Amber's (scaifea) 2022 Category Challenge

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Amber's (scaifea) 2022 Category Challenge

Bearbeitet: Gestern, 3:49pm

Hey, everybody!

I'm Amber, a one-time Classics professor, turned stay-at-home parent/lady of leisure, turned part-time library assistant, turned back into Classics professor. When I'm not teaching Latin and Classical Mythology, I spend my time sewing, writing, knitting, baking, and, of course, reading.

I'm 46 going on 12 and live in Ohio with my husband, Tomm; our son, Charlie; and our two dogs: Mario the Golden Retriever and Agent Fitzsimmons the Border Collie.

This is my fifth year in the Category Challenge. I won't set any particular goals for my categories again this year, but instead just list the books I read in each one and see how many I get through. My categories are pretty much the same as last year, with a couple of small changes.

For my theme this year I'm going with favorite characters from literature (aka my literary boyfriends (and a couple of girlfriends, too)).

Currently Reading:
-Cue for Treason (CAT#2: 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up)
-Timescape (CAT#4: Hugo, Nebula, and other SF and Fantasy Award Winners)
-A Fatal Grace (CAT#12: Mysteries + January MysteryKIT)
-Heartsong (CAT#13: Romance + CAT#17: Audiobooks)
-Burn (CAT#13: Romance)
-The Ghost Writer (CAT#16: Books from my wishlist)
-A Wizard of Earthsea (CAT#18: Books Read Aloud with Charlie at Bedtime)
-Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (CAT#19: Everything Else)
-A Loyal Character Dancer (CAT#19: Everything Else + Year-Long AlphaKIT: Q)
-Mockingjay (CAT#19: Everything Else)

Bearbeitet: Gestern, 3:10pm


1. An Award Winning book
2. Published in a year ending 2
3. A modern retelling of an older story
4. A book you'd love to see as a movie (maybe starring your favourite actor)
5. A book that features a dog
6. The title contains the letter Z
7. Published the year you joined LT
8. A book by a favourite author
9. A long book (long for you)
10. A book you received as a gift
11. The title contains a month
12. A weather word in the title
13. Read a CAT: Beauties, Beasts, and Enchantment
14. Contains travel or a journey
15. A book about sisters or brothers
16. A book club read (real or online)
17. A book with flowers on the cover
18. A book in translation: The Hidden Face of Eve
19. A work of nonfiction
20. A book where a character shares a name of a friend
21. A book set in a capital city
22. A children's or YA book
23. A book set in a country other than the one you live: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
24. A book by an LGBTQ+ author
25. A book with silver or gold on the cover

Bearbeitet: Gestern, 3:10pm


January - R&H: Conan the Barbarian by Robert Howard & The Hidden Face of Eve
February - A&B:
March - P&S:
April - L&J:
May - O&D:
June - Q&C:
July - E&T:
August - M&F:
September - K&I:
October - V&N:
November - G&U:
December - Y&W:
Year Long - X&Z: Beauties, Beasts, and Enchantment by Jack Zipes

January - series:
February - cold case crimes:
March - small towns, big secrets:
April - noir/hard boiled:
May - historical fiction mysteries:
June - detectives in translation:
July - golden age:
August - technothrillers:
September - animal mystery:
October - mysteries featuring food:
November - gothic:
December - holiday mysteries:

January - Home Sweet Home:
February -
March -
April -
May -
June -
July -
August -
September -
October -
November -
December -

Bearbeitet: Gestern, 3:11pm

CAT#1: 100 Banned Books
This list comes from 100 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature.
John Constantine is a chain-smoking, trenchcoat-wearing, supernatural detective/wizard/jack-of-all-trades/chaos goblin. He reminds me so much of Plautus' clever slave characters, who always seem only half a step ahead of disaster and yet somehow always make it out of every insane situation mostly unscathed. I adore him. And he'd not only approve of reading banned books - he's probably written a fair few himself.

1. The Hidden Face of Eve

Bearbeitet: Jan. 2, 1:01pm

CAT#2: 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up
I've been working through the entries in this book for going on 14 years now. Whoa. I'm getting close, though...
I choose Eugenides, the hero of The Queen's Thief books, for this category both because he's a character in a MG/YA book and because his age is a huge mystery. Still, he is hands down one of my favorite characters of all time and embodies one of the absolute best literary tropes ever invented: the Odysseus/Hamlet-style, conceal-one's-crazy-good-abilities-until-the-opportune-moment trope. *happy sigh*

1. The Cave Children

Bearbeitet: Gestern, 3:50pm

CAT#3: 1001 Fantasy Books You Must Read Before You Turn Into a Newt
This one comes from the list curated in The Green Dragon group a few years ago and captained by Morphidae.
Sirius Black may very well have turned a fair few people into newts...

1. Conan the Barbarian
2. Beauties, Beasts, and Enchantment
3. The Paradise War
4. Guilty Pleasures

Bearbeitet: Nov. 18, 2021, 3:36pm

CAT#4: Hugo, Nebula, and other SF and Fantasy Award Winners
My best friend and I are working through a *very* long list of sci-fi and fantasy award winners. He's the Keeper of Keys and Grounds with this one, so I couldn't even tell you all of the different awards he's included. I just know that it's LONG.
I love Captain Marvel. LOVE. Her.

Bearbeitet: Nov. 18, 2021, 3:39pm

CAT#5: Favorite Author Bibliographies
There are a handful of authors whom I love so much that I want to read All. The. Things. So this is where I'll catalog those. Right now the list is John Boyne, Agatha Christie, Stephen Fry, Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, and Maggie Stiefvater.
Crowley is from the Gaiman/Pratchett Good Omens, so he fits here pretty well, yeah? Tennant does such a fantastic job with him, too.

Bearbeitet: Dez. 26, 2021, 4:52pm

CAT#6: National Endowment for the Humanities Timeless Classics
This may well be the first book list I ever acquired. I don't remember where it came from, but I know that I got it at some point in high school, in the form of a tri-fold pamphlet. I didn't start working through it, though, until around the same time as I started the Newbery winners and the 1001 Children's Books list.
Edmund Dantes, aka The Count of Monte Cristo (and can you think of a better Timeless Classic?), instantly became one of the best characters I've ever read when I finally picked up that tome a few years ago. Infinitely clever, an overdeveloped sense of vengeance, filthy rich,... Yes. Please. And do I picture him as Benedict Cumberbatch? Yes, yes I do.

Bearbeitet: Nov. 18, 2021, 3:48pm

CAT#7: National Book Award for Fiction
This one seems clear on its own, I guess. I do love award winner lists.
Polgara the Sorceress (from David Eddings' Belgariad and Mallorean series) doesn't exactly make perfect sense for this category, but I wanted to include her somewhere and honestly, that woman could make herself not only comfortable in but absolute queen of any situation in which she'd find herself.

Bearbeitet: Nov. 18, 2021, 3:51pm

CAT#8: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Another awards list.
Jeeves is another modern version of Roman comedy's clever slave and therefore an immediate favorite for me. And Stephen Fry can do no wrong, so I doubly love his version. Also, Jeeves absolutely reads all the Pulitzer winners. Because of course he does.

Bearbeitet: Nov. 18, 2021, 4:26pm

CAT#9: Books on Buddhism
I've put together a list of recommended books on buddhism from various sources. Working on that being a good buddhist thing.
Death seems like a good fit here, and Gaiman's version in his Sandman comics is so full of fabulous.

Bearbeitet: Nov. 18, 2021, 3:55pm

CAT#10: Book-A-Year Challenge
A couple of years ago, I made a list of books by year, just to see both how far back my reading goes and where/when there are gaps. I'm now working on filling in the gaps, so that I'll have read a book from every year for as far back I can go.
Speaking of years, it took Odysseus ten to get back home after ten years of the Trojan War, poor dear. He's always been my favorite of the Greek heroes, and I've always pictured him as Sting. I have no logical explanation for this, it just is. Odysseus = Sting.

Nov. 18, 2021, 2:46pm

CAT#11: Shakespeare
I'm doing a full-on reread.
Tom Hiddleston as Henry V. Prince Hal became one of my very first literary boyfriends way back in high school. Hiddleston as Hal makes me need a fainting couch.

Nov. 18, 2021, 2:49pm

CAT#12: Mysteries
I love a good mystery. And the whip-smart-but-boy-does-he-have-issues Sherlock is one of my very favorite things in this world. And Cumberbatch as Sherlock? See the Hal/Hiddleston commentary above.

Bearbeitet: Nov. 18, 2021, 4:00pm

CAT#13: Romance
This is one of the few genres from which I have read virtually nothing and I want better to familiarize myself with it. And the more I read, the more I love it.
Oh, Howl. *dreamy sigh*

Bearbeitet: Nov. 18, 2021, 4:01pm

CAT#14: Unread Books from my Shelves
I have books on my shelves that have been there, unread, for YEARS. I need to work on that.
I'd happily let Elizabeth Bennet peruse my shelves any day.

