Readin’ all over the world

Inspired by Bernadette’s Virtual Travelling post at Reactions to Reading, I thought I’d take stock of where in the world my reading took me in 2012.

Bernadette managed to visit 21 countries in the course of reading 110 books in 2012. My tally of 12 countries in 40 books seems scant in comparison; though in my defence, I was also writing a novel (set in Thailand) during this period. I haven’t included stand alone short stories on my list, nor children’s books, although the seven-year-old bibliophile I live with ensures I read lot of those, too.

I’m surprised to discover 50% of what I read in 2012 was set in Australia. While I believe in supporting local authors and will no doubt continue to do so, I do feel like I need to get out more. To India, for example, and to African countries. I never thought I’d say this, but I need to read more American fiction, too.

Sixty per cent of the books I read were written by women, which is probably about my annual average, even without the added incentive of the Australian Women Writers Challenge. Anything above a 50:50 ratio is typical for me.

Likewise, 60% of my reading can be categorised more or less as crime fiction. I’m surprised I managed two non-fiction reads in 2012 – a 100% increase on previous years.

Where the action in a book takes place in more than one country, I have listed it under the country where most of the action takes place and/or where that setting motivated me to read it. Countries and authors are listed alphabetically.

Mongrel – Bernard Caleo (series)
Holding the Man – Timothy Conigrave
Comeback – Peter Corris
A Marvellous Boy – Peter Corris
Hard Labour – Crime Factory ed.
The Betrayal – YA Erskine
Miles Off Course – Sulari Gentill
Blue – Pat Grant
Unnatural Habits – Kerry Greenwood
In My Skin – Kate Holden
Silent Fear – Katherine Howell
The Mistake – Wendy James
Out of the Silence – Wendy James
Nine Days – Toni Jordan
The World Waiting To Be Made – Simone Lazaroo
The Midnight Promise – Zane Lovitt
Blackwattle Creek – Geoffrey McGeachin
Death and the Spanish Lady – Carolyn Morwood
The Fine Colour of Rust – PA O’Reilly
Thrill City – Leigh Redhead

Phnom Penh Noir – Christopher G Moore ed.
Ghost Money – Andrew Nette

The Woman Before Me – Ruth Dugdall
In Her Blood – Annie Hauxwell
The Casual Vacancy – JK Rowling
A Dissection of Murder – Felicity Young

A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway

All That I Am – Anna Funder
Paving the New Road – Sulari Gentill

Running Dogs – Ruby J Murray

Murder in Mesopotamia – Agatha Christie
The Wreckage – Michael Robotham

Salvation of a Saint – Keigo Higashino

The Travel Writer – Simone Lazaroo

Come Tell Me How You Live – Agatha Christie

Gitana: My Gypsy Life – Gueña Berguer

Fun Home – Alison Bechdel
The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
The Man From Primrose Lane – James Renner

Multiple countries
Agatha Christie – An Autobiography
Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East – Benjamin Law

And again inspired by Bernadette’s reading resolutions, in 2013 I aim to increase the diversity of my reading travels, read more Australian women’s fiction outside the crime genre, and continue to ensure a few classics make it on to my reading list.

Next stop, The Australian Fiance by Simone Lazaroo and Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil.

About Angela Savage

Angela Savage is a Melbourne writer, who has lived and travelled extensively in Asia. She won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript, and the Scarlet Stiletto Award short story award. Her latest novel is, Mother of Pearl, published by Transit Lounge. Angela holds a PhD in Creative Writing, is former CEO of Writers Victoria, and currently works as CEO of Public Libraries Victoria.
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7 Responses to Readin’ all over the world

  1. Ooooooh you visited some interesting countries Angela…wouldn’t it be fun to visit them all really as well? Well maybe not Syria just now.

    I’m going to try to read a book from each state of Australia this year – last year I was rather disturbed to see all the books were in NSW, Vic or Tassie. I’ve started off with one in Queensland though and I suspect I’m going to have to go beyond crime fiction to get right around the country!

    Looking forward to reading a book set in Thailand this year too 🙂


  2. angelasavage says:

    Hey Bernadette, there’s some great crime fiction coming out of WA. David Whish-Wilson, whose stunning debut Line of Sight was shortlisted for a Ned Kelly has a new book out in June, Zero at the Bone, which I eagerly anticipate and recommend. Alan Carter’s Prime Cut is set in WA (on my TBR pile) and his new one Getting Warmer will be out in October.

    And I can’t help but think there must be crime fiction set in SA. There’s certainly enough true crime 😉


  3. Margot Kinberg says:

    You’ve done quite a bit of ‘virtual globe-trotting.’ I’m quite impressed. You’ve read several different kinds of crime fiction too and I think that’s at least as impressive. I’m so glad you’ve done this list too because it gives me a good resource to consult. I always try to geographically stretch myself, but it doesn’t always work out that way…


    • angelasavage says:

      It’s funny, Margot, but I hadn’t thought about which sub-genres of crime I read until recently. Perhaps not surprisingly, I tend to favour the kind of books I write, the PI sub-genre, taking in both the professional and the accidental/incidental PIs. I’m not as big a fan of police procedurals, thrillers and cosies, but I try to keep an open mind and read across the genre. And I’m always glad when I do.


  4. kathy d. says:

    Very good list, and I wish I could get more of the crime fiction written by women in Oz over here. As you know, it’s not easy and it usually costs a ransom. I did the Global Book Challenge last year, and read books set in 22 locations; actually 19 countries, but Tasmania and three Canadian provinces. However, I read 10 books set in Australia, but did not separate them by state.
    I read three books set in each continent, substituting historical crime fiction for Antartica.
    Of course, I count the two Jayne Keeney books are part of my Asia reads, but also meeting my own challenge to read several books by women writers from Oz.
    It is fantastic to learn more about the world through global mysteries.
    Looking forward to a year of discovering new authors and locations.


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