Let’s Play Wanderlust Reading Bingo

Somewhat late in the day I discovered a book bingo challenge that sounded more fun than most of the reading bingo challenges I’ve seen doing the rounds over the years. This one is designed to get people reading literature from around the world.

Wanderlust Bingo is the brainchild of FictionFan who wanted a challenge to force her out what she called “my insular British comfort zone.” The idea is to complete all 25 squares reflecting geographic categories such as “Oceania”, “Polar Regions” and “Indian Sub Continent” and location categories like “village”, “beach” and “river” .

At first glance that didn’t seem too difficult. I had a merry time matching books I’ve read this year with their appropriate square and was feeling rather smug when I saw how many squares I’d completed.

My smugness didn’t last long however. I hadn’t spotted this very important “rule”

A country can only appear once.

Eek. That knocked out two squares where I’d used a book set in Wales. I thought I’d been clever in choosing The Long Dry by Cynan `Jones for my “desert” square but if I use Wales for that square I can’t then use it for the “train” and the “beach” categories. And if I use Strange Flowers by Donal Ryan for “village” then I can’t use Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan for “small town” because both are set in Ireland.

I can see now why it’s taken Margaret @ Booksplease more than a year to complete 16 of the 25 squares.

With a bit of re-jigging I’ve managed to fill in 13 squares. Not bad all things considering.

My guess is that by the end of this year, I’ll have completed 16 squares. The square called “space” is going to elude me I think because I never read books set anywhere else other than on this planet.

I have a few books that I’m already planning to read that would fit some of the categories:

Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed (desert/Egypt)

Chasing The King Of Hearts by Hanna Krall (Europe/Poland) – this is on my #20booksofsummer2022 list

But I don’t want to make this too much of a challenge where I read a particular book just because I need to complete a certain square. If I happen to read a book that fits a category then I’ll claim it in retrospect.

How would your card looked if you played along with Wanderlust Bingo?

BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

36 thoughts on “Let’s Play Wanderlust Reading Bingo

  • August 3, 2022 at 11:49 am
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    Oo I love a book bingo, and this is such a fun one. Good to have an ongoing project – enjoy!

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    • August 2, 2022 at 5:44 pm
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      I’ll be curious whether I actually manage to complete many more squares – I think its going to get tricky from here on

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  • July 29, 2022 at 8:46 am
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    I feel a bit like you seemed to feel. At first glance, I thought I could do quite well, but I too would be guilty of ‘double booking’. I feel inclined to give this a go – thanks.

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    • August 2, 2022 at 5:45 pm
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      it definitely involves a bit of re-jigging. I’ve already made one swap since posting my card

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  • July 28, 2022 at 3:33 am
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    Oooft! This *is* tough (but fun)! That “a country can only appear once” is a killer. And I realised, going through my own recently-read with this bingo card, how many books I read actually have multiple settings. Can Instructions For A Heatwave count for an “island”, because part of it takes place in Ireland, even though the rest is set in England (which I’ve already used for my City square, with London-based Odd Hours)? What a brain-teaser!

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    • July 28, 2022 at 5:58 pm
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      I think it’s going to take a lot of jiggery pokery to finish the whole card. I’ve thought of a few in my TBR that I could match to certain squares only to realise that I’d already used that country. Having a block for N America is messing so much up ….

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  • July 27, 2022 at 2:57 pm
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    Hmmm. Despite my steadfast vow to eschew Challenges, I must admit this one is tempting me. I probably need to have a long, cold shower to regain my senses.

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    • July 27, 2022 at 5:11 pm
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      I hear you loud and clear. I keep repeating: I will not do challenges……

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  • July 27, 2022 at 9:46 am
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    Well done! I’m quite tempted to join you – I had a go and I think I can fill about eight squares with reads this year without really trying, but hopefully should be able to cover a few more by the end of the year!

