August 2012 Time Period
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As you've all probably realized by now, I like to plan ahead. And since it's June now, I figured we could start thinking about our next time period - which is for August.
I'll throw out some suggestions, and have included a small explanation of the time period so everyone knows what I mean with it.
1. Napoleontic Era: begins roughly with Napoleon Bonaparte's coup d'état, overthrowing the Directory, establishing the French Consulate, and ends during the Hundred Days and his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo (9 November 1799 – 28 June 1815), although in novels it's sometimes seen as novels set during Napoleon's lifetime (1769-1821)
2. Great Depression: The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s.
3. Russian Revolution: The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union.
4. Roman Republic: The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 509 BC. It's ending is ambiguous, towards the end of the 1st century BC there was a series of civil wars, which was eventually won by Octavian (later Augustus), who reformed the Republic as a Principate. In name the Roman Republic was still a republic, in practise it was not. The Roman Republic was never restored, but neither was it abolished, so the event that signaled its transition to Roman Empire is a matter of interpretation. Historians have variously proposed the appointment of Julius Caesar as perpetual dictator in 44 BC, the defeat of Mark Antony at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, and the Roman Senate's grant of extraordinary powers to Octavian (Augustus) under the first settlement in 27 BC, as candidates for the defining pivotal event ending the Republic.
Anyone else have a time period suggestion for August?
Since we're doing the French Revolution, I'd vote AGAINST Napoleonic Era. I'm good with Rome though.
Yes, I'd also rather do something other than the Napoleonic Era in August since we're doing the French Revolution this month. We've already done the 1930s. The Roman Republic would be fine with me.
I don't think I own any books that would fit any of these themes. However, I am sure I could find something to fit whatever is decided.
I like option 2, 3 or 4. I wouldn't mind learning a bit more about the Russian revolution.
1930's is listed as a seperate topic than the Great Depression, and I do think the focus would be different. Also, 1930's was almost 2 years ago. So I'll let the topic stand for when the vote comes up.
Anybody else have a time period to suggest?
>6 Whether it's called the Great Depression or the 1930s, it's still essentially the same time period. I choose books for the time periods if they're set within the specified years, regardless of whether a particular aspect of that time frame is a major theme of the book or just part of the general time setting. Otherwise it feels like a theme rather than a time period to me.
>8 Sometimes I get a bit confused with the theme/time period choices. I was just having a look at the wiki time periods list for other potential topics for August and I quite liked the idea of "European exploration/colonization of Africa". However is this a theme or a time period? Regardless of whether we read the topic in an odd or even month I still enjoy whatever gets chosen. The time frame always seems to get clarified in the conversations which is great as then I know for sure if my book selection fits.
I agree we should hold off on revisiting French history so soon. I think the European Exploration of Africa is more of a theme than time period, so my vote would be for the Roman Republic or Russian Revolution at this point.
I have a question - if you think of a new time period or theme that you would like considered at some point, do we add them to the ones already listed on the Wiki?
if you think of a new time period or theme that you would like considered at some point, do we add them to the ones already listed on the Wiki?
I do, and it's also the list that I take suggestions from to put out here for when we are choosing a new time/theme.
Ok, Roro8 and I were discussing a book she read about Robin Hood and I came up with the idea of a theme based on reading about a Hero or Vagabound from history. I will add that to the theme list.
I like the Roman Republic suggestion, but I think it's a little narrow. Could we expand it to include the empire as well, and maybe just go with Ancient Rome? (I realize that some members of the group have already explored that with the quarterly theme, though.)
Okay, voting is now open (see below). I've left off the Napoleontic Wars as everybody seemed to say no to that one, and also the Great Depression, as general consensus seems to be that it's too close to the already-done 1930s. (I've also changed that in the wiki).
Vote: Do you want the August time period to be Russian Revolution?
Current tally: Yes 4, No 4, Undecided 1
Vote: Do you want the August time period to be Roman Republic?
Current tally: Yes 1, No 7, Undecided 1
Vote: Do you want the August time period to be Ancient Rome?
Current tally: Yes 6, No 3, Undecided 2
I've cast my vote, but I'll honestly say that all time periods up for discussion here are fine with me. And I don't mind an overlap with the quarterly theme read at all - for one, we'll have moved on to the next time period already by the time August rolls around, and for another I love Ancient Rome (and for some reason, won't have read a single book set in that time period during the quarterly theme read).
But then again, I've also got quite a good book lined up for the Russian Revolution, so I'm happy either way.
None of these topics particularly interest me, but I could probably find something that would fit. Or I may just take the month off and focus on some other things.
Also, I'm wondering if someone should make an executive decision about when/if topics can be redone. Really, it isn't exactly possible to read every book on a topic in a month, so surely everyone could come up with more to read!
It is really hard to choose. I just changed my mind at least 4 times! I will also be happy with any of the above topics
With regard to HRO's mentioning of the possibility of re-visiting a topic, as a newish member to this group it wouldn't worry me as I haven't done them. Maybe there could be a time limit, of say, at least 2 years ago or something like that?
I think there's been quite a few new members this past year or so. So repeating time periods/themes might not be a bad idea. Like HRO said, there's plenty of books to choose from within each time period/theme.
I think I agree with Roro8, 2 years is a good time 'limit' for re-visiting a topic. (Potentially, there's always the vote for each month!). So, topics like the 1930's/Great Depression, which was done in October 2010 would be 'eligible' for voting again in October 2012.
I think it's a good compromise. New members can get to read topics they missed, old members get to visit favorite topics again, yet at the same time members who didn't like a particular topic or those who don't like repeating a topic can rest assured that a popular topic won't come up more than once every two years.
2 years seems like a reasonable "embargo" period for repeating time periods or themes.
So, it looks like the August time period will be Ancient Rome!
Maybe I'll finally get the chance to read The Grass Crown.
I liked Medicus by Ruth Downie. If I can get hold of the second, I'll read that.
I'm totally embarrassed to confess what book I have planned for this topic - The Gladiator by Carla Capshaw. A friend was raving about this title, and it just happens to be set in Ancient Rome, so I asked to borrow it. It's romance AND Christian fiction - two genres I avoid like the plague. Oy. We shall see! ;)
>39 I just clicked on the link for The Gladiator, I don't know about the story, but the cover is pretty good to look at!
I just picked up a reserve at the library today that would fit this theme perfectly. It's called The Purple Shroud by Stella Duffy. It's all about Theodora. It is only a three week loan so hopefully I'll be able to renew it.
>42 - Is that a sequel to Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore?
>43 Thanks for that, on further research I have found out that it is in fact the sequel to the book you mentioned. Have you read the first one? Do you think it is worth a read?
> No, I haven't read it. The author has been nominated twice for the Orange Prize (which I closely follow) for other titles, so when I saw "Stella-Duffy-Theodora" I recalled the earlier book and I thought they they were probably connected.
The Purple Shroud might work ok as a stand-alone novel. That's sometimes the case with biographical fiction because each book covers a different period of the person's life. Like, you don't have to read about their childhood (book one) to understand their adult years (book two).
I have been at the library today and I borrowed a ridiculous amount of Ancient Rome themed books. There is no way I will get through all of these, but I least I have plenty to choose from. I might start with Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore which I managed to get. Hopefully I will be able to renew my loan on The Purple Shroud so I can read it afterwards.
I look forward to hearing what you think of the Stella Duffy books, roro8.
I read "The Seven Wonders" for my RTT group to fit the Ancient Rome list. An 18 year old Roman male sets out on a journey with a 'world famous', recently deceased poet in disguise to visit each of the Seven Wonders of the World.
With each wonder, Gordianus unravels a puzzle, kills someone and has a sexual encounter. That pretty much sums up his adventures, apart from the finale, which I can't describe sensibly without revealing too much.
Steven Saylor has a long list of titles and I had hope to find a really good, new author. Didn't happen.
Oy, that sounds dreadful, cfk. What a disappointing start to the month!
Last night I finished Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore. It was actually set in Constantinople, Africa and Antioch. So not Rome but the Roman Empire. There were parts of this book that I really enjoyed and parts that I thought could have been a bit better. Overall I enjoyed the book. I hadn't read anything set in this time in "Roman" history before and actually went and did a google search on Justinian when I was finished to clear up a few points that I was unsure of.
I have picked up heaps of books from the library for this theme so I will have to look through them now and see what to tackle next.
I finished Medicus, the first book in Ruth Downie's series set in Roman Britain. I don't think the book quite succeeds either as historical fiction or as a mystery. There seemed to be a lot of modern elements to the story. I started this series out of order. I've already read the 4th book and I know the series will get better. This one is worth reading for the introduction to Ruso and to his slave Tilla, who is quite a character.
Hey everyone, sorry to have been absent for so long! I've been (and truthfully, still am) very, very busy. I'm at the end of my master at the university, and the work is piling up. If all goes well, I should be done at the end of August.
However, for the first time in almost two months I've picked up a book this week! It feels good to read again.
I'm hoping to be able to squeeze in a book about Ancient Rome before the month ends. I might have read The Grass Crown or The Light Bearer, but both of those are huge and I won't manage it right now. I think I'll try The Forgotten Legion instead.
I have read Hannibal: Enemy of Rome by Ben Kane. It starts off with two teenage boys in Carthage avoiding their duties and going fishing instead. They get caught in a storm and washed out to sea in their tiny vessel. Here they are captured by pirates and sold into slavery. Meanwhile, Hannibal is taking a huge army to fight the Romans. The story follows one of the boys, his family who are members of the Carthaginian army, and the son of the Roman family that buys him in the slave markets. It is an interesting read tackling family bonds and tensions, loyalty versus betrayal, personal honour, and the trials of war. Definitely a worthwhile read.
I just finished The Legate's Daughter by Wallace Breem. Extremely detailed, this wasn't a quick read. In fact, the main character often says, "I need more information, I don't understand" and I often felt the same way. The story of a man's personal redemption as he is sent on a mission to recover a kidnapped aristocratic girl while avoiding falling into the traps of political intrigues and betrayal was interesting and the author obviously has a deep knowledge of this time period.
My Ancient Rome read was to be First Man in Rome but I never did make any progress.
I've finished up The Forgotten Legion today. It's technically a bit late, but I'm still counting it :D. I liked it, but did have some quibbles with it. I'll put up my review later today.
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