Saturday, September 08, 2007

Celebrate the Author Challenge

Though my timing may not be the best, I believe a lot of challenge-addicts ARE shopping around for 2008 Challenges beginning in January. (Yes, I am one of them.) And while it is true that I will already be hosting a challenge, the Cardathon Challenge, next year. I can't resist starting another one.

This is a twelve month challenge (January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008).

The challenge is designed to "celebrate" author birthdays. Choose one author for each month of the year. Read at least one book a month. 12 authors. 12 birthdays. If you like, you can read MORE than that. If you're really obsessive, you might want to "celebrate" all 52 weeks of the year. (But even I am not THAT zealous!) The challenge is designed to 'celebrate' the special bond--the connection--that occurs between the author AND the reader as well as the connection between readers. It is very easy to "bond" with other readers over certain works, certain authors, etc.

There are several websites that will do the hardwork for you. Such as Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators: Author Birthday List by Date and by Name. And And Author/Birthday Web Directory. And Teen Author Birthday Index. You can search the internet for general birthday information. Or choose your authors, search the web for bio information, and see if you can work it all out that way. (Hint: typing the authors name, a "+" and the word 'birthday', tends to work if you assume that wikipedia gets such things right.)

You can choose picture books, poetry books, early readers, chapter books, fiction for middle grades, fiction for teens, adult reads, nonfiction, whatever you want. You could choose 12 picture books. You can read books in or out of your comfort zone.

You might want to make a list and choose alternatives for each month...that way you can narrow it down as you go. And you do NOT have to choose a book until the very moment you're ready to start reading. Just pick a handful of authors.

And here's the secret. If you change your mind, just be sure to change your list to reflect that change. I don't care how many times you change your list.

Edited to add: How does this challenge work? On the 15th of each and every month, I will post a Celebrate-the-Author Roundup. When you've read the book for that month, simply leave me a comment in the roundup post. I'll take everyone's links and write something up. That way you can visit other participants books and get a sense of what everyone else is doing for the challenge. The reviews might even begin to influence your to-be-read pile! At the end of the year, I will then do a roundup of all the months' roundups. I might ask--I probably will ask--you to write up a post summarizing your year, picking your favorites, etc. I'll link to those as well.

Edited to Add: This came up in the A Novel Challenge yahoo group, but I thought I'd post about it here as well. If you're signed up to participate, and you miss a month, I would encourage you to continue on with the challenge. I will allow (happily allow) you to play catch-up. So if it's June by you missed a month or two, then feel free to go back and celebrate those author birthdays now. If at any time you miss a month, you can play catch up whenever you have the time. But I don't allow you to read ahead of schedule. You can't "celebrate" author birthdays ahead of time. No celebrating August or December birthdays in July, for example. The goal is to have an author representing each of the twelve months.

Here's my list:

January: A.A. Milne
January alternatives: Rosemary Wells, Lewis Carroll, Lloyd Alexander
February: Laura Ingalls Wilder
February alternatives: Russell Hoban, Judith Viorst, Jules Verne, Susan Beth Pfeffer
March: Lois Lowry
March alternatives: Dr. Seuss, Patricia MacLachlan, Mem Fox, Libba Bray,
April: Beverly Cleary
April alternatives: Barbara Park, Lee Bennett Hopkins,
May: Scott O'Dell
May alternatives: M.E. Kerr, Arnold Lobel, Leo Lionni, Scott Westerfeld,
June: Carolyn Meyer
June alternatives: Laurence Yep, Chris Van Allsburg, Robert Munsch, Maurice Sendak, Eric Carle, Brian Jacques
July: E.B. White
July Alternatives: Patricia Polacco, Peggy Parish, Sharon Creech
August: Orson Scott Card
August Alternatives (like I'll need one)...: Patricia McKissack, Don Freeman, Walter Dean Myers, John Green
September: Roald Dahl
September alternatives: H.G. Wells, Taro Yashima, H.A. Rey, Tomie dePaola, Melissa de la Cruz
October: Lois Lenski,
October alternatives: Russell Freedman, Ursula LeGuin,
November: C.S. Lewis
November alternatives: L.M. Montgomery, Mark Twain, Frances H. Burnett, Holly Black,
December: Mercer Mayer
December alternatives: George MacDonald, Jan Brett, Avi, Eve Bunting, Stephenie Meyer,

If you're interested, please leave a comment telling me that you are at least thinking in joining the party. And when you have your list ready OR your announcement ready then you may join up via Mr. Linky.

The images above are 'free' clip-art from this site. You may use it to promote this challenge or pick another generic birthday-related image to post with your list.


