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Topic: 2012 Challenge suggestions

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Subject: 2012 Challenge suggestions
Date Posted: 10/16/2011 1:54 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
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What suggestions do you have for categories for next year's challenge?

Date Posted: 10/16/2011 5:33 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2010
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Hi Kristin, thanks for opening up this topic!  I find  that thinking about possible categories is much more fun than, say, cleaning my house, so I am giving this a try.  In my suggestions below, I’m avoiding using the word “novel” and trying to use the word “work." This is because I’ve got a lot of plays, poetry and short stories in my TBR pile and would like to be able to apply our categories to those forms in addition to novels.

Other voices: a work that has been translated into English

Lost in translation: a work that was originally published in a language other than English

Back to the garden: a work having to do with gardens, the land or the environment

Brave new world: a work in which the “world” is other than your own (could be set on a different planet, a foreign country, a different time or place from your own)

Crabgrass frontier: a work set in suburbia

Out of the mouths of babes: a work told from a child’s point of view

Mad, bad and dangerous to know: a work in which one of the characters is diabolical

Portrait of the artist: a work about a member of the creative class

The gang’s all here: a work about friends, family or community (including the workplace)

One word says it all: a work with a one-word title (but will accept 2 words such as "The Infinities"

Remembrance of things past: a work set in the past

Road trip: a work that has to do with a journey, by land, air or sea

Thou shalt not kill: a work in which a character does just that (for example, a mystery – but doesn’t have to be a mystery).

Story time: read a collection of short stories

Bonus: Readers’ choice: It’s all relative – read 4 books that are somehow related – for example, all mysteries or all by the same author or all about similar themes



Last Edited on: 10/18/11 9:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 5
Date Posted: 10/17/2011 5:41 PM ET
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I really like your list, Janet.  I have a hard time with the translated into English one for some reason. 

I think I have a couple of slots still to finish on this year's challenge, but overall I really liked the list also.

One category that should never be left off the list is a book of short stories, because if it isn't on the list I will never read one!  lol

Something they did on the Historical book challenge is the Your Choice category.  You get to pick 5 books that are related somehow, but are all your choice.  I thought that was a good extra point category.  For example I read 5 or more from my TBR of all the Westerns I have been collecting. 

Date Posted: 10/17/2011 9:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2010
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Pamela,

Thanks for your comments!

Take a look at my revised list. I changed the category title “Lost in translation” to “ Other voices: a work that has been translated into English” Is that less confusing for you? (I took the title "Lost in Translation" from the film w/ the same name, as well as the concept of, well, meanings being "lost in translation" which, of course,  does happen. But "Other Voices" is probably clearer.

I added a  category called “Story time: read a collection of short stories”

And I added a Bonus category (taken directly from the 2010 Historical Fiction Challenge) “Readers’ choice: It’s all relative – read 4 books that are somehow related – for example, all mysteries or all by the same author or all about similar themes”  I'm thinking 4 is more realistic than HF's number of 6; and, in fact, 3 may be even more realistic. My sense is that the HF numbers are high. I know I won't be able to finish the HF challenge this year. I took on more than I can handle, with being in Classics, Contemporary Fiction, Non-Fiction and HF. Even though it's all alot of fun!

Let me know what you think!

Date Posted: 10/18/2011 9:58 PM ET
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I actually liked the title 'Lost in Translation'.  When I say that I have a hard time with this category, I actually meant that I have a hard time finding a book I want to read bad enough that is translated to English.  Actually, I might have read a few and don't realize it.  That is totally possible.  

And the Reader's Choice/Related category with 3 books is fine.  I just thought to suggest it instead of one of the others.  Like you get to delete one category if you do the Reader's Choice instead.   Like, I don't do Lost in Translation or don't read a Crabgrass Frontier (by the way, that is a brilliant and very funny title for sububia) and then substitute the Reader's Choice.  Like an alternate category if you want to option out of a category. 

Am I making any sense here?

Date Posted: 10/19/2011 9:34 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2010
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Pamela, you’re making total sense. I agree w/ you, it’s great to have an alternate category, to have more choices in completing the challenge. The whole point is to have fun, not make it seem like a homework assignment.

I,  too, like the category title “Crabgrass frontier” and I wish I could take credit for it,  but I actually snagged it from a book title of the same name (Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States– a book less for the generalist, more for the specialist  -- part of my non-paperback swap life).

