Back in August, I mused about whether it’s more rewarding to read a little of everything or to specialize, even temporarily in one genre, period, or author. In working out my thoughts, I decided that it might be fun to choose a theme a few times a year and focus my reading for a month or so. Jenny agreed with me that this would be fun, so we’ve decided to take our first crack at this in January by going on an international crime spree!
Jenny and I are both big fans of crime novels, but our crime reading has naturally focused on US and UK authors, so this month will be a fun way to explore a favorite genre while expanding our horizons. We’re keeping this casual and not setting any firm rules or restrictions. My plan is to focus entirely on crime novels by authors who are not from the US or the UK.
I’m defining crime novel pretty broadly; basically any novel with a crime—either already committed or about to be committed—at the core would qualify. Some of the books I read might be just as likely to be shelved in the general fiction section of the library as the crime section; I’m not worrying about that. I’m hoping to end up with a mix of detective fiction, psychological crime, noir, thrillers, and more. The international piece will focus on authors from outside the US and UK, so I might read a Georges Simenon novel set in the US, but I wouldn’t choose an Alexander McCall Smith novel set in Africa. Most of the novels will be translations, but that’s not a requirement. I’m not trying to cover a specific number of countries, but I’m hoping to get in a variety. It would be easy enough these days to fill a whole month with Scandinavian fiction, but I’m deliberately not doing that.
At this point, I plan focus exclusively on crime fiction for a month, but if I get tired of it before the month ends, I’ll take a break and read something different or move on to something else entirely. And if at the end of the month, I have a few books I still must read, I’ll extend past January 31. No firm rules, just a general game plan.
So what, specifically, am I planning to read? Here’s my current stack:
The stack above is probably more than I have time to read, but just in case a few of these don’t hit the spot, I also have several books on hold at the library and a couple of Netgalley books ready for download onto my ereader. I know Jenny also has an appealing list that overlaps very little with mine. (We both plan to read Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow/Smilla’s Sense of Snow, so you can expect a conversation review on that.)
Since I’m participating in the TBR Double Dare, I’m going to have to make all my selections by December 31. Are there any authors or books I simply must add?
And of course, it goes without saying that anyone else who wants to join in is more than welcome to do so.