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Topic: 2010 Historical Fiction Challenges

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Subject: 2010 Historical Fiction Challenges
Date Posted: 11/26/2009 5:52 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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The purpose of this thread is to outline the HF challenges for 2010. There are 2 as described below. Please feel free to post questions or comments here.

Challenge #1: Historical fiction by category. Meet the challenge by reading 10 books – one for each category below. This challenge contains 1 bonus category and one alternate category. Books read for challenge #1 qualify for challenge #2.

Challenge #2: Historical fiction by alphabet. Meet the challenge by reading 26 books. Each book must represent a different letter of the alphabet. Qualifying letters include the first letter in the first word of the title, excluding the title words, a, an, and the, or the first letter in the author’s first or last name.

Categories for Challenge #1

R U Kidding Me?!

Read a book categorized as historical fantasy or alternate history. Sample authors include Stephen Lawhead, Jean M. Auel, David Gemmel and Harry Turtledove.

Where Dat At?

Read a historical novel that takes place north of the equator, but not in the United States, Canada or Europe. Sample titles include The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley, Saga by Jeff Janoda and Odinn's Child by Tim Severin.

Pagan Past

Read a historical novel that takes place before the Common Era (before the Christian Era). Sample titles include Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin, Black Ships by Jo Graham, The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough (and others in the series).

Whodunit?

Read a historical mystery. Sample authors include Deanna Raybourn, Iain Pears, Sarah Waters and Charles Todd.

Birthday Book

Read a historical novel published during the year of your or your spouse’s (partners and common law relationships qualify!) birth, or the birth of one of your parents or siblings. To find books in this category, try a keyword searching using Amazon’s Advanced Search page (http://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Search-Books/b/ref=sv_b_0?node=241582011) and add the year to the publication date field. You can use a similar technique at WorldCat (http://www.worldcat.org/advancedsearch).

Habla Español?

Read a historical novel that takes place in Mexico or South America. Sample titles include Aztec by Gary Jennings, The Zigzag Way by Anita Desai, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, and The Unknown Shore by Patrick O'Brian.

Roots

Read a historical novel that takes place in the country of your or your spouse’s (partners and common law relationships qualify!) ancestors.

Read a Winner

Read a book from ALA’s annual Reading List. You will find the 2009 reading list here. The 2008 list, which is the first year for this award, appears here. Any book on these lists qualifies. It does not have to be historical fiction.

15 Minutes of Fame

Read a biographical novel. Biographical fiction tells the story of a real person. It may or may not be close to the actual history.

Continuing Saga

Read the second or any subsequent book in a series or trilogy. You know you liked the first one. You just need an excuse to continue reading the series.

Bonus – Color Me

Read a historical novel with the word for a color in the title or in the author’s name. The word may stand alone as in Green Darkness by Anya Seton or it may be part of a word in the title or author’s name; e.g., The King’s Persons by Joanne Greenberg.

Alternate Category

The purpose of the alternate category is to replace one of the original 10 categories of your choosing. You make up the alternate category. The only rules are that 1) the book must be historical fiction and 2) it cannot fall into one of the above 10 categories. In other words, you can’t replace the “Birthday Book” category with another historical mystery, for example.

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 11/26/2009 6:04 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
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Nice job Genie. I think I have lots of these on myshelf for challenge 1  except maybe something from my birth year, but I will check.

Quick claifying question When we say historical fiction does that include historical mysteries as a mystery is fiction. I have a whole book case of historical mysteries. Either way I am fine.

Alice

Date Posted: 11/26/2009 6:15 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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When we say historical fiction does that include historical mysteries as a mystery is fiction.

Yes, if the mystery is historical and it otherwise fits the category, go for it. Note, however, that if you use the alternate category, you cannot make it a historical mystery category because such a category already exists. Make sense?

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 11/26/2009 6:26 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
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gottcha. Thanks for clarifying.

One other question can one book cover more than one category or one book for one category.

For example I have several Japanese historical mystery series I am reading. So it could cover a historical mystery as well as book north of equator that is not United States, Canada or Europe.

Alice

Date Posted: 11/26/2009 6:28 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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One other question can one book cover more than one category or one book for one category.

