The Goodreads group Monthly Recommendations gives a topic for every month along which you can recommend books. This month's topic is Around the World and I tried to find books about different cultures, not just stories about modern western people traveling the globe. Also when I give recommendations I recommend books that are not the most popular or famous but books that perhaps not so many have read. Isn't that the idea of a recommendation, to recommend a book the other person hasn't read yet?
First I will recommend one of my favorite books of all time, Q&A by Vikas Swarup (also known as Slumdog Millionaire but the book blows the movie out of the water). The idea is basically the same as in the movie but the story has so much more nuances and the Indian culture is explored from many different angles.
Next recommendation is The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, who is more famous for her Inkheart trilogy. The book follows two orphan brothers who run away to Venice and join a child gang that lives in an old movie theater. Funke's writing is beautiful and the whole story is like a fairytale where Venice is mysterious and full of adventures.
Then I'll give you another Khaled Hosseini recommendation, his book called A Thousand Splendid Suns. It follows two Middle Eastern women who are married to the same man. Hosseini gives honest insight to living in Middle East and their culture, which at times is hard and cruel but at times brings great joy.
My last recommendation is bending the rules a bit since it's technically about an alternative universe but I'm going to count it in because it could very well belong to this world. Terry Pratchett's Nation is a story about a Pacific tribal boy who is in the middle of his rite of passage when a tsunami hits his island. His whole tribe is wiped away but survivors from other islands and from a ship appear, causing conflicts.