The European Reading Challenge
January 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015




Welcome to the 2014 European Reading Challenge – where participants tour Europe through books.  And have a chance to win a prize.  Please join me for the Grand Tour!

The gist: 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. You can participate at different levels, but each book must be by a different author and set in a different country – it's supposed to be a tour. (See note about the UK, below)

What counts as "Europe"? For this challenge, we will use the list of 50 sovereign states that fall (at least partially) within the geographic territory of the continent of Europe and/or enjoy membership in international European organizations such as the Council of Europe. This list includes the obvious (the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy), the really huge Russia, the tiny Vatican City, and the mixed bag of Baltic, Balkan, and former Soviet states.

Note: Technically, the United Kingdom is one country that includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.  So one book from any one of these four should count as your one book for that one country. I'm not going to be a stickler about it because challenges should be about fun not about rules. However, when it comes to winning the Jet Setter prize, only one book from one of the UK countries will count.

Here is the list, in alphabetical order: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.


Five Star (Deluxe Entourage): Read at least five books by different European authors or books set in different European countries.

Four Star (Honeymooner): Read four qualifying books.

Three Star (Business Traveler): Read three qualifying books.

Two Star (Adventurer): Read two qualifying books.

One Star (Pensione Weekender): Read just one qualifying book.


The participant who reads and reviews the greatest number of qualifying books (more than five) will get a $25 gift card to Powell's Books (can be used in store or on line).  Participants living in Europe will get a $25-equivalent gift card to the Amazon store in your country, if possible. If you live in a country where neither Powell's nor Amazon will work, then sorry, you are out of luck.

Each book must be by a different author and set in a different country. This means that only one book from one of the four UK countries will count.  Only books reviewed count towards the prize.

  • Read all books between January 1, 2014 and January 31, 2015.  I like having 13 months so there is extra time to finish after the holidays.  However, if you participated in the 2013 European Reading Challenge, you can only count books read in January 2014 for one year -- either the end of the 2013 challenge or the start of the 2014 challenge -- you don't get to count one book for both challenges. 
  • Sign up here using Mr. Linky under the "PARTICIPANTS" heading below. Please use a link to your challenge post, not your blog home page.   
  • If you do not have a blog, please leave a comment below with the level you are signing up for, and your list of books if you want to name them now, and I will add you to the list.
  • You do not have to commit to your choices now; you can change your mind about books at any time.
  • Overlap with other challenges is allowed -- and encouraged! Have ideas for good overlapping challenge opportunities? Please leave links in comments.
  • Re-reads count. Audiobooks count.  E-books count.  Self-published books count.
  • As you progress, please link to your reviews on the review list page.  Reviews are not necessary, unless you are going for the prize, in which case only books reviewed count.  If you do not have a blog, put your reviews or reports in a comment on this post. When you finish, please link to your wrap-up posts on the wrap-up page.
  • You can copy and paste the button. Or, if you want me to send you the code, please leave a comment with an email and I will. I cannot figure out the fancy ways of giving button instructions.

(To post a review, go to this page)


  1. Really looking forward to taking part in this again after a couple of years off- it really pushed me to try books both written and set in different parts of Europe. I'll be aiming for the 'Honeymooner' level.

    Thanks for keeping this challenge going, merry Christmas (or whichever festival you celebrate). See you in the New Year! :)

  2. I have a post for 2014 challenges, but for some reason (probably my error) the correct post did not appear.
    My challenge post, will be reading 4 star Honeymooner.

  3. Saw the post on Bev's "My Reader's Block" blog. Added this challenge in honor of my mother (who passed in 2011) and her brother (who passed away on Thanksgiving Day this year), because they were born in Switzerland.

  4. Thanks so much for hosting this again! It's one of my favorite challenges.

  5. Thank you for hosting this challenge. I am looking forward to starting my European reading!

  6. I want to strongly disagree with the concept of counting all books read in Scotland, Wales, the north of Ireland and England as counted only for one country -- the "U.K."

