Readers Recommend – Books set in Italy, China and Japan

We have had some great suggestions of books emailled to us over the last week, so we thought we’d highlight a selection of them for you. These are the books other Packabook readers suggest you read if you want to focus on a particular country.

Karen from the Books and Chocolate blog suggests to us that to get yourself in the Italian mood, you can’t go past several books that take us to the Italy of years gone by.

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster, gives us a glimpse of Florence during the Edwardian years, and it is friendship between women in the 1920’s that is celebrated in The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim.

Moving ahead a little bit, Somerset Maugham’s Up at the Villa is set in Florence just before World War II, and delves into the life of a beautiful ex-pat British widow.

Karen also recommends Somerset Maugham for a book set in 1920’s China. Maugham’s Painted Veil takes us to cholera-infested regions of the country, as adulterous Kitty Fane learns there is more to life than the shallow existence she has so far been living.

There’s more scandal in Oswald Wynd’s The Ginger Tree, set in Japan in the early years of the 20th century when Scotswoman Mary Mackenzie has an adulterous affair with a Japanese nobleman and is cast out of the ex-pat community.

There are some common themes and time frames in all of these novels, and if traveling back into the past as well as to exotic countries appeals to you – then you can’t go wrong with these suggestions. Visit our books set in Italy, books set in China and books set in Japan to find out more and discover plenty of other great novels. Thank you Karen for your great recommendations.

But sometimes while looking for books to add to Packabook, we come across a red herring.

You would think a novel entitled Brazil would be a certain read for those interested in knowing more about the former Portuguese colony. But Judy Gould has written in and said that while she thinks it is an excellent novel, John Updike’s book does little to portray the country itself – so it looks like we’ll have to leave it off our Brazil page.

These are just some of the many tempting novels you can find at Packabook, but we are always keen to hear your recommendations. If you have a novel you think is ideal for Packabook readers – one that gives us a great portrayal of the place in which it is set – then please let us know by email, or in the comments below. We would love to include you on our next Readers Recommend post.

Happy Reading

Suzi from Packabook

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Disclosure Policy If you click on the links in the posts to buy books, then I will receive a tiny commission for referring you. This does not affect the price you pay for the books, and I am grateful for your support. Every little bit helps! Thank you. (Packabook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com)


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Please note - if you read our reviews and click on our links to buy books, we will receive a tiny commission for referring you. This does not affect the price you pay for the books, and we thank you for your support! Packabook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com