Reading Challenges 2021

Last year I decided to pass on participating in any reading challenges reflecting that I wasn’t particularly active on the blog around the New Year. By the time I had picked up the pace again we were several months into the year and it felt like the moment had passed.

I can’t promise that I will be much better about blogging regularly this year but I do want to take on a couple of challenges to give a little focus to my reading. This page will collect any challenges I am working towards and track my progress.

The Japanese Literature Challenge 14

The Dolce Bellezza blog is hosting a Japanese Literature challenge. There are no set goals, just a commitment to read Japanese novels either in translation or the original Japanese between January and March. I have a lot of Japanese mystery fiction in my TBR pile so this seemed like a great prompt to focus my efforts on getting that mess under control.

Title and Link to Review
A Kiss of Fire by Masako Togawa
Out by Natsuo Kirino
Lending the Key to the Locked Room by Tokuya Higashigawa

Vintage Scattegories

Bev @ My Reader’s Block is running this vintage mysteries challenge. You can compete in the eras labeled as the Golden (pre-1960) and Silver (1960-1989) ages. I am going to aim at completing all 40 for the Golden Age but probably 8-10 at the Silver age level – wish me luck!

Golden Age (Pre-1960) – 2/40
Silver Age (1960-1989) – 1/40

CategoryBook Selection and Link to Review
1. Colorful Crime: 
A book with a color or reference to color in the title
2. Murder by the Numbers:
A book with a number or quantity in the title
GOLDEN AGE: Three Act Tragedy by Agatha Christie
3. Amateur Night:
A book with a detective who is not a P.I.; Police Officer; or other official investigator (Nurse Keate, Father Brown, Miss Marple, etc.)
4. Leave It to the Professionals: 
A book featuring cops, private eyes, secret service, professional spies, etc.
5. Jolly Old England: 
A mystery set in the United Kingdom
6. Yankee Doodle Dandy: 
A mystery set in the United States
7. World Traveler: 
A mystery set in any country except the U.S. or U.K.
8. Dangerous Beasts: 
A book with an animal in the title
9. A Calendar of Crime: 
A mystery with a date/holiday/year/month/etc. in the title
10. Wicked Women: 
A book with a woman in the title–either by name (Mrs. McGinty’s Dead) or by reference (The Case of the Vagabound Virgin)
11. Malicious Men: 
A book with a man in the title–either by name (Maigret & the Yellow Dog) or by reference (The Case of the Haunted Husband)
12. Murderous Methods: 
A book with a means of death in the title (The Noose5 BulletsDeadly Nightshade, etc.)
13. Staging the Crime: 
A mystery set in the entertainment world (theatre, musical event, pageant, Hollywood, etc)
14. Scene of the Crime: 
A book with the location of the crime in the title (The Body in the LibraryMurder at the Vicarage, etc)
15. Cops & Robbers: 
A book that features a theft rather than murder
16. Locked Rooms: 
A locked-room mystery
17. Impossible Crimes: 
Any other impossible crime (locks not necessary)
18. Country House Criminals: 
A standard (or not-so-standard) Golden Age-style country house murder
19. Murder on the High Seas: 
A mystery involving water
20. Planes, Trains, & Automobiles: 
A book with a mode of transportation in the title
21. Murder is Academic: 
A mystery involving a scholar, teacher, librarian, etc. OR set at a school, university, library, etc.
GOLDEN AGE: Love Lies Bleeding by Edmund Crispin
22. Things That Go Bump in the Night: 
A book with something spooky, creepy, gothic in the title (The Skeleton in the ClockHaunted LadyThe Bat; etc)
23. Repeat Offenders: 
A mystery featuring your favorite series detective or by your favorite author or reread an old favorite
24. The Butler Did It…Or Not: 
A mystery where the butler is the victim, the sleuth…(gasp) the criminal…or is just downright memorable for whatever reason.
25. A Mystery by Any Other Name: 
Any book that has been published under more than one title (Murder Is Easy–aka Easy to Kill [Christie]; Fog of Doubt–aka London Particular [Christianna Brand], etc.)
26. Dynamic Duos: 
A mystery featuring a detective team (Holmes & Watson; Pam & Jerry North; Nero Wolfe & Archie Goodwin, or a little-known team that you introduce to us)
27. Size Matters: 
A book with a size or measurement in the title (Death Has a Small VoiceThe Big FourThe Weight of the Evidence; etc.)
28. Psychic Phenomena: 
A mystery featuring a seance, medium, hypnotism, or other psychic or “supernatural” characters/events
29. Book to Movie: 
A book that has appeared on screen (feature film or TV)
30. The Old Bailey: 
A courtroom drama mystery OR a mystery featuring a judge, lawyer, barrister, district attorney
31. Serial Killers:
Books that were originally published in serial format (from the pulp era) OR a book that includes three or more deaths–all committed by the same person.
32. Killed in Translation: 
A work that originally appeared in another language and has been made available in English–original publication date determines Gold or Silver Age–OR if your native language is not English, then a work that originally appeared in English which you read in your native language.
SILVER AGE: A Kiss of Fire by Masako Togawa
33. Blondes in Danger:
A variation on “Colorful Crime.” A book that features a blonde in the title (The Blonde Died FirstThe Case of the Black-Eyed Blonde) or another shade of hair color (The Case of the Substitute Brunette)
34. International Detectives: 
A variation on “World Traveler”–but instead of the crime being set in another country, the detective is not from the U.S. or U.K.
35. Somebody Else’s Crime: 
Read a book that someone else has already read for the challenge.
36. Genuine Fakes: 
Read a book by an author who wrote under a pseudonym (Josephine Tey [Elizabeth Mackintosh]; Nicholas Blake [Cecil Day Lewis]; etc.)
37. Hobbies Can Be Murder: 
A mystery that involves a hobby in some way: stamp, coin, book collecting, etc; knitting; birdwatching; hunting; etc.
38. Snatch & Grab: 
Read the first book you pick up off your shelf or TBR stack/s
39. I’ve Got You Covered: 
Pick a book to read based on the cover
40. Get Out of Jail Free: 
One per customer. You tell me what special category the book fits and it counts–the only thing I won’t accept is “It’s a vintage mystery!” The genre/time period is a given.

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