Monday, May 17, 2010

2010 Global Reading Challenge: Extremist Level

Following my completion of the 'Expert' Level of the 2010 Global Reading Challenge, a web-based initiative sparked by fellow crime fiction enthusiast and blogger Dorte Jakobsen of Denmark-based DJ's Krimiblog, and a few playful comments about adding another, higher, level, Dorte obliged by creating the "Extremist Level".

The aim of the 2010 Global Reading Challenge is to encourage participants to read books from (or set in) a wide variety of countries, in the coming year. Participants sign up on the website - here - and then attempt one of three (now four) levels of reading challenge over the 12 months of 2010:
  • 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 (14 books)
  • Extremist Challenge: three novels from each of the six main continents, two novels which are set in Antarctica, and one 'wildcard' - a novel from a place or period that is NEW to you (21 books).
And as Dorte has said, "If you are really an extreme reader, you will do your best to read novels from 21 different countries or states".
After a little breather, and reading a few non-challenge books, I'm now back into the swing of 2010 Global Reading Challenge things, with the Extremist Challenge in my sights. My personal requirements also include to read only crime or thriller fiction books, preferably from completely new to me authors. I also want to include a few translated books. My selections at this point include the following books (the ones I’ve already read are marked as such):

  1. A DEADLY TRADE by Michael Stanley (Botswana) - read
  2. THE ANUBIS SLAYINGS by PC Doherty (Ancient Egypt) - read
  3. LIKE CLOCKWORK by Maggie Orford (South Africa) - TBR
  1. A BALI CONSPIRACY MOST FOUL by Shamini Flint (Indonesia) - read
  2. BANGKOK EIGHT by John Burdett (Thailand) - read
  3. TBC (see comment below)
My third Asian book is likely to be either THE GIGOLO MURDERS by Mehmet Murat Somer (Turkey - if Turkey counts as Asia in this challenge), THE CASE OF THE MISSING SERVANT by Tarquin Hall (India), or PLAYING FOR THRILLS by Wang Shuo (China), as I have all three of these on my bookshelf at home. I have further books by Flint and Burdett too, as I enjoyed both their novels, but I want to include three different authors and countries.
  1. A MURDER OR THREE by Laurie Mantell (Wellington, New Zealand) - read
  2. BLACK ICE by Leah Giarratano (Sydney, Australia) - read
  3. BLEED FOR ME by Michael Robotham (Australian author, set in UK) - read*
*I have already read several other books by Australian and Kiwi authors this year, including Paddy Richardson, Paul Cleave, and Neil Cross, amongst others. However I may still decide to read another author, in order to get an even more diverse trio of authors/settings - e.g. perhaps George C. Muller's ECHOES IN THE BLUE - a Kiwi author's eco-thriller set in the Southern Ocean in amongst Japan's questionable whaling practices.
  1. THE BLACK MONASTERY by Stav Sherez (Greece) - read
  2. SELF's MURDER by Bernhard Schlink (Germany) - read
  3. ANGELS IN ARMS by Mike Ripley (England and Brittany) - read
North America:
  1. NEVER WALK AWAY by Linwood Barclay (Canada) - read*
  2. A THIEF OF TIME by Tony Hillerman (Arizona, USA) - read
  3. 61 HOURS by Lee Child (South Dakota, USA) - read*
* I may replace either or both of these books in due course - the Barclay one because I had previously read his work before this challenge, and although he is a Canadian author he doesn't blatantly set his books in Canada, and the Child one because although he is new-to-me in 2010, I might want to really stretch myself and find a book by a Cuban or Mexican author, set in those places.
South America:
  1. SOUTHWESTERLY WIND by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza (Brazil) - read
  2. AMERICAN VISA by Juan de Recacoechea (Bolivia) - read
  3. TBC (see below)
I still need to find one more South American crime/thriller title. I've heard good things about Leighton Gage, but ideally I will find a third country. I like Jose Ignacio Escribano's selections of RED APRIL by Santiago Roncagliolo (Peru) and THURSDAY NIGHT WIDOW'S by Claudia PiƱeiro (Argentina), especially as I have spent time in both those countries. So I will see if I can source something like that.
  1. ICE STATION by Matthew Reilly (Australian author) - read
  2. WHITE FOR DANGER by David Stevens (NZ author) - read
  1. A WATERY GRAVE by Joan Druett (an 1800s murder mystery on colonial era sailing ships, set in the waters off USA/Central and South America) - read
I like this final choice, as it is an historical mystery (something I don't read much of), from a new-to-me author (I have several of Druett's books, but this is the first I read), and is largely set somewhere that is kind of a wild card in itself (the high seas, rather than a particular country). Plus it's a Kiwi author, so that seems appropriate too.
So overall I have read 18 of the 21 books for the Extremist level (just another Africa, Asia, and South America to go). However I may replace an Australasian and one or two of the North American books, to give me an even more diverse, and totally new-authors-to-me 'final 21' books. In terms of sourcing books, I just need to get my hands on another South American title. There are plenty of choices on my bookshelf for the others (although another Canadian new-to-me author wouldn't hurt, as most of the unread Canadian fiction on my bookshelf is from the likes of William Deverell, Linwood Barclay, and Peter Robinson - all of whom I'd read pre-2010).
What do you think?


  1. You could also conclude you have finished expert level and start all over as an extremist ;)

    I really like your wildcard! Elegant choice.

  2. Craig - What a list of fine books! I agree with Dorte, too; you've chosen an excellent choice for your wildcard. I am impressed!

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