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Ivy's 888

888 Challenge

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1ivyd
Edited: Dec 30, 2008, 2:04pm Top

What fun! I don't know if I'll fulfill the challenge (I only read 64 books last year), but I love the idea of listing them in categories!

My categories (subject to change, of course):

1. Early 20th Century Children's Literature (8 competed, October)
2. Contemporary Children's / YA Literature
3. Native American
4. Non-fiction
5. Shakespeare
6. Historical Fiction
7. Margaret Maron (8 completed, April)
8. Contemporary Fiction (8 completed, August)

Category change Nov 29, 2008:

1. Mary Dickerson Donahey (8 completed, December)
2. Other Old Children's Books (8 completed, November)
3. Religion
4. Non-fiction (6/8)
5. Sci-Fi (8 completed, November)
6. Historical Fiction (8 completed, October)
7. Margaret Maron (8 completed, April)
8. Contemporary Fiction (8 completed, December)
9. Because I Wanted To (8 completed, December)

Final revision Dec 30, 2008
I've elimated #3 Religion, which was just crossover, anyway, and added #9 Because I Wanted To, in order to accomodate the extra books I read in the Sci-Fi & Margaret Maron categories.

2ivyd
Edited: Dec 13, 2008, 4:41pm Top

1. Early 20th Century Children's Literature
Mary Dickerson Donahey
-- completed December

1. Lady Teddy Comes to Town (July)
2. The Adventures of a Happy Dolly (October)
3. The Magical House of Zur (October)
4. The Talking Bird and Wonderful Wishes of Jacky and Jean (October)
5. The Prince Without a Country (October)
6. Best Tales for Children (October)

~~ Down the River with the Teenie Weenies by William Donahey (November)
~~ Teenie Weenie Town by William Donahey (November)

7. Mysterious Mansions (November)
8. Marty Lu's Treasure (December)

9. Mystery in the Pines (December)

3ivyd
Edited: Dec 30, 2008, 2:14pm Top

2. Contemporary Children's / YA Literature
Other Old Children's Books
-- completed November

1. Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb (finished January, 3*)

2. Hungry Hollow by Anna Rose Wright (January, 3*)

3. Luke's Quest by Caroline Dale Snedeker (March)
Diversion for background to Luke's Quest:
~~ The Gospel According to Luke (March)
~~ Acts of the Apostles (March)
~~ The Gospel According to Matthew (March)
4. The Mighty Prince by Merlin L Neff (March)
~~ "Digging Up the New Testatment" (part of The Bible As History by Werner Keller) (April)
5. Warriors of the Cross by Merlin L Neff (May)

6. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle (July)
~~ Adventures of Robin Hood, retold by Eleanor Graham Vance, illustrated by Jay Hyde Barnum (October, beautiful illustrations)

~~ Little Girl Blue by Josephine Scribner Gates (very short book, read to my granddaughter) (March)
7. Sunshine Annie by Josephine Scribner Gates (October)
~~ The Turkey Doll by Josephine Scribner Gates (November)

8. The Little Lame Prince; The Adventure of a Brownie; Poor Prin by Miss Mulock (November)

4ivyd
Edited: Dec 30, 2008, 2:26pm Top

3. Native American
Religion


Since I never got to my Native American books this year, I tried to create a Religion category to fulfill the challenge. As it turned out, even using crossovers, I didn't have 8 books with even tentative religious tie-ins, so I have scrapped this category again and replaced it with #9 Because I Wanted To.

5ivyd
Edited: Dec 30, 2008, 2:43pm Top

4. Non-fiction (6/8)

1. Marley and Me by John Grogan (January, 4*)
2. Smoke, Mirrors and Murder by Ann Rule (January, 3*)
3. Plutarch's Lives, Volume I (finished February)
4. Plutarch's Lives, Volume II (finished February)
5. As Always, Jack by Emma Sweeney (August)
6. A Crack in the Edge of the World by Simon Winchester (November)

After my various reorganizatios, this is the only category I didn't complete. Nevertheless, 6 non-fiction books in one year is a victory for me... my usual non-fiction reading is more like 2 or 3 books completed.

