Sunday, July 3, 2011

I'll take four for the win

I stumbled upon The Europa Challenge while aimlessly surfing from a basement bed-sit on Bayswater Road, my traveller's brain too fatigued to delve into the afternoon's finds. What finds they are, though: two Barbara Pyms and a Margery Allingham, obtained at Hatchard's on Piccadilly, not one in print in the United States.

A little about me: I'm a former journalist taking up fiction, writing full-time. Practically, that means I write every day, feel guilty about both how much and how little I read, and stammer a lot when people ask what I do for work. I keep a blog. On it, you'll find a lot of knitting, reading, and cooking, and a bit about my travels.

The Europa Challenge is my first book blog challenge. Years ago, I found Jane Gardam's Old Filth at a bookshop in Cambridge and picked it up, I'll admit, mostly for the cover. The story had as much style as the simple image on the front. I loved it. I hadn't realized it was a Europa Edition before now. I, along with countless others also managed to stumble upon The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. I loved every moment of that one, until the end. I'm still angry about the end.

I'm looking forward to reading another Jane Gardam, The People on Privilege Hill, already on its way to me via the magic of the internet, and perhaps Alina Bronsky. She's been on my list since March, when I spotted Marie carrying around The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine.

I'm setting the bar low and taking on the Europa Ami challenge: four books by the end of the year. Easily, pleasantly accomplished challenges are just my speed.