It’s May! Almost the end of the first week of May to be exact.
It’s Eurovision month! 🎉And on this blog, we celebrate!
If you’ve been here for some time, you must know by now how much I love Eurovision. It is my favourite time of the year. We get new songs, meet new artists from so many countries, and witness the most brutal bloodless way Europe has invented to sort out our differences. It’s a party. It’s the European Hunger Games. It’s scheduled to unfold in all its glory next week. And it will take over this blog for a while.
We kick off the event with the Eurovision book tag that was created by Bob The Bookerer over on YouTube! Each question gives us the chance to talk not only about books but also about the contest and past iconic entries. Without further ado, let’s dive into it!
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!)
It’s hard to choose just one book, so I’ll choose an author, one of our most notable and most beloved in and out of the borders. Nikos Kazantzakis is considered a cornerstone of Greek modern literature. His most renowned works, Zorba the Greek, Christ Recrucified, Captain Michalis (also known as Freedom or Death), and The Last Temptation of Christ give an insight into both Greek culture and the daily lives of Greeks in post-WWII Greece. His novels have been translated into many languages and some of them have also been adapted for the screen, gaining critical acclaim. If you want to get to know Greece through literature, Kazantzakis is a must.
2. Jury Vote- A critically-acclaimed book that you love.
Ah, juries. The Eurofans’ mortal enemies. They almost always vote for the most “sophisticated”, radio-friendly or festival-type songs, they love ballads, and for some reason, they hate pure fun. In the book world, they’d be purists, classicists, those people who give you the most judgemental looks when you say you haven’t read a prominent classic novel. (We’re free of them in the semis this year!— fellow Europeans, do not let me down with your votes!)
It feels very fitting to choose such a classic book for this question.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is widely considered to be the Great American novel. If you ask me, it is indeed one of the finest pieces of American literature. Fitzgerald’s writing brings the Jazz Age to life and tells a quintessential tale about the fallacy of the “American dream”. It’s a story of disillusionment with dreams, with idealised versions of people we hold dear, and with the Jazz Age itself. The writing is simple to follow yet great in its craft. The scenes and the characters jump right off the page.
3. Public Vote- A best-selling and popular book that you love.
Before answering this I want to express my love for the public vote. Sometimes it lets me down too, but it has given us the most iconic moments ever, especially after they changed the way of presentation. Who can forget the very first “Germany, I’m sorry, from the public you get zero points”? Or that brutal moment when four countries got zero points in a row? Or the insane jumps Poland and Moldova did in 2016 and 2022 respectively, going from the bottom of the table right into the top ten when the public votes came in? I’m telling you, the public’s taste is immaculate.
Speaking of immaculate taste, the book community was so in the right when they made Daisy Jones & the Six extremely popular. There’s a reason why this book is a best-seller and it’s not only because it was recently adapted into a TV show. I really loved it when I first read it and I catch myself loving it more the more I think about it. In case you don’t know, the book follows the members of a rock ‘n’ roll band, the biggest in the world for a few moons, many years later as they recall the circumstances that brought them together and the events that drove them apart. I plan to write a full review soon, but for now, I’ll say that the characters are all very real and the book feels like reading a real band’s biopic, which I love.
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!)
Australia being in Eurovision will never stop being funny to me. But, we need to draw the line there— no one else gets to join that hasn’t participated in the past. Israel, on the other hand, should be kindly asked to leave until they leave Palestine alone. Armenia can stay forever, Azerbaijan is on thin ice.
As for Australian authors, I thought I hadn’t read any, but my trusted friend Google tells me that Markus Zusak is Australian. The Book Thief it is, then! This book put me through the entire range of human emotions. Being narrated by Death personified, it is one of the most intriguing books I’ve ever read. It’s sad, very sad, depressing even. But, there’s also some kind of comfort to be found in its pages. After all, it’s about books and human connection in the ugliest situations possible under the shadow of war.
5. Junior Eurovision- A book aimed at children or young adults that you really like.
I’ll admit that I know nothing about Junior Eurovision, except for the fact that it exists. They used to show it on TV when I was little, but it’s been ages since they stopped broadcasting it for whatever reason and I don’t watch it anymore. So, I have nothing to say about it. I just hope the kids have fun every year!
As for the book, I’ll go with one of my favourite children’s books: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. I don’t know exactly why, but the story of the lost boy that refuses to grow up has resonated with me ever since I was very little. To this day, I still cry whenever I read it or watch any of its adaptations. I’m talking full-on sobbing sessions. It has such a tight grip on my heart, I can’t explain it.
6. Hardback Hallelujah!- An author whose work you love so much that you would always go out and get their books in hardback.
I don’t really do that. I don’t care if my books are in hardback or paperback. But, I do have an almost complete collection of Jane Austen’s work in hardback and she is one of my favourite authors. That answers the question I guess.
