From Australia to Russia via the US – A Few Challenges/Events in 2013


I have decided to be less active this year when it comes to challenges, readalongs and other events but there are still a few things I want to do or rather challenges I’d like to sign up for again.

All the Australian books I read last year were wonderful books and I want to explore more Australian literature. That’s why I singed up again for The Aussie Author Challenge at Booklover Book Reviews.

These are the possible choices

Secret River

Kate Grenville’s The Secret River

That Deadman Dance

Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance


Alex Miller’s Lovesong

American Revolution Reading Challenge 2013

I will also participate again in Anna’s and Serena’s War Through the Generations Challenge. The topic this year is the American Revolution. I haven’t read anything about this period yet and don’t know any books at all. Suggestions are very welcome.


Last but not least I’m planning on joining Richard (Caravana de recuerdos) for one or two of his 2013 Russian Reading readalong titles.

Here is the list.

Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate (c. 1960)
Nikolai Gogol’s Dead Souls (1842)
Ivan Goncharov’s Oblomov (1859)
Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (1877)
Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita (c. 1940)
Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita (1955)

Please visit Richard’s site for the details.

44 thoughts on “From Australia to Russia via the US – A Few Challenges/Events in 2013

  1. The American Revolution and War Through the Generations caught my eye. The American Revolution is one of my primary interests and I will be sure to read a few books over the course of year on the subject anyway. As for a recommendation….I do not believe that I have read any fiction but have read LOTS of non — fiction. A great book in a European setting comes to mind, A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America by Stacy Schiff is an extraordinary account of Benjamin Franklin’s mission to France during the conflict.

    • Thanks, Brian, that sounds interesting.
      I can’t remember now if we can include non-fiction.
      I was very cautious and signed up for one book.
      I don’t know anything and always mix it up with The Civil War.
      Stacy Schiff rings a bell. Isn’t she the one who wrote the Cleopatra biography?

      • The page says both fiction and non fiction.

        Stacy Schiff also wrote Cleopatra. She is a scholar of the American Revolutionary period and I was thus a little surprised when the Cleopatra book came out. Oddly, that book had a fair amount of obscure “inside joke” and references to the American Revolutionary War period.

  2. Those are wonderful challenges, Caroline! I am thinking of focusing on French literature this year and also read more of Russian, Chinese, Australian and Indian literature, in addition to spending time on my regular favourites, English, American and German literature. Two of the above challenges – the Aussie and the Russian – are very tempting. But I don’t know whether I want to join challenges and put myself under pressure, so early in the year. So, I am just sitting on that decision. Happy reading for all these challenges! Looking forward to reading your thoughts on all these wonderful books!

    • I think you can always join later in the year.
      The Aussie author chalange is very breezy, you can pick three books and read them whenever you want during the year. Of course you can also read more. 🙂
      As for Richard’s “event”, you can join anytime for any book. No obligations.
      I’m planning a French event this year. just not sure what angle to give it but I’m getting there. 🙂

      • I can’t wait for your French literature event to start 🙂 I just read my first French book this year – ‘Le Père Goriot’ by Honoré de Balzac – and I loved it! Thanks for recommending it 🙂 I will think of joining the Aussie challenge. Thanks for telling me more about it.

        • The Aussie challenge was great last year and already I noticed far more books on my pile…
          I’m still think about the event. I’m tempted to do it on the other hand I’m afraid people will think I’m obnoxious if I organize one more event. 🙂
          I’m so glad you liked Le Père Goriot.

          • I don’t think they will think that way. Your events are excellently organized and popular and people love participating in them. I am sure this will be a wonderful success too. And it will make people like me read more French literature 🙂

            I loved ‘Le Père Goriot’! Thanks a lot for recommending it! I want to read ‘Les Illusions Perdues’ next. If it is there in your alltime top10 list, it must be amazing! The only other time you said that a book was in your alltime top10 was while you talked about ‘La Princesse de Clèves’. I want to read that too, soon.

            • Thanks, Vishy. 🙂
              I hope you will read La Princesse de Clèves. I hardly ever read books twice but I think I have even read it three or four times.
              I’ll think about the event. I can’t make up my mind which month to choose. I suppose May would be ideal.

