A few days ago Cath at Read Warbler wrote about doing her own personal USA Challenge, which got me thinking about doing something similar but based in Britain. I love books with a strong sense of location so it seemed quite straightforward – I’d read books set in Britain.
Then I realised it’s not as simple as that – how was I going to decide on the locations? For centuries the people of the British Isles have been discussing, debating and even fighting over how we should divide up the land. Now, I don’t want to get into politics (I’m not saying anything about moves from different sections of our community for ‘independence’), so I thought I’d focus around our counties.
Again not simple. At first I thought I’d use the current local administrative areas, forgetting all the reorganisation that seems to be always on the go! How could I have forgotten after working for over 20+ years in local government! It’s not only the physical areas that keep being tinkered with but also the names of our counties. It’s complicated and confusing. Eventually I came round to the idea of using the Historic Counties of the United Kingdom – there are 92. With so many counties, I’m making this an open ended project, because I shan’t be restricting my reading to just British books, by any means.
I’ll read fiction in different genres, I’ll stray into poetry and drama occasionally and I’ll also include non-fiction – history, travel, diaries, biographies and so on. As well as focusing on the counties I’m also going to include regional books and books about the four countries that make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, not forgetting the surrounding islands.
I shall most likely expand/adapt this project and I plan to make a separate page on this blog to record my progress.