    As someone whose relatives came from Ireland, and whose ancestors struggled for centuries for independence, it's important that each country be recognized on its own.

    Residents and writers from Scotland, Wales, north of Ireland and England have their own distinct voices and experiences, i.e., Denise Mina, Mari Strachan, Anne Cleeves, Martin Edwards, and the many Irish and other writers. Their experiences differ, their history does, too.

  7. Sounds like Kathy just has a personal grudge - as if the voices of all the countries that are part of the United Kingdom have more disparate voices than all the countries listed as "Europe" - point. missing. Read!

  8. Welcome! Either back again or newly joined! I look forward to reading your reviews and seeing what books you all pick.

    Kathy D: Objection noted. I'm just going by official designations -- there is no value judgement involved. Remember, like it says, "I'm not going to be a stickler about it because challenges should be about fun not about rules."

    Have fun and happy reading! Please spread the word.

  9. Im really excited for this challenge! Cannot wait to start!!

    Happy New Year to everyone by the way!

  10. Thank you for hosting this challenge again.

  11. Excellent challenge, signed up as well (and I don't do many LOL).


  12. Hi hi!

    Happy new year...

    I loved taking part in this challenge in 2012 and 2013 so I'll be signing in again this year. I'll let you know when I've done my challenge post (I must revise for m< exams first :()
    Happy reading & thanks for hosting this challenge!

  13. Hello! ^^
    I'd love to sign up but I have a question..
    Is it ok if my reviews are in italian? Or should I translate them? :))


  14. Thanks for hosting! I will shoot for the Deluxe Entourage level. I inserted my link in the linky, and the post will go live Jan. 4.

  15. Hi there, I'm in (again)! Thanks for hosting! :)



  16. I'm ready to post a review....is the Review Linky up yet?

  17. was looking for a books in translation but this one is just dandy - will go for 5 star level.

    does it matter if books are author/location of any of countries mentioned but written centuries ago or do they have to be modern

    looking forward to this

  18. Sign me up! This has become one of my favorite challenges!

  19. An interesting challenge for sure :) I'm going for the Deluxe Entourage and have already got 9 books made up in my list. Will be posting my reviews at http://paperbackpacker.com

  20. This is my first time doing this challenge, where do I put the review links? Here's my first one: http://savvyverseandwit.com/2014/01/somewhere-in-france-by-jennifer-robson.html

  21. Hi! ^^
    It' s an intersting challenge! I'm in.. :)

  22. I'll have a post announcing my participation after I do some research for my list-I'm aiming high.

  23. Haven't finished 2013 yet, but I still hope to and I promise not to double count!

  24. I agree with Kathy. The UK is a remnant of an imperialistic culture; if you are counting the former Soviet Union's countries as separate, then Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland should be different. Those countries aren't my areas of expertise, but I know enough to know that the cultures can be quite different. I mean, these days even Germany and the US have many similarities, but of course they're not the same. At the very least, England, Scotland and Ireland are separate and I think ought to be counted as such. My 12 cents. :)

  25. My first book is "The Uninvited Guests" by Sadie Jones. England.

  26. My first book is "The Uninvited Guests" by Sadie Jones. England.

  27. I'm going to have to up my commitment. Woohoo!

  28. Here's my second book and country for the challenge, which I've just decided to do at the Deluxe Entourage level: http://savvyverseandwit.com/2014/01/the-descent-by-alma-katsu.html

  29. Hi there! I'll be participating on level 5 & probably will be reading more books than that for this challenge. One question; can I link my review-posts to Goodreads? My profile settings are of course then not private so anyone can see. Also, does the length & quality of the review matter? I'm not much of a reviewer...

    Also, thank you for hosting this! Have a nice day :)

  30. Hi there! I'll be participating on level 5 & probably will be reading more books than that for this challenge. One question; can I link my review-posts to Goodreads? My profile settings are of course then not private so anyone can see. Also, does the length & quality of the review matter? I'm not much of a reviewer...

