GeoKIT 2021 (all year): Europe

Snak2021 Category Challenge

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GeoKIT 2021 (all year): Europe

1Jackie_K
Redigeret: dec 12, 2020, 10:44am

GeoKIT Europe runs all year – just post here on this thread when you read something relevant to the region.



(CIA map of Europe, linked from https://geology.com/)

Europe stretches from Iceland in the west (Greenland is geographically part of the North American continent, although politically it has been part of Denmark since 1953), to Russia west of the Ural mountains, and Turkey west of the Bosphorus. According to the UN, this covers 44 countries, so feel free to read books from, or set in, any of the following countries (presented here in order of size of 2020 population, from largest to smallest):

Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic (Czechia), Greece, Portugal, Sweden, Hungary, Belarus, Austria, Serbia, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Slovakia, Norway, Ireland, Croatia, Moldova, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Latvia, Estonia, Montenegro, Luxemburg, Malta, Iceland, Andorra, Monaco, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Holy See. NB although Kosovo is recognised by 98 UN members, and is administered by a UN Interim Administration Mission, the UN settlement still currently recognises Serbian sovereignty over Kosovo. Also, feel free to include anything set in European Turkey if you’re not including it in the Asia GeoKIT.

There is a rich literary tradition and legacy through much of Europe, so there will be no shortage of relevant books for this KIT! Rather than provide suggestions, I will just open up the floor to your suggestions and recommendations, and encourage you to look for fiction (both historical and contemporary), travel accounts, memoirs, histories of the region, commentaries on Cold War life and politics, books about the formation and expansion of the European Union, books about Brexit (if you really must! 😉 ), poetry and plays and more besides. I can’t wait to see what we all come up with!

2Jackie_K
dec 12, 2020, 10:54am

OK, I've linked the thread to the wiki, but haven't a clue how to set up the bit of the wiki where you can actually add the books. If anybody would like to volunteer to do that bit when the time comes then they will have my eternal gratitude :)

3spiralsheep
dec 12, 2020, 11:01am

>2 Jackie_K: I set up the wiki page and am keeping an eye on it but all additional help is very welcome. Thank you for linking this thread!

4Jackie_K
Redigeret: dec 12, 2020, 11:08am

>3 spiralsheep: No problem, thanks so much for setting it up - I'm just a bit vague about how the books get added to the wiki in this format as it's not monthly, but maybe I should just wait till someone does it for the other regions and then copy them (that's what I did to link the thread, haven't done that before!).

Edited to add: Or are we just going to add the titles below the thread link for each region?

5spiralsheep
dec 12, 2020, 1:37pm

>4 Jackie_K: GeoKIT 2021 is Tess_W's baby so you could ask her for an opinion? Or get a discussion going on the planning thread:

https://www.librarything.com/topic/325765

6Tess_W
dec 12, 2020, 2:03pm

It's set up for each region--THANK YOU! And as people read, they just post in the corresponding chat and wiki!

7spiralsheep
Redigeret: dec 13, 2020, 5:03pm

>4 Jackie_K: Copying what's already in the wiki is smart. I've added some starter list-style bullet points now so everyone can use/copy them too.

8pamelad
Redigeret: dec 14, 2020, 3:33am

There was a group, The Europe Endless Challenge, where the participants were aiming to read a book set in each country of Europe. I have only a few countries left, so will try to read one or two more this year. I have books from Lithuania - Breathing into Marble, Estonia - The Czar's Madman, and Belarus - Wave of Terror.

Here is my list of completed countries and books https://www.librarything.com/topic/92465#2009882

In the Group, Reading Globally, https://www.librarything.com/groups/readinggloballyficti check out the master list on the front page.

9Robertgreaves
dec 18, 2020, 11:49pm

I'll be looking for non-UK reading here. At the moment I've got Fred Vargas's latest, This Poison Will Remain waiting for me.

10MissBrangwen
dec 19, 2020, 4:14am

>9 Robertgreaves:

I like this idea and I think this challenge might motivate me to read something that is not set in the UK/Ireland or in Germany.

11Tess_W
dec 30, 2020, 7:06am

I read Life in a Medieval Village by Frances Gies. 272 pages 3 stars An average read, I was hoping for more!

12DeltaQueen50
jan 2, 12:41pm

I have completed my read of Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell. Due to the author's descriptive writing about this remote corner of Western Scotland, I have included it in the GeoKit: Europe. I highly recommend this book!

13Tanya-dogearedcopy
Redigeret: jan 2, 6:43pm

I've started Norman F. Cantor's In the Wake of the Plague. It's a look at the impact that the Black Death had on Europe, England most specifically and; King John (by William Shakespeare) which is actually set in what we now call France (but were then the Continental territories held by the English Crown).

