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A transporting and illuminating voyage around the globe, through classic and modern literary works that are in conversation with one another and with the world around them Inspired by Jules Verne’s hero Phileas Fogg, David Damrosch, chair of Harvard University’s department of comparative literature and founder of Harvard’s Institute for World Literature, set out to counter A transporting and illuminating voyage around the globe, through classic and modern literary works that are in conversation with one another and with the world around them Inspired by Jules Verne’s hero Phileas Fogg, David Damrosch, chair of Harvard University’s department of comparative literature and founder of Harvard’s Institute for World Literature, set out to counter a pandemic's restrictions on travel by exploring eighty exceptional books from around the globe. Following a literary itinerary from London to Venice, Tehran and points beyond, and via authors from Woolf and Dante to Nobel Prize-winners Orhan Pamuk, Wole Soyinka, Mo Yan, and Olga Tokarczuk, he explores how these works have shaped our idea of the world, and the ways in which the world bleeds into literature. To chart the expansive landscape of world literature today, Damrosch explores how writers live in two very different worlds: the world of their personal experience and the world of books that have enabled great writers to give shape and meaning to their lives. In his literary cartography, Damrosch includes compelling contemporary works as well as perennial classics, hard-bitten crime fiction as well as haunting works of fantasy, and the formative tales that introduce us as children to the world we’re entering. Taken together, these eighty titles offer us fresh perspective on enduring problems, from the social consequences of epidemics to the rising inequality that Thomas More designed Utopia to combat, as well as the patriarchal structures within and against which many of these books’ heroines have to struggle--from the work of Murasaki Shikibu a millennium ago to Margaret Atwood today. Around the World in 80 Books is a global invitation to look beyond ourselves and our surroundings, and to see our world and its literature in new ways.


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A transporting and illuminating voyage around the globe, through classic and modern literary works that are in conversation with one another and with the world around them Inspired by Jules Verne’s hero Phileas Fogg, David Damrosch, chair of Harvard University’s department of comparative literature and founder of Harvard’s Institute for World Literature, set out to counter A transporting and illuminating voyage around the globe, through classic and modern literary works that are in conversation with one another and with the world around them Inspired by Jules Verne’s hero Phileas Fogg, David Damrosch, chair of Harvard University’s department of comparative literature and founder of Harvard’s Institute for World Literature, set out to counter a pandemic's restrictions on travel by exploring eighty exceptional books from around the globe. Following a literary itinerary from London to Venice, Tehran and points beyond, and via authors from Woolf and Dante to Nobel Prize-winners Orhan Pamuk, Wole Soyinka, Mo Yan, and Olga Tokarczuk, he explores how these works have shaped our idea of the world, and the ways in which the world bleeds into literature. To chart the expansive landscape of world literature today, Damrosch explores how writers live in two very different worlds: the world of their personal experience and the world of books that have enabled great writers to give shape and meaning to their lives. In his literary cartography, Damrosch includes compelling contemporary works as well as perennial classics, hard-bitten crime fiction as well as haunting works of fantasy, and the formative tales that introduce us as children to the world we’re entering. Taken together, these eighty titles offer us fresh perspective on enduring problems, from the social consequences of epidemics to the rising inequality that Thomas More designed Utopia to combat, as well as the patriarchal structures within and against which many of these books’ heroines have to struggle--from the work of Murasaki Shikibu a millennium ago to Margaret Atwood today. Around the World in 80 Books is a global invitation to look beyond ourselves and our surroundings, and to see our world and its literature in new ways.