6ivyd
Edited: Dec 30, 2008, 3:20pm Top

5. Shakespeare
Sci-Fi (including time travel, fantasy, etc)
-- completed November

1. Spin by Robert Charles Wilson (January, 4*)
2. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (April, 5*)
3. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (June, 5*)
4. Dune: House Atreides by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson (August)
5. Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks (August, 1*)
6. The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks (September)
7. Dune: House Harkonnen by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson (October)
8. Dune: House Corrino by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson (November)

The extras in this category are counted in #9 Because I Wanted To:
9. Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock (November)
10. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (December, 4*)
11. A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge (December)

7ivyd
Edited: Dec 30, 2008, 3:02pm Top

6. Historical Fiction -- completed October

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (February, 5*)
2. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (re-read, March, 5*)
3. Pillars of the Almighty, text by Ken Follett, photographs by f-stop Fitzgerald (April)
4. World Without End by Ken Follett (April, 5*)
5. The Proud Villeins by Valerie Anand (May)
6. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (June)
7. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (October, 4 1/2 *)
8. The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory (October, 4*)

I hadn't originally intended to include 20th Century history (The Book Thief and The Poisonwood Bible), but I think they do (at least marginally) qualify, and by listing them here, I can complete this category.

8ivyd
Edited: Dec 30, 2008, 3:24pm Top

7. Margaret Maron -- completed April

I read the first 3 of Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott series last year, and want to read the rest.

1. Bloody Kin (prequel) (February)
2. Up Jumps the Devil (February)
3. Killer Market (February)
4. Home Fires (March)
5. Storm Track (March)
6. Uncommon Clay (April)
7. Slow Dollar (April)
8. High Country Fall (April)

These additional books by Margaret Maron are transferred to #9 Because I Wanted To:
9. Rituals of the Season (May)
10. Winter's Child (May)
11. Hard Row (September)
12. Last Lessons of Summer (non-series) (September)
13. Death's Half Acre (December)

9ivyd
Edited: Dec 30, 2008, 3:27pm Top

8. Contemporary Fiction -- completed December

1. The Gathering by Anne Enright (January, 3*)
2. Someone to Love by Jude Deveraux (January, 3*)
3. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (February, 4 1/2*)
4. Creation in Death by J.D. Robb (May)
5. Strangers in Death by J.D. Robb (September)
6. Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy (October)
7. Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon (November)
8. A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer (December, 4*)

9. Because I Wanted To (read more books in categories I'd already completed) -- completed December

From Sci-Fi:
1. Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock (November)
2. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (December, 4*)
3. A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge (December)

And additional books by Margaret Maron:
4. Rituals of the Season (May)
5. Winter's Child (May)
6. Hard Row (September)
7. Last Lessons of Summer (non-series) (September)
8. Death's Half Acre (December)

10virginiahomeschooler
Jan 13, 2008, 4:21pm Top

If you're looking for a Terry Pratchett to fill in your YA section, might I suggest starting with The Wee Free Men? Those little blue men are a riot. WFM is the first in the trilogy (with A Hat Full of Sky and Wintersmith finishing out the series), and they're all laugh-out-loud funny. They should be read in order, but the first and third were the better of the set, in my opinion.

11ivyd
Jan 14, 2008, 3:03pm Top

Thanks, Virginia, that is exactly what I needed to know, and I've added them to my list!

It may be a while before I get to them, since I already have a stack of books to read before I buy more, but I love children's & YA literature, and keep seeing praise for Pratchett.

12AuntieYaya First Message
Feb 18, 2008, 4:33pm Top

I just joined today and I love this idea! I'm busy plotting my categories but wanted to suggest that if you liked The Wee Free Men and sequels by Terry Pratchett you should try them as books on tape. I had read the first two and found all 3 on disc and loved them. They are even better read aloud.

13ivyd
Feb 21, 2008, 1:03pm Top

Hi, Auntie, yes this is fun!

I haven't gotten to the Pratchett books yet... am working on the big stack of books I already have before I buy more. Do you think it's better to have read them before listening to the tapes? I don't often listen to books (I like holding the book, seeing the words, stopping to re-read or consider), but sometimes when I'm involved in a big project (cleaning out cupboards, refinishing furniture, sewing), it's nice to have a book to listen to.

