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!

86 Responses so far.

  1. PiperML says:

    I'm in! Love the idea! Can't wait to get started! - Patti

  2. Laura says:

    I'm in and my list is up!

  3. Wendy says:

    You knew I couldn't resist this, right?? *laughs* Here's my link:

  4. So glad to have you with me in the challenge, Patti, Laura and Wendy! I can't wait to look at your lists.

    I am going to update the Challenge post to include links to your lists. Patti - I will update the link to yours as soon as you have a list up, but don't feel rushed.

  5. As you can see, I have already been messing with my list in response to what I have seen on other participants' (and what I have remembered about other things I need to read this fall and winter). Sigh. I love list-making. It is so utopian.

  6. I'm definitely in, although I have to think about my list for a bit (so many authors/books to choose from!).

  7. Kimmie says:

    I"m in. My list is at Looking forward to the challenge.

  8. Count me in

  9. I am so glad that you are joining the challenge, loose baggy monster, michele and kimmie! I have added you to the list, and (LBM and Michele) I will link to your challenge list as soon as you have them up.

  10. huzzah! I finally have my (initial) list up and ready to go. Here's the link:

    The link is split so it fits in the comment box. Great challenge!

  11. jenclair says:

    What a good idea! I'm going to have to give this one some thought before making a final decision...and check the other lists.

  12. Hmmmm, after perusing your lists again, I'm sorely tempted to put Stendahl and Sterne on my alternates list. If I keep at it, I'm definitely going to have to make this challenge a monthly thing!

  13. Debi says:

    What a wonderful challenge...thanks so much for hosting it! I'm in. Here's
    my list.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I've moved my blog (although it's still up indefinitely at but I thought I would give you the updated link for my list:

  15. Welcome, jenclair and debi! It is great to have you with us.

    I am really enjoying everyone's lists, and find it particularly delightful that a lot of my unread authors are other people's as well (and vice versa)!

  16. Bybee says:

    I'm in as well, and I've done a blog entry about the challenge and posted my list:

  17. Mine's up:

  18. Framed says:

    An innocent stroll through unknown blogs and here's a challenge I can't resist. Great idea. I've posted my list at this site:

  19. jenclair says:

    My list is up! I'm looking forward to this challenge...

    A Garden Carried in the Pocket

  20. Dewey says:

    I had a little bounce of excitement in my seat when I saw that you'll read Lessing! She's one of my favorites.

    I'll come back once my list is made.

    Oh, and I love having those separate blogs. I like to be able to see everyone's reviews in one place, and I like being able to post either a link or my own review over there and get comments from people who aren't my usual readers.

  21. Dewey says:

    Also, question: can we adapt what "never read" means a little? For example, I have never read any Gaiman except the first book of his graphic novel series, Sandman. I have never read any of his all-print novels. Also, I've only read Roald Dahl's children's books and short stories, and my husband has an entire collection of his novels for adults that I've always meant to read. Can we make these sort of adaptions?

  22. It's great to have you with us, bybee, dewey, 3m and framed!

    As for your question, dewey, everyone is welcome to make whatever accomodations they like to the challenge, in order to make it work for them. I'm not strict!

    On the other hand, my experience with trying to make my list is that there are SO MANY authors I have never read anything at all by that my lists fill right up before I get to authors who have been neglected by me in less complete ways. And sometimes there is a special joy of discovering a completely new-to-you author. So it is up to you.

  23. Dewey says:

    Thanks for your flexibility. :)

    You're right that there are plenty of authors I'm completely unfamiliar with, but I want to combine this challenge with reading some of the stuff my husband is so fond of and always suggesting I read.

  24. That does seem like an appealing goal, Dewey. Go with it!

  25. Becky says:

    I definitely want to participate. But I'm not sure who will be on my list yet. I'll have a list coming soon!

    Becky (Becky's Book Reviews)

  26. Anonymous says:

    Great idea - lots of interesting books!
    I'm sorry I cannot link directly to the Unread Authors Challenge page at my site, but there's a clickable list on the main page that will take you to it.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Oops - forgot to give you my link in my e-mail. It's

  28. Hi becky and gracie - glad to have you with us! I look forward to seeing your list, becky (no rush to get it up, though - you have until September!).

    Gracie - I couldn't leave a comment on your blog, but your list is really impressive (and, I have to note that I also haven't read any of the authors on it!).

  29. Anonymous says:

    Hi - I realized today that I needed to make a blog entry, too, so comments could be made on my challenge list (I'm still learning how to use Mac iWeb). You can link to my page directly, as you know, or you can link to my blog and add comments at

  30. Anonymous says:

    I'd love to take part! This, in fact, is a challenge I might actually be able to complete. Here's my list:

  31. Mo says:

    This sounds like fun, and like so many others who have joined, I have several books already on my shelves that might fit the bill -

    I'm in

    (thanks for hostin' this one!)

  32. I would love to join this and will post a list this weekend

  33. I would like to join. My list can be found at:

  34. Kristen says:

    Wow, this looks exciting! I just found your blog and this challenge has me all inspired. Here's my link:

    Thanks for hosting this!

  35. Elaine says:

    I have found this challenge via Ex Libris and as this ties in very well with my own personal challenge which is to read a new and contemporary author each month in 2007. This slightly expands it in that there is no constraints on the period of the author so I may just join in with this one. Thank you for posting it, I shall now go away and have a think of my six books

  36. Eva says:

    I'm joining in!

    My list is at

    Very excited for it to begin!