14Jackie_K
jan 6, 12:38pm

I've just finished the excellent Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich, an oral history with the voices of volunteers, clean up workers, soldiers, journalists, politicians, and residents from the area after the nuclear disaster.

15Tanya-dogearedcopy
Redigeret: jan 10, 3:51pm

I just finished two titles for GeoKit (Europe), both in England, one sort of in France:

In the Wake of the Plague (by Norman F. Cantor) - This is a Non-Fiction title about the Black Death as it swept through Europe, more specifically as it hit England in the fourteenth century and again in the seventeenth century and;

King John (by William Shakespeare) - This is a play about King John and Richard Plantagenet (the reputedly illegitimate son of Richard the Lion-Hearted) as they engage in the wars of succession against the Late King Richard's nephew, Arthur. At this time (early 13th-century) much of what is now known as France was actually under English rule and, the major battle in the play takes place in Angiers.

16LittleTaiko
jan 10, 6:00pm

Read Aunt Bessie Tries by Diana Xarissa which is set on the Isle of Man.

17MissWatson
jan 15, 7:15am

I have finished The Eyre Affair which strikes me as quintessentially English in its love for writers and its never-ending rivalry with the French.

18spiralsheep
jan 18, 10:15am

I read children's novel The Story of Tracy Beaker by English/UK author Jacqueline Wilson which is about a girl in a children's home. 3*

19LittleTaiko
jan 18, 1:56pm

I'm always drawn to English mysteries and A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder by Dianne Freeman didn't disappoint.

20DeltaQueen50
jan 18, 6:29pm

I read the sequel to Beartown with Us Against You by Fredrik Backman. Set deep in the Swedish forest, this is a story of loyalty, tragedy and redemption.

21spiralsheep
jan 26, 10:10am

I read Travels with Herodotus by Polish author Ryszard Kapuscinski, which is a travel book describing how his reading of ancient Greek author Herodotus influenced his perceptions and writing as a journalist. 4*

22Tanya-dogearedcopy
Redigeret: jan 31, 7:02pm

🇪🇸 I read a short story, Lord Sorcier by Olivia Atwater) which is set in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, in fact at a battle in which a Fench-hating soldier steps up against the French magician. Not much about the geographic area per se, though the terrain is described vividly.

🇬🇧 "Lord Sorcier" is a prequel to to Half a Soul, a Faerie Regency Romance set in England (mostly London) where we see the terrible conditions of workhouses as well as the rarefied air of the Marriage Market. That said, actually a charming novel!

🇨🇭 Ostensibly, the setting for Ministry for the Future (by Kim Stanley Robinson) would be the while Earth as it is about climate change/crises but; the heart of the novel is located in Zurich. Though we see snippets of other places, most of the scenes are set in a future (but recognizable) Switzerland, including the city of Zurich and the Swiss Alps.

23threadnsong
jan 31, 6:03pm

Hi everyone! I set up on my Categories thread a challenge to pick a Cat or a Kit challenge. Based on this thread, this month I plan to pick The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden set in medieval Russia (and the reviews also mention political intrigues and Moscow). This book seems to fit better here than in the "Asia" thread.

If not, I'll pop it over to that thread.

Thanks for setting this reading challenge up for this year! Great job and looking forward to jumping back into this world.

24Tanya-dogearedcopy
feb 7, 11:58pm

🇬🇧 Ten Thousand Stitches (Regency Faerie Tales #2; by Olivia Atwater) Set in Regency London, this is another story which highlights a social injustice (the working conditions and hierarchy of the help in a nobleman's household) but ultimately delivering an enchanting tale.

25spiralsheep
feb 9, 5:06pm

I read How to Avoid a Tragedy, by David Henry Wilson, 2003, which is a play script rewriting four Shakespearian tragedies to happy endings: The Moor the Merrier; Entente Cordelia; and Hamlet and Macbeth, All Hale. A couple of laughs, a couple of groans, and some shenanigans exiting stage alright.

Quote

"But if our words and actions caused offence,
We beg to plead the case for the defence:
By changing these existing tragic courses,
We do but what the Bard did with his sources."