Paige Y. 5:58 AM  


I'm interested but it may take me a couple of days to come up with a list. I've got to catch up on a few other things first.

Faith 2:28 PM  

Becky, I am definitely doing this challenge. I'll get my list up by the end of this weekend.

Becky 2:45 PM  

Paige and Faith:

I'm glad you're both joining! I think it will be a lot of fun. :)

Pattie 5:06 PM  

Fascinating! I'll have to check this out...

sally906 6:34 AM  

I haven't got a complete list - but have made a start

Becky 9:07 AM  

Welcome, Sally. Hope you'll join us, Pattie!

Kathleen 12:09 PM  

You've reeled me in. I'll be doing picture books with my kids since I already have so much reading to do in 2008.

Becky 1:53 PM  

Callista, welcome!!! I am glad you'll be joining us reading picture books. They are very fun. There aren't really many challenges out there that will allow picture books, but I think that they are very important to fit in--especially if you have kids :)

Paige Y. 3:22 PM  

My list is now posted!

Mo 11:49 AM  

mmmmm...okay, this one sounds like too much fun to pass by! Let me get some sort of list together, and I'll be back...

sally906 4:30 AM  

My list is now up - well the authors are - I will narrow down the actual book selection a bit closer to the time:)

soleil 9:41 AM  

this sounds like a great challenge! i definitely plan on playing. :)

Stephanie 12:14 PM  

You are KILLING me Becky!! This sounds like a great challenge. But I already signed on for the Cardathon. I may have to think about this one for awhile!!

Framed 10:59 PM  

I think this sounds like lots of fun, but it will take some time for me to get my list going. Great idea!

Nan 9:23 AM  

I just love this! The best thing is that all kinds of books are welcome. I think I'll read a variety of types. I'll get my list together soon. But I'm not sure what "mr linky" is? And is there a picture I put on my blog? Thanks for offering this great challenge.

Becky 9:41 AM  


I did go out and hunt a generic type picture for the challenge. I just don't know how to make my own! It looks like you figured out Mr. Linky even without knowing what he is. (It is the 'box' asking for name and site address.)

Nan 12:10 PM  

How about the idea of reading about an author in their birth month, such as a biography? I'm assuming that would work?

Becky 12:16 PM  

Yes, that would work! It's a great idea in fact.

Nan 5:17 PM  

My list is up on the sidebar of my blog:


alisonwonderland 12:21 PM  

becky, what a great concept! i definitely want in on the fun! i'll let you know when i get my list together!

Dewey 1:50 PM  

Oh, I definitely want to do this! I'm finding out what sorts of challenges I like, and it turns out I most like those you can personalize, like the Something About Me challenge or the 888 challenge of this one! I also like nice long challenges so I have plenty of time to get the books and read them. Thanks for hosting this!

Becky 1:57 PM  

Dewey and Alisonwonderland,

So glad you're joining!!!! It is my pleasure to be hosting this, Dewey. I like ones you can personalize too. I like the flexibility as well.

Dewey 7:21 PM  

I have my list all picked out, but I probably won't post it til next week.

Amanda 12:38 PM  

I finally have my list ready. Now we just need January to get here!!!

Debi 5:48 AM  

Oh Becky, this is a fabulous idea! I think I'm going to devote this challenge to choices to read to my boys. I'll be back when I come up with my list, which of course is part of the fun. Thanks for hosting this!

Anonymous,  3:02 PM  

This sounds intereting to me. Found a couple of great websites that had fav authors, but I can't figure out web pages, so I have to post on the list site.

I have a strt on a list, having trouble with April and November.

Becky 4:54 PM  

I'm not quite sure what you're asking. But I want to be a helpful host. If you don't have a website but want to participate, you may post your list here in the comments section.

If you're asking for advice on which authors would be good for April and November. It's really hard to give unless I know your tastes :) I would suggest doing a google search on either "author birthdays" or search individually for your favorite author's birthdays. For example, "Scott Westerfeld +birthday" into the search engine of your choice.

If you need help joining via Mr. Linky--I believe I saw you asking this on ANovelChallenge yahoo group--I have answered that question there.

Mr. Linky is a tool that many bloggers use especially when
it comes time for challenges and poetry friday.
Essentially, visitors would either see a box that says
"click here you're first" or "click here you're next" and
then be asked to give their name and their web address. For
challenges this is useful because participants can link
directly to their post about the challenge. Say I wanted to
join a challenge--Fall Into Reading for example. I'd post
to my blog about it saying which books I'd want to read.
Then I'd copy the site address of that post
into the Mr. Linky form/box on Callapidder Day's website.
That way Katrina could visit my site. All the participants
could visit my site. And I could visit their sites as well.
It's a way for all participants in a challenge to be linked
together in a convenient place on the host's site.