Good question! I think we'll stick with the rule from 2009 - one title per category. So you have to read a different book for each category. However, the books you read for challenge #1 qualify for challenge #2.

Date Posted: 11/26/2009 6:34 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2008
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Genie, this looks great!  Thanks for the challenges!!



Last Edited on: 11/26/09 6:35 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/26/2009 6:48 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
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Great list, thank you!

Date Posted: 11/26/2009 7:43 PM ET
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FYI- for the year of birth category you can also do it here at PBS.  Hit search then do literature and fiction>genre fiction> historical fiction, then scroll down and one the left hand side one of the search options is by publication date.

I am so excited!  This is going to be awesome.  I've already finished making my list! :)



Last Edited on: 11/26/09 7:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/26/2009 7:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
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I posted under the list thread and went away to look for a book for my birthyear, and when I came back I realized I'm the first list--oh no!  Now I really have to finish the challenge or everyone will see that I didn't!  LOL

I have a question about the birthyear category.  In the classics forum, there's a challenge which requires a "classic historical fiction."  I looked for a definition of historical fiction so I would see exactly how it was defined, and one definition I saw was "a book about events that happened at least 50 years prior to the book being written, and that the author wrote about through research rather than personal experience."  Does this definition (or another similar one) apply to the historical novel for your birthyear?  In other words, does it have to be published in the year of your birth, but set a certain number of years before your birth year? 

Also, if we're doing the alternate challenge, does this just mean we pick any historical fiction book we want?

Thanks, this is going to be fun.

Date Posted: 11/26/2009 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2009
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Genie, this list is superb! I'm aleady so excited to start! I won't finish the 2009 challenge, unfortunately, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it since I didn't even start until July. But this year I'm in like Flynn! (Who is Flynn, anyway? lmao)



Last Edited on: 11/26/09 8:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 11/26/2009 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
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For birthdate challenge be cautious that you are getting the original publication date. Many of our older authors have been republished and the new publication dates show. Another good site is www.fantasticfiction.com  Just plug in an author and it comes up with all the books and their original publication date. So it helps if you have an author in mind.

Alice

Date Posted: 11/27/2009 7:56 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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In other words, does it have to be published in the year of your birth, but set a certain number of years before your birth year? 

I think the answer depends on when you were born. For instance, if you're as old as dirt, as I am, a contemporary novel written during the year of your birth, might now be considered historical fiction. Take Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, which was published in 1952. Many today would consider it historical fiction, although I think it was a contemporary novel at the time of publication. Boris Pasternak's Dr Zhivago, was published in 1957. It's HF in every sense of the word because it takes place during the Russian Revolution.

If your book fits either of these descriptions, it qualifies.

Also, if we're doing the alternate challenge, does this just mean we pick any historical fiction book we want?

Pretty much. The only rule is that you can't pick a book that falls into an existing category unless you can create a different category for it. So, take Arika's example of a historical mystery that takes place in Japan. If she doesn't read the book for either the Whodunnit? or Where Dat At? categories, she could make up an alternate category of, say, Asian Historical Fiction.

Does any of this make sense? Or have I been a teacher for too long?!

Date Posted: 11/27/2009 8:01 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Another good resource for locating the birthday book - Twentieth Century Literature. Under the heading Books & Resources, you'll find "20th C Russian Novels," 20C Classics 1900-1950," and "20C Classics 1950-2000."

Date Posted: 11/27/2009 10:32 AM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2008
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Genie - this is awesome, thank you!  I intend to make lists for both - Challenge 1 will be my first goal, and then Challenge 2 will be a stretch goal for me just to help prioritize knocking items off my TBR.  I'm printing these out now and heading to my bookshelf.  Good thing my husband's at work, he'd be rolling his eyes like crazy.  But I love this sort of thing!!

Date Posted: 11/27/2009 11:24 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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Genie, this is great! Seriously, great! Thank you for putting so much thought into it!!! I particularly love that there is such an opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zones (America & Europe).

Date Posted: 11/27/2009 11:32 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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I was just looking at the "Read A Winner" lists and saw that I've already read all but two of the winners from 2008, lol.