    Also, thank you for hosting this! Have a nice day :)

  31. My first book for the challenge is Night Soldiers by Alan Furst, set in several countries in Eastern Europe (plus Spain and France, but I'll read other books for those countries).

  32. Thanks for hosting this challenge again this year!

  33. I've got another review going up for this challenge this week, Jan. 30: http://savvyverseandwit.com/2014/01/bad-intentions-by-karin-fossum.html

    set in Norway! 3rd country....I'm on a roll!

  34. Hi hi!
    I've only just noticed that I didn't post the link to join in. I've just put it in the linky ;) Thanks for hosting this challenge again

  35. I'm joining for another year.

  36. Luving this new to me challenge -
    heading 'home' to write my post..

  37. Done - post up with link back,
    5* Entourage - TY for hosting.
    Liked at FB, new GFC, and will pin when I'm more awake tomorrow...
    HapPy travels !

  38. thanks for histing it! I love this challenge!

  39. I just found your blog tonight and am joining in the European Reading Challenge. I'm going for the top level. So excited.

  40. I love challenges. Looking forward to this one. Going to go check out what books I might read.

  41. Looking forward to this challenge

  42. I'm going to sign up for Five Star (Deluxe Entourage). Haven't decided on which locations yet but one will be the United Kingdom.

  43. I have a question about authors and how specific we are being with them. For example, Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva (modern day Switzerland) but gave up/lost his citizenship and died in France. Can I count him as Switzerland since that's his place of origin? I also have a book by an author that now lives and writes in America but moved here from Sarajevo in college. The book is about his life in both countries.

  44. Jen K: As long as you don't count the same author for two different countries, or count one book for two countries (author and setting), you can be very flexible in deciding where an author is from. Both your examples would fairly count the one author as Switzerkand and the other as Serajevo.

    Have fun!

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  47. Just joined 2014 Challenge but can't see where I should post a review!

  48. Welcome, Dean! The review page is here: http://www.rosecityreader.com/2014/01/2014-european-reading-challenge-review.html

    You can find the link at the top of this challenge page, just under the picture.

    Happy reading!

  49. Just found your European Reading Challenge and decided to join!
    I'm a bit late....but better late than never.
    Level: 'deluxe entourage'
    Here is my challenge post:


  50. Hi Gilion,

    I still can't figure out that damn Mr. Linky thingy, but here is my list to date:

    1.At Home by Bill Bryson (England)
    2.Three Stations by Martin Cruz
    Smith (Russia)
    3.Tatiana by Martin Cruz Smith
    4.The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
    by Alan Bradley (England)
    5.Road Rage by Ruth Rendell
    6.The Silkworm by "Robert Galbraith"
    7.A Murder in Tuscany by Christobel
    Kent (Italy)
    8.The Fatal Gift of Beauty by
    Nina Burleigh (Italy)
    9.A Most Wanted Man by John LeCarre
    10.The Secret Place by Tana French

    Great books and loving the Challenge. Judy

  51. P.S. Three Stations is Ukraine, not Russia.

    All my reviews can be found on Goodreads.

  52. Judy -- We'll definitely count Three Stations as Ukraine. While we still can!

  53. Could not find the linky to post reviews.
    My list in 2014:
    1. The Kings and Queens of England The Biography by David Loades----England
    2. 1066: The Year of the Conquest by David Howarth----Normandy, France
    3. 50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple's Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany by Steven Pressman----Austria
    4. Escape from Plauen by Renate Stoever----Germany
    5. A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre----Russia/Soviet Union
    6. Eleanor of Castile: The Shadow Queen by Sara Cockerill----Castile/Spain

  54. Hi Annette -- Here's the review page: http://www.rosecityreader.com/2014/01/2014-european-reading-challenge-review.html

  55. Hi. This looks like so much fun. Can't wait.


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