Posts Tagged ‘books’

More Great Expat Reads

Chantal Panozzo
  • By Chantal Panozzo
  • August 25th, 2010

moonlight-1by Chantal Panozzo

As a writer abroad, I like to read books written by other expats because I find they usually share a unique perspective on the world. I’m a big fan of memoir, but lately there have also been some good works of fiction written by Americans abroad, particularly by expats living in Paris. An inspiring location? Perhaps.

A few months back, I wrote Great Books to Read as an Expat but if you’re like me and devour about a book a week thanks to plentiful train rides, you’ve already read them all. So here are a few more you might want to consider adding to your collection.

Moonlight in Odessa by Janet Skeslien Charles. Charles’ funny debut novel is set in the Eastern European country of Ukraine and explores the wonderful world of mail-order brides. The main character, Daria, is particularly endearing, especially when she goes to live in the United States as a mail-order bride herself. Daria defines the U.S. as crazy place where the people are rich but dress like they’re poor—a statement only an expat author could probably allow her character to come up with. Bonus—the book comes out in paperback in the United States on September 1.

Kitchen Chinese by Ann Mah. What happens when an American girl (who happens to have Chinese heritage) goes to live in China to find herself? She can’t. She has trouble fitting in—perhaps because she looks Chinese but isn’t. Kitchen Chinese is an interesting debut novel that explores both identity and culture, from a writer who has experienced the complexities of both.

Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez. When an American woman goes to Afghanistan to open a beauty school, she is quickly in demand from both Westerners looking for a perm and also from local Afghan women, who want to learn how to open their own beauty salons, one of the few businesses acceptable for women to run in this middle-eastern nation. The book explores love, friendship, freedom, and what they could possibly have in common with a good haircut.

Have you read any great books lately?

Chantal Panozzo is a writer in Switzerland who has written for a variety of publications on two continents. She’s the author of One Big Yodel, a blog about life in Switzerland and moving abroad, and also discusses living abroad as a freelancer at Writer Abroad.

Great Books to Read as an Expat

Chantal Panozzo
  • By Chantal Panozzo
  • March 6th, 2010

petite-uk paperbackBy Chantal Panozzo

While living in Switzerland, I have devoured many books about the living abroad lifestyle. Books about a British woman involved with too many French men. Books about an American man trying to buy something as simple as a bay leaf in France to disastrous results. And books about an Australian journalist who can’t help but run out in her sweat pants to buy a baguette to the horror of her chic Parisian neighbors.

Below I’ve listed some of my favorites—and as you’ll see, I have an affinity for books taking place in France. Am I a traitor? I don’t think so. Because right now, I can’t seem to find any memoirs about living in Switzerland, even though the country has a foreign population of 20%. But no matter. Because the experience of living abroad and reinventing one’s self is a universal theme no matter the location. And because most of the books below have reinvention abroad as a major theme, I can relate to them all—and I think maybe you will too.

Petite Anglaise by Catherine Sanderson is a memoir about life in Paris with a modern, digital twist. What happens when your blog messes with your love life and gets you fired from your job? This British author and expat has the answer.

I’ll Never Be French by Mark Greenside is a hilarious account of what happens when an American man buys a house in Brittany. It’s fun and lighthearted and makes me want to move to France.

A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke is an international bestseller, “almost memoir”, about a British businessman who takes a job in Paris. It’s an entertaining and humorous book that deals with the realities of life and work abroad.

GenXPat by Margaret Malewski and A Moveable Marriage by Robin Pascoe are both excellent informational and practical guidebooks books on living abroad.

Almost French by Sarah Turnbull is a bestseller in Turnbull’s native Australia and deals with a young woman trying to discover a new identity abroad.

But enough about what I like. What are your favorite books about life abroad?

Chantal Panozzo is a writer in Switzerland who has written for a variety of publications on two continents. She’s the author of One Big Yodel, a blog about life in Switzerland and moving abroad, and also discusses living abroad as a freelancer at Writer Abroad.

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