Photo: NetCredit

The Most Popular Book Set in Every Country in the World

by Eben Diskin Sep 24, 2020

Some novels are inextricably linked to their settings. In many cases, the location feels like a character in itself, a living and breathing protagonist whose interests are intertwined with its human counterparts and whose presence is felt on every page. NetCredit compiled a list of the most popular books set in every country in the world to really highlight which works of literature let their settings shine. NetCredit created an algorithm to give each book a score according to its Goodreads rating (about 13,000 books total) then made a series of virtual bookshelves and maps to showcase the top-scoring book set in each country.

All graphics are courtesy of NetCredit

North and Central America

The Help by Kathryn Stockett is the most popular book set in North America, taking place in Jackon, Mississippi, in the 1960s and told by three women — a Black maid, her best friend, and a young white woman. Jurassic Park also scored highly, even though its setting is the fictional Isla Nublar, which is supposed to be an island of Costa Rica.

  • Canada: “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M Montgomery
  • USA: “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett
  • Mexico: “Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel
  • Guatemala: “Grave Secrets” by Kathy Reichs
  • Belize: “Beka Lamb” by Zee Edgell
  • El Salvador: “One Day of Life” by Manlio Argueta
  • Honduras: “The Mosquito Coast” by Paul Theroux
  • Nicaragua: “The stars at Noon” by Denis Johnson
  • Costa Rica: “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton
  • Panama: “Avengers” by Frederick Forsyth
  • Cuba: “Skeleton Key” by Anthony Horowitz
  • Haiti: “Island Beneath the Sea” by Isabel Allende
  • Dominican Republic: “The Brief Wondrous life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Díaz
  • Jamaica: “White Teeth” by Sadie Smith
  • Antigua and Barbuda: “Lucy” by Jamaica Kincaid
  • Dominica: “Wide Sargasso Sea” by Jean Rhys
  • Trinidad and Tobago: “Golden Child” by Claire Adam

South America

South America can lay claim to Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits, a saga set in Chile that touches on the lives of three generations of the Trueba family. Kurt Vonnegut’s Galapagos also makes the list, telling the story of the reverse evolution of mankind set in Ecuador.

  • Venezuela: “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe
  • Ecuador: “Galapagos” by Kurt Vonnegut JR.
  • Colombia: “Clear and Present Danger” by Tom Clancy
  • Peru: “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield
  • Bolivia: “The Lost World” by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Brazil: “State of Wonder” by Ann Pratchett
  • Paraguay: “Zana” by Antonio di Benedetto
  • Chile: “The House of Spirits” by Isabel Allende
  • Argentina: “The Aleph and Other Stories” by Jorge Luis Borges
  • Uruguay: “The City of your Final Destination” by Peter Cameron


John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is the most popular book set in Europe, partially taking place in the Netherlands. It tells the story of a 16-year-old cancer patient who travels to Amsterdam to meet the author of a mysterious book about a cancer patient.

  • Iceland: “Red Storm Rising” by Tom Clancy
  • Ireland: “Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt
  • Northern Ireland: “Milkman” by Anna Burns
  • Wales: “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs
  • England: “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
  • Scotland: “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling
  • Norway: “Sophie’s World” by Jostein Gaarder
  • Sweden: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Steig Larsson
  • Finland: “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” by Haruki Murakami
  • Lithuania: “Between Shades of Gray” by Ruta Sepetys
  • Latvia: “Holes” by Louis Sachar
  • The Netherlands: “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green
  • Belgium: “The Day of the Jackal” by Frederick Forsyth
  • Denmark: “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” by William Shakespeare
  • Germany: “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak
  • Poland: “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” by John Boyne
  • Portugal: “The Night in Lisbon” by Erick Maria Remarque
  • Spain: “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruis Zafón
  • Andorra: “Mr. S and the Secrets of Andorra’s Box” by Ross O’Carroll-Kelly and Paul Howard
  • France: “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah
  • Monaco: “Loser Takes All” by Graham Green
  • Lichtenstein: “H.R.H” by Danielle Steel
  • Switzerland: “Frankenstein” by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
  • Italy: “The Mark of Athena” by Mark Riordan
  • Malta: “The Man on Fire” by A.J. Quinnell
  • Vatican City: “The Agony and the Ecstasy” by Irving Stone
  • Austria: “The Hotel New Hampshire” by John irving
  • Croatia: “The House of Hades” by Mark Riordan
  • Hungary: “The Paul Street Boys” by Ferenc Molnár
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: “Line of Sight” by Mike Maden
  • Albania: “Broken April” by Ismail Kadare
  • Czech Republic: “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” by Michael Chabon
  • Kosovo: “My Cat Yugoslavia” by Pajtim Statovsci
  • Slovakia: “Rivers of Babylon” by Peter Pišťanek
  • Montenegro: “Over my Dead Body” by Rex Stout
  • Cyprus: “Exodus” by Leon Uris
  • Serbia: “Garden Ashes” by Danilo Kiš
  • Greece: “Twenty Thousands Leagues Under the Sea” by Jules Verne
  • Romania: “Dracula” by Bral Stoker
  • Azerbaijan: “Ali and Nino” by Kurban Said
  • Bulgaria: “Under the Yoke” by Ivan Vazov
  • Armenia: “The Fool” by Raffi
  • Ukraine: “Everything is Illuminated” by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Russia: “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoyevski

Middle East and Central Asia

Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner is the most popular novel set in the Middle East and Central Asia, telling the story of the relationship between a wealthy boy and the son and grandson of his father’s servant, set in Afghanistan. Another novel, My Heart A Jewish Girl, also ranked highly. Written by Khawla Hamdi, the book is about an orphaned Muslim girl living with a Jewish family in Lebanon.

