I don't really tend to do challenges because I tend to keep my reading as fun, unstressful, and...well...as unchallenging as I can. But I think I am going to do one "challenge" this year.  

I'm dubbing it the Castle Poker Challenge.

There's an American TV comedy/crime show called Castle, centering around the life of the eponymous Richard Castle, a crime novelist who manages to finagle his way onto various police cases. Castle is played by Nathan Filion, aka Captain Mal from Firefly, aka Captain Hammer from Doctor Horrible's Singalong Blog. I haven't seen much more than the first season, but at least at that point, one of my favourite moments of the show was Castle's poker games.

Because, you see, Castle's poker buddies are all famous authors of detective fiction.
Real-life famous authors.[1]

So here's my proposed (extremely wimpy and unchallenging) challenge: read at least one novel from each of the Poker Buddies.

Dennis Lehane: Author of Patrick Kenzie & Angie Gennaro novels.  New to me--the only book of his I've read so far is Gone, Baby Gone.  Most famous books are Shutter Island and Mystic River--I might take on one of those.[2]

Stephen Cannell: Author of Shane Scully novels.  I've never made it through any of his books--I started one (all I remember is that it was late in the series), but gave up in the first chapter because the simplistic sentence structure drove me nuts.  I need to try again.

Michael Connelly: One of my favourite authors; has written the Harry Bosch series, the Mickey Haller series, etc.  I've read around a dozen of his books, but there are plenty more to go.  He's also written some nonfiction about his time as a police reporter.  I might try that.

James Patterson: apparently ridiculously prolific; has a rep for sticking his name onto less well-known authors' books to give them a boost and him a book.  Because I generally disapprove of this, I've never read his books, but I probably should at least give them a try.  My library appears to be having a literary love affair with him--I think they must have most of the books he wrote and/or cowrote.

Richard Castle: Hasn't let being a fictional character halt his career.  Believe it or not, there are several "Richard Castle" books in my library.  


By the way, if you're a mystery fan, Castle is a hoot, at least for a few episodes.

[1] It was apparently a big enough deal that there were some news articles about it.  Marlowe, the terrifyingly-appropriately-named showrunner, wanted to recruit Jonathan and Faye Kellerman, two authors I've recently discovered, Stephen King, and Sue Grafton, but scheduling was problematic. Apparently Filion wanted Robert B. Parker, Max Brooks, or Stephen King--not sure if any of those ever happened, as I didn't find any later articles about it.

[2] I got the idea after I looked up Dennis Lehane today, trying to figure out which of his books to tackle next, and learned he was one of the poker buddies.