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
Penance by Kanae Minato
Inspector Imanishi Investigates by Seicho Matsumoto
Newcomer by Keigo Higashino
The Black Lizard and Beast in the Shadows by Edogawa Rampo
Murder at Mt. Fuji by Shizuko Natsuki
The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura
Old Crimes, New Scenes edited by Michael Tangeman and Charles Exley
Murder in the Crooked House by Soji Shimada
The Red Locked Room by Tetsuya Ayukawa

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) – 32/40
Silver Age (1960-1989) – 17/40

CategoryBook Selection and Link to Review
1. Colorful Crime: 
A book with a color or reference to color in the title
GOLDEN AGE: Ride the Pink Horse by Dorothy B Hughes
SILVER AGE: Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
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.)
GOLDEN AGE: The Wychford Poisoning Case
4. Leave It to the Professionals: 
A book featuring cops, private eyes, secret service, professional spies, etc.
GOLDEN AGE: Green for Danger
SILVER AGE: Call for the Dead
5. Jolly Old England: 
A mystery set in the United Kingdom
GOLDEN AGE: The Chianti Flask
6. Yankee Doodle Dandy: 
A mystery set in the United States
GOLDEN AGE: Dreadful Summit by Stanley Ellin
7. World Traveler: 
A mystery set in any country except the U.S. or U.K.
GOLDEN AGE: Crush by Frédéric Dard
SILVER AGE: Murder at Mt. Fuji by Shizuko Natsuki
8. Dangerous Beasts: 
A book with an animal in the title
GOLDEN AGE: The Black Lizard and Beast in the Shadows by Edogawa Rampo
SILVER AGE: DeKok and the Sorrowing Tomcat
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)
GOLDEN AGE: Murder of a Lady by Anthony Wynne
SILVER AGE: Henrietta Who? by Catherine Aird
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)
GOLDEN AGE: Mr. Pottermack’s Oversight
SILVER AGE: Inspector Imanishi Investigates by Seicho Matsumoto
12. Murderous Methods: 
A book with a means of death in the title (The Noose5 BulletsDeadly Nightshade, etc.)
GOLDEN AGE: Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers
SILVER AGE: Monk’s Hood by Ellis Peters
13. Staging the Crime: 
A mystery set in the entertainment world (theatre, musical event, pageant, Hollywood, etc)
GOLDEN AGE: Who Killed Dick Whittington? by E. & M. A. Radford
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)
GOLDEN AGE: Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie
15. Cops & Robbers: 
A book that features a theft rather than murder
SILVER AGE: The Case of the Missing Brontë
16. Locked Rooms: 
A locked-room mystery
GOLDEN AGE: It Walks By Night by John Dickson Carr
SILVER AGE: Murder in the Crooked House by Soji Shimada
17. Impossible Crimes: 
Any other impossible crime (locks not necessary)
GOLDEN AGE: The Dream Walker by Charlotte Armstrong
18. Country House Criminals: 
A standard (or not-so-standard) Golden Age-style country house murder
GOLDEN AGE: Heads You Lose by Christianna Brand
19. Murder on the High Seas: 
A mystery involving water
GOLDEN AGE: Murder on the Enriqueta by Molly Thynne
20. Planes, Trains, & Automobiles: 
A book with a mode of transportation in the title
SILVER AGE: The Mystery Train Disappears
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
SILVER AGE: The Name of Henrietta Lee by Julian Symons
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)
GOLDEN AGE: The Chocolate Cobweb
SILVER AGE: Whistle Up the Devil
23. Repeat Offenders: 
A mystery featuring your favorite series detective or by your favorite author or reread an old favorite
GOLDEN AGE: The A. B. C. Murders by Agatha Christie
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.)
GOLDEN AGE: Dictator’s Way
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)
GOLDEN AGE: The Unsuspected
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.)
GOLDEN AGE: The Nothing Man by Jim Thompson
28. Psychic Phenomena: 
A mystery featuring a seance, medium, hypnotism, or other psychic or “supernatural” characters/events
GOLDEN AGE: Till Death Do Us Part
SILVER AGE: Black Aura by John Sladek
29. Book to Movie: 
A book that has appeared on screen (feature film or TV)
GOLDEN AGE: The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes
30. The Old Bailey: 
A courtroom drama mystery OR a mystery featuring a judge, lawyer, barrister, district attorney
GOLDEN AGE: The Rat Began to Gnaw the Rope
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.
GOLDEN AGE: The Bowstring Murders
SILVER AGE: Desire to Kill by Anna Clarke
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.
GOLDEN AGE: The Final Days of Abbot Montrose
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.
GOLDEN AGE: The Forbidden House by Herbert and Wyl
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.)
GOLDEN AGE: Blue Murder by Harriet Rutland
37. Hobbies Can Be Murder: 
A mystery that involves a hobby in some way: stamp, coin, book collecting, etc; knitting; birdwatching; hunting; etc.
GOLDEN AGE: Cards on the Table
38. Snatch & Grab: 
Read the first book you pick up off your shelf or TBR stack/s
GOLDEN AGE: The Mystery of a Butcher’s Shop by Gladys Mitchell
SILVER AGE: A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell
39. I’ve Got You Covered: 
Pick a book to read based on the cover
GOLDEN AGE: Five Red Herrings
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.
SPECIAL CATEGORY: It’s A Kind of Magic
GOLDEN AGE: Death From a Top Hat by Clayton Rawson
SILVER AGE: The Magician’s Wife by James M. Cain

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s