There are two main versions of Mr. Linky. One I've already
described. The second is very similar. You will see a box
that says: This site is using auto-links. To add your link
to the list, enter your name and URL in the form below and
press Enter.

You will see two places to type. One says "Your Name." The
second says "Your URL." In the first, you might type your
name, nickname, or website (Becky, Becky's Book REviews,
for example). In the second, you would type or paste your
site address or url:

Then you would click "enter"

Anonymous,  6:31 AM  

I am in and it will take a while to make a list.

Anonymous,  12:48 PM  

OMG!! This is such a wonderful challenge Becky!! What a great idea, and thank you for hosting! I'm in, but like everyone else, it will definitely take awhile to come up with a list!

Becky 1:01 PM  

Welcome to Kristina and Gautami! :)

Lorraine 1:03 AM  

Wow, I'm new at this and finding EVERYTHING a challenge. But anyway, I like the idea of this book challenge, not sure how to sign up for it, though. BTW, I'm an AMC fan as well, Becky!

Becky 9:27 AM  

Lorraine, consider yourself officially signed up :)

Sunnysmileqt 9:14 PM  

Becky this is an awesome idea. I'm working on my list and should have it up in a few days :)

Lorraine 2:49 AM  

Here is my list, I don't know if I'm supposed to post it here, but it's also on my blog:
Here is my list for the Celebrate the Author Challenge:

January--Harlan Coben
February--Judy Blume
March-Alice Hoffman (Alternate-Judith Rossner)
April--Beverly Lewis
May--Susan Wiggs (Alternate-Maeve Binchy)
June--Rona Jaffe (Alternates-Pete Hamill, Ariella Papa)
July--Laurie Gwen Shapiro (Alternate-Michael Connelly)
August--Carla Neggers (Alternate-Barbara Delinsky)
September-Marion Keyes (Alternate-Robert B. Parker)
October--Debbie Macomber
November--Lori Foster (Alternate-Margaret Atwood)
December--Elizabeth Berg (Alternate: Joan Didion)

Anonymous,  4:42 PM  

I don't think i posted these yet.

Here's my list:
Jan Harlan Cobin
Feb Saul, John,
Alternate: John Sanford, Eliz George
Mar Krentz
Apr Lewis, Beverly
May Deaver, Jeffrey, Alternate: Phoebe Conn
June Kathleen Woodiwiss, Alternate: Tessgeritsen
July Sharon Sala, Alternate: John MacDonald
Aug: carla Neggers
Alternate: Linda Howard, Margaret Moore,
Sep Victoria Holt, Jean Plaidy Phyllis Whitney, Roberta Gellis, Katherine Sutcliffe
Oct James Michner, Debbie Macomber, Kay Hooper
Nov Lewis, CS
DEc Veatrice Small, Mary HIggins Clark, Virginia Hensley

BooksPlease 10:57 AM  

Becky, I've just found this challenge today. As it doesn't start until January I assume it's ok to join in. I have put my list on my blog. So far it's just a list of authors - I particularly like the idea that I can change it at any time.

Becky 10:59 AM  

Yes, you're welcome to join in the fun up through the second or third week of January!

alisonwonderland 11:34 PM  

i got my preliminary list of authors posted. i'll pick the books as we go. thanks for the fun idea!

Joy 3:41 AM  

I linked my List of Possibilities! I'm go to go! :) Thanks, Becky.

Dewey 10:49 AM  

Becky, I changed my list all around. Here is my new list:

January: Jasper Fforde
February: Alice Walker
March: Ellen Raskin
April: Virginia Hamilton
May: Jodi Picoult
June: Barbara Gowdy
July: Nancy Farmer
August: Walter Dean Myers
September: Roald Dahl
October: Zadie Smith
November: Neil Gaiman
December: Douglas Coupland

Susan 12:04 PM  

Hurray, you're doing it for 2008! I found my way to all the writing blogs only in September of this year, so was far too late to join this one for this year, but it looked really interesting, so thanks for running it count me in, I have to go make up a list now! I'll let you know when it's ready.

Anonymous,  9:52 PM  


I love your idea for this challenge. Here's my tenative list:

Jan-Philippa Gregory
Feb-Laura Ingalls Wilder
Mar-Anna Sewell
Apr-Barbara Kingsolver
May-Daphne duMaurier
Jun-Kathleen Woodiwiss
Aug-Barbara Delinsky
Sep-Jean Plaidy
Nov-Louise Mary Alcott
Dec-Willa Cather

I'm still working on July and October.