              • I am hoping to read ‘La Princesse de Clèves’ soon. May would be wonderful. Will look forward to it whenever you finalize on the month. I will keep collecting French books meanwhile, so that I can read them for a whole month 🙂

  3. Lovely to have you back for another year of the Aussie Author Challenge Caroline. Yep, our challenge has two levels, the Tourist level (3 books) is designed to be easy, and the Fair Dinkum level (12 books, balanced gender and genres) a real stretch. Sign-ups anytime until 31 December 2013.

    I have been browsing Alex Miller’s books also – enjoy!

    PS: Don’t forget to add your link to this post to the linky on the challenge homepage so other participants can stop by and say hello.

    A french event, very interesting… I tend to always enjoy mysteries (actually most novels) set in France – need to make time to read more of those.

    • I’m glad you are hosting it again. I enjoyed it a lot last year.
      Reading three books was very easy, I might read more but maybe not 12.
      I added the link, thanks.
      Yes, I’m toying with the idea for a French event. There is some fantastic Fench drime out there. 🙂

  4. The blogworld seems particularly full of nation-based challenges at the moment! I gave up on most challenges quite a long way back, because although they are great in so many ways, they can inadvertently make reading seem like school again. Although of course the best bit is discovering new authors and new literary traditions. I hope you love all the books you read and find some real gems!

    • Thanks for the wishes.
      I know what you mean. I had that school feeling during the one or the other readalong last year. The Aussie author challenge is quite effortless. It’s highly likely I will read three books and I don’t need to stick to my choices. Jo’s easy.

    • That’s always the question in cases like this. And it’s quite interesting. I wonder how Nabokov felt about it. Did he not consider himself to be a Russian writer anymore?

      • “My private tragedy, which cannot, and indeed should not, be anybody’s concern, is that I had to abandon my natural idiom, my untrammeled, rich, and infinitely docile Russian tongue for a second-rate brand of English…”

        So said the man himself.

        It’s an interesting question and debate, and I know that (for example) the Irish can be very tetchy about being appropriated as “English” literature. But of course “Irish” literature i.e. written in Irish is ignored by all but a tiny minority of readers in Ireland today.

        Lolita is complex: it’s set in, and to some extent is “about”, America, it’s written in English, and the author happened to be born in Russia. I suppose ultimately it doesn’t matter what national label we put on it as long as people read it and think about it.

        It stands out because there’s no such ambiguity about the other titles in the challenge. Ambiguity is good though!

        • Come to think of it, I never really thought of Nabokov as a Russian writer but then again, I’ve almost only read 19th Century Russians.
          These questions arise wherever former colonies write in the language of the former colonists. Especially in the Caribbean. I know Haitian authors who consider themselves to be French authors although they have lived and written most of their lives in Haiti.

  5. I look forward to your reviews. And I feel like a horrible American since I can’t think of any novels for the revolution. The title April Morning rings a bell but not sure that I read it. If you wanted non-fiction I would be of more help–it’s the historian in me. I’m curious to see what you come up with.

  6. Reading something by Gogol is one of my goals this year. I love Russian literature and need to include it more often. Anna Karenina was a surprisingly easy read. I’d always thought it would be intricate, slow reading for some reason.

  7. I’d like to read The Secret River at some point, too, and look forward to hearing what you think if you end up choosing it! I’ll have to look up Anna and Serena’s reading challenge as I’m curious too to see which books they suggest! I will likely read along with a few challenges but maybe not join in officially–but they are very tempting, aren’t they? For me they are a nice way to expand my horizons and read books I wouldn’t otherwise!

    • That’s what I’m thinking as well and I must say especially the Australian and Canadian ones made me discover such a lot of new great authors.
      I really want to read The Secret River finally.

    • Funny you should say that, Mel, I thought exactly the same. I wasn’t too happy with the last one and having it in the sidebar.
      I’d be very interested to read about Australian short stories.

  8. Pingback: Aussie Author Challenge Update - January 2013

  9. First of all…good luck with your challenges 🙂
    I haven’t decided which one to join yet. When I read about this Aussie challenge, I thought I can join in because I have 1 book I haven’t finished for years…but the minimum book to read is more than 1 😦

  10. I got That Dead Man Dance from Lisa as my virtual Christmas gift. So this one is definitely on my list.

    And I’ve wanted to read Dead Souls for a while so I may try to read it for Richard’s event.

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