A version of this article originally appeared on Creators Mexico.
A well-intentioned illustrated map colors the globe with book covers representative of popularity within their country of origin. Reddit user Backforward24 respectfully pulls beloved literature and literally puts it on the map—here we see the USA rep to Kill a Mockingbird, Mexico dig Pedro Páramo, and Albert Camus' The Stranger cover Algeria.
Academics and other dedicated Reddit users seemed pleased with the project and have given Backforward24 valuable insight and feedback. As with any recommendation, map or list, we must understand that it is necessary to establish a criterion first, and that it is not easy to compile a list that does justice to the entire literary tradition of a country through a single work.
Below, however, we have listed three titles per region for you to see how big of an undertaking this is. You can see the complete list here and obviously add to it as you see fit. Most importantly, take stock and head to your local library or bookstore, 'cause we think the map and the lists will inspire you. If you want to see the enlarged map, click here.
Southeast Asia: This Earth of Mankind, by Pramoedya Ananta Toer (Indonesia), Noli Me Tángere, by José Rizal (Philippines), The Garden of Evening Mists, by Tan Twan Eng (Malaysia), The Sorrows of War, by Bảo Ninh (Vietnam), First They Killed My Family, by Loung Ung (Cambodia), The Four Reigns, by Kukrit Pramoj (Thailand), In the Other Side of the Eye, by Bryan Thao Worra (Laos), Smile as they Bow, by Nu Nu Yi (Myanmar), Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, by Jillian Lauren (Brunei), The Redundancy of Courage, by Timothy Mo (East Timor)
North and Central America: Pedro Páramo, by Juan Rulfo (Mexico), To Kill a Mocking Bird, by Harper Lee (USA), Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Canada).
South America: Fictions, by Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina), The House of Spirits, by Isabel Allende (Chile), Lituma in the Andes, by Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru).
Western Europe: Don Quixote of La Mancha, by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Spain), The Count of Montecristo, by Alexandre Dumas (France), The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighier (Italy).
Eastern Europe: War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy (Russia), Pan Tadeusz, by Adam Mickiewicz (Poland), Eclipse of the Crescent Moon, by Géza Gárdonyi (Hungary).
Africa: The Stranger, by Albert Camus (Algeria), The Antipeople, by Sony Labou Tansi (Congo), Misfortune, by JM Coetzee (South Africa).
Asia: My Name is Red, by Orhan Pamuk (Turkey), Dream in Red Pavilion, by Cao Xueqin (China), Kokoro, by Natsume Sōseki (Japan).
Oceania: Cloudstreet, by Tim Winton (Australia), The Bone People, by Keri Hulme (New Zealand), Death of a Muruk, by Bernard Narokobi (Papua New Guinea).