  37. I am in too, but I need to come up with my list. As soon as I do, I'll post a link here. Are you allowing crossovers from other challenges, Ariel, or would you prefer they be completely independent? If you do allow crossovers, I would keep it to a minimum, but it might help for the next couple of months when I'm over-challenged. Regardless, I'm game and excited about participating in this challenge.

  38. Welcome to all the newcomers!

    In answer to literary feline's question, crossovers with other challenges are absolutely fine with me. There are only so many books we can read in month!

  39. Anonymous says:

    I'm definitely in. My list is up at my blog.

  40. Becky says:

    I finally have chosen the books for my list. You can find them here:

    Becky (Becky's Book Reviews)

  41. My list is up too, Ariel. I kept counting and recounting my six because I was so sure I didn't have enough on the list. LOL Thanks for hosting this challenge!

  42. Renay says:

    I have decided to jump in the challenge pool! This looks fun. My list, she be right here.

  43. Melody says:

    Count me in! My list is up!

  44. Alice says:

    I'm happy to participate! Thanks for organizing this... :)

    Here's my list.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I'd like to join in the fun too, though I still have to think about my list! :-)

  46. Unknown says:

    I'm definitely in and my list has been posted. Thanks for hosting this!


  47. Kathleen says:

    I'm joining in:

  48. Susan says:

    I'm in and excited for my first challenge ever! My list is at .

  49. Susan says:

    I just tried to post this comment and apparently it didn't work, so hopefully it won't go twice. I really want to join this challenge, darn it! My list is at:

  50. I'm in!

    My list and my reviews will be on my main blog.

  51. andbrooke says:

    My very first challenge! What a great way to read.

    My list is at

  52. janiejane says:

    I'm in, and my list is here:

  53. krin says:

    I'm in! Here's my list:

  54. Cenoura says:

    Very nice challenge! Count me in. I will join you with pleasure.
    I will be away for a week vacation and I will post my list as soon as I return.
    :) PA

  55. By the way, my vote would be "no" on an additional challenge blog. Between the blogs and yahoo groups I'm already trying to keep up with I'm having enough trouble finding time to post on my own blogs and occasionally actually find time to read a book ;-)

  56. I'm in.

    My list is here:

  57. Vickie says:

    Thank you for allowing me to self-challenge!

    My list is on the 17 Aug 07 post. I cannot figure out how to post the exact post here. I have neophyte blogger ability.

  58. Vickie says:

    Okie doke! Don't know what happened, but my post from before didn't take. So will try again....also kinda good as I finally have the link to my choices:

  59. Stephani says:

    Great challenge! I would like to find out how many readers have their chosen books already on their "To Be Read" pile! I bet a lot of us do!

    My list for this challenge is here:

  60. Jennifer says:

    I am ready for this challenge! I can't wait to get started!

  61. Jennifer says:

    I'm still trying to figure out how to link you all to my blog and author choices. I hope I figure it out soon :)

  62. Jennifer says:

    I'm still trying to figure out how to link you all to my blog and author choices. I hope I figure it out soon :)

  63. Jennifer says:

    My list for this challenge is located here....

  64. I'm in!

    My list is up here:

  65. Somer says:

    I'll join! Here's my list:

  66. fantasma says:

    I'm joining the challenge! Here's my list:

    The post is in portuguese but what it says is that I'll be joining the challenge, has a link to here and the list :)

  67. Anonymous says:

    Finally my list is up. :-)
    See it .

  68. I would love to join.

  69. Fátima says:

    I'm very very interested in joining this challenge!

    My list is up!!47F314E281016EB7!956.entry

    Thank you for the opportunity!

  70. Welcome to all the new participants! A special welcome to Fátima, because I haven't been able to leave a comment on your blog (something about having a Windows ID?). Your list is great, and it was very cool that you posted in both Portuguese AND English.

  71. Fátima says:

    Thank you Pour of Tor! I can understand why it wasn't possible, is the first time that happened.
    I will always right all my comments to the challenge in both languages, so that everybody can join and discuss the issue!
    Thank you again for the opportunity!

  72. Cenoura says:

    Dear Pour, I already posted my list for this challenge on my blog.
    I hope everybody has fun with this!

  73. Cenoura says:

    The correct link to my post:

  74. okay. i've been thinking about this for a while, but i guess now it's time to make the commitment. i have a list of authors (though not specific titles yet) up on my book blog here.

    i love the separate challenge blogs for reviews and discussion - but it isn't a necessity, so whatever you're willing to do is great! thanks!

  75. caracois says:

    Ok. I've joined the group. Here:

  76. I just stumbled across this reading challenge and I know it starts in two days. Is there any way I can still join? My blog is devoted to books and movies though. I'll understand if I'm too late!

  77. I come before you on bended knees begging you to let me join your challenge even though I am unpardonably late in signing up. I posted my books just in case you'll accept me. If not, I cry, pull my hair out and thrash about like a spoiled child. JK

    I will totally understand if you say no and that you can't be bothered adding late comers.

    My post is at A Reader's Journal.

  78. Kim says:

    Can I beg to join??? I just found this challenge through booklogged's site. I have a ton of authors on my shelf that I need/want to read. Can I pretty please join? :) It is still September!

    My email:
    kimmery4 at yahoo dot com

    I will wait to hear from you and then post my list!

  79. A very interesting blog and challenge indeed!

    Need to think of the titles but may join you in a few weeks time!


  80. Finished #3 - A Trouble of Fools by Linda Barnes

    My Review is here

  81. Anonymous says:

    Okay, so I'ma little late... but I'll still participate!

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