Listen, I know, I realise: we strive for diversity in this establishment. So what am I doing recommending books set in Europe of all places? Like there aren’t countless titles like that! What’s the deal, Anna, you may ask.
Well, first of all, I’m from Europe and sometimes you actually do wanna see yourself in the books you read. I mean, I won’t really see myself because none of those books are set in Poland…. I clearly didn’t think this through… In my defense, none of the books set here that I would like to recommend, are even translated into English. So there’s that. But still, it’s Europe, it’s close enough.
And this IS reading peaches which means the books I’m gonna talk about have POC characters or LGBT characters, or a really cool set-up, or are written by women… Actually, they are all but one written by women and the one that isn’t – it’s Les Misérables. I just wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t rec my fav book of all time when talking about books set in Europe!!
Also, fun fact: I’m going to Paris next week!!! I’m so excited, guys! I’ve never been there before and I’m going with my best friend. We’re gonna hit up all the places connected to Les Mis and all the cool museums, and it’s going to be fabulous.
Okay, okay, so let’s proceed with the list! And today it’s seven books because, hey, it’s my blog, I can bend the rules if I feel like it.
Almost everyone in the world (who has good taste) has seen Miyazaki’s take on Howl’s Moving Castle, but weirdly – not all of those people have read the book it’s based on. And let me tell you, they are missing out. You thought Howl was a drama queen in the movie? Wait till you read about him! But hey, why am I reccing it in this particular category? Well, it does partly take place in Wales!
Yeah, I did recently mentioned this book in my Tuesday Mood – The Chosen One post. But hey, you can never hype good books up too much, right? Like I said in my previous post, this is basically HP but when Ron kills Voldy instead of Harry. Also, everyone is gay. The whole thing takes place in Britain, of course, but our MC is Chinese and gay, and another major character is a Black guy. JK wish she could… (Well, she probably doesn’t wish it, to be honest…)
I just mentioned Burney’s other book in my 2019 Backlist Reading List post. Anyway. Don’t let the fact that this is a classic and set in XVIII century fool you! This book is actually hilarious! It’s also basically a satire on the fashionable society of its time and it was anonymously published by a young girl – everyone LOVED it! And everyone thought the author is a guy, of course. What we get is a story of Evelina who comes to London from a little village and doesn’t know the rules, so she just does whatever she feels like. Hence the hilarity and the opportunity for satire. It’s an amazing book, honestly, try it out even if you don’t normally read classics!
If you really thought I would pass up any opportunity to talk about Marchetta, you must not know me well yet. Hell, I have a whole giant post just about how much I love her! But yeah, she’s an Australian author and her books tend to take place there. Lucky for me, this one – a crime story! a thriller! – takes place in England and France. It’s technically about a bomb attack on a bus full of teens, but in reality it’s about interpersonal relationships and families and love. Because this is a Marchetta book, after all. We also have a cast full of Egyptian characters and a side lesbian whom I love.
Look at me, sneaking in another book by an author who’s a favourite of mine! This one is… so many things! It’s a gay love story! It’s a historical-fiction and urban fantasy novel! There are feminists and mechanical octopuses, and adopted families, and fate & destiny, and so much more! It’s a magical story set in UK and one of the most important characters is a Japanese watchmaker. You can read my bite-size review here.
This is a book that answers the question we all ask ourselves: what would happen if The Great Library of Alexandria didn’t burn. Only this book goes further with the idea than most of us, probably, and creates a whole world where it’s the books that have power and the librarians that are the most elite. It’s a fascinating world! It takes place in a lot of countries but also in Europe. Among the array of POC characters we have a genius hijabi girl. There’s also a very nicely done side gay relationship!
And now the book we have all been waiting for! And yes, before you ask, I do in fact own a bright red, leather-bound copy with gold sprayed edges. among two other editions. I’ve also been lucky enough to see the musical live. Anyway! I feel like we all know the story and the group that almost became historic. But people still tend to shy away from the brick and I don’t understand why. It’s one of the best written books out there! It’s a love letter to Paris and to humanity! It’s beautiful and heartbreaking, and so very alive. If I had to save only one book from a fire, Les Mis would be that book.
I hope my European choices were interesting for you, guys! Those are all books I deeply, deeply love!
What books from your country or at least continent can you recommend?