Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Twelve Decades, Twelve Languages – Twelve Books!

Earlier this month I read a review of Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell on Stephanie Jane’s Literary Flits and it brought to my attention that the Bookcrossers’ group on GOODREADS has called another Decade Challenge starting on 1 September 2016. To make it clear from the start: I’m not into bookcrossing. I must not read (not even have anywhere near me) books that went through too many hands unless I’m ready to put up with burning eyes, a sour throat and a running nose – I’m allergic. It goes without saying that feeling unwell isn’t exactly what I wish to get out of literature! However, I like the idea of the GOODREADS Bookcrossers Decade Challenge and decided to sign up for its 2016/17 edition. And it goes without saying that I set out right away to make a list of my projected reads, one book for each decade from 1900 to now, each originally written in a different language to make it more difficult. As I advance, I'll add the links to my reviews.

Here's my list:

GOODREADS Bookcrossers Decade Challenge

(1 September 2016 – 1 September 2017)
- completed and planned reviews -

1900 – 1909:
Natsume Sōseki: I Am a Cat (1905), original Japanese title: 吾輩は猫である
1910 – 1919:
Marcelle Tinayre: To Arms! (1915; also published in English as Sacrifice), original French title: La veillée des armes
1920 – 1929:
Lu Xun: The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China (1923-1935), original Chinese titles: 吶喊 (1923), 彷徨 (1925) & 故事新編 (1935)
1930 – 1939:
Bánffy Miklós: They Were Counted (1934), original Hungarian title: Megszámláltattál
1940 – 1949:
Anna Banti: Artemisia (1947), original Italian title: Artemisia
1950 – 1959:
José Camilo Cela: The Hive (1951), original Spanish (Castillian) title: La Colmena
1960 – 1969:
Mercè Rodoreda: In Diamond Square (1962), original Catalan title: La plaça del diamant
1970 – 1979:
Clarice Lispector: Água Viva (1973; also published in English as The Stream of Life), original Brazilian Portuguese title: Água Viva
1980 – 1989:
Amos Oz: Black Box (1986), original Hebrew title: קופסה שחורה
1990 – 1999:
Roddy Doyle: The Woman Who Walked Into Doors (1996)
2000 – 2009:
Chika Unigwe: On Black Sisters’ Street (2007), original Dutch title: Fata Morgana
2010 – 2017:
Maja Haderlap: Angel of Oblivion (2011), original German title: Engel des Vergessens


  1. Ooh, I am looking forward to these reviews!

    1. I won't keep you waiting for long! The first review is due tomorrow and then every month a new one will follow for this challenge.

  2. Thank you for the linkup and I am so glad you're joining in as you always find such amazing books. I am pleased to say I have read one on your list, Angel Of Oblivion of course, and will look forward to your reviews of the others. The Soseki I Am A Cat intrigues me especially because I was impressed with another of his books, The Miner.

    Best of luck with the challenge :-)

    Stephanie Jane @ Literary Flits

    1. Thanks for wishing me luck! Thanks for the comment, Stephanie!

      In fact, I don't see much point in reviewing the same books as everybody else, so I browse heaps of (often difficult to find) bibliographies on the internet and see if I can dig up the most interesting of the books somewhere.

      I put Angel of Oblivion on my list only after having read your review... and learning that an English edition is out. The book that I had projected to read originally was just a compromise, anyways. Not much Austrian literature available in English translation, as a matter of fact!


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