Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2023

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Editado: Nov 20, 10:05 am

Hey, lookit how the year is disappearing beneath us! Time to come up with a list of authors for 2024.

Here's a list of authors who have been suggested previously, and not yet selected:

Laurie Halse Anderson
Sherwood Anderson
Harriet Arnow
Isaac Asimov
Ameriki Baraka
Nevada Barr
Saul Bellow
Chris Bohjalian
T. C. Boyle
James Lee Burke
Frances Hodgson Burnett
Erskine Caldwell
Bonnie Jo Campbell
Truman Capote
Wiley Cash
John Cheever
Kate Chopin
James Clavell
Ta-Nehisi Coates
James Fenimore Cooper
Robert Coover
Michael Cunningham
Samuel Delany
Philip K. Dick
Theodore Dreiser
Andre Dubus
Charles Eastman
Ralph Ellison
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Anne Fadiman
James T. Farrell
Edna Ferber
Shelby Foote
Jesse Hill Ford
Karen Joy Fowler
Tom Franklin
Gail Godwin
Lauren Groff
David Guterson
Alex Haley
Dashiell Hammett
Jim Harrison
Jon Hassler
G. W. Hawkes
Nathaniel Hawthorne
William Least Heat-Moon
Ben Hecht
Lillian Hellman
Mark Helprin
Oscar Hijuelos
Alice Hoffman
Silas House
Washington Irving
Sarah Orne Jewett
Denis Johnson
William Kennedy
Nella Larsen
Jeffrey Lent
H. P. Lovecraft
Alison Lurie
Norman Mailer
Adam Mansbach
Valerie Martin
William Maxwell
Alice McDermott
Herman Melville
James Michener
Robert Morgan
John Muir
Matthew Norman
Tim O'Brien
John O’Hara
Robert B. Parker
Walker Percy
Edgar Allan Poe
Katharine Anne Porter
Ron Rash
Henry Roth
Rainbow Rowell
Carl Sandburg
George Saunders
Anita Shreve
Lionel Shriver
Isaac Bashevis Singer
Lee Smith
Susan Sontag
Gertrude Stein
Sarah Stonich
Booth Tarkington
Peter Taylor
Studs Terkel
Jim Thompson
David Treuer
Luis Albert Urrea
Gore Vidal
Willy Vlautin
James Welch
John Edgar Wideman A 2023 selection
Thornton Wilder
Meg Wolitzer
Daniel Woodrell
Herman Wouk
Richard Wright

Further suggestions? Comments on any of the above? Do we want themes/categories again?

I am inviting/begging participation next year in the form of guest hosts for at least 3 months. Anyone who would like to put forth a favorite author and assume responsibility for that author's thread? You get to pick your month...

Nov 20, 12:34 am

We did Wideman this year.

Nov 20, 8:38 am

Have we done Conrad Richter in the past?

Nov 20, 10:05 am

>2 kac522: Thanks, Kathy. I was working from the suggestions list we built last year, and I thought I'd deleted all the 2023 selections.

>3 fuzzi: I don't believe so. Here are the lists for previous years:

JANUARY Graphic novels, comics and/or non-fiction
FEBRUARY Tess Gallagher
MARCH Bernard Malamud
APRIL Jennifer Finney Boylan
MAY 19th Century American Author of your choice
JUNE John Dos Passos
JULY Gish Jen
AUGUST Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
SEPTEMBER Pulitzer Prize Winners
NOVEMBER Native American authors, themes and history
DECEMBER Martha Gellhorn

JANUARY All in the Family Spouses, partners, parents and children who all write.
FEBRUARY Ethan Canin
MARCH Roxane Gay
APRIL Americans Who Make Music
MAY Mary McCarthy
JUNE Ken Kesey
JULY Native American Authors and Themes
AUGUST Connie Willis
SEPTEMBER Howard Norman
OCTOBER Attica Locke
NOVEMBER Albert Murray
DECEMBER Young Adult
WILD CARD---You name it, you read it.


