As you can see, I am experimenting with Blogger's new poll function. The current poll (which you can find to the right of the blog) asks those of you who are participating in the Unread Authors Challenge whether you would like to have a group blog devoted to the challenge.

For those of you who are wondering what a group blog is in this context, I will explain: it is a blog in which all the (willing) participants have permission to post their reviews for the challenge, their lists, updates on their progress, questions for other members, recommendations, etc. You don't necessarily have to create any new content to post to a group blog; many members just post copies of or links to the reviews they have written for their regular blog or book journal. The New York Times Notable Books Challenge blog is a representative (and quite active) example of this sort of project.

The PROS for our challenge (as I see it):

  • a one-stop location for viewing the lists and reviews of other participants
  • (a corollary to the above) the opportunity to be reminded of authors you haven't read... because you have forgotten they exist. Or never knew in the first place.
  • a haven to seek encouragement when the challenge gets tough or to share enthusiasm when it is exhilarating.

  • I tend to think that group blogs work best when the challenge is limited to a subset of available literature (a single genre, for instance, or an awards list, or a language/geographical region). This means that there is more overlap in what participants are reading, and the reviews provide an impetus for a detailed discussion.*
  • Blog weariness

So go vote in the poll, and if there is widespread support, I will set a blog up. Feel free to leave comments if the preordained "answers" from the poll don't suffice to express the fervor or nuance of your opinion.

*For instance, I have set myself a personal challenge to dedicate each calendar year to a different nation, region, or language's literature (reading at least a book a month within this theme). This year, the country is Australia, and I am having a great time. In 2008, I would like to make this a public challenge, and this seems to me to be an ideal situation for a group blog -- the members could then recommend authors and books to one another as they read, and discuss some of the regional classics that many people are reading. If you would be interested in participating in this challenge, keep your eye out for my next poll in September, which will ask potential participants to vote on which of a few possible nations and regions will be 2008's theme.

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