14ivyd
Edited: Apr 28, 2008, 1:36pm Top

Well, I see that I haven't posted a new message for more than 2 months, although I have been updating my categories. And, since one of my stated goals on the 50 book challenge was to comment on the books I read, I think it's time to do that. Beginning with the best...

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett -- 10* out of 5
I love, love, love this book! I first read it shortly after it was published and continued to say it was one of my favorite books for almost 20 years. It was with some apprehension that I decided to re-read it before beginning World Without End, afraid that it wouldn't live up to my memory. It did, however. And in some ways I think I enjoyed it even more this time, since I wasn't in any hurry to find out what happens and I read the detailed descriptions of the building of the cathedral more carefully. In addition, between the 2 readings, I was lucky enough to have visited both Salisbury Cathedral and Wells Cathedral (which, according to his website, Ken Follett used as the bases for his cathedral), so the architectural descriptions made more sense to me.

World Without End by Ken Follett -- 5*
I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, and was sorry when it ended. I don't think, though, that it was as outstanding as Pillars. It is set nearly 2 centuries after Pillars, and is a sequel only in that it takes place in the same (fictional) cathedral town and priory, and some of the characters are said to be descendants of the Pillars characters, with occasional references to the earlier people.
In Pillars, building the cathedral was the over-riding theme, within which the individual stories took place, but in World Without End, the cathedral is already built, there is no over-riding theme, and the stories seem less cohesive -- several separate stories very tenuously (and almost artificially) tied together. In addition, I found the characters less likable (except for Merthin). Don't get me wrong, though -- I really liked this book, and it suffers only in comparison to Pillars.

Pillars of the Almighty, text by Ken Follett, photographs by f-stop Fitzgerald
This is a "Coffee Table Book" with excerpts from The Pillars of the Earth and some outstanding photographs of cathedrals. The text is primarily architectural details from Pillars, and the photographs are impressionistic of the text rather than illustrative. It's a nice book.

15ivyd
Edited: Apr 28, 2008, 2:34pm Top

I completed a category -- #7 Margaret Maron books! The irony is that I haven't completed the series, and just ordered the next 2 books plus one non-series book by Margaret Maron. I do think that my categories are going to need some adjustment, but I think I'll wait a bit and see where my reading leads me before making changes.

I am really enjoying this series about Deborah Knott. It's along the lines of Sue Grafton or Janet Evanovich, perhaps Patricia Cornwell or J.D. Robb, etc, in that it's about a clever and independent woman who manages to get herself involved in a murder or two in every book.

Deborah is a district court judge in North Carolina, the only daughter of a (former?) bootlegger -- hence the first book: Bootlegger's Daughter -- and sister of 11 older brothers. Each book is set in a different part of North Carolina (e.g., High Country Fall is in the Smoky Mountains) or around a particular event (e.g., Hurricane Andrew in Storm Track) or industry (e.g., carnivals in Slow Dollar). Deborah's relatives are often involved in the mysteries and one progressively learns more about her family and history. And of course her romances. The books are frequently amusing, and Margaret Maron's style is breezy and readable.

16hailelib
Apr 29, 2008, 7:43am Top

This series sounds very interesting. I've actually got one of this series on my shelves, but have never read it. Sounds like a candidate for my next mystery!

17ivyd
Edited: May 22, 2008, 1:12pm Top

>16 hailelib: hailelib

Hope you enjoy it! Although I've enjoyed all I've read, I've found them somewhat uneven, and I think she has progressed as a writer through the series. Margaret Maron's website has a short family tree if you have trouble sorting out her cast of thousands.

I perhaps should have mentioned that the "prequel" Bloody Kin takes place in the same fictional county, about 8-10 years earlier about 4-5 years earlier (see next post), and involves some of the people who occur in the Deborah Knott series, but none of the Knott family. The style and voice are much more formal and it lacks the humor of the later series. It was a nice light mystery, but not as good the the Bootlegger's Daughter series.

