#TTWIB February Readalong: “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini

31 Jan

Khaled Hosseini readalong image

Our February readalong is about to begin! Becca of I’m Lost in Books is hosting a readalong of Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed, and you can find more details on her blog and at our Goodreads group page.

And the Mountains Echoed cover

If you loved The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns, you already know about the experience of reading Khaled Hosseini. Or, if you are like me, and haven’t read his novels yet, this is a great place to get started. Becca writes, “Hosseini is a beautiful writer who captures the images and feelings and humanity of Afghanistan like no other writer I have encountered.” This novel of an extended family in Kabul, Afghanistan also ranges to California, Paris, and Tinos, Greece. I am excited to travel with them and enter into their lives through Hosseini’s eyes.

I also look forward to the Twitter chats Becca has set up for people’s convenience on WEDNESDAY February 10th @ 9pm EST and SUNDAY February 28th @ 3pm EST.  Stop by and tweet chat, with hashtags #TTWIB or #TraveltheWorldinBooks! Questions will also be posted on a discussion board at our Goodreads group page as the month goes along, and you can read or add to the discussion there anytime.

This readalong is an event in the ongoing Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge. Visit and check it out!

TTWIB reading challenge latest image

 

 

#WintersRespite Read-a-thon Wrapup!

24 Jan

A Winters Respite button 2016

The sounds of snow plows and shovels hitting the pavement fill the air as I sit in my office contemplating this week’s read-a-thon harvest. Being snowbound and reading are a perfect pairing, especially since the power stayed on! I finished the two books I planned on reading–an unusual occurrence since I often end up sampling several books at a time to get future reading underway.  But the entertaining update posts on our Seasons of Reading Facebook group, also thoughtfully hosted by Michelle of True Book Addict,  helped keep me on track as I read about the many books being read and finished.

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First, I read In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick. This is our January non-fiction read for TuesBookTalk, and I plunged in because of this and because of its connection to Moby-Dick, whose Captain Ahab is a character (ranked 62nd) on The Fictional 100. It is a compelling, well-researched true story, but an emotionally grueling read as one follows the long ordeal of the few survivors of the whaling ship Essex, shipwrecked far out in the Pacific, as they attempt to reach the South American coast. It was tremendously ironic to learn that had they chanced a landing on the mostly unknown “Society Islands,” which were a week’s sail away, they could have recuperated on the now-famous island paradise of Tahiti. Fears of cannibals made the crew overrule their captain’s plan to go there, and instead they became the cannibals themselves. Truly horrible. Captain Ahab is not a simple portrait of any of the men on the Essex, but news of the disaster inspired young Herman Melville to begin work on the greatest novel of his career–to many the greatest in American literature. Philbrick’s account of the whaling industry is unsparing and brutal, and it made me admire all the more the way Melville could convey the same facts but transform them into high literary art.  If Ahab resembles any of the crew, it may be Owen Chase, the First Mate (played by Chris Hemsworth in the recent film adaptation). As one of the survivors who returned to Nantucket, he continued to pursue the giant whales in the Pacific; some said he hoped to find and kill the one who wrecked the Essex.

Second, I read The Keys of the Watchmen by Kathleen C. Perrin. What an enchanting book!  You can see its beautiful cover, which shows the island fortress of Mont-Saint-Michel off the coast of Normandy. Perrin’s heroine, 17-year-old American teen Katelyn Michaels, is visiting the Mount as a tourist with her younger brother Jackson, when she becomes enmeshed in a centuries-long fight to destroy Mont-Saint-Michel and its place in history: both as guardian of France at a crucial time and as bulwark again Satan and his fallen angels. She is attacked by one of those demonic figures, called Abdon, inhabiting someone in her time. She is also given a key by a “Watchman” from the past, and to escape Lucifer’s henchman–her personal adversary–she must use the key to go . . . she knows not where. She wakes up in 1424 to discover that she herself is a Watchman. How will she react to this news? How would we? Kathleen Perrin’s instincts for portraying a 21st-century teenager’s speech and emotions are unerring, and she has created one of the most engaging, instantly involving characters I have read in quite a while.  She is confronted with a venerable mentor, Jean le Vieux, who teaches her to live and function in medieval France, and the 19-year-old Nicolas le Breton, who finds her exasperating and then, as you might guess, irresistible.  Together they must try to defend Mont-Saint-Michel, weakened after a long siege by the English, from an impending attack. Her wits, courage, and modern-day know-how will be tested to the utmost.  I am eager to begin on Book II of The Watchmen Saga, The Sword of the Maiden, which I will be reviewing for France Book Tours in March.