30 review for Around the World in 80 Books

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ilse

    Around the world and 80 books in 13 days. Full review to come. Atlas of Movements Christoph Fink (Ghent, °1963) has been working on his Atlas of Movements for many years, exploring the borders of the human body and its interaction with its surroundings. This takes the form of detailed accounts of his travels, photographs, sound recordings, etc. which the artist then turns into experimental exhibitions such as space-filling cartographic and acoustic constructions consisting of drawings, diagrams, Around the world and 80 books in 13 days. Full review to come. Atlas of Movements Christoph Fink (Ghent, °1963) has been working on his Atlas of Movements for many years, exploring the borders of the human body and its interaction with its surroundings. This takes the form of detailed accounts of his travels, photographs, sound recordings, etc. which the artist then turns into experimental exhibitions such as space-filling cartographic and acoustic constructions consisting of drawings, diagrams, tables and layers of sound. Fink thus presents an alternative world view in which he calls into question the relationship between the various elements around us. (from: Museum M)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    Drawing on my experiences abroad, I decided to loosely mimic Phileas Fogg’s route from London eastward through Asia, across the Pacific to the Americas, and finally back to London. I would recall, and often actually revisit, a group of particularly memorable locations and the books I associate with them, both to see how literature enters the world and to think about how the world bleeds into literature. In January of 2020, I was plotting my itinerary, building it around upcoming talks and con Drawing on my experiences abroad, I decided to loosely mimic Phileas Fogg’s route from London eastward through Asia, across the Pacific to the Americas, and finally back to London. I would recall, and often actually revisit, a group of particularly memorable locations and the books I associate with them, both to see how literature enters the world and to think about how the world bleeds into literature. In January of 2020, I was plotting my itinerary, building it around upcoming talks and conferences. Then came Covid-19. David Damrosch (chair of Harvard University's department of comparative literature) has built a career on introducing (sometimes even translating) non-English texts into the Western canon. Planning a series of literary talks around the world for 2020, Damrosch thought he might visit a globe-encircling series of cities that mimicked Phileas Fogg’s imaginary eighty day journey and write a book about those experiences that could further “introduce a broader readership to the expansive landscape of literature today”; but then Covid hit and the world shut down and Damrosch’s project was iced. Until, that is, he decided to host his tour online — taking inspiration from Xavier de Maistre’s Voyage autour de ma chambre (a fanciful “Grand Tour” of the chambers of an aristocrat who found himself under house arrest in 1790) — with house-bound Damrosch exploring an exotic locale through five books per week, covering eighty diverse books over his sixteen week project. This book is the result of that project. Starting with novels (and some poetry collections) set in London (mimicking Phileas Fogg’s launching point), Damrosch then voyages out to Paris (discussing Proust to Perec), Kraków (Primo Levi and Franz Kafka to Olga Tokarczuk), Venice, the Middle East, Africa, Israel and Palestine, Tehran, India, China, Japan, South and Central America, Caribbean Islands and an island off the coast of Maine (which was the childhood home of the author; surprisingly more literary than one might anticipate), New York City and back to London (with a special look at Tolkein). Much of the familiar Western canon is referenced throughout — books such as In Search of Lost Time, The Odyssey, and Candide have been reframed countless times by a diverse range of authors through time and space; every memory-inducing bite of rice cracker is a Proustian moment — and Damrosch masterfully uses the familiar to not only demonstrate how world literature has responded to the West, but also to underline how they have developed independent canons of their own. Around the World in 80 Books is quite long , and sometimes dense, but I found it consistently fascinating (and I will say that I imagine it would be infinitely more interesting to actually take a course in Comparative Literature from Damrosch) and it gave me much inspiration for further reading. (Note: I read an ARC through NetGalley and passages quoted may not be in their final forms.) It would be impossible to go over all eighty (one) of Damrosch’s selections (and countless other references), but to give a sense of how he links things together: Beginning in London, Damrosch notes that the city is well (if very differently) described by authors as diverse as Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He points out that Woolf didn’t think much of those other two writers (she wrote a famously damning essay on David Copperfield and once wrote of Sherlock Holmes’ beloved sidekick, “to me Dr. Watson is a sack stuffed with straw, a dummy, a figure of fun”). Damrosch further writes of the complexity that Woolf brings to her title character in Mrs. Dalloway: “Devising her own version of Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness technique, and like him adapting the ancient Greek unities of time and place for her novel, Woolf draws on Sophocles and Euripides as well as on Chekhov, Conrad, Eliot, Joyce, and Proust.” (This kind of intertextuality is frequently, exhaustively, noted.) When Damrosch’s imaginary travels take him to India, he begins with an analysis of Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, writing, “Kipling can be said to have invented India for many foreign readers, much as Oscar Wilde thought that Dickens and Turner had invented London.” Part of this analysis is a thorough introduction to Kipling’s Indian character Hurree Chunder Mookerjee (an employee of the colonial government and an agent in the “Great Game” of espionage), and this becomes vital later when Damrosch introduces us to novelist Jamyang Norbu’s most famous work (which sees a resurrected Sherlock Holmes and Hurree Chunder Mookerjee collaborating on a case in the Himalayas): Grounded in Norbu’s creative rereading of Kipling and Conan Doyle, The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes blends genre fiction and political advocacy in a mode of metafictional play, in which Tibetan Buddhism is shown to be a moral resource for the whole world, transcending greed and the quest for domination, in an ideal blend of religion and science, ancient and modern, East and West together. The book has been translated into many languages, including French, German, Hungarian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. (I particularly liked the fact that Holmes’ discovery of Buddhism helps him kick his drug addiction.) Many sections play out like this: Damrosch acknowledges that a European first introduced Western readers to a foreign land (as did Kipling for India or Marco Polo for China), then discusses authors (like Salman Rushdie or Norbu) who have written as emigres or exiles about their homelands, and then concludes with a modern author (in this case, Jhumpa Lahiri) who writes for a modern audience at a generational remove from the locale. This feels balanced (acknowledging the initial Westernised view of a location and then including the voices of the locals) and feels like it is giving equal say to two sides of a global conversation. One more example of the depth of intertextuality to be found in this book: Writers such as (Derek) Walcott, James Joyce, and Jean Rhys, who all grew up on colonized islands, can feel the need to invent a language suited to their island’s modest material circumstances, intense localism, and distance from the metropolitan centers of politics, history, and culture. Island-based writers often orient themselves in the world with reference to other islands, near or far. In this chapter, we’ll proceed from Walcott to two of his inspirations, Joyce and Rhys, and then to Margaret Atwood’s feminist rewriting of Joyce’s rewriting of Homer, and finally to Judith Schalansky’s mapping of remote islands around the world. And I’ll end with Damrosch’s own conclusion; on the absolute necessity of reading widely in world literature: Jules Verne didn’t content himself with sending his heroes around the world in eighty days, but also propelled them to the moon and immersed them 20,000 leagues under the sea. In antiquity, restless Odysseus was said to have left Ithaca late in life, not for another sea voyage but for its opposite, a journey on land until he’d find a place where people wouldn’t know what an oar was used for. The list of new literary destinations is endless. With the world falling apart in so many ways, and the pandemic’s aftershocks likely to long remain with us, it’s good to connect in the ways we can, over the things that matter to all of us, as we tend our gardens and perform le tour du monde dans nos chambres.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    I'm not usually one to read popular books about books but I was given this as a present - and it's a delight! Damrosch genuinely eschews the usual suspects and that annihilating concept of 'the Western canon' and ranges widely around the world of global literature. He also ventures into non-novelistic writing, only a dip of a toe, admittedly, but includes occasional plays, books of poetry and essay collections. He's also a delightful companion on this voyage and is happy to discuss the way our i I'm not usually one to read popular books about books but I was given this as a present - and it's a delight! Damrosch genuinely eschews the usual suspects and that annihilating concept of 'the Western canon' and ranges widely around the world of global literature. He also ventures into non-novelistic writing, only a dip of a toe, admittedly, but includes occasional plays, books of poetry and essay collections. He's also a delightful companion on this voyage and is happy to discuss the way our individual circumstances, inheritances and baggage inflect the way we read and respond to individual texts. Most of all, he's no book snob and is as happy to discuss Doctor Doolittle and The Lord of The Rings, Wodehouse, Donna Leon and Sherlock Holmes as he is to delve into Dante and Achebe. For me, personally, it's illuminating to read 'trips' to the Middle East, Africa, Israel and Palestine, Tehran to Shiraz, China and Japan, before returning via Latin America (though slightly odd to locate More's Utopia and Voltaire's Candide under Brazil-Columbia?) and the Caribbean (again, what is Atwood's The Penelopiad doing here? Placing it as a response to Homer, as is Walcott's Omeros is a little eccentric, no?) before returning via New York to London. Each 'trip' comprises a handful of books and Damrosch makes some careful segues between them. It's sad that out of the eponymous 80 books only 20 are by women - a function of looking at literature historically as well as globally, perhaps? Possibly also limited to books that are easily available in translation and are therefore already deemed 'publishable' for commercial or scholarly reasons? So not necessarily a book to read cover to cover or all in one go but a lovely tribute to global literature with lots of books I'd like to get to - and who doesn't need to add more to their TBR, eh?!

