Monday, November 4, 2013

History Reading Challenge 2014 – A Sail to the Past

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It’s now two months before New Year; time to think of another challenge! ;) After long enough being in the comfort zone of novels and plays, I decided to challenge myself next year to move onto non-fiction, but still in the story-of-the-past area; meaning that I’m going to read HISTORY. Would you like to accompany me in this yearlong sail to the past? This is the general outline of the challenge:

What books to pick?
Challenge levels
How to join?
Optional analysis – more challenge!
Giveaway

**What books to pick?**

1. Pick one or more History books written by historian(s)—must be pure non-fiction; historical fiction is not allowed.
2. It has to be a work through investigation and researches, and not only collecting and listing historical data.
3. Biography is permitted, but not Autobiography, as I think autobiography lacks the objectivity of a history.
4. I’m not an expert in this area (history), so you are more than welcome to correct or add something if I’m wrong.
5. Frankly speaking, I don’t read many histories yet (and that’s why I’m creating this challenge), so I might not be the right person to consult with, about whether this or that is a pure history or not. For reference, you can consult these lists:
100 Best History Books
Goodreads’ Best History Books

Note: The 100 Best History Books is more reliable than Goodreads list, as Goodreads created the list from people’s labels, and it is proved sometimes not accurate. So, be careful before picking a book, you better check the synopsis first or even better…google it! :)


**Challenge level**

I have set several levels to challenge ourselves along the year:

Student : read 1 to 3 books
Scholar : read 4 to 6 books
Historian : read 7 or more books


**How to join?**

1. To join in, you must have either blog/Facebook/Goodreads where you can post your thoughts.
2. Pick one of the level suits you, and post about this challenge in your blog, or just comment in this post. You can mention books you’d like to read too—but no obligation (I’m only curious!). Of course, you might change the level or the books later on along the event.
3. Register through the linky below (you might put the link to your challenge post or just your blog/FB/Goodreads URL).
4. Place the challenge banner somewhere on your blog, linking to this post, in case others want to participate too.


**Optional analysis – more challenge!**

After reading and reviewing, you might want to add more challenge to your history reading. As I am working on WEM project, I picked these analysis questions from the project that would be interesting to work on. Go to the analysis questions

Of course you can choose to work on all of it, or parts of it, or none at all. It’s optional, anyway. But….your efforts would well rewarded, as in the end of the challenge, every analysis post would be included in….


**Giveaway**

I will provide a master post with a linky, where you can put all your posts (review and/or analysis). At the end of the challenge I will pick randomly 2 (two) winners (one from review posts and one from analysis posts) to win: history book(s) of your choice max. $15 from The Book Depository.


**Analysis Questions**

Note: The questions might not suit all history books, so you’d better pick only the related ones for each book.

Who is this story about?
Guiding questions: (you don’t have to answer all questions, you can answer your own way)
- Are they individuals, group of people, or entire nations?
- If individuals: Is the history focused on a single person, or on a network of individuals who may be related by blood or some other tie?
- If group of people: How does the historian distinguish them: by nationality, gender, age, class, job, economic status?
- In both cases: Is the historian telling you a ‘top-down’ or ‘bottom-up’ history? In other words, is it focusing on wealthy, influential people, political power? Or on ordinary people and their daily lives?
- If entire nations: What is distinctive about each nation? How do its people envision themselves: as warriors, men of learning, farmers, free people? And how (in the historian’s eyes) is the nation better (or worse) than other nations?

What challenge did this hero/ine (from above question) face?
What challenges the ability of the central character(s) to lead full lives?

Who or what causes this challenge?
The historian’s task is to answer this question; does he/she succeed in doing so?

What does it mean to be human?
Guiding questions: (you don’t have to answer all questions, you can answer your own way)
- A history always highlights one particular aspect of human beings as central.
- In this history, how are men and women portrayed?
- Are they essentially workers, patriots, members of families, businessmen, rational animals, children of God?
- What is their central quality?
- To what must they aspire in order to be human?

Why do things go wrong?
Guiding questions: (you don’t have to answer all questions, you can answer your own way)
- What causes one set of people to be challenged or persecuted by another?
- What motivates the oppressors?
- Why do people live in squalor?
- What motivation does the historian give to his/her wrongdoers?

What is the end of the history?
Guiding questions: (you don’t have to answer all questions, you can answer your own way)
- How is the end different from the beginning?
- What is the goal of the historical story?
- What does the historian see as the ultimate shape and form of humanity?

And now, have a good sail to the past for the whole year! (don’t forget to register via the linky below!)

56 comments:

  1. This is an awesome idea for a challenge!! I haven't got my 2014 reading list sorted out yet, but this would be something I'd love to join.

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    1. Really look forward to your participation, Marian! ;)

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  2. I'm in! Histories are my favorite, or at least they used to be before I started reading novels from The Well-Educated Mind. I'll do some research in the next few days to determine what I want to read.

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    1. Yayy! I'm happy to have you on board, Ruth! I'd post about books I want to read too in a few days.

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  3. This is a challenge I'm pretty sure I can meet. Next year is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War One, and a lot of new books have been published on this waiting for me to read them. Also, I have two more volumes of the biography of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro just waiting to be read. I'll get a post up soon.

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    1. Wow, thanks for the information, it's very interesting!
      And thanks for joining, Donna.

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  4. Yep, this is the challenge for me! It will be first on my list. :-) I too have been planning some WWI reading...

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    1. Thanks Jean, we are waiting for you on board ;)

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    2. OK, here I am! BTW I love your button design. Really nice.

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    3. Thanks for joining! I just realised how my button matches your blog template perfectly, it looks nice there... ;)

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  5. Thanks so much for thinking up this challenge!! I needed a fire lit under me to read more non-fiction, and history is my favourite. Your requirements are excellent as well as the analysis questions. I can't wait until 2014!