Genie, can we borrow from the shortlist? Or, does it have to be one that actually won? I'm thinking it probably needs to be one that actually won and that's okay; there are a couple on the 2009 list that I'd be happy to read.



Last Edited on: 11/27/09 11:33 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/27/2009 11:34 AM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
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The categories look excellent! I've picked all my books and have them post-it noted in a box. We'll see how long this anal-retentiveness lasts! :D I'm just so glad that I'm motivated to get through some books that I've had for a LONG time. There are some real oldies on my list!

Date Posted: 11/27/2009 11:58 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
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Michelle - I could've posted your post exactly!  I thought I'd wait until the weekend to figure out my list because last night when we got home from Thanksgiving festivities I was full and tired, but no!  I HAD to print out the categories and go sit at my bookshelf and make my list!  My DH thought I was insane.  I'm at work now, and have plenty to do, but I'll be posting my list soon!  The GREAT news is, I don't think I have to acquire more than one book for this year's challenge.  I have ALL that I need on Mt. TBR! 

Genie - Just to clarify, the books we read for challenge #1 can also be used for challenge #2 (alphabetical), correct? BTW, I loved how you gave us a "freebie" kind of by giving us the alternate category option.  None of the books on the lists for the Read A Winner category intrigued me (except the 2008 Mystery book, Mistress of the Art of Death, which I've already read, LOL!).  I'll be replacing that one with a category of my choosing. 

Date Posted: 11/27/2009 2:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2007
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Shelley- I was able to make my list for both challenges using only books from my shelves too (except for Y and Z on the alphabet challenge).  I don't know if thats a good thing or not-good because I won't have to buy more books, bad because I already have that many..

I made a point of using the oldest books on my shelf that qualified for the challenges so at least this year I'll be knocking out the stuff that has been on my shelf forever.

Genie-I too love the way you organized this one.  Even had me looking at a map to make sure I was picking a place north of the equator (love of history does NOT equal love of geography with me so I had to look..)

Now I can't wait for 2010 to get here so I can start these challenges.  Ok, now back to my book for the 2009 challenge....

Date Posted: 11/27/2009 3:10 PM ET
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Genie, can we borrow from the shortlist? Or, does it have to be one that actually won?

I think the shortlist is OK. They're still winners, right? It's all in how you define a "winner."

the books we read for challenge #1 can also be used for challenge #2 (alphabetical), correct?

Yes, that's correct.

Date Posted: 11/27/2009 3:11 PM ET
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Holly, I did the same as you with the world map.  I was even trying to figure out which countries were part of Europe and which weren't..  something I knew at some point in my life!  This has been such fun just picking out the books!  I have to admit though, most of mine came from the examples provided.

Date Posted: 11/27/2009 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2008
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Genie, can we borrow from the shortlist? Or, does it have to be one that actually won?

I think the shortlist is OK. They're still winners, right? It's all in how you define a "winner."

Am I correct in guessing that this also applies for the "Readers may also enjoy..." section on the 2008 list since there was no short list? (if it does count, then I actually have one from my TBR pile- my goal is to try to fill as many as possible with books I already own! :-P)

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 11/27/2009 4:40 PM ET
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WoooHoo. You made my day. I was so glad to sign on here and see this posted. I have been anticipating it. Now I am off to check my TBR...lol. Genie; I love the catagories BTW.
Date Posted: 11/27/2009 5:02 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
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Where Dat At?

 

Read a historical novel that takes place north of the equator, but not in the United States, Canada or Europe. Sample titles include The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley, Saga by Jeff Janoda and Odinn's Child by Tim Severin.

I have a question .... Are Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England included as part of Europe?  Wikipedia says yes, but is that true for this challenge also?

Date Posted: 11/27/2009 7:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
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My birth year book is going to be a MAJOR challenge--I've found a few obscure old novels listed online that are described as HF but there is no synopsis (just a few used copies for sale) and I'm afraid to buy a book not knowing anything about it.  My problem is that I'm trying to fit the description of HF as being fiction that was history at the time of writing.  There is one well-known author who wrote an appropriate book that year, but it wouldn't be my first choice of subject matter.  And that's probably good, because that's where the "trying new things" part comes in.  I'm going to keep looking for a while and see if I can find more books published that year.

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