Book Tags

The Eurovision Book Tag

“My father was a king and the son of kings.”

First line in The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Today is the best day of the year – It’s the day of the Eurovision Grand Final!
I’ll admit, this post is rather spontaneous as I usually post on Mondays, not Saturdays, but I saw Nefeli@ BiblioNebula do The Eurovision Book Tag last week and knew I had to squeeze it in somehow. It seemed perfect as a little warm-up for the Final tonight (or cool-down if you read it Sunday or later). The tag was created by Bob the Bookerer on YouTube. Let’s start!

1. National Representative
A book or author that you think best represents your country/countries. (This can be where you live, where you are from, and/or where you have roots. If multiple countries apply, please feel free to use multiple examples here!)

We’re starting with a very difficult one for me because I read extremely few books from my own country and I definitely don’t read the most popular ones which you could say “best represent my country”. I can’t really avoid the Nordic Noir genre here because, you know, it’s literally in the name, but I haven’t read a single one. However, my mom only reads this genre and she really likes Michael Katz Krefeld. He’s very popular and I know his books have been translated into several languages, so I guess he’s my answer for this. I don’t think it’s cheating.

(I would have many more recommendations if we were talking music and I would just love for our Eurovision songs to sometime in the future actually represent Danish music!)

2. Jury Vote
A critically-acclaimed book that you love.

Juries are usually wrong, both when it comes to Eurovision songs and books. On rare occasions, they do get it right though (maybe by accident?) and one of those books is Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, nominated for both a Hugo and Nebula award. It’s a strange book that you just have to experience without thinking too much because that will only give you a headache. I love books that are just one long WTF-moment (just like Eurovision) and Piranesi is still the best example that I’ve encountered.

3. Public Vote
A best-selling and popular book that you love.

Let’s go with The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller because I’m getting desperate for a new book from her. And you can truly say that the public gave this book the attention and praise it deserved after BookTok decided to become obsessed with it. I’ll remind you that the book came out in 2011, waaaay before TikTok was a thing but the public refused to let it be forgotten.

4. ‘But Australia’s not in Europe?!’
A book by an Australian author that you love. (Feel free to add in any authors from Israel, Armenia and/or Azerbaijan if you have any you want to recommend!)

Non-European countries participating in Eurovision is actually not as uncommon as it probably should be (did you know Morocco participated once?), but I can accept Australia as European for a week each year.
I have not read many Australian authors but I did really love the book The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It’s very funny, very heart-warming, and follows a genetics professor with some form of autism as he embarks upon his Wife Project. It’s him taking a scientific approach to the task of finding a wife and it’s just funny and sweet.

5. Junior Eurovision
A book aimed at children or young adults that you really like.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. It’s Middle Grade and officially the book that has made the cry the hardest. I was completely wrecked and I will never reread it, but you all must read it at least once.

6. Hardback Hallelujah!
An author whose work you love so much that you would always go out and get their books in hardback.

The hardback part of the question isn’t really relevant to me because I prefer paperbacks and our bookstores here also primarily sell paperbacks. You can’t really “go out” and buy hardbacks, so I’m just going to mention an author whose books I always buy right as they come out, which would be Natasha Pulley. I literally own all her books and will continue to buy whatever she writes.

7. Fairytale
A book based on, or influenced by, myths and fairytales.

Not as in love with the Fairytale song as most people are but I do love books based on fairytales. A good example is The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski which is the first book in the Witcher series and also a short story collection. My favorite thing about it was how each story was a retelling of a fairytale or other folklore stories and I had a good time trying to identify each one as I read. There were some really interesting twists to some of them too. And just to clarify, I don’t recommend the Witcher series as a whole but this first book was alright.

8. 1944
An historical novel that you love.

Another song I wasn’t the biggest fan of but this does give me the opportunity to mention a recent favorite: I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys. It’s about Romania during the time of the fall of the Iron Curtain in Europe, and it’s truly fascinating. It’s incredibly educational while also getting introspective about what the Romanians felt at the time. Anybody with an interest in Eastern Europe should read this book.

9. Party For Everybody
A cheesy and/or funny book that always makes you laugh.

Funny books are rare for me so I have to choose one that doesn’t have much to do with cookie-baking grandmothers and that is Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. It’s a parody of Harry Potter but clearly done by someone who also loves the original. That’s where the cheesiness comes from. The laughter comes from the book making a bit of light fun out of plot holes and the general weirdness of the Harry Potter books, and it also comes from Simon who is very adorable but not always the brightest.

10. Euphoria
A book that just makes you feel good.

Most of my favorite books make me feel good but to mention one, I’m picking The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. It’s a book that’s filled with so many short imaginative stories that reading it feels like falling in love with reading and storytelling all over again. It’s pretty magical and I think it’s a book I’ll come back to a lot in the future.

11. Waterloo
A classic book that is still relevant now, and that you think will still be relevant for many years to come.