Sword of the Maiden cover

Thanks again to Michelle Miller whose Seasons of Reading blog is a welcome gathering place all year!

Christmas Joy and Traveling the World in Books

20 Dec Bookmark prize and gifts from Isi

Bookmark prize and gifts from Isi

This week seems to be the perfect time to give thanks for the lovely books and book-related gifts that I received from our October Travel the World in Books Readathon that will help send me on more traveling the world in books!   I am so happy and grateful to have this collection of bookmarks from Isi Orejas and the very special bookmark she created for her Readathon mini-challenge: The balloons on strings are tethered by the banner Travel the World in BOOKS–it makes me think of Around the World in 80 Days, Phileas Fogg, and Jules Verne, and all the reading adventures ahead in 2016. I need to get back in my own balloon and read some of my planned voyages!  She also included her bookmarks inspired by Alice in Wonderland (see the Rabbit peeking out?) and The Princess Bride–both of these are favorites of mine as well! Gift tags, tree ornaments, and a beautiful card completed the lovely package.

And what are some of those planned voyages? First of all, I am grateful to have received three books that will send me to India for delicious cooking and family memories (My Mother’s Kitchen from the author, Meera Klein), to New York and London for mystery and a healing encounter (Close to Destiny from the author, Adria J Cimino), and to England and France during World War I (A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd, from Tanya of Mom’s Small Victories, who donated this ARC and who keeps the #TTWIB ship afloat for all of us!).

I will be reading these as my Christmas gift to myself, and I wish everyone joyous holidays, stimulating and comforting reading, and beautiful bookmarks to mark the places on your reading voyages! 

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2015 Christmas Spirit Readathon and Reading Challenge

22 Nov xmas spirit read-a-thon 2015

xmas spirit read-a-thon 2015

xmas spirit reading challenge 2015

Aren’t these beautiful banners? They were created by Michelle Miller for these events which she graciously hosts for us at her lovely blogs, Seasons of Reading and The Christmas Spirit.

My focus for this year’s Christmas Spirit Read-a-Thon and Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge will be Christmas traditions.  First, I am reading from three books which describe Christmas traditions in Scandinavia. For the Read-a-thon my first goal will be to read Sigrid Undset’s book, Happy Times in Norway, the first third of which is devoted to her memories of a Norwegian Christmas before the Second World War. Undset, best known for her masterpiece trilogy Kristin Lavransdatter, wrote this memoir of the prewar years while living in New York, having fled the Nazi invasion and occupation of Norway.

Happy Times in Norway cover

For the Reading Challenge, I also  plan to cover the Christmas traditions in two books: Of Swedish Ways by Lilly Lorenzen and Of Finnish Ways by Aini Rajanen. Together, these three books will be part of the Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge, and I’ll write about them at my Northern Lights Reading Project.  These will also be some reading for my Nonfiction November!

One of my own Christmas traditions is to break out (and dust off) the cookbooks! Last year I tried a wonderful Scandinavian Christmas cookbook.  This year I have decided to browse through my two Gooseberry patch Christmas books, which have delightful reminiscences of family Christmas traditions submitted by readers and compiled by the authors over the years.  The recipes are very homey and festive; I usually get some new ideas for dressing up turkey leftovers (such as easy Turkey Tetrazzini) from these books.  They also have ideas for simple decorations and fun activities to do with kids during the holiday season.

