As the year comes to a close, I realized I hadn’t completed the 2010 Global Reading Challenge. I chose the medium challenge, which was to read two books from six continents. Here’s what I ended up reading (as near as I can tell – my record keeping wasn’t always consistent).
Jassy McKenzie – Random Violence (South Africa)
Malla Nunn – A Beautiful Place to Die (South Africa)
—Out of that huge continent, I only read books from one country. I should venture out more.
Tarquin Hall – The Case of the Missing Servant (India)
Christopher Moore – Asia Hand (Thailand)
Timothy Hallinan – The Fourth Watcher, Breathing Water, The Queen of Patpong (Thailand)
—Well, two countries – a bit better.
Peter Temple – Truth (Australia)
Garry Disher – Blood Moon (Australia)
Adrian Hyland – Gunshot Road (Australia)
—About time I read a New Zealand author, eh?
Louise Welsh – Naming the Bones (Scotland)
Mark Billingham – Bloodlines (England)
Harri Nykanen – Raid and the Blackest Sheep (Finland)
Arnaldur Indridason – Hypothermia (Iceland)
Anders Roslund and Borge Helstrom – Three Seconds (Sweden)
Martin Cruz Smith – Three Stations (Russia)
Jo Nesbo – The Snowman (Norway)
Ake Edwardson – The Shadow Woman (Sweden)
Hennikng Mankell – The Man From Beijing (Sweden, China, US, Africa – does this one book count for four continents?)
John Harvey – Far Cry (England)
Nicci French – The Other Side of the Door (England)
Barry Maitland – Dark Mirror (England)
Jarkko Sipila – Vengeance (Finland)
Tana French – Faithful Place (Ireland)
Stieg Larsson – The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest (Sweden)
Johan Theorin – The Darkest Room (Sweden)
Yrsa Sigurdardottir – Last Rituals (Iceland)
—Better read something Danish next … and perhaps French and German and Italian and Spanish and .,.
North America (incl Central America)
John McFetridge – Let it Ride (Canada)
Brent Pilkey – Lethal Rage (Canada)
—Plus more books set in the US that I care to list. Oddly enough, none were set in the Northwest (or Alaska, or Hawaii).
Claudia Piniero – The Thursday Night Widows (Argentina)
Leighton Gage – Dying Gasp (Brazil)
—The Piniero I read just now expressly to wrap up the challenge, and I’m glad I did though of all the books I read, it has the least “foreign” feel; it’s set in a gated community that is a weird clone of any gated community in the United States full of new, ostentatious and highly-mortgaged houses. Yet it’s part of recent Argentinian culture. Fascinating, if depressing.
There are lots of intriguing reading challenges for 2011, but I think I’ll stick to reading mostly what I feel like and see if, at the end of the year, where I’ve been. I do appreciate those who participate in challenges, though, because their reviews become tempting destinations.
Another challenge I hope all avid readers will consider if they are in a position to do so is shopping at independent bookstores. Businesses like Uncle Edgar’s and Once Upon a Crime (my local mystery bookstores) do so much for the genre I love that I want to keep them around. Independent bookstores often offer discounts and free shipping, so don’t assume you’ll get a better deal online or at a chain; they’ll also take orders online or by phone, so it’s as convenient as buying online. They offer passion and knowledge that is hard to match anywhere as well as a community hub for book lovers. They’re worth preserving and the decisions we make when we buy books matter.