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Not into football? Read your way around the World Cup instead


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For football fans, the World Cup is the most exciting thing to happen every four years. For non football fans? Not so much.

But never fear, we at the National Student have you covered: you can join in on the fun by reading your way round the countries of the world cup instead. Read on for a book set in each of the 32 countries taking part. 

1. Germany: The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

Narrated by Death, this story follows Liesel Meminger as she steals books and helps hide a Jew in the shadow of Nazi Germany. 

2. Russia: The Crown's Game, by Evelyn Skye

For this year's hosts, a fantasy set in Imperial Russia, with two magicians competing in a deadly game to become the Tsar's Imperial Enchanter.

 st petersburg

3. Belgium: Cross My Heart, by Carmen Reid

This book follows Nicole, a teenage girl in the Belgian Resistance, fighting to free her country from the Nazis during WWII. 

4. England: A Darker Shade of Magic, by VE Schwab

Schwab's immersive fantasy follows royal foster child Kell and aspiring pirate Lila as they travel across parallel Londons using Kell's Antari magic. 

5. Spain: The Shadow of The Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Zafon's bestseller follows a young man in post Spanish Civil War Barcelona after he becomes obssessed with a rare book and tries to track down the book's author. 

6. Poland: The Zookeeper's Wife, by Diane Ackerman

The Zookeper's Wife tells the true story of Jan and Antonina Zabinski's efforts to hide Jews in Warsaw Zoo during WWII. 

jan zabinski

Jan Zabinski

7. Iceland: Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent

Burial Rites is based on a true story of the final days of a woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.

8. Serbia: The Horse Has Six Legs, by various authors

The Horse Has Six Legs is an anthology of poetry from Serbian poets.

the nightingale

9. France: The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

Set in France in 1939, The Nightingale tells the story of two sisters and the ways that they resist the Nazis, Vianne by hiding Jews and Isabelle by joining the French Resistance.

10. Portugal: The High Mountains of Portugal, by Yann Martel

Set in Lisbon, the book follows the different journeys of three different men at different points in Portugal's history.


11. Switzerland: Heidi, by Johanna Spyri

The famous book about an orphan girl raised by her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. 

12. Croatia: Girl At War, by Sara Novic

Girl At War follows Ana as she returns to Croatia, ten years after a bitter Civil War.

13. Sweden: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson

A psychological thriller following a journalist and a hacker searching for a missing girl. 


14. Denmark: Music and Silence, by Rose Tremain

A love story set in the court of Christian IV of Denmark. 

marjane satrapi

15. Iran: Perseoplis, by Marjane Satrapi

An graphic autobiography of Marjane's experiences growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.

16. South Korea: Jade Lady Burning, by Martin Limon

Follows US Army sergeants George Sueno and Ernie Bascom as they look into the killing of Miss Pak.

17. Japan: Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami

Junior high school students are forced to fight to the death by the Japanese government in a dystopian Japan.

18. Saudia Arabia: Princess: A True Story of Life Behind The Veil In Saudi Arabia, by Jean Sasson

The true story of a Saudi Arabian Princess and what life is like as a woman in the Royal family there.


19. Australia: Every Breath, by Ellie Marney

A YA Sherlock retelling, with a female Watson.

20. Nigeria: Americanah, by Chimanda Ngosi Adiche

Americanah follows a Nigerian immigrant Ifemelu as she returns to Nigeria after living in the US for ten years and rekindles her romance with her childhood sweetheart.

the nile 

21. Egypt: Death on The Nile, by Agatha Christie

One of Agatha Christie's bestselling Poirot novels.

22. Senegal: So Long A Letter, by Mariama Ba

A semi-autobiographical novel following a grieving widow in Senegal.

23. Tunisia: Dido's Crown, by Julie K. Rose

Two British academics get embroiled in an espionage plot in 1935 Tunisia and France. 

24. Morocco: Mirage, by Somaiya Daud

An upcoming fantasy novel based on Moroccan mythology.

25. Mexico: Like Water For Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel

Tells the story of a pair of lovers who are doomed to never be together as the woman has been forbidden to ever marry.

26. Costa Rica: It's Every Monkey For Themselves, by Vanessa Woods

Vanessa Woods' autobiography of her year spent researching monkeys in Costa Rica.

27. Panama: The Tailor of Panama, by John Le Carre

Carre's titular Tailor, Harry Pendel, goes undercover in 1999 Panama to gain secrets for the British Government.

28. Brazil: Violent Land, by Jorge Amado

The aristocratic Badaros family is pitted against middle class colonel Horacio Silveira in a land struggle.

29. Uruguay: The Invisible Mountain, by Carolina de Robertis

Tells the story of the Fireilli's family through the eyes of three diffferent generations of women.

bust of eva peron

30. Argentina: The Adventures of The Busts of Eva Peron, by Carlos Gamerro

A satirical novel in which a man is employed to track down 92 busts of Eva Peron for Argentinian Guerillas during Argentina's Dirty War.

31. Colombia: Love In The Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

One of Marquez's famous love stories.

32. Peru: The Storyteller, by Mario Vargas Llosa

A story in two parts, one of a Peruvian writer in Florence discovering an old picture of a hablador and the other in Peru, of the writer's recollections of the man in that photograph. 

Articles: 29
Reads: 196915
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