Thursday, February 3, 2022

2022 European Reading Challenge

In the 2022 European Reading Challenge hosted by Rose City Reader, participants tour Europe through books. The books can be read anytime between January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022.

The idea is to read books by European authors or books set in European countries (no matter where the author comes from). The books can be anything – novels, short stories, memoirs, travel guides, cookbooks, biography, poetry, or any other genre. Each book must be by a different author and set in a different country. A book must be reviewed in order to count towards the goal. 

More detailed rules and sign ups are here.


Last year, I listed some books I could read (from my own shelves) for the challenge. Of the nine books I listed, I only read one of those, although I did meet my basic goal of reading and reviewing five books for the challenge. Here are the books remaining from that list. 

SwitzerlandThe Pledge by Friedrich Dürrenmatt

Spain:  Tattoo by Manuel Vazquez Montalban

Norway:  Nemesis by Jo Nesbo  (started reading 01/15/2022)

Greece:  Assassins of Athens by Jeffrey Siger

Iceland:  Blackout by Ragnar Jónasson

Russia:  The Big Red Train Ride by Eric Newby OR

              Murder on the Trans-Siberian Express by Stuart Kaminsky

Turkey:  Belshazzar's Daughter by Barbara Nadel

If you have enjoyed books, fiction or nonfiction, for European countries, I would love suggestions. I lean more toward fiction, but am open to other ideas.


Mary R. said...

You have probably already read them, but if not I highly recommend the Brunetti series by Donna Leon which is set in Italy (mostly Venice). The series begins with Death at La Fenice (which wasn't my favorite of the books, but it is the beginning).

TracyK said...

That is a very good suggestion, Mary. I don't have anything listed for Italy, and I have wanted to get back to that series. I had to do a little research to see where I am in the series. I have read the first two books, so the next I have to read is #3, Dressed for Death. Thanks so much for that recommendation.

Margot Kinberg said...

You have some great ideas here, Tracy! I agree with Mary R. about the Brunetti series. Also from Italy, there's Andrea Camilleri's Salvo Montalbano series. From France, there's Martin Walker's Bruno, Chief of Police series. And from Spain, there's Domingo Villar's Leo Caldas novels. I look forward to reading what you think of these.

Cath said...

I second Margot's 'Bruno' books suggestion, set in France. Also set in France Fred Vargas's Adamsberg crime series which are superb. Maigret for France too although Simenon was Belgian of course. One of those books is set in The Netherlands (Maigret in Holland?) and another in Belgium I think. Montalbano would be my Italian choice. I read An Elderly Lady Is Up To No Good and that was fun, that would do for Sweden. Hope you find some books anyway. If I think of any more I'll pop back.

FictionFan said...

The Spy Who Came In from the Cold will take you to East Germany, and Robert Daws has written a short (so far) series of crime novels set in Gibraltar - the first one is called The Rock, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I read this the year we spent in The Netherlands. It was terrific. Harry Mullisch often sat in the cafe near our flat writing away.

col2910 said...

I'm still emandering through this challengfe which I signed upto in 2019 I think. I did list the countires I could do and got to about 23/24, dividing up the UK into 4. I'll have to commit. Good luck with your trekking and reading! I hope you like The Pledge - great book and a great film also. Jonason I ought to read myself.

col2910 said...


TracyK said...

Col, I do need to actually get to The Pledge this year. I have heard so much good about that author. And if I have the page count right, it is also a short novel, which I like. I think the highest number of different European countries I have read in one year is 14 or 15.

TracyK said...

Margot, I am sure I will be reading another in the Montalbano series this year, after finding so many of Camilleri's books at the book sale last year, so I will fit two books from Italy in. It will be interesting to compare the differences. I do have the second book in the Bruno, Chief of Police series, and need to continue on that series. Domingo Villar is new to me. I will have to check him out.

TracyK said...

Cath, I will definitely be reading at least one book by Simenon this year. Last year I bought the first in the series, and I found another book at the book sale. Simenon and Camilleri were my favorite "rediscoveries" last year.

