Famous people read books too. Or pose in front of them, at least.

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The New York Times did an article last week concerning celebrity shelfies. Evidently during certain speaking engagements, celebrities have been using books as backdrops and sharp-eyed viewers have been picking apart their contents. Some results are surprising, some are not.

Most of the results are rather bland (maybe Cate Blanchett really likes reading the OED?), but I did add a few books to my to-read shelf on Goodreads. Carla Hayden in particular had an interesting book spotted on her shelf called “Heart of Ngoni” by Harold Courlander & Ousmane Sako that I may try and squeeze in soon. I haven’t read anything from Africa yet.

Prince Charles’ fascination with horses simultaneously surprises me and does not. He seems like a horse guy.

The New York Times: What Do Famous People’s Bookshelves Reveal?

How interesting the places not here.

I’m fascinated with other cultures. My list of books read about places other than America spans across so many different countries and time periods that I’m not sure I could list them all right now. Historical fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, I don’t discriminate.

In particular, a lot of my bookish cultural wanderings take me to places in Asia. I’m not sure why, but each of the distinct countries in Asia feel so especially exotic to me. I’ve read many non-fiction and memoir books from North Korean refugees. I love Haruki Murakami’s fiction. I have a ton of Chinese historical fiction read and yet to read on my Goodreads shelf. Something about the extremely varied culture of the region really interests me in a way I can’t pin down.

In any case, while browsing the Goodreads Giveaways for this week, Lori Qian’s How Sweet the Bitter Soup leaped out at me as something I should keep on my to read radar. The cover is very appealing to my minimilistic preferences, and the short summary on Goodreads really hits all the right notes for me. From the short information available, it sounds like a memoir about an American taking care of her parents ends up transplanted in China through a teaching position. It sounds like the author learns a lot about herself through the journey, which I can appreciate.

Now if only my wallet kept up with my literary travels, I’d have a whole lot more to write about.