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City Reading Challenge and a Giveaway!

Watching at my book shelf I spot an interesting trend. A few of my book titles have city names on it. Here’s what I got:

Some books with city names that I would like to read:

Do you know of any books with city name?

Here’s what I propose to do. For three months leading to end of November, we will read at least one book that has a city name on it. I’ll be hosting a giveaway from now until at the end of November which will mark the 3rd year of my blog anniversary. Anyone can sign-up for the giveaway but you get an additional draw with additional book (with city name) that you read and reviewed. Post all reviews by 30th November and I’ll draw TWO (and possibly three!) winners on the 2nd of December (GMT) using random.org and send the book(s) over to you before Christmas!

Open to all blog friends and regular visitors who commented at least once on my blog this year. Travel journal and travel guides do not count. Drop a comment to express your interest!

These are the books for the giveaway:

From now till end of November I’ll be posting some of my thought provoking posts on blogging. I look forward to hear what you think about them!  Happy autumn, people. 🙂

About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.


43 thoughts on “City Reading Challenge and a Giveaway!

  1. My husband is reading The Bookseller of Kabul right now, and he keeps saying what a good book it is, yet he is doing a ton of napping while supposedly reading! :–) …but anyway…. When I look at my books, I see a bunch of books with names of TOWNS in the titles like Goodnight, Nebraska, and a bunch with epithets for cities, like The Devil and The White City, but not many with an actual CITY name!

    Posted by rhapsodyinbooks | September 4, 2011, 2:13 pm
  2. Death In Venice by Thomas Mann
    September in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen
    The Painter from Shanghai by Jennifer Epstein
    London by Edward Rutherford
    The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood
    these come to mine
    possibly you could count Dubliners by James Joyce
    for made up cities Winesburg Ohio by Sherwood Anderson and Malgudi Days by R K Narayan

    I have The New York Trilogy and could read that (assuming I like it once I start it)-interesting challenge

    Posted by Mel u | September 4, 2011, 2:18 pm
  3. Whoooooa giving away a copy of an Adichie book! Exciting 🙂 I have a few city books, I should check my tbr pile. Don’t include me in the giveaway though, I have too many books to read already! heh

    Posted by amymckie | September 4, 2011, 3:05 pm
  4. What a fun idea, Jo. I don’t think I have any books with city names on my shelves. But since you found so many, I guess I’d have at least a few? I’ll have a look and report back!

    Posted by Leeswammes | September 4, 2011, 5:11 pm
    • Judith,
      Can’t wait to see how many you can spot on your shelf! 🙂

      Posted by JoV | September 5, 2011, 8:13 pm
      • Jo, I only found ONE: The Mayor of Casterbridge.

        Isn’t that odd? I’d expected a few more. I’ll do my best to read this on time! Hardy’s been ages and I really like to read this soon.

        Posted by Leeswammes | September 5, 2011, 8:29 pm
        • Judith,
          Hey, Casterbridge is close to Chiswick, West London. I didn’t even know it’s written by Thomas Hardy! You still have plenty of time, 2.5 months to go! Good luck! 😀

          Posted by JoV | September 5, 2011, 8:33 pm
          • I didn’t know that. I thought all Hardy’s novels took place in Wessex. I did read this one before but can’t remember if it could have been near London. Maybe I read this thinking how close London seemed to be even though it should be quite a few days in the coach from the west country. 🙂

            Posted by Leeswammes | September 5, 2011, 8:36 pm
          • Judith,
            Ah… The West country is long and far, it stretches from London, Reading, Bristol all the way to Penzance. 🙂 I read Daphne Du Maurier during the weekend and I thought.. it must be a long way from London to Cornwall back in the old days! 😀

            Posted by JoV | September 5, 2011, 8:44 pm
  5. I just recalled I also have The Master of St Petersburg by J. M. Coetzee-I read and enjoyed his Foe not long ago

    Posted by Mel u | September 4, 2011, 10:53 pm
  6. Very creative challenge Jo…I can’t think of any additional titles off the top of my head but will check out my TBR shelves when I get home from my work trip…surely I must have something among those dozens of books

    And if it’s your 3rd birthday coming up it must be mine too…I’ll have to think of something to celebrate too.

    Posted by Bernadette | September 5, 2011, 1:46 am
    • Bernadette,
      Can’t wait to see what you come up with! I didn’t intend to publish this blog post so soon, would you believe me if I said it was a mistake? 😉 I’ll tell you why!

      Posted by JoV | September 5, 2011, 8:16 pm
      • It turns out I have only one book with a city name in its title among all my TBR…but at least I have one to join in your challenge. Funny story about your mistaken publishing of the challenge…I have been known to do similar things myself especially when i use my iPad to write my posts…all the buttons get kind of squished up together and my big fat fingers make mistakes on the touch screen. Oh well…it’s only blogging…nothing too serious 🙂

        Posted by bernadetteinoz | September 6, 2011, 7:37 am
        • Bernadette,
          You are so much more advanced than me. I’m struggling with an android phone and do not own an ipad! Thank goodness it is only blogging. It could have been worse, like launching a missile! 😀

          Posted by JoV | September 6, 2011, 7:15 pm
  7. Jude in London is one that sounds good at moment ,apart from that I m struggling to think of one of top my head as not at home to look at my books all the best stu

    Posted by winstonsdad | September 5, 2011, 8:43 am
    • Stu,
      Thanks for the recommendation. You see I thought I would have a book titled London or Paris, but I don’t! Jude in London sounds good. Let me know when you get the chance to look at your home bookshelf!