As to translated literature – some titles that come to mind: the Stieg Larsson “Millennium” trilogy, i.e., The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire , The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest; any of Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander mysteries; a wonderful Spanish author, Arturo Perez-Reverte writes mysteries and also has a historical fiction highly addictive swashbuckler series based on his character Captain Alatriste see author’s page on LibraryThing  You might also want to explore the “translation” tag on LibraryThing – lots to chose from -- if you are interested. But again, having the "Bonus" category would give more choices.

Date Posted: 10/19/2011 10:31 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
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Anyone else with thoughts about the challenge?  Anyone want to weigh in on this next set of categories?

 

Date Posted: 10/20/2011 9:20 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
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Apparently it's just the 3 of us.

I love these suggestions! I'm not the most creative person when it comes to crafting titles, so I really appreciate yours, Janet.

I too liked the "___ of a kind/in common" category in HF this year (& I too am wondering how I'm ever going to finish that challenge -- but I'm enjoying the struggle). I think the "read 3 to replace a category" idea is great!

I had some ideas jotted down, & I'm amazed at some of the similarities {"great minds..."?! wink}. For example, I wanted to include a work in which the protagonist/narrator is a child (or young adult) as well. Do you think we could include "adolescent/young adult" in the "Mouths of Babes" category? I'm fine if we limit it to the narrator -- either way works for me.

I also was considering something along the lines of "a work that deals with questionable sanity/mental illness" (content/narrator)...Any way to broaden the "diabolical" category, since that seems most similar (but definitely NOT the same -- I'd hate to be misunderstood on that.) 

Could road trip include a spiritual journey or "novel of development," or would you prefer to leave it more literal?

Additional ideas: a work that addresses a news event from the past 50 years; a work in which the protagonist/narrator is non-human; a work that mixes genres, interweaves stories, or is told from more than one point of view; a work from your favorite category in the 2011 challenge.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

 

 

Subject: Reply to ya'll
Date Posted: 10/20/2011 10:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2010
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Hey Kristin and Pamela! Thanks for liking these! K, I went through your commentary, thus:

I had some ideas jotted down, & I'm amazed at some of the similarities {"great minds..."?! } YEP.. For example, I wanted to include a work in which the protagonist/narrator is a child (or young adult) as well. Do you think we could include "adolescent/young adult" in the "Mouths of Babes" category? I'm fine if we limit it to the narrator -- either way works for me. Totally fine w/ this; we should get some really interesting reads!

I also was considering something along the lines of "a work that deals with questionable sanity/mental illness" (content/narrator)...Any way to broaden the "diabolical" category, since that seems most similar (but definitely NOT the same -- I'd hate to be misunderstood on that.)  Let me just say that I got the expression “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” from  a phrase used by Lady Caroline Lamb to describe Lord Byron, it’s kinda famous and it applies to Lord B. who was truly a bad boy. I just like the way it rolls off of the tongue. But Am open to suggestions!

Could road trip include a spiritual journey or "novel of development," or would you prefer to leave it more literal? I LOVE the spiritual aspect. I thought of including that, but had a hard time crafting the words so it didn’t sound like a drug trip! Can use your good wording, here. Suggestions?

Additional ideas: a work that addresses a news event from the past 50 years; a work in which the protagonist/narrator is non-human; a work that mixes genres, interweaves stories, or is told from more than one point of view; a work from your favorite category in the 2011 challenge. OOOh love all of these. Let’s find a way to work them into the mix. My suggestions were merely to get the ball rolling. Here are some suggestions that we don’t need to adhere to:

50 years ago: the world in 1961….chose a book that reflects this era; it could be published in 1961 or set on or around that time….

Non-human protagonist: HAL’s it going: a work in which the protagonist/narrator is non-human (with a nod to Hal from 2001, a Space Odyssey)

All in the mix: a work that mixes genres, interweaves stories, or is told from more than one point of view

2011 Redux: revisit your favorite category in the 2011 challenge and go there!

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts! I love all of the categories but can see that we have more than we need for this year. Kristin and Carolyn, pls know that I am TOTALLY OK with dropping categories I've suggested. It' s all about putting the mix in for next year. I don't "own" that; my goal is simply to move the process forward!  This is fun!

 

Date Posted: 10/22/2011 9:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
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Hello, just noticed this thread--many great ideas here! 

I especially like books written from more than one point of view.  And, the "related" category in the historical fiction challenge was my favorite--I chose books about art/artists, and have loved every book I read for it.

Here's one not mentioned--how about an epistolary novel?  (I love those too!)

I still have books to read for this year's challenge, hopefully I will finish in time!  But I'm looking forward to the next one.

