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Topic: 2011 HF Challenge Planning - It's Never Too Early! - LAST CALL!

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Subject: 2011 HF Challenge Planning - It's Never Too Early! - LAST CALL!
Date Posted: 10/12/2010 2:50 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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Welcome to the first stage of the 2011 HF Challenge!   It might seem a little early and in fact, we are about 2 weeks ahead of where we started planning last year.  But I'd like to get the format and categories published by early November so you have plenty of time before the busy holiday season to plan your strategy.  I will serve as your Gentle Coordinator, but Deb will be the one thrashing you with the wet noodle if you break the rules. 

I have a general format in mind.  It is definitely "adjustable" so you can decide if you are in for a penny or a pound.  It would take anywhere from 6 to 30 books depending on what parts you choose to do.  But there are still a lot of details to work out, so let's hear your ideas.  To save a little time, I have culled suggestions from last year that didn't get used and some others that have been mentioned since then.  Some are ones from 2009 that people wanted to repeat.  I didn't include any specific repeats from 2010, but feel free to suggest some if you want to try them again.  This will give you a place to start.  I can't wait to hear what you guys come up with!

  1. 'read our way thru history'---see if we could find titles from pre-history thru present
  2. "read a book recommended by one your HF buddies" 
  3. What we do in the name of Love - a book about one of the great relationships in history; or about a leading historical figure and his/her spouse. examples: Nicholas & Alexandria; Casaer & Cleopatra; Henry & Eleanor; Louis & Marie Antoinette; George & Martha Washington.
  4. Classic - Read/re-read a classic
  5. Book published at least 30 years ago 
  6. Patron of the Arts - Read one book about a famous work of art, music, or the theatre.
  7. New to you Author -
  8. Non-fiction book - 
  9. a book with a child narrator/main character
  10. read a book set on each continent (well, excluding Antarctica unless you can find one). 
  11. a time travel theme, where the main characters are based in the present but either are reflecting or time travel back to another time in history.
  12. the oldest book on your TBR
  13. Read one nonfiction (biography or autobiograpy)  book on a person you have enjoyed reading historical fiction about. Tells us how they compare.
  14. Read a historical fiction book set in a country you have never read about before.
  15. Read one from you favorite series that you have not finished.
  16. Medieval historical fiction
  17. Prehistoric fiction
  18. Ancient Egyptian fiction
  19. Gay protagonist
  20. Murder in the plot
  21. Female protagonist
  22. African setting
  23. "Deflowering" - for those who still haven't read anything from one of the HF Forum's "Big Three" (SKP, BC, EC) or other notable HF writers

Let me know which ones of these you like, or suggest some others!



Last Edited on: 10/26/10 12:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 10/12/2010 3:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2009
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It's never too early is right!  This looks very thorough, Christa, thanks!  I'm going to leave any suggestions and ironing out of kinks to the veterans of these challenges, though. :) 

Date Posted: 10/12/2010 4:05 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
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Some of the categories look hard to find.  I assume the kid means told from a kid viewpoint.  Right?  And, did you mean a book from each continent?



Last Edited on: 10/12/10 8:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/12/2010 5:28 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
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...Deb will be the one thrashing you with the wet noodle if you break the rules.

So true! However, I'm always open to bribes (money, chocolate, WL books....).

Date Posted: 10/12/2010 5:58 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
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I'm in and I have no preference as to what topics are included, what the challenges are, etc., etc. I will defer to Christa and the wishes of those who have stronger feelings on the subject than I do.  All of Christa's ideas are intriguing, with the possible exception of the child narrator/protaganist.  For some reason, I don't like books with kids as the main characters or that have a storyline that revolves around them. Guess I'm not a "kid" person.  (It's strange that I have 4 of them.  Then again, maybe that explains it. I read to escape them!)

However, I do reserve the right to whine, complain and gripe later when something is not to my liking.  devil



Last Edited on: 10/12/10 6:00 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/12/2010 6:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
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Guess I'm not a "kid" person.  (It's strange that I have 4 of them.  Then again, maybe that explains it. I read to escape them!)

Bwahahahahahahaha. 

Date Posted: 10/12/2010 7:59 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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Shelly, I have to agree re the kid viewpoint. Didn't Susan Higginbotham attempt that strategy in the first few chapters of The Stolen Crown? It was the only part of the book that didn't work for me, and I almost didn't continue reading it. (I'm glad I did, though, as it was a good book overall.) But when kids tell the story, they often are a) boring b/c they don't have enough worldly knowledge/experience or b) precocious.

