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Topic: 2015 TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION NF CHALLENGE LISTS

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Subject: 2015 TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION NF CHALLENGE LISTS
Date Posted: 7/1/2015 2:19 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,927
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For those who wish to participate choose six of the following categories and GO!  This list has been adapted and copies from the 2014 list!

There are 12 categories to choose from, and 3 levels of participation.

DABBLER - Read books from 4 different categories -For those who don't read a lot of nonfiction but would like to add a little to this year's reading

WELL READ - Read books from 8 different categories -For those who like NF but want to leave room for lots of fiction too

ENCYCLOPEDIC KNOWLEDGE - Read books from all 12 categories -For those who love NF

Rate the reads here and write a bit about the book you read for that category.  Reads can begin Jan. 1, 2015.

The Categories:

1. Anthropology (Physical, Cultural, Linguistic or Archaeology)

2. Arts (Fine or Performing)

3. Biography/Memoirs

4. Current Events  

5. Entertainment  

6. History 

7. Nature/Animals

8. Philosophy/Spirituality/World Religions  

9. Social Science 

10. Geography/Travel  

11. True Crime  

12. Reader's Choice

Some categories overlap a little, so you can use your judgment where to put any particular book.  And, if you wish to read more in one category than another simply write SUBSTITUTION and do it.  Challenges should be fun, not restricting.  Cross posting is encouraged so if you choose read the same book for two or more challenges go ahead.



Last Edited on: 7/1/15 2:35 PM ET - Total times edited: 8
Date Posted: 7/1/2015 2:29 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,927
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There are 12 categories to choose from, and 3 levels of participation.

DABBLER - Read books from 4 different categories -For those who don't read a lot of nonfiction but would like to add a little to this year's reading

WELL READ - Read books from 8 different categories -For those who like NF but want to leave room for lots of fiction too

ENCYCLOPEDIC KNOWLEDGE - Read books from 12 categories -For those who love NF

The Categories:

1. Anthropology (Physical, Cultural, Linguistic or Archaeology):  A Fish Caught in Time : The Search for the Coelacanth by Samantha WeinbergFourth Estate, 4.5 stars, 11/8/2015.  What a fascinating story.  This beautiful fish captured the imagination of the world.  It has been on our wonderful earth since long before man and the author writes it history with so much skill.  Not only that but she included many of the people who became entranced with its life and survival.

2. Arts (Fine or Performing):  Girl Walks Into a Bar...  by Rachel Dratch, 12/16/2015, 2 stars.  This is supposed to be a funny read but I didn't find it so.  And, the author details her experiences as a comedian including her failures and successes, repeating herself.  She does go back and forth from Saturday Night Live to her years in Chicago and what happens later.  

3. Biography/Memoirs:  Half a Life: A Memoir by Darin Strauss, 6/29/2015, 5 stars.  I found this read to be one of the best memoirs I've read in awhile.  The author shares a personal tragedy that occurred when he was eighteen and how it affected his life from that time on.  It's eye-opening and wrenching.  The writing of this book was to help himself put closure to this event and move forward with his life.  It was an outstanding read for me.

4. Current Events - SUBSTITUTION: This House of Sky by Ivan Doag, memoir, 12/8/2015, 4.5 stars.    This is a beautiful read.  One must move slowly the catch all the wonderful phrases.  Doag does a wonderful job of capturing the personalities of his father and grandmother.  The lovely descriptions of Montana's sky, land and mountains make it all so real.  This work goes from the land of his childhood to today.  Enjoyed it very much.

5. Entertainment:  California Dreamin' by Michelle Phillips, 11/20/2015, 2 stars.  This is an interesting read about the Mamas and the Papas that decribes how the group originated and developed.  Phillips is not a writer but her story describes what and how it happened.  Worth reading if you are interested in this group. 

6. History 

7. Nature/Animals:  How the Dog Became a Dog by Mark Derr, 12/29/2015, 3 stars.  The author tracks the travels of wolves, dogwolves and dogs across time through the research by various individuals who try to determine where the dog first originated.  What caused the changes that created so many dog types?  Theories include domestication, diet change, selection for specific characteristics and other reasons.  

