Update to 2013 Reader Resolutions: Item 14

Last week I posted my 2013 Reader Resolutions.

Item 14 on the list is “I will read a book written by a non-American.”

I figured this one would be fairly easy for me, given my love of Nordic mysteries and thrillers. I’m reading my fourth book of the year, and already half of them qualify for Item 14:

Punishment, by Anne Holt (also called What Is Mine). The first book in a series featuring Johanne Vik (a profiler trained by the FBI) and Adam Stubø (of the Norwegian National Criminal Investigation Service).

Detective Inspector Huss, by Helene Turstene. This is the first in a series featuring Detective Inspector Irene Huss of the Göteborg, Sweden, police.

Part of what I enjoy about Nordic crime novels is their wider focus. Many American crime novels focus specifically on the crimes under investigation. But Nordic society is so different from ours–in many ways they’ve been fairly homogenous, so relatively recent and generous immigration and refugee policies are having a different kind of impact in those countries than they would on the U.S., which views itself as a nation of immigrants.* A central theme in many Nordic crime novels is “What does it mean to be Swedish/Norwegian/Danish/Icelandic?” Another theme is the emerging racism in countries that view themselves as welcoming and tolerant. For me as an outsider, seeing wider societal issues addressed in crime fiction makes the books more compelling than American crime novels, which often focus on the psychology of the individual and ignore the broader social issues.

*It’s entirely possible that as an outsider, I’m reading something into these books that isn’t actually there, but even if that’s the case, it’s still fascinating to me!

Tags: ,

2013 Reader Resolutions

2013 is getting better. My eyesight is improving, slowly but surely, and the bronchitis is going away. Now if only we could have some semblance of winter, I’d be happy (it’s been in the 80s here, which is too darn warm).

Now that I can read again (albeit in HUGE type on my Kindle), here’s my 2013 reader resolutions, adapted from a list by Camille Del Vecchio of the Penfield Public Library (in NY).

1. I will reread a book that I loved as a child.

2. I will finally read that classic from high school that I’ve been avoiding.

3. I will find a book of poetry and read some aloud.

4. I will spend an hour in aimless browsing at a library.

5. I will read a book written in the year I was born.

6. I will create a journal and keep notes about the books and magazines read.

7. I will assemble a list of my favorite people and send them my ideas about books (favorites, recent reads, and the like).

8. I will read a book to a child.

9. I will gather a few friends and read a play out loud.

10. I will read a book on the history of my town.

11. I will read a book written from a political point of view totally opposite my own.

12. I will read a book about a place I’ve never been.

13. I will reread a book that I just didn’t “get” when I was eighteen.

14. I will read a book written by a non-American.

Items 4, 6, 11, and 12 should be fairly easy, as they’re things I do anyway. I’m really looking forward to items 1, 5, and 8!

Tags: ,