  4. 5 out of 5

    marta the book slayer

    Reading about books is not as enjoyable as reading books, ya feel me? It's even worse when you're reading an explanation of a book you haven't read. Often times the author would explain books by what other authors have said about them and thus it's hard to keep track of what I'm actually reading about or trying to gain from this. That said, I decided to approach this more like a fun resource for finding books I would want to read. This book was split into different sections around the world, I'l Reading about books is not as enjoyable as reading books, ya feel me? It's even worse when you're reading an explanation of a book you haven't read. Often times the author would explain books by what other authors have said about them and thus it's hard to keep track of what I'm actually reading about or trying to gain from this. That said, I decided to approach this more like a fun resource for finding books I would want to read. This book was split into different sections around the world, I'll provide you with the books that I found interesting enough to add to my tbr: W, or the Memory of Childhood The Periodic Table Invisible Cities My Name Is Red The Thing Around Your Neck Interpreter of Maladies If I learned anything from this book, it's that I don't like books like this - I would take that as a pretty valuable lesson. Thank you Penguin Group and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review what better way to end the year than learning as much as you can about the world? (aka a non-fiction/memoir marathon) ❄ the anthropocene reviewed ❄ around the world in 80 books

  5. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey

    (Note: I received an advanced reader copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley) I love the premise of the book - a literary itinerary that one can use to safely take a global trip of sorts without having to leave one’s favorite reading nook and deal with all the anxieties and travel stresses that come with the ongoing pandemic. And so far I have enjoyed my world literature travels through David Damrosch's reviews quite a bit, though I confess that I have deviated a little from the route that the a (Note: I received an advanced reader copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley) I love the premise of the book - a literary itinerary that one can use to safely take a global trip of sorts without having to leave one’s favorite reading nook and deal with all the anxieties and travel stresses that come with the ongoing pandemic. And so far I have enjoyed my world literature travels through David Damrosch's reviews quite a bit, though I confess that I have deviated a little from the route that the author has set up. Instead of reading the chapters sequentially, my first few "trips" so far have been to the geographical groupings that Damrosch has designed that personally interest me the most. However, seeing as how the author makes it quite clear upfront that the outlined path in the table of contents is very much based upon his own preferences, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal to personalize the order in which I absorb his thoughts on a diverse world-spanning collection of books. The one criticism I would have to offer is how Damrosch occasionally includes a book’s ending as part of his exploration of it. Thankfully, so far those instances have been confined to books that I have coincidentally already read and enjoyed. However, I feel that eventually, it will happen to a work that I haven’t tackled just yet, and a potential literary trip will be spoiled before I even had much of a chance to even start it. However, if this does end up happening, the clear passion and glowing enthusiasm that Damrosch’s packs into every one of his individual overviews will still probably make me strongly consider putting a book on my to-read list even if I already know where that specific literary journey will end. Overall, this has been an enjoyably different change of reading pace. Bibliophiles of all kinds of stripes will probably find something to enjoy here, and if not the whole worldwide literature tour, at least one or several excellent trips through some recommended titles.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anika | Chapters of May

    This read is fascinating and the kind of nonfiction that fiction and poetry fans will enjoy. It’s essentially a literary itinerary that allows you to take a trip through books, without ever having to leave your cosy reading spot. It begins in London, moving through Europe, to the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. It’s a nonfiction book that gives you the immersive escape of a fiction book. I didn’t connect to every book mentioned, as the choices are based on the author’s own preference This read is fascinating and the kind of nonfiction that fiction and poetry fans will enjoy. It’s essentially a literary itinerary that allows you to take a trip through books, without ever having to leave your cosy reading spot. It begins in London, moving through Europe, to the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. It’s a nonfiction book that gives you the immersive escape of a fiction book. I didn’t connect to every book mentioned, as the choices are based on the author’s own preferences, but I was impressed with the diverse spectrum of titles. It’s a way to revisit old favourites and discover new ones, while travelling across the globe as you turn the pages. One thing to note: this book contains ending spoilers of other books featured!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bernie Gourley

    David Damrosch’s comp lit world tour has a simple premise. You’re a traveler and the pandemic strikes, how do you travel by book while trapped at home? For those who think travel and reading are unrelated endeavors, I disagree. As a traveler and avid reader, I’ve always found the two intertwined in building a greater understanding of the world. Reading is an essential part of traveling, and I read literature from every place I visit. Why? Because people the world over are guarded, yearning to ma David Damrosch’s comp lit world tour has a simple premise. You’re a traveler and the pandemic strikes, how do you travel by book while trapped at home? For those who think travel and reading are unrelated endeavors, I disagree. As a traveler and avid reader, I’ve always found the two intertwined in building a greater understanding of the world. Reading is an essential part of traveling, and I read literature from every place I visit. Why? Because people the world over are guarded, yearning to make good impressions. Because of this, one gets a partial and distorted view of other cultures. Poets and novelists round out the picture by airing the dirty laundry of their people. It’s not that revealing the dark and ugly edges of a culture is their foremost objective, but those are good sources of tension in a novel and of emotional resonance in a poem. [Seeking out what’s not so pretty about a culture might seem like a tawdry undertaking, but falling in love with a place is like falling in love with a person, if you do so without first seeing their bad habits, it’s not really love. It’s just childlike infatuation.] The book’s organization is straightforward. There are sixteen locales, and five books are discussed for each. I enjoyed Damrosch’s “syllabus.” The eighty books included a pleasant mix of works I’ve read, those I’ve been meaning to read, and [most importantly] those I’d missed altogether. Any source that reveals new reading material to me will definitely find favor. The book starts in London (apropos of its titular connection to the Jules Verne novel) and moves through Europe, the Middle East, Africa, over through Asia, back around to Latin America, and finally to North America to conclude (as trips generally do) back at home. The book is weighted heavily toward the literature side of the travel-literature nexus. That’s not a criticism, it’s just worth noting for travelers who aren’t avid readers of literary fiction and poetry, because they may find this book gets a bit deep in the literary weeds. (The sections don’t focus single-mindedly on the listed book, but meander through the author’s oeuvre and influences.) While many of the selections are indisputably excellent choices for traveling by book, others lack a connection that is readily apparent (e.g. the final book, Lord of the Rings.) Again, I didn’t find that to be a negative as there was always something to be learned from the discussions, and – who knows - it may have even expanded my thinking. If you’re a traveler / reader, you should definitely consider giving this book a read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Flybyreader

