I’ve been doing a bit of research for the two reading challenges I am planning to complete this year: the Global Reading Challenge (dedicated to crime fiction) and the Translation Challenge (any kind of literature). Along the way, I have been inspired by such wonderful bloggers and review website such as: Fair Dinkum Crime, Mysteries in Paradise, Pulp Curry, Margot Kinberg, Mrs. Peabody Investigates, Savidge Reads, Crime Fiction Lover (OK, I review for them too, but I learn so much from the other reviewers there), Rhian Davies, Stuck in a Book, and Smithereens. And of course, the incredibly prolific reader and private investigator of world literature, Ann Morgan of A Year of Reading the World. Too many others to list here, but I will do so as I read each novel they recommended, and link to their reviews as well.
Of course, as we say in Romania, sums at home don’t match your sums in the market-place. In other words, what I plan and what I actually end up doing may be quite different things. I may not find these books easily in my rural, non-English-speaking community. And I can’t possibly buy them all. So there may be some last-minute changes to reflect the quirks of the local libraries.
Anyway, here is my list for the Global Reading Challenge – medium level (2 from each continent):
Jean-Claude Izzo: The Marseille Trilogy – a city I have never visited before, either physically or through books
Alfred Komarek: Inspector Polt series – I have yet to read crime fiction by an Austrian author, despite my love of all things Viennese. Change of plan here, as I have heard very good things about the Lemming series by Stefan Slupetzky, also set in Vienna.
For Australia/New Zealand:
P.C. Laird: The Shadow World (NZ)
Sulari Gentill: A Few Right-Thinking Men (AUS) Have been unable to find this, so opted instead for Arthur W. Upfield and his Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series.
For North America:
M.J. McGrath: White Heat (Canada)
Penny Louise: Armand Gamache (a name which always reminds me of a dessert – chocolate ganache) – Quebec
Natsuki Shizuko: Murder at Mt. Fuji (Japan) I had no luck finding this, but was fortunately sent a book to review by a Japanese thriller writer who is obsessed with Spain and flamenco guitars. So I read ‘The Red Star of Cadiz‘ by Ōsaka Gō, to be reviewed on Crime Fiction Lover website.
Martin Limon: Jade Lady Burning (South Korea) Yet another change to the planned schedule, as I got to hear and meet John Burdett, so I want to read his crime novels set in Bangkok.
Andrew Brown: Coldsleep Lullaby (South Africa)
Deon Meyer: Thirteen Hours (South Africa)
For Central/ South America:
Leonardo Padura Fuentes: Havana Red (Cuba)
Garcia Roza: Silence of the Rain (Brazil)
Seventh Continent (a new territory, outside our comfort zone):
Ben H. Winters: The Last Policeman (sci-fi)
Elizabeth Kostova: The Historian (historical, paranormal)
I am a little bit worried, for instance, that for all of that magnificent continent of Africa, I ended up with two South African writers. So if you can recommend anybody else, from another African country, that would be wonderful. Any other suggestions or comments on my choices would also be appreciated.
Finally, for the translation challenge, there is no set number, but I would like to aim for between 5-10 of these. Some of them are still crime fiction (am I cheating a little here?), but others are in more varied genres. This is a live, changing list, so feel free to make further recommendations. For instance, it’s a little light on feminine voices, so I may make up by reading lots of English-speaking women writers instead.
The Late-Night News – Liquidations à la grecque
Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
Mario Vargas-Llosa: Who Killed Palomino Molero?
Bohumil Hrabal: Too Loud a Solitude
Orhan Pamuk: The Museum of Innocence
Diego Marani: New Finnish Grammar
Roland Topor: The Tenant
Miyabe Miyuki: All She Was Worth
Stanislaw Lem: Solaris
I promise to post reviews along the way. And of course, I will have the usual books to review and books written or recommended by friends, plus lots of English writers to enjoy. I wonder how many I will get to read this year? 52 would be a good place to start, one for each week of the year.