Gooseberry Patch Christmas books.jpg

Another of my Christmas traditions is to read something by Dickens, and this year I will read his last Christmas ghost story, The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain.

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Haunted Man frontispiece 1848 by Bradbury & Evans – Heritage Auction Galleries. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

He wrote it in 1848, interrupting his work on Dombey and Son.  Since I have just begun reading Dombey myself, I thought it was perfectly fitting that I too interrupt his novel to enjoy this Christmas novella! It can be found online at several places.

Finally, my last reading tradition is to gather some daily advent reflections. This year I am looking forward to one by Mother Mary Francis called Come, Lord Jesus: Meditations on the Art of Waiting.

Advent readings

I wish everyone happy reading, Happy Thanksgiving, and many unexpected joys in the holiday season ahead.

Angel figurine

 

 

 

 

#TTWIBRAT 2015 Mini-Challenge Wrap-Up, Giveaway Winner, and Highlights!

3 Nov
Image courtesy of potowizard at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of potowizard at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The November issue of Real Simple magazine features as its lead story, “How to Make Time for What Matters.” That headline describes so well my feelings about the last two whirlwind weeks of time spent participating in our Travel the World in Books Readathon. I can’t say enough how much fun it was to make time to instagram daily, write posts, read posts, tackle mini-challenges, join in two Twitter chats, and see and share what everyone was doing to read widely and diversely.  I feel even more motivated to plan for further worldwide reading with the help of all the creative exchanges of book recommendations.  Doing this stuff really matters, and will affect my reading choices in months and years ahead. My thanks to hosts Tanya from Mom’s Small Victories, Becca from I’m Lost in Books, Savvy Working Gal, and Aloi from Guiltless Reading; I’m so glad to be among you, for this readathon and for the Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge, with more readalongs and other events (such as Nonfiction November going on now) planned for the coming year.

I was delighted to host a mini-challenge on Favorite Characters and Cover Art, with a Giveaway (by random drawing) of a book displaying some of my own favorite characters in fabulous cover designs. Here are the cover art entries:

Lory of The Emerald City Book Review (who was also the WINNER of this Giveaway!), submitted this beautiful cover depicting the March sisters from Little Women:

Susan at The Book Trail wrote a lovely post about four of her favorite characters, including a cover art collage of them:

Becca of I’m Lost in Books shared her amazing collage of favorite world lit characters on Instagram, which included:

1) Nefertari from The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
2) Mr. Darcy
3) Elizabeth Bennet
4) Sherlock Holmes
5) Miriam and Laila from A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
6) Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
7) Hermione Granger
8) Okonkwo from Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

9) Midori Kobayashi from Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Emma of Words and Peace shared this amazing cover art:

Aloi from Guiltless Reading also made a photo collage of four favorites:

Tanya from Mom’s Small Victories admired a cover I also found especially striking, from a very moving book about a mysterious little girl:

Isi of From Isi shared her lovely copy of a book about a favorite teddy-bear character, Henry Brown, who I definitely want to check out!

Sharon of Faith Hope and Cherrytea made this bold collage of one of her favorites, Drew Farthering, who appears in some pretty stylish cover art!

Thanks to all of you for sharing your favorite characters and the snappy, bold, and beautiful covers that display them!

I was so happy to participate myself in Tanya’s Instagram challenge all through the readathon, Isi’s bookmark pairing challenge, and Heather’s creative book photography challenge.  I also worked on my Fictional 100 book map for Aloi’s terrific book mapping challenge.  So far, I’ve finished 68 of 100 characters, with popup pictures and a description for each one. I WILL finish them all, I promise, one day, and I’ll post about it again, but for now, here it is:

Oh, yes, and since this was a Readathon, I did read some books!! I read about 100 pages in each of two of my planned books:

Although most of my recent traveling by way of books has taken me to Scandinavia, my reading during this readathon was clearly in Eastern Europe, specifically in Poland and Russia. Stories in these countries seem instantly to attract my interest lately, and that is one of the amazing fruits of this challenge: finding stories (fiction or nonfiction) from new places in the world that speak to one’s heart, mind, and spirit.

