Tag: 2017 European Reading Challenge (Page 2 of 7)

The 26-Book 2017 Reading Challenge Recap

I participated in three separate reading challenges in 2017.  Luckily, several of the books I read fulfilled the requirements for multiple challenges, so that helped immensely.  I am still working on the 2017 European Reading challenge, as that one runs from January 1, 2017 to January 31, 2018, so a recap will be posted in late January.  The Bestsellers Seller Code 100 reading challenge is ongoing – we’re a little better than a quarter through the 100 books.

Even though there are 3 days left in 2017, I am done with the 26-Book 2017 Reading Challenge.  I fulfilled 23 of the 26 “categories” in the challenge – I ran out of time and was unable to complete the first 3 in the challenge.

Here’s the list, along with the books I read to complete the categories.

  1. A book you read in school
  2. A book from your childhood
  3. A book published over 100 years ago
  4. A book published in the last year – The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero, by Timothy Egan, published 03/01/2016 (02/24/17)
  5. A non-fiction book – Happy Herbivore Light & Lean: Over 150 Low-Calorie Recipes with Plans for Looking and Feeling Great, by Lindsay S. Nixon (04/16/2017)
  6. A book written by a male author – The Last Child, by John Hunt (01/05/2017)
  7. A book written by a female author – Three Sisters, Three Queens, by Philippa Gregory (04/08/2017)
  8. A book by someone who isn’t a writer (think Paul Kalathani or Richard Branson) – Here’s The Story, by Maureen McCormick (05/16/17)
  9. A book that became/is becoming a film – One Day, by David Nicholls (02/27/2017)
  10. A book published in the 20th Century – The Horse Whisperer, by Nicholas Evans (03/02/2017)
  11. A book set in your hometown/region – Fountain of Youth, by Jim Gullo (08/20/2017)
  12. A book with someone’s name in the title – Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout (02/12/2017)
  13. A book with a number in the title – Sisters One, Two, Three, by Nancy Star (01/08/2017)
  14. A book with a character with your first name – World War Z, by Max Brooks (05/10/2017)
  15. A book someone else recommended to you – The Other Einstein, by Marie Benedict (07/07/2017)
  16. A book with over 500 pages – The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, 1858 – 1919, by Douglas Brinkley (03/23/2017)
  17. A book you can finish in a day – Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modern Bestiary, by David Sedaris (09/11/17)
  18. A previously banned book – The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein (08/11/2017)
  19. A book with a one-word title – Cashelmara, by Susan Howatch (11/25/17)
  20. A book translated from another language – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson (01/20/17)
  21. A book that will improve a specific area of your life – How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously*: Based on the Proven Principles and Techniques of Debtors Anonymous, by Jerrold Mundis (06/27/2017)
  22. A memoir or journal – Tell My Sons: A Father’s Last Letters, by Mark M Weber (10/12/2017)
  23. A book written by someone younger than you – The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith (10/07/2017)
  24. A book set somewhere you’ll be visiting this year – Official Tour Book Yellowstone National Park (07/02/2017)
  25. An award-winning book – The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson (04/03/17), Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2013)
  26. A self-published book – The Mill River Recluse, by Darcie Chan (01/13/2017)

While this was fun, I don’t think I will participate again in 2018.  I have a couple of other challenges in mind, which I will post about later on.

Did you join any reading challenges in 2017?  If so, how did you do?

Book Review of And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

I read this book as part of the 2017 European Reading Challenge and 100 Bestsellers List reading challenge.

Hosseini is the author of bestsellers The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, both set in Hosseini’s homeland, Afghanistan. In And The Mountains Echoed, he returns yet again to Afghanistan and chronicles the lives of interconnected families and friends over the span of several generations and across multiple continents.  And The Mountains Echoed is about sacrifice, honor, betrayal, love, and, above all, about how the choices an individual makes can impact others for generations to come.

This review contains spoilers.

And The Mountains Echoed*, by Khaled Hosseini

(*Amazon Affiliate link)


Khalid Hosseini is a storyteller who weaves fables and myths into his novels.  In the first chapter of And The Mountains Echoed, a father tells his ten-year-old son Abdullah and three-year-old daughter Pari the story of a div (a supernatural entity with disagreeable characteristics) that forces families to give up one of their children in order to save the lives of all the children in the family.  It’s a story of making unthinkable choices and sacrifices all for the sake of love of family, and presages the sacrifice this father makes in the very next chapter when he sells his daughter Pari to a wealthy Afghan family.  In doing so, he potentially garners the means to enable the rest of his children to survive the upcoming harsh winter.

This sacrifice of the daughter, and splitting up of the previously inseparable siblings Abdullah and Pari, provides the backdrop for the rest of the novel.  Almost every subsequent chapter relates how this event impacted the life of another person from their viewpoint, telling their story.  There are a couple of chapters about individuals who are only peripherally connected to Abdullah and Pari (“fairy” in Farsi), and those chapters don’t seem to be quite as compelling as the rest of the book.  Their stories are important, though, and lend to the overall themes of sacrifice and choices.

And The Mountains Echoed is a heartwarming story about the strength of familial love.  It is filled with interesting, flawed, sometimes tragic characters that will remain with you long after you finish the last page.  It’s a story you won’t regret reading.

Note:  This is an abbreviated review.  The full review can be found at It’s A Mystery Blog.

Book Review of Push Not The River, by James Conroyd Martin

I read this book as part of the 2017 European Reading Challenge.

Push Not The River*, by James Conroyd Martin

(The Polish Trilogy, Book 1)

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Push Not The River is the first book in The Poland Trilogy.  This novel is based upon a real diary of a Polish countess, Anna Berezowska, who lived through the turbulent rise and fall of the Third of May Constitution, 1791 – 1794.  In addition of first hand accounts of the political changes attempted in Poland during that time, Anna’s story is also a love story.

The ruling classes of Poland are divided in how to respond to the libertarian ideas the French Revolution has unleashed.  Many want to give more freedoms to the lower classes through the Third of May Constitution, and many more believe that tighter restrictions are in order.  Combine those opposing forces with a weak King and the Empress Catherine of Russia as an acquisitive neighbor, and war is inevitable.

I enjoyed learning about the customs of the Polish people, both the aristocracy and the lower classes, through Anna’s eyes, and I look forward to reading the rest of her story in Against A Crimson Sky and The Warsaw Conspiracy.

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