I have the second book of short stories that follows An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good, titled An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed, and I will most likely read that one for Sweden, although I seem to have books by a lot of Swedish authors.

TracyK said...

FictionFan, I have already read The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, but I think that there are other Le Carre novels that I haven't read and are set in Germany. I will check that out.

The Robert Daws series sounds really good, I just went and purchased the first novel as a Kindle. I like unusual settings.

TracyK said...

Patti, The Assault by Harry Mulisch is a great suggestion for the Netherlands. I have not read many books set there, and of course I like the connection to World War II. And how nice that the author was writing in a cafe nearby. I often wonder how writers can concentrate in a cafe.

Rick Robinson said...

You couldn’t do better than Justine by Lawrence Durrell, published in 1957 and set in Egypt. It’s the first of the Alexandria Quartet, but can be read as a stand alone.

pattinase (abbott) said...

People said Mulisch was blocked and sat there hoping people would notice him and ask for his autograph.
Justice is terrific too.

TracyK said...

Rick, I have been wanting to read something by Lawrence Durrell for a few years now, but had no idea where to start, so this is a perfect recommendation. Justine sounds very good and I will find a copy.

TracyK said...

Patti, that is very funny. It does sound like Mulisch had an interesting life.

CLM said...

Well, I can see you need some off-the-beaten track countries to make it more diverse so I won't push Madam, Will You Talk because there are lots of books set in France. You could read her Airs Above the Ground (Austria) or This Rough Magic (Corfu). Both are outstanding.

While Still We Live is set in Poland, one of my favorite Helen MacInnes books, and has a wonderful sense of place. I wish I hadn't given my duplicate copy because I know you would like it! You could read one of her other books set in Europe:

How do you feel about those dark Scandinavian books? I read one of those and one set in Iceland, and was unmoved.

Is your library accessible again?

TracyK said...

Constance, both Mary Stewart and Helen MacInnes are good suggestions. I forget how many different settings they used. While Still We Live for Poland and Airs Above the Ground for Austria are definite possibilities. I don't have copies of either but I have eleven months to find copies. I have read that article by Sarah Weinman before but I found it very interesting to read it again.

Scandinavian books are pretty dark and it depends on the author as to whether I like them or not. I just finished Nemesis by Nesbo last night. It was a good read in some ways, but there were several things that bothered me about the book, and I don't plan to continue reading the series. The first book I read by him, The Redbreast, was very good. Some Scandinavian books were way too violent for me, but that was not a problem with the Nesbo book. I find books set in Iceland more variable, and not always so dark.

In person service at the nearest library is not available, although they do have sidewalk service. I don't really use the library because I want to read from my own shelves.

Sam said...

This challenge is one that makes a lot of sense to me, something that rather painlessly encourages a reader to try something new to them without being over-restrictive about it. Even though I'm always looking for books from other countries, I always end up reading the same old countries for the most part every year. I don't even count British titles as foreign anymore because they make up such a high percentage of my reading nowadays.

Emma at Words And Peace / France Book Tours said...

This is an interesting list, and enjoyable I hope.
You may find some ideas in the books I read from around the world:

TracyK said...

Sam, I read a lot of titles set in the UK also; I don't know that I have ever figured out the percentage, but I would not be surprised to find that I read more books set in the UK than in the US. So of course, that is always an easy one for me to complete. I do try to find one or two countries I have not visited via books before, but that is always hard to find. The hard part for me is the requirement to write a review, and I don't always get that done, but I still have the fun of reading about other places.

TracyK said...

Emma, Thanks so much for including the link for your Around The World in 52 books challenge. A lot of good suggestions there. I like that you included the Mrs. Pollifax books. I have read 5 or 6 of those a while back. But my absolute favorite is The Adventures of Hergé, by José-Louis Bocquet, for Belgium.

NancyElin said...

Time to think about challenges for 2023.
I've only participated in EUROPEAN READING CHALLENGE just
once. I'm going to join in 2023!
I mean...I'm so close to many of these EUR countries...I just
have to reach my hand over the border!

I'll be searching you blog for some reading suggestions.
Which challenges are you planning to join in 2023?