The Diverse Reading Challenge

Lately I have been discussing diverse books with my friend Kevin, whom I first “met” on Instagram. We both agree there are not enough diverse books out there, and that we as readers need to show we care and actually want more diversity in literature! With that as inspiration, I decided that I wanted to host a diverse reading challenge.

I want this to be as easy and flexible as possible, so I am not setting a time limit. Nor am I setting a start date – people should be able to start whenever they want. All you need to do is to fulfill each point on the list. You can read the books in whatever order you wish.

I would love it if you posted your list of books as you read them as a comment here, or if you post them on your own blog or Instagram, that’s even better! If you post them on your blog, it would make my day if you link back to this post!

  • Book by a transgender author
  • Book by a bisexual or pansexual author
  • Book by a gay author
  • Book by a Zimbabwean author
  • Book by a Scandinavian author
  • Book by a Japanese author
  • Book by a Indian author
  • Book set in Brazil
  • Book set in Indonesia
  • Book set in Russia
  • Book set in Iceland
  • Book set in Iran
  • Book with a genderfluid main character
  • Book with a lesbian main character
  • Book with a main character with an immigrant background (first or second generation)
  • Book with a main character who suffer from mental illness
  • Book with a character in a wheelchair
  • Book with a blind character
  • Book with a deaf character
  • Book with a character who has ME
  • Feminist non-fiction book
  • LGBTQ+ non-fiction book
  • Non-fiction book on an Asian country (not a travel guide book)
  • Non-fiction book on a Nordic country (not a travel guide book)
  • Non-fiction book on an Indigenous people and/or their culture

I could have made this a lot longer, but that would made the challenge a lot harder. I hope lots of people will parttake!

Are you game?

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 201
A selection of some diverse books.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2017

September Challenge – how did it go?

As I wrote earlier, I set myself a challenge to read more books in Norwegian. So, how did my challenge go? How many books in Norwegian did I manage to read?

1. Hålke, written by Helene Uri

I was fortunate enough to win a ARC of Helene Uri’s new book, Hålke. It was published early in September, and is a book on an elderly couple who early in January don’t get to leave their flat due to it being icy outside. With only a little food to get by on, and the coffee running out, we get to know this elderly people. What’s their marriage built on? Why do they still keep together after over 40 years, in spite of unfaithfulness (her) and violence (him)? It was a really interesting read, and I really enjoyed it.

2. Odinsbarn, written by Siri Pettersen

This was actually a reread. I first read Odinsbarn (meaning Odin’s Child in English) shortly after it came out, and it’s the first book in the Ravneringene (meaning “The Raven Rings”) trilogy. I love this trilogy, and thought Odinsbarn was even better the second time around.

3. Et norsk hus, written by Vigdis Hjorth

This was my first book Vigdis Hjorth, and I borrowed it from the library’s ebook app. I enjoyed reading about this middle aged textile artist who rented out a part of her house to a Polish family and the conflict between them. And even though this lady is a weird woman with many faults, I grew to love her… I am definitely going to read more books by her!

4. Forbannet, written by Tonje Tornes

This was the second book in the Kire series, and it has been a while since I read hulder, the first book in the series. I am loving this series, and I liked the second book even more than the first – it’s darker and there’s more magic! I can’t wait for the third book, even though I have no idea when it will be published.

So, I ended up with four Norwegian books in September, which wasn’t so bad. I also read On Writing by Stephen King, which is also a very good read. I think my conclusion is that this challenge was good for me, even though one of the books was a reread. I will try to read even more Norwegian books, and am hoping to get some more read this year.

Did you succeed with your September challenge?

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

It’s Monday, what are you reading?

I finished Et norsk hus, written by Vigdis Hjorth yesterday, on the plane back from Oslo. I had a nice week end with the boyfriend, even though I wasn’t feeling too well. The plan was to run the 10 km run during the Oslo Marathon, but I wasn’t well enough to participate.