The only book I recall reading and enjoying, which was told from a kid viewpoint, was The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. But, alas, it's not HF.

BTW, I'm happy to hear Christa's considering a challenge with a wide range of options. 6-30 books sounds good to me. I would have liked more flexibility this year in choosing what I read. Opting to do all the challenges was just too much for me.

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 10/13/2010 9:07 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
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Nice selection Christa. I like the idea of several smaller challenges

Here are the ones I like the best:

Published 30 years ago or more

Read through history

New to you Author

Murder in plot

Favorite series

One from every Continent

Alice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 10:00 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
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I have reservations about the child catagory, too.

Reading our way through history ... I like it, and it overlaps with 16, 17, and 18 on the list.  We'll need to determine what that means.  I would think it means a book set in each the major periods, but that's open to some debate, and the more I think about it, it could easily constitute a separate challenge on its own. 

Pre-history, ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Dark Ages, medieval, renaissance, and then modern. But modern is SO broad, it could easily be broken down into several categories like, Age of Exploration, Industrial Revolution, Colonial, World Wars ... and before we know it we're up to 10 or more books.

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 10:39 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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Reading our way through history is indeed high on my list as well and would constitute the biggest of the individual challenges...10 books.  I was thinking of breaking it into specific spans of years rather than "eras" but need some help on the best divisions.  Here is my first shot at it:

Pre-500 BC

500 BC - 0 BC

0 AD - 500 AD

500 AD - 800 AD

800 AD - 1000 AD

1000's/1100's

1200's/1300's

1400's/1500's

1600's/1700's

1800's

1900 - 1960

This is one that I think would be fun to research and find a book that fit in each of the specific time slots.  Sharla, your suggestion of categories related to time could fit into some of the other parts of the challenge



Last Edited on: 10/13/10 10:42 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 10/13/2010 10:54 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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I really like the reading through history idea. It's interesting and would provide more leeway for people when choosing what to read.

 

I really enjoyed doing the alphabet challenge this year, but maybe this time you could do the regular category challenge and use the reading through history one instead of the alphabet challenge.

 

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 11:02 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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That is kinda my thought, Valli...10 books in the reading through history/timeline challenge, choose 8 of 12 in a category challenge, plus two 6-book challenges that shall remain nameless for now wink  So the ones I need help on are getting the time periods right in the timeline challenge and some input on the categories for the catagory challenge.

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 12:31 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,300
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I like Alice's choices, if I were to do any type of challenge this coming year. It appears evident that if I were to do some challenge type reading, it would require accumulating more books, so, I may have to stick with my own personal challenge  - to get Mt. TBR down to a hill!

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 1:00 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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Oh don't you worry, Jeanne! I have a special part of the challenge just for you!

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 6:07 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
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Shelly, I have to agree re the kid viewpoint. Didn't Susan Higginbotham attempt that strategy in the first few chapters of The Stolen Crown? It was the only part of the book that didn't work for me, and I almost didn't continue reading it. (I'm glad I did, though, as it was a good book overall.) But when kids tell the story, they often are a) boring b/c they don't have enough worldly knowledge/experience or b) precocious.

Plus they don't (as a general rule although I'm sure there are plenty of kids who have and do, but if I read about it, I'd probably be disgusted, LOL!) swear, drink large amounts of alchohol, or involve themselves in all sorts of sexual situations.  Kids are dull. 

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 6:27 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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Plus they don't (as a general rule although I'm sure there are plenty of kids who have and do, but if I read about it, I'd probably be disgusted, LOL!) swear, drink large amounts of alchohol, or involve themselves in all sorts of sexual situations.  Kids are dull.

Your kids aren't teenagers yet, are they? LOL! Gawd, how I wish they were dull. I'd like to think of my son sitting at the kitchen table calmly eating snacks and discussing books, but instead they are all outside leaning on their cars, listening to booming music, and flirting with the giggling, rather scantily dressed teenage girls that are out there with them. I can't ever decide if I should go out and act like the crazy lady who screams at kids to get out of her yard or go out and distribute condoms or maybe just turn the water hose on them all and make them scatter. I swear, hormones are drifting through my yard like pollen. *sigh*

 

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 7:07 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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I forgot to comment on the challenge ideas; got stuck on my teenager rant instead. :-D

Christa, I like the timelines you have chosen. I personally don't see any better way of breaking it up. If you did decide you wanted to go with eras, you could take a peek at HistoricalNovels.info; she has it broken down very nicely and it might give you some ideas. Here's a link: http://www.historicalnovels.info/

I do think going with eras would be easier, but I love researching books so I'd be thrilled with the timeline as it is. ;-)

 

Now I'm getting all excited about the new challenge and I haven't even finished this one. Aargh.