8. Philosophy/Spirituality/World Religions:

9. Social Science - SUBSTITUTION:  A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel, 11/209/2015, 4 stars, memoir.  This was such an entertaining read.  Zippy is an unusually energetic child whose experiences are described with clarity and humor.   I couldn't help laughing again and again at her antics with her school friends, parents, siblings, and residents of her small town.  She was a real trial for her teachers!  It was lots of fun.

10. Geography/Travel:  Dead Wake:  The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson, 0/7/2015, 4 stars  The sinking of the Lusitania was a sad, sad book as the Germans sank, not just this beautiful ship, but any they could find.  I thought the sinking of the Lusitania had brought us into the war.  However, Germany did it all by itself when their submarines began sinking every ship they could find be it a fishing trawler or a destroyer.  It didn't help their cause when they contacted Mexico to come to their aid against the U.S.  An interesting sidelight from the author focused on the personal life of Woodrow Wilson, president at the time.

11. True Crime:   The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi, 7/30/2015, 4 stars  A serial murderer surfaces in Italy in the area of Florence.  Couples engaging in love in parked cars are brutally murdered as authorities struggle to find who might be committing these horrific crimes.  The authorities fail to secure the crime scenes until the final murder.  Many are accused, imprisoned but not convicted.  Some even go to trial.  The story is told to the author by Spezi, a reporter who covered the case for years.  There is a bazaar twist in the second half of the book where the author and Spezi are accused as well. 

12. Reader's Choice

Some categories overlap a little, so you can use your judgment where to put any particular book.  And, if you wish to read more in one category than another simply write SUBSTITUTION and do it.  Challenges should be fun, not restricting.



Last Edited on: 6/10/16 10:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 43
Date Posted: 7/2/2015 10:01 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2007
Posts: 1,188
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I'm in!  And thank you!  I'll aim for 8 and be happy with anything greater than 4.

DABBLER - Read books from 4 different categories -For those who don't read a lot of nonfiction but would like to add a little to this year's reading

WELL READ - Read books from 8 different categories -For those who like NF but want to leave room for lots of fiction too

ENCYCLOPEDIC KNOWLEDGE - Read books from all 12 categories -For those who love NF

Rate the reads here and write a bit about the book you read for that category.  Reads can begin Jan. 1, 2015.

The Categories:

1. Anthropology (Physical, Cultural, Linguistic or Archaeology)

2. Arts (Fine or Performing)

3. Biography/Memoirs

4. Current Events - $2.00 a Day - Living on Almost Nothing in America -  Kathryn J. Edin, H. Luke Shaefer  A not-too-wonky account of how the poorest of the poor in America get by. Authors track families in 4 regions (Chicago, Cleveland, Missippi Delta, Appalachia) They were not too hard to find.  If cash welfare is dead (AFDC disappeared in 1996), how do people survive with NO cash income?  Looks at lack of low wage jobs and affordable housing, the underground economy, and how the poor are invisible to the rest of America. Closes with suggestions for government program adjustments.   10/19  4 Stars

5. Entertainment  

6. History - Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson 7/24  4 stars If all you know is that the Lusitania was sunk by a German sub in WWI (true) and that the US entered the war because of it (less accurate), then you need to read this book. There is SO much more to the story, told in Larson's vivid style. Tremendous amounts of research went into the writing, much of it on view. (Do I need the weather report for the day a fishing trawler was sunk? Maybe not so much.) Interesting to me how WWI is still being written about, often through the lens of info from WWII and even the Cold War.

7. Nature/Animals

8. Philosophy/Spirituality/World Religions  

9. Social Science - Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Hector Tobar  (Hard to classify, but this is where I'm putting it)

10. Geography/Travel  

11. True Crime  

12. Reader's Choice - The Girls of Atomic City:  The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan  10/11   The story of the secret city of Oak Ridge, Tenn, built to refine uranium for the atomic bombs of WWII, as told largely through the stories of the women living and working there.  Author was able to interview these women, most of them in their 90's.  A chemist, nurse, line worker, black service workers, wives and others.  Some history of the development of the bomb, but that is not the thrust of the book. 4 Stars



Last Edited on: 10/19/15 6:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 6