Saturday, March 12, 2011

The 2011 Global Reading Challenge

Last year, respected book blogger and Danish author Dorte Jakobsen created the Global Reading Challenge, a terrific initiative that had dozens of book reviewers and bloggers from around the world stretching themselves reading-wise, by encouraging them to read far more broadly.

I signed up for the Expert Level (14 novels, 2 from each of seven continents, each by a different author and set in a different place, preferably new-to-you authors too) and completed that in early May 2010 (you can read my summary and reviews of each of the 14 novels here). Dorte then added a fourth, 'Extremist', level for those ultra-keen global readers amongst us.

Unfortunately I must confess to failing to achieve that level in the remaining eight months of 2010 - I read more than 70 crime novels over the course of last year, and completed several of the continents many times over, but fell one book short of the Extremist Level: I only read two novels from South America. I did read another novel or two that were partially set there, but for me it would kind of feel like I hadn't really earned the level if I included those (rather than a novel by a local author, translated) in order to complete the Extremist Level. To be honest once I'd achieved the Expert Level in early May I started directing my crime fiction attention elsewhere, like the many author interview features I wrote in the second part of 2010, and the organisation of the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel.

However, I am very pleased to say that following the success of the 2010 Global Reading Challenge, Dorte (with the assistance of Kerrie of Mysteries in Paradise fame) has brought back the GRC for 2011. Almost 100 people have already signed up, and the reading is well underway.

You can read about the challenge, the three levels (easy, medium, expert), and sign up for the 2011 Global Reading Challenge (I recommend it) here.

I have signed up, and will be aiming for Expert Level (which is the equivalent of Extremist from last year, with the adjustment being that the 'seventh continent' doesn't have to be Antarctica):

The Expert Challenge
Read three novels from each of these continents in the course of 2010:
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Australasia
  • Europe
  • North America
  • South America (please include Central America where it is most convenient for you)
  • The Seventh Continent
Select novels from twenty-one different countries or states if possible. (For Australasia, selecting a different state for your last book will be acceptable)
I will post some updates soon - I've already read 20+ crime novels in the past three months, set in several countries, including many 'new-to-me' authors, so I've made some good progress on several continents. Latin America will once again be my bugbear - it's the only continent I can't complete to the Expert Level solely from my TBR bookshelves at home. So it will be off to the library and bookstores I go...
Are you taking part in the 2011 Global Reading Challenge? What books have you read thusfar? Do you like to read globally? Are such challenges a good way to introduce yourself to authors and settings you might not otherwise have tried? What were your favourite books from last year's challenge?


  1. Craig - Thanks for making this post about the 2011 Global Reading Challenge. It really is a great way to find out about books you never knew of from places you might not think of. Glad you are participating in it!

  2. One book less than extremist? Still very well done. I don´t think there were more than four people who finished extremist level (Kerrie and Bernadette were two of them).

    Thank you for writing about the challenge, and it is always good to hear that people enjoy participating.

  3. Thanks Dorte, but I had finished expert before anyone else, and with two thirds of the year to go, so I did let things slide a little by not finishing the level you basically created because I finished so early, haha. Oh well, maybe this year.