    I have to say I cannot judge this book unbiased as David Damrosch has a special place in my heart. I took the course “The Masterpieces of World Literature” by Damrosch and his colleague Martin Puchner and I was absolutely fascinated by it. When I saw this title by him, I instantly knew I had to get my hands on it and I gave it 5-stars before I even started reading it because I knew it would be magnificent. Damrosch brings us 80 prominent novels from all over the world with an amazing literary fr I have to say I cannot judge this book unbiased as David Damrosch has a special place in my heart. I took the course “The Masterpieces of World Literature” by Damrosch and his colleague Martin Puchner and I was absolutely fascinated by it. When I saw this title by him, I instantly knew I had to get my hands on it and I gave it 5-stars before I even started reading it because I knew it would be magnificent. Damrosch brings us 80 prominent novels from all over the world with an amazing literary frame inspired by Jules Verne. Just like Phileas Fogg from Around the World in 80 Days, our literary journey starts from London and continues eastward with fantastic examples of world literature. The list includes many well-known authors including Woolf, Dickens, Proust and Kafka as well as some authors especially from Africa and Southern America of whom I’ve never heard. I adore Damrosch’s narrative and style, he highlights some important elements of the literary works as well as a good summary and characters; and he creates enthusiasm and curiosity in readers to search and read for more. I added a significant amount of books to my never-ending reading list and I’ve learnt a great deal about different genres and cultures while reading this. Definitely recommended for bookworms!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    In January 2020, David Damrosch was developing a plan. He was going to follow in the footsteps of Jules Verne’s legendary hero, Phileas Fogg, and travel around the world and in so doing, reflect on the books he associates with certain locations, and see how literature affects the real world, and vice versa. But when Covid-19 started burning across the world, the restrictions and lockdowns the pandemic brought about ensured that Damrosch wasn’t going to be traveling anywhere for a long time. Inst In January 2020, David Damrosch was developing a plan. He was going to follow in the footsteps of Jules Verne’s legendary hero, Phileas Fogg, and travel around the world and in so doing, reflect on the books he associates with certain locations, and see how literature affects the real world, and vice versa. But when Covid-19 started burning across the world, the restrictions and lockdowns the pandemic brought about ensured that Damrosch wasn’t going to be traveling anywhere for a long time. Instead of sighing in despair and giving up on his round the world journey, though, Damrosch invited readers to follow him on a literary journey, and so for sixteen weeks from May through August 2020, he delved into five books a week, taking his readers to see places and meet people most of them had probably never encountered before– all through the pages of books. Around the World in 80 Books is the result of those literary travels, and invites even more readers to plot a course through the wonders of world literature. There are probably few American literary luminaries as suited to showcasing the scale and scope of the world’s books as David Damrosch, a Harvard professor of comparative literature and the founder of the Institute for World Literature. He writes as authoritatively about Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway as he does about Wu Cheng’en’s Journey to the West, and if he’s wrong about Matsuo Bashō’s poetic influences, it seems that one would have to be as informed about seventeenth-century Japanese poetry as Bashō himself to prove Damrosch wrong. And while it would have been easy for Damrosch to look out from an ivory tower and condescend to walk among the masses to talk down to them about the glories of ancient poetry, it feels more like Damrosch is excited about the books he’s discussing and wants everyone else to be excited about them, too. As for genre, he’s not just bringing Very Serious Books About Very Serious Topics to the table. He throws genre fiction into the mix, speaking glowingly of Donna Leon’s Venetian Commissario Brunetti murder mystery series and Tibetan author Jamyang Norbu’s Sherlock Holmes pastiche novel The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes, as well as giving serious consideration to E.B. White’s children’s classic Stuart Little and finishing off his world tour with a beautiful discussion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Everyone is welcome at the table of global literature, and every book is welcome, too. When opening Around the World in 80 Books for the first time, there are two approaches a reader might take: first, one can devour the entire book in a handful of sittings and take in a smorgasbord of literary offerings all at once; or second, one can slowly sample sections one at a time, getting a taste of this or that and whetting the appetite for more choices down the road. The second one is a little less dizzying in its scope, though however they choose to approach it, the reader would do well to have a pen and paper or preferred book app to hand, as it’s nearly impossible not to find an appealing title that must be added to the endless To Be Read list at every stop along the way. There is a flock of ” ‘fill in number here‘ Books to Read Before You Die” titles out there, but too few of them portray the breadth and depth of the global literary imagination as fully as Around the World in 80 Books. And though this list of eighty books will provide many readers with enough titles to last them a year or more, Damrosch provides even more suggestions in the final pages. His list, after all, is not the One List to Rule Them All. It’s a list of suggestions of great books that are great for different reasons. But its purpose is exactly what the title suggests it is: a round the world trip that takes place in the comfort of your own living room. ------- Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group for providing me with a free ebook in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Karen Foster