18ivyd
May 22, 2008, 1:10pm Top

I finished my 9th Margaret Maron book -- Rituals of the Season -- last night, enjoyed it as much as all the others, and started the next one -- Winter's Child. This category will then be on pause for me until at least August, when the next book will be published in paperback and the new book comes out. I thought about getting them from the library, but since I've purchased all the others, I think I'll wait so that I own the complete series.

Rituals of the Season brings back some of the people from Bloody Kin and I find that it is set only 4-5 years earlier than Rituals. I don't think the time line of the books is consistent, which I had suspected before, and it bothers me a bit, but I still really like these books.

19ivyd
May 25, 2008, 12:16pm Top

Finished Winter's Child yesterday -- I think it's my favorite so far!

20ivyd
Jun 30, 2008, 1:54pm Top

Well, this has been a slow month for reading -- only 2 books! They are, however, fairly long and definitely slow reading, plus my daughter is home from overseas (a welcome alternative from reading).

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is a truly amazing book. I've never read anything quite like it. Part sci fi, part fantasy, part mystery, part historical fiction, and probably a few more. His progression through the various genres and writing styles is flawless, and his linguistic ability is superb. Without giving away too much, I'll just say that portions of the book were like learning to read again, where you deduce the meaning of a word from the context and other words alreading familiar to you. Actually, I don't want to say much more about the book, fearing that I might spoil the delight of discovery for someone else. I highly recommend the book, and will just add that my daughter (the one close to home), my son-in-law and I all thought it was wonderful, even though we frequently have different favorite books.

The Woman in White was just okay for me. I mostly enjoyed it, and am glad that I finally read it, but 19th Century literature is not, not, not among my favorites; although the stories are frequently interesting, I find the long-winded style very tedious. As for this story, I found Laura much too saccharine, but applauded the magnificent Marian -- and liked Fosco for his appreciation of her.

21ivyd
Nov 29, 2008, 2:56pm Top

I've now finished 57 books this year, so theoretically (by using overlaps) I should have finished this challenge. However... my categories are in shambles:

1. Early 20th Century Children's Literature (14 / 8, but the list includes some books both earlier & later than "early 20th century")
2. Contemporary Children's / YA Literature (1 / 8)
3. Native American (0 / 8)
4. Non-fiction (6 / 8)
5. Shakespeare (1 / 8, and the one isn't even by Shakespeare)
6. Historical Fiction (6 / 8)
7. Margaret Maron (12 / 8)
8. Contemporary Fiction (17 / 8)

I guess it's pretty clear what I like best to read. My purpose in the challenge wasn't really as a challenge, but just to see how the books fell into categories, but nevertheless, I feel as though I've failed.

I stll want to read my stack of Native American children's & mythology books, and Shakespeare's histories, but it's obviously not going to happen this year. Likewise with contemporary children's / YA books (though I did just start Twilight).

A whole category of Non-fiction was plainly a mistake, and I should have known better. I have shelves of non-fiction books (I call them my reference books), very few of which I have read cover to cover, though I have read parts of almost all of them.

So... I think I'll change my categories to better fit what I have read. And make next year's categories a bit more flexible.

22ivyd
Jan 1, 2009, 4:17pm Top

So now my 888 Challenge is officially ended. I read 63 books in 2008, and with some very creative reorganization of my categories, I managed to complete 7 categories of 8 books without crossovers (and an extra book in one), along with 6 non-fiction books.

I just saw in the 999 Challenge that some people are counting each book of the Bible as a book, so... since I did read 3 books of the Bible but didn't count them as books, I guess I could include them as non-fiction books and call that category complete as well.

Whatever the final count, though, I'm satisfied with my reading in 2008. I never wanted nor intended the Challenge to be a burden.

I'm a bit sad that I never got to many of the books I had intended to read this year, so I've transferred them to my 999 Challenge. But I'm certainly not unhappy that I read (most of) the books I did read instead. In a way, LT has made my reading less organized, since I keep finding so many books that I want to read, including old ones that I've more or less forgotten about.

Now it's on to the 999 Challenge. Even allowing crossovers, 72 books may be a stretch for me, but I'm still excited about starting.

23billiejean
Jan 3, 2009, 10:25am Top

I know what you mean about LT helping you find so many new books that your reading becomes less organized!! Congrats on your challenge. See you at 999.
--BJ

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