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AlphaCAT -- Organizational Thread

2013 Category Challenge

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Dec 10, 2012, 8:00am Top

Majkia will be posting each month's thread and keeping things organized. Enjoy the challenge!

Dec 10, 2012, 2:38pm Top

I'll be posting a thread maybe a week ahead of time for each month. I'll remind you which letters we are doing, but the sequence is set so you'll know ahead of time anyway.

Jan: A- M
Feb: B - N
Mar: C - O
Apr: D - P
May: E - R
Jun: F - S
Jul: G -T
Aug: H - U
Sep: I - V
Oct: J - W
Nov: K - Y
Dec: L - Z

Letters Q and X are bonus letters for a year long Category challenge and I'll do a separate thread for them.

I'm not specifying how you use the letters. Up to you entirely. If you want to limit it to titles and/or authors or even use them for major characters, it's fine. It's your challenge. :)

Dec 10, 2012, 6:26pm Top

It doesn't look like I'll need to do much reshuffling for January. I just looked through my list of books I hope to get to in January and seven of them start with an A or M, or the author's first or last names start with A or M.

Dec 10, 2012, 10:26pm Top

Looking forward to this! I am about to finish my second alphabet challenge with the Alphabet Challenge and this may entice me to do a third round! ;-) Either way, it provides a lot of latitude in choosing books to read...which is always important, so thanks for getting this started.

Dec 10, 2012, 10:42pm Top

I just checked my planned list for January and I also have a lot of A/M books and authors.

Dec 10, 2012, 11:49pm Top

Random question -- do we have to read an A book and an M book for January, or will one or the other do?

I'm pretty sure the answer will be, "However you want to do it!" But I figured I'd ask just in case. :)

Dec 10, 2012, 11:55pm Top

"However you want to do it" is my understanding - one or the other or both or neither! Nothing on my immediate horizon fit into either A or M, so I went ahead and ordered a couple extra audio books from the library since I have a car trip scheduled for January, and made sure that they would fit this challenge.

Dec 11, 2012, 12:15am Top

exactly. these are optional 'take it or leave it' challenge additions. :)

Dec 11, 2012, 4:44am Top

I will have to look at my "plans" and see if anything fits. The alpha challenge isn't overly appealing to me so I won't go out of my way looking for things to fit in, but if it falls in line with things I planned on... :)

Edited: Dec 11, 2012, 4:52am Top


Wrong thread

Dec 11, 2012, 3:51pm Top

My challenge is alphabet oriented anyway so I should have no trouble fitting things in. In fact, I may go make a note of which ones to set aside for which months.

Dec 11, 2012, 3:55pm Top

When things slow down a bit over the holidays, I'll take a wander through my shelves and see what might fit...

Dec 12, 2012, 8:29pm Top

I have a question. If I have a A or M book that also will fit my Random Cat Challenge and maybe (it could happen) fit the Award Challenge as well, could it be used for all challenges? I think it would be fun to be able to find books that will fit more than one of our Random Challenges as well as still fit into our own 2013 Categories.

Dec 12, 2012, 8:34pm Top

I can't see why not. It would be fun to come up with something that fit all three challenges!

Dec 12, 2012, 8:39pm Top

I think it deserves special mention if you find one book that meets all 3 challenges, especially if it also fits into your own categories.

Dec 12, 2012, 9:05pm Top

really, that would be awesome!

Dec 12, 2012, 9:51pm Top

Great, I was thinking it would be cool to be to have a book or two that could do this, so I'll mention that when I set up the January thread.

Dec 13, 2012, 2:26am Top

I agree. If you manage to find a book that fits all three challenges (AND still goes with your own categories), you deserve a treat!

Edited: Dec 13, 2012, 2:43am Top

This seems so fun, I will go check my books and see if anything fit in this challenge !

Dec 13, 2012, 11:15am Top


Dec 13, 2012, 2:42pm Top


Dec 13, 2012, 2:44pm Top

21, Ha! Perfect!

Dec 13, 2012, 6:17pm Top

>21 sjmccreary:: *applause*

Dec 13, 2012, 6:24pm Top

I have a few questions just to clarify for myself - there's so much going on that if I don't ask I think I'll drown in the quicksand.

In the alphabet portion, can we...

1. Read a book which starts with either of our monthly letters?
2. Read a book authored by someone whose name (first or last) starts with either letter?
3. Read a book whose chief characters name (first or last) starts with either letter?
4. Read a book set in a place that starts with either letter?
5. Listen to an audiobook narrated by someone whose name (first or last) starts with either letter?

See why I'm confused!