GeoKIT: Europe (Venice, England, Denmark and Scotland)

26sallylou61
feb 10, 10:05pm

I read This Time Next Year We'll Be Laughing: A Memoir by Jacqueline Winspear, the author of the Maisie Dobbs series of mysteries. This memoir takes place in England. I have really enjoyed the Maisie Dobbs books which I've read, and was a bit disappointed with this memoir. The first part of the book seemed to be much more about her parents than about Jacqueline herself. The chapters in most of the rest of the memoir focused on particular topics such as Jacqueline's going to school, her interest in getting a horse, stories about her large extended family, Jacqueline's working to help support the family, etc. The title of the book, "This time next year we'll be laughing" was one of her father's favorite sayings; she felt close to her father and had problems with her mother. However, most of the book was enjoyable, and the book both started off and ended with her parents' deaths which was effective.

27justchris
feb 11, 2:29am

I just finished Ornament of the World by Maria Rose Menocal. It's a popular history of al-Andalus (Islamic Spain), focusing on key figures and how societies with diverse populations (Muslim, Christian, and Jewish) in the Iberian Peninsula ebbed and flowed over the course of centuries, oscillating between multiculturalism and fundamentalism.

It opens in late Antiquity when Hispania was an important Roman province, through the migration period and eventual Visigothic domination, followed by the raid turned colonization from North Africa, through the medieval period and up to the early modern era, closing with Miguel Cervantes writing Don Quijote as a pointed commentary on the sociopolitical context of his day, in both the framing story and the main narrative. This is followed by a postscript talking about how al-Andalus and its legacy continues to capture the imagination of people today, referencing Salmon Rushdie in particular, as well as the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia.

The manuscript was completed just before 9/11, and the author added a postscript dated November 2001 saying she was tempted to modify the book as a result but resisted. Closing quote: "If the stories are well told and if the morals are clear enough, then these new meanings will seem obvious to the reader. And if some of the stories are now tinged with painful irony, so be it."

I enjoyed the book: very easy read. Since it's a book for a general audience, no endnotes/footnotes, citations, or references. She included a fair number of quotes from historical sources. She does give sources for all of the quotes and further reading suggestions. The title of the book is taken from the writing of Hroswitha of Gandersheim in the 10th century after meeting the Andalusi diplomat and Christian bishop Rabi ibnZayd. At the back is an interview with the author and book club discussion questions.

This is my area of interest, so most of the content was not new to me. However, I focus largely on the 11th century, thus the chapters covering later periods were educational for me. I've never seen "memory palace" used so much before, but it makes sense since it is the key concept of her central thesis.

A quote from the epilogue:

"If the frames of these works characteristically present some sort of tyranny--direct or indirect echoes of Scheherezade's plight--the tales told within them embody the hope that stories can bring, since by their very nature they resist clear-cut interpretations and are likely to reveal the different ways in which truths and realities can be perceived. In its insistence that the point of stories, of literature, is to pose difficult questions rather than propose easy answers or facile morals, this tradition is a central part of the Andalusian legacy to subsequent European culture."

28MissBrangwen
feb 11, 12:29pm

I decided to read translated books from European countries for this category - so no German and English books - to broaden my reading a little bit more. The first one I finished is Birnbäume blühen weiß by Gerbrand Bakker, originally written in Dutch. There were many aspects I love about this novel, but also some important points to criticize.

29Robertgreaves
Redigeret: feb 11, 8:22pm

COMPLETED:

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano set in Sicily, though it felt rather generic rather than gave a sense of the place.

30spiralsheep
feb 12, 6:23am

I read Time Song: journeys in search of a submerged land, by Julia Blackburn, which is a lightweight examination of geography, archaeology, and personal history, in this case in and around "Doggerland" the undersea bank and plains that have sometimes formed a land bridge between Britain and continental Europe. 4*

31spiralsheep
feb 27, 9:37am

I read Family Album : three novellas, by Claribel Alegria, which is a collection of three translated magical realist novellas first published in Spanish between 1977 and 1985. 3.5*

GeoKIT: Two of the three novellas are primarily set in Europe (setings in El Salvador, US, Guatemala, Nicaragua, France, and Spain/Mallorca)

32spiralsheep
feb 28, 4:56am

I read A Portable Paradise by Roger Robinson, which is a deservedly award winning poetry collection. The opening section memorialises the disastrous Grenfell Tower fire in London. The subsequent sections include poems about slavery, migration, Black Britishness or Black Britons if you prefer, and art. 5*

GeoKIT: Europe (UK, England, Trinidad)

33spiralsheep
mar 1, 5:41am

I read Incomparable World by SI Martin, which is a picaresque novel about African American men in the Georgian London of 1786-7. As one would expect from this author the historical detail is impeccable and he glories in description. The characterisations drew me in immediately and the plot began to move quickly. Martin also manages to evoke the elusive spirit of London, which I can confirm hasn't changed much. 5*

Warnings for, well, everything really: violence, sex, painful historical truths, and some racial slurs (none gratuitous and only one n-word).