Bearbeitet: Nov. 18, 2021, 4:08pm

CAT#15: Books from my Read Soon! Shelves
I have a couple of shelves full of books that I really want to get to soon.
Ronan Lynch (from the Raven Boys cycle) would fully approve of reading what you want whenever you want. (This gorgeous art is by xla-hainex and can be found on

Bearbeitet: Dez. 26, 2021, 4:55pm

CAT#16: Books from My Wishlist
Years ago I started a wishlist on Amazon as a way to keep track of books I'd someday like to read. It's now so long that it takes *forever* to scroll down to the bottom, and since the people who used to use it for gift ideas are now all folks (mostly family) amongst whom we've all agreed not to exchange gifts anymore (and instead just enjoy our holiday gatherings together gift-free - ie it's not because we now hate each other or anything), I've decided I should start whittling away at it, and so I'm going to start requesting these titles one by one from the library and I'll only actually buy the ones I love and want to keep on the shelves.
Since it's a wishlist, I thought Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold would be a good candidate here as he's so good at granting wishes...

Bearbeitet: Gestern, 3:50pm

CAT#17: Audiobooks
I listen to books while vacuuming, sewing, and driving, so I get through a fair amount in a year, generally.
My little Slytherin heart would let Professor Snape read to me all day long, folks.

1. The Paradise War
2. Guilty Pleasures

Bearbeitet: Jan. 18, 2:13pm

(doubling up here because I've decided to add another CAT...)

CAT#18: Books Read Aloud with Charlie
I'll list here the books my 13-year-old and I read out loud together at night.
I've read all of the Discworld books and Sam Vimes is by far my favorite character. Charlie's read the first Discworld book and wants to read more, and we both loved the BBC show, The Watch, and are hoping for more episodes.

CAT#19: Everything Else
I'll list here the books that don't fit any of the above categories.
Medea doesn't really fit in any categories either. She defies all attempts to make her fit into any of the normal female tropes, and I absolutely adore her for it. Strong, fascinating, horrifying, and still with 100% human-like fragility. She is gorgeous and I will love her until the day I die. Preferably not by her hand. But still.

1. What Fresh Hell Is This?
2. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Nov. 18, 2021, 3:35pm

Some great cats! I really like the 100 most banned books and will watch and take notes on what you read--maybe for me next year!

Nov. 18, 2021, 3:39pm

I love awards lists too. Hope you have a great reading year!

Nov. 18, 2021, 3:48pm

Excellent categories! I'm on a Shakespeare read as well - although I'm going to ease my way in by listening to them. I've not read a play since I was 16 and I'm really not sure how to go about it now.

Nov. 18, 2021, 4:06pm

>16 scaifea: Take care. They're a trap. Happy reading in 2022.

Nov. 18, 2021, 4:16pm

I love all the pop culture pics! Special sigh of agreement about Eugenides, one of my favorite fictional characters too!

Nov. 18, 2021, 4:23pm

Okay, I think everything's sorted up there now. Welcome - come on in!

>22 Tess_W: Thanks, Tess! I'm actually almost finished with that 100 Banned Books list - I think I have maybe 5-6 to go? I highly recommend the book, though, if you're looking for some interesting reads.

>23 NinieB: Thanks, Ninie! I've sure read a lot of things I otherwise wouldn't have because of those awards lists. Mostly that's a good thing...

>24 Helenliz: Ha! I think it's too late, Pam. *sigh*

>25 pamelad: Yay for Gen! I love him so much. Soooo much.

Nov. 18, 2021, 6:38pm

I am 100% here for the Cumberbatch content :D Also glad to see Alan Rickman and David Tennant back!

Nov. 18, 2021, 6:44pm

>28 rabbitprincess: Yay! Yes, I could live in a world in which Cumberbatch and Hiddleston play All. The. Parts.

Nov. 18, 2021, 6:55pm

Great to see you back for another year of Category reading, Amber. I love your choices and your reasons for each one!

Nov. 18, 2021, 7:00pm

>30 DeltaQueen50: Thanks so much, Judy!

Nov. 19, 2021, 6:27am

Excellent categories. And thank you for the eye candy!

Nov. 19, 2021, 7:01am

>32 MissWatson: Ha! Thanks - and you're most welcome!

Nov. 19, 2021, 1:54pm

Nice set-up, Amber!

Nov. 19, 2021, 1:55pm

>34 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie!

Nov. 19, 2021, 3:06pm

Very nice challenge setup, Amber! Good luck. I'll be lurking to enjoy the scenery!

Nov. 19, 2021, 3:17pm

>36 majkia: Thanks!! Enjoy the view!

Nov. 19, 2021, 3:34pm

Nice set up, Amber! Great pictures.