      Posted by JoV | September 5, 2011, 8:21 pm
  8. Right off the bat, House in Amalfi, Hotel Riviera, Charleston, Gods of Newport and London is the Best Place in America comes to mind.

    Posted by Diane@BibliophileBytheSea | September 5, 2011, 1:34 pm
  9. This is really awesome, Jo! I have been thinking on similar lines for a while – that I have so many books based on cities that I should read them by that theme. You stole my line 🙂 I have read ‘Night Train to Lisbon’ by Pascal Mercier and it is one of my alltime favourite books. I would love to hear your thoughts on it, whenever you get to read it. I have Hans Fallada’s ‘Alone in Berlin’, Paul Auster’s ‘The New York Trilogy’, and Ma Jian’s ‘Beijing Coma’ on my bookshelf waiting to be read. Other ‘city’ books I have on my bookshelf are

    (1) Shanghai : The rise and fall of a decadent city : 1842-1949 by Stella Dong
    (2) Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk
    (3) Cairo by Max Rodenbeck
    (4) The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell
    (5) Maximum City by Suketu Mehta (on Bombay)
    (6) In Old Madras by B.M.Croker
    (7) Madras Rediscovered by A.Muthiah
    (8) Amsterdam : A Traveler’s Literary Companion – edited by Manfred Wolf
    (9) Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell (contains potraits of New York)
    (10) Goa by Frank Simoes
    (11) The World of Suzie Wong by Richard Mason (set in Hong Kong)

    Looking forward to participating in the ‘City challenge’ 🙂

    Posted by Vishy | September 5, 2011, 2:34 pm
    • Vishy,
      Thanks for participating and research on the city titles! but it cannot be a travel guide and must contain a name of the city in the book title, Suzie Wong doesn’t count! Lets try again.. 😀
      But I do want to read Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk and Amsterdam by Ian McEwan! Thanks for joining it! Are you going to read Hans Fallada’s ‘Alone in Berlin’, Paul Auster’s ‘The New York Trilogy’, and Ma Jian’s ‘Beijing Coma’ ? 🙂

      Posted by JoV | September 5, 2011, 8:27 pm
      • I can definitely give Hans Fallada’s and Paul Auster’s book a try for this challenge. ‘Beijing Coma’ is a bit big, but I read another Ma Jian book called ‘Red Dust’ many years back and loved it. So, I will think of giving that a try too.

        Posted by Vishy | September 6, 2011, 11:19 am
  10. For me its only the Mayor of Casterbridge and The Bookseller of Kabul. Will have to re-check as I am sure there should be much more. Interesting.

    Posted by Mystica | September 6, 2011, 2:56 am
  11. What fun! I have just “discovered” you from Reading Matters and I love your blog. How about “Brooklyn” by Colm Toibin, “The Man who Broke into Auschwitz” by Dennis Avey, “Montana 1948” by Larry Watson and “Balanda – a year in Arnhem Land” by Mary Ellen Jordan (yes, a little obscure!)…

    Posted by Sharkell | September 6, 2011, 10:09 am
    • Sharkell,
      Thank you for your first visit here! and you got a happy icon to go with you as well ! (The face sort of stick to your ID from now on when you visit my page).. I heard about “Brooklyn” by Colm Toibin but not the rest. Thanks for this. 🙂

      Posted by JoV | September 6, 2011, 7:16 pm
  12. Ack! Such a temptation you lay before me, JoV! I wish I didn’t have to teach (no, I love teaching, I mena work full time!) so that I could dive into this. Still, I’ll try. Before November 30 you say? Cross your fingers for me! (Death in Venice is especially calling my Italian name. 😉

    Posted by Bellezza | September 7, 2011, 12:37 am
  13. I read Reading Lolita in Teheran, and didn’t like it that much, but the rest of the books in your list seem great! I am especially interested in Kigali – let me go and check if my library has that right away! I have another book called Shanghai Tango, that I haven’t got around to reading. But this is an interesting idea, Jo! I should go and check if there is a book that has Bangalore in it’s title!

    Posted by Soul Muser | September 11, 2011, 12:08 pm
    • Soul,
      You are not the only one that says the same thing about ‘Reading Lolita in Teheran’. The book ‘Daniel’ is waiting at the library, thanks for your recommendation. I hope you come back and let me know if there is a book with Bangalore as book title.

      Posted by JoV | September 11, 2011, 1:25 pm
  14. Happy autumn, Jo! 🙂 That’s a fun challenge, though I don’t think I have too many/ any books with city titles … . How’d that happen? 😀 Oh wait, I have the Nafisi somewhere. I’m at my parents and will have to hunt for city titles at my place next week.

    Posted by Bina | September 12, 2011, 4:47 pm
    • Bina,
      I’m sure you do! Interesting to hear that some find it hard to find a book with a city name whereas here I am staring at my bookshelf and all those books with the city names are staring back at me and the more I look at them, the more I found more and that doesn’t include my travel guides! 😉

      Posted by JoV | September 13, 2011, 7:24 pm
  15. What a fun reading project! I will take a look on my shelves. But I’m in.

    Posted by Kinna | September 25, 2011, 5:15 am
  16. I’ve just started following your blog. Really good to find a book blog that isn’t YA and Vampire obsessed (just not my thing!). I really like the idea of this challenge – I love cities and travelling – but think I’ve left it a little late. Shame 😦


    Posted by Ellie | November 14, 2011, 12:02 pm


  1. Pingback: City Reading Challenge and a Giveaway! – follow-up post « Bibliojunkie - November 13, 2011

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City

JoV's favorite books »
Share book reviews and ratings with JoV, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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