Challenge Books for January

Matthandlare Olssons död - Wahlberg,  Karin Martin Bircks ungdom - Söderberg,  Hjalmar Erewhon - Samuel Butler Memories of Ice - Steven Erikson

I'm gonna try two challenges this year: Petra's A-Z book challenge and the For Culture's Sake A-Z around the world challenge


For the Sockpoppet challenge, I'm going to use the next of Steven Erikson's Malazan books, Memories of Ice for the challenge letter: V is for Veteran (at least one character is/was a member of a military force). At least half the characters in these books are or have been members of the military on a formal basis, and pretty much most of the rest are at least informally veterans of battles galore, from the mightiest of warriors all the way down to the cattledogs, so it fulfills the requirement in spades.


And for the round-the-world challenge: 

Obligatory tasks for January 2014

To fulfil January challenge you need to read 2 different books related to the monthly theme and following these rules:

  • One book considered “classics” which you haven’t ever read yet. You can read a book which you previously couldn’t/didn’t finish. Date of publication is not important.
  • One book written after 1945 by a writer from your country who you haven’t read yet. So, if you’ve read (completed) even 1 book by a writer, you should look for another author.

Reading these 2 books will give you 2 points. You can read more than just 2 books (which I recommend) but you’ll still have 2 points only.

Bonus task for January 2014

  • Read a book about your country written by a foreigner.

Any bonus book you’ll read will give you 1 point.


I have a difficulty of course (or perhaps an advantage): Which is "my country"? NZ or Sweden? I'm arbitrarily deciding both count. 


  1. A Book considered a classic. Thank god for Gutenberg for this, because I've read all the obvious choices (Strindberg, Lagerlöf, Mansfield, etc.) So I came up with Martin Birck's ungdom (Martin Bircks Youth) by Hjälmar Söderberg, written in 1901 by an author highly recommended by Margaret Atwood. I like her books, so I figure if she likes his, I have a shot.
  2. Book written after 1945 by an author I don't know: Matthandlare Olssons död (Rug Merchant Olsson's Death) by Karin Wahlberg, one of the current crop of Swedish detective writers. I got this for Christmas, so that's handy :)
  3. Bonus: A book written by a foreigner about my country. Picking New Zealand this time, for reasons. Oh ok, NZ's literary history is quite literally too small and too short to have generated many authors who have written what can be considered classics, and I've read something by all of the ones I can think of, such as Witi Ihimaera, Janet Frame, Katherine Mansfield... so that ruled it out of book 1, and I simply couldn't find anything appealing for book 2. For book 3 though, there's one I always meant to read, by an author I always meant to read: Erewhon by Samuel Butler, who although English spent some years in his youth working on a remote sheep station (think really huge, really remote farm, up in the mountains) in NZ's south island. It's a dystopian satire of Victorian society, and is therefore so up my alley in all three of those ways, as well as fitting the bill for this challenge. 

So there we go, four books for this month, one of which I'm already reading. And I'm going to go right ahead and put all four on my currently reading, although I haven't actually got hold a copy of Erewhon yet (it's certainly on Gutenberg though, so not worried.)