Dec 13, 2012, 6:26pm Top

1. Yes.
2. Yes.
3. Yes.
4. Yes.
5. Yes.

Dec 13, 2012, 6:35pm Top

I think it's up to each person to make it as as easy or difficult as they want.

I'm thinking about trying to read a book for each letter every month either sticking just to the authors name or just to the title of the book. It would be my own take on the challenge and it will be cool to see the alphabet complete at the end of the year. Of course that intention could fall over by the end of January!

Dec 13, 2012, 6:44pm Top

yes, please use the alphabet letters as you like, as limited or as open as you like. Be as innovative as you like too.

Dec 13, 2012, 9:52pm Top

I'm planning to use the letters for titles and author's last names. I hadn't thought of matching main character's names. (I assume you're thinking of serials? Like P is for Stephanie Plum?) That's a good idea.

Dec 13, 2012, 10:16pm Top

Woohoo. I found a book that was on my wishlist and is good for 'X'. Sky Burial by Xinran. And it'll fit into one of my categories. I wonder if it would be asking too much for it to be good for an Awards CAT. Need to do some digging ...

Dec 13, 2012, 10:36pm Top

I looked through my library last night and was shocked to see how many H authors I have, many more than any other letter. H? I would never have guessed that.

Dec 13, 2012, 10:49pm Top

I have a couple of TBRs that will take care of Q and X - books in the Inspector Chen series by Qiu Xiaolong.

Dec 14, 2012, 12:34pm Top

>31 cbl_tn: - That's great. My own challenge (which is also alpha based by author's last name) X goes with W (and I have no Xs) and Q goes with R (and I have 3 Qs) so I'll have something for extra credit.

Dec 20, 2012, 4:51am Top

I have just look through the books I have listed for next year. Going on book title I have books for all letters except
V and Y. I wouldn't mind some suggestions for those letters - preferable mysteries but not by Sue Grafton (that would be too easy).

For Q and X I can go by author's names as I have Frozen Out by Quentin Blake (murder mystery set in Iceland) and Woman from Shanghai by Xianhui Yang on my TBR list.

Dec 20, 2012, 3:37pm Top


here is the wiki for this challenge. I swear I'd done one already but ...

Dec 20, 2012, 7:54pm Top

You've been busy putting up the Wiki's for the other challenges. Thanks for putting up the Alpha Wiki, but isn't it A & M for January?

Dec 20, 2012, 8:30pm Top

Oops yes it is

Dec 20, 2012, 9:38pm Top

Fixed it and added my book

Dec 21, 2012, 1:05am Top

> 33 - Zozette, for a book title suggestion for "V", I really enjoyed Valfierno: The Man Who Stole the Mona Lisa by Martin Caparros, but I notice that the book has quite the mixed ratings here on LT on the book page.

Edited: Dec 21, 2012, 3:37pm Top

I think for the Alpha Cat I'm going to wait until I actually read the book to add it to the wiki. Just in case...

Dec 22, 2012, 1:22pm Top

There are a couple of authors with A and M initials. I was thinking of reading a Margaret Atwood book for that reason.

Dec 26, 2012, 10:35pm Top

@ 40 -- Good thought, mamzel! There's also A.A. Milne and Arthur Miller (and doubtless many others, of course)...Winnie the Pooh or Death of a Salesman, anyone?

Edited: Jan 30, 2013, 10:23pm Top

Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood which is both A and M or rather M and A! Bonus!

The Cat's Table - Michael Ondaatje

Jan 3, 2013, 4:23pm Top

Just realized that Alias Grace also STARTS with an A. You'd wonder how I could miss that!!

Jan 4, 2013, 7:37pm Top

My first two books of the year, and both are AlphaCats:

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden

I am amazed at how many of my planned reads are fitting into this Cat Challenge!

Jan 4, 2013, 7:56pm Top

Just realized that this one fit the challenge The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner, and I should finish two more books by her this month. Yay!

Jan 5, 2013, 4:28am Top

Currently reading Iris Murdoch's Under The Net.

Jan 5, 2013, 12:48pm Top

For some reason I have a lot of "M" books this month! I've already read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill, and I've started Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.

Jan 6, 2013, 2:55pm Top

I just finished Sweet Tooth written by Ian McEwan, who is also a new to me author so good for the randomCAT too.

Edited: Jan 6, 2013, 11:21pm Top

Finished listening to The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje, which was an AlphaCat and a RandomCat too. Loved it!

Review here:

Jan 7, 2013, 8:55pm Top

My first Alpha Cat is Case Histories by Kate Atkinson.

This pick also let me have a CAT trick
Award Cat: Orange prize nominee
Alpha Cat: letter A
Random Cat: new to me author, Kate Atkinson

Edited: Jan 7, 2013, 9:15pm Top

I've just finished A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, also a new-to-me author.