GeoKIT: Europe (England)

34beebeereads
mar 2, 7:19pm

I am counting my recent mystery read for this category. The Stone Circle is set in Norfolk County England. It has such a strong sense of place which is the guideline I am using for my Geo Kit choices. The saltmarsh in particular is the focus of many in this series, but in addition, the author takes us to other archeological sites around the area. Her gift for description of place is evident throughout the series, whether in Norfolk or Italy as the main character travels. The characters are quirky and fun to follow as well.

35MissWatson
mar 3, 4:51am

I have finished Verschlossen und verriegelt, a Swedish mystery which also contains lots of social critique.

36Jackie_K
mar 3, 4:22pm

I'm going to add Mark Stay's The Crow Folk here, which I finished last month. It's set in Kent in 1940, around the time of the Battle of Britain, and is a cosy fantasy - think Dr Who meets Dad's Army - witches, sentient scarecrows, bellringers, the Home Guard, and a very typically British sensibility and sense of humour. I absolutely loved it.

37Tanya-dogearedcopy
mar 3, 9:55pm

I finished two titles at the end of February that qualify as being in Europe:

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Edward III (by William Shakespeare; edited by Eric Sams)
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Edward III: The Perfect King (by Ian Mortimer; narrated by Alex Wyndham)

Both the play and the biography are about an English king who reigned during the mid-fourteenth century and who is best known for starting the 100 Year's War. The war was about birthrights in re the French territories. Edward III was able to press his claim to rule in France through military force, but ultimately lost the inroads he made and, ended up with less than with what he started out with! The play worked as something of a highlight reel of Edward III's reign but contains more historical inaccuracies than Shakespeare's other Histories.

38MissWatson
Redigeret: mar 10, 3:04am

Yesterday a small illustrated book arrived which I finished instantly: Adeliges Leben im Baltikum. It shows pictures of manor houses in what today is Estonia and Latvia, but at the time the houses were built it was usually called Livonia. There's also a bit of history included.

ETC spelling

39MissBrangwen
mar 7, 10:45am

>34 beebeereads: That is one of my favourite series and I totally agree with you. The author is really good at evoking the sense of a place!

40spiralsheep
mar 9, 1:05pm

I read The Book of Pebbles by Christopher Stocks (Author) and Angie Lewin (Illustrator), which is a non-fiction book on the natural history and art of pebbles. Stocks' text washes around Lewin's art like waves on the shore. 5*

Quote

"Sometimes at night I lie in bed and listen to pebbles being made. The sound is uncanny, yet oddly comforting, like the slow deep breath of a slumbering giant - or more prosaically, as they used to say one the Isle of Portland, like everyone in Weymouth swishing their curtains open and closed at the same time;"

GeoKIT: Europe (UK)

41threadnsong
mar 14, 6:02pm

I read The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden pretty much over the last weekend of February. I found it grabbed and kept my attention, evoked much of the feel of cold, wintry Russia and the palace intrigues of Russia in the before-Tsar times. I had not realized that Moscow was a vassal-state owing tribute to other rulers! The exact line of succession is hinted at, so those with a better knowledge of Russian history may be able to pinpoint the time and rulers better than I.

It has many of the elements that draw me into a story: a headstrong young woman who makes mistakes but still tries to rectify what she has started (oh, and she has a brain, too); elements of ancient magicks that are much subtler than sword-and-sorcery; and a darn good dose of the characters' lives during the time in question. And I could not blame Vasya for wanting to follow an adventurer's path and see the world; how much easier it is for me to do so, and how tragic that so many other women in this time could not.

42VivienneR
mar 16, 1:15am

Just finished Drive your plow over the bones of the dead by Olga Tokarczuk.

It's a bizarre story featuring the elderly eccentric Janina, an animal rights activist and astrologer who lives in a remote area of Poland. My attention wavered during parts about astrology but the story and Janina's questioning of who has the right to live and who has the right to kill, was fascinating.

43spiralsheep
mar 18, 7:21am

I read Travels with my Aunt by Graham Greene, which is a novel about a dull retired English bank manager who becomes entangled with the life and travels of his rather more exciting aunt, via Brighton, Paris, the Orient Express, Istanbul, and Paraguay. 4*

Aunt Augusta ": her face looked as hard as a face stamped on a coin."

GeoKIT: Europe (England, Paris/France, the Orient Express, Istanbul/Turkey, Paraguay)

44threadnsong
mar 21, 7:49pm

For April, I've pulled Poetic Edda off of my shelves. I thought it might fit into the "Ancient History" challenge, but alas, it is medieval. But it was already in my hands, ready to go onto my reading stack . . . what was I to do??

