This is the first of a few different reading challenges that we plan to post here at IB. Because I am in the habit of biting off more than I can chew, I’m starting with the most in-depth challenge first, and I don’t know why. Isn’t that fun?
The books that serious readers perpetually want to read more of seem to be the prize-winners–Nobels, Pulitzers, Man Bookers. Many of us (cough) feel guilty that we haven’t perused more of these writers, since they’re supposed to be the best of the best. Now, finally, because nobody’s ever, ever done a challenge with prize winners before (ever, for serious… k, not really), we have a reason to read these pillars of the literary community! I mean, besides the fact that they’re really, really good writers.
We don’t expect you to read all of the award winners on the lists. Unless you’ve been keeping up, that would probably tie up your reading until my kids graduate high school (hint: I don’t have children). And we have a special twist for people who just aren’t that into reading a lot of literary fiction, or who have difficulty concentrating because you work 96 hours a week with a nagging spouse and four kids hanging off of you all the time. We know it happens.
Read the books. Once you’ve read the books, you need to
hand in a typed, double-spaced three-page report on the thematic significance of each book let us know that you finished a book or let us know when you’re finished with the challenge. You can do this one of two ways–leave us a link to your blog where you are keeping track, or just leave it in the comments. (Please, if you’re going to use the comments as an on-going way to keep track rather than just posting when you’re finished, make an initial post and then update with any subsequent posts as replies to your first post. While the world won’t end if you don’t do it this way, it’s just soooooo much easier to keep track.) Either way, leave us a definitive note when you’ve finished up so we can add you to our Textblock O’ Fame and send off your digital goodies.
Rules for individual aspects of the challenge posted below. The only other thing that we ask is for participants please to read new books rather than ticking off books that you’ve already read and being all “I’m done!!!!!1!” That’s not very challenging.
This particular challenge does not have any grand prize associated with it, but when you’ve completed the challenge, let us know and we will send you a bragging rights image. I haven’t made it yet, but I’m sure it’ll feature a half-naked woman. Please also note that at any time, we might decide to give out random prizes to participants just for the hell of it. We don’t like being predictable.
Because this doesn’t have a grand prize and because Prize Winners can be a bit of an undertaking, there’s no time limit on this challenge. Join when you like. Take as long as you want.
How to Participate
Choose a track from the ones listed below (you can do more than one at once and you can count a newly-read book across all challenges here at IB–from the time you start participating, any book read afterwards counts, even if you’re counting it toward another challenge). Wherever you’re keeping track of your challenges, please be sure to list 1) Which challenge you’re doing, and 2) which list the book in question comes from.
- Toe-Dippin’. You’re new to all of this literary prize stuff, or maybe you just have a lot of other books you want to read and can’t squeeze too many in. Your challenge is to read five books from either the Nobel or the Pulitzer list (links in the next option).
- Full-Frontal. You are not fucking around here–you want to read the best and the brightest, and a lot of them, even if it kills you. Your challenge is to read three (3) full-length books written by Nobel laureates; three (3) full-length novels that won the Pulitzer Prize; three (3) books that won the Man Booker Prize; and one (1) book (or one book from one author) each from the following: the PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction; the National Book Award for Fiction; and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature.
- In-freaking-sane. Read 25 books that have received an award . . . but that are not on any of the other lists directly linked from this page (no Nobels, no Pulitzers, and so forth). Must list the award information where you’re keeping track. Here’s a list of literary awards, here’s a list of fiction awards. Must be full-length works, not a poem or a short story (a novella would be skating it).
- Shortlist. You’ve read the main event, and you want to dig around in some of the not-quite-theres. Read two books each from the short lists of any year from the Booker prize, the National Book Award for Fiction, and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. (Big thanks to Kashfi for inspiring this challenge!)
- Jet-Setter. You find variety oh-so-spicy; it warms you up like a summer curry served you by a handsome, muscular cabana boy wearing a brilliant smile and little else. Ahem. Anywho, your task, should you choose to accept it, is to read the following, which may come from the Nobel list, the Neustadt list, the Jerusalem Prize list, the Ovid Prize list, or the literature category of the Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service list: 1 book from Canada, the U.S., or Mexico; 1 book from Central America/the Caribbean; 1 book from South America; 1 book from Africa; 2 books, one not-originally-English, from western Europe; 1 book from Eastern Europe; 1 book from Australia; 2 books from Asia (preferably one from western Asia and one from eastern Asia).
- Genre-Buster. Hey, there are other awards besides literary awards. Read one book from each of the following lists: the Hugo Award (sci-fi/fantasy); Nebula Award for Novels (sci-fi/fantasy); World Fantasy Award; Bram Stoker Best Novel Award (horror); Aurealis award for best horror novel; Crime Writers’ Association’s Gold Dagger (crime fiction); Mystery Writers of America; RITA awards (romance–fuck yeah, we’re going there).
- Extra Credit. Read one book from these random-ass awards that we found around the internet. This particular challenge may be subject to change as we find more oddball awards, but when/if I update, I’ll include the date so that you know if they were part of your original challenge or not: Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year; Literary Review’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award; Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award (chosen because Theakston’s is a brewery with its own book award–badass); Gaylactic Spectrum Awards (because I love the word “Gaylactic” so much I want to marry it–but I’d have to move to New York for that, fucking anti-gay activist bastards).
You can link back to this here page when linking to the challenge. You may also use this graphic, re-posted here for the ease of your scrollin’ finger:
And you can use this code to get both the image and the linky:
<a href="http://insatiablebooksluts.wordpress.com/award-winning-reading-challenge" /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/ZXFYc.png" title="Insatiable Booksluts Award-Winning Reading Challenge" /></a> <a href="http://insatiablebooksluts.wordpress.com/award-winning-reading-challenge" />Join the challenge!</a>
We’ll have an area where we will link to people who finish the challenge–if you don’t have a link, don’t worry, we’ll still list your name for posterity. Or you can link to any-damn-thing, we don’t really care what you link to.
Have fun! Hope to see you in the literary awards aisle! (Seriously, can we make that an aisle?)