July 19th: Books That Aren’t Set In/Inspired By The Western World
–I know this is a long title, but I couldn’t figure out how else to word it and still get the point across. Talk about books that are set outside of the Western World (so outside of North America and Western Europe) or if they are SFF, books that aren’t inspired by those places (so no medieval setting fantasy!)
This week’s topic was more difficult than it should be, and goes to show how much diverse stories are needed. Most of my read books take place in very westernised settings, it’s something I have been working to change by seeking out more diverse stories. Still, it quickly became very obvious that I have a way to go. I feel that I specifically need to seek out more contemporary novels set in other countries, and I will be taking steps to improve on this.
The Wrath and the Dawn – by Renée Ahdieh
This retelling of 1001 nights is full of beautiful descriptions and vivid characters. I couldn’t put it down when I read it last summer. The story was compelling, and I love the use of mythology and magic. I highly recommend this gorgeous duology.
The Star-Touched Queen – by Roshani Chokshi
The writing in this book is out of this world, I was blown away from the first page. Inspired by Indian folklore, with Hades and Persephone threads woven in, this book is wonderful in so many ways. I can’t wait to get back into this world with Crown of Wishes.
Flame in the Mist – by Renée Ahdieh
Set in Japan, I enjoyed this book when I read it a few months ago. With hints of magic woven throughout, and taking inspiration from Mulan (my favourite Disney movie), Flame in the Mist has been a popular release. I’m definitely looking forward to getting some answers in the sequel.
A Thousand Nights – by E. K. Johnston
I was slightly underwhelmed by this 1001 nights retelling. The magic was interesting, but it was somewhat darker than I was expecting, and I felt a disconnect from the nameless main character at times. I think I would have enjoyed this more had I not read The Wrath and the Dawn so recently.
Memoirs of a Geisha – by Author Golden
This historical fiction novel is set in 1930’s Japan. I read it quite a few years ago for my English Literature A Level course. My memory of it is a little hazy, but I was kept invested throughout the story, and I do remember enjoying most of the other titles from the reading list. I would like to reread this one day and refresh my memory.
I’m glad this week’s topic was chosen. It has definitely made me take a good look at what I have been reading, and highlighted an area where I can do better. I feel like it is incredibly important to read diverse stories and authors, and to seek out new stories and narratives. Since I have been more aware of diversity in my reading material I have discovered so many wonderful stories and authors, and broadened my bookish comfort zone. If you have any recommendations for books with a non western setting, please let me know, I’d love to expand my TBR.
Want to chat, places you can find me: