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Topic: 2016 Challenge Begins - Lists here!

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Subject: 2016 Challenge Begins - Lists here!
Date Posted: 1/5/2016 10:23 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,972
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A.  Check it out:  Read books from 4 different categories - as many as you wish.

B.  Expand your horizons:  Read books from 8 different categories

C.  Spread your wings:  Read books from 12 categories - For those who love NF

1. Anthropology (Physical, Cultural, Linguistic or Archaeology)  Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup, 1/2/2016, 5 stars.  This is a tremendous read that will long stay with me.  Solomon was born and raised as a free man, had a wife and children, and was a respected man in his community.  However, that all changed in a heartbeat when he was kidnapped and sold to plantation owners as a slave.  His poignant memories were so accurate and so heart wrenching to this reader that I could harly imagine the life he must have lived during that period.  It's a great read and so well done.

2. Arts (Fine or Performing)  The Tale of the Rose the love story behind The Little Prince by Consuelo De Saint Exupery, 6/22/2016, 4 stars.  I love the story of The Little Prince so I couldn't wait to read this book by the widow of the man who wrote it.  This is their love story and its tumultuous at best.  Imagine bring married to a man who flies whenever and wherever he wishes.  His roaming and romancing of others finally ends the marriage but it's exciting while it lasts.  My feeling is that Consuelo is a fascinating woman whose life was ruled by a demanding husband.  Yes, he was a talented aviator and author but I liked her so much more.

3.  Biography/Memoirs:  Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther, 5/30/2016.4 stars.  The author writes about the grave illness of his son, John Jr., who develops a brain tumor.  This is Johnny's story as told by his father and mother.  Johnny is a very bright young man who loves science in all its many phases.  At his young age he develops innovative experiments to test his theories.  As his health deteriorates he continues his studies, experiments and obtains his degree while applying to Harvard.  

4. Biography/Memoirs:  Unremarried Widow by Artis Henderson, 2/19/2016, 4 stars.  This is the story of a young woman who fell in love with a man very different from herself.  He was a soldier, born in the South and went to church regularly.  She wanted to travel, live an independent life, and pursue a career of her own.  Their love was enduring and after living together they decided to marry.  Neither could imagine life without the other but their marriage lasted just four months.  He was killed in Iraq.  The author details their life together and how she slowly recovers from this loss.  It's a wonderfully biography.

5. Entertainment:  Memories Before and After The Sound of Music by Agathe von Trapp, 6/27/2016, 4 stars.  A charming and insightful look into the life of the Trapp family and their travels.  Yes, the truth is different from what you may have viewed in the movie or the stage production but one thing remains the same.  Their lifes revolved around music.  The family loved to spend evenings singing and did not think about performing until they were asked to participate in a competition in Vienna.  They won first place and were asked to sing at a few events.  So it began until the family was traveling and performing from spring through fall wherever they were booked to perform.

6. History:   The Boys' War:  Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk about the Civil War by Jim Murphy. 1/19/2016, 3 stars.  This little read focuses on how young boys were involved in the Civil War.  While some sources say that no one under eighteen became a soldier many younger boys enlisted.  The author uses many quotes from the young adventuring soldiers who found war not what they expected.  Of, course many did not return.  One of the most disturbing pictures in this book showed a 14-year-old who had been bayoneted.  Nevertheless, this is an interesting read.

7. Nature/Animals:  Cleo the Cat Who Mended a Family by Helen Brown, 1/12/2016, 4 stars.  Animal stories are often more amazing to me than many of the fictions I read.  This one is true.  It's the author's story, how she lost her son, her husband, and survived to live a good life.  Her family agreed that all would not have been possible without the help of a small black cat whose antics helped the entire family recover from their grief.  Truly, animals do become part of one's family.  This remarkable cat demonstrated her love for everyone in her family, helped them choose renters, cat sitters, boyfriends and more.  I enjoyed the read immensely.