45Tanya-dogearedcopy
mar 24, 12:39pm

Three more for Europe this month:

🇮🇪 A Slanting of the Sun (by Donal Ryan) - Twenty short stories set in Tipperary, Ireland; tragic notes set in paradoxically, beautiful prose
🇮🇪 From a Low and Quiet Sea (by Donal Ryan) - A novel in four parts, slight connection to "A Slanting of the Sun" (the short story in the collection of the same name)
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Richard II (by William Shakespeare) - One of Shakespeare's History plays about Medieval English Kings in, this one, is firmly set in London with only a brief allusion to Richard's brief foay into Ireland to quell a rebellion there. Once he comes back, he's standing on the beach, abandoned by his Welsh troops and, realizing his fate.

46MissBrangwen
Redigeret: mar 30, 5:18am

I finished my second read for this KIT!
As explained above, I'm only including books that are not set in Germany or the UK/Ireland.

But I finally read another book that counts!
Maigret voyage by Georges Simenon. The story takes place in France, Monaco and Switzerland, and of course the novel was written in French by a Belgian author.
I read a German translation (Maigret auf Reisen).

47Cora-R
mar 31, 9:48am

I finished The Thursday Murder Club - Richard Osman. It is set in England.

48MissBrangwen
apr 6, 6:15am

I read The Last Legion by Valerio Massimo Manfredi, an Italian author. The novel was translated into English by his wife.

While the first part is set in Italy, mainly in Ravenna and Capri, the characters later journey across the Alps, to the Rhine Fall and Lake Constance, then to Strasbourg and Paris and from there to Britain.
I enjoyed following this journey and the descriptions of the places, also because I have visited some of them myself, but overall, I don't recommend the novel.

49spiralsheep
apr 17, 8:38am

I read Fanfare for Tin Trumpets by Margery Sharp, 1932, which was her second novel and another mildly satirical comedy.

GeoKIT: Europe (England)

50Dolores178
apr 17, 11:10am

Me gusta leer sobre los días despreocupados del pasado desde el río * ..

51spiralsheep
apr 17, 1:11pm

>50 Dolores178: Don't we all...

52MissWatson
apr 18, 7:58am

I have finished a collection of Scandinavian fairy tales, Skandinavische Märchen, that I have owned for almost fifty years.

53spiralsheep
Redigeret: apr 21, 5:07am

I read Nature Writing for the Common Good, which is a varied collection of 11 non-fiction nature essays, mostly by previously unpublished writers. Any given reader will probably find one to love and at least one which leaves them indifferent. I especially enjoyed Sophie Lawson on the external and internal space that interactions with the natural world can give us for healing; and Liz Child on revivifying a council estate for the tenants and their wild visitors.

Quote

Sophie Lawson on where we retreat to when "home" isn't a place of safety: "I close the rickety wooden gate on the maelstrom labelled home and wander away, down the road to the place where the poplars meet. I have an appointment with an old friend. She stands alone in a clearing, daisies and clover dancing at her feet. For hours I lie there, taking in all she has to teach: sensing her stillness, listening to her silence. Every year she sheds all that is rotten to make way for the green fire that bursts forth from her fingertips. A magic-show reminder that everything is ephemeral: it won’t last. She is teaching me to tap into my own rivers of sap, oozing with peace. Here, supported by her steady roots, I can let my 11-year-old imagination run wild, and I am free."

GeoKIT: Europe (mostly UK, with one from India)

54MissWatson
Redigeret: apr 22, 5:37am

And I have also finished Die sizilianische Oper, which takes place in Vigàta, Sicily in the late 19th century. The Sicilians aren't happy with how the unification of Italy turned out, and most of all they resent having outsiders from Lombardy or Tuscany appointed over them as officials. Things come to a head when the prefect insists on choosing which opera shall be performed at the inauguration of the new theatre.

ETC

55Tanya-dogearedcopy
apr 22, 9:36pm

Well, so far for this month, I've read four for England!

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (by Anonymous; translated by Simon Armitage; narrated by Bill Wallis)
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 The Canterbury Tales (by Geoffrey Chaucer; translated by Burton Raffel and performed by 6 unlabeled narrators)
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Henry IV, Part I (by William Shakespeare)
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 The Professor and the Madman (written and narrated by Simon Winchester)

56spiralsheep
apr 25, 5:19am

I read The Mysteries of Love & Eloquence, or, The arts of wooing and complementing as they are manag'd in the Spring Garden, Hide Park, the New Exchange, and other eminent places : a work in which is drawn to the life the deportments of the most accomplisht persons, the mode of their courtly entertainments, treatments of their ladies at balls, their accustom'd sports, drolls and fancies, the witchcrafts of their perswasive language in their approaches, or other more secret dispatches, by Edward Phillips, 1685, which is basically a 17th century pick-up manual written by an ex-Puritan, lol. Unrated because it's both awesome and awful simultaneously.

