New Author Challenge


Challenge Complete: July 24, 2009

I’ve found one more challenge I’d like to try for this year: Literary Escapism’s New Author Challenge. The challenge runs from Jan. 1, 2009, to Dec. 31, 2009, and the idea is to read books by authors who are new to you. You decide how many new authors you’d like to read. I’m going to try to read 25 new authors, but if I don’t read that many, it’s no big deal.

Here are the new authors I’ve read so far:

  1. Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum (completed Jan. 3, 2009)
  2. Ira Levin, The Stepford Wives (completed Jan. 4, 2009)
  3. Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex (completed Jan. 8, 2009)
  4. Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth (completed Jan. 18, 2009)
  5. Anne Fadiman, Ex Libris (completed Jan. 24, 2009)
  6. Patrick McGrath, Asylum (completed Feb. 1, 2009)
  7. Jincy Willett, Jenny and the Jaws of Life (completed Feb. 11, 2009)
  8. Sarah Turnbull, Almost French (completed Feb. 20, 2009)
  9. Doris Lessing, Alfred and Emily (completed Mar. 1, 2009)
  10. Neal Stephenon, Snow Crash (completed Mar. 8, 2009)
  11. Richard Yates, The Easter Parade (completed Mar. 22, 2009)
  12. Lauren Groff, The Monsters of Templeton (completed Mar. 28, 2009)
  13. Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux (completed Mar. 28, 2009)
  14. Nicole Krauss, The History of Love (completed Apr. 5, 2009)
  15. John Shors, Beneath a Marble Sky (completed Apr. 10, 2009)
  16. John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids (completed Apr. 27, 2009)
  17. Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (completed May 8, 2009)
  18. Steve Luxenberg, Annie’s Ghosts (completed May 24, 2009)
  19. Christopher Buckley, Thank You for Smoking (completed June 3, 2009)
  20. Ninni Holmqvist, The Unit (completed June 7, 2009)
  21. Monica Ali, In the Kitchen (completed June 29, 2009)
  22. Mackenzie Ford, Gifts of War (completed July 2, 2009)
  23. Azadeh Mouveni, Lipstick Jihad (completed July 4, 2009)
  24. Naseem Rakha, The Crying Tree (completed July 7, 2009)
  25. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera (completed July 24, 2009)

Here are the unread authors currently on my bookshelf. Of course, I won’t be reading all of these, and I may read library books by other authors as well, but you can expect to see reviews of books by some of these folks during the year.

  • Lloyd Alexander
  • Robert Barnard
  • Elizabeth Bloom
  • Anne Bronte
  • Anita Brookner
  • Anthony Burgess
  • James Canon
  • Thomas Cathcart/Daniel Klein
  • Willa Cather
  • Raymond Chandler
  • David Eddings
  • Nora Ephron
  • Kitty Burns Florey
  • Esther Freud
  • Kate Fox
  • Gabriel Garcia-Marquez
  • Sue Gee
  • William Gibson
  • Sam Gosling
  • Jo Graham
  • Kenneth Grahame
  • Cindy Guidry
  • Dashiell Hammett
  • George Hagen
  • Mary Hays
  • Joseph Heller
  • Zoe Heller
  • Georgette Heyer
  • Susan Hill
  • Carolyn Hougan
  • Frances Iles
  • M.R. James
  • Sarah Orne Jewett
  • Marilyn Johnson
  • Mildred Armstrong Kalish
  • Harlan Lane
  • Deborah Larsen
  • Heather Lende
  • Jim Lovell
  • Robert MacNeill
  • Roisin McAuley
  • Susan McCarthy
  • Jonathan Miles
  • Jurgen Moltmann
  • Adam Nicolson
  • Howard Norman
  • Freya North
  • Andrew O’Hagan
  • Amelia Alderson Opie
  • Nicholas Ostler
  • Jeffrey Overstreet
  • Parker Palmer
  • Laura Penny
  • Nancy Perl
  • David Plotz
  • Pati Navalta Pobleze
  • Caroline Preston
  • Richard Preston
  • David A Price
  • Francine Prose
  • Stephen Prothero
  • Sarah Rayne
  • Don Robertson
  • Edward Rutherford
  • Joel Salatin
  • Diane Setterfield
  • Wendy Shankar
  • Carol Shields
  • John Shors
  • Lionel Shriver
  • Ali Smith
  • Jack and Rochelle Sutin
  • Daniel Taylor
  • Calvin Trillin
  • Todd Tucker
  • John Updike
  • Kurt Vonnegut
  • Jeanette Walls
  • Walter Wangerin
  • Sarah Waters
  • Katherine Weber
  • Simone Weil
  • Marjorie Williams
  • Connie Willis
  • Herman Wouk