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 7:27 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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Hmmmmm....that is a cool site, Valli.  Using the website would definitely make the research easier if we stick with the time line.  I wonder what the break point is between "Pre-historic" and "Ancient History"?    That's the parts of the time line I was struggling with the most.  I used her contact form to ask.  But if we combined her 19th C. America and 19th C. Europe into one category, her breakdown would have 10 slots like I wanted.  So let's take a vote (it can be secret ballot if you want to PM me)....Eras as defined on the website? Or timelines by years? Of course you would not be limited to the books listed on that website for this part of the challenge...it would just be a go-by for ideas and reference.



Last Edited on: 10/13/10 8:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 5
Date Posted: 10/13/2010 9:05 PM ET
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Wow!  That was fast!  This is what I got back from the owner of historicalnovels.info

Thanks for your interesting question. There's no definite date to separate prehistoric times from ancient history. Basically, "prehistoric" refers to times we know about only from archaeology, folklore handed down orally for many generations and educated guesswork. History begins with the first written records, some of which can be quite extensive (as with Roman times). For ancient Egypt, we have written records going back many thousands of years, into the B.C. period, from hieroglyphics. In contrast, we don't have written records about life in North America (except for a few references in Icelandic sagas) until Europeans came in the time of Queen Elizabeth. To introduce further difficulties, some time periods have a tiny number of written records but not enough for us to gain much knowledge about what happened. For example, there are a few tombstones in Celtic areas of Britain that have short written inscriptions on them in Ogham, a system of writing that used groups of horizontal or slanted lines of various lengths to represent letters. The druids are said to have written "books" in Ogham on collections of hazel wands, which were burned by the Romans, and so none have survived.

In general, if you can't find what you're looking for in the "Ancient History" section at www.HistoricalNovels.info, check "Prehistoric," and vice-versa. There's a similar difficulty in determining when ancient history ends and the medieval period begins - but that's a discussion for another day!

Best wishes and happy reading,
Margaret


I told Margaret why I was asking, so I hope she stops by to visit us!   I'm thinking that dividing by years will be easier for this linear-thinking engineer but I look forward to hearing what you guys think.

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 9:26 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
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Some interesting categories, Christa except for the "kid" narrator.  I am going to defer opinions for this coming year as  I know I will never be able to do the challenges anything like what I have been able to do this year and will have to do more picking and choosing.

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 9:39 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
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I don't do well with challenges.  As soon as I have to read something I no longer want to.  It's too much like work.  So here's my reading challenge for 2011:  I'll read anything I want to for the year and at the end I will have completed my challenge. Hey! It works for me,

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 10:02 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
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Donna, Donna, Donna.  [Shakes head but chuckles.]

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 11:26 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
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Now see, Donna - THAT'S my kind of challenge!!!!  (((shudder))) I'm afraid to think of what Christa may have in store: Oh don't you worry, Jeanne! I have a special part of the challenge just for you! Yes, I'm afraid, very afraid!

Like Valli pointed out:  not even through with our current challenges and here we are again, planning even more! crying

Have I mentioned the poor M/T challenge which I have let fall by the wayside? I was a counselor - I need to practice limit setting - that's it, that's what I need to do! I need to get stronger here and be able to say NO and mean it! Who the heck am I kidding...........

Date Posted: 10/14/2010 8:03 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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hormones are drifting through my yard like pollen.

Still laughing.

I love the timeline idea. Maybe we can follow the timeline as laid out at historicalnovels.info.

Date Posted: 10/14/2010 9:01 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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Hey guys...I'm at a work conference, but I'm playing hooky this morning, drinking coffee in our cottage in front of the fire, and catching up on you busy people!

I love the reading through history idea; any way we break up the time periods is fine by me.  (LOVED Margaret's answer to Christa, btw).  It's going to be fun!  I think since I have three months of reading with no challenges in  mind, I'll be ready to settle into a new challenge when the time comes.  

Christa, thank you for taking this on.  Whether or not you ever get your hands on the wet noodle....you're doing a great job so far!  

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