    Inspired loosely by the route taken by Verne’s Phileas Fogg, yet more of an imaginary journey through the joy of reading….. it’s an armchair travelogue to counteract the pandemic’s restrictions on physical adventuring. It’s such a unique take on ‘books about books’ genre (my personal catnip), exploring the world through literature old and new, connecting us as humans, through universal struggles and emotions, through fictional characters. A true book lovers book, and also this would make an amaz Inspired loosely by the route taken by Verne’s Phileas Fogg, yet more of an imaginary journey through the joy of reading….. it’s an armchair travelogue to counteract the pandemic’s restrictions on physical adventuring. It’s such a unique take on ‘books about books’ genre (my personal catnip), exploring the world through literature old and new, connecting us as humans, through universal struggles and emotions, through fictional characters. A true book lovers book, and also this would make an amazing reading challenge!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Inspired by Around the World in 80 Days, the first film he recalls seeing as a child, David Damrosch, Chair of the Department of Comparative Literature at Harvard, offers readers a literary world tour with his new The World in 80 Books. Conceived as an online course during the pandemic, Damrosch’s book “explores works that have responded to times of crisis and deep memories of trauma.” However, he quickly points out that the chosen books are not “all doom and gloom” because readers also “need li Inspired by Around the World in 80 Days, the first film he recalls seeing as a child, David Damrosch, Chair of the Department of Comparative Literature at Harvard, offers readers a literary world tour with his new The World in 80 Books. Conceived as an online course during the pandemic, Damrosch’s book “explores works that have responded to times of crisis and deep memories of trauma.” However, he quickly points out that the chosen books are not “all doom and gloom” because readers also “need literature as a refuge in troubled times.” Through the pages and his comments on chosen books that fill those pages, Damrosch guides readers on a personally selected itinerary of five books to suit each stop on the route: London, Paris, Krakow, Venice-Florence, Cairo-Istanbul-Muscat, The Congo-Nigeria, Israel-Palestine, Tehran-Shiraz, Calcutta/Kolkata, Shanghai-Beijing, Tokyo-Kyoto, Brazil-Columbia, Mexico-Guatemala, The Antilles and Beyond, Bar Harbor, and New York. The diversity of his book choices mirror the diversity of the destinations: Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Complete Sherlock Holmes and Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights, Boccaccio’s The Decameron and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s The Thing Around Your Neck, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude and Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis, Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy and Jumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies, Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji and E. B. White’s Stuart Little, just to name a few. Each destination also focuses on a different theme. For example, the Cairo-Istanbul-Muskat theme is “Stories within Stories,” the Calcutta/Kolkata theme “Rewriting Empires,” and the Brazil-Columbia theme “Utopias, Dystopias, Heterotopias.” Damrosch repeatedly introduces new places, literary works, and ideas. Whether readers seek Damrosch’s thoughts on books they already know or wish to discover important global books they have not read, this is a thoughtful, thought-provoking non-fiction look at great literature. Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Press for an advance reader copy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    Great fun – a journey round the world through 80 books. All book lovers like a list, even if only to quibble about what’s on it or what’s been left off. The books listed here are the author’s own personal selection and I was delighted to discover it. And so grows my TBR…..

  13. 5 out of 5

    Trevor Seigler

    When COVID-19 hit last year, it put a lot of our plans on hold. For David Damroch, an author and teacher, this mean not going on an epic literary journey around the world, trying to re-create in scope (if not in time and swiftness) much of the travels undertaken in Jules Verne's classic "Around the World in 80 Days." But inspiration struck him when he decided that he could still embark on his journey simply by picking up the books that had inspired him and presenting short essays on each that he When COVID-19 hit last year, it put a lot of our plans on hold. For David Damroch, an author and teacher, this mean not going on an epic literary journey around the world, trying to re-create in scope (if not in time and swiftness) much of the travels undertaken in Jules Verne's classic "Around the World in 80 Days." But inspiration struck him when he decided that he could still embark on his journey simply by picking up the books that had inspired him and presenting short essays on each that helped his readers ground themselves in a particular locale. That project spurred the writing of this book itself, a delight from start to finish. "Around the World in 80 Books" is a travelogue through the pages of some of the best books ever written, and many books that some readers (myself included) may not be familiar with. Full disclosure: I've read a whopping total of seven of the eighty books Damrosch profiles, but this book helped give me some ideas for things to add to my ever-expanding "to be read" list. Beginning at the starting point that Verne's fictional travelers did (London), Damrosch takes us around the world in a path that doesn't always stay on the specific route as Phileas Fogg. But Damrosch's travels include entertaining stops in Paris, China, Nigeria, and the Caribbean, as well as more sobering locales like Krakow (the site not only of Auschwitz but also the homeland for Damrosch's family) and the Middle East. Each locale is represented by five books that Damrosch has picked, with an eye not just to people from those countries but also including authors whose most popular or best-known works are associated with those spots (thus including Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" in the stopover in Africa). Like any list, you can pick or choose which ones you agree with or think don't fit entirely (for me, the absence of Haruki Murakami is a glaring oversight in terms of Japan, and I'd argue that a trip across the United States would unearth more than the usual canon of Hemingway/Fitzgerald/Twain, though obviously any trek across America might impede the progress and make "eighty books" become "well over a hundred or more" instead). But Damrosch is an insightful guide to the authors and their works, and he has a sense of humor and a charming way of recounting autobiographical connections to the locations and works he's discussing. In short, there's a reason why he's a professor of literature, and he'd be a great teacher to learn from for any aspiring undergrad. "Around the World in 80 Books" is one of those charming "books about books" that I love to come across from time to time (what can I say, I'll always be an English major in my heart). You may not have heard of some of these books, but you'll likely compile a list of works you want to pursue after you finish (as I did). Right now we can't really go around the world like Fogg and Verne would want us to do. But we can read about the world and learn a little bit about ourselves along the way.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Meagan

    I always enjoy it when life imitates art, so really enjoyed Damrosch's channeling "Around the World in 80 Days" as he developed this book. (Coincidentally, I haven't read the source material, but I'd really like to and it was already on my list before reading this.) It's also interesting to see what an author chooses as representative of a given place, and where our choices overlap. I've read a good few of Damrosch's selections, and appreciated his take on them, whether or not we came to the same I always enjoy it when life imitates art, so really enjoyed Damrosch's channeling "Around the World in 80 Days" as he developed this book. (Coincidentally, I haven't read the source material, but I'd really like to and it was already on my list before reading this.) It's also interesting to see what an author chooses as representative of a given place, and where our choices overlap. I've read a good few of Damrosch's selections, and appreciated his take on them, whether or not we came to the same conclusion. Damrosch very effectively encourages the reader to read books not just by authors we are reasonably confident we'll agree with, but of those who we don't. This can help us reexamine why we believe what we do, and either change or minds or help us articulate even further our own beliefs. That being said, there are some books/authors that--thanks to this read--I don't feel the need to pursue further, lol (namely, Virginia Woolf ... good to know of content advisories that will either drive people to a book, or further away). I received an eARC of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maddie O.