AAC 2020 Wild Card--Sci-Fi/Fantasy
January: Charles Frazier
February: Grace Paley
March: David McCullough
April: Francine Prose
May: E. Lynn Harris
June: Jean Stafford
July: Wendell Berry
August: Robert Penn Warren
September: Dawn Powell
October: Ward Just
November: Ann Lane Petry
December: Tony Hillerman


January: Chaim Potok
February: Louisa May Alcott
March: Joe Clinch
April: Jesmyn Ward
May: Jay Parini
June: Pearl Buck
July: Founding Fathers and Mothers
August: Ernest J Gaines
September: Leslie Marmon Silko
October: Drama
November: W. E. B. Du Bois
Wild Card - Genre Fiction

2018 (hosted by Mark)
January: Joan Didion
February: Colson Whitehead
March: Tobias Wolff
April: Alice Walker
May: Peter Hamill
June: Walter Mosley
July: Amy Tan
August: Louis L'Amour
September: Pat Conroy
October: Stephen King
November: Narrative Nonfiction
December: F. Scott Fitzgerald

2017 (hosted by Mark)
Octavia Butler
Stewart O'Nan
William Styron
Zora Neale Hurston
Sherman Alexie
James McBride
Patricia Highsmith
The Short Story
Ann Patchett
Russell Banks

2016 (hosted by Mark)
Anne Tyler
Richard Russo
Jane Smiley
Ivan Doig
Annie Proulx
John Steinbeck
Joyce Carol Oates
John Irving
Michael Chabon
Annie Dillard
Don Delillo

2015 (hosted by Mark)
Carson McCullers
Henry James
Richard Ford
Louise Erdrich
Sinclair Lewis
Wallace Stegner
Kent Haruf
Ursula K. Le Guin
Larry McMurtry
Flannery O'Connor
Ray Bradbury
Barbara Kingsolver
E. L. Doctorow

2014 (hosted by Mark)
Willa Cather
William Faulkner
Cormac McCarthy
Toni Morrison
Eudora Welty
Kurt Vonnegut
Mark Twain
Philip Roth
James Baldwin
Edith Wharton
John Updike
Larry Watson

Nov 20, 11:10 am

Both Herman Melville and William Least Heat-Moon would be welcome and,

if you ever do repeats, Ivan Doig, from 2016, delivers a great world from Two Medicine, Montana.

Nov 20, 12:51 pm

How about a general non-fiction theme next year?

Once the list is selected, I'll happily take on one of the months Linda. You do sterling work, and I am a weak participant I'm afraid, but happy to pitch in.

Nov 20, 3:29 pm

>5 m.belljackson: I am more than willing to do repeats. And I love Ivan Doig...I have recently introduced him to the president of our library board, who had never read him before.

>6 Caroline_McElwee: General non-fiction is a good idea. I enjoy reading non-fiction, but do sometimes need a little push to pick up something. You get a gold star for volunteering, Caroline. I really appreciate it.

Nov 20, 4:13 pm

A few to ponder perhaps not yet nominated:

Noah Hawley
AM Homes
Paul Auster
James M Cain
Billy Collins
Pete Dexter
Jennifer Egan
Jeffrey Eugenides
Cynthia Ozick
Sharon Penman
Maggie Shipstead
Thomas Stowell
Neal Stephenson
Paul Theroux
Tom Wolfe

Possible themes
American Jewish Lit
Asian American Fiction
American History

Nov 20, 4:29 pm

Ayan Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia, fled to Holland, and eventually became an American citizen,
so not sure if she would qualify. Nomad is compelling reading.

Editado: Nov 21, 10:27 am

>8 PaulCranswick: Thanks for the suggestions, Paul. Two names on that list I do not recognize at all. I think American Jewish literature would be a great selection for a theme/category month.