GeoKIT: Europe (very specifically London)

57Jackie_K
apr 26, 11:49am

I read Ben Aitken's A Chip Shop in Poznan: My Unlikely Year in Poland. Fascinated by the increasing migration of Poles to the UK, the author travels in the other direction and lives in Poland for a year. The fact that while he was there the UK had the Brexit referendum probably made this book more interesting than it otherwise would have been. (That sounds awful, like I'm damning with faint praise - I did enjoy it!)

58spiralsheep
apr 27, 4:34am

I read Wherever it is Summer by Tamara Bach, which is a young adult novel about two teenage girls in Germany and What They Did On Their Holidays. I can't judge the original German story or writing because it has been let down by the English translation. 2.5*

Warning for repeated discussion of suicide (this is not a spoiler as it happened before the book begins).

GeoKIT: Europe (Germany)

59spiralsheep
maj 2, 4:44am

I read The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia, by Mary M Talbot and Bryan Talbot, which is a biographical sketch in comics form ("graphic novel") of French feminist anarchist utopian Louise Michel, concentrating on the Paris Commune of 1870-71 and her imprisonment on New Caledonia from 1873-80. It begins with quotes by Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett, a dedication to Iain (M) Banks, and an extended cameo appearance by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. What more could any intellectual utopian want even in the best of all possible worlds?! 4*

Oscar Wilde: "A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not even worth glancing at".

Samuel Beckett: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

GeoKIT: Europe (France, but also the Pacific island of New Caledonia)

60Robertgreaves
maj 2, 8:19am

Currently reading This Poison Will Remain by a French author Fred Vargas, and set in Paris and around Nimes.

61threadnsong
maj 2, 7:54pm

Finished The Poetic Edda by Anonymous, and this edition is the 2007 Dover re-release of Henry Adams Bellows' annotation. I give it 3 1/2 ***, if only because the annotation seems dated.

The care that Bellows takes with explaining the manuscript, its historic significance, editors and authors, and the metrical rhymes is extraordinary. He also discusses the numerous repetitions of Atli (Attila the Hun, yes, that one), Sigrun (Siegfried), Guthrun (his wife), and Brynhild (Brunhilde) in their various alliances and personalities in the different poems. That I have no problem with. But what I would like to see is later scholarship (his dates from 1926) that posits the hows and whys of Brynhild's deception, how she is sometimes a Valkyrie, how she is Atli's sister how Guthrun is either thrice married or only once . . . you get the picture. Plus, there have got to be some women who have studied these poems at some point in time!

For Europe, the events take place, depending on the poet and manuscript scribe, in Denmark, Norway, Burgundy, Germany, Iceland, and Greenland. Because there's a polar bear mentioned.

62spiralsheep
Redigeret: maj 3, 2:37am

I read Liberty Lyrics by L. S. Bevington (Louisa Sarah B.) which is an 1895 poetry pamphlet. 2*

GeoKIT: Europe (England)

64Robertgreaves
Redigeret: maj 5, 2:10am

>1 Jackie_K: It seems Greenland has been specifically excluded from Europe and from North America. I've just received a book set in Greenland, so I don't know where to put it when I get round to it.

65pamelad
maj 5, 3:09am

>64 Robertgreaves: Greenland is still a territory of Denmark, so Europe seems like a reasonable choice.

66spiralsheep
maj 5, 4:28am

>64 Robertgreaves: In the original planning discussion it was decided to allow readers to choose the category for liminal books, so Greenland is part of Denmark and partially culturally European it also has a history of belonging to a circumpolar people the Inuit and of Polar exploration (and a geology book would place it in North America). Similarly, arctic regions in the US, Canada, Russia, etc, could all be seen as part of their continent/country or as Polar depending on the focus of the book.

67Robertgreaves
maj 5, 10:44am

>66 spiralsheep: I'd forgotten we had a Polar thread

68spiralsheep
maj 5, 11:10am

>67 Robertgreaves: I've got An African in Greenland and was hoping to read it for the Polar category.

