book blogger Dorte Jakobsen back in 2010. More than 100 book bloggers from around the world participated.
Dorte, who isn't blogging as much nowadays as she has now gone on to write several of her own mystery stories, created the Global Reading Challenge to encourage fellow book enthusiasts to read more widely, reading books written by authors from, and set in, a range of countries and regions.
I was a keen participant in the first two Global Reading Challenges in 2010 and 2011; in fact my keenness in the first challenge led to the creation of a new level (the extremist), which later became the new threshold for the expert level. Unfortunately I didn't end up participating in later challenges, although I have continued to read widely, trying new authors and new settings as much as I could as I went about being a crime fiction reviewer, and generally keen reader personally, while travelling a lot and working in several countries the past few years.
As I'm now semi-settled, and have more of a reading focus again in 2015, I'm stoked to sign up for the 2015 Global Reading Challenge (see official page here). Since Dorte created the challenge in 2010, I've seen similar challenges spring up everywhere, from library websites, to various reading groups. Nowadays some of the crime fiction bloggers I had the most to do with back then (it wasn't just crime bloggers doing the original challenge) seem to congregate on a new website created by Kerrie Smith of Mysteries in Paradise, who helped Dorte with the initial challenges and has taken up the website baton.
Participants in the Global Reading Challenge choose a level to aim for (easy, medium, expert), which equates to one, two, or three books from each of seven continents for the year (so 7, 14, or 21 books from different places). Where you choose medium or expert, the books should be from different countries/states in the continent. So the idea is to broaden our reading, in authors and settings, as much as possible.
The Seven Continents are: Australasia/Oceania, Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America (or Latin America), and the Seventh Continent. The latter could either be Antarctica, or you can choose your own Seventh Continent (eg historical mysteries, sci-fi thrillers, space, etc). At the official page, there are then pages for each continent where you can link to the books you've read for the challenge. It's a terrific challenge, and if you're a keen reader who might be interested, feel free to join me by signing up here.
I'm signing up for the Expert Level (21 books from 7 different continents, and 21 countries/regions). I haven't settled on my Seventh Continent yet, but am mulling historic mysteries that were written at their time (eg not set in the past as much as written in the past but set in the author's present, eg pre-1950s Ngaio Marsh, Agatha Christie, Fergus Hume, Conan Doyle, Wilkie Collins etc). Or I may come up with something else.
What do you think about the global reading challenge? Do you intentionally try to read widely? Have you read books from all six or seven continents in your lifetime? Do you read beyond UK and US authors and settings? Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section