Nov. 19, 2021, 3:37pm

Nov. 20, 2021, 4:03pm

Very nice categories. And I love the pictures.

Nov. 20, 2021, 4:23pm

Dez. 4, 2021, 3:19pm

Looking forward to seeing how you feel these categories!

Dez. 27, 2021, 3:56am

Great categories and pictures once again! I'm looking forward to following along!

Dez. 27, 2021, 7:09am

>42 thornton37814: >43 MissBrangwen: Thanks, ladies! I'm getting excited for the new year to get started!

Dez. 27, 2021, 11:36pm

That's alotta categories!!

Dez. 28, 2021, 6:39am

Happy Reading!

Dez. 28, 2021, 8:58am

>45 justchris: Yup. Same as always.

>46 dudes22: Thanks!!

Dez. 28, 2021, 9:08am

Amber, when I saw your thread, for some reason the song The Boys are Back in Town came into my head. *grin* Love the images you chose. And also that for you Odysseus = Sting. You know I am always going to picture Odysseus like this now, so thank you.

Dez. 28, 2021, 9:19am

>48 Crazymamie: *snork!* I love that song! And yeah, it somehow seems appropriate...

Odysseus is supposed to be a redhead and as a classicist I should probably care about that but I super don't. He. Is. Sting. And you're welcome. I balked at the Troy movie casting Sean Bean as Odysseus because of course Odysseus is the only Ithacan who survives the homeward journey and everybody knows Sean Bean never makes it to the end of a story alive. *tsk*

Dez. 28, 2021, 9:22am

>49 scaifea: You made me snort my tea about Sean Bean!! So true!

Dez. 28, 2021, 9:24am

>50 Crazymamie: Ha! Otherwise, though, the casting in that move is pretty great. My students are generally shocked when I tell them that I kind of love that movie - they always assume I'll hate it because it's not exactly true to Homer. Meh. Myths change and that's cool. And Brian Cox as Agamemnon is perfection.

Dez. 28, 2021, 9:30am

>49 scaifea: "I balked at the Troy movie casting Sean Bean as Odysseus because of course Odysseus is the only Ithacan who survives the homeward journey and everybody knows Sean Bean never makes it to the end of a story alive. *tsk*"
LOL :-))

I don't think it's such a bad movie either, and when I taught a course about heroes in literature it was even on the curriculum to make the story more accessible (the reading was a long text by Gustav Schwab which was a bit dry for most of the students).

Dez. 28, 2021, 9:46am

>52 MissBrangwen: Oh, your course sounds great! I've been thinking about maybe putting a course together that traces the hero trope from its origins in Greek mythology through lit and film/TV someday...

Dez. 28, 2021, 9:59am

>53 scaifea: Yes, it was one of my favorite courses to teach so far! It was definitely close to what you describe, although with a focus on German literature as it was part of a German class. It was a very good experience because the students were so interested and were able to draw a lot of parallels to their own interests and fandoms, such as Marvel etc. It was more relevant to them than a lot of other things they have to study.

Dez. 28, 2021, 10:16am

>54 MissBrangwen: Yes! My myth students always seem to love making the connections between ancient myth and modern pop culture - I get "wow!"s aplenty every time I tell them that the Furies were known as avengers of kin murder and then flash a photo of Nick Fury and the Avengers on the screen...

Dez. 28, 2021, 11:34am

>53 scaifea: Ohhh, that sounds good. I'd read it. In 2021 I listened to Pandora's Jar as read by the author, Natalie Haynes. That took 10 women from Greek myth and traced their story forward, including more modern literature and films along the way. Fabulously erudite, but full of wit and snark a-plenty, it was one of my three reads that rated 5 stars.

Dez. 28, 2021, 2:52pm

>56 Helenliz: Hey, she knows it's a jar and not a box, so I approve! Drives me kind of bananas when people get that wrong.

Dez. 28, 2021, 3:33pm

>57 scaifea: She spends a reasonable time explaining that too. And why we all think it is a box.

In my case, my one TV appearance (one too many, imo) was a school dance production, where we all wore leotards, tights and home made masks to represent the various evils that were released from Pandora's box. As a rather chubby child, I got to represent hunger. Less said, the better...

Dez. 28, 2021, 3:54pm

>58 Helenliz: Omg, that performance sounds so adorable!! I LOVE IT.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 2, 1:03pm

CAT#2: 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up

1. The Cave Children by A. Sonnleitner (1001 Children's Books) - 7/10
Two kiddos get stuck in a mountain valley without any adults to help them, and so they need quickly to learn how to survive in the wilderness on their own.
I tend to enjoy these kinds of kid survival stories, but this one fell completely flat for me. The children aren't given personalities much at all, and the tone is bleak instead of cheering-them-on optimistic. So, blech.

