Saturday, February 29, 2020

European Reading Challenge 2020

Another challenge! But all of these are books that are already on the TBR shelves, or count for another challenge. How can I resist? 

Hosted by Rose City Reader, this challenge is a tour of Europe through reading, either books from European countries or set in European countries -- any kind of book is fine, they don't have to be classics -- it could even be a cookbook or a children's book. Participants can choose different levels of participation so there's no big commitment. But one lucky reader can win a prize at the end for the most countries visited! The only real rule is no more than one book per country. 

I'm signing up for the Five Star Level, at least five books. I'm pretty sure I can finish five books by European authors by the end of the year. Here's what's on my list so far: 

Austria: Chess Story by Stefan Zweig 
France: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (in progress!)
Germany: The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann 
Hungary: They Were Counted by Miklos Banffy
Ireland: The Real Charlotte by Edith Somerville and Violet Martin
Italy: The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassini
Russia: Crime and Punishment OR Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky 
Switzerland:  In the Mountains by Elizabeth von Arnim
UK: The Belton Estate by Trollope OR East Lynne by Mrs. Henry Wood
Ukraine: The Misunderstanding by Irene Nemirovsky

I'd love to add more countries later but I really want to finish books from my own shelves or that fulfill other challenges, so I'll have to wait and see what I else I can count. Most of the books on my owned-and-unread shelves are British -- shocking, I know! I do want to read more world literature and I'm always looking for more books in translation. 

Has anyone else signed up for this challenge? And do you have any suggestions for books from other European authors? If you're interested, sign-ups are here


  1. Resistance is futile when you can double up on challenges! Most of the books on my owned-and-unread shelves are either British or American...if they are classics, then mostly British... I can't do this this year because I really am making an effort to read as much of what I own as possible. But maybe next year? I want to read more from Spain, Sweden, Russia, etc.

    1. I think I can read at least five from my own shelves, though not all of them are in translation -- some of them are British and American novels set in different countries. And The Misunderstanding is a bit of a stretch -- Nemirovsky was born in the Ukraine but emigrated to France, so it's really a French novel, but those are easy to find -- Ukranian novels are a lot trickier to track down.

  2. I don't usually warn people off books, but The Belton Estate--well, in a review a young Henry James said it was "stupid" and he was right.

  3. Hi Karen -- I only just now saw your comment from months ago about switching books after you posted a review. 2020 has been like that for me! Sorry! Of course it's OK to switch! You can decide which books to count for your five challenge books and your Jet Setter books right up to the final day of the challenge, which is January 31, 2021. As always, the only thing to remember is for the Jet Setter Prize, only one book from a country can count and only books reviewed count. People like me who read books but don't review them don't get a prize. :)


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