8. Personal/self/help, etc.:  29 Gifts How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker, 1/14/2016, 3.5 stars.  Shortly after she is married the author discovers that she has MS.  As she copes with this difficult disease she finds herself losing her temper, crying, becoming addicted to the medications she is taking and feeling sorry for herself.  Finally a friend suggests a strategy to focus on the positive - 29 days of giving.  Gifts must be given without hope of receiving return but rather spontaneous and from the heart.  All is not easy and this is not a cureall but it eventually helps the author begin to really live her life in spite of her disease.   Eventually she begins to work again but not at the levels she worked prior to her diagnosis and finds happiness in her life.  It's an interesting process that merits trying.

9. Social Science (SUBSTITUTE - History:  Valiant Ambition by Nathaniel Philbrick, 7/22/2019, 5 stars.  This is a fascinating look at the war between the colonies and Britain.  The chaos, the mistakes on both sides, the backbiting and the inexperience of the Americans certainly made the struggle more difficult.  The author's research help us understand the humaness of those whose involvement is steeped in an incomplete cloak of impressions.  I loved this read.

10. Geography/Travel:  Since seahorses are found throughout the world I am using a book about them for this category.  Poseidon's Steed: The Story of Seahorses, from Myth to Reality by Helen Scales, 5/3/2016, 4 stars.  This is a fascinating look at seahorses.  So little is really known about this fantastic sea creature that lives throughout the world in salt waters.  There are 39 or more types.  The former has been documented as it seems that many identified forms were really one of these found in another location.  However, that decision is still to be verified so she lists all she could find in the many sources she examined.  Seahorses are still used in homeopathic medicine for many ailments but their use has not been verified.  Varying in size from a few centimeters to as long as one's forearm, these interesting creatures have as many as 300 babies.  While the female carries the eggs she transfers them to  the male for fertilization and birthing.  Interesting read indeed!

11. True Crime:   Ballad of the Whiskey Robber : A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts by Julian RubinsteinJulian Rubinstein, 3/31/2016, 4 stars  Funny!  Delightful and well written.  One couldn't help to hope that he never got caught but crime usually finds someone solving it.  However, this robber becomes a cult hero who is polite, calm, smart and and so very innovative.  Part of his success was how well he kept himself phycially in shape.  Another reason is the intensive research he gave to each of his robberies.

12. Create your own category (Science and research):  Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz, 3/18/2016, 4 stars  We often wonder why our furry friends seem so smart.  Maybe they aren't.  They have just learned how to interpret our human behaviors and communicate with us in ways we gradually begin to understand.  Very interesting reading with lots of tales about what dogs do.

Since I find myself enjoying one area sometimes I think it's important to allow room for substitution.  Simply use SUBSTITUTION in any spot you wish and list your book, rating and a bit about it, whether you liked it or not.



Last Edited on: 7/31/16 6:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 44
Date Posted: 1/5/2016 10:51 AM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,550
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A.  Check it out:  Read books from 4 different categories - as many as you wish.

B.  Expand your horizons:  Read books from 8 different categories

C.  Spread your wings:  Read books from 12 categories - For those who love NF

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

2. Arts (Fine or Performing)

3 and 4. Biography/Memoirs   If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name : News from Small-Town Alaska    Author: Heather Lende

5. Entertainment  

6. History   

7. Nature/Animals

8. Personal/self/help, etc.

9. Social Science   The Day the World Came to Town : 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland   Author: Jim DeFede

10. Geography/Travel  

11. True Crime  

12. Create your own category

Since I find myself enjoying one area sometimes I think it's important to allow room for substitution.  Simply use SUBSTITUTION in any spot you wish and list your book, rating and a bit about it, whether you liked it or not.



Last Edited on: 1/9/16 12:16 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/5/2016 12:41 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2010
Posts: 8,418
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I'll be going for all 12 categories.