#TTWIBRAT Mini-Challenge + GIVEAWAY : Favorite Characters in Cover Art

25 Oct
Image courtesy of potowizard at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of potowizard at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

I’m very happy to be hosting a mini-challenge for our Travel the World in Books Readathon. It’s about one of my very favorite things about reading–great characters! When a truly memorable character transports me to a different place and time, it’s even better, and speaks to my own longings to travel around the world and travel in time too.  A beautiful or striking book cover featuring the outstanding character I will meet in the story is sure to draw me in, whether the book is a favorite classic in a new edition or something totally new–a favorite in the making.

I’m sure you’ve had that experience too.  I like many kinds of covers featuring characters: original illustrations made just for the book cover; paintings or other art that suggests the character and gives me some notion of time, place, and personality (Penguin is a fan of this approach); or even photographs, modern or period photos of people who then become my mental image of the character as I read.

CHALLENGE

This challenge is meant to be easy, fun, and flexible. The goal is for us to share some favorite characters from around the world, especially those which have been depicted in memorable cover art. Your task is to select one or more book covers featuring any one of your favorite characters (they don’t have to be on my 100 list, of course), and post the result in the format of your choice.  Some details:

  1. You can share just ONE book cover that you especially like–that would be great.  Or, if you wish, create a COMPOSITE image, a COLLAGE, or GALLERY with several covers.
  2. Post your image on the social media of your choice. You can Tweet or Instagram it. You can post it in your blog. Whichever way you choose, be sure to include the hashtag #TTWIBRAT in your posting.
  3. Share the link with me by leaving a comment to this mini-challenge post.  Be sure that you use the specific link that will take me right to your post, tweet, or instagram page containing your submission.  I will be tweet-sharing your submissions @Fictional100, and I will feature as many as I can in a follow-up post at the end of the Readathon.
  4. This mini-challenge and giveaway will run throughout the second week of the readathon, from October 25 to 31.

GIVEAWAY

I am giving away a copy of one of the following books, featuring Fictional 100 characters on their gorgeous covers, to ONE lucky winner.  These are all chunksters, in acclaimed translations, and well worth adding to your personal library and your lifetime reading (or re-reading) plan.  Follow the links to Goodreads for more details about each one.

The GIVEAWAY is open to those who participate in the mini-challenge and share a fabulous character cover or covers! Because the prize is a print book, which I will ship to your doorstep, this print-book giveaway is open in the US/Canada only. International readers who enter will receive a Kindle version of one of these books if they win.

The winner will be selected by random drawing from those who ENTER using the link below. I will notify the winner by email and arrange to send your prize.

Entry-Form

I can’t wait to see and share your cover selections for favorite characters. If you are participating in the #TTWIBRAT Instagram Challenge, today’s theme is Favorite World Lit Characters, so feel free to share the same photo here if it is a book cover. Thank you for participating, and enjoy the rest of the Travel the World in Books Readathon!

And There’s More!

Also be sure to check out the main Travel the World in Books Readathon 2015 Giveaways Page and enter to win a book from among the 18 books generously offered there! See more details at Mom’s Small Victories.

Giveaways page button

Travel the World in Books 2015: Bookmark Mini-Challenge and Some Books of the Americas #TTWIBRAT

24 Oct

I am happy to have a morning to work on Isi’s delightful bookmark challenge, and also to say a little more about the books from North and South America which I suggested via an Instagram photo yesterday. My inspiration for a bookmark came from one of these books, Bernardo and the Virgin, a novel by Silvio Sirias.