Diane

Subject: new (& improved?) list for 2012 challenge
Date Posted: 10/22/2011 10:32 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
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Ok, I've tried to incorporate most suggestions by making some slight alterations to Janet's list. I cut "Remembrance of things Past" because it's pretty easy to find historical fiction that fits one of the other categories...plus we all seem to be doing the HF challenge anyway. laugh I also cut the short story category figuring that, since we're using the word "work" instead of "novel," a short story collection could fit almost anywhere. (Yeah, Pamela, ditto from me on short stories -- I'm not a fan either.)

My changes are in red. I am, of course, open to suggestions (especially to better category titles than mine). smiley

1. Other voices: a work that has been translated into English

2. Back to the garden: a work having to do with gardens, the land or the environment

3. Brave new world: a work in which the “world” is other than your own (could be set on a different planet, a foreign country, a different time or place from your own)

4. Crabgrass frontier: a work set in suburbia

5. Out of the mouths of babes: a work told from a non-adult point of view

6. Of Another Mind: a work that centers around mental disorder (adaptation of Mad, bad and dangerous to know:a work in which one of the characters is diabolical)

7. Portrait of the artist: a work about a member of the creative class

8. The gang’s all here:a work about friends, family or community (including the workplace)

9. One word says it all: a work with a one-word title (but will accept 2 words such as "The Infinities"

10. Road trip: a work that has to do with a literal or spiritual journey

11. Thou shalt not kill: a work in which a character does just that (for example, a mystery – but doesn’t have to be a mystery).

12. In the Mix: a work that mixes genres, interweaves stories, or is told from more than one point of view (if we keep "genre" very loosely defined, this could include the epistolary novel -- but feel free to suggest a better category description!)

13. 2011 Redux: a work from your favorite category in the 2011 challenge

*Three's Company:

*Read 3 works with something in common to replace one of the above categories.



Last Edited on: 10/22/11 10:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/23/2011 11:21 AM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2010
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Started to post and somehow managed to lose my post...

Kristin, I really like your edits and additions. I agree: dropping "remembrance of things past" is OK because "brave new world" spans both time (past and future) and space. I agree that an epistolary novel would get covered in "In the mix" as well as short story collections throughout. I also like the bonus category (if that's what it is-- gives people more leeway) I have a book in my TBR pile for the "of Another mind" category - sweet!

Diane, like you, I'm still working on this year's challenge, but am looking forward to next year!

 

Janet

 

Mary (mepom) -
Subject: GOOD JOB ON THE LISTS!!!!! THANKS
Date Posted: 10/23/2011 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
Posts: 1,192
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I love the challenges. Count me in. However, I need to work on my 2011 lists and complete those. Hard to believe it is almost November. YIKES

Mary

Date Posted: 10/23/2011 7:18 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
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Comment about The gang’s all here: a work about friends, family or community (including the workplace).  How do you interpret this category?  I'm uncomfortable with it.

Date Posted: 10/23/2011 8:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2010
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Hi REK, can you write a little more about your discomfort with the category?Am open to your ideas!
Date Posted: 10/24/2011 8:55 AM ET
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What types of books fit under this category?  Not sure I understand what you mean.  Something like Girlfriends or Wineburg Ohio?   Obviously these are two widely different takes on the category.  How about a category called award winner where one could read any award winning book that fits the contemporary definition?  Something to think about anyway.  



Last Edited on: 10/24/11 8:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/24/2011 9:33 PM ET
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Hi, REK, here's more about what I'm thinking:

For the category “The Gang’s all here” : choose a work has to do with relationships within a defined social circle; the “gang” could be family, friends, neighbors, or any other community,  and the existence of that group is essential to the story line.

Some examples: 

The Jane Austen Book Club is about 6 people who get together to discuss Jane Austen’s books. “Over the six months they get together, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens.” 

Mary McCarthy’s The Group is a “wildly wicked novel about eight Vassar girls, how they lived, loved, and wed ...”

Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog is about “the lives of the residents of an elegant apartment building inhabited by bourgeois families” in Paris.

And speaking of apartment buildings, there’s  Amara Lakhous’s Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio  “a compelling mix of social satire and murder mystery. A small culturally mixed community living in an apartment building in the center of Rome is thrown into disarray when one of the neighbors is murdered.”

Michael Dahlie’s A Gentleman's Guide to Graceful Living – a hugely undermarketed little gem about a man and his hunting club. (sounds like a yawner, but it’s a very sweet story and worth a read)

And one of my all- time favorite reads of the last 5 years: Leonie Swann’s Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story : A witty philosophical murder mystery with a charming twist: the crack detectives are sheep determined to discover who killed their shepherd. So in this case, the "gang" consists of the flock, who, incidently, can talk.   It's *wonderful*!!