Sep-Jean Plaidy

Kara 12:14 PM  

I would love to do this challenge. This is my first year doing challenges and I thought this one would be a great one to add to my list!! My list of authors will be posted on my sidebar - probably today. Thanks for hosting this challenge.

krin 12:40 PM  

Hi! I finally posted my list on my blog. I'm looking forward to doing this challenge!

Anonymous,  2:21 PM  

Neato Mosquito!! My list is up and I'm excited about this challenge!! WooHoo!!

Becky 11:33 PM  

I'm list is up!

Anonymous,  2:46 AM  

Hi Becky! I've decided to sign up for this nice challenge since I love books and birthadys. What a perfect combination! Thanks for this great opportunity!

Anonymous,  11:09 AM  

Thanks for such a fun challenge, Becky! This one seems custom made for me to make my first-ever foray into reading challenges. I've got my list posted, but aside from reading and reviewing the books I'm not sure of the other details... Is there a day each month when we link back? (Sorry if I'm asking something obvious...!)

Becky 11:29 AM  

Great question. I guess I had formulated this in my head, but never mentioned it in the post. I've edited the original post, and I've posted a clarification. Hopefully, participants will see one or the other.

To answer your question, mid-month (15thish) I'll post a round-up of everyone's posts. That doesn't mean you have to read your book by that date. It just means that's the post where you'll leave the link to your review.

Anonymous,  1:16 PM  

Got it. Thank you!

Kimberly/lectitans 7:44 PM  

I'm ready to go with my list posted here:

Kim 4:16 AM  

I am joining! This one looks like it is up my alley--I love children's books and read to my children all the time when they were younger. I will post my list either tonight or tomorrow and then I will sign M. Linky.

Tara @ Tales of a Book Addict 1:11 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tara @ Tales of a Book Addict 1:35 PM  

Sorry about my last comment. My list can be found here:

Kim 2:22 PM  

I may be the last one, but I am squeaking in on January 1st! This is a great challenge and thanks to you, Becky for making it so user friendly. :)

I look forward to a great year of reading with everyone.


Anonymous,  5:52 AM  

Hi, Becky :)
Count me in. My list is in this link:

Anonymous,  4:37 AM  

Becky - I had to change my January book. Instead of PEACHTREE ROAD by Anne Rivers Siddons, I'm reading NEVER HAVE YOUR DOG STUFFED by Alan Alda. My updated list is on my blog.

Mo 4:49 PM  

Come read my review of The Gods Themselves", to "Celebrate Asimov" in January!

Kara 8:13 AM  

I just read the edited part of this challenge - are we still doing the roundup on the 15th. Where do I post my January read? This is a great challenge - I am enjoying celebrating the authors that I love!!

Nan 6:24 PM  

Dear Becky, I thank you for offering this challenge, but I'm writing to let you know I'm letting it go. I guess I am just the kind of person who wants to read what I want to read, when I want to read it. I'm sorry.

krin 8:06 PM  

Hi. Is there a place to link our February book?


Becky 9:05 PM  

The roundup posts will always be found on the fifteenth of each month.

Mo 7:17 AM  

Help!! I can't seem to find March's round-up post, but you can find my selection for it here

(in celebration of Alice Hoffman)

ummm...I will check back, looking for the round-up, cause that's a FAB idea, and I luv reading everyone's choices!!

Susan 10:30 PM  

Hi Becky, Just checking in since I realized I never sent you a copy of my books!!! Here it is:
* December - Jane Austen - Persuasion * (888 Classics)
* November - Neil Gaiman - Coraline
* October - Lynn Flewelling - The Oracle's Queen
* September - TBD
* August - Ted Hughes - Birthday Letters * (TBR)
* July - TBD
* June - TBD
* May - Angela Carter - The Bloody Chamber
* April - Ian Rankin - Exit Music
* March - Robin Hobb - Shaman's Crossing
* February - James Joyce - Ulysses
* January - Virginia Woolf - Mrs Dalloway - DONE
I had problems finding Ulysses, so I will read that when I finally get a copy from the library. Sorry I am so late giving this to you! The books are posted on my main page too.

Unknown 5:43 AM  

Hi Becky-

This is Judy from A Novel Challenge. Since I am starting late, may I do 8 books instead of 12 and if you do this again next year, I promise to read 12 books. Thanks!

Becky 11:25 AM  

Judy, yes you may do eight books for this year :)

Anonymous,  7:12 PM  


I finished the Challenge, but I have to admit I fudged a little at the end. I read the last couple of books early as I needed to finish all my 2008 challenges by November. I'll do it right next year!

Thanks for hosting this fun challenge.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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