    I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley. I liked this book, but it got a little repetitive and in certain places I was a bit bored. It definitely gave me some new books to add to my list, though!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matt Carton

    A delightful way to begin the new year. I love books about books and the love of books. I’ve discovered so many writers and books I’d never heard of, and now hope to read as the year progresses.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marcela

    And now I have at least 70 new books on my TBR! Great insight and go around the globe, the one thing it was missing was spoiler alerts before every chapter! I didn't expect him to give you the entire plot, just a synopsis would've been fine, but I found myself trying to block out a lot when it came to books I'm going to read soon. And now I have at least 70 new books on my TBR! Great insight and go around the globe, the one thing it was missing was spoiler alerts before every chapter! I didn't expect him to give you the entire plot, just a synopsis would've been fine, but I found myself trying to block out a lot when it came to books I'm going to read soon.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tripfiction

    An erudite meander around the world via literature The author is Ernest Bernbaum, Professor and Chair of Comparative Literature at Harvard University and director of Harvard’s Institute for World Literature. He is thus incredibly well placed to bring together books that allow insight into familiar and unfamiliar parts of the world. His love of literature started at age 15 with reading The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne, for which he put aside Lord of the Rings. An erudite meander around the world via literature The author is Ernest Bernbaum, Professor and Chair of Comparative Literature at Harvard University and director of Harvard’s Institute for World Literature. He is thus incredibly well placed to bring together books that allow insight into familiar and unfamiliar parts of the world. His love of literature started at age 15 with reading The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne, for which he put aside Lord of the Rings. He has always had a love of books and in this book he chooses 5 books for each chosen locale, alighting on authors who have drawn both on their home culture and on traditions beyond their own. He examines how, in these books, they interpret their surroundings and heritage and how they capture images beyond their everyday existence. He ‘sets out’ on his journey from the Reform Club, where it all began in Verne’s novel ‘Around The World in Eighty Days’ He opens this book with London (London: Inventing a City) and first up is Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Wolf, which takes place on one day in central London in June 1923. He moves on to Charles Dickens of whom he says “Few writers and their cities have ever been so closely linked as Dickens and London”. The author stresses how innumerable guidebooks and websites invite you to join them on tours of Dickens’ city, perfect for people who want to really understand the city having read amazing literature and who want to travel by book. The next chapter is Paris: Writer’s Paradise – you cannot really discuss literature with a sense of place without mentioning the city of light. Books set in Paris always come top in searches, people love to read evocatively about the city. He opens with Proust and feels “Paris is Proust”. Moving on through Kraków, he descends on Venice – Florence: (Invincible cities) and delves into the works of Boccaccio (the Decameron), Marco Polo and Dante Alighieri, and chooses to feature Donna Leon’s "By Its Cover" (just how do you choose a single Brunetti novel, now that she has written well over 30?). A curated list of books set in Venice has to feature this author! The author says “Literary pilgrims often seek out settings they’ve read about in a favourite author .” (of course!) and Donna Leon, he feels, is “a particularly good guide to her adoptive city, as she views it both as an insider and an outsider“. Much like Boccaccio’s plague, says the author, Venice now has its own plague – tourism – which the publishers of the ‘Dream of Venice” series constantly highlights, innate citywide corruption and bribery notwithstanding. The author chooses many socially aware titles across the world that offer depth and understanding of the history of any given country, alighting on the major continents and sharing books that he feels will get under the skin of the people, culture and tradition. He ‘travels’ the world from Europe, through the various continents and winds up in the migrant metropolis of New York. The author acknowledges that it has been a real challenge deciding which places and books to choose and which to leave out. Selected titles, not included in the main body of the book, get a quick mention at the end. Around the World in 80 Books is a very erudite look at world literature, focussing on the individual interpretation of place and history. Many books featured offer a sense of the footsteps past that shed light on places as they are experienced today. The author has brought together an interesting collection of books in this tome.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Staying true to the title, the book is a treat…… While the 80 book selection is thoughtful, the book has a feel of 80 authors from all over the world…… Entertaining, well researched and very enjoyable….

  20. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    A booklover's guide to world in 80 books. I'm always on the look-out for good lists of books I should read or could read or may read. This one does not disappoint. Damrosch truly covers the world from Mrs Dalloway in London, all the way back around to The Lord of the Rings in Middle Earth. He provides a real sense of time and place for each of the books covered, as well as comparing and contrasting the authors discussed throughout. I wrote down the name of every book and author and now I need to A booklover's guide to world in 80 books. I'm always on the look-out for good lists of books I should read or could read or may read. This one does not disappoint. Damrosch truly covers the world from Mrs Dalloway in London, all the way back around to The Lord of the Rings in Middle Earth. He provides a real sense of time and place for each of the books covered, as well as comparing and contrasting the authors discussed throughout. I wrote down the name of every book and author and now I need to get reading. Bibliophiles will want a reference copy for their libraries. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Book Club of One