> I read The Dream Years, by Lisa Goldstein, which is a fantasy (or sf) novel about surrealism, art, revolution, and time travel, set in Paris in 1924 and 1968 and The Future (allegedly 2012 but bear in mind this was published in 1985). 4*

GeoKIT: Europe (France)

69Robertgreaves
maj 5, 7:42pm

>67 Robertgreaves: An African in Greenland is the book that made me start looking for where we had categorised Greenland :-)

Having read the blurb and the introduction, I think it will count for Africa, Europe, and Polar.

70spiralsheep
maj 7, 3:50pm

>69 Robertgreaves: I agree. Reader's choice! :-)

> I read Mouton by Zeina Abirached which is a short French illustrated children's book about a curly haired child achieving a more positive self-image. 3.5*

GeoKIT: Europe (France)

71MissBrangwen
maj 8, 9:59am

I read Forsberg und das verschwundene Mädchen by Ben Tomasson, a crime novel taking place in Sweden, in Göteborg/Gothenburg and the islands of its archipelago. The author is German and lives in Kiel, from where you can take a ferry to Sweden.

72sallylou61
Redigeret: maj 12, 10:16pm

For the European GeoKIT, I've read An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten, translated from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy. This is a fun read about an 88 year-old Swedish woman who manages to get rid of people who are inconveniencing her by killing them. She manages to do this to three people without being investigated. The fourth person, a male antique dealer, is found dead in her apartment, and she is investigated. The male investigators decide that such an elderly woman could not have committed the murder, and let her go. The two female investigators believe that she is the chief suspect but the men will not listen to them.

73threadnsong
maj 15, 5:17pm

I read for the European GeoKIT The Poetic Edda translated by Henry Adams Bellows. I've been meaning to read this since I dove into Tolkien in my early teens, but now in my later years I a) finished it and b) appreciate it a lot more. Its geographic journey includes Northern Germany (including the Burgundians), Attila the Hun (yes, really, that Attila - he shows up in several poems), Scandinavia, Iceland, and even Greenland.

74spiralsheep
maj 17, 4:49am

I read The Authenticity Project, by Clare Pooley, which is a "feelgood" novel about friendship. 3.5*

GeoKIT: Europe (England and an island near Koh Samui in Thailand)

75Jackie_K
maj 18, 10:34am

I read How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Saša Stanišić, a novel about the Bosnian war. 4.5*

76dudes22
maj 18, 4:48pm

I read The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo which takes place in Norway.

77spiralsheep
maj 20, 6:09am

I read Return Match, by Elizabeth Cadell, which is a 1979 contemporary romance novel set in England. The protagonist is a woman in her fifties and the ensemble cast are her extended family, friends, and social circles. As in all Cadell's novels, the inevitable romance plot is one of several subplots and the ensemble cast of supporting characters are as interesting as the will-they-won't-they couples. People don't always find their mate first time and life is complicated, although the tone is generally upbeat with a tendency towards well-observed comedy of manners. Several scenes made me laugh aloud but the idea that amused me most was two old friends needing a safe-word to use when one of them enthused about grandchildren for too long, lol, "Amber!". 4*

GeoKIT: Europe (England)

78MissWatson
maj 21, 2:55am

I have read a wonderful book from the Netherlands: Von alten Menschen, den Dingen, die vorübergehen by Louis Couperus where he explores what it means to be old in the 1900s.

79MissWatson
maj 26, 6:40am

I have also finished a Maigret mystery set in the Vendée in France: La maison du juge.

80Cora-R
maj 26, 10:08am

I finished A Constellation of Vital Phenomena - Anthony Marra. It was a very sad but well written book (set in Chechnya).

81pamelad
Redigeret: maj 27, 10:06pm

I've read a few books from Continental Europe, so will add them now. Not bothering to add the British books, which are numerous.

The Man Who Walked Through Walls by Marcel Aymé France Review
The Saint-Fiacre Affair by Georges Simenon France
Nadja by Andre Breton France Review
The Iron Chariot by Stein Riverton Norway Review
Jakob Von Gunten by Robert Walser Switzerland Review
A Girl Returned by Donatella Di Pietrantonio Italy Review
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka Czechoslovakia Review
They Were Counted by Miklos Banffy Hungary Review

82spiralsheep
maj 29, 5:36pm

I read Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie, which is a Pulitzer Prize winning 1984 novel about two lonely USian academic scholars in London. 4*

GeoKIT: Europe (England)

83MissWatson
Redigeret: maj 31, 5:13am

And I have finished a lovely classic from Belgium: Der Flachsacker by Stijn Streuvels.

Trouble with touchstones today.

