Loud A Solitude | Author: Bohumil Hrabal | Country of Origin: Czech Republic
Traktat o łuskaniu fasoli | Author: Wiesław Myśliwski | Country of Origin: Poland
Twilight of the Eastern Gods | Author: Ismail Kadare | Country of Origin: Albania
The Twin | Author: Gerbrand Bakker | Country of Origin: The Netherlands
Vile Bodies | Author: Evelyn Waugh | Country of Origin: UK
The Wall Jumper | Author: Peter Schneider | Country of Origin: Germany
The Year of the Hare | Author: Arto Paasilinna | Country of Origin: Finland
The Year of the Runaways | Author: Sunjeev Sahota | Country of Origin: UK

ASIA & PACIFIC

20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth | Author: Xiaolu Guo | Country of Origin: China

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers | Author: Xiaolu Guo | Country of Origin: China

Arresting God in Kathmandu | Author: Samrat Upadhyay | Country of Origin: Nepal | Read: January 2016

Behind The Beautiful Forevers | Author: Katherine Boo | Country of Origin: India | Read: August 2016

Bombay Stories | Author: Saadat Hasan Manto | Country of Origin: India

Cat Country | Author: Lao She | Country of Origin: China

Censoring an Iranian Love Story | Author: Shahriar Mandanipour | Country of Origin: Iran

The City Son | Author: Samrat Upadhyay | Country of Origin: Nepal | Read: February 2016

Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer | Author: Cyrus Mistry | Country of Origin: India

Colours Of The Mountain | Author: Da Chen | Country of Origin: China

The Corpse Exhibition: And Other Stories of Iraq | Author: Hassan Blasim | Country of Origin: Iraq

The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories: China From the Bottom Up | Author: Liao Yiwu | Country of Origin: China

The Demon Seed and Other Writings | Author: M.T. Vasudevan Nair | Country of Origin: India

The English Teacher | Author: R.K. Narayan | Country of Origin: India

Goat Days | Author: Benyamin | Country of Origin: India

The God of Small Things | Author: Arundhati Roy | Country of Origin: India

Haroun and the Sea of Stories | Author: Salman Rushdie | Country of Origin: India

I Have the Right to Destroy Myself | Author: Young-Ha Kim | Country of Origin: South Korea

In an Antique Land | Author: Amitav Ghosh | Country of Origin: India

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders | Author: Daniyal Mueenuddin | Country of Origin: Pakistan

Kitchen | Author: Banana Yoshimoto | Country of Origin: Japan. Loved the author’s name.

Life and Death are Wearing Me Out | Author: Mo Yan | Country of Origin: China

Noli Me Tangere | Author: José Rizal | Country of Origin: The Philippines

Please Look After Mother | Author: Kyung-Sook Shin | Country of Origin: South Korea

The Prophet | Author: Kahlil Gibran| Country of Origin: Lebanon

Revenge | Author: Yoko Ogawa | Country of Origin: Japan

Rickshaw Boy | Author: Lao She | Country of Origin: China

Songs of Blood and Sword | Author: Fatima Bhutto | Country of Origin: Afghanistan

The Sound of the Mountain | Author: Yasunari Kawabata | Country of Origin: Japan

The Vivisector | Author: Patrick White | Country of Origin: Australia

The White Tiger | Author: Aravind Adiga | Country of Origin: India/Australia

The Woman in the Dunes | Author: Kōbō Abe | Country of Origin: Japan

Women Without Men | Author: Shahrnush Parsipur | Country of Origin: Iran

AFRICA

A General Theory of Oblivion | Author: José Eduardo Agualusa | Country of Origin: Angola

A Grain of Wheat | Author: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o | Country of Origin: Kenya

Americanah | Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | Country of Origin: Nigeria

The Cairo Trilogy | Author: Naguib Mahfouz | Country of Origin: Egypt

The Famished Road | Author: Ben Okri | Country of Origin: Nigeria

The Fishermen | Author: Chigozie Obioma | Country of Origin: Nigeria

July’s People | Author: Nadine Gordimer | Country of Origin: South Africa

Leaving Tangier | Author: Tahar Ben Jelloun | Country of Origin: Morocco

Life & Times of Michael K | Author: J.M. Coetzee | Country of Origin: South Africa

Taxi | Author: Khaled Al Khamissi | Country of Origin: Egypt

This Blinding Absence of Light | Author: Tahar Ben Jelloun | Country of Origin: Morocco

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families | Author: Philip Gourevitch | Set in: Rwanda

Woman at Point Zero | Author: Nawal El-Saadawi | Country of Origin: Egypt

THE AMERICAS

2666 | Author: Roberto Bolaño | Country of Origin: Chile

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius | Author: Dave Eggers | Country of Origin: USA

A Bend in the River | Author: V. S. Naipaul | Country of Origin: Trinidad & Tobago | Read: September 2016

The Chosen | Author: Chaim Potok | Country of Origin: USA

Dirty Havana | Author: Pedro Juan Gutiérrez | Country of Origin: Cuba

Dune | Author: Frank Herbert | Country of Origin: USA

The Feast of the Goat | Author: Mario Vargas Llosa | Country of Origin: Peru

Giovanni’s Room | Author: James Baldwin | Country of Origin: USA

In Cold Blood | Author: Truman Capote | Country of Origin: USA

The Labyrinth of Solitude | Author: Octavio Paz| Country of Origin: Mexico

A Little Life | Author: Hanya Yanagihara | Country of Origin: USA

Middlesex | Author: Jeffrey Eugenides | Country of Origin: USA

The Namesake | Author: Jhumpa Lahiri | Country of Origin: India/USA

Near to the Wild Heart | Author: Clarice Lispector | Country of Origin: Brazil

The Orphan Master’s Son | Author: Adam Johnson | Country of Origin: USA

Portnoy’s Complaint | Author: Philip Roth | Country of Origin: USA

The Snow Leopard | Author: Peter Matthiessen | Country of Origin: USA

Stoner | Author: John Williams | Country of Origin: USA

Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? | Author: Raymond Carver | Country of Origin: USA

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