reading my way through every country in the world…


I’m a 32 year-old Australian bibliophile and travel nut who loves the thrill of a challenge and travelling vicariously through reading.

The Literary Nomad is a blog chronicling my attempt to read my way around the globe:  230 countries, 1 book per country, however long it takes me! I am using the Lonely Planet’s The Travel Book list of 230 countries as “my itinerary”. Like a true nomad I want to be free to move from one corner of the globe to the other but I still want some sort of rule to guide my journey so I am also using The Travel Book as my destination decider. Each time I finish reading a book set in a particular country, I will open The Travel Book to any random page and whatever country is featured on that page is the next one I will read about. The other rules of my challenge are located under the heading “Challenge rules”.

17 Responses to “About”

  1. Bec Martin says:

    Hi Alex,

    This sounds like such an interesting challenge! I would strongly suggest the following book, based in Bolivia:

    It’s a truly fascinating true story based around a prison in La Paz. I’ve seen it from the outside and can attest to the truth of the book’s contents!

    Let me know what you think of it once you’ve read it!


  2. Alex says:

    Bec, that book looks fantastic, thanks so much for the suggestion!! It would be a fascinating way to reflect on a country’s wider culture by exploring it through their penal system. I am also now looking forward to catting with you further regarding your travels to Bolivia…

  3. N Stilly says:

    Hi Alex,

    Looks awesome. This is definitely my style (getting a total overview of a book without actually having to read it!

    Good luck on your journey!

    Nick :)

  4. Alex says:

    Thanks Nick! I aim to please everyone from those who like to read doorstoppers to those who prefer their literature in bite size chunks ;)

  5. nesta finch says:

    what a fab challenge, and a wonderful one to share. I attempted a read-my-way round the world with travel books in the 1980s – there were a lot of classics and new ones at the time – and had to start the next in the country where the previous one had ended. I got thoroughly stuck in Terra Del Fuego. I love that you’re NOT reading travelogues. Once the moving finger has chosen the country, how are you finding and choosing the book to represent it?

  6. Alex says:

    Hi Nesta, great to hear from you! I am not reading travelogues as I wanted to get a more nuanced and subtle “feel” for the countries and also to see how they are fictionally represented. However, your approach sounds like it would have been fascinating as well – did you unearth any particular gems? My approach in choosing the book for each country is basically to research and come up with a list of titles for the country and then choose whichever sounds interesting and has a fair amount of detail about the place as opposed to just using the setting for the sake of it. I am also relying on recommendations from others so if you have any, I would be very grateful! :)

  7. Rachel says:

    Hi Alex,

    It’s great to meet another Aussie book blogger. I LOVE this challenge you have given yourself. Fantastic idea! :) I am adding you to my reader.

  8. Alex says:

    Hi Rachel! Thanks for your lovely message and for adding me to your reader. I have also added you to mine and it is brilliant to meet a fellow Aussie. I loved your poetry choices BTW – have always been a fan of Howl (apparently they are making a movie about Ginsberg with James Franco in the lead?). Looking forward to further literary discussions! :)

  9. Rachel says:

    A movie of Howl!? … interesting..I will have to keep my eye out for that one. Thanks!

  10. John says:

    Greetings fellow traveller! I too am travelling the world through books (though with different rules – each book must be post-1990 and each country visited must adjoin / be close to the next one on the trip). You can see my destination list and blog at I’d certainly recommend “The Quiet Girl” by Peter Hoeg for Denmark…

  11. Alex says:

    Oh how fabulous to meet a fellow traveller! I sincerely hope to chat further with you as we go through our respective journeys as it will be great to swap suggestions. Will definitely keep The Quiet Girl in mind for Denmark. I see Palestine is in the foreseeable future for you so can I recommend Mornings in Jenin – it is a seriously gut-wrenching read but I defy you to put it down once you start!

  12. John says:

    Thanks Alex – I shall take your recommendation on the Palestine book. While I’ve plotted out my journey in books, a lot of these may change as I find better options (especially as it may take me several years to get to them!). I shall stay in touch. PS: keep your eye on Sudan – the ‘South Sudan’ region has a referendum on independence on Jan 9th so there may be a brand new country to visit! If so, ‘Something is Going to Fall Like Rain’ by Ros Wynne-Jones looks interesting…

  13. Alex says:

    Hi John

    Thanks for this – I have been following the news regarding Sudan and will be very interested to see what happens today. It is strage to think that events could change our respective country lists during the challenge. I didn’t think about this before I began but it makes it all the more interesting! :)

  14. John says:

    Hi Alex. I have just found this excellent website – very good if you’re stuck for ideas for a difficult location!

  15. Alex says:

    Hi John! Thanks for this – have come across BiblioTravel before. Definitely a great site. Are you still in Russia? Am just about to write my posts for the Philippines and Estonia and read great books for both that I highly recommend :)

  16. John says:

    Hi Alex, yep – still in Russia. One of my rules is that for the biggest world countries (Russia, China, Australia, , India, US and Canada) I am splitting them up into federal districts and reading a book from each…so still have the Urals, Siberia & the Far East to go in Russia before heading down to Mongolia… will look out for the Phillipino & Estonian book reviews!

  17. Avadhut says:

    I guess this is the most interesting reading challenge I read about. Your idea is really unique.
    My suggestion for your challenge is No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series based in Botswana by Alexander McCall Smith.

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