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Infographic: The Most Iconic Book Set in Each Country in the World

Here’s an infographic that needs the attention of the well-read.

GE Editing has assembled a list what it says are the mot iconic book set in each country of the world.

We include epic poetry like Pan Tadeusz from Poland, international best sellers like The Three Musketeers set in France, and books recently translated into English for the very first time like the Iraqi classic The Long Way Back. You will find books from favorite authors like Margaret Atwood and Anthony Burgess and discover vibrant new voices like Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz.

Not having visited these countries or read all of the books, I can’t comment on whether the books are well-matched to each country.

What do you think?

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Fahirsch July 17, 2017 um 1:43 pm

Regarding Argentina I would say "Martín Fierro" and "La vuelta (the return of) de Martín Fierro" by José Hernández, both written in the XIX Century. It’s a [long] poem about a gaucho and his misfortunes, goes to live with the Indians and his return to Civilization.

mark williams int. July 17, 2017 um 5:05 pm

At risk of sounding pedantic I can see at least ten countries in Africa which have no books attributed to them. These guys must try harder. Or re-evaluate the word "every" when referring to countries of the world.

Vikarti Anatra July 18, 2017 um 2:46 am

Looks like they include 'generally recognized' countries which have books translated to English but map is at least partially doesn’t reflect it.
Western Sahara (partially recognized) and Mauritania are shown in separate color but no book, South Osetia/Abhaiza (Georgia thinks it’s their territory), DNR/LNR (Ukraine thinks it’s their territory).
Indonesia, West Timor(?), Phillipines don’t have books I can saw on map.
No Vatican (why not? it’s country after all, even if rather small, and there are rather lot books which takes place here)

So it’s not EVERY country. for any definition of 'every'.

tired July 18, 2017 um 8:26 am

Iconic in many countries seem to mean written by a European white male. And some went for bestsellers when there are literary classics from those countries, reserving great works only for the countries they deem worthy. And of course many countries are simply missing.

Like all infographics, it stinks.

The Slovakian July 18, 2017 um 9:28 am

I do not understand why is "Rivers of Babylon" THE iconic book for Slovakia. We have many more books that are more worthy of that title.

The same goes for Czech Republic and "I served the English King". There are many books that could be considered more iconic, like "Good soldier Svejk" – the most translated Czech book, or something by Franz Kafka. I know, I know, he was writing in German, but lived in Prague, and is known more than other authors born in [an area that is now] Czech Republic.

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Maethona July 19, 2017 um 8:02 am

Okay, so the only book they could find for Romania was written by an Irishman, I find that hard to believe.

Also 'The Girl with the Dragon tattoo' for Sweden? Sure, let’s just pretend that Astrid Lindgren never wrote any books. Yes, they were written for children but they are classics and will still be read when no one even remembers Stieg Larson.

In general way to ovious choices and the dead old white men syndrome in full display. Don’t get me wrong most of the books are classics for a reason but they could have chosen Toni Morrison instead of Mark Twain or Anette von Droste- Hülshof (who once was the face of the 20 Mark bill in Germany) instead of Goethe.

I’m not impressed.

Robert Nagle July 19, 2017 um 10:21 am

I was going to point out that this map should not be taken too seriously. (Yes, Girl with the Dragon Tatoo represents Swedish literature just as well as Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea represents Cuban literature).

On second thought, indicating "I served the King of England" as more representative/iconic than Good Soldier Schweik is an infuriating mistake. I read both of them in the same year. I love them both, but Schweik is one of those works that is so funny and wonderful and brilliant that to ignore it here is committing a literary atrocity…

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Francisco Torres July 31, 2017 um 3:37 pm

I applaud the effort that was put into this. I was looking for the best book written at each country and this is the best of a similar list that I’ve seen compiled. Even though it’s difficult to agree with all your choices, you did a fantastic job in your selection for the following countries: USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Brazil, Japan, Russia, France, UK, Ireland, Spain, Norway and Italy.

I will be looking forward for a list of the best book written based on the nationality of the author. I’m planning to read a book for each country that qualifies to the 2018 Soccer World Cup that will take place in the land of the best writers: Russia.

nikki August 4, 2017 um 8:45 pm

while Goethe’s Faust certainly is "iconic" for Germany, to reduce the country’s rich literature to this 200 year old masterwork is ridiculously reductive, so won’t even look into this simplistic reference for inspiration from other countries.

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Danish reader and librarian August 5, 2017 um 10:03 am

Hopeless. Stupid. Stop yourselves.

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