>9 m.belljackson: I'm willing to stretch the definition of American Author pretty far, but Ali has been a U. S. citizen for a relatively short period of time, and she is more a global phenomenon than an American one. Taking nothing away from her brilliance or the quality of her work, I think perhaps she doesn't quite make the cut for this challenge, even by my flexible standard. ETA: If you want to talk about Ali's work in the context of this challenge, maybe we can have a Wild Card for 2024 that would accommodate that.

Nov 21, 10:10 am

I would host in June for queer American authors.

Nov 21, 10:12 am

I would like to see Saul Bellow included next year; he has a lot of options. He would also fit in Jewish American authors however. I would volunteer for Jewish American author and/or Saul Bellow.

Editado: Nov 21, 10:22 am

>11 lycomayflower: Yay! You're in.

>12 Kristelh: Wonderful...thank you! You pick whether you'd rather do Bellow or a general category of Jewish American authors. And pick your month.

Nov 21, 12:57 pm

>13 laytonwoman3rd:. I will take November and I will do Jewish American authors. November being generally the traditional month of Jewish Book Month. It is held annually in the month before the Chanukah gift-giving season.

Nov 21, 1:06 pm

>10 laytonwoman3rd: Wild Card would be welcome until she can fit in another or a new category!

Nov 21, 1:12 pm

>14 Kristelh: Excellent!

>15 m.belljackson: I'll work on an appropriate Wild Card choice. Perhaps, "Recent Arrivals", or something similar?

Nov 22, 11:45 am

>16 laytonwoman3rd: Hmm...I did a search for American Islamic Writers and found Khaled Husseini and Malcolm X to join Ayan Hirsi Ali for a Wild Card Day!

Nov 23, 6:21 pm

I have no author or category to suggestion. But I did pluck 18 names from Linda's list that I favor.

1 Truman Capote
2 Wiley Cash N2M
3 Michael Cunningham N2M
4 Samuel Delany
5 Philip K. Dick
6 Lauren Groff
7 Nathaniel Hawthorne
8 William Least Heat-Moon N2M
9 H. P. Lovecraft N2M
10 Alison Lurie N2M
11 Norman Mailer
12 William Maxwell N2M
13 Tim O'Brien
14 John O’Hara
15 George Saunders
16 Gore Vidal
17 Willy Vlautin N2M
18 Richard Wright

New to Me -- N2M

Editado: Nov 24, 11:44 am

>18 weird_O: I'll second William Maxwell. He's an elegant writer and was a long-time editor of the New Yorker magazine. He was born in central Illinois and his works feature both small town and big city life.

One set of themes I'd like to see is Regions (Southern authors, Midwest authors, New England authors, West Coast, etc.). Like the Canadian theme it could include authors across centuries, ethnicities, and genre, and would introduce us to new places through writers who are rooted in that place.

Nov 24, 11:00 am

>19 kac522: I'm such a fan of regional writing, I can't believe I didn't force that theme on the challenge before now! And you're right, Maxwell is an excellent choice. He and Eudora Welty had a marvelous voluminous correspondence over the years, and reading it has been on my must-do list ever since it was published.

Nov 28, 5:01 pm

Just bumping this up, in case anyone else wants to chime in here. I'll try to put together a list by mid-December.

Nov 30, 2:47 pm

>8 PaulCranswick: love Penman!

Is your Tom Wolfe the one who wrote The Right Stuff? If so, excellent book.

Dez 4, 10:07 am

>22 fuzzi: Indeed Fuzzi, he is the very guy.

Editado: Ontem, 11:37 am

Here is my tentative list for 2024:

JANUARY MARK Twain Twain was featured in the in first AAC Challenge, way back in 2014. I think it’s time to revisit him. I’ve plunked him in for January, because his work is easily accessible on short notice. Most of us probably have something on the shelf already.

FEBRUARY Susan Sontag ETA: moved her from December

MARCH Truman Capote (How have we not read him before?)

APRIL General Non-Fiction to be hosted by Caroline Caroline_McElwee. (Thank you, thank you, thank you!). This can include history, science, essays on any subject, memoir, biography, cookbooks, self-help, correspondence, whatever suits your interests.

