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Read your way around the world

This news article was published more than a year ago. Some of the information may no longer be accurate.

Published: 05/09/2012

Take a voyage of discovery with the reading passport project and experience new cultures as you visit different countries and discover new authors on a literary tour around the world.

Library staff have put together recommended booklists for every continent. All you have to do is read six books; one from each continent plus one other of your choice. You can pick up your reading passport and a list of titles from your local library, or online at

You can review the books you’ve read on a page of the passport, tear it out and hand it in at your library to be displayed. Each review submitted before September 30 will be entered into a regional prize draw to win a ‘suitcase of books’. For full terms and conditions of the competition visit

Here are two reviews which have already been submitted to Yate Library:

Aleya Begam Hannan read Refugee boy by Benjamin Zephaniah. She said: “This book is set in Africa and England. It is an interesting political read regarding asylum seekers. It brought home to me the struggle and relentless interviews, court hearings etc that asylum seekers need to go through to be granted to stay in England.

Teenager Alexander George Pepler read Andy McNab and Robert Rigby’s Meltdown (Europe).

He said: “I thought that this got the reader very interested, very quick. Right from page one you couldn’t put it down. I love the suspense, build up and false trickery of the characters.”

South Gloucestershire librarian Carol Laslett recommends the following titles:

Africa Poisonwood bible by Barbara Kingsolver

This is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959 (fiction).

Antartica Race to the pole by James Cracknell

New Year’s Day, 2009. Somewhere on the bottom of the world, six teams of adventurers and explorers have gathered to race one another, on foot, to the South Pole. It is the first time that anyone has undertaken such a race in a hundred years; the first time since Roald Amundsen beat Captain Scott to the same goal in 1911.

Asia The inheritance of loss by Kiran Desai

In the foothills of the Himalayas sits a house – home to three people and a dog. There is a retired judge dreaming of colonial yesterdays; his orphaned granddaughter Sai who has fallen for her tutor; the cook, whose son writes untruthful letters; and judge’s dog. New world clashes with old, and the future offers both hope and betrayal.

Australasia Down Under by Bill Bryson

As well as being a funny account of his travels in Australia, the book is full of information about geology, history and folklore (non fiction).

Europe The Book Thief by Marcus Zuzak

A very moving account of life for a little girl called Liesel and her neighbours in a small German town near Munich during the Second World War.

America The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

Classic American thriller with tough heroes and classy dames. This cool and complex thriller introduces Chandler’s iconic PI, Philip Marlowe for the first time.

The South West Libraries Reading Passport has been developed by Read South West, a partnership representing libraries in South Gloucestershire as well as Bath, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Poole, Plymouth, Somerset, Swindon, Torbay, Wiltshire, South West Regional Library Service and Cyprus Well – literature development charity for South West England.

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