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    • July 27, 2022 at 5:11 pm
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      I was surprised I could fill in so many squares without much effort. Quite gratifying!

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  • July 27, 2022 at 4:23 am
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    So much fun!
    For space, I was going to suggest a book, and then realized Carol beat me to it: “For space you must read (preferably listen) to Project Hail Mary!”
    For mountains, I recently read At the Mountains of Madness, by Lovecraft. Impressive, even by me who usually don’t read horror

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    • July 27, 2022 at 5:14 pm
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      I’ve found the audio version of Project Hail Mary so shall give it a go
      Horror I can no longer do sorry

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      • July 27, 2022 at 9:53 pm
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        I usually don’t read horror, but this is a classic, and readers who read contemporary horror may not even consider it as horror, or very mild

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  • July 27, 2022 at 1:47 am
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    Oh Karen! For space you must read (preferably listen) to Project Hail Mary! The audible version is fabulous. And then, there’s always Wrinkle in Time!

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    • July 27, 2022 at 5:14 pm
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      I know how much you loved that book. I’ve just found the audio version available in our library system so shall queue it up as my next listen.

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      • July 27, 2022 at 8:26 pm
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        Is the audible narrated by Ray Porter?

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        • July 28, 2022 at 5:56 pm
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          just checked and yes indeed that’s the version I have

        • July 29, 2022 at 1:03 am
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          He’s fabulous! Sounds like Tom Hanks! Enjoy! 🙌

  • July 27, 2022 at 1:20 am
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    You’re doing great so far, without even trying! Originally I planned to fill the boxes serendipitously, and that worked for about half the card. But since then I’ve been trying to find books to fit and it’s much harder than I intended! Feel free to change the Space box or to interpret it any way you choose – prairie country, maybe? I’ve only got three left to fill but this one year challenge taken me a year and a half so far… 😉 Enjoy!

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    • July 27, 2022 at 5:16 pm
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      having only 3 gaps is rather impressive. I can see how the closer you get to the end, the harder it becomes because the range of country options are narrower.

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  • July 27, 2022 at 12:01 am
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    I don’t think I’d do very well, especially if it can only cover this year.
    But I think it’s a great initiative because I like anything that encourages people to read more widely.

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    • July 27, 2022 at 5:17 pm
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      There doesn’t seem to be any time limit – evenFiction Fan who came up with the idea has taken 1.5 years and still has 3 more squares to complete.

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  • July 26, 2022 at 8:29 pm
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    I have read many books so far… but almost all of them are set in England =D
    And I would have huge trouble with polar regions anyway 🙂

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    • July 27, 2022 at 5:18 pm
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      Why would polar regions be especially difficult for you?

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  • July 26, 2022 at 8:11 pm
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    Glad to see you’re having a go at this one too and you’re doing so well! I think it’s a real challenge. I began the same way as you – just reading what I wanted, and was happy when a book fulfilled a category and I also wanted it to be a book I already owned. But the Desert square defeated me and I have bought Margot’s suggestion of The Night of the Mi’raj  by Zoë Ferraris, set in Saudi Arabia.

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    • July 27, 2022 at 5:19 pm
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      ideally yes I would like to use books I already own or, at a push, a library loan. No way do I want to buy more books!

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  • July 26, 2022 at 7:48 pm
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    So far this year I’ve been to Ireland an awful lot, taken there by a long list of excellent Irish women writers – small towns, and a mountain and a beach have been visited.

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    • July 27, 2022 at 5:20 pm
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      There are some good writers emerging from Ireland so I’m not surprised. Unfortunately if you play by the rules of the bingo game you can use them only for one square…

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  • July 26, 2022 at 7:16 pm
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    Well done! I suspect I would struggle to fill in much of this, because my reading wanderlust tends to take me to the same places!!

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    • July 27, 2022 at 5:21 pm
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      Russia has deserts and beaches so still plenty of variety just within one land mass. Though of course not much use for this game

      Reply

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