Show/Hide

The most recent COVID-19 information is available at www.cityofgoleta.org/covid-19, and at the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department Public Information Portal: https://publichealthsbc.org/.

Staff Picks - Around the World in 36 Novels

Print
Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Antigua                                                                       
Our Kind of Traitor (FICTION LE CARRE)
by John Le Carre                 
Vacationing at a posh tennis resort in Antigua, Perry and Gail are recruited by big-time Russian money launderer Dima to help him defect, an arrangement for which Dima promises to expose financial corruption but renders the hapless couple pawns in a deadly international scheme.

Argentina                                                                   
Perla (FICTION DE ROBERTIS)
by Carolina De Robertis                       
Set in Buenos Aires, this is a coming-of-age story about a young woman who makes a devastating   discovery about her origins with the help of an enigmatic houseguest. 

Australia                                                                   
Mutant Message From Forever (FICTION MORGAN)
by Marlo Morgan                                                   
An aboriginal woman, raised in an Australian orphanage, goes to the desert after a series of tragedies & finds there a spiritual enlightenment that drives her to seek her long-lost twin brother, adopted by an American family.

Botswana     
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (MYSTERY MCCALL SMITH)      
by Alexander McCall Smith                                 
Working in Gaborone, Botswana, Precious Ramotswe investigates several local mysteries, including a search for a missing boy and the case of the doctor with different personalities for different days of the week.  

Brazil                                                                      
Memoir From an Antproof Case (FICTION HELPRIN)
by Mark Helprin                                                   
An elderly American living in Brazil reminisces about his various lives as World War II ace, multimillionaire investment banker, insane asylum inmate, thief,  murderer, lover, and protector of the innocent.

Canada                                                                    
Under This Unbroken Sky (FICTION MITCHELL)  
by Shandi Mitchell
Out of prison, Theo Mykolayenkos tirelessly clears his untamed land on the 1938 Canadian prairie and begins to heal himself and his family, but when his sister's rogue husband returns, he stirs up rancor that will end in tragedy.

Chile                                                                           
The Neruda Case (FICTION AMPUERO)
by Roberto Ampuero                       
Meeting a dying Pablo Neruda at a party in 1970s Chile, rogue Cayetano Brulé is recruited to help Neruda solve a last great mystery, prompting a whirlwind expedition across the world before Brulé encounters Neruda's hidden agenda and the elements of Pinochet's coup as they impact the poet's final days.  

China       
Under Fishbone Clouds (FICTION MEEKINGS)
by Sam Meekings 
Challenged by the Jade Emperor to gain understanding about the human heart, the Kitchen God observes the relationship between Jinyi and his wife, Yuying, from their early romance through old age, a love that is shaped by the Cultural  Revolution and other challenges. 

Congo, Democratic Republic of                                             
The Poisonwood Bible (FICTION KINGSOLVER)
by Barbara Kingsolver             
The family of an evangelical Baptist missionary begins to unravel after they embark on a 1959 mission to the Belgian Congo, where they find their lives forever transformed over the course of 3 decades by the political and social upheaval of Africa.

Cuba                                                                               
The Old Man and the Sea (FICTION HEMINGWAY)
by Ernest Hemingway
Santiago is a Cuban fisherman who encounters a giant marlin in the Gulf Stream and the battle for his catch becomes one of survival against a band of marauding sharks.

Denmark                                                                     
The Keeper of Lost Causes (FICTION ADLER-OLSEN)
by Jussi Adler-Olsen   
Chief detective Carl Marck, recovering from what he thought was a career-destroying gunshot wound, is  relegated to cold cases and becomes immersed in the five-year disappearance of a politician. 

Egypt        
Lion in the Valley:  an Amelia Peabody Mystery (MYSTERY PETERS)                        
by Elizabeth Peters                             
Amelia Peabody, intrepid archaeologist, returns to the Nile with her Egyptologist husband Emerson and their entourage to track down a brilliant & dashing criminal wreaking havoc among the excavations.  

England             
White Teeth (FICTION SMITH)      
by Zadie Smith                             
Set in post-war London, this novel of the racial, political, and social upheaval of the last half-century follows 2 families--the Joneses & the Iqbals, outsiders from within the former British  empire--making their way in modern England.

France                                                                          
The Foreign Correspondent (FICTION FURST)
by Alan Furst               
In 1939 Paris, the murder of an Italian political émigré by OVRA, Mussolini's secret police, brings new danger to his successor, Carlo Weisz, who finds himself the target of OVRA, MI6, Stalin's NKVD, and Hitler's Gestapo.

Iceland                                                                              
Independent People (FICTION LAXNESS)
by Halldor Laxness                       
In an epic set in Iceland in the early 20th century, Gudbjartur Jonsson buys his own croft after 18 years of service to the local bailiff, and brings his wife and his small flock of sheep there to build a new, independent life for himself.

Israel                     
Don’t Call it Night (FICTION OZ)
by Amos Oz             
Set in a small Israeli settlement in the desert during the summer of 1989, follows the difficult romance between a 60-year-old engineer and a schoolteacher 15 years his junior.