1.  Anthropology (Physical, Cultural, Linguistic or Archaeology) - Twelve Years A Slave by Solomon Northrup - ?

2.  Arts (Fine or Performing) - A Little Bit Wicked by Kristin Chenoweth - Funny and interesting stories from the author's life. yes

3.  and 4. Biography/Memoirs - The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless - Interesting biography of Chris McCandless's sister and information on their violent childhood, which leads to a better understanding of Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. yes

5.  Entertainment - Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler - Rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. Would expect nothing less. yes

6.  History - A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson - More science than I expected. Interesting information, yet it was hard for me to stay focused on. Still, I'd recommend it. yes

7.  Nature/Animals - Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin - Extraordinarily fascinating author and book. Not only about farm animals, but also about zoo animals and even pets like horses, dogs, and cats. Highly recommend. yes

8.  Personal/self/help, etc. - 

9.  Social Science - Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates - Powerful black perspective on more than race. yes

10. Geography/Travel - 

11. True Crime - Heart Full of Lies: A True Story of Desire and Death by Ann Rule - Another crazy wife kills a perfectly nice husband for no good reason. yes

12. Create your own category - 



Last Edited on: 1/22/16 1:26 AM ET - Total times edited: 13
Date Posted: 1/5/2016 4:06 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2007
Posts: 1,252
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A.  Check it out:  Read books from 4 different categories - as many as you wish.

B.  Expand your horizons:  Read books from 8 different categories TA-DA! Finished 8!

C.  Spread your wings:  Read books from 12 categories - For those who love NF

1. Anthropology (Physical, Cultural, Linguistic or Archaeology) Junk: Digging Through America's Love Affair with Stuff - Alison Stewart 5/12  This is NOT a how-to book on reducing clutter, but an examination of our culture of "junk".  How do we even define it?  Sections include who collects junk, the business of junk hauling and clean outs, space junk, storage companies and container stores, Freecycle, recyclers, the many cable shows such as Pawn Stars and Hoarders, and the tiny house movement.  I particularly liked the part about pack rats.  Not the people; the rodent!  Very clever and informative. I laughed in parts and other parts left much food for thought.

2. Arts (Fine or Performing) The Piano Shop on the Left Bank - Thad Carhart 12/26 An American writer living in Paris discovers a piano shop and rediscovers a love of music and the pleasures of a Parisian community.  I learned a lot about the history of European pianos along the way.

3. Biography/Memoirs My Life on the Road - Gloria Steinem 1/25  Saw/heard interviews with Steinem and enjoyed this. Aside from one chapter on her travels with political campaigns, it is not heavily political, since her life is well known. Beginning with her restless, but loving father, she has spent almost her entire life on the road, mostly in America after a post-college trip to India. For someone who came of age in the 60's and 70's, it reminded me of events I had forgotten. Her tales about taxi drivers are great. A very thoughtful book.

4. Biography/Memoirs   Act One - Moss Hart 2/12  Such a good writer! The 20's and early 30's in NYC, tenement life long gone, summers working in the Pokenos (like in Dirty Dancing). How does a poor Jewish boy break into Broadway?  It feels like there was Act Two in the works, but he died at 57, shortly after this was published.  There was a film with George Hamilton.

5. Entertainment  

6. History  In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World it Made - Norman F. Cantor 8/22  The effect of the deaths of particular historical figures on the history of Europe (the 100 year war, science, women, etc) A quick read, but fun.

7. Nature/Animals  Patient H.M.: A Family's Secrets, the Ruthless Pursuit of Knowledge, and the Brain That Changed Everything:: Luke Dittrich 9/10  enjoyed this immensely. history of psychosurgery and its most famous case

8. Personal/self/help, etc.

9. Social Science  Hillbilly Elegy - J. D. Vance  A memoir of a young man growing up in working class Kentucky/Ohio and how he escaped from a subculture of drugs, poverty, and poor life choices through the support of a tough grandmother and luck. 9/28

10. Geography/Travel  

11. True Crime  

12. Create your own categoryFOOD WRITERS Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen - Laurie Colwin These essays from the novelist and Gourmet Magazing writer may be slightly edited columns of hers. Very enjoyable ruminations on the joys of simple cooking. 12/20



Last Edited on: 12/25/16 10:32 PM ET - Total times edited: 13
Date Posted: 1/8/2016 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 3/9/2009
Posts: 8,982
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A.  Check it out:  Read books from 4 different categories - as many as you wish.

