Well, another year of Rose City Reader’s European Reading Challenge has come to a close. Each year I try to read as many books as possible set in, or about different European countries, or by different European authors. With one country per book and each book by a different author, I find myself moving from book to book across Europe, like some post-modern armchair version of a Bella Époque grand tour of the Continent.
Last year I read and reviewed 23 books, and for my efforts earned the coveted Jet Setter Award. I wasn’t as productive in 2020 but still managed to read and review 20 books for the challenge. Just like in past years, there’s a variety of countries represented, ranging from large counties like Russia and Germany, to smaller ones like Belgium, Switzerland and even the micro-state of Vatican City. This year for this first time I’ll be including books representing Slovakia and Norway.
- An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist by Richard Dawkins (United Kingdom)
- The Unruly Passions of Eugenie R. by Carole DeSanti (France)
- The Last Battle by Cornelius Ryan (Germany)
- Warburg in Rome by James Carroll (Italy)
- The Last by Hanna Jameson (Switzerland)
- The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen (Russia)
- Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith (Ukraine)
- 1947: Where Now Begins by Elisabeth Åsbrin (Sweden)
- Twilight of Empire: The Tragedy at Mayerling and the End of the Habsburgs by Greg King and Penny Wilson (Austria)
- Masquerade: Dancing Around Death in Nazi Occupied Hungary by Tivadar Soros (Hungary)
- Siren of the Waters by Michael Genelin (Slovakia)
- The Butcher’s Trail: How the Search for Balkan War Criminals Became the World’s Most Successful Manhunt by Julian Borger (Bosnia)
- The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Spain)
- Beautiful Animals by Lawrence Osborne (Greece)
- An American Princess: The Many Lives of Allene Tew by Annejet van der Zijl (The Netherlands)
- From Bruges with Love by Peiter Aspe (Belgium)
- Guilty Wives by James Patterson and David Ellis (Monaco)
- Prague Spring by Simon Mawer (Czech Republic)
- The Vatican Cop by Shawn Raymond Poalillo (Vatican City)
- The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb (Norway)
It was about a 50-50 mix of fiction and nonfiction for this years’ challenge, with fiction tallying slightly more with 11 books. Five books were translated from other languages, including one, Masquerade from Esperanto. Both The Last Battle and The Future is History made my 2020 Favorite Nonfiction list while The Last, Beautiful Animals and The Angel’s Game made the Favorite Fiction list. I declared The Angel’s Game my favorite novel of 2020.
As you can guess, I’m a huge fan of this challenge. I encourage all you book bloggers to sign up and read your way across Europe. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.