Top Ten Expat Books for 2018

It’s that time of year again when we ask our friends at Expat Bookshop to round up some of the best titles written by, for, or about expats. Expect books that will inform, inspire and admire, and books that will make you laugh and make you cry. In no particular order, here is our top 10 for 2018! 


#1 A Great Move: Surviving and Thriving in Your Expat Assignment

Katia Vlachos
(LID Publishing)

Whether you are a first-time or experienced expat, this book shows you how to make a successful international move. Key principles – like the importance of knowing your concept of home, understanding the stages of transition, and considering the needs of everyone who moves – equip you with the right mindset for approaching every phase of your move. The step-by-step process described in this book guides you from your decision of whether (and where) to move to settling in and creating your new home. Based on extensive research and interviews with expats from diverse backgrounds, A Great Move addresses both the practical and emotional aspects of expat life. Filled with real stories and practical tools.


#2 A Family Just Like Mine

Barbara-Anne Puren
(Springtime Books)

Gemma, an inquisitive, adopted child, travels the world looking for a family like her own. Her journey begins in London; from there she meets giants in Bolivia, rides an elephant in India, slides down dunes in Egypt and skis in Switzerland. Children will love jumping, high-fiving and stomping along with Gemma on her amazing adventure. A wonderful tale to find that most precious treasure – a heart family.


 #3 A Positive Result: One boy with Down syndrome and a mum who refused to let others tell her what he could or couldn’t achieve

Joanne Pasquale
(Summertime Publishing)

When Jo and Cliff were told at the 15th week of pregnancy that their child had Down syndrome they had little idea of what this meant. Determined to provide the best for him, Jo found Jamie could teach her as much as she could teach him. This is her story of how it feels living with a child who is ‘different’. With humour, determination and sadness, Jo gives the reader an insight into a world where everyday tasks can be a struggle and simple things mean a great deal. Warm, honest and inspiring.


 #4 A Year at Hotel Gondola: The perfect heartwarming Italian romance you need to read this holiday season

Nicky Pellegrino

Kat, a globe-trotting food writer, is about to embark on her biggest adventure yet – a relationship. She has fallen in love with an Italian man and is moving to live with him in Venice, where she will help him run his small guesthouse, Hotel Gondola. Kat has lined up a book deal and will write about the first year of her new adventure, the food she eats, the recipes she collects, the people she meets, the man she doesn’t really know all that well but is going to make a life with. But as Kat ought to know by now, the thing about adventures is that they never go exactly the way you expect them to… Evocative and engaging.


 #5 Greetings from Abroadland: Experiences of Family Life Abroad

Helena Jalanka
(Springtime Books)

When Helena, her husband and their two-year-old child moved abroad, it was only supposed to be for six months. Seven years and another family member later, they’ve lived in Finland, Australia, Singapore and Switzerland… and who knows where is next! This memoir, which includes 70 survive-and-thrive tips and 35 real-life cartoons, shares the family’s experiences as well as some wise words from intercultural experts on the big issues: moving, adapting, language, weather, education, home, and visiting family and friends in the native country. Full of wisdom and wonderful illustrations.


#6 The Reluctant Expat: Part One – Surprised by Spain

Alan Laycock
(Unblinkered Press)

A light-hearted account of one man’s transition to life in a new country. Alan has no desire to move to Spain, but his sister Cathy and brother-in-law Bernie are going regardless, so he decides to tag along. Despite his initial pessimism, he soon sees that life in their new home has more to offer than he first suspected, and by befriending a pair of local oldies he finds surprising new opportunities opening up to him. A coin dealer by trade and an idler by nature, his new, dynamic attitude surprises Cathy, Bernie and, most of all, himself, as he gets to grips with the language, tries out new activities and embraces the outdoor life. When the bar in the nearby village is reopened by two enterprising ladies, he also begins to realise that bachelorhood may not be his destiny after all. An easy read with great touches of humour. 


 #7 In Search of the Best Swedish Chokladbollar: A Southeast Asian Falls in Love with Fika

Alaine Handa
(Springtime Books)

Let Alaine introduce you to her favourite snack – chokladbollar, or Swedish chocolate balls –through a collection of 30 recipes. Plus, a recent convert to the Swedish art of fika,she shares the virtues of taking time out of our busy schedules to sit down with friends or on our own with a steaming cup of hot coffee and (of course) a chokladboll… Mouth-watering, and beautifully illustrated.



#8 Staying On

CM Taylor

Retired expat Tony Metcalfe is going through a three-quarter-life crisis. Viva España, his bar in a mountain village beyond Spain’s Costa Blanca, is failing. Tony started the bar for the English post-war babies who retired early on good pensions, flocking to the dream of wine, rest and sun around the pool. But now their retirement paradise is shadowed by Brexit: the pound has fallen, pensions are frozen and there was that property crash. Tony wants to move back to enjoy the remainder of his life in his childhood home, but his tenacious wife wants to stay in the happy valley and forget about England and the dark, unresolved feelings it provokes in their marriage. It seems Tony’s luck is about to change, though, when his son Nick arrives for a surprise visit with his self-possessed wife, Jo, and their son. With the extra help, Tony thinks things are on the up, but Jo has brought along more baggage than just their family’s suitcases. A compelling story of little and greater family secrets and what it means to find home, wherever you are.


#9 Living Elsewhere: Because a life overseas can be tough and, well, sometimes you just have to laugh

Cath Brew
(Springtime Books)

We’ve all experienced that surreal situation when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Sometimes you do both! Australian Cath Brew has travelled abroad for most of her life and though now settled in the UK, she has learned to cope with her own challenging emotions about relocating by drawing. In this delightful book, she shares 100 cartoons of her life and the lives of others, which have helped her to see the funny side of a weird and wonderful life on the move. Captures the reality of expat life.


#10 Monday Morning Emails: Six months, twelve countries, a thousand thoughts – two mothers share the journey of living a global life

Terry Anne Wilson and Jo Parfitt
(Summertime Publishing)

A continent apart, Jo and Terry Anne made the commitment to email each other every Monday morning for six months. Part memoir, part diary, part self-help, the result is a vulnerable and insightful recollection – the then and now – of expatriate life between two friends. Over the past 25 years, the authors have created homes for their families in 12 countries, raised five sons, supported their husbands’ careers, and cultivated their own passions in writing, publishing, mentoring and more. Monday Morning Emails delves into tough subjects like identity, parenting, Third Culture Kids, faith, rootlessness, traumatic childhood experiences, anxiety and depression. Jo and Terry Anne emerge from this candidly emotional exchange drawing joy and growth from facing life’s challenges before an ever-changing backdrop. And together they affirm that mothers are mothers, wherever home may be. With input and advice from experts, this book will enlighten, guide, and offer solace. Raw, authentic, moving and totally honest.


What are you reading at the moment? What expat books are on your must-read list? There are lots of people who come to this blog for inspiration. Do add your recommended reads in the comments below.

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