10 Books by International Authors

Are you interested in missions? Preparing to serve among the unreached long term or even for just a summer? Take a practical step now. Diversify your reading.


Novels to Help You See the World New Ways

Several years ago I read Misreading Scripture Through Western Eyes by Randy Richards and Brandon O'Brien. At the end of the book, they say one of the best ways to learn and understand cultures is through fiction.

Though I knew missionaries cross cultural barriers to bring the gospel where it hasn’t yet been preached, I realized the content I was consuming came from predominantly western authors. They thought and understood the world much the way I do.

Since then, I have sought to intentionally diversify my reading by choosing books from around the world. Short stories, novels and memoirs are all great places to start. They help you understand other people's values, belief systems and norms.

Are you interested in missions? Preparing to serve among the unreached long term or even for just a summer? Take a practical step now. Diversify your reading.

Ten Great Books from International Authors

Want to get the book or just learn more about it? Click on the covers to pull up each book on Amazon.com.

From South America

1. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by ‎Gabriel García Márquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Gabriel García Márquez is one of Columbia's most well-known and widely acclaimed authors. His signature book, 100 Years of Solitude, is filled with stories of romance, war and adventure. It tells the story of the fictional Buenida family over seven generations.

From West Africa

2. Stay With Me, by Ayobami Adebay

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

Stay With Me is a mesmerizing read about sacrifice, love, family devotion and obligation. It takes place in Nigeria, where a man and a woman decide a polygamist society is not for them. However, years of barrenness and family pressure seem to change all that.

From South Asia

3. The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

The God of Small Things is the childhood story of two fraternal twins and their lives in India. In it, we see not just the big things that transform and shape our lives, but the small things. Arundhati Roy’s writing is powerful and portrays this not only as a family saga but an exploration of the political drama of the time.

From East Asia

4. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China, by Jung Chang

Wild Swans by Jung Chang

Wild Swans is a memoir by Jung Chang. It is the story of her grandmother, mother and finally herself. Starting in 1912 during the Qing dynasty and ending in the late 1970s, Chang’s book covers some of the most interesting years of China’s history.

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5. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee


Pachinko tells the story of three generations of a Korean family who immigrated to Japan. You will get a unique insight into how family and cultural norms change with each generation. Pachinko is an incredibly moving story about family, love, honor and shame, sacrifice, loyalty and survival.

From East Africa

6. Desertion, by Abdulrazak Gurnah


Written by Tanzanian author Abdulrazak Gurnah, Desertion is a novel of love and heroism. It takes place in a nation in the midst of upheaval. The story is of two distinct and radically different cultures coming together in the most unlikely of places.

From Central Asia

7. Endgame, by Ahmet Altan


Endgame is a suspense-filled  Turkish novel that will leave you on the edge of your seat. The unnamed mystery narrator, looking for a quiet life, finds himself somehow plunged into a mystery of his own.

From the Middle East

8. Cities of Salt, by Abdelrahman Munif

Cities of Salt

Cities of Salt is a page-turning work of Arab literature. Set in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, the book tells the story of what happens to rural Bedouin people when oil is discovered. This changes the nation as they know it.

From South Asia

9. The Wandering Falcon, by Jamil Ahmed

The Wandering Falcon

The Wandering Falcon takes place in the remote, mountainous place where Pakistan and Afghanistan come together, a place of deep extremes. The book is about two young refugees, their son, their culture and the hardship they all endure to survive.

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From Southeast Asia

10. Man Tiger, by Eka Kurniawan

Man Tiger

Man Tiger is set in an unnamed coastal Indonesian town. It tells the story of violence, cultural oppression, mystery and murder. The folklore stories of the Kurniawans allow you to discover village culture.

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