2019 Reading Challenge: Read an Author’s Debut Novel

In 2019, Omaha Public Library (OPL) invites patrons to take part in a reading challenge! Starting in January, read or listen to a book coordinating to 12 different themes selected by OPL librarians. One theme will be highlighted each month, including suggestions for titles related to that theme.

Feel free to choose your own theme-related books and read your 12 books in any order you’d like! For all the details on the challenge click here.

To kick things off for the new year, check out some debut novels! The first full-length novel an author writes is considered their debut. Debuts give the reader the chance to see a fresh, new perspective in the world of novel writing. Authors begin finding their tone and voice through their first novels. While some authors carry that work through to bigger and better novels after their debut, other authors actually end up with their debut becoming their masterpiece, or most well-known work.

Consider Carson McCuller’s “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter,” Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22,” Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre,” Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” and Isabelle Allende’s “The House of the Spirits.” There’s also J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye,” William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies,” J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” All of these incredible works also hold the distinction of being the authors’ first forays into publishing a novel.

More recent debut works that created a name for the author as soon as they were published include: “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk, “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng, “White Teeth” by Zadie Smith, “The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan and “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini.

There’s also a children’s book you may have heard about, marking a British writers’ debut in 1997 - “Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone” (or as it is known in the U.S. - “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.”)

If those examples aren’t enough to convince you to give an author’s first novel a try, check out the list below for more ideas of debut works added to OPL's collection last year. You never know, you may just find your new favorite author! 

As you’re working through the challenge, feel free to tag @omahalibrary on TwitterInstagram or Facebook to let us know what book you’re reading to kick off the 2019 Reading Challenge!  

Omaha Reading Challenge 2019: Debut Novel

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