Are you interested in books that open your eyes to different cultures in creative new ways? It can be an inspiring experience to learn about a world entirely different than your own through the power of literature.
We share three of the best culturally diverse books for you to check out.
Memoirs of a Geisha
Arthur Golden’s captivating telling of the life of a Japanese woman from childhood through to old age is a must-read for anyone curious about the intricacies of 20th century Japanese culture. The main character, Sakamoto Chiyo, is a poor girl from a fishing village who is sold into a geisha house at the age of 9. Though the first few chapters may be slow moving, Chiyo’s journey to becoming the geisha Sayuri and the changes that take place when World War II hits will have you fiercely turning the pages in no time. Golden’s ability to capture the voice of an elderly woman looking back on her life is truly unbelievable and worth the read.
A Thousand Splendid Suns
A Thousand Splendid Suns is Khaled Hosseini’s second bestselling novel, following his debut novel, The Kite Runner. It follows the lives of two Afghan women over the course of more than 40 years. Mariam and Laila are born years apart, but the unfortunate and dangerous circumstances of the world in which they live bring them together. The novel focuses on a variety of cultural issues and dynamics, from women’s rights to the value of education. It also offers an interesting perspective into how the lives of the people in Afghanistan have been altered and damaged from years of war. Hosseini’s ability to make his novel both informative and deeply emotional is truly a rarity.
The Book of Negroes
Canadian-born writer Lawrence Hill’s award-winning novel, The Book of Negroes, follows the journey of an African woman struggling to find true freedom in the late 1700s. Aminata Diallo is forced into slavery at the age of 11. Her journey thereafter takes her to several points in the world as she seeks to really be free from prejudice and oppression. The title takes its name from a historic book in which the names of African-Americans who wished to leave the country after serving the British during the American Revolutionary War were written. Only those people who had their names in the book were granted passage to the shores of Canada. This unique glimpse into one woman’s lifelong journey through war and slavery is both educational and inspiring.