Wednesday, 29 January 2014

European Reading Challenge 2013: The Summary

Together with the month of January ROSE CITY READER’s European Reading Challenge 2013 is coming to a close at last and it’s time for the summary of my reads. Since joining the challenge past June I ploughed through veritable heaps of books limiting myself to fiction and banning crime and romance from my list of books to read because I don’t like those genres. Some novels and short stories which I picked for the challenge I devoured because they were captivating and intelligent, while I dismissed right away the memory of others because they were boring or I didn’t enjoy them for other reasons. Despite all I’m far from having made my way through every single one of the fifty countries scattered over the European continent. There just wasn’t enough time for so many! 

In addition some countries turned out to be quite a hard nut to crack. The small ones like Andorra, Liechtenstein and San Marino, for instance, haven’t actually brought forth important writers in crowds and they rarely served authors as the setting of a novel. Nonetheless I made out a suitable book for each one of those, but either it was an old novel long out of print like Il trono dei poveri by Marino Moretti dating from 1928 (and reprinted in the 1980s as far as I know) or it was a book on demand like Des bergers andorrans au château de Corbeyran de Foix by Florence Ricard which for mysterious reasons never arrived with me or the story itself couldn’t tempt me at all like in the case of Ludmilla: A Legend of Liechtenstein by Paul Gallico which I know from a German film made of it in the 1950s and which is out of print anyways. 

Eastern Europe (including the three Baltic countries), the Balkans and the Caucasus region too posed a much bigger problem than I had expected because few authors from there seem to have been translated into any of the European languages which I know, or if they were, I couldn’t get hold of their books anywhere around. Moreover, the countries of the former Communist Bloc, which existed more or less tucked away behind the iron curtain for decades, don’t seem to be particularly popular with western writers. In the end I managed to cover at least some of those neglected countries, notably the neighbours of Austria. 

Summing up, I must say that to my great regret there remain many blanks in the following list, but be assured that I’ll go on searching for hidden gems from the disregarded corners of our planet, not just Europe, to read and review them for you. 

My final count of the past 13 months is 65 books set in/from 38 countries and 32 reviews of books set in/from 25 countries. Not bad at all, but see for yourselves... here's my list!

Broken April by Ismail Kadaré


The Christmas Carp by Vicki Baum
Young Gerber by Friedrich Torberg (re-read)
Chess by Stefan Zweig (re-read)
Engel des Vergessens by Maja Haderlap (no English edition found)

The Professor by Charlotte Brontë
Bosnia & Herzegovina
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
Apostoloff by Sibylle Lewitscharoff
The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna
Das Walnusshaus by Miljenko Jergović (original Croatian title: Dvori od oraha; no English edition found)
Czech Republic

Fair Play by Tove Jansson
Die Klärung by Hannu Raittila (original Finnish title: Pamisoksen purkaus; no English edition found)
The Cat by Colette
Christmas Holiday by William Somerset Maugham
Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan
Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola (re-read)
Am Schwarzen Meer by Kéthévane Davrichewy (original French title: La Mer noire; no English edition found)
Kaddish for an Unborn Child by Imre Kertész
Befreiung by Sándor Márai (original Hungarian title: Szabadulás; no English edition found)
Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indriðason
Der gute Liebhaber by Steinunn Sigurðardóttir (original Icelandic title: Góði Elskhuginn; no English edition found)
A World of Love by Elizabeth Bowen
The Taoiseach by Peter Cunningham
The Zahir by Paulo Coelho (re-read)




Sword & Scimitar by Simon Scarrow


Victoria by Knut Hamsun
Jenny by Sigrid Undset
The Wedding in Auschwitz by Erich Hackl
The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman by Andrzej Szczypiorski
Republic of Macedonia

San Marino

Ein Sternenzelt aus Stuck by Goran Petrović (original Serbian title: Испод таванице која се љуспа; no English edition found)
Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho (re-read)
Nada by Carmen Laforet
The Farewell Angel by Carmen Martín Gaite
City of Marvels by Eduardo Mendoza
The House of Ulloa by Emilia Pardo Bazán
Vida feliz de un joven llamado Esteban by Santiago Gamboa (no English edition found)
The Emperor of Portugallia by Selma Lagerlöf
The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay
Snow by Orhan Pamuk
Job: The Story of a Simple Man by Joseph Roth (re-read)
United Kingdom   
Vatican City
Eminence by Morris L. West


  1. This is such a great list to get ideas for next year. I have not joined the European Challenge again but an "Around the World" one.

    If you are interested in what I've been reading last year, here is the Wrap Up of my Reading Challenges 2013 and my European Reading Challenge 2013 list. I hope you don't mind me sharing them.

    Marianne from Let's Read

    1. Hello Marianne! Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

      Yes, in the end my list turned out to be rather lengthy although I didn't read as much as I would have liked to. Well, I joined the challenge only late in June and therefore had less time than you others... Your list is impressive, too, by the way.

      I didn't join the Euroepean Reading Challenge again, either. I like widening my horizon and reading almost exclusively European books allows only a rather limited view. However, I joined the Books on France 2014 challenge. I would have read and reviewed some French books anyways. For the rest, I think that I'll check out some of the challeges in which you are taking part. Some sound quite interesting at first sight.

  2. What an awesome list! I'll keep it bookmarked for the next year's European challenges, for the reference :)


Dear anonymous spammers: Don't waste your time here! Your comments will be deleted at once without being read.