2013 Global Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

2013GRC_expertI’m happy to have completed the expert level of the 2013 Global Reading Challenge: it was a challenging challenge, and I discovered some great books along the way. I read three books from each continent, and my wild card continent (to substitute for Antarctica) was for books that take place in more than one country. Without further ado, here is the list of books I reviewed for the challenge:

North America

  1. The Power of Three by Laura Lippman (Maryland)
  2. A Cold and Lonely Place by Sara J. Henry (New York)
  3. Guilt by Jonathan Kellerman (California)

Central & South America

  1. Needle in a Haystack by Ernesto Mallo (Argentina)
  2. The Neruda Case by Roberto Ampuero (Chile)
  3. The Silence of the Rain by Luis Alfredo Garcia-Roza (Brazil)


  1. The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths (England)
  2. Misterioso by Arne Dahl (Sweden)
  3. Total Chaos by Jean-Claude Izzo (France)


  1. Pale Horses by Jassy Mackenzie (South Africa)
  2. Deadly Harvest by Michael Stanley (Botswana)
  3. Black Star Nairobi by Mukoma Wa Ngugi (Kenya)


  1. Inspector Imanishi Investigates by Seichō Matsumoto (Japan)
  2. The Eye of Jade by Diane Wei Liang (China)
  3. Behind the Night Bazaar by Angela Savage (Thailand)


  1. Food of Ghosts by Marianne Wheelaghan (Kiribati)
  2. Frantic by Katherine Howell (Australia)
  3. The Mistake by Wendy James

Wild Card (Multiple countries in one book)

  1. The Name of a Bullfighter by Luis Sepúlveda (Chile, Germany)
  2. The Man Who Went Up in Smoke by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (Sweden, Czechoslovakia)
  3. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (US, India)

Now for a few observations about my reading:

  • This challenge is great for getting me to try new authors from countries I don’t typically read about, but I think I need to take a step back for the coming year and read one book from each continent instead of trying to find translated books from three countries in each continent. I hope to spend more time reading more of the authors I’ve discovered this year instead of pushing for a large number of new-to-me authors in 2014.
  • It’s difficult finding crime novels set in Asia that are translated into English from a multitude of countries. There are a few from Japan, but little elsewhere, or maybe I need to focus on lots of small presses or ebook only releases to find them. Africa was also difficult. I’m not sure how much of this is because of the lack of crime novels written in those countries and how much is related to what publishers decided to translate for the English-speaking market. I am thankful to my fellow challenge participants for suggesting so many interesting authors.
  • My favorite books of the challenge were by Laura Lippman, Ernesto Mallo, Elly Griffiths, Angela Savage, and Jhumpa Lahiri.

Thanks to Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise for hosting the challenge this year.

12 thoughts on “2013 Global Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

  1. Rebecca – Well-done! I’m impressed! And I’m glad you found some new authors to love. I agree with you that Mallo, Griffiths and Savage are really talented authors; glad you enjoyed reading their work.

  2. Hi, Margot: this one definitely gives me a sense of accomplishment (and it’s hard to do a best-of-the-year post when half of my reading was from this particular challenge). I’d like to read more of my favorites next year!

  3. Congratulations Rebecca. I felt much the same as you the last time I completed the challenge…it was a little too restrictive in forcing me to find a set number of books from each continent when there is not an equal number of good quality books available in English from each place. These days I still like to make sure I read from different countries and settings but I don’t get as hung up on the confines of a set number of books.

    • Thanks, Bernadette. Maybe I’ll just keep track of how many different countries I can cover, regardless of continent. I somehow want to balance new-to-me authors with ones I’d like to read again too, but I’m not sure how I can stick to that plan. My reading plans seem to change quickly 🙂

  4. Congratulations Rebecca. I see I missed quite a few of these reviews. Will go back and read these especially the Laura Lippman review of The Power of Three that I bought early part of the year. I also have The Mistake by Wendy James in the stacks here.

    • Thanks, Keishon, and I hope you like the Lippman and James. My reviews definitely come in spurts depending on what else is going on in my life. Happy new year’!

  5. What a great list! I too am cutting back to one per continent in 2014. I really want to read 3 per continent, but I did not like feeling bound by challenges to finish a set number. Just cutting back in general in all my challenge commitments.

    I like your idea of book set in multiple countries for the 7th continent.

    • Hi, Tracy, and thanks for reading things like Garcia-Roza before me to give me inspiration for South America. I’m going to sign up for one book per continent too, but I’ll still try to hit as many countries as possible for the year. It will mostly be European and South American stuff, but I’m okay with that because there are so many authors I’d like to try. Hope you have a happy new year!

  6. Rebecca, first I thank you for subscribing to my blog! With so many in the blogosphere, people discovering mine are a treasure. I always reply and I always take an interest in my followers, even if rural dial-up (yeah, I know it’s 2014) limits my visits. I’m a writer wanting to be a published author, so any readership of my articles or challenge progress means a great deal. I believe you know I’m premiering 3 of my own February 1st! http://cmriedel.wordpress.com/riedel-reading-themes/

    Next, I want to chat with everyone about Kerrie’s wonderful group. It isn’t as hard as finding Indonesian authors etc…. She allows books SET in foregin places. Dorothy Gilman’s “Mrs. Pollifax” series, which always travels, will do. She was México for me! The famous gothic mystery writer, my heroine Phyllis A. Whitney, was technically born in Japan. Dorothy Eden born in New Zealand. There are tricks that help. Africa this time is going to come from the (sadly) late Canadian, Lyn Hamilton, my favourite! In her archaeological series, volume IV is in Africa. 🙂 God bless everyone with a happy 2014! Carolyn.

    • Thanks so much for your recommendations and for stopping by, Carolyn. I haven’t read any Gilman, Whitney, Eden, or Hamilton, but I will keep them on my running list as I work on this year’s challenge. Happy new year to you too!

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