84spiralsheep
jun 1, 7:17am

I read Dotter of her Father's Eyes by Mary M. Talbot and Bryan Talbot, which is an autobiography and biography in comics form ("graphic") revolving around Mary's relationship with her father, a scholar focussed on author James Joyce, interwoven with a biography of Lucia Joyce and her relationship with her father. It sounds complicated but the differing art separates the three time periods covered, cleverly using full colour for Mary's adult life, sepia with coloured highlights for her childhood, and black & white for Lucia's history. 4.5*

Winner of the 2012 Costa Book Award for Biography. A formidable achievement for a comic!

GeoKIT: Europe (England and France mostly)

85spiralsheep
jun 2, 4:47am

I read The Actual, by Inua Ellams, which is his fifth poetry collection (and his umpteenth publication). How did I love this? Let me count the ways. 5*

GeoKIT: Europe (England, Ireland, Nigeria, Benin, the empire)

86spiralsheep
jun 3, 4:07am

I read Fireweed, by Jill Paton Walsh, which is a 1969 YA novel about two teenagers alone in London in 1940 during the Blitz. 4*

GeoKIT: Europe (England)

87Tanya-dogearedcopy
Redigeret: jun 3, 12:40pm

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 I read The Merry Wives of Windsor (by William Shakespeare) which is set in, well, Windsor-- which is slightly West of London proper. While reading about the play, I found out that this play tells us the most about daily life amongst non-royals than any other of Shakespeare's plays. We learn about the household responsibilities as Mistress Quickly outlines all she does for the doctor, what daily lessons for a boy were like and, odd bits about clothing and tools. Anyway, one more for England!

(The interesting thing about the GeoKit this year is how Euro- and USA-centric my reading is. I had thought I was more global in reading than that, but it looks like I'll need to make a more concerted effort!)

88Robertgreaves
jun 3, 8:04pm

>87 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Yes, I've recognised how UK/US-centric my reading is. I thought I was reading at least one book from elsewhere in the world per month, but not really.

89spiralsheep
jun 4, 5:12am

I read Flake, by Matthew Dooley, which is one of those "graphic novels" beloved by people who don't usually read comics: all the text is easy reading, all the pages are divided into multiple easy to follow rectangular panels, all the panels are filled in similar ways with familiar faces and places, and there's absolutely nothing in the presentation or content requiring any effort from a very average reader. This from a country that in real actual history produced the Glasgow Ice Cream Wars because truth is stranger than fiction. But I'm feeling generous as this is the artist's first published long form so: 3*

GeoKIT: Europe (England)

90spiralsheep
Redigeret: jun 8, 6:48am

Someone reminded me it's LGBT pride month (or LGBTQQIA+ or whatever) so I dug this 2019 book out of my To Read pile.

95/2021. I read Sensible Footwear: a girl's guide, by Kate Charlesworth, which is an autobiography of Kate Charlesworth and her perspective on British lesbian history from 1950 to 2019 in comics form, with some gay / bi / trans history and biographies included. The history is very focussed on white lesbians and middle class lesbians and their respectability politics (with Jackie Kay as a token non-white / Black British / Scottish lesbian). The art employs various styles and some of them appeal to me more than others but they're all chosen for reasons, whether it's collage for the history, or girls' own for Kate at school, or the nods to Alice in Sunderland, or etc etc. 4*

GeoKIT: Europe (mostly England, also Scotland and US)

91spiralsheep
jun 11, 7:41am

I read Sally Heathcote: Suffragette, by Mary M. Talbot, Kate Charlesworth, and Bryan Talbot, which is history presented as historical fiction in comics form. The history is extremely accurate as expected from Mary M. Talbot. There are also twenty pages of notes on historical sources at the end, although reading these is a bonus and not necessary to understand the story.

The novel revolves around a fictional working class Manchester girl who becomes involved with members of the Women's Social and Political Union in 1898, and then the WSPU itself after a move to London. The story continues until 1916 but there is a brief framing story taking us as far as 1969. The plot doesn't sacrifice either the protagonist's personal story or the surrounding history and both are fleshed out.

Another comic worth reading from Mary M. Talbot and team. 4.5*

GeoKIT: Europe (England, Edinburgh, and pre-Independence Dublin)

92spiralsheep
I dag, 7:47am

I read Steeple, by John Allison, which is a comic ("graphic novel") about two young women in a small Cornish town filled with Allison's trademark wit and weirdness. Billie is a much-needed new curate in the Anglican parish, while Maggie is a trainee priestess at the Church of Satan down the road, and both of them are realising they might have taken a few wrong turnings on their paths through life. 5*

GeoKIT: Europe (fantasy Cornwall)