Edited: Jan 8, 2013, 5:29pm Top

I think reading Alberto Manguel this month counts for me, although as I am reading his book monthly over the entire year may be stretching it...

Jan 8, 2013, 5:29pm Top

Another AlphaCat completed today: The Missing by Jane Casey

Jan 8, 2013, 5:29pm Top

52. Double whammy! Both A and M!

Jan 8, 2013, 5:31pm Top

If only he was a new to me author and/or up for an award....

Edited: Jan 9, 2013, 8:21pm Top

I just finished Miss Zukas and the Library Murders by Jo Dereske which is also a new to me author.

Jan 9, 2013, 8:26pm Top

I'm very fond of Miss Zukas - I hope you enjoyed her!

Jan 9, 2013, 8:54pm Top

No, I found her a little annoying. I am not sure if I am going to read any more in the series (unless I am told she mellows a bit).

Jan 10, 2013, 1:49pm Top

I loved Miss Zukas too! I'm sad that I've read the entire series and have no new ones to devour.

Jan 10, 2013, 6:55pm Top

>59 thornton37814: I've actually been hoarding the final Miss Zukas - I don't want to read the last one! I'm sorry Jo Dereske hasn't been able to get another series published. Her handwriting analysis series only ran to three - Short Cut was one of the titles.

>58 Zozette: Zozette, I would have to say that Miss Zukas evolves, but never loses her quirks. You might want to give another one a try, but not every series works for everyone!

Jan 10, 2013, 9:42pm Top

An alphabet double-whammy with Where Eagles Dare, by Alistair MacLean.

Jan 10, 2013, 9:50pm Top

Another AlphaCat with : Domain of the Dead by Iain McKinnon.

Jan 11, 2013, 2:23am Top

I'm currently reading Absolution Creek by Nicole Alexander. There is an A!

Jan 12, 2013, 4:10am Top

I have read Karen Armstrong's "A Short History of Myth", which is first in a series called THE MYTHS.

I am currently reading David Aaronovitch's Voodoo Histories, which also falls in this month's category as he is a new-to-me author.

Jan 12, 2013, 2:12pm Top

Finished Anne Perry's The Face of a Stranger.

Jan 12, 2013, 2:18pm Top

I've completed another alpha CAT book with Mrs. Pollifax on Safari. I almost missed catching this one since I didn't pick it to fit the alpha CAT challenge. It's just coincidental that I read it this month.

Jan 12, 2013, 5:21pm Top

>61 rabbitprincess: I love Alistair MacLean, his books are such fun. :D

So far each of the 3 books I've read have been both Alpha & Random CATs, lol.

Jan 12, 2013, 6:01pm Top

I've finished Anna Karenina and Murder at Teatime for this challenge today.

Jan 12, 2013, 6:07pm Top

Finished The Manual of Detection which takes care of the letter M.

Jan 13, 2013, 9:58am Top

Now reading The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas, the first in her Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg series.

Edited: Jan 13, 2013, 11:03am Top

I read Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith, Malcolm X: As They Knew Him by David Gallen, The Alienist by Caleb Carr, and now I'm reading Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje. :P

And all of them are new-to-me authors as well ;P

Jan 13, 2013, 11:38am Top

> 71Mel,
Let me know how you like Anil's Ghost. It is on my to be read later list. I just finished the Cat's Table on Audio and loved it.

Jan 13, 2013, 11:43am Top

I'm waiting for Cat's Table to come back to the library. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it.

Edited: Jan 13, 2013, 1:40pm Top

So far this month I've finished:

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayanna Mathis

A Red Death by Walter Mosley

White Butterfly by Walter Mosley

Jan 13, 2013, 1:49pm Top

Here's my AlphaCATs so far this month:

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Jan 13, 2013, 5:13pm Top

Another Alphacat for me: Agent 6 by Tom Rob Smith, a lot of these weren't planned specifically because of the letters A & M, I just seem to have a lot that fit on my shelves!

Jan 14, 2013, 5:47am Top

>72 by ccookie, I read 100pgs of it last night, and another hundred over the last 2hrs or so this morning. It's good writing, it's clearly keeping me moving at a fast clip. I'm not super crazy about how things are a little disjointed, memories randomly interjected, but overall I'd say I'd recommend it. Will report back when I finish the last 100pgs ;)

Jan 16, 2013, 1:53pm Top

I'm reading An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson right now. Cool!

Jan 16, 2013, 5:43pm Top

Another double-alphabet author: The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood.

Jan 17, 2013, 10:02am Top

Finished another book that qualifies: Death in a Floating City by Tasha Alexander

Jan 17, 2013, 10:47pm Top

Finished another one to count as an AlphaCat: My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell.

