The European Reading Challenge
January 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017




Welcome to the 2016 European Reading Challenge – where participants tour Europe through books.  And have a chance to win a prize.  Please join us 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 now, we will stick with the same 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 still one country that includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.  So one book from any one of these four counts 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.

THE LIST: 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, 2016 and January 31, 2017.  I like having 13 months so there is extra time to finish after the holidays.  However, if you participated in the 2015 European Reading Challenge, you can only count books read in January 2016 for one year -- either the end of the 2015 challenge or the start of the 2016 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. Hi, I'm doing this. And I'm hosting my first challenge next year:

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  4. Do the books have to be started in 2016 or can I count those I already have in progress?

  5. Tim: Sorry -- I can't get the widget to let me delete your broken link. Please just add a new link. If I can ever get it to work, I'll delete the broken one.

    Marina: You should count the books you start after Jan. 1, 2016.

  6. I am joining in as it looks really fun, thank you for a neat Challenge!!

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  9. Hello! Have been looking for something like this to motivate me to read more in 2016. Very happy to have found this challenge. Plan to be a Business Traveler. My reviews of my books will be posted at my site: https://foreverabookloversite.wordpress.com/


  10. @Tim I think this is the tool for fixing the links? http://www.blenza.com/linkies/cookies.php or did I misunderstand it?

  11. Finally signed up too :) (Serpent)
    My potential list can be something like this:
    1) Slavenka Drakulić - A Guided Tour through the Museum of Communism; Optužena (Accused)
    2) Bella Chagall - Burning Lights
    3) Paulo Coelho - The Devil and Miss Prym
    4) Paavo Rintala - Pojat (or something else in Finnish)
    5) Agatha Christie - Lord Edgware Dies

    I'd like to read Saramago and Stoker (Dracula) but realistically I don't think I'll finish these.

  12. Looking forward to this challenge!

  13. I've just added my link (journey & destination). Thanks for the Challenge & I'm looking forward to participating.

  14. I'm in, of course! I love this challenge!! :-D

  15. My first real reading challenge, ever! I'm currently aiming for Four Star level participation, but I hope to be able to add in more. This depends mostly on money and a little on me cultivating a passable ability to read in Norwegian. Thank you for the challenge!

  16. I just signed up for this and I am so excited!!

    When I added my name and link, I accidentally posted the link to my blog page rather than my blog post. This is the link to the post: https://wordpress.com/post/travelsofareader.wordpress.com/2

  17. I love this challenge and it's the first new one I'm committing to this year. Already scanning my pile for candidates.

  18. I am going for the 5 star challenge, but I have to still decide on the books! Happy New year!

  19. I really don't know which level I am aiming for- I'll attempt to get as many as I can. To start with, I'll choose just one {which I've not yet done!}.
    This sounds like a fun reading challenge. Thanks!

  20. Ran across this blog if anyone is looking for books from Eurpoean countries(translated into English): http://ayearofreadingtheworld.com .

    Saw the TED Talk presentation by the author, Ann Morgan.Very interesting. Check out: http://www.ted.com/talks/ann_morgan_my_year_reading_a_book_from_every_country_in_the_world .

  21. I suppose I'll need to read ten since I signed up twice.

  22. haha :) great to see you!

  23. Gilion, thank you for asking. I do provide an overlap opportunity with a theme I have just premiered! "Celtic Coasts" is an answer to groups that feature one country at a time. All Celtic connections are invited! My other three (My Kind Of Mystery, Ethreal, Gentle Spectrums) are open for sign-ups too in their third year. Happy 2016 from Carolyn. :) https://cmriedel.wordpress.com/riedel-challenges-2016/

  24. What about authors associated with several countries? For example is Kafka German or Czech? (I know that I can't use the same author for two countries of course, but how do I choose?)

  25. Hi Marina! It is up to you. You can use an author for whichever country you want. For example, use Kafka for Germany, but if you already have a Germany book, use him for Czechoslovakia. Or read two Kafka books and use one for Germany and one for Czechoslovakia.

    The point is to have fun and explore, so I don't get too persnickety.

  26. I see, thanks for replying! (Czechoslovakia doesn't exist:))

  27. I know! I thought of that after my comment!

  28. I'm back at the Honeymoon level again. Thanks for hosting!

  29. Hi, I'm joining as well (as eginhard). I'll be reading books for at least France, the UK, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania and some countries in the Balkans.

  30. I think this year I will sign up. I expect I will read at least ten books about different European countries

  31. Is the wrap-up post required? (If I want to be eligible for the prize :))

  32. Marina: A wrap-up post isn't absolutely required to be eligible to win the prize, but is GREATLY appreciated. Reviews ARE required to win the prize.

    If you don't post a wrap-up post, the only thing I do is count the reviews you post on the review page. If you forget to post a review, I won't count it. And I can't guarantee I will accurately count every review you post on the review page -- my eyes are old! So to guarantee you get credit for all your reviews, it is best to post a wrap-up post and link it on the wrap-up page.

  33. If anybody needs some inspiration (and maybe would like to go beyond Europe as well), this writer read one book from every country in the world in one year and shared her list in this article: http://ideas.ted.com/your-guide-to-reading-the-world

  34. Does the book have to be 100% set in Europe, or...? Sharon pointed me this direction and I was just wondering.

  35. No. Use your judgment. There should be some solid connection with a European country, but the entire book doesn’t have to take place there. More than a mention or a quick vacation or something.

    But the challenge is supposed to be fun, so I’m not a big stickler for rules. Let your conscience be your guide. :)

  36. Totally late to this but I have some free time on my hands for the next couple of months and really loved participating in this a few years back, so I'm signing up! Thanks for hosting this. :D

  37. Got the post up at last - still a bit puzzled at locations mentioned in Murder on the Orient Express which are confusing as to where to post the title ... and 2 others that tour several countries in one book! eg Rick Steves' European Christmas and The Art of Pilgrimage - Cousineau travel guru . So a bit of housekeeping to get sorted and reviews up over time.
    Thanks for hosting, Gilion.


  38. Welcome to the challenge, Wild Night In and Faith Hope & Cherry Tea!

  39. Hello !
    It took me some time to make my decision, but I am finally joining in! And happy to be back in the adventure!
    Thanks for hosting again :)

  40. Will you be doing this again next year? If so, I'd love to try it again.

    I've already got the challenges I'm hosting next year posted. Ahead of the game :)


  41. Hi Jamie! Wow, you made me realize how quickly the end of the year is approaching! Yes, I am going to do it again next year. I will have to get posts up one day soon.


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