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ATW in 80 Books World Challenge > Zeljka - Trekking Circumnavigator

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message 1: by Zeljka (last edited Oct 04, 2012 12:45AM) (new)

Zeljka (ZTook) | 67 comments Introduction

Well, here I am. At last. Must calm down the excitement... Better to say trepidation, because it was very, very hard decision to start this challenge. Diane, thank you for inspiration! I plan to make the most of the challenge, as this kind one does once in the lifetime. Let's hope it would not last literally a lifetime, but time constraints really have to be out of question, otherwise this might turn into... well, into real mess :)

This challenge would be a backpacker kind of diary. That assumes exploring every continent (region) the most thoroughly possible, with respect to the borders and with smart use of already available resources. That in translation means please do not spend more money than needed, read books you already have... and as many as reasonably desired for each country.

I intend also to explore every US state as well as Canadian ones. However, do not know yet where to report Canadian roadtrip in detail, but USA roadtrip will be in an appropriate challenge folder when time comes for it.

My plan consists of all the continents and 148 countries so far. As already said, for Canada and USA I plan to visit all the states, but they won't count toward the whole (at least not in this challenge thread). I would rather not mention planned number of the books, as I am constantly messing with the selection. In any case, at the end of each appropriate post there will be a counter to follow the progress.

Books that cover many countries (like travel books) will be my kind of intermezzos, before, between and during the journeys through the each continent. They won't count toward the whole number (of the countries), but enrich the challenge quite nicely :)

So, beside being a plain introduction, this long post serves to me as an instruction manual to this whole journey around the world (of the books). I shall definitely need a lot of courage and patience to follow it through. Right now, it's time for... packing!


message 2: by Zeljka (new)

Zeljka (ZTook) | 67 comments September 2012

Still warming up for this challenge! Not a single book read concerning one country, but two for a myriad of them:
Sacred Places Sites of Spirituality & Faith by Rebecca HindSacred Places: Sites of Spirituality & Faith by Rebecca Hind
Lovely coffee-table book with beautiful photographs, inspiring enough to undertake a real journey around the world.
The Wander Year One Couple's Journey Around the World by Mike McIntyreThe Wander Year: One Couple's Journey Around the World by Mike McIntyre
Excellent collection of humorous backpacker stories from one's extraordinary vacation. I doubt I'll ever be able to afford that kind of journey, but all these countries the author achieved to bring closer to me, might be seen separately, why not? His lively anecdotes, tips and advices are now just amusing condiment of daydreaming, but one day might be really useful. One day... Now I'll start preparations to visit my first country in October - my own, of course - Croatia.

Regions: 0
Countries: 0
Books Read: 2


message 3: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new)

Diane | 10679 comments Zeljka wrote: "Well, here I am. At last. Must calm down the excitement... Better to say trepidation, because it was very, very hard decision to start this challenge. Diane, thank you for inspiration! I plan to ma..."

Welcome to the challenge, Zeljka! I love your idea of intermezzos! I, too, had trepidation when I first embarked on my world journey in books. What I did find was how addicting all of this is! Initially, I had no intentions on reading the whole world, but now, three years later, I find myself on country #200! Some countries I love to "visit" over and over! I do hope you will enjoy your journey as much as I have!

I will be starting a thread for traveling Canada, starting the first of the year, and I am contemplating doing something similar for other countries with lots of books.


message 4: by Zeljka (new)

Zeljka (ZTook) | 67 comments Diane wrote: "Welcome to the challenge, Zeljka! I love your idea of intermezzos! I, too, had trepidation when I first embarked on my world journey in books. What I did find was how addicting all of this is! Initially, I had no intentions on reading the whole world, but now, three years later, I find myself on country #200!..."

Thank you, Diane! I've seen your threads, and the lists there are awesome. And yeah, neverending ;) You have read so many great books! I also believe that if it is not possible in person, books seem perfect way to get familiar with many beautiful countries.

Great idea for Canada - it would be perfect mini-challenge for a group, and for myself too, as I plan after trekking Europe a bit to cross the ocean straight to Canada :D


message 5: by Zeljka (last edited May 12, 2018 01:13PM) (new)

Zeljka (ZTook) | 67 comments
Zeljka - Europe (Part One)
Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com
Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com

I guess the trekking itself should have its own introduction. Overall I intend to pass all the regions on my way, in the following order:
Europe - North America - Latin America and Caribbean (going to Antartica as well) - Oceania - Asia - Middle East - Africa - Europe.

As my country - Croatia - is basically in the middle of European continent, trekking through Europe had to be separated in two parts. It shall therefore be the first and the last leg of the journey.

As for this part of European odyssey, I plan to explore following countries (by this group's definition of them), I hope in this order:
Croatia - Slovenia - Hungary - Austria - Czech Republic - Poland - Lithuania - Latvia - Estonia - Russia - Finland - Sweden - Norway - Denmark - Germany - The Netherlands - England - Wales - Scotland - Iceland - Northern Ireland - Ireland - Channel Islands - France - Switzerland - Italy - Vatican - Italy - Malta - Spain - Portugal - Greenland.

