Calendar Girls January: Favorite Book With a Non-North American Setting

Happy New Year everyone! What better way to start off 2018 than with a Calendar Girls post? I’m particularly looking forward to this one because I read SO MANY books set in America and England, but I’m super interested in books about other countries. Especially when they are written by people FROM those countries!

First of all, I read a LOT of Fantasy and Sci-Fi, but it seemed like kind of a cop-out to choose one of those, so I’m ignoring them. Similarly, England also seemed a bit of a cop-out as it is so similar to America. In fact, I avoided everywhere with white people almost altogether for the purposes of this post. I only considered Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

Once I started thinking about it, I realized that I have read SO MANY good books that take place in non-North American settings! The trouble is, these books are often heavy, so they don’t end up being favorites. Here are a few examples that came to mind:

  • The Kite Runner
  • Love in the Time of Cholera
  • Siddhartha
  • The Iliad and The Odyssey
  • The Alchemist
  • The Good Earth

Like, all brilliant novels, but none of them will I probably ever re-read. However, I highly recommend all of them, and most of them (keyword MOST) were written by folks from the countries they were writing about, which is part of what makes them so amazing.

But after I briefly struggled with thinking I was going to have to pick The Bear and the Nightingale AGAIN, one book sprang to mind. A book that completely changed my life and the way I look at books. I can only be talking, of course, about ….

Life of Pi by Yann Martel


Oh. My. Gosh.

You guys, this is without a doubt one of the best books I have ever read. It’s a little slow at first, with quite a bit of philosophy, religion, and character development rather than story, but it’s GOOOOOOOD philosophy, religion, and character development. If you’ve never read it YOU HAVE TO. Just be careful not to read any spoilers. The end is so mind blowing. Don’t watch the movie either. READ IT FIRST FOR MOST IMPACT.

Life of Pi starts in India. Pi is a precocious and intelligent young man who lives at (or very near?) a zoo which his family runs. To the bewilderment of his parents and everyone involved, he adopts three religions and science simultaneously. Hilarity ensues.

However, his family’s zoo shuts down, and they must move with the Animals to Canada for a new start. While they are voyaging across the ocean something goes wrong and the boat sinks. Only Pi makes it into the lifeboat. Well, Pi and a very large, very hungry Bengal Tiger. In order to stay alive, Pi has to keep the tiger alive as well.

I love everything about this book. It makes me laugh, cry, gasp in shock, everything a good book should do. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Especially if you avoid spoilers.


Calendar Girls Books is a monthly discussion hosted by Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile and Melanie at MNBernard Books based on Neil Sedaka song, Calendar Girl. We pick a theme together and then choose a favorite book from the theme, and later have a nice twitter chat about it. To find out more about the Calendar Girls, visit either Flavia’s or Melanie’s info pages.

Our chat will be on Twitter on Sunday January 21st at 8 EST.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone else picked, and maybe adding some more books to my TBR!

P.S. Do I get bonus points for choosing a book that takes place both in India AND on the Pacific (Atlantic?) ocean? But maybe I loose points since it also partially takes place in Canada…

27 thoughts on “Calendar Girls January: Favorite Book With a Non-North American Setting

  1. I’ve watched Life of Pi and always hesitated reading the book because, well, I thought most of it would just be the technicalities of being on a boat with a tiger? Unless, of course the topic has been thoroughly researched that it provides useful and effective information on how to survive a boat with a tiger in it. But if you’re saying it’s got good philosophy, I’m starting to be intrigued by it.
    And excellent choices with the other books… especially The Kite Runner and Love In The Time Of Cholera!


    1. Actually, the technicalities of surviving on a boat with a tiger were astoundingly well researched! But that’s not really what the book is ABOUT. It’s really about faith. The beginning of the book, which is very philosophical, introduces the idea of faith and what it means to have faith. Then while Pi is stuck on the boat is faith is tested. At the same time, the author pushes YOUR faith in the book. What are you willing to believe? It’s so amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That sounds amazing, testing faith in not just theory but in practise and that too in a unique and difficult situation! I think I’ll add it to my TBR for both philosophy and surviving on a boat with a tiger (you never know what might happen!).

        Liked by 1 person

    1. What is it about being forced to read something that makes people hate it? It’s a common comment, so it can’t be unusual. If anything, I’m the oddball. I really enjoyed most of my required reading in middle and high school. Except American literature. Apparently I don’t like 20th century American literature. Who’d have thought?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have no clue. I felt that way about this one, The Old Man and the Sea, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Senior year was the best because our Lit. teacher gave us choices. That is when I fell in love with Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice.


        1. I also fell in love with P&P senior year. I’d read it before, but I felt like I was finally old enough and wise enough to actually appreciate it. I also HATED The Old Man and the Sea. The dialogue? Ew. I also hated The Great Gatsby (unpopular opinion, I know).

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I also played the clarinet! Yeah, it was pretty cool, but I couldn’t get along with the other band directors. My husband thinks my confidence was intimidating to them, but I think I’m just kind of difficult to get along with in general, lol.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t know Life of Pi would be so great! I have it sitting unread on my book pile, where it has been for literally 3 years, and now I have to read it ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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