B.  Expand your horizons:  Read books from 8 different categories

C.  Spread your wings:  Read books from 12 categories - For those who love NF

1. Anthropology (Physical, Cultural, Linguistic or Archaeology)  Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach

2. Arts (Fine or Performing)  Harry Harrison!  Harry Harrison! by Harry Harrison

3 Biography/Memoirs The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom by Simon Winchester

4. Biography/Memoirs  M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, and Alice Waters: Celebrating the Pleasures of the Table by Joan Reardon

5. Entertainment  Biography/Memoirs  Annie's Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret by Steve Luxenberg

6. History   In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick

7. Nature/Animals   The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin

8. Personal/self/help, etc. Biology  Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach

9. Social Science   The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer

10. Geography/Travel   Moby Duck: The True Story of 28,000 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them by Donovan Hohn

11. True Crime  The Rescue Artist : A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick

12. Reference  Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences by Kitty Burns Florey

Since I find myself enjoying one area sometimes I think it's important to allow room for substitution.  Simply use SUBSTITUTION in any spot you wish and list your book, rating and a bit about it, whether you liked it or not.



Last Edited on: 9/2/16 9:00 PM ET - Total times edited: 11
Date Posted: 1/10/2016 8:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,972
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Last Edited on: 1/27/16 7:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 1/11/2016 10:23 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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1. Anthropology (Physical, Cultural, Linguistic or Archaeology) 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup Finish date: 1/14 **** True narrative of a free Black man who was drugged and sold into slavery in 1841. Should be required reading in American history courses. Difficult to read but important.

2. Substitution - History Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold and the Fate of the American Revolution by Nathanial Philbrick Finish date: May 31 - 5***** Well written account of the American Revolutionary War from 1776-1780.

3 and 4. Biography/Memoirs A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City, A Diary by Marta Hillers Finish date 1/11 4**** A young woman's diary of her experiences during the Russian occupation of Berlin. Mostly about how women coped with the lack or resources and the routine rapes that occurred. Very tragic but, sadly, almost mild compared to what we hear in today's news about the atrocities inflicted upon innocents in war zones.Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow Finish date September 1 - 5***** Excellent but very long.

5. Substitution - Political/Military History America's War for the Greater Middle East by Andrew Bacevich Finish date 6/6 5***** Wonderful book that outlines the history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East from the 1980s to the present.

6. History Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City by Russell Shorto Finish date 4/20 5***** Wonderful history of a fascinating and unique city - entertaining and very readable.

 

7. Substitution Religion If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey into the Heart of the Quran by Carla Power Finish date: September 1 - 4**** A nonreligious Jewish journalist and a prominant Islamic Shiekh have a yearlong discussion about the meaning of some of the passages in the Quran. A bit disappointing given the title and the hype surrounding the book. I don't feel we got to the heart of the Quran but we did skirt some of the edges.

8. Personal/self/help, etc.Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Annie Lammott Finish date: May 4 - 4**** Essays about finding moments of grace and faith in the everyday struggles of life.

9. Social Science Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer Finish date: May 22 5***** Fascinating history of how loopholes allow the super rich to contribute money to ostensibly nonpolitical charitable organizations which is then funneled to partisan political causes. Eye opening!

10. Geography/Travel  

11. True Crime  

12. Create your own category - History/Humor Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell Finish date: 2/21 4**** A funny, entertaining, and informative romp through the American Revoluationary War.

 

 



Last Edited on: 9/4/16 7:29 AM ET - Total times edited: 9
Date Posted: 1/25/2016 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 10,467
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A.  Check it out:  Read books from 4 different categories - as many as you wish.

B.  Expand your horizons:  Read books from 8 different categories

C.  Spread your wings:  Read books from 12 categories - For those who love NF

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

2. Arts (Fine or Performing)

3. Biography/Memoirs Other People's Dirt - Louise Rafkin

4. Biography/Memoirs  

5. Entertainment  

6. History 

7. Nature/Animals The Second Chance Dog - Jon Katz

8. Personal/self/help, etc.

9. Social Science 

10. Geography/Travel  

11. True Crime  

12. Create your own category



Last Edited on: 1/25/16 8:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 2