    I received a Free digital version of this book via NetGalley. Developed from the idea of how to "introduce a broader readership to the expansive landscape of literature today, both in Europe and beyond." (xiii) David Damrosch, Department Chair of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, drew from his extensive personal experience and adapted Phileas Fog's route from Jules Verne's Around the World In 80 Days to create a world journey through literature in 80 books. Written largely under COVID I received a Free digital version of this book via NetGalley. Developed from the idea of how to "introduce a broader readership to the expansive landscape of literature today, both in Europe and beyond." (xiii) David Damrosch, Department Chair of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, drew from his extensive personal experience and adapted Phileas Fog's route from Jules Verne's Around the World In 80 Days to create a world journey through literature in 80 books. Written largely under COVID, Damrosch was also inspired by "Voyage Around My Room" by Xavier de Maistre and the realization the Verne never traveled outside of Europe. This lead to the focus on books "that have responded to times of crisis and deep memories of trauma." (xv). This does not mean they are all gloomy or depressive, but could be responses to crises. As with any book that is title (Something in ___ books the list of items selected is subjective, but in the hands of a capable writer there is a convincing rationale. And Damrosch is a highly capable list assembler and writer. For each of these 80 works, he summarizes the plot, shares his personal reaction or connection to the work, links it to other works listed or mentioned, and speaks to the city or country and how that particular work resonates with its location. Based on the framing device and the locations, some works will not be surprises (Venice/Florence includes The Decameron Cairo-Istanbul-Muscat has The Thousand and One Nights). However, this work does encourage the reading of poetry, children's literature, mysteries, classics, graphic works, and works in translation. It does have a true global scope. Damrosch also points to one of the inherent questions of exploring world languages, that of translation. Writing a journey around the world in English for a primarily English reading audience should rightly raise the question of the value and role of the translator. In his introduction Damrosch hopes that reading these works will encourage readers, for "translations offer a powerful impetus to learning new languages." (xvii). I enjoined this journey around the world and learned of several books I would like to one day read. The main complaint I have, is Damrosch, in exploring and describing the works, details the full plot of most of the books featured, in effect spoiling some of the works. While for the well known classics this is not a detraction, for the ones I haven't read (yet?) I'm familiar enough with them to know their basic plots, but for many works I learned of through this book it will serve to delay my reading so as to hopefully forget their plot revelations.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Penguin Group- The Penguin Press for an advanced copy of this literary travel study. A book has the the ability to take us away from the our lives, be it humdrum or with way too much drama. Even constrained a novel can show us a life that we don't know, might be preferred, or a life that is alien to out understanding. Writing a book has that same ability especially during a quarantine that suddenly made a full life with travel and conference plans so much My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Penguin Group- The Penguin Press for an advanced copy of this literary travel study. A book has the the ability to take us away from the our lives, be it humdrum or with way too much drama. Even constrained a novel can show us a life that we don't know, might be preferred, or a life that is alien to out understanding. Writing a book has that same ability especially during a quarantine that suddenly made a full life with travel and conference plans so much smaller. David Damrosch in his book Around the World in 80 Books: A Literary Journey has created a world tour for himself and readers taking us to familiar locales and to far-flung destinations using the works of great writers to make our journey possible. Using the idea of the classic travel/adventure novel by Jules Verne, Mr. Damrosch follows the itinerary of the main character Professor Phileas Fogg, with a few exceptions traveling from London, to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and so on. Five writers from each area are chosen, reflected on, some more than others. Some regions have themes that the books cover, some writers are familiar with each other, some works are classics, some have been recent or even recently discovered. Once you understand this isn't primer about literature in various countries, more of a travel book using books as your tourist destinations, the choices in authors make more sense. Some authors might be new, some very familiar, but approached in a different way that makes them apt for the section they appear. Categorizing this book is difficult. The book really isn't a travel book, nor is it a literary companion. The authors chosen and the social and historical eras the books describe are interesting, but with some works there is just too much to read, and with with others too little. I think there might be a new genre or topic created for books like these. Quarantine books. Writing about the world while social distancing, reading and referenceing from your own library or Google. This was a fun book, full of facts and I quite enjoyed it. However it did make me long for the time I can put a book down and go to the supermarket with less fear and difficulty of going to some foreign climes.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy Paperback Treasures

    Written during the height of the pandemic and a time when travel wasn’t an option, Around the world in 80 books is an exploration, a travel guide to the world around us. Starting where Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg began in Around the world in 80 days, you will journey through books old and new. As someone who works within the travel industry, I know first hand how difficult the last few years have been for many. The toll that quarantine and isolation has taken on our social and mental health. That Written during the height of the pandemic and a time when travel wasn’t an option, Around the world in 80 books is an exploration, a travel guide to the world around us. Starting where Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg began in Around the world in 80 days, you will journey through books old and new. As someone who works within the travel industry, I know first hand how difficult the last few years have been for many. The toll that quarantine and isolation has taken on our social and mental health. That’s why I was so excited when I read about Around the World in 80 Books. Huge Thanks to Netgalley, Penguin Press, and David Damrosch for an advanced copy of it!! I’m not much of a tv person. I know that I can easily travel all over the world through tv shows or on youtube, but books are my thing. I love the premise of being able to wander the globe through books. I know we already do this naturally when we read, but would you go travel a foreign country without a plan? That’s what makes this book so unique. It’s a map. A plan of travel. When I read that David had previously had a facebook group focused on this journey, I was quite sad to have missed out on it. I have definitely added some books to my TBR list (as if that wasn’t already long enough) thanks to this wonderful journey I’ve been on. Sadly the delivery of the premise here wasn’t for me. While I can appreciate the intention behind the breakdown and expanse on why each book was chosen and how it goes into the next book, I felt that it was a bit long and drawn out and found myself skipping ahead in parts. I could definitely blame this on my ADHD but it happened far too many times for that to have been the cause. While I really did enjoy exploring the literature, the essay style just isn’t for me. I would recommend this book to any literary fanatic who wants to take a journey outside of their comfort zone, with the warning that it may seem more like reading a textbook, but the books offered up inside, are well worth the read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ari

    This literary tour in 80 books, modeled after Verne’s Phileas Fogg’s route, proves to be exotically global and yet also personal. Author Damrosch — Professor of Comparative Literature and director of Harvard’s Institute for World Literature, and author of dozens of books — draws from personal memories to draw a literary map with a vast array of books from all latitudes and excels at not focusing on the already much written-about novels. And while his selection of books at times is linked to perso This literary tour in 80 books, modeled after Verne’s Phileas Fogg’s route, proves to be exotically global and yet also personal. Author Damrosch — Professor of Comparative Literature and director of Harvard’s Institute for World Literature, and author of dozens of books — draws from personal memories to draw a literary map with a vast array of books from all latitudes and excels at not focusing on the already much written-about novels. And while his selection of books at times is linked to personal experiences, let’s remind the reader that this is not a memoir and Damrosch’s choice to mention a relative who met so and so in such and such place is not arbitrary but that by doing so shows that all books and authors are linked to one another in different ways. For example: a renown author translates another; or one book proves to be successful in the other side of the globe wherein another soon-to-be known author emerges reading that same book; or that several authors met before they became famous, all the while Damrosch documents several of these moments through distant — and not so distant — relatives. While some famous works appear throughout — In Search of Lost Time, Mrs. Dalloway, Candide — Damrosch main achievement here is reintroducing to western readers some of the not always talked about books from remote regions —Czeslaw Milosz, Naguib Mahfouz, Georges Ngal, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. The books discussed are given its proper locale background as well as its author’s, a brief synopsis and a brief commentary by the author about why such books mattered in the past and why they continue to matter since they continue to influence new and coming authors in the contemporary world. While author Damrosch shies away from calling his book a new canon, it sure can work as another attempt to the idea of a global canon that so few authors in the past have dared to venture into.~