 

Does this explication help? If nothing else, if I can get people to read Three Bags Full then it’ll be worth it!!

Janet

Date Posted: 10/24/2011 10:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
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Well, as always, I think it works best if you have more categories than the suggested number that constitutes finishing the challenge.  In other words, come up with 13 categories and the challenge is to choose 10, etc.  That way if there are a couple that someone doesn't like they can just omit those.  You can still have the "related" books as an option to replace any of the 10 categories, or have the related books be a bonus category beyond the 10 (or whatever number).

Diane

 



Last Edited on: 10/24/11 10:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/24/2011 10:42 PM ET
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The tentative list we have as of right now has 13 categories plus a bonus/replacement option.

I too like award winners and was considering using that as my "2011 Redux."

Date Posted: 10/26/2011 6:06 PM ET
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You know, I always think the best way to interpret the categories is let each person interpret them through their own reading.  Don't define the categories to death.  I know that I am an anarchist from way back, but if we leave it very loose, we have a better chance of readers finding books that fit a slot we might never have heard of or considered.   For example:  I read The Ha-Ha by Dave King.  Had absolutely no idea what it was about, but in the end it would fit the category of The Gang’s all here perfectly.  Not if you just read the jacket of the book tho......

I like the change in this one:  10. Road trip: a work that has to do with a literal or spiritual journey.  I can think of several books that are both that I want to read. 

And I love having 13 or 15 categories and the challenge is to read 12.  or however many......and with the 3's company option, that give us lots of room to move around.

I love the list (s).  I hope to finish this year's but if I don't, I can still honestly say that I read and learned about a lot of great books.  Isn't that the point?



Last Edited on: 10/26/11 6:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/26/2011 6:38 PM ET
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Hi Pamela, I could not agree more with you in keeping the categories open and loose, and if it looked like I was being too specific in giving examples of "Gangs all here" then I do apologize -- was only trying to be helpful to the question about what does (or what could)  the category mean. 

 

I, too, like having more categories than needed to do the challenge -- it keeps it being fun, which is what this is all about (and, for me in any case, it helps me work my way through my eternal TBR pile!)

 

Janet

Date Posted: 10/26/2011 8:59 PM ET
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if it looked like I was being too specific in giving examples

No, Janet, I didn't think you were being anything but helpful to another person.

I do think that if we say, so what, the book REK chose to fill that catagory is the Corrections by J. Frazen or Second Heaven by Judith Guest, for example, that is great.  That is the book she chose.  I honor that choice, because I want the same freedom to squeeze my choices very loosely into the catagories. 

I don't really like murder mysteries, but I could probably use The 19th Wife or almost any Western to fill a category for those because that is a big part of the storyline for the main characters. 

Like that.

Date Posted: 10/26/2011 10:51 PM ET
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Loved the chance to read a prize winner and there are so many to choose.  The Corrections was my choice this year, not my favorite read, but I hope that category continues.



Last Edited on: 10/26/11 10:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/27/2011 9:45 PM ET
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IMO, the current list (see below) has variety and flexibility. There 13 categories (so you can skip one that you don't like); #13 actually presents numerous additional options; there's an "opt out" (or bonus) category as well.

Unless someone has an overwhelming objection, I'd like to suggest that we go with the current list. I can start the "2012 Contemporary Challenge" thread next week so people can start planning (& swapping).

1. Other voices: a work that has been translated into English

2. Back to the garden: a work having to do with gardens, the land or the environment

3. Brave new world: a work in which the “world” is other than your own (could be set on a different planet, a foreign country, a different time or place from your own)

4. Crabgrass frontier: a work set in suburbia

5. Out of the mouths of babes: a work told from a non-adult point of view

6. Of Another Mind: a work that centers around mental disorder

7. Portrait of the artist: a work about a member of the creative class

8. The gang’s all here:a work about friends, family or community (including the workplace)

9. One word says it all: a work with a one-word title (but will accept 2 words such as "The Infinities")

10. Road trip: a work that has to do with a literal or spiritual journey

11. Thou shalt not kill: a work in which a character does just that

12. In the Mix: a work that mixes "genres," interweaves stories, or is told from more than one point of view

13. 2011 Redux: a work from your favorite category in the 2011 challenge

*Three's Company (Bonus or "opt out" category): Read 3 works with something in common -- either to complete a "Contemporary Challenge Plus" or to replace one of the above categories.



 

Date Posted: 10/27/2011 10:56 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
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JMO-  I love this list.  Good way to simply describe the categories, too.  

BTW, Kristin, how is Andersonville?  
I have never read it but always wondered about it......

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