Reading challenge wrap-ups

 The early part of the year seems so long ago and far away now that it is actually difficult to realize that I read some of these books this year.  

Keely at A Common Reader ran a Russian Literature Challenge.  I read some great stuff, but this was also one of the challenges that really suffered during my slump.  I read eight books in total, which isn't bad, but boy howdy, I still have a lot of Russian literature on my shelf:

  1. Subtly Worded: stories by Teffi
  2.  Red Cavalry, by Isaac Babel
  3. The Unwomanly Face of War, by Svetlana Alexievich
  4. Virgin Soil, by Ivan Turgenev
  5. There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby, by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya
  6. White Guard, by Mikhail Bulgakov
  7. Resurrection, by Lev Tolstoy

Rachel at Hibernator's Library hosted a History Non-fiction Reading Challenge, which I really liked.  I read 20 titles, of which 8 had something to do with Russia/the USSR.  I still have plenty of Russian history to read, but I did make a dent!

  1. Vasily Grossman and the Soviet Century, by Alexandra Popoff
  2.  Akenfield, by Ronald Blythe
  3. When They Come For Us, We'll Be Gone, by Gal Beckerman 
  4. The Golden Thread, by Kassia St. Clair
  5. Russian Tattoo, by Elena Gorkhova 
  6. Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, by Ted Lawson
  7. A Strange Stirring, by Stephanie Coontz
  8. The Unwomanly Face of War, by Svetlana Alexievich
  9. The Golden Bough, by Sir James Frazer
  10. Robin Hood: Green Lord of the Wildwood, by John Matthews
  11. Mudlark, by Lara Maiklem
  12. Thames: A Biography, by Peter Ackroyd
  13. Edward Lear: Life of a Wanderer, by Vivien Noakes
  14. The Spy and the Traitor, by Ben MacIntyre
  15. The Uncommercial Traveller (biography of Edward Lear)
  16. Twilight of Democracy, by Anne Applebaum
  17. Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, by Peter Pomerantsev
  18. The Life of Gluckel of Hameln, by Gluckel
  19.  The Future is History, by Masha Gessen
  20. A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka, by Lev Golinking  (forthcoming)

And what of my own Reading All Around the World project?  2020 was pretty embarrassing.  I only read seven books from new countries:

  1. The Ultimate Tragedy, by Abdulai Sila  (Guinea-Bissau)
  2.  Black Renaissance, by Miklós Szentkuthy (Hungary)
  3.  Seeing Red, by Lina Meruane (Sangre in el ojo)  (Chile)
  4. The Scapegoat, by Sophia Nikolaidou (Greece)
  5. Death of the Snakecatcher, by Ak Welsapar (Turkmenistan)
  6. Jazz and Palm Wine, by Emmanuel Dongala (Republic of the Congo)
  7. The Dark Child: The Autobiography of an African Boy, by Camara Laye (Guinea)

So that's not so great, but I have some really good ones waiting, and it's not like there's a deadline.  No need to waste energy feeling guilty; just pick up a book and read...


  1. Maybe you did not read from a lot of countries, but you did get in some pretty hard-to-find ones, not that I'd expect anything else from you ... in awe, as always.


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