This beautifully constructed novel tells the story of Bernardo Martínez, a tailor in Cuapa, Nicaragua, whose devotion to Mary began when he was a little boy. He experienced visions of the Virgin Mary in a field near his home, and his humility and sincerity began to attract more people to this site. It is a terribly moving story of his efforts to save the small image of La Purísima in his local parish, and his long struggle to become a priest despite obstacles posed by his level of education and the political crises in Nicaragua.

Bernardo Martínez of Cuapa (1931-2000). He was ordained in 1995.

After reading this, I learned more about Martínez and found these lovely images, which I used to make the bookmark. Two are prayer cards, one depicting Bernardo’s account of the appearance of the Virgin to him and the other showing the message he heard from her, “Let Heaven and Earth Unite!” The small image of La Purísima from the parish church of Juigalpa finishes the trio of images.Bookmark Challenge

While Bernardo of Cuapa is relatively little known, Our Lady of Guadalupe who appeared to St. Juan Diego in Mexico in 1531 is known worldwide. This book, Our Lady of Guadalupe by Carl Anderson and Eduardo Chávez, includes a translation of the Nican Mopohua, written by Antonio Valeriano during San Juan Diego’s lifetime.  It was written in a mixture of Spanish and the indigenous Náhuatl language, and gives a very early account of the events surrounding the apparition.  As a bookmark, I have included a beautiful prayer card for Our Lady of Guadalupe that I found during my brief trip to Rome in 2009.

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Let me briefly introduce the other books from the Americas which I shared yesterday for Tanya’s Instagram Challenge.

Smiley writes a compelling novel that reads like an Icelandic saga, but does not copy the events of the existing Saga of the Greenlanders, only its spirit.

An African in Greenland cover

I did a full review of An African in Greenland at my Northern Lights Reading Project. It is certainly a candidate for the best travel narrative I have ever read.

The Road Past Altamont by Gabrielle Roy is definitely one of my favorite story collections. Four connected stories tell the life of Christine, a French-Canadian woman in Manitoba, Canada. I especially liked the first one, from Christine’s childhood memories of visiting “My Almighty Grandmother.” Because Roy’s books give an idea of life in that challenging prairie province in an earlier era, Gabrielle Roy has been called a Canadian Willa Cather.  In another book, Street of Riches, Roy follows the same character growing up near Winnipeg.

Teresa Mendoza lives a dangerous life, sadly fueled by the drug trade, in this thriller by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. I haven’t finished this one yet, so I couldn’t give you spoilers, even if I wanted to, but the action begins in Mexico and then moves to Gibraltar and Spain.

María, by the Colombian author Jorge Isaacs, was published 1867, and is a classic of Romanticism beloved widely in South America, and it deserves a wider readership in the English-speaking world. It is a dramatic, sentimental love story and also an example of the style of writing called costumbrismo, often translated as “local color” or local everyday life conjured up by vivid incidents. The hero of the novel, Efraín, is one of The Fictional 100, ranking 79th in my book.  By its centennial year, this novel had been republished in 140 editions, including many translations, and it had been adapted for film and stage. A good English translation from 1890 by Rollo Ogden was republished recently by Wildside Press, and I highly recommend it as an exemplar of popular fiction from South America.

Fathers and Crows is volume 2 of William T. Vollman’s “Seven Dreams” series of “North American Landscapes,” which began with The Ice-Shirt (about the voyagers from Iceland to Greenland and then “Vinland”) and keeps coming with more volumes, most recently, The Dying Grass, about the Nez Perce War.  Fathers and Crows tells the story of French Jesuit missionaries (called “Black Gown,” for their cassocks) in Canada and the Huron and Mohawk people whose lives they encountered. Vollmann employs an ingenious number of maps, drawings, found documents, and first-person accounts to create his impossibly complicated, confounding, and therefore rich and many-sided picture of the clash between Europeans and Native Peoples in North America. Famous folks such as Kateri Tekakwitha and Jean de Brébeuf make their appearances in this volume. I’m just starting it, so wish me luck as I dive in!

