Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010 Global Reading Challenge

Those of you who are regulars on the FriendFeed Crime and Mystery Fiction group will be aware that fellow crime fiction enthusiast and blogger Dorte Jakobsen of Denmark-based DJ's Krimiblog has started a 2010 Global Reading Challenge, which encourages participants to read from a wide variety of countries in the coming year.

In short, participants sign up on the website - here - and then attempt one of three levels of reading challenge over the next 12 months;

  • Easy Challenge: read one novel from each of six continents (Africa, Asia, North/Central America, South America, Europe, Australasia) in 2010 - trying to find novels/countries/authors that are new to the reader;
  • Medium Challenge: read two novels from each of the six continents, trying to read and review novels from 12 different countries if possible; and
  • Expert Challenge: as above, plus two novels set in Antarctica - and try for novels from 14 different countries/states (assuming the two Antarctica-set novels aren't actually written by people based there, I guess).
After they've read a book, participants make a comment on their own blogs (if they have one), which they can link on the main 2010 Global Reading Challenge website, under the applicable continent. That way a large database of reviews of (crime) novels from all around the globe will also be built up by participant, which will be very interesting.
To me this seems like a great way for keen crime fiction fans (as well as readers of other genres) to challenge themselves and expand their reading horizons over the course of the year. I would of course hope that any blog readers will find some space for some Kiwi crime fiction in amongst their 2010 reading - and I'm happy to give advice on appropriate books etc, if you'd care to ask.
I will of course be joining in the challenge, which is being administered by Dorte and fellow antipodean crime fiction blogger Kerrie of Mysteries in Paradise (who is also running the Crime Fiction Alphabet meme), and adding my reviews of global crime fiction to the Crime Watch blog over the coming weeks and months.
I've had a good start, reading German-set and Ancient Egypt-set crime novels already this year, and being part-way through a Thailand-set thriller now. I already have another African (Botswana)-written and set novel, and more Asian, Egyptian and non-UK European crime novels near the top of my TBR pile, so things are looking good already. South America and Antarctica will be the real challenges for me - in terms of sourcing good crime novels.
What do you think of the challenge? Is it something you are participating in already, or might be interested in participating in? What do you think about reading novels from a wide variety of countries? How important do you think it is to continually expose yourself to new authors etc, along with reading 'old favourites'? How many new authors did you try last year? Thoughts and comments welcome.


  1. Craig - I'm so glad you're participating in the challenge. I am, too, although I must admit I'm going Easy on myself :). I look forward to exploring new books and finding out about the ones others read.

  2. Thanks a lot for this very enthusiastic post!

    It should be added, though, that I came up with the idea in December, because I had just read a most inspiring post on your blog, Craig :D

  3. I'm in.

    I'll probably not concentrate solely on crime fiction though. I belong to several book discussion groups--both online and f/t/f--so I won't draw up a list at this point. I'll see what happens in the groups, and maybe this summer I'll see what I'm missing and what lies ahead with the groups.

  4. This is a great idea. I don't have a blog but would like to participate anyway. And if you're looking for a good crime novel set in Antarctica try In Cold Pursuit by Sarah Andrews.

  5. I've signed up for the 'Easy' challenge and have posted my review of Engleby by Sebastian Faulks on the Europe question. My 'Australian' book will be a New Zealand title though, I've got Burial by Neil Cross on the bedside table. (I see he has been classed as European by one reviewer) I'm reading new authors for me each time to make the most of the challenge part of challenge.

    I'll have to hunt down In Cold Pursuit, Imelda - that sounds good.

  6. Thanks for the recommendation Imelda; I'll keep an eye out for IN COLD PURSUIT. I'm sure you can participate even without a blog - you could just post reviews directly into the comments section of each continent post on the site, rather than linking your own blog post.

  7. I've upped my mystery/thriller reading this summer and the selection has become rather US biassed due to an admiration for Sara Paretsky so I need to broaden out. Good challenge. wouldn't it be good to use Library Thing as well?

  8. Whenever I travel, I search out a crime novel by a local author. On a trip to Iceland a few years ago, I discovered the Icelandic author, Arnaldur Indridason.
    So far, I've read'Hypothermia', 'Arctic Chill' and 'The Draining Lake' - all recommended.

  9. I read _Jar City_, by Indridason, and also quite good.