Saturday, 31 December 2016

Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks – The Summary

1 January – 31 December 2016

For the 2016 edition of Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks hosted by Robin of My Two Blessings on a special blog just for this annual challenge, I set myself the goal to read my way through the English alphabet of writers from A to Z (women) and from Z to A (men). It goes without saying, that I had no problem whatsoever to complete this challenge since I have been posting a review every Friday for four years now. I must admit that some of the letters – notably X and Z – have been a hard nut to crack, but in the end I succeeded in finding two authors for each of them. As usual, I alternated female and male writers, classical and contemporary works thus making my double alphabet more varied. Actually, I could include not just 52 but 53 new literary gems, some more brilliant than others, in my list of reviewed books here on Edith’s Miscellany because my review of The Man Who Searched for Love by Pitigrilli went online on 1 January. This book doesn’t count for the challenge, of course, and I haven’t included it in my alphabet.

This week I already published two retrospective posts (»»» see Read the Nobels 2016 – The Summary and Women Challenge #4 – The Summary) in which I gave an overview of my reads for other, less comprehensive reading challenges. As you would expect, the books that I specially mentioned there, are also among my favourites of Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks. My top favourite of the year is at the same time the highlight of my alphabet of female writers, namely The Red House by Else Jerusalem. It’s an amazing and yet quite forgotten work from the pen of an Austrian author who more or less disappeared from the literary scene after this first big success because she emigrated to Argentina with her second husband in 1910. I was delighted when I was told that the small Viennese publishing house Das Vergessene Buch has just brought out a linen-bound hardcover edition of the original German version including a new afterword as a very useful extra.

Otherwise, I find it difficult to name the reads of 2016 that I liked best. Of course, there were books that left me with a stronger and more lasting impression than others. Among the novels by English-language writers that I particularly enjoyed are Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes, The Woman Who Walked Into Doors by Roddy Doyle, The Conductor by Sarah Quigley, and The Tree of Man by Patrick White. But, of course, I also read lots of novels from parts of the world – above all Europe – where people speak other languages. Those that gave me most pleasure reading are The Encyclopaedia of Good Reasons by Monica Cantieni (German), The Hive by Camilo José Cela (Spanish), Black Rain by Ibuse Masuji (Japanese), If Not Now, When? by Primo Levi (Italian), and In Diamond Square by Mercè Rodoreda (Catalan).

And here’s the summary list of my Double Alphabet of Writers from A to Z including dates of release and original titles if they aren’t English:


  1. What a varied and globe spanning reading year you have had! I have enjoyed your reviews and look forward to a new year of more.

    1. Thanks for this comment! I hope that you'll keep following my reviews also in 2017. I hope that it'll be just as "varied and globe spanning"... although I'll have a special focus on female Austrian writers. But as you'll see on Wednesday, I'm signing up for a few new challenges.

      I hope that in 2017, I'll have more time to visit your blog regularly too. Happy New Year!

  2. Wow, lots of great inspiration here for my WorldReads this year. I hoped I would have read a few books of your 104, but not a single exact match although I have read some of the authors. The Red House will definitely go on my TBR list :-)
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Well, I try not to make obvious choices ;-) and I use to prefer the less known work of a famous author to the most widely read masterpiece.
      The Red House really is a great book! I hope you can find a copy of the out-of-print English edition. Kindly some readers have commented on where to find one.


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