Now let’s talk about “Hardback Hallelujah!”. This phrase will be forever stuck with me from now on. I’m afraid I’ll never be normal inside a bookstore again. I’ll be seeing hardbacks and I’ll have to struggle to keep myself from singing “Hard Rock Hallelujah!” (the most iconic Eurovision entry ever) with alternate bookish lyrics.
7. Fairytale- A book based on, or influenced by myths and fairytales.
First of all, Fairytale changed my life. I am 100% sure that seeing Alexander Rybak’s performance on the night of the Grand Final altered eleven-year-old me’s brain chemistry. I still have a crush on him, it resurfaces every Eurovision season, I can’t help it.
To answer the question, I’ll choose Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Uprooted is a book heavily inspired by Eastern European fairytales. It tells the story of a young girl who is chosen by a wizard to serve him in exchange for peace in her village. The writing is beautiful and the world the author has created is mesmerising. There’s magic in every page. Reading it feels like reading fairytales again for the first time in a long time.
8. 1944- An historical novel that you love.
If you are not in a good place mentally, I suggest you don’t listen to this song. Ukraine’s 2016 winner is heartbreaking and terrifying at the same time since it talks about the horrors of war. Unfortunately, the people of the country have been forced to live through similar horrible conditions again, which makes the song even more painful now.
Keeping the theme of suffering in war, I’ll choose for this question a book about which I’ve talked before on this blog quite a few times. The Baker’s Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan is set in a small town on the Normandy coast at the time of the landings. It follows the young baker of the village and, through her, the rest of the villagers who find strength and innovative ways to fight back against the Nazis, while suffering the horrors and the worries of the war. It is a beautifully written novel, the characters feel tangible and the reader can’t help but sympathise and root for them.
9. Party For Everybody- A cheesy and/or funny book that always makes you laugh.
The Babushki!! The most wholesome entry to ever grace the Eurovision stage. In 2012, during the Eurovision week, all Europeans adopted a new set of bread-baking grandmas. And yeah, objectively they were a little funny, but watching them sing you couldn’t help but smile! They were adorable! And they had cookies!
To answer the question, I think the funniest book I’ve read so far in my life was The Martian by Andy Weir. As you may know, the book follows the story of an astronaut that gets stranded on Mars and has to come up with ways to survive. You’d think by this description that the book would be dark and heavy, but no. There is so much humour in its pages, so many jokes that give the main character a charming personality. It’s so well done that it doesn’t become ridiculous and there is balance in the tone of the narrative.
10. Euphoria- A book that just makes you feel good.
Confession: I’m probably the only person that didn’t like Euphoria back in 2012. I understand why it won, but there’s something about it that I find really annoying (yes, it still hasn’t grown on me). I wanted Turkey to win that year, but I’ll admit that compared to the entries Sweden has been sending lately, Euphoria is an oasis. And I know that Loreen is back this year, so I’m very curious if I’ll enjoy this song of hers.
Anyway, a book that never fails to bring me euphoria (ha ha) is, you guessed it, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. My go-to comfort read, a book that has me giggling and kicking my feet like a schoolgirl in a teen movie no matter how many times I read it. It has wit, humour, romance, and enough drama to fuel a whole season of midday trash Greek TV. It warms my heart just thinking about it.
11. Waterloo- A classic book that is still relevant now, and that you think will still be relevant for many years to come.
WATERLOO! I WAS DEFEATED, YOU WON THE WAR– me, when a song I don’t like wins Eurovision
The definition of iconic. The definition of transcending the contest. The definition of blowing up. Sometimes it’s crazy to think that Abba wouldn’t be that huge worldwide if it weren’t for our silly little continental contest.
A classic book that has similarly taken the world by storm in many forms is Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and I truly believe that it will always be relevant no matter how many decades pass. The world is always in such a state that Hugo’s tale of injustice, heroism and love will always find ways to resonate with the people. The world is filled with Valjeans and Javerts, groups of university students that want to fight for change, romantic young souls and, unfortunately, cunning bastards and corrupt people who care about nothing but themselves. Hugo’s characters are not characters of his era, but characters of all eras— they’re us, they’re our leaders, they’re our next-door neighbours. And their stories will always be relevant.
12. We love you, Europe!- A European author you think more people should check out (ideally an author who is less well-known).
This is a shame and definitely something I need to work on, but no less well-known European authors come to mind. So, I’ll keep the Swedish spirit of the past two questions and once again ask you all to read Fredrik Backman. I know he is fairly popular, but I will not rest until I have bullied everyone I know into reading at least one of his books. I have only read two of his novels so far— My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry and Britt-Marie Was Here— and they became instant favourites of mine. I love the way he crafts characters, they are so real and so relatable, and his writing style truly elevates them. I will certainly pick up more of his novels as soon as possible.
