Challenges to blogging and to reading

First an apology for any readers who have experienced instabilities or squiffy formatting recently. I have been having some templating problems and because of lack of time to sort them out during the week, reverted temporarily to an old design. I spent some time yesterday (Friday) evening working through causes and effect, ending up with a new template and layout. I hope that things here have now settled down a bit, and any previous loading problems are solved. If not, please let me know in the comments

Another type of challenge is the reading "challenge" (I don't regard reading as a challenge so perhaps I can call it "exercise"). Having completed the crime-fiction alphabet exercise, initiated by Kerrie of Mysteries in Paradise, I am turning my attention to two other similar ventures in which I am participating.

Scandinaviamap-1  First up, because I think I've finished it, is the Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2010 by Amy of The Black Sheep Dances blog. The challenge is to read six books from Scandinavian countries between the beginning of March of this year, and the end of the year. Here are mine (actually more than six, in case the definition of Scandinavia is the purist one of Sweden, Norway and Denmark only):

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo (Norway)

The Last Fix by K. O. Dahl (Norway)

The Woman from Bratislava by Lief Davidsen (Denmark) (review submitted to Euro Crime)

The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard (Denmark)

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist (Sweden)

The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell (Sweden)

The Stonecutter by Camilla Lackberg (Sweden)

The Killer's Art by Mari Jungstedt (Sweden) (review drafted)

Snow Angels by James Thompson (Finland, though the author is American)

And, currently reading: My Soul to Take by Yrsa Sigurdardottir (Iceland).

The other challenge is more of an actual challenge, it is Dorte's Global Reading Challenge . This is in four levels: easy (read one book from each continent), medium (two books, in total from 12 countries or states), expert (adds Antarctica) and extremist (three plus a wild card). The extremist category is Craig's fault because he's already completed the three previous levels.(But there don't seem to be links to his 
Globus_2achievements in the Global Challenge blog's country listings.)  Like Bernadette, I rather fancy being officially an extreme reader, but I think I am not doing so well on this particular challenge so far, owing to the presence of Antarctica and my current predilection for European translated crime fiction. (One is only allowed to count books read this year.)

So, how am I doing? 

South America – 1 (Thursday Night Widows by Claudia Pinerio - Argentina).

North America – 3 (B-very Flat by Margot Kinberg – USA;  Where the Dead Lay by David Levien – USA; Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay – Canadian author, set in USA). [And numerous others in USA]

Europe – 3 (Captured by Neil Cross – England; Death in Oslo by Anne Holt – Norway; The Reunion by Simone van der Vlugt – The Netherlands). [And numerous others throughout Europe.]

Australasia -3 (Truth by Peter Temple – Australia; Blood Sunset by Jarad Henry – Australia; A Certain Malice by Felicity Young – Australia). 

Asia – 2 (Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xiaolong – China; The Eye of Jade by Diane Wei Liang – China). [3 if you count The Man From Beijing by Henning Mankell!]

Africa – 3 (Dead Before Dying by Deon Meyer – South Africa; Like Clockwork by Margie Orford – South Africa; Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer – South Africa).

So by my calculation, I have finished the Easy challenge. To complete the Medium challenge I need to read one novel from South America that isn't Argentinian, one from Australasia that isn't Australian, one from Asia that isn't Chinese and one from Africa that isn't South African. OK, I'll stop there, go for that, and then see what I have to do to meet the expert level (Antarctica looms).

Thanks very much to Dorte (Global Reading), Amy (Scandinavia) and Kerrie (Alphabet) for organising these amusing distractions.