It’s time to step outside your comfort zone, outside your borders, or outside of your own country or culture. Tell us about the books that transported you to a different world, taught you about a different culture, and/or helped you step into the shoes of someone different from you. What impacted you the most about this book? What books would you recommend to others who are ready or not ready to step over the line? In essence, let’s start the conversation about diversity and keep it going!
Reading fiction is all about being transported to different worlds, and as a Fantasy fan there are unlimited possibilities, but sometimes the most visceral of books are those set in the real world, ones that take you to a different country and immerse you in a whole other culture.
As I was thinking about this topic, I realised that don’t read those kinds of books enough. A few that immediately sprang to mind though, were Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (Japan), Cereus Blooms at Night by Shani Mootoo (The Caribbean), and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan).
However, I imagine that the majority of people taking part in Armchair BEA are American and so I would like to share a few of my favourite books set in the UK and Ireland.
Mystery Man by Colin Batman: I’ve just finished the fourth book in this series and they really capture the humor and demeanor of Northern Ireland.
A superbly gripping and blackly funny mystery by the king of the comic crime caper. He’s the Man With No Name and the owner of No Alibis, a mystery bookshop in Belfast. But when a detective agency next door goes bust, the agency’s clients start calling into his shop asking him to solve their cases. It’s not as if there’s any danger involved. It’s an easy way to sell books…
The Night Watch by Sarah Waters: Waters actually managed to make war-time London sound beautiful in some parts of this book.
Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked-out streets, illicit partying, and sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch tells the story of four Londoners—three women and a young man with a past—whose lives, and those of their friends and lovers, connect in tragedy, stunning surprise and exquisite turns, only to change irreversibly in the shadow of a grand historical event.
Tristan and Iseult: This is one of my favourite Celtic stories.
Tristan defeats Ireland’s greatest warrior and gains the friendship of his uncle, the King of Cornwall, who entrusts him with a very special mission: to sail the seas in search of a queen.