Tuesday 22 January 2019

Wrap-up post for European Reading challenge 2018

So, the European Reading challenge 2018 actually ends on the 31st. of this month but I'm pretty sure I won't be adding to the eight books I read for it so it's time for the wrap-up post.

The challenge was to read at least five books set in different European countries. These are the eight books I managed to read:

1. ITALY: Summer in the Islands - Matthew Fort

2. FRANCE: A Climate of Fear - Fred Vargas

3. ICELAND: Snow Blind - Ragnar Jónasson

4. SPAIN: As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning - Laurie Lee

5. GERMANY: Travellers in the Third Reich - Julia Boyd

6. BULGARIA: The Shadow Land - Elzabeth Kostova

7. SWITZERLAND: Swiss Vendetta - Tracee De Hahn

8. SCOTLAND (my 'UK' book): Against a Dark Sky - Katherine Pathak

I chose all of these books because I felt they would tell me something about the country in which they are set. And they did exactly that. All eight belonged very much in their respective countries and were excellent reads. I really enjoyed this challenge, I'm not doing it this year as I have five others on the go but will definitely be doing it again at some stage as I found it hugely enjoyable. Many thanks to Rose City Reader for hosting.



Nan said...

A very fun, and interesting, and informative challenge! As you know I read the Iceland one, and it sure did give me the feeling of that area!

Cath said...

Nan: It really was hugely enjoyable and I'm sorry I can't do it again this year but 5 other challenge is more that enough! LOL!

Yes, the Iceland one was very much of its place. I want to read more in the series but have been put off by the fact that I'm not quite sure which book comes next. There seems to be several different opinions.

Judith said...

Hi Cath,
In my mind I thought I'd commented on this post, but it seems it was all in my mind!
I'm so interested that you liked Kostova's book about Bulgaria. I contemplated reading this one last year. How often does a novel set in Bulgaria become available, and I am curious about this fascinating country.

Cath said...

Judith: That happens to me... then I go to the post to see if my comment has been replied to and get a shock when I see I never did leave one. LOL!

I don't know of any other novels set in Bulgaria but I imagine they are out there. I got interested in the area because I was reading Patrick Leigh Fermor's books about walking through Bulgaria and Romania. So when I saw that The Shadow Land was set in Bulgaria I wanted to read it. It really is a homage to Bulgaria. I believe Elizabeth Kostova's husband was born there and she fell in love with it when she visited. It's also a novel about travelling and about history. I absolutely loved it and it was definitely one of my favourite reads of 2019. A couple of weeks ago I got a look at the Rhodope mountains in Bulgaria on a TV doc. and was thrilled to see how stunningly beautiful the area is. I'm now on the lookout for more books about the region and have managed to find a couple of non-fiction travel books.

Judith said...

I'm so glad that these tricks of the mind are not only happening to me. :)
Perhaps I can read The Shadow Land this year. I would really like to add a book that will transport me to another land. I'll put it on my list of books to read this year and hope for the best. I need a literary travel journey to that so often overlooked country in eastern Europe. Hmmm... The Rhodope Mountains. I'll google that to add to the pleasure of the Bulgarian book travel.

Cath said...

Judith, noooo, not just you. :-)

Books that transport me to another land are my favourite sort. I love it when it's a place or country that I know nothing about and Eastern Europe has been closed to the rest of Europe for so many years. Michael Palin did an excellent series a few years back about this region so I've reserved the book of that series from the library. Also grabbed myself a copy of Olivia Manning's Balkan trilogy. It's so much fun to discover a new reading interest.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Cath,

I'm afraid that I am not much of a well travelled reader, as my mostly fiction collection tends to keep me more 'local'.

Off the top of my head, I have visited France, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Bosnia, Yugoslavia, USA, Australia, South Africa, Italy and Zimbabwe - but that is over the course of many years and not just in the last 12 months!

I have yet to try any Scandi Fiction or Nordic Noir, although I have a list of several recommended authors to choose from, including Ragnar Jonasson.

I have made a note of just about all your crime/thriller titles, as this is the genre I tend to read most.

I tend to think that a descriptive, well written and researched fiction book can give the reader a real feel for a place and the local social history as well as many reference books can.

Thanks for sharing this informative and interesting round-up and Good Luck with this year's challenges :)


Cath said...

Yvonne, well actually that's not a bad tally of countries even if they are spread over a few years.

To be honest, I'm not a huge Scandi fic fan, I've tried a few and find them a bit hardcore, I did like the Icelandic book though and hope to read more at some stage.

I'm of the opinion that fiction can actually be more informative than non-fiction. Good research and then a real feel for the story can go a long way and the reader becomes more involved and learns more.

Thank you! And thanks for stopping by.

Jerold said...
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