Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside The US, Canada, or Western Europe

Books set outside Western Eurocentric culture!

I think we can all agree the (book) world is unfairly biased toward eurocentric stories and beliefs. I’ve definitely noticed it with my reading – it can be annoying difficult to find books set outside North America or the western part of Europe (Italy, France, Germany, UK, etc)

So I’ve put together a list of 10 books set outside the Western Eurocentric bubble. This list includes 8 books I’ve read and really enjoyed and 2 that are high on my TBR.

1. Archangel’s Storm (Guild Hunter #5) by Nalini Singh

Setting: India

This adult urban fantasy is set at the Archangel Neha’s palace in India. I do highly recommend reading this series in order as there is an overarching plot. But this series in general spans the entire globe and it’s wonderful.

2. Sanctuary by Alexandria House

Setting: Africa

This is a paranormal romance novella following a woman who reconnects with her lost love. Only to discover he is might not be entirely human – or even mortal. This book opens with a US setting but soon the character find themselves in Africa. The setting is so beautifully described too. It’s short and romantic fated mates romance.

3. The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty

Setting: Middle East

While this setting is somewhat fantastical, it is also based in realty. The story opens up in Cairo where a young woman accidentally summons djinn warrior. Together they travel through the dessert toward the magic City of Brass.

This political fantasy is lushly written and the setting is an important part of the story itself. In general, this is one of my favorite fantasy settings!

4. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Setting: Ghana

I’m sure this book comes up on every recommendation list like this but it’s an all time favorite and I couldn’t resist recommending it again. This is a multi generational story following half-sisters who are born into different villages in Ghana and lead very different lives. This follows them as well as their descendants throughout their lives as they move around the country and world.

5. The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden

Setting: Russia

This adult fantasy is fantastical reimagining of Russian folklore with some of the most beautiful writing I’ve ever read. This story follow Vasilisa who can see the old gods. But the old gods are disappearing as Christianity is moving into Russia. This story is atmospheric and complex and will definitely whisk you away to the Russian tundra.

6. The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur

Setting: Korea

This is a YA thriller following a young woman who is traveling to the Korean village where she grew up in hopes of finding her missing father. While she is there she learns that girls have been disappearing for years and her father was trying to solve the case.

This has complex sister dynamics, a sinister plot, and a haunting atmosphere. Definitely a book that will keep you hooked from start to finish!

7. The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco

Setting: Japan

Okay this one is a bit of a stretch since a lot of the book takes place in the US. However there is still a significant (and important!) part that takes place in Japan. This YA horror follows a ghost who hunts down murders. And it is actually based on a Japanese ghost story!

If you want creepy dolls, The Grudge meets Dexter, and spooky vibes – definitely check this out!

8. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Setting: Middle East (mainly Egypt & Morocco)

A classic! This is a really short literary classic that follows a shepherd boy who travels across the Sahara in search for a hidden treasure. This book is full of metaphor and symbolism while still being an accessible read. If you want something to make you think this definitely a good option!

9. What’s Left of Me Is Yours by Stephanie Scott

Setting: Tokyo, Japan

This is the first of the books I haven’t read yet – but I did just download this on Libby so I’m hoping to read it very soon!

This is a mystery/thriller that follows a wakaresaseya – someone who is hired by a spouse to seduce the other in order to gain the advantage in a divorce. But when this wife and wakaresaseya fall in love, a series of violent acts are set in motion.

This is such a cool and unique premise and I’m really excited to finally dive into this one!

Lobizona (Wolves of No World #1) by Romina Garber

Setting: Argentina

A 2020 release, the YA light fantasy is based on the Argentinian folklore of lobizón, or werewolves. I own this on and really (really) want to get to it soon. I’ve heard this story is light on the fantasy and heavy on the themes and honestly that sounds right up my alley. Plus the sequel releases later this year (August) so I would like to binge them back to back!

Let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you have any recommendations to add to this list! I definitely struggled finding some South American settings so I’ll be on the hunt for those!

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