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    1. Great, thanks for joining! I can't wait till 2014 too, and it's exciting to begin the sail with you and the others.

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  6. A wonderful idea for a challenge. I love it - another excuse to run through some of the many history books I keep buying but never reading.

    By the way, would you include primary source books (i.e. Herodotus or Ovid) as material for your challenge?

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    1. Yes Elena, Herodotus and Ovid are counted for the challenge.

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  7. Count me in for the sail! Wait, I'm just going to write a post first... :p

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    1. Yayy....it's lovely to have you on board... ^^

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  8. Great idea for a challenge! I read about it over at Ruth's WEM blog. Planning history for homeschooling next year so it will be nice to get some motivation to read!

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    1. Welcome on board Tonia! Thanks for joining, and good luck with your homeschooling plannings.. :)

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    1. Welcome aboard, Mide, thanks for joining! ^^

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  10. I'm in. I'd like to explore theatre in Shakespeare's era and maybe Ancient Greek of Old England. Thanks for hosting.

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    1. Yayy...glad you're in. I'm curious about the Shakespeare!

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  11. Count me in! For me, it's time to changing a little bit about my reading list that includes too much romance fiction.

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    1. Welcome on board, Ray! I hope you'll enjoy our sail...

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  12. Degrees of AffectionDecember 18, 2013 5:45 AM

    I'm in! I found this on Moonlight Reader's blog over at Booklikes and I've been needing a kick in the pants when it comes to reading my backlog of non-fiction books. I have some American Civl War books to get through and I hope to find a book or two concerning something else. Not sure yet.

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    1. Thanks for joining! Yes, I always need encouragement to read non-fictions too. I hope we will enjoy the sail! :)

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  13. A great idea for a challenge, I look forward to reading about some interesting books. Just did a sign up post with a couple of planned reads but it is a list I will add to. Thanks for hosting this one, I always love an excuse to read more history.

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    1. Welcome on board, Arabella, thanks for joining. I hope you'll have fun with us :)

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  14. Wondering if books by Doris Kearns Goodwin would be acceptable.

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    1. Thanks for joining, Melissa. From what I learned from Google, Doris Kearns Goodwin is a historian, so yes, her books are very acceptable for this challenge.

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  15. For your History Challenge I think I will start Jon Latimer's 1812: War with America. It is the bicentennial of the war which lasted from 1812-1815 and 1814 was the year that the war came to area of the country that I live in. So 2014 should bring some commemorations and events. A good time to brush up on some local history. And of course the Civil War sesquicentennial continues in Virginia so there will be lots of reading about the 1864 events which included the Overland Campaign, the Bermuda Hundred Campaign and the 1864 Shenendoah Valley Campaign. A good year for history reading. Thanks for hosting this!

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    1. And thanks for joining, Jim! Actually I didn't realize that there would be some celebrations of the wars coming on 2014. But it makes the challenge more fun and interesting. Hope you'll enjoy it.

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  16. I'm in! Just read about this on a friend's blog, and I've decided to give it a whirl. I'm aiming for Student, but I do love history, so may make it above that level. We shall see!

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    1. Welcome aboard Hamlette! It's always nice to meet history lovers here, so we can encourage each other. Good luck with the challenge!

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  17. Aku ikutan ya mb fanda,Semoga listku (di master post yang udah aku tautkan di linky di atas) acceptable.

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  18. Challenge accepted :)

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  19. I do sign-up, even though only got one book in my mind :D
    I'll do master post as soon I start reading on first chapter, it's ok ?

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    1. Yayy! It's OK Maria, take your time! ;)

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  20. thanks for hosting, it's one of he challenges I'm most looking forward to (:

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    1. Thanks for joining too. You made me more excited! :)

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  21. Count me in. I only have Indonesian's historical book, but all of them are non fiction. Are these still allowed to join this challenge? And, must the review in English?

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    1. Welcome aboard, Dion! Of course Indonesian historical books are allowed, providing that they are written by historians through research and investigation (not only an ensyclopedia). For the review, you are free to write in Bahasa Indonesia. :)

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  22. I read about this on BookLikes.
    Thank you for Hosting this, an awesome idea :) Count me in!

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    1. Hi, if you want to join, please sign in via the linky with at least your blog URL, or the link to your challenge post if you post any. Thanks :)

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  23. Sounds great! You can count me in. I've been wanting to read Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff.

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    1. Ah...that's the book I can't wait to read too!
      Thanks for joining :)

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  24. Sign me up for the Historian level!!

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    1. Welcome aboard! It's nice to have a historian here... ;)

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  25. Count me in. I have a stack of non-fiction books to get to, and this looks like a good source of motivation.

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    1. Nice to have you with us, welcome! ;)

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  26. Hallo, mbak . Salam kenal. Ini pertama kalinya saya ikut reading challenge yang diadakan blogger, semoga bisa menyelesaikan dengan baik. Saya sudah add link dan juga sudah membuat master post. Silakan mampir dan terima kasih atas tantangannya.

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    1. Halo...salam kenal juga! Thanks udah ikutan challenge ini ya, selamat berkelana di masa lalu deh ;)

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  27. Fanda! I love the idea of this very interesting challenge, as I love reading History books. I read so far this year:

    1- The Brontes at Haworth by Ann Dinsdale - about the Bronte sisters, their life, characteristics, works, social context, etc...

    2- "Lust for Life" by Irving Stone, which tells about the life of Vincent Van Gogh.

    Now I'm reading : “The Romanovs: the Final Chapter “ by Robert K. Massie - and I plan to read

    1- “The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II” by Edvard Radzinsky
    2- “Marie Antoinette: The Journey” by Antonia Fraser

    So, I'm in! :)

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