I wasn’t tagged to do this so I’m not tagging anyone either, but feel free to say I tagged you if you want to take this tag for a ride.
My fellow Europeans, are we excited for next week or what? Feel free to join me in the celebrations!
I hope you enjoyed reading this tag as much as I enjoyed answering it. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my answers and your own takes on the questions!
8 thoughts on “The Eurovision Book Tag”
I see two of my favorite books on there: Les Misérables and Uprooted
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They’re two of my favourites too! Thanks for reading!
THERE’S A EUROVISION TAG?? How did I not know this? I feel like such a fake fan now 🙈 Anyway, I obviously got so excited just from seeing the title of this post! 😍😍
Oh your rant on juries 😂 They definitely hate fun and it makes no sense. Now that they’re absent in the semis, not a single ballad should make it through but they probably will. I’m actually really curious to see what effect it’ll have.
Your opinion’s about those non-European countries participating? I couldn’t agree more. When has Israel ever made sense? Australia keeps bringing quality and clearly “get” Eurovision so I don’t mind them there. And it also surprised me when I found out that Markus Zusak was Australian 😅
I’m glad I’m not the only one who has no clue about Junior Eurovision. I think we participated a year or two back when it started but then we stopped and I have heard nothing about it since. And after reading your Peter Pan answer, I feel like I must have triggered you the other day when I claimed he was a villain 😅 I’m sorry! I do really like him too even if the book wasn’t so much for me. The movie from 2003 is still in my top 3 movies of all time though, if that helps 😄
Hardback hallelujah started playing in my head the second I read those words 🙈 😂
I read The Baker’s Secret on your recommendation and really liked it, especially the characters. And I think it’s a great choice for that prompt!
AND you’ve successfully bullied me into reading Backman because I started Britt-Marie Was Here today. The second-hand embarrassment is extreme but I’m having a good time so far 😄
I’m so incredibly excited for next week! We’re almost there! And Eurovision taking over your blog for a while? I’m so here for that! 😍
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I knew you’d understand and get equally excited for Eurovision taking over! I can’t wait to discuss everything after the Grand Final!
I only found out about this tag because I went purposefully looking for it, so we can’t really call you a fake fan here. Besides, now you know 😉 No pressure, but you have to do it too sometime!
If the results of the semis end up actually being worse without the juries, let’s agree to pretend that this little rant of mine never happened.
You definitely got in my head when you claimed Peter Pan was a villain. I’ve been randomly thinking about it very often since 😂 I love the 2003 movie, I have such good memories with it!
We have to find someone with musical talent to actually write a full Hardback Hallelujah song. It will do great on the book community charts.
I’m so glad you liked the Baker’s Secret and are enjoying Britt-Marie. I’m always a bit nervous when people read books I recommended because I don’t know how to react if they don’t like them 🙈
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It’s just that this is going to be the third year I make content about Eurovision and I hadn’t even thought to look for a tag about it 🙈 And you’re right, I have to do it! I only post once a week but maybe I actually need to make an extra one for next week.
And I do hope you’re right about the result of the semis. I’m just really worried we won’t make the final again, although our song definitely isn’t a ballad.
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You included so many great books in this that I’ll forgive you for liking The Great Gatsby – one of the worst books I was ever forced to read in school 😅 – and calling Germany out for its unsalvageably horrific music choices! 🤣 Like, you obviously already know that I adore Daisy Jones & The Six, anything by Jane Austen (except for Mansfield Park, perhaps 🙄), and Fredrik Backman – Gosh, Nefeli, you need to read Beartown! It absolutely destroyed me more than any of his other books and I think you’ll love the sports content! 😭🏒 – but I got even more excited to see The Martian mentioned! I’d honestly forgotten you’d read it (🙈), so hearing you gush about it just reminded me of how much I also love gushing about it! 🥰🤗
And you got me to read The Baker’s Secret, too! I wasn’t blown away by it, but I did really love the atmosphere and the characters, so here’s a belated thank you!!
As for Eurovision, I guess I’ll have to watch a little bit to be in the know? Even though my current workload is so crazy that I’m not sure how to do it, you and Line are definitely slowly starting to convert me! 🤣
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In my defence, I spent way too much time studying The Great Gatsby and writing papers on it, we were bound to fall in love 😂 And I love Germany’s Eurovision choices! Their battle for last place with the UK is one of the highlights every year! I KNOW I need to read Beartown, and Anxious People, and everything else, I promise I’ll do it soon! I may not talk about The Martian much, but I had such a great time reading it I look back on it very fondly.
Aw, thanks for taking a chance on my recommendation! I’m glad you enjoyed it!
As for Eurovision, you have to give it a chance, it’s such great fun! You can start by catching the Grand Final next Saturday if you don’t have time for the semis and if you like it, you can work backwards to get to know previous years’ lore and entries. It’s easier that way!
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