Italy             
The Love of My Youth (FICTION GORDON)
by Mary Gordon   
Having not seen each other for forty years, Miranda and Adam unexpectedly reunite in Rome--where they once spent a summer deeply in love--and agree to spend the afternoons taking walks together, bringing each other up to date & reviewing the betrayal that drove them apart.

Iran                                                                                    
The Blood of Flowers (FICTION AMIRREZVANI)
by Anita Amirrezvani                     
After her father dies without leaving her with a dowry, a seventeenth-century Persian teen becomes a servant to her wealthy rug designer uncle in the court of Shah Abbas the Great, where her weaving talents prove both a blessing and curse.

Kenya                                                                         
The Clouds Beneath the Sun (FICTION FORD)
by Mackenzie Ford 
In 1961 Kenya, archaeologist Natalie Nelson falls in love with the son of the excavating team's leader, an affair that turns dangerous when she must give evidence in a trial that could spark even more violence and turmoil in the surrounding area.

Mexico                                                                                 
Into the Beautiful North (FICTION URREA)         
by Luis Alberto Urrea
Working in a Mexican taco shop while dreaming of the father who left their family to work in the U.S., 19-year-old Nayeli struggles with a realization that most of the men in her village have left to pursue work in the north.

Netherlands                                                                    
Tulip Fever (FICTION MOGGACH)
by Deborah Moggach                                       
In Amsterdam in the 1630s, a young wife escapes her stifling marriage to an older man into the arms of the artist who is hired to paint their portrait.

New Zealand                   
The Colour (FICTION TREMAIN)
by Rose Tremain 
An epic of life in New Zealand during the 19th century explores the relationship between two newlyweds as they encounter the harsh realities of their chosen home in the South Pacific. 

Pakistan                      
The Wish Maker (FICTION ZAKI)
by Ali Sethi Zaki
Shirazi, a young Pakistani in a household dominated by his mother and grandmother, is close to his female cousin, Samar Api, but while Samar's reckless teenage behavior brings consequences for her, Zaki is free to explore the world, only later reflecting on the true meaning of happiness.

Puerto Rico                                                                          
Conquistadora (FICTION SANTIAGO)
by Esmeralda Santiago                         
Drawn to Puerto Rico by the diaries of an ancestor who traveled there with Ponce de Leâon, Ana Cubillas becomes involved with enamored twin brothers Ramâon and Inocente before convincing them to claim a sugar plantation they have inherited.

Russia                      
Apricot Jam and Other Stories (FICTION SOLZHENITSYN)
by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn                                                 
In a series of stories written after the Nobel Prize-winning author's return from exile to Russia, and published now for the first time in English, the author explores both Soviet and post-Soviet life.

South Africa                                                                    
Absolution (FICTION FLANERY)
by Patrick Flanery                                       
In modern-day South Africa, Clare Walde tells the story of her sister's death and the disappearance of her daughter during apartheid twenty years earlier.

Spain           
The Angel’s Game (FICTION ZAFON)
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon 
Offered a career-making writing deal from an enigmatic publisher in turbulent 1960s Barcelona, David Martâin wonders about his capacity for writing a book for which the publisher claims others will live and die.

Sweden         
The Shadow Girls (FICTION MANKELL)
by Henning Mankell
Ordered by his editor to write a crime novel to reignite his stalled career, poet Jesper Humlin reluctantly travels to Gothenburg, where three unlikely pupils of an impromptu writing workshop draw him into their culturally driven, compelling worlds.

Thailand                          
Tattoo (MYSTERY BURDETT)
by John Burdett   
When the mutilated body of a CIA agent is discovered in District 8 and the killer appears to be a local working girl, Sonchai searches for the truth amid a cover-up orchestrated by his boss, PC Vikorn.   

Turkey  
The Towers of Trebizond (FICTION MACAULAY)
by Rose Macaulay
In an hilarious novel set on an overland journey across Turkey, the narrator encounters sorcerers, cops, and southern evangelists as she and her companion travel from Istanbul to Trebizond on a tourist adventure.

Ukraine                                                                             
Everything is Illuminated (FICTION FOER)
by Jonathan Safran Foer
A young writer travels to eastern Europe, where he   embarks on a quest to find Augustine, the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis, and, guided by his young Ukrainian translator, he discovers an unexpected past that will resonate far into the future.

Vietnam               
The Zenith (FICTION DUONG)
by Thu Huong Duong 
A reimagining of the final months of President Ho Chi Minh recounts his imprisonment in an isolated mountaintop compound where his story is entwined with those of his wife's brother-in-law, an elder in a small village town, and a close friend and political ally.

Wales                  
The Welsh Girl (FICTION DAVIES)
by Peter Ho Davies 
During World War II, forbidden romance blossoms between Esther Evans, daughter of a Welsh shepherd, and Karsten Simmering, a troubled young German POW, who questions what he has been fighting for.

Zimbabwe
Those Who Love Night (FICTION EBERSOHN)
by Wessel Ebersohn
A follow-up to The October Killings finds South African Justice Department lawyer Abigail Bukala discovering that her secret cousin, a Harare Seven activist, has been arrested with his comrades and is being held in a notorious Zimbabwe prison.