Sunday, January 31, 2016

European Reading Challenge: Wrap-Up and Sign-Up

The European Reading Challenge is hosted by Rose City Reader, the requirement of the challenge being that you read books either by a European author or set in a European country. In 2015, I read 8 books for the challenge.

Here are the books read:

1. England (UK): The Two Sisters by H.E. Bates
2. Germany: Stealthy Terror by John Ferguson
3. Italy: The Lessons by Naomi Alderman
4. Spain: The Cradle Song by G. Martinez Sierra
5. Russia: Mother by Maxim Gorky
6. France: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
7. Sweden: The Farm by Tom Rob Smith
8. Ireland: From a Clear Blue Sky: Surviving the Mountbatten Bomb by Timothy Knatchbull

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I am signing up for the challenge once again in 2016. You can find the details over here.



Challenge Complete: My Kind of Mystery



One of the challenges that I discovered (and am very glad to have discovered) last year is the My Kind of Mystery challenge hosted by RIEDEL Fascination. Though my goal was to read 11-20 books for this challenge, I am glad to have read a total of 41.

Here are the books read:

1. The Motor Rally Mystery by John Rhode
2. Murder at the Black Crook by Cecile Hulse Matschat
3. The Oval Table by J. Jefferson Fargeon
4. Counterstroke by Andrew Garve
5. The Mystery of the Green Bottle by John G. Mortimer
6.  Call the Next Witness by Philip Mason
7. Shootout at the Rocks by Ibn-e-Safi
8. Crooked Hinge by J.D. Carr
9. Stealthy Terror by John Ferguson
10. After the Funeral by Agatha Christe
11. The Old Dark House by J.B. Priestley
12. Port of Seven Strangers by Kathleen Moore
13. The Case of the Sulky Girl by Erle Stanley Gardner
14. The Case of the Silent Partner by Erle Stanley Gardner.
15. Patrick Butler for the Defence by J.D. Carr
16. An English Murder by Cyril Hare
17. The Case of the Baited Hook by Erle Stanley Gardner
18.  Death Takes the Living by Miles Burton
19. The Shudders by Anthony Abbot
20. House of Fear by Ibn-e-Safi
21. The Face in the Night by Edgar Wallace
22. The 'Z' Murders by J. Jefferson Farjeon
23. Death in Flames by Gordon Ashe
24. The  Strange Boarders of Palace Crescent by E.P. Oppenheim
25. Officially Dead by Quentin Reynolds
26. Ayesha by H. Rider Haggard
27. Phantom Lady by William Irish
28. The Killings at Badger's Drift by Caroline Graham
29. The Farm by Tom Rob Smith
30. Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino
31. The Setting Sun by Brian Moore
32.  Last Bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter
33. Along Came a Spider by James Patterson
34.  Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins
35. Fearless Jones by Walter Mosley
36. In at the Kill by Elizabeth Ferrars
37. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
38. From a Clear Blue Sky: Surviving the Mountbatten Bomb by Timothy Knatchbull
39. The Ghost of Flight 401 by John  G. Fuller
40. Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl
41. Outlaws by Javier Cercas

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Carolyn, our lovely hostess, is hosting it again for the year 2016 and I'll soon be signing up for it.

Outlaws by Javier Cercas



Gerona Ignacio Canas is sixteen year old and at a loss. He is bullied at school and can't tell his family about it. Enter Zarco and Tere, both from the wrong side of the fence, and take over his life. Soon Canas is involved in purse-snatching, car-jacking, robbery and other petty and not-so-petty crimes. Till the day this summer of madness comes to an abrupt end.

Decades later, Canas now a famous criminal lawyer is visited by Tere who asks him to represent Zarco who has become a legendary criminal. Canas agrees. As the present collides with the past, things become clearer or do they?

First Read: Ninety Three by Victor Hugo

Last year, I had challenged myself to read 2 books by Victor Hugo: Les Miserables and
Ninety Three. While I was able to read the first one, I couldn't quite manage the second one. This year, I was determined that it be the first read of the year for me and I am glad that it has turned out to be so.



The novel set in the bloody days of Revolution and Terror in France is a masterpiece with people belonging to the same family arraigned in different groups, with France against France, and with England waiting to pounce at France. As the blood flows and the body count rises, Robespierre and Saint-Just sit at the helm, and heroism and villainy mix, people have to face questions and conflicts regarding Humanity or Loyalty; Revolution or Country;Family or Faith.

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WHEN I Discovered This Classic: When I read how two Indian Revolutionaries Sukhdev and Bhagat Singh got into an intense arguement about it.

WHY I Chose to Read It: I wanted to see for myself what their debate was all about.

WHAT Makes It A Classic: Conflicts plaguing the characters.

WHAT I Thought of This Classic: Brings alive the historical epoch and a country that is finding its way forward.

WILL It Stay A Classic: Yes

WHO I’d Recommend It To: Anybody who is interested in Historical Fiction or is interested in novels which move forward through debate.

100+Book Challenge

Though I could not complete it last year, I am challenging myself to read 100+ books this year and thus once again signing up for the 100+ Book Challenge hosted @ Freda's Voice. Ready to challenge yourself? Then sign up for it. We have a lovely hostess who encourages us by reading and commenting on the books reviewed.


Back to the Classics Challenge 2016

I am signing up for the Back to the Classics Challenge 2016 hosted @ Books and Chocolate. If you like classics too, you could sign-up over here.


Challenge Complete: Diversity on the Shelf



One of the challenges that I enjoy immensely is the Diversity on the Shelf which requires one to read books where one of the main characters is a Person of Color. In 2015, I read 12 books that qualified for this challenge. Since my goal was to read 7-12 books in this category I am glad to have successfully completed the challenge.

Here are the books read:

1. The Individual & Society
2. Inside India by Halide Edib
3. Bhagat Singh: Liberation's Blazing Star by P.M.S Grewal
4. Bhagat Singh by Ravi Ranjan and M.K. Singh
5. Revolutionaries in Dialogue (ed) by Malvinderjit Singh Waraich
6. The Face in the Dark & Other Hauntings by Ruskin Bond
7. The House of Blue Mangoes by David Davidar
8. Along Came a Spider by James Patterson
9. Fearless Jones by Walter Mosley
10. Ayesha: The Return of She by H. Rider Haggard
11. Call the Next Witness by Philip Mason
12. The Farm by Tom Rob Smith

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Soon I will be signing up for the 2016 edition of the challenge.