Kitchen Cupboard Cleanout

Apologies, but this post is a bit of a ‘kitchen cabinet cleanout’.  That’s what we call it in my family when we have a bit of a pause to rethink and recalculate things. Necessary but evil admin, which probably will be of little interest to anyone but which is a useful reminder for myself.

We are more than halfway through the year: how are my reading challenges coming along?  Well, I’ve read 75 of my targeted 100 books, according to Goodreads, so I should be doing well.  But….  they are not necessarily the books I was planning to read for my Global Reading Challenge (Crime Fiction) and my Translation Challenge.

The Museum of Innocence
The Museum of Innocence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the latter, I have read a few (non-crime) books in translation, such as Pamuk’s ‘The Museum of Innocence’ and Kristina Carlson’s ‘Mr. Darwin’s Gardener’, but I haven’t had time to review them properly yet.  Still, it’s far less than I expected.  I have been reading an average of 1-2 books per month in French though, does that count?

For the Global Reading Challenge, I’ve had trouble with certain continents: Europe has been as forward as a middle-aged gossipy aunt, while South America has been rather coy.  I’ve revised my plans as follows:

1) In North America, I’ve exchanged the Arctic Circle of McGrath’s ‘White Heat’ for the swamps of Florida and Travis McGee (by John D. Macdonald).

Cover of "Havana Gold: The Havana Quartet...
Cover of Havana Gold: The Havana Quartet

2) I have found a book by Leonardo Padura at last, called Havana Gold, which will be my second Latin American contribution.

3) For Asia, I will move to Thailand and read ‘Bangkok 8’ by John Burdett.

4) For Australasia, I’ve had to give up on New Zealand and choose another Australian setting.  I’ve taken my own advice over at the Crime Fiction Lover website, and chosen a chirpy instalment in Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher series.

Portrait of Wilkie Collins. Paiting in the Nat...
Portrait of Wilkie Collins. Paiting in the National Portrait Gallery, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5) Finally, for my 7th continent challenge, i.e. a new venture outside my usual area of exploration, I will read a classic: Wilkie Collins’ ‘The Moonstone’, often celebrated as the world’s first detective story.

You will have noticed that I did not mention Africa.  That is because it is possibly my favourite continent and I am hoping to discover a real treasure there.  Unfortunately, few of the writers I had in mind are available on Kindle (and I cannot find them easily in other formats over here).  Any suggestions will be most gratefully received.  I have read crime fiction by South African writers or set in South Africa, so I would quite like something set somewhere else in Africa.  Anything in Kenya or Ghana or the Maghreb?

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9 thoughts on “Kitchen Cupboard Cleanout”

  1. Marina Sofia – I am impressed with the reading you’ve done so far even if it wasn’t what you planned. And anyway, sometimes our best reading comes from an unexpected book. As to Africa, if you are interested in Botswana, there’s Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. There is also the writing duo known as ‘Michael Stanley’ who does the CID Inspector David ‘Kubu’ Bengu series. I can recommend both.

    1. I’ve read quite a few of McCall Smith’s books about Precious Ramotswe – so I don’t think I can claim it as a ‘new discovery’ for the Global Reading Challenge. But I have just checked the Inspector Kubu series and am downloading one now. Thank you, as always, for your invaluable suggestions and tips, Margot!

  2. When I think of Africa and literature, two books come to mind: The Power of One by Bryce Courtney and Something of Value by Robert Ruark. I loved Alexander McCall Smith’s series mentioned above but it is lighter reading than these two.

    1. The Robert Ruark doesn’t seem to be available, but I will add The Power of One to my reading list – it looks very inspiring. Thank you, Patricia, you are also fantastically well read and eager to share!

  3. Hello Marina, I think you’ll love the Moonstone – Wilkie Collins is a fantastic author, brilliant crime writer, absoluteoly spellbinding. the Woman in white is another good one of his.

  4. very cool… i don’t have much time to read books at the moments…have two lying around that i started – and whenever i sit down to read, something happens that takes me away again… ha…enough complaining… that sounds really cool what you’re doing…hope you find something good for africa

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