2012: Virtual Travelling

I didn’t join the global reading challenge this year but still wanted to keep track of my virtual travels as I was curious to see if I would maintain the diversity of previous years without the motivation of a challenge. I thought I was doing pretty well, managing to visit a total of 21 countries plus a few international settings, but apparently this is only 8% of the planet’s countries so I’ve still a way to go to be truly inclusive (note World66, the site I used to generate this map, does not treat England and Scotland as separate countries but I know better).

create your own visited country map















New Zealand





South Africa



International / Multiple Settings

  • AGENT 6, Tom Rob Smith (a section each in Russia, America and Afghanistan)
  • COLD GRAVE, Kathryn Fox (takes place almost entirely in international waters)
  • KILL DECISION, Daniel Suarez (stops include Africa, America and Afghanistan)
  • ROTTEN GODS, Greg Barron (stops include Dubai, Somalia, International waters)
  • THE ASSASSIN’S PRAYER, Ariana Franklin (England, Normandy and Sicily in the 12th Century)

The most noticeable thing for me about the geographical spread is the relatively low number of books set in America this year. Last year I read 37 books set somewhere in the USA, this year I’ve read 10 books set there. I know overall I’ve read fewer books this year but that’s still 9% of my books read this year versus 21% last year. I think my increasing focus on local titles is having an impact on this aspect of my reading and the other factor is probably my fondness for several British audio book narrators who tend to read European novels rather than American ones.

The biggest gaps are obviously Africa and South America, something I’ll aim to fix in 2013’s reading. I’d also like to read more crime fiction set in different parts of Asia. Suggestions welcome.

What about you? Did you travel virtually much during 2012? Have any favourite places you ‘visited’? Do you have any tips for ensuring you read from a wide variety of settings?

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10 Responses to 2012: Virtual Travelling

  1. Bernadette – I’m actually very impressed with your virtual travels. You’ve read books set in a lot more different places than lots of other people do even without the motivation of joining a challenge. I myself ought to read more crime fiction set in Africa and parts of Asia this coming year myself. We’ll see how I do.


  2. Bill Selnes says:

    Bernadette: I have found it difficult to find books that I want to read in South America. In each of the last 2 years it has been a single book.

    Your country total is about double mine. Congratulations on your global reading.


    • I struggle with South America too Bill. Leighton Gage’s Brazilian series is very good though and I should get back to them. I find lots of South American literature difficult to read as there’s often a heavy fantasy/magical realism element to the writing and while I wish I could embrace it my brain just can’t come to grips with that.


  3. Mrs P. says:

    Thanks, Bernadette. It’s a great idea to categorise your reading in this way – love the graphic. I’ll be picking my way through your list to see what I’ve missed. I’m keen to move further beyond Europe next year…


  4. angelasavage says:

    Fantastic, Bernadette! Love your virtual travel through reading. You’ve inspired me (yet again!) and I’ll do a like post in the New Year.

    I’ll get back to you on some South American authors/reads – though if you’re not into magical realism, it can be somewhat limiting…

    Meanwhile, wishing you a very Happy New Year in 2013, filled with adventurous and satisfying reads.


    • Wishing you all the best for 2013 too Angela. I know I’ve got at least one virtual visit to Thailand to look forward to in the middle of the year 🙂 but will be happy to take on board any recommendations of other books I should read. I really do wish I could get into magical realism but I doubt it’s gonna happen at the ripe old age of 45 if it hasn’t happened already.


  5. JoV says:

    You are one of the best virtual and armchair traveller I have seen this year! Great stuff for travelling far and beyond so many countries. Happy new year to you!


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  8. angelasavage says:

    Bernadette, for a less magical, albeit erotically charged Latin American read, try I gave you all I had by Zoe Valdes. It’s a while since I read it, but I enjoyed it very much.

    Of course for a Cuban setting and a great read, you can’t go past Havanna Bay by Martin Cruz Smith.


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