In a recent online chat between PocketCultures contributors from around the world, we talked about books which reflect our countries and cultures. Here are our recommendations.

Art installation at ArteBA 2012. Photo by Ana O'Reilly


“I’d probably choose El inglés de los güesos (1924; “The Englishman of the Bones”) by Benito Lynch, a tragic love story between a young English anthropologist and a gaucho girl. It’s a classic love triangle set in the Pampas. This novel is a fine example of Argentinean literatura gauchesca, or gaucho literature.” –Ana Astri O”Reilly

New Zealand

“Here in New Zealand people always recommend The Bone People by Keri Hulme and, more recently, Mr. Pip (actually set in Papua New Guinea but the author is a Kiwi) by Lloyd Jones”. –Marie Szamborski

Ireland / Germany

“My favourite book representing both Ireland and Germany is The Speckled People by Hugo Hamilton, a memoir about growing up in 1950s Ireland as the child of a die-hard republican Irishman (who only allows Irish being spoken when he’s in the house) and a German mother.” –Marcel Krueger

United Kingdom

“Granta magazine’s Britain issue is a collection of stories celebrating Britain’s past and present and is quite a good place to start. Otherwise, This Bleeding City by Alex Preston is a good representation of the life of university graduates in London, and Nadeem Aslam’s Maps for Lost Lovers shows the perspective of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent who have made Britain their home.” –Lucy Chatburn


“For Kazakhstan, the best historical/current overview is “Apples Are From Kazakhstan” (also published under “In Search of Kazakhstan”) by Christopher Robbins.” –Celia Emmelhainz


“I found the children’s book “A Year Down Yonder” by Richard Peck charming, because it’s the very world my grandmother grew up in, in the rural United States.” –Celia Emmelhainz

Costa Rica

“Juan Varela (Adolfo García), Mamita Yunai (Carlos Luis Fallas), Asalto al Paraíso (Tatiana Lobo), Mo (Floria Jiménez), El Árbol Enfermo (Carlos Gagini) and Cuentos de mi Tía Panchita (Carmen Lyra).” –Nuria Villalobos

Read more recommendations from Costa Rica in our People of the World interview with Nuria.

Hong Kong

“Hong Kong State of Mind by Jason Ng, and Hong Kong Noir by Feng Chi Shun” –Ski Yeo


“Not from the geographical location I am in, but The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht, set during the Bosnian/Serbian war, provides great insight.” –Nargiza Rysulkova

Can you recommend a book from your part of the world? We’d love to hear about it.


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About the author

Lucy is English and first ventured out of the UK she was 19. Since then she has lived in 4 different countries and tried to see as much of the world as possible. She loves learning languages, learning about different cultures and hearing different points of view.