  • Kazakhstan: “The War in 2020” by Ralph Peters
  • Turkey: “My Name is Red” by Orhan Pamuk
  • Syria: “Sea Prayer” by Khaled Hosseini
  • Iraq: “The President’s Gardens” by Mushin Al-Ramli
  • Iran: “My Uncle Napoleon” by Iraj Pezeshkzad
  • Afghanistan: “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini
  • Lebanon: “A Jewish Girl Lies Within My Heart” by Khawla Hamdi
  • Palestine: “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal” by Christopher Moore
  • Saudi Arabia: “Goat Days” by Benyamin
  • Israel: “The Source” by James A. Michener
  • Jordan: “Appointment With Death” by Agatha Christie
  • Yemen: “Icon” by Frederick Forsyth
  • Oman: “The Icarus Agenda” by Robert Ludlum

Asia and Oceania

The Memoirs of a Geisha, written by Arthur Golden, is the first-person story of a geisha working in Kyoto, Japan, and the most popular book set in Asia. The story was also made into a film in 2005.

  • Mongolia: “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” by Lisa See
  • China: “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer
  • Pakistan: “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” by Moshin Hamid
  • North Korea: “The Orphan Master’s Son” by Adam Johnson
  • South Korea: “Kim Ji-Young: Born 1982” by Cho Nam-Joo
  • India: “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel
  • Nepal: “Sold” by Patricia McCormick
  • Macau: “Peking & The Tulip Affair” by Nick Carter
  • Hong Kong: “Around the World in 80 Days” by Jules Verne
  • Bangladesh: “A Golden Age” by Tahmima Anam
  • Myanmar: “Burmese Days” by George Orwell
  • Laos: “The Coroner’s Lunch” by Colin Cotterill
  • Taiwan: “Threat Victor” by Tom Clancy, Mark Greaney
  • Sri Lanka: “The Fountains of Paradise” by Arthur C. Clarke
  • Thailand: “The Beach” by Alex Garland
  • Cambodia: “Impact” by Douglas Preston
  • Vietnam: “Edge of Eternity” by Ken Follett
  • Malaysia: “A Town Like Alice” by Nevil Shute
  • Singapore: “Crazy Rich Asians” by Kevin Kwan
  • Philippines: “The Naked and the Dead” by Norman Mailer
  • Indonesia: “In Too Deep” by Jude Watson
  • Australia: “The Thorn Birds” by Colleen McCullough
  • New Zealand: “Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell


The Alchemist by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho is the most popular book set in Africa. Taking place partially in Morocco, the book is an allegorical story of a young Spanish shepherd who travels in search of treasure. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie also topped the list, in part set in Nigeria. The book tells the story of a young woman departing military-ruled Nigeria for the US, leaving family, friends, lover, and culture behind.

  • Morocco: “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
  • Algeria: “The Stranger” by Albert Camus
  • Tunisia: “The Tremor of Forgery” by Patricia Highsmith
  • Libya: “In the Country of Men” by Hisham Matar
  • Egypt: “The Throne of Fire” by Rick Riordan
  • Cape Verde: “The Last Will & Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo” by Germano Almeida
  • The Gambia: “Roots: The Saga of an American Family” by Alex Haley
  • Guinea-Bissau: “The Cobra” by Frederick Forsyth
  • Mali: “Lieutenant de Kouta” y Massa Makan Diabaté
  • Sudan: “What is the What” by Dave Eggers
  • Senegal: “So Long a Letter” by Mariama Ba
  • Sierra Leone: “The Heart of the Matter” by Graham Greene
  • Ivory Coast: “Monnew” by Ahmadou Kourouma
  • Ghana: “All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes” by Maya Angelou
  • Togo: “Cola Cola Jazz” by Kangni Alem
  • Benin: “The Viceroy of Ouidah” by Bruce Chatwin
  • Nigeria: “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Liberia: “Murder in the Cassava Patch” by Bai T. Moore
  • Uganda: “The Last King of Scotland” by Giles Foden
  • Ethiopia: “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese
  • Rwanda: “Small Country” by Gaël Faye
  • Kenya: “Crocodile Tears” by Anthony Horowitz
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo: “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Tanzania: “The African Queen” by C.S. Forester
  • Angola: “Long Lost” by Harlan Coben
  • Namibia: “The Sound of Thunder: A Courtney Novel 2” by Wilbur Smith
  • Botswana: “The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Zimbabwe: “The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm” by Nancy Farmer
  • Lesotho: “Chaka” by Thomas Mofolo
  • Mozambique: “The Drifters” by James A. Michener
  • South Africa: “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay
  • Madagascar: “Flashman’s Lady” by George MacDonald Fraser
  • Mauritius: “The Mauritius Command” by Patrick O’Brian

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