The Unread Authors Challenge! [Scroll down for the most recent participants]

Here I go, joining the fray of Book Challengedom by, at long last, starting my own challenge: the Unread Authors Challenge.

The premise is this: almost all of us have authors who we have long meant to read, but somehow never gotten around to (you can see a long list of mine at the bottom right of the blog). Perhaps you have always been intrigued but intimidated by their work. Perhaps "required reading" and your favorite authors have taken up most of your time. Perhaps they have been sitting on your shelves for years, continually trumped by new fascinations. Well, now is their time.

Here are the rules of the Challenge, which will run from September to February (six months total):

1) In this time, read six books by authors you have never read before. If you would like to read more in this time frame, go for it!

2) You are welcome to approach the Challenge in any of several different ways. You can choose one or two (or 3-5) unread authors and read several of their works, or you can choose six neglected (by you) writers and read a book apiece by them. Authors of fiction, non-fiction, genre fiction, graphic novels/comics, drama, and poetry are all welcome inclusions, although the individual works you choose should be book length. I will leave the definition of "book length" to your discretion, but in my mind a full length play or epic poem would certainly count, as would collections of shorter works.

3) Anytime before the start of the Challenge (September 1, 2007), write a blog entry that links back to this post and lists the authors and works you have chosen. You should feel free to change this list as you go along, or list "alternates," as I have below.

4) Then leave a note in the "Comments" section of this post, letting me know that you have joined and linking back to the blog entry that discusses your list. [If you link back to the specific post rather than to your main blog address, it will make it easier for your fellow participants to find your list.]
I will then make a master list of participants and links; I hope that we will have a fair amount of cross-fertilization as people remember authors they have neglected (until now!). That is, if others are as intrigued by this challenge idea as I am.

Also, if you think that a challenge blog (along the lines of the New York Times Notable Books Blog) would be helpful, let me know in the comments section. I worry that we may not have enough overlap to make it worthwhile, but am willing to be swayed by popular opinion!

Here are my initial thoughts on my own list:
  • Laurence Sterne - Tristram Shandy
  • Friedrich Durrenmatt - The Physicians and The Visit
  • Orhan Pamuk - My Name is Red
  • Richard Powers - The Gold Bug Variations
  • China Mieville - Perdido Street Station
  • Doris Lessing - The Golden Notebook
And a few alternates or "extra credit" options:
  • John Fowles - The Magus
  • Joyce Carol Oates - Bellefleur
  • Stendhal - The Red and the Black
  • Diana Wynne Jones - A Sudden, Wild Magic
  • Iris Murdoch - The Black Prince
  • Edward P. Jones - All Aunt Hagar's Children
  • Nadine Gordimer - Burger's Children
  • Tim Winton - Cloudstreet or Dirt Music
  • Peter Carey - Oscar and Lucinda or True History of the Kelly Gang
I tried to represent a variety of genres, genders, time periods, languages and nationalities (although it must be said that non-fiction is very poorly represented by my list...). A list that is diverse in any one of these categories is not a requirement of the challenge, but it is something interesting to think about while trying to push the boundaries of what you normally read.

[A quick postscript:

Our Unread Authors Challenge may be the perfect companion piece to a challenge that Joy is hosting, starting in October. It is called the 2nds Challenge and it gives you an opportunity to explore some of your favorite new authors in greater depth.]

Challenge Participants (click on the links to see their lists):

  1. Patti/ccdpiper at Patti's Book Blog (list forthcoming)
  2. Laura at Musings
  3. Wendy at caribousmom
  4. Sarah at Loose Baggy Monster
  5. Kimmie at Kimmie's Krap
  6. Michele at Michele's This and That
  7. Jenclair at A Garden Carried in the Pocket
  8. Debi at nothing of importance
  9. Bybee at Naked without Books
  10. 3M at 3M@3AM
  11. Framed at Framed and Booked
  12. Dewey at the hidden side of a leaf
  13. Becky at Becky's Book Reviews (list newly posted)
  14. Gracie at AKAGracie
  15. Chelle at Tempting Persephone
  16. Mo at Inside Mo's Mind
  17. Pamela at Paige's Book Blog
  18. Ex Libris at Ex Libris
  19. Kristen at The Critical Lass
  20. Elaine at Random Jottings of a Book and Opera Lover (list forthcoming)
  21. Eva at A Striped Armchair
  22. Literary Feline at Musings of a Bookish Kitty (list newly posted)
  23. Poodlerat at But what these unobservant birds
  24. C.R. the Book-ninja at The Book-ninja
  25. Melody at Melody's Reading Corner
  26. Alice at Hello, My Name is Alice
  27. Ana (Virgulina) at Cozy World (list newly posted)
  28. Amanda at A Patchwork of Books
  29. Callista at S.M.S. Book Reviews
  30. Susan at Bloggin' 'Bout Books
  31. Puss Reboots at Puss Reboots
  32. AndBrooke at Aunt Book
  33. JanieJane at So Many Book Reviews
  34. Krin at Enough to Read
  35. PA at Cenoura do Lado (list newly posted)
  36. SuzieQoregon at Blogging My Books
  37. Nyssaneala atBook Haven
  38. Vickie at Vixen's Daily Reads
  39. Stephani at Herding Cats
  40. Jen79 at Jen's Page
  41. Dark Orpheus at Orpheus Sings the Guitar Electric
  42. Somer at SomeReads
  43. Fantasma at Estralas ao Vento
  44. Veronica at Toddled Dredge
  45. Fátima at O Segredo dos Livros
  46. alisonwonderland at So Many Books, So Little Time
  47. caracois at Desabafos e outros coisas
  48. Jen at The Movieholic, Bibliophile, and Music Junkie
  49. Booklogged at A Reader's Journal
[Addendum: The Unread Authors Blog is now the command center for this challenge. For more information, go here.]

There are some great lists here, so check them out!