Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Women Challenge #4 – The Summary

1 January – 31 December 2016

This year was the second time that I participated in a reading challenge hosted by Valentina from the bilingual book blog peek-a-booK!. More precisely it was the Women Challenge #4 to which I contributed altogether 28 reviews of books written by women authors from around the world. 26 of the novels I presented here on Edith’s Miscellany as part of my personal challenge to complete a female as well as a male alphabet of fiction writers in 2016. The remaining two reviews I published on Lagraziana’s Kalliopeion because they didn’t fit into my planning, one because it was too old for Edith’s Miscellany and the other because it was kind of a follow-up by the same author. As usual, I alternated contemporary works with classics dating from 1886 through 1970.

In the course of the year, I had the pleasure to unearth a few forgotten or overlooked gems of literature. The highlight certainly was The Red House by Else Jerusalem, a best-selling novel about prostitution in Vienna around 1900 that was quite a scandal when it first appeared in 1908 and that the small Austrian publishing house Das Vergessene Buch has just recently republished in the original German in a linen-bound hardcover edition with a substantial afterword by a professor from the University of Graz. Although I didn’t actually plan it, there are another two novels dealing with prostitution on my list. Both are excellent reads written a hundred years apart: The Diary of a Lost Girl by Margarete Böhme from 1905 set in Germany and On Black Sisters’ Street by Chika Unigwe from 2007 set in Belgium and Nigeria.

Five other novels from the pen of women that impressed me a lot in 2016 are The Encyclopaedia of Good Reasons by Monica Cantieni, a Swiss German-language writer, The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka, a Malaysian author in English, The Conductor by Sarah Quigley, a writer from New Zealand, In Diamond Square by Mercè Rodoreda, a rather famous Catalan author of the post-war period, and The Fig Tree by Françoise Xénakis, a French writer who is hardly known outside the francophone world. The most bizarre book that I’ve came across this year definitely was The Secret of an Empress by Countess Zanardi Landi. If you have read my review of past Friday, you know what I mean! The mere idea of the author to claim in all earnest to be the secret daughter of Empress Elisabeth of Austria is just too fantastic.

And here comes the summary list of my Alphabet of Women Writers from A to Z including dates of release and original titles if they haven’t been written in English:


  1. I have enjoyed reading your reviews of these books this year. We have different schematics but I feel a kindred spirit in terms of planning our reading and having different projects going.

    1. I'm glad that you like my choice. I always try to make it varied and different from that on other book blogs.


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