Wednesday, May 11, 2011

2011 Global Reading Challenge: An Update

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 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. By early March almost 100 people had already signed up, and now that we are over a third of the way through the year, the reading is well and truly 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 have already read more than 30 crime novels this year, and I'm now 15/21 done in terms of the different countries/areas/regions needed for the 2011 Global Reading Challenge. I have completed four of the seven continents, and have 1, 2 and 3 books remaining for each of the other three continents. Except for my final Africa-set books, I've already sourced/chosen my remaining books to complete the challenge.

Here's my 2011 Global Reading Challenge line-up thusfar:


  1. MIXED BLOOD by Roger Smith (South Africa)

  2. tbc

  3. tbc


  1. BANGKOK HAUNTS by John Burdett (Thailand)

  2. PHNOM PENH EXPRESS by Johan Smits (Cambodia)

  3. PAYBACK by Simon Kernick (Philippines)

  1. THE CRIME OF HUEY DUNSTAN by James McNeish (New Zealand)

  2. FOLLOW THE MONEY by Peter Corris (Sydney, Australia)

  3. FRIENDLY FIRE by Michael Wall (Wellington, New Zealand)

Also read: A POLITICAL AFFAIR by Andrew Porteous (Dunedin, New Zealand), BOUND by Vanda Symon (Dunedin, New Zealand), SMILING JACK by Ken Catran (New Zealand)


  1. BORDERLANDS by Brian McGilloway (Northern Ireland/Ireland)

  2. SHADOW SISTER by Simone van der Vlugt (The Netherlands)

  3. THE TROUBLED MAN by Henning Mankell (Sweden)

    Also read: SHATTER THE BONES by Stuart MacBride (Scotland)

    North America

    1. HOLLYWOOD HILLS by Joseph Wambaugh (Los Angeles, USA)

    2. STILL MISSING by Chevy Stevens (Vancouver Island, Canada)

    3. IN PLAIN SIGHT by CJ Box (Wyoming, USA)

    Also read: LAST CAR FROM ELYSIAN FIELDS by James Lee Burke (Louisiana, USA), THE TIN-ROOF BLOWDOWN by James Lee Burke (Louisiana, USA), BURIED ALIVE by Jack Kerley (Kentucky, USA), CITY OF BONES by Michael Connelly (Los Angeles, USA), THE FIFTH WITNESS by Michael Connelly (Los Angeles, USA), BLACK WATER by T. Jefferson Parker (Orange County, USA), DROP SHOT by Harlan Coben (New York, USA), THE PROMISED LAND by David Hewson (USA), THE SENTRY by Robert Crais (Los Angeles, USA), THE EXECUTIONER by Jay Bennett (USA), YOU’RE NEXT by Gregg Hurwitz (California, USA), LIVE WIRE by Harlan Coben (Northeast USA), LOVE YOU MORE by Lisa Gardner (Massachusetts, USA)

    Latin America (South and Central America)

    1. HAVANA GOLD by Leonardo Padura (Cuba) - TBR

    2. EVERY BITTER THING by Leighton Gage (Brazil) - TBR

    3. THE BOOK OF MURDER by Guillermo Martinez (Argentina) - TBR

    The Seventh Continent

    For this final continent, I have chosen 'history', specifically crime novels written in modern times but set in historic times (ie this won't include the likes of Ngaio Marsh, Agatha Christie, or Conan Doyle, who wrote about their contemporary times, but whose work is now 'historic' or 'period' in nature). I've decided (on something of a whim) that since New Zealand was founded in 1840, I would focus on crime novels set prior to that date.
    1. THE JANISSARY TREE by Jason Goodwin (1830s Turkey)
    2. THE ATHENIAN MURDERS by Jose Carlos Somoza (Ancient Greece)
    3. SHARK ISLAND by Joan Druett (1830s Pacific Ocean sea voyage) - TBR

    So I have three South American, two African, and one historic novel left to complete the expert level of the 2011 Global Reading Challenge.

    Are you participating in the 2011 Global Reading Challenge? Do you enjoy reading crime novels from a wide variety of countries/settings? What are some of your favourite recent non-UK/US reads? Comments welcome.


    1. Craig - You are doing so well on this challenge! My pace hasn't been what I wish it was, but I do enjoy reading crime novels from all over the world. I think it gives one a better perspective on the genre.

    2. Sounds like a really cool challenge Craig, Mixed Blood definitely has my vote.

    3. Very good list. Do you rate the books or review all of them? It would be good to see this.

    4. I LOVE this challenge! I'll definitely partake this year.

      I'm going to tweak it a bit though... I'm far more familiar with North American authors than those of any other continent, so I may swap some. I just finished Breeders by Barney Rostaing (he's from Northeast USA), so I'm counting that as one of mine. Incidentally, it was a great book.

      Thanks for the round-up!