I am kind of reading Dronningens løfte, but I can’t seem to focus, so I have decided to put it aside for now, and read Forbannet, which is the second book in the Kire series written by Tonje Tornes. I enjoyed Hulder, the first book in the series. I have a signed copy of both books in the series, so they’re not leaving the house. I have borrowed the ebook version from the library ebook app eBokBib, which makes it easier for me to read.

What are YOU currently reading?

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

The best way to start the day…

Autumn is here, and the light summer mornings are gone. Getting up in the mornings aren’t as easy these days, and getting out of bed before 6 is a struggle. Knowing I can start the day with lighting a candle and having my breakfast with a good book and coffee helps, though. In my opinion, the best way to start the day os with reading a book. 

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

September Challenge 

I recently went through the list of books read so far in 2016, and I had read very few books in my native language, Norwegian. 

From January to August I read a total of 43 books, of which only 10 were in Norwegian. My challenge is therefore to read mostly Norwegian books in September.

I just started reading a book I have had on my shelf for ages, Dronningens løfte (meaning “the Queen’s Promise”), written by Margit Walsø. This is her second book, and like her previous book it is based on European history. I really liked her first book, so I hope I will like this too.

Do you have any challenge for September? If so, what is it?

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Comfort Books

The Guardian recently had an article called “Guardian readers’ comfort library”, and after following some links, I came across the article “What’s your favourite comfort read?” As far as I understand, these are books you go back to and re-read over and over again. This made me think – what are my comfort books?

One book I re-read and never get tired of reading, is my favourite book Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I love the story about the London under London, I love the characters, and I love the atmosphere in the book. Gaiman with this book has made London into a new place for me. After reading this book, visiting London has never been the same.

There are, of course, also books from my childhood that I love re-reading. The main one might be A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh. I grew up with reading it in Norwegian translation, but when I did a module in English literatur called 20th Century Children’t Literature at Cardiff University back in 1999, I read it in its original language (Englsih), and enjoyed it even more.

What are YOUR comfort books?

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015
My comfort books.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

It’s Monday, what are you reading?

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015
They say it’s the golden age for Norwegian fantasy. I’m not sure it’s true, but more Norwegian fantasy has been published the last few years. I’m currently reading Bian Shen by Torbjørn Øverland Amundsen that was published a couple of years ago, and I’m enjoying it so far. It’s concept is different from anything I have read before, and I am curious on how it continues…

So, what are you currently reading?

Book Bench Hunting in London

The British National Literacy Trust and Wild in Art have the summer of 2014 been working together to bring Books About Town to London. 2 july to 15 September you can find 50 unique BookBench sculptures all over London, but at the end of summer, they will all be auctioned to raise funds for the National Literacy Trust’s work to raise literacy levels in the UK.

They have made four different trails, so that you can go book bench hunting. On the webpage you can find maps and descriptions, that you can download for free.

When I visited London in August, one of my goals were to go book hunting. Schedule wise, I found out the best trail for me were the Bloomsbury Trail, as it wasn’t very far from the British Library, where I had been spending the morning at a comic book exhibition.

I pretty much stumbled over the first bench, Jeeves and Wooster, inside the Brunswich Centre where I had gone to have some lunch and visit Skoob Books. Right smack in the middle of the centre, it was easy to find, and I thought it was a good start to my hunt.

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
Jeeves and Wooster kicked off my book bench hunt
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014

The Blooomsbury trail has 12 benches, but I only found 8 of them. That being said, I must admit I didn’t put a lot of work in finding the other four. I was a tad bit tired, and I mainly did it for fun, so I was quite pleased with what I found.

It was fun to look for these beatiful book benches, which book lover can’t find it so? It was also nice to run into other book bench hunters (I even had a chat by the Pride and Prejudice bench with a lady from kent). It’s a bit sad they’ll only be around for 10 more days, and that I will not be able to do another hunt next time I’m in London.

If you do visit London before 15 September, and you think books are awesome, I’ll highly recommend to hunt down some book benches yourself! And, of course, I would love to hear about other people’s book bench hunting stories! Do you have one?

Some of my favourite benches:

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
Pride and Prejudice
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014
Mrs Dalloway
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2014