I’m not well-versed in classics but I think A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is appropriate here. Yes, it’s a Christmas book but it’s also a book about class and economic inequality and that’s not exactly a problem we’ve solved yet. It’s been adapted so many times and it’s hard to avoid during December so it’s definitely still relevant. Being reminded that you should be generous, not greedy, is not something I can imagine becoming irrelevant in the near future.

12. We love you, Europe!
A European author you think more people should check out (ideally an author who is less well-known).

Well, I can easily do European author but a less well-known one? My best choice would probably be Douglas Stuart who is Scottish. He has written two books so far (I think) and I’ve read one, Young Mungo. Both books showcase working-class families in Scotland and follow a queer main character, and in Young Mungo at least, it was so well done. I need to read his other book but I think he has the potential to become a new favorite author.

It feels so good to talk about Eurovision! Okay, maybe I’m also trying to distract myself from the disaster that was the second semi-final. Let’s just focus on the Final tonight because I really need my favorite to win this time! My top ten for the year is coming on Monday where you get all my Eurovision 2023 opinions so look out for that.

8 thoughts on “The Eurovision Book Tag

  1. Why am I not at all surprised that you decided to squeeze this tag in? 🀣 I definitely hope you have loads of fun watching the final tonight! Since I still need to come up with three different exams today (😭), I unfortunately won’t be joining you, but that just means I am even more excited for you tell me about what I missed out on on Monday!

    Anyway, while I may not agree that Piranesi is award-worthy, I’m totally with you on The Song of Achilles and A Monster Calls. I need more of Madeline Miller’s writing and can say from experience that A Monster Calls is just as wrecking on rereads. I cried the second time, too! πŸ˜…

    You’ve made me very intrigued about The Rosie Project and I Must Betray You, though. I Must Betray You was already on my radar, but you loving it has me itching to try it even more πŸ€— And I’d actually thought I’d skip the Rosie Project because it sounded like a stereotypical TikTok-romance book, but now that you’ve given me details, maybe I do need to check that out πŸ‘€

    But anyway – have fun watching Eurovision!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With A Monster Calls, I also think I’ve forgotten so many of the details that rereading it wouldn’t be that different from experiencing it for the first time again πŸ˜… So with your warning, I’m definitely not touching that again.

      I Must Betray You is my favorite Sepetys book so far and since I know you love her, I was definitely going to force you to read it 😁 It’s good to know you already want to πŸ˜„ And I’d say there’s nothing stereotypical about The Rosie Project! Not that I’ve read that much romance, but I can safely say I’ve never read anything like it. And I really don’t see it being a hit of TikTok either because I’m sure someone has called it problematic. I don’t think it is though.

      I’ll send some Eurovision-positivity your way tonight and I’m sorry you can’t watch it. By the way, there WILL come an answer to your very long (!) post but it’s going to take some time and I just promised you a top ten for Monday and that top ten doesn’t actually exist yet πŸ˜… I’m only slightly stressed about it πŸ™ˆ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess I’ll just have to succumb to the pressure and get myself a copy of I Must Betray You, then 😁 And you never having read anything like The Rosie Project also sounds way more convincing than it potentially being problematic – Isn’t almost every book these days? πŸ˜… – so that’s definitely going on the waiting list, too!

        And don’t worry about taking your time to reply! I am well aware of my post’s monstrous dimensions πŸ˜‚πŸ™ˆ Besides, if you take your time with that, maybe you won’t notice my upcoming absence as much? πŸ™ƒ Your slight stress over your non-existent Eurovision Top Ten is currently highly relatable because that’s basically exactly how I feel about work right now. (I swear, if one of my students is sick tomorrow and I have to create a make-up exam on top of everything else… 😭) So take as much time as you want and know that I also wouldn’t mind you breaking your promise and giving us that Top Ten later if it makes things easier! πŸ’™

        But I hope you had fun watching last night! Although I’m assuming you probably weren’t rooting for Sweden? πŸ˜…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I can’t wait for you to discuss this final’s results! I have so many thoughts, so much anger. But, for now, I’m happy you squeezed this tag in!

    The juries are indeed so very wrong sometimes (harsh reminder this year) and you are so right in pointing out that this is the case for books, too. I haven’t read Piranesi, but I’m of the same “loving books that are just one long WTF-moment (just like Eurovision)” mindset, so I’ll trust you on that.

    I got “hardback hallelujah” stuck in my head again πŸ˜‚ great. I will ignore the not being in love with Fairytale part and I’ll take your answer as a sign to give in and give at least this Witcher book a chance.

    You are so right about A Christmas Carol, it’s more than a Christmas book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So much anger…

      I’m glad to hear you’re with me on the WTF books πŸ˜„

      Sorry about hardback hallelujah πŸ˜‚ And I definitely don’t hate Fairytale and don’t mind that it won (minding that a song wins has gotten a whole new meaning).

      Liked by 1 person

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