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jim Gladstone

    For passionate travelers, the past two years have been a tough stretch. Confined largely to their homes and immediate environs, without the sightseeing. socializing and serendipities that sustain them on their journeys, many turned to books as windows on the world. David Damrosch, a professor of comparative literature at Harvard whose love of globetrotting is on par with his bibliophilia, took that notion to a fascinating extreme, spending May to August of 2020 rereading 5 books a week and blogg For passionate travelers, the past two years have been a tough stretch. Confined largely to their homes and immediate environs, without the sightseeing. socializing and serendipities that sustain them on their journeys, many turned to books as windows on the world. David Damrosch, a professor of comparative literature at Harvard whose love of globetrotting is on par with his bibliophilia, took that notion to a fascinating extreme, spending May to August of 2020 rereading 5 books a week and blogging about them. Each week’s works had a deep connection to a particular city, country or region. Damrosch’s notes on those volumes have been collected and developed into a tome of their own: Around the World in 80 Books . The London chapter on concocts a complex portrait of the city, drawing on titles including Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Complete Sherlock Holmes. Paris, New York, and Tokyo are also represented But Damrosch is most appealing when his ink-stained wanderlust takes leads us to places and pages that are off the beaten path: Some readers may have never previously ventured into literature about Krakow, Calcutta, or Tehran (Damrosch’s picks there range from a contemporary graphic novel to work by the 19th Century poetry). And who knew there was a significant body of literature concerning Bar Harbor, Maine. Damrosch’s idiosyncratic intellectual itinerary is a gift that will inspire many a book group and inform many readers’ future travels.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Eugenia

    I am not usually a fan of Best of type books because ultimately, it’s always based on someone else’s opinion, and lord knows, I frequently don’t agree with critical reviews of books or movies. But that doesn’t mean I won’t give an anthology a valiant try because you know what, I relish the opportunity to be introduced to unexpected reads. This was the case of this particular anthology. I could tell very early on that the author was a literary academic, such was the style of his writing and some I am not usually a fan of Best of type books because ultimately, it’s always based on someone else’s opinion, and lord knows, I frequently don’t agree with critical reviews of books or movies. But that doesn’t mean I won’t give an anthology a valiant try because you know what, I relish the opportunity to be introduced to unexpected reads. This was the case of this particular anthology. I could tell very early on that the author was a literary academic, such was the style of his writing and some of the books he recommended on his journey were ones I read in college - Heart of Darkness is a good example of the type. As an academic, he also leaned a lot into poetry which isn’t my personal jam. But I can honestly say that the breadth and diversity of his choices: from Dante to Georges Perec, from Orhan Pamuk to Mo Yan, and so on, really drove home to me the universality of language, literature, and just story telling in human experience. Damrosch’s choices were expected in some cases: who doesn’t love Sherlock Holmes? And very unexpected in so many ways, so in the end, there is a book for every reader in this anthology and isn’t that the point of it all?.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    The premise of this book was so intriguing that I am overjoyed PENGUIN GROUP The Penguin Press sent me an advanced readers copy through NetGalley. To be transported by a book to another place, another time, another world --is it not exactly why we read? David Damrosch combines classic and modern literature in this transporting work. Around the World in 80 Books invites readers to evaluate how they interact with society around them through their reading and their experiences while reading about t The premise of this book was so intriguing that I am overjoyed PENGUIN GROUP The Penguin Press sent me an advanced readers copy through NetGalley. To be transported by a book to another place, another time, another world --is it not exactly why we read? David Damrosch combines classic and modern literature in this transporting work. Around the World in 80 Books invites readers to evaluate how they interact with society around them through their reading and their experiences while reading about the interactions of authors to their works and their world. Readers are transported into the minds of Virginia Woolf, Rudyard Kipling, Jhumpa Lahiri, and so many more, learning about the context of seminal works and how they fit to the space of the writers mind and the context of their society. Some chapters are slower than others, some will have more books added to the to-read list than those read, but every chapter is a uniquely captivating look at a collection of works that span the globe. This is a marvel that any bibliophile needs to pick up.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Diane Hernandez

    Looking for some new books to read? Need a gift for the reader in your life? Around the World in 80 Books solves both issues! With five suggested books in each of the world’s sixteen regions, there is something for everyone included here. Books as diverse as The Divine Comedy and Stuart Little rub shoulders with college literary class favorites Mrs. Dalloway and Ulysses. Within each individual book’s section is more than just a synopsis and a review. The author also gives some background to the a Looking for some new books to read? Need a gift for the reader in your life? Around the World in 80 Books solves both issues! With five suggested books in each of the world’s sixteen regions, there is something for everyone included here. Books as diverse as The Divine Comedy and Stuart Little rub shoulders with college literary class favorites Mrs. Dalloway and Ulysses. Within each individual book’s section is more than just a synopsis and a review. The author also gives some background to the author’s time period and even how other books have impacted the author’s writing style. Since I love books, I have read many of the books listed in Around the World in 80 Books. However, I found the book chapters so cogent and informative, I might read a few again from a completely new perspective. 5 stars and a favorite! Thanks to Penguin Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    I'm always excited to find someone's "must read" lists of books. I have read some of the books reviewed in here, but have now discovered new ones to add to my ever growing list of books to read! David Damrosch adds lots of new insig'ht to the books I've read, and writes so well of others, I feel like I''ve missed out! I love reading literature from other countries and cultures. I certainly don't ever expect to travel or live in other parts of the world, so reading authors from those far-flung pl I'm always excited to find someone's "must read" lists of books. I have read some of the books reviewed in here, but have now discovered new ones to add to my ever growing list of books to read! David Damrosch adds lots of new insig'ht to the books I've read, and writes so well of others, I feel like I''ve missed out! I love reading literature from other countries and cultures. I certainly don't ever expect to travel or live in other parts of the world, so reading authors from those far-flung places is a great introduction to other pov. Robert McCloskey"s book need revisiting, as do the Arabian Nights. I had no idea there was more than one collection and am looking forward to finding a copy of the shorter one for reference. I received a Kindle arc from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    An immersive book that endeavors to take readers on a voyage around the world--through literature--during a time when many of us barely left our homes. The author is professor of comparative literature, and his expertise is evident throughout this book. I added so many books to my to-be-read list as a result of reading this book. Damrosch introduces the reader to a vast array of books far outside the traditional "classics" taught in high school and university (although some of those make the lis An immersive book that endeavors to take readers on a voyage around the world--through literature--during a time when many of us barely left our homes. The author is professor of comparative literature, and his expertise is evident throughout this book. I added so many books to my to-be-read list as a result of reading this book. Damrosch introduces the reader to a vast array of books far outside the traditional "classics" taught in high school and university (although some of those make the list, too). I confess I skimmed portions of the book, and savored some sections. There's something here for everyone who loves to read and travel. #AroundTheWorldIn80Books #NetGalley

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