No hablo: A book originally written in another language (i.e., a translation). Drive Your Plows over the Bones of the Dead - Olga Tokarczuk

On a frigid winter night in the wild reaches of Poland near the Czech border, a misanthrope hunter and trapper known to the narrator only as Big Foot lies dead on his kitchen floor. Finding his personal documents gives astrologer and animal activist Janina (a name she hates and never uses--she in fact gives every character a nickname) the information she needs to chart the true course of his life, down to the predestined manner and time of his death. Soon, others begin to turn up dead under suspicious circumstances.

More literary than whodunit thriller, Janina is searching for order and meaning as she comes to terms with her own mortality. Full of nice literary allusions and images related to death (the Czech border as a metaphorical "crossing over" point, most of the animals referenced are scavengers and decomposers, etc.) I think I would appreciate the story much more if I were familiar with the works of William Blake; he figures prominently and the book's title comes from his poem "Proverbs of Hell." Also, take 30 minutes and have your natal horoscope done online. Just reading it over will make the long descriptions of the characters' star charts more interesting. The solution to the whodunit is predictable and unrealistic, but the existential imagery is more the point.


With that, I have completed this year's challenge! I'll probably come back later in the year for a mini-challenge. I have about six other books I'm hoping to get to, and rather than to shoe-horn in things I was going to read anyway (oh, gee, I've never done that before, oh no not me! *looks around suspiciously*) I'll get those out of the way and use the challenge to expand my horizons when I'm ready for fresh titles.


Another’s Mother Tongue: Any book in the foreign language of your choice.
French: Short Stories for Beginners - various Done

Eyes to the skies: A book connected to weather, or with a weather-themed title.
House of Sand and Fog - Andre Dubus Done

No Cliff Notes this time: A book that’s required reading in most high schools or universities.
Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck Done

By its cover: A book you know nothing about, chosen solely by the FRONT cover (no reading the jacket flap, back cover blurb, or reviews).
Cherry - Nico Walker Done

Better known for . . .: A book by someone who’s more famous for something other than writing.
Gristle: From factory farms to food safety - Moby and Miyun Park Done

Howdy, stranger: A book about immigrants or immigration, or with an immigrant main character.
The Book of Unknown Americans - Cristina Henriquez Done

Three-color mythology: A graphic novel or comic book.
Berlin - Jason Lutes Done

Tag team: A book by more than one author.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green and David Levithan Done

Ripped from the headlines: A true crime book.
Catch and Kill - Ronan Farrow Done

Down on the farm: A book featuring farmers, agriculture, or taking place in an agrarian setting.
The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture - Wendell Berry Done

What your great-grandparents read: A book written more than 75 years before you were born.
A Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde Done

No hablo: A book originally written in another language (i.e., a translation).
Drive Your Plows over the Bones of the Dead - Olga Tokarczuk Done