For me, it was helpful to reflect on traveling in the Americas, seemingly closer to home but often quite removed from my own knowledge or experience. The value of traveling by books this way is not determined so much by how far away we go but how willingly we venture into other cultures and perspectives on the gift of life we are privileged to share.

Travel the World in Books Readathon–Day 1 Intros and Photo Challenge #TTWIBRAT

18 Oct

Image courtesy of potowizard at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The 2nd annual Travel the World in Books Readathon has begun! It’s a beautiful fall day here in NJ, crisp and sunny, and perfect for reading with the curtains open and some great music in the background. But first…

Time for Tanya’s delightful Photo Challenge which runs throughout the readathon. It gives us a chance to rummage through our bookshelves (boxes, bags, toppling piles, as the case may be!) and locate favorite books we’ve read or are planning to read that transport us to another place, and share a photo of them. The Photo Challenge also includes other fun book-related and travel-related items to hunt up.  I knew this challenge was coming, so I joined Instagram and posted my first picture–a selfie (naturally) with a favorite from world literature.

#TTWIB Photo challenge Day 1

#TTWIB Photo challenge Day 1

I have just begun Fortunata and Jacinta by Benito Pérez Galdós, but I think it is a favorite in the making. I already admire the rich character development and beautiful writing (through the gifts of translator Agnes Gullón), and the love triangle these two women endure for a very long time is likely to make a heart-wrenching and memorable story.  This book isn’t even on my posted Readathon plans, but these things are flexible, right? I may just pick this up and keep reading.

I don’t know what other introductions to add right now, except that I love to read world literature, especially when I discover classics from other countries, and I love blogging and keeping up with new sightings of the Fictional 100 characters (here is my ranked list of them).  I’m looking forward to checking out everyone’s photos and #TTWIBRAT postings!  Stop by Mom’s Small Victories to see the full schedule of events for the readathon, including discussion topics, guest posts, and mini-challenges.

#FrightFall Read-a-thon 2015: Wrap-up Thoughts

14 Oct

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I send big thanks to Michelle at Seasons of Reading for graciously hosting this year’s #FrightFall read-a-thon. As usual, readathons create some motivation to select something and try to finish it–something I am sometimes slow to do!

I ended up reading two of my planned fairy-tale retellings, Deerskin and White as Snow.

White as Snow by Tanith Lee was indeed a chilling retelling–more of a retooling–of the ‘Snow White’ story. It had flashes of insight certainly, and proved to be very involving, although quite shocking and painful to read. Half of the book was about the Queen and the brutal crime that had warped her spirit early in her life. The second half of the novel was about her daughter Snow White, but at this point her story merged with the Persephone myth and some fairly standard Celtic elements of the Beltaine stag figure. The span of time in which Snow White lived with the dwarfs was the most creative part of the book, and recaptured my attention.  The tone of this part reminded me of War of the Flowers by Tad Williams (which I liked better).

Deerskin, which I didn’t finish yet, also subjects its main character, Princess Lissla Lissar, to terrible violence and betrayal early in the story at the hand of her father the king. She is wholely sympathetic, though sometimes rather stuporous in her trauma.  She must flee for her life, and in the process of survival, suppresses her true identity, even from herself. She assumes the name Deerskin, after receiving a supernatural gift of a deerskin dress.  The chapters where she is living off the land with only her greyhound Ash for company are beautifully and tenderly written.  I will definitely keep reading this one to the end, and I look forward to reading both of McKinley’s retellings of ‘Beauty and the Beast’–Beauty and Rose Daughter.

I have to wonder why, in both these retellings, two such highly regarded writers as Tanith Lee and Robin McKinley chose to subject their main female characters to such brutal crimes, described so graphically.  Whereas often the ‘Grimmest’ of fairy tales only threatens a potential for crime or taboo-breaking in the story, while not enacting it, these tales are merciless and rescue does not come. In the aftermath, these women suffer, very realistically, a total deadening of spirit, a numbness and hollowing out of soul. The rest of the story offers opportunities, however slender, to find their way back to selfhood and a sense of wholeness.  It seems no accident then that fairy tales are one vehicle now, in our time, for holding up a mirror (a magical mirror in White as Snow) to the violence against women in our world, by no means a thing of some mythic or misty past.