Croatia is already on the way to be explored... A bit - never enough ;)


message 6: by Zeljka (new)

Zeljka (ZTook) | 67 comments October 2012: Croatia

Embarassing, but I do not spend much time reading Croatian authors, although they are my own country's folk. There are so many books worth reading out there, that it was always somehow easier to dismiss Croatian novels, as they tend to be very gloomy and depressing. However, this challenge forced me in positive way to turn back my attention to them. So, this month I have been reading Croatian writers. The first two books were actually collections of newspaper columns, from Ante Tomić: Dečko koji obećava and Nisam pametan, in which he very shrewdly analyses Croatian everyday life and political climate. The third was a nostalgic reminder of the history of my hometown at the beginning of 20th century, Smij i suze starega Splita by Ivan Kovačić. The fourth was a bit depressing, in a sense of reminding me of today's reality of living among criminals and scoundrels (not necessarily on the wrong side of the law), Dečko, dama, kreten, drot by Edo Popović. Such books regretfully urge me to move out of the country which natural and cultural beauties I otherwise love.

Next stop on this journey is Slovenia.

Dečko koji obećava izabrane kolumne by Ante Tomić. Nisam pametan by Ante Tomić. Smij i suze starega Splita by Ivan Kovačić. Dečko, dama, kreten, drot by Edo Popović

Regions: 1
Countries: 1
Books Read: 6


message 7: by Zeljka (new)

Zeljka (ZTook) | 67 comments November 2012: Slovenia

Classic collection of short stories, Crtice iz moje mladosti by Ivan Cankar I've already had to read in the school long time ago. In contrast with the last month's books, it evokes the values of your own hearth and country. Stories mostly concern the eternal curse of poverty, despair and hunger of poor peasants at the turn of 18th century, especially emphasizing mother's boundless sacrifice for the wellbeing of her children.

Some passages are really moving. Pity Cankar isn't translatable to other languages. I'll try however, to translate only a little bit...

- Where is your country?
And they went to respond one after another.
- Last year German land drank my blood, charged me toll; last summer Austrian land too drank and charged me: next year maybe I'll serve America. My path is led by commands of those who have country and power. From factory to factory, from mine to mine, from field to town, from land to land; and they never ask: where is your country? They ask only: how much your work is worth, how much blood runs through your veins? After blood is no more, they command: Go away! Set out and seek your country - look for her by the road in the ditch! Or, when it would come to their mind, they would hang a satchel on my shoulders and give me orders: Hurry, die for our country! Because country and power are theirs! I sow and I reap, I defend the house and the field; but mine isn't sowing, nor harvest, nor house, nor field. You asked, you tell us: where is our country?


Next stop this month (hopefully) is Hungary.

Crtice iz moje mladosti by Ivan Cankar

Regions: 1
Countries: 2
Books Read: 7


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Haven't read any book titles from HUNGARY.


message 9: by Zeljka (new)

Zeljka (ZTook) | 67 comments Hattie wrote: "Haven't read any book titles from HUNGARY."

I intend to read The Invisible Bridge, but you may find some other quite interesting books set in or about Hungary on the AtW Hungary bookshelf :)


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks for the recommendations.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

I love your bookshelf too.


message 12: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new)

Diane | 10679 comments Zeljka wrote: "November 2012: Slovenia

Classic collection of short stories, Crtice iz moje mladosti by Ivan Cankar I've already had to read in the school long time ago. In contrast with the last month's books, i..."


Wow. I hope more books from this part of the world are translated into other languages. I have really enjoyed the books I have read from southeastern Europe.


message 13: by Zeljka (new)

Zeljka (ZTook) | 67 comments Diane wrote: "Wow. I hope more books from this part of the world are translated into other languages. I have really enjoyed the books I have read from southeastern Europe."

Sorry Diane for not responding sooner, saw the message just now! I noticed there are some translations of Southeastern European authors, but mostly those that write in the standard language. Many our writers, especially "older" ones, write in dialects, very difficult to translate. However, that's my opinion - didn't delve much into that subject :) Same goes with Cankar, it's Slovenian author which I've read in Croatian flavoured with dialectical words. How he sounds in the original language, wouldn't know :)

Thanks for the post, got me thinking a bit :)


message 14: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new)

Diane | 10679 comments Zeljka wrote: "Diane wrote: "Wow. I hope more books from this part of the world are translated into other languages. I have really enjoyed the books I have read from southeastern Europe."

Sorry Diane for not res..."


I didn't know about the dialects. That would make translation difficult.


message 15: by Zeljka (new)

Zeljka (ZTook) | 67 comments December 2012: Hungary

For the most of November and December I've been reading The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer, that is monumental not only for its size, but for the subject itself. The first part of the book starts with Parisian days of our main heroes of the story, then it turns into the story of holocaust that occurred a bit differently in Hungary than in other European countries. It was so moving story, so much I wept most of the times, my faith in mankind being totally shattered, because I found it so hard to imagine people would behave so horrible to other of their own kind. Unimaginable! And yet very brutally true.

