Wanderlust Bingo – Update

This challenge was devised by FictionFan in 2021 and I have been filling in the squares at a snail’s pace since then.

Any type of book counts – crime, fiction, science fiction, non-fiction and a country can only appear once. I think this is why I have found it the hardest reading challenge of all – so far only completing 16 of the 25 squares and I’ve been thinking about giving up on it. But after looking through my unread books I have come up with books to fill 8 of the remaining 9 squares.

Books shown in italics are ones I’m thinking of reading or am currently reading.

North America – Inland by Téa Obreht – USA

Small Town – A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson – Canada

Island – The Island by Victoria HislopGreece

Train – Stamboul Train by Graham Greene – on the Orient Express travelling from Ostend to Constantinople (Instanbul or Stamboul), via Cologne, Vienna and Belgrade.

Far East – The Honourable Schoolboy by John le Carré – Hong Kong, Cambodia etc

Indian Sub-Continent – The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai – India

Village – Extra Virgin by Annie Hawes – ItalyI have just started reading this

Oceania – A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville – Australia

Forest – White Rose, Black Forest by Eoin DempseyGermany read not yet reviewed

Space – The [Widget], The [Wadget], and Boff, by Theodore Sturgeon

Mountain – The Moon Sister by Lucinda Riley – Spain and other countries

South America – Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia MarquezColombia

Free SquareThe Fellowship of the Ring by J R R Tolkien – read not yet reviewed – Middle Earth

River – State of Wonder by Ann Patchett – Rio Negro in Brazil – read not yet reviewed

Polar Regions – Ice Bound by Jerri Nielsen – The South Pole, Antarctica

Desert – The Night of the Mi’raj  by Zoë Ferraris – Saudi Arabia

Walk – A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute – Malaya – currently reading

Southeast Asia – The Quiet American by Graham Greene – Vietnam

Africa – Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad – Belgian Congo

Beach – The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths – Norfolk, England – read not yet reviewed

Road – Coffin Road by Peter May – Scotland

Europe – Ashes by Christopher de Vinck – Belgium

Sea – The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway – in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Cuba.

Middle East – Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie – present-day Iraq, Kuwait, and parts of Iran, Syria, and Turkey

City – The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles – France


This leaves me with just one book to find to fill the Desert square – any suggestions, please!

11 thoughts on “Wanderlust Bingo – Update

  1. You have some great reads there, Margaret! And I’m impressed with the progress you’ve been making, too. I wish I were better at those challenges; some of them seem like a lot of fun. As for books set in the desert, have you read Zoë Ferraris’ Finding Nouf? I thought that was quite well done, and it takes place in Saudi Arabia. There are others in that series, too. Hope that helps!

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    1. Thanks, Margot. No I haven’t read Zoë Ferraris’ Finding Nouf – I’ll look it up!

      I’ve downloaded a copy – in the UK it’s called The Night of the Mi’raj and it costs just 99p!!

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  2. Looking good! Middle Earth is perfect for the Free Square, but I’m most intrigued by “The [Widget], The [Wadget], and Boff” – can’t wait for your review of that one! The Desert box is so hard – took me for ever to find one. I tried The English Patient but didn’t get on with it – loads of people love it though, if you haven’t already read it. I ended up with Biggles Defends the Desert, which I loved but I imagine it’s probably not your kind of thing! Christine went for Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru which I’d already read years ago and loved – it’s a perfect fit and I do think it might be to your taste, again if you haven’t already read it.

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    1. Thanks, FF. “The [Widget], The [Wadget], and Boff” is one of the stories in Theodore Sturgeon’s collection of three stories written in the 1950s. I’ll be reading the other two stories as well, “To Marry Medusa” and “The Comedian’s Children”. I thought the title of the Widget one sounded strange – described on the back cover as ‘a real charmer’. It’s about five specimens of the human race subjected to a cosmic experiment.

      As for the Desert Box I tried “The English Patient” too, but didn’t get on with it either. I haven’t read Gods Without Men, so I’ll have a look at it. I’m not sure about the Biggles book – but I’ve never read any of them – maybe I’d enjoy it – I’ll have a look at that too.

      This has revived my interest in the challenge! Looking at the length of some of these books it’ll probably take me the rest of the year to finish … 🙂

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      1. I’ll still be going for a few months yet too, I think. Ha, the Wadget story sound fun! I’m meanly quite glad to hear you didn’t get on with The English Patient either – I thought I was alone!

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  3. Why do you think your progress is slow – to have only 9 cells left is a great achievement.

    The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai is wonderful.
    Tangerine though is awful and, sorry to break the bad news, there’s no ‘beach’ element to it.

    For “desert” how about The English Patient by Michael Ondatjee, part of which is set in North Africa

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    1. Thanks, BookerTalk – glad to hear The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai is wonderful, but sad about Tangerine. I have tried reading The English Patient twice but maybe I could try it again …


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