Jan 18, 2013, 12:21am Top

I also finished another AlphaCAT - The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen.

Jan 23, 2013, 11:54am Top

My "M" AlphaCAT finished: Comanche Moon.

Jan 24, 2013, 4:56pm Top

Another AlphaCAT for me The Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis.

Jan 24, 2013, 6:22pm Top

I managed a double alphaCAT with Abeng by Michelle Cliff!

Jan 24, 2013, 7:46pm Top

Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold, with main character Miles :)

Jan 24, 2013, 8:54pm Top

And another alphaCAT: Agent 6 by Tom Rob Smith.

Jan 25, 2013, 4:33am Top

just finished Melvin Bragg 12 books that changed the world

Jan 26, 2013, 7:31am Top

I've finished The Beach Street Society Knitting and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil. Off to add to the wiki.

Jan 26, 2013, 7:54am Top

Ok - what's wrong with me? I did the wiki and I can't get "COMPLETED" to show bold. And I've done it before. Like just a minute ago. I swear it looks just like all the others! It's just single quote/double quote, right?

Jan 26, 2013, 8:00am Top

Try 3 single quotes and see if that will work.

Edited: Jan 26, 2013, 8:03am Top

Good Idea - Thank you, thank you, thank you

Jan 26, 2013, 8:56am Top

This sort of thing I copy paste from one that works.

Jan 26, 2013, 2:39pm Top

I have completed another M author. Michelle Diener, In A Treacherous Court.

Jan 26, 2013, 3:53pm Top

Another A/M book for me: Minaret by Leila '''A'''boulela. Since it's by a new-to-me author and was long-listed for the Orange prize in 2006, it's also a CAT trick!

Jan 27, 2013, 12:27am Top

read Night Circus - CAT trick!

Jan 29, 2013, 4:14pm Top

I finished one last January CAT. The School at Thrush Green by Miss Read fits the alphaCAT challenge. Since I don't think I'll complete any more books this month I'm moving on to February CATs.

Jan 29, 2013, 4:50pm Top

I also had a CAT trick - The Night Circus, finished yesterday.

Jan 29, 2013, 7:15pm Top

Sandragon - if you play with the TIOLI challenge too, Night Circus was in Challenge #2 - a shared read.

Jan 30, 2013, 10:32am Top

Thanks, Cyderry, but I don't read enough books to be able to keep up with both the TIOLI and CAT challenges. I'm not even sure where to look to find out what the TIOLI challenges are. The one thing I've been keeping track of over at the 75ers group is the group reads thread, just in case I can fit one in.

Jan 30, 2013, 11:10am Top

finished Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli...I have a question though: re. the wiki page, are we supposed to put our book in alphabetically and re-number everything, or just add to the end of the list...?

Jan 30, 2013, 11:51am Top

Put your book in where it belongs alphabetically - the # will take care of the numbering.

Jan 30, 2013, 11:58am Top

Ah--thank you! I'm new to this whole wiki thing :)

Mar 31, 2013, 9:00pm Top

Do we have an April thread yet?

Mar 31, 2013, 9:04pm Top

Is there a Q thread yet?

Mar 31, 2013, 9:09pm Top

I haven't seen one and we do need a Q and X thread if there isn't one.

Mar 31, 2013, 10:06pm Top

I'll put one up

Apr 5, 2013, 10:52am Top

Shouldn't the Q & X year-long challenge also be added to the Wiki?

Apr 5, 2013, 11:14am Top

Indeed it should! I'll do it when I get a chance.

Apr 18, 2013, 1:21pm Top

Jul 2, 2013, 3:11am Top

I haven't been able to find the July AlphaCAT thread. Could somebody post a link please - I am assuming it has been started. Thanks in advance

Jul 2, 2013, 6:59am Top

The July AlphaCAT is here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/155351

Jul 17, 2013, 12:00pm Top

The August AlphaCAT is here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/156721

Sep 15, 2013, 7:26am Top

The October AlphaCAT is here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/158976

Sep 25, 2013, 5:14am Top

So I've been relentlessly nagging people to tell potential participants in the 2014 Challenge that planning has begun on possible group reads and on what CATs we want for next year. Please take a look at the threads and weigh in if you're interested in either. There are some interesting books being suggested and some interesting themes, but we can always throw a few more in the hat and we'd love to have a few more opinions to discuss. We're currently getting along way too well (just kidding!).

Here's the CAT discussion:


Here's the possible titles for group reads discussion:


And here's the discussion on how we structure our group reads:


AlphaCAT will potentially cease to be next year, so let everyone know if you think that's a good or a bad idea.

Group: 2013 Category Challenge

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