USA Today’s "Authors fixate on their extreme passions" takes a look at authors who are willing to test their limits for their craft.
For instance, Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages chronicles Ammon Shea’s year long read of the massive, exhaustive, ENORMOUS OED. (Have I mentioned lately that word lovers should really check out The Professor and the Madman? If you’re interested in the OED, it’s a must read).
One author who is a mainstay in this genre if you will is A.J. Jacobs. He wrote Know It All about his quest to read the encyclopedia and The Year of Living Biblically.