I'll stay with Hungary a little bit more.

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

Regions: 1
Countries: 3
Books Read: 8


message 16: by Zeljka (last edited May 12, 2018 10:50AM) (new)

Zeljka (ZTook) | 67 comments January/February 2013: Hungary

Last two months I've spent reading A Guest in my Own Country: A Hungarian Life by George Konrad. It was interesting experience at first, reading some writer's memoirs, but after a while his reminiscences became quite tiresome. It's enough to say I needed two months to finish it...

Now moving on to Austria and with a bit lighter literature.

A Guest in my Own Country A Hungarian Life by George Konrád

Regions: 1
Countries: 3
Books Read: 9


message 17: by Zeljka (last edited May 12, 2018 10:50AM) (new)

Zeljka (ZTook) | 67 comments March 2013: Austria

Aye, I never regretted so much reading a spy novel as I did with this book, A Death In Vienna, by Daniel Silva. As I've already read three books concerning Holocaust in detail and very intimately, not to mention that they were also very recently read, this book was total disappointment. It wasn't insulting though, but shallow and poorly written.

Now going to Czech Republic.

A Death in Vienna (Gabriel Allon, #4) by Daniel Silva

Regions: 1
Countries: 4
Books Read: 10


message 18: by Zeljka (new)

Zeljka (ZTook) | 67 comments October/November 2013: Czech Republic

After really embarrassingly long absence, this project is going forward again. I won't ever give up on it, but the pace will be - it seems obvious now - uneven.

For this country I've read Franz Kafka and one new author whose book I acquired electronically. Kafka was gloomy as always, with the difference that The Metamorphosis really intrigued me (and saddened), while The Trial just irked me, because I couldn't stand the main character. I understood the point of the story (at least I think so), but I just didn't care.

That other author was Helen Haught Fanick. Her book interested me, well, mainly because of the title appropriate for this project - Assignment Prague. The plot was all right, but narrative was kind of repetitive. Everything had to be said twice even thrice just in case we didn't remember it was said before. And it was somehow too simple I dare say shallow. I am probably too demanding reader - I require more than just plot moving facts in order to become engaged with the characters and the story.

Well, that's it for this country. Now moving on to... Poland.

Proces - Preobrazba by Franz Kafka. Assignment Prague by Helen Haught Fanick

Regions: 1
Countries: 5
Books Read: 13


message 19: by Zeljka (last edited Dec 04, 2013 01:57PM) (new)

Zeljka (ZTook) | 67 comments November 2013: Poland

Earlier this year I read Schindler's List (that counts for this journey too, I hope so) and now I read a memoir of those horrid times Flight from Fear: A Rabbi's Holocaust Memoir by a Polish Rabbi Samuel Cywiak.

The former was really heart-rendering depiction of Holocaust that everybody really should read. The latter isn't a must-read, but might be quite valuable to those who wish to know more about different Jewish factions and teachings. I am sorry to say so, especially as I think Rabbi just narrated his story to the coauthor of the memoir, but the writing wasn't of very high quality. Non-fiction isn't supposed to be very emotional, but this storytelling seemed a bit restrained, on an awkward need-to-know basis. There were also some repetitive segments that I am not sure say more about the editor of the book or about the coauthor who couldn't find the other ways to express author's sentiments or opinions.

The part of this book happens in Lithuania too, but I still wish to read one more book that is supposedly set in that country.

Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally. Flight from Fear A Rabbi's Holocaust Memoir (2nd Edition) by Samuel Cywiak

Regions: 1
Countries: 6
Books Read: 15


message 20: by Zeljka (new)

Zeljka (ZTook) | 67 comments March 2015 / March 2017 / May 2018: Lithuania

After a long hiatus, I have finally found a book I liked and that was set at least a bit in Lithuania. The first try was Robin S. Sharma's The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. It really wasn't my cup of tea. The second effort came in a form of a free kindle book, The Purpose by Stephen Abraham, a wildly uneven story that I couldn't make myself to finish too. Eventually, I came upon a semi-biographical narrative Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. I read it in one night. It was a harrowing experience, but worth it. The book was about horrid treatment and Siberian exile of Lithuanian (and other unfortunate) people under Stalin's rule in the 1940s. It is still beyond my imagination how anyone could commit such atrocities as Nazis and Stalinists did. Whenever I read about those horrors, my faith in humankind falters.

The next step on this journey is Latvia. I hope I'll find something interesting. Soon.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams and Reaching Your Destiny by Robin S. Sharma The Purpose (The Au Pair, the Rabbi and the Grenade) by Stephen Abraham Pomrčina srca by Ruta Sepetys

Regions: 1
Countries: 7
Books Read: 18
(I am not sure if I should count failures together with real reads. Number of countries is the only number that matters though.)


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