Have you read any of these authors? Are there any here that you particularly love or hate? Are there any new authors you’re planning to try out this year?

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6 Responses to New Author Challenge

  1. meg89 says:

    I read Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, and I wasn’t that impressed. Of course, I didn’t read one of his well-renowned books, but rather a short novella, and I think I’m going to have to give him another shot with Love in the Time of Cholera or One Hundred Years of Solitude. I’ve read too many good things about those two books not to give one of them a shot.

    Good luck with you challenge!

  2. Juxtabook says:

    A nice idea for a challenge. I love lots of the authors in your list but especially Anne Bronte and Sarah Waters. i think AB is much under-rated. In contrst I think the other AB, Anita Brookner, is much over-rated.

    I am conscious in my own reading that I tend to stick with literary works in English mainly authors from the UK or Australia or north America. So my New Years Resolution is to read more lit in translation (Sadly English is the only language I have!) particularly from continental Europe.

  3. Kristen M. says:

    I have read quite a few Willa Cather books (did my high school senior English author project on her) and liked them all but it’s been years so I really need to go back and see if I still feel the same.

    Raymond Chandler is an easy read and worth the time, see? (I’m not sure that translates when I write it …)

    I’m also considering trying out William Gibson and Neal Stephenson this year. The husband has everything they have ever written (though he hasn’t enjoyed it all equally) so it’s all here in the house. I just need to pick something — I keep getting recommended Anathem so even though that’s Stephenson’s latest book, I might start with it.

    And Garcia Marquez is tough to get through so you really have to be dedicated to do it. I keep getting stuck on the fourth book of his that I am trying to read.

    I like your list! I think I might make one like it.

  4. I’ve read some books from Lloyd Alexander, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, William Gibson and Kurt Vonnegut.

    I’ve just loved Cat’s Cradle from Kurt Vonnegut and i’m addicted to Gabriel Garcia Marquez books – I feel the need to read at least two of his books per hear. They are not difficult, at least in spanish. I don’t know how good is the translation to english.

    I’ve read Prydain Chronicles from Lloyd Alexander… and let me put it this way – i was too old at 16 to fully apreciate them. If you want something like it, you have Zelazny or Poul Anderson.

    And i really can’t understand all the fuzz around William Gibson’s books… not after reading Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon or Black Man (Thirteen).

  5. Teresa says:

    meg89: Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 100 Years of Solitude has been on my list since high school, but my book club is reading Love in the Time of Cholera, so I’ll be starting there.

    Juxtabook: I can’t believe I’ve not read any Anne Bronte, given how much I love Charlotte Bronte. I may be making that a high priority this year. For European authors, I’m becoming a big evangelist for Jose Saramago.

    Kristen: Willa Cather is another author I’ve been meaning to read since high school. Maybe this will be her year.

    Cristina Alves: One of my book club friends was thinking of suggesting Slaughterhouse-Five to the group, but she didn’t. I may read it this year anyway. The Prydain books are ones that I feel bad about missing, and I do like reading children’s fiction now and then. I’ll check out the other authors you mention—good fantasy can be hard to find.

  6. Brittney says:

    I’ll chime in for Herman Wouk – his most famous two, Winds of War and the sequel War and Remembrance are two of my all time favorites. They are just really incredible examples of historical fiction and leave you feeling like an expert on WWII when you’ve finished. If you aren’t a fan of Clancy-style writing though, you may not get into them; he certainly requires some patience when you get to sections about wars and battle plans, but the plot pieces are always good.

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