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Topic: New challenge for 2014

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Subject: New challenge for 2014
Date Posted: 10/6/2013 2:32 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 264
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Looks like it's about time to start planning next year's challenge. I'm happy to set it up again with people's input unless someone else wants to take over. 

My only idea so far is that, since some people tend to finish the challenge rather quickly, maybe we should set it up like some of the other challenges where you read a certain number of books per category. (This year's fantasy challenge, for example, is like that.)

Ok, floor's open...

Last Edited on: 10/6/13 3:13 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/12/2013 10:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,136
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Kristin, I really liked this year's format.  In general, when doing a challenge, I do enjoy a change in categories (or at least, most of them) every year, and I like to be able to exclude categories.

I just took a look at the fantasy challenge and honestly didn't understand the instructions!  Some challenges I've tried have had instructions that were so much work to figure out (and I had to keep reviewing them all year long because I got confused indecision) that it took away from the fun.  I guess I like challenges in the middle--not so easy that it's really NOT a challenge (like titles starting with a certain letter--which has nothing to do with the actual book)  but not so hard that the main challenge is to figure out what I'm supposed to read!

I've enjoyed your challenges and look forward to the next one.




Last Edited on: 10/12/13 10:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: 2014 Challenge
Date Posted: 10/13/2013 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2011
Posts: 56
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I'm glad that you're willing to set up the challenge once again!  I agree with Diane K., that it's better to keep the challenge instructions relatively simple.  If the instructions are too much trouble, I just won't bother.  Finishing the challenges too quickly is not a problem for me as I am doing three separate challenges and belong to two book groups as well, so one book a month per category is usually right for me, but occasionally I still get behind if I insert an additional book not on one of my lists.  Those who want a mega-challenge might consider putting 2 or 3 titles per category on their lists.

Mary (mepom) -
Date Posted: 10/13/2013 11:33 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
Posts: 1,192
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Thanks Kristin for your work. 

Date Posted: 10/14/2013 1:15 AM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 264
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This challenge is pretty broad, but I think everyone can play, and people can make it more or less "challenging" as they please. Let me know what you think.

Note: For category 4, I could just organize strictly by decades (2004-2014, etc) - back fifty years - but I expanded the options for more recent publications in part to encourage the "building the PBS karma" option at the bottom.



Listed below are 4 categories with 5-6 topics each. As some people like to read non-fiction for the challenge as well, I have included non-fiction alternatives as needed.

2014 Challenge Options:

  • Over-achiever - 21 books: 1 for each topic
  • Deluxe Challenge - 16 books  (4 different topics per category)
  • (Plain Ol’) Challenge - 12 books (3 different topics per category)
  • Light Challenge - 8 books (2 different topics per category)


Category 1: Genres

1. Historical fiction 

  • Non-fiction version: a work about history or politics (incl. auto/biography)

2. Paranormal

  • Non-fiction version: a work about religious, spiritual and/or philosophical beliefs and/or cultural conflict (Examples: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down; A Year of Living Biblically)

3. Fantasy

  • Non-fiction version: a work about [an] international event[s] or that deals with events outside of the US. (Example: Reading Lolita in Tehran)

4. Romance/Erotica 

  • Non-fiction version: a work about a famous historical couple or other significant relationship(s)

5. Mystery

  • Non-fiction version: a work about something secret or hidden  (Examples: Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis; Ghost Wars: The Secret History of The CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to 9/11/2001)

6. Science Fiction

  • Non-fiction version: a work about a scientific topic or a topic that anticipates the future (Examples: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks; The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future)

 Category 2: “As seen on…” (Choose a work from)

  1. Your TBR list
  2. Your WL or RL
  3. A fellow PBS’ers “best of 2012 or 2013” list
  4. Any PBS book club list
  5. Any nationally or internationally recognized awards list (Pen/Faulkner; Edgar; Lambda; Costa; World Fantasy, etc.) Choose a winner or finalist/runner-up/nominee.

Category 3: Age is just a number: (Main characters are of this age group or the conflict revolves around a character from this age group.)

  1. Children
  2. Teenagers
  3. 20-30-somethings
  4. Middle aged
  5. Senior citizen

Category 4: Work originally published in

  1. 2014
  2. 2010-2013
  3. 2000-2009
  4. 1990-1999
  5. 1964-1989

Trade-sies” (aka “That topic sucks,” aka “Building good PBS karma):

  • Any time you (break down and) purchase (or otherwise acquire) a book that isn’t in the PBS system, read it, and then post it to the system, you may swap any 2 topics for absolutely anything you want to read! (Note: As long as there were “0” copies available at the time you acquired the book, you may use this category.)
  • Any time you post a book to the system that you completed for this challenge, you may trade one of the above topics for one of the 2013, 2012 or 2011 Contemporary Challenge topics.
  • For each additional PBS challenge you are participating in during 2014, you may trade one of the above topics for one of the 2013, 2012 or 2011 Contemporary Challenge topics.
Date Posted: 10/14/2013 12:46 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 3,328
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I'm confused about category 1.  

Historical fiction is just that where the author uses real events and/or real people but fictionalizes a story around these events/people.  Are you saying that historical will be part of that one?   Have the same questions about several of the others.  Are your suggestions to be nonfiction inclusions or definitions for the challenge?   Fantasy also often includes an element of magic.   

Last Edited on: 10/14/13 8:02 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/14/2013 10:09 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 264
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Nothing to see here-technology glitch




Last Edited on: 10/14/13 10:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/14/2013 10:09 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 264
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That's a good question...I should have formatted it differently, maybe sonething like this: 

Category 1:

1.  a) historical fiction work OR  b) a work of non-fiction about history/politics or an auto/biography

2. a) paranormal fiction work OR b) a work of non-fiction about religious, spiritual or philosophical beliefs and/or about cultural conflict

Is that now clear as mud? I swear it makes perfect sense in my head! smiley Basically, I just didn't want people to have to read only fiction for that category.




Last Edited on: 10/20/13 5:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: Additional feedback...?
Date Posted: 10/19/2013 2:37 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 264
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Any other questions, comments, suggestions...? Want to make sure everyone has a chance to be heard. Would like to post the challenge sometime next week.

Last Edited on: 10/19/13 2:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/19/2013 8:32 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,591
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Nothing to see here-technology glitch          Is this a new catagory?.......................  Just kidding!

So how many total books are we talking?    

The only catagory I don't cotton to is the age one.  Could it just be someone:

1.  younger than 21

2.  someone twenty to thirty something

3.  someone forty to sixty

4.  someone older than sixty?  

which is pretty much what you have except the younger persons.  I guess I usually don't like the kid books too much so that is a personal thing.  I will of course suffer along with the group decisionwink.

Last Edited on: 10/19/13 8:37 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/20/2013 12:57 AM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 264
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Thanks for the feedback, Pamela! (And yes, "technology glitch" probably could be a topic these days- lol!)

Re: your "non-cottoning"...I was trying to keep each category at 5-6 topic choices. Note, however, that with the "age" category, the characters don't have to be children; it could be that the conflict revolves around a child/children. You also could do a "trade-sy" for that topic.

The number of books depends on the level at which you wish to participate. The 4 levels are listed right above category 1. 

Date Posted: 10/22/2013 6:05 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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I thought the idea of a challenge was to read one book a month.

If some people finish quickly (what's the rush, by the way?), they should do more than one challenge or start reading books of their own choice.

As others have suggested, keep it simple!


Date Posted: 10/25/2013 12:47 AM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 264
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Ok, the 2014 challenge is now posted! Let's see whether people like the additional challenge levels this year. If it's not popular, we can always change it back for 2015!