Travel the World in Books Readathon, Oct 18-31 #TTWIBRAT

11 Oct
Travel the World in Books button

Image courtesy of potowizard at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

I’m so happy it’s Fall again and time for another Travel the World in Books Readathon! It was such great fun last time, and also a great stimulus to reading widely and diversely, discovering new writers and their books from around the globe.   This year I’m very happy to be joining Tanya of Mom’s Small Victories, Becca of I’m Lost in Books, Savvy Working Gal, and Aloi of Guiltless Reading as a co-host!  I’m planning a mini-challenge, about favorite characters and the cover art they inspire, for the second week of the readathon.  I will also be hosting a Twitter chat, along with Savvy Working Gal, where we can discuss what we’ve all been reading.  Once you SIGN UP, you will get updates with all the particulars for events during the Readathon.

The thing I love about the challenges and linkups that Tanya creates is the way they are relaxed and laid back, yet abundantly clear, structured, and inviting. Right from the beginning last year, I felt like I knew what to do and where to begin, and I could pick and choose the mini-challenges and events that interested me most.  I’m so glad that Guiltless Reader Aloi will be offering her mini-challenge again where we can make our own Google Maps of our reading. Hers is awesome, and I plan to add to the one I started last year. I’m also looking forward to Tanya’s Instagram challenge, especially since I just (or, should I say, finally?) joined Instagram so I could participate!

The Readathon is part of the ongoing Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge, but you don’t have to sign on to that to do the readathon–unless, of course, you want to!  The purpose of the readathon and the challenge is the same:

Explore countries other than the one where you live. Read as much as you can of books set in a different country or by an author from a different country. Read for your own pleasure or learning, read with your kids or both. Travel the world from the comfort of your own home and learn about different cultures. Expand your horizons and show publishers that #WeNeedDiverseBooks to promote cultural understanding and diversity in our reading. Support diverse authors and books.

We’ll be using #TraveltheWorldinBooksRAT and #TTWIBRAT as our hashtags for posts and social media during the Readathon. I’ll probably opt for the shorter one, to have more room to tweet!

Sign up and link up, and you can sample ideas for diverse books from those who have linked up already. I know I will refer to Becca’s fabulous list of books she has read by Country and Culture (organized by continent). Stop by Guiltless Reading’s post to find her links with many book ideas, including her Notable Reads in 2014 for the reading challenge.

What I’ll Be Reading This Time

I’m planning on finishing two books that both begin with characters traveling by train:

The Girl from Krakow by Alex Rosenberg shows one woman’s perilous activities during wartime.

Girl from Krakow coverThe 6:41 from Paris by Jean-Philippe Blondel puts two characters in an awkward emotional situation when they meet on a train.

641 to Paris cover

I’m also going to keep reading The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky.  The title character, Prince Myshkin, is viewed as an “idiot” in the very Russian sense of the Wise Fool, one who is touched (and a bit tetched) by God. This character is usually regarded as a Christlike figure–he is a gentle soul whose simple goodness is uncompromising, and therefore sometimes perplexing to those he meets.  After reading The Brothers Karamazov, I have been eager to read this one too.

Idiot cover

As part of my Northern Lights Reading Project, I plan to continue reading the Icelandic classic, Independent People by Nobel-prize-winner Halldór Laxness.  This modern-day saga of an irascible sheep farmer and his wife is compelling reading, and quite fascinating!

Independent People cover

Happy reading!

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Faith working through love

Karleen Koen — writing life

musings of a woman, writer, and wayfarer

A Brave Heart

All for the love of history....

Words And Peace

book reviews and good books for you to read

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