MAY William Maxwell

JUNE Queer Authors To be hosted by former professor, current editor, and No. 1 Daughter, Dr. Laura Koons lycomayflower, (Thank you, thank you, thank you!) who finds the term queer preferable and even more inclusive than the awkward and unpronounceable acronym LGBTQ+.

JULY Susan Power a/k/a Mona Susan Power

AUGUST Jeffrey Lent

SEPTEMBER Living American authors who were born outside the US but adopted this country as their home. This grew out of a suggestion for a Wildcard category, but I think it deserves a month of its own.

OCTOBER Katharine Anne Porter

NOVEMBER Jewish American Authors hosted by Kristel kristelh (Thank you, thank you, thank you!).

DECEMBER The Heartland (regional authors from the middle of the country)

There are a number of definitions of the American Heartland floating around, but for our purposes let’s say it includes Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois and Ohio. Parts of those states could also belong to another region, culturally, and they may get their chance in another year. ETA: moved here from February; see >26 laytonwoman3rd: below for explanation
FURTHER EDIT: Arguments can be made for adding states to this list, and most will be welcomed with very little justification required. If it feels like Heartland to you, read it. See >27 kac522:, >28 Kristelh:, >29 laytonwoman3rd: below.

WILD CARD 2015 Redux Pick an author from the 2015 Challenge to revisit, or to read for the first time. The list is here:

2015 AAC Authors
Carson McCullers
Henry James
Richard Ford
Louise Erdrich
Sinclair Lewis
Wallace Stegner
Kent Haruf
Ursula K. Le Guin
Larry McMurtry
Flannery O'Connor
Ray Bradbury
Barbara Kingsolver
E. L. Doctorow

Comments and further suggestions are welcome until about this time next week, when I'll make it final.


Complete the challenge by reading at least one work from the author or category featured each month AND one work from the Wildcard list each month.

There's no prize for this, (no "points" either, btw, unless you're giving them to yourself) but if this kind of thing appeals to you, go for it.

Editado: Dez 4, 1:35 pm

Looks good. My only quibble is with the regional states--where would you put Michigan, Wisconsin & Minnesota, if they're not in "The Heartland?" I don't have any specific authors in mind, but just wondering. I agree it's hard to define the regions, but I'm trying to come up with a "region" for these northern places.

Dez 4, 2:51 pm

>25 kac522: I contemplated using "The Midwest", which definitely would include those states. But in my mind, Minnesota (particularly) has more in common with Canada than with Kansas.. it is a dilemma. As usual, we can be flexible. If some author from Michigan or North Dakota seems to belong to "Heartland" culture, then they belong in the Heartland category.

On a recommendation from someone who thinks Sontag is too tough for December, I'm swapping her into the February position, so moving Heartland to December, when flexibility and wider scope may be welcome!

Dez 4, 4:41 pm

>26 laytonwoman3rd: Fair enough. I was thinking mostly of Wisconsin; nothing is more "heartland" to me than America's Dairyland.

Editado: Ontem, 8:12 am

We could set up a category of Border states for the future maybe. I live in Minnesota and have always thought of the area as the Midwest.

Editado: Ontem, 10:37 am

>28 Kristelh: I think Border states is a good choice for future. Minnesota is a "tall" state, so I suspect the top and bottom may have somewhat different characters, right? Any author that feels "heartland-ish" is suitable for the challenge, as far as I'm concerned. There can be overlap in many states. Missouri is both heartland and Southern.

>27 kac522: You're right; and Mona Simpson, for example, certainly carries that torch. Wisconsin is in.

Ontem, 11:10 am

>24 laytonwoman3rd: Well that all looks dandy to me, I already have books that work for each month. I'm not great at completing challenges, especially as right now I'm in the 'I want to read what I want to read' space, even if I do want to read much of what is on a challenge list. I'm not even fully attending my RL book group.

Looking forward to being your guide for General non-fiction month (which is where I'm enjoying much of my reading time at the moment, if not America specific).