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After taking a little armchair vacation to the islands in April for the Book Voyage reading challenge, this month we’ll be reading books set in Asia’s northern countries.
Asia is the largest and most populated continent on Earth and is home to some of the world’s oldest known human societies, dating back 600,000 years. As Asian societies became more sophisticated, they achieved remarkable accomplishments in technology, governance, and the arts. Today, Asia is home to two of the largest economies in the world – China and Japan. It is also home to some of the most secretive governments, including North Korea and Turkmenistan.
You can read all about the Book Voyage challenge, find new book lists each month, and download your free printable map book tracker, with a color-coded map of each region here.
The Eurasian landmass is divided into two continents – Europe and Asia – but some countries, like Russia, straddle the border between the two. The Siberian region of eastern Russia is sometimes referred to as North Asia, but we are using a different definition of “Northern Asia” for purposes of the Book Voyage challenge. Since we grouped all of Russia in with Eastern Europe last month, we have not included Siberian Russia on our Asian list this month. In short, don’t take a geography test based on our divisions, they are for reading challenge purposes only!
For purposes of this reading challenge, we roughly divided Asia into northern and southern regions, and we consider northern Asian countries to include: Kazakstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China (including its autonomous areas, like Tibet), Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
As always, you are welcome to choose any book set in this region that you’d like. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best books set in Asia’s northern countries, including many great novels and historical fiction, compelling memoirs, and well-researched non-fiction reads. We’ve worked hard to curate book recommendations that feature many Asian writers and emphasized books that provide atmospheric descriptions that transport you to the Asian country of your choice.
With the increased violence against Asian Americans in recent years, we can’t publish this list of books set in Asia without stating our hope that, in addition to traveling virtually through their pages, these books will also help us all gain a deeper understanding of, and deeper respect for, our fellow humans. You can read more of our thoughts about the power of books here.
Next up, pick your book set in southern region of Asia.
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