Jan. 3, 1:59am

Happy 2022 and good luck with your reading goals!
>13 scaifea: I've never thought of a book-a-year challenge and I love it.
>20 scaifea: It's a tragedy that Alan Rickman didn't do more audiobooks. There are parts of Return of the Native that I can listen to on repeat.

Jan. 3, 7:27am

>61 madhatter22: Thanks!!

Isn't the book-a-year thing a cool idea? I also love keeping it updated - I open it up every time I finish a book to see if I want to replace that particular year's entry with the one I've just finished (for years with more than one book I list my favorite).

And yes to needing more Rickman audiobooks! I agree about Return of the Native, too. *sigh*

Jan. 3, 10:39am

>61 madhatter22: I agree, Alan Rickman was made for audiobooks and it is such a shame that he didn't do more of them.

His diaries are scheduled to be published in the fall of 2022, and my only thought is who would do the audiobook?

Jan. 3, 10:45am

>63 rabbitprincess: Oh, goodness. I'll have to read those in print, I suspect. I can't let anyone else try to be his voice!

Jan. 3, 10:49am

>64 scaifea: I mean I wouldn't say no to Benedict Cumberbatch reading them...but he's not Alan!

Jan. 3, 10:55am

>65 rabbitprincess: Oh well, Cumberbatch can read anything else he wants to me, of course, but he could maybe give me a foot rub while I read the Rickman diaries...

Jan. 5, 2:16am

>63 rabbitprincess: I hadn't heard about that! Can't wait.

Jan. 5, 6:52am

>67 madhatter22: Right? Me either - and me too!

Jan. 5, 5:22pm

CAT#3: 1001 Fantasy Books You Must Read Before You Turn Into a Newt
January AlphaKIT: R

2. Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard (Green Dragon 1001 Fantasy Books) - 7/10
What to say about Conan? It's cheesy and simple, with the manly-man, noble-savage barbarian and the distressed and ditzy damosel, and plenty of opportunities for Our Hero to make good on his hero-ness. I'm glad I read it just for the simple ability to understand the references better, but I can't say that I exactly enjoyed the experience.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 9, 4:43pm

CAT#3: 1001 Fantasy Books You Must Read Before You Turn Into a Newt
BingoDOG#13: Read a CAT
Year-long AlphaKIT: Z

3. Beauties, Beasts, and Enchantment by Jack Zipes
A collection of French fairy tales. There were very few that I didn't already know, but the reread was comforting, and it's a good collection.

Jan. 11, 9:36am

CAT#3: 1001 Fantasy Books You Must Read Before You Turn Into a Newt
CAT#17: Audiobooks

4. The Paradise War by Stephen Lawhead
Two Oxford grad students find a portal between worlds in the shape of a cairn and find themselves pulled into a world inhabited by, essentially, ancient celts, and then entangled in the warrior ranks and embroiled in a semi-mystical war that may have repercussions in the 'real' world.
This one started out promising but once it transitioned to the other world, it faltered into a big load of meh. The main character/narrator was completely lacking in any sort of personality, so I struggled to care about what happened to him, and the plot was both convoluted and dull. Disappointing. Needless to mention, but I won't be continuing with the trilogy.

Jan. 11, 6:34pm

CAT#19: Everything Else

5. What Fresh Hell Is This? by Heather Corinna
This is a book about perimenopause and menopause: a history of thought on the subject (this part doubles as a horror story of how medicine has been consistently shitty to women from Day One), a crash course in the biology behind the phenomenon, and a self-help guide to the options out there now to get you through it.
There were some helpful nuggets in here, but I admit to skimming large chunks, mostly because the author's tone and sense of humor were super nerve-grating. So, YMMV.

Jan. 18, 2:14pm

CAT#19: Everything Else
BingoDOG#23: A book set in a country other than the one you live

6. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
A reread for me, but it had been long enough that I was ready to revisit it while Charlie read it for the first time for his ELA class. It's funny how so many of these kinds of classic stories, when appropriated for movies and TV, take on a completely different life and end up looking not much at all like their originals. But it's not at all surprising is that it's the stories with such potential for carrying higher truths that get this treatment - this is what myths do (function as vehicles for every new teller's message), and in that way stories like Jekyll and Hyde are very close to belonging to a kind of mythology. So, although I like Treasure Island loads more, I still appreciate the qualities inherent in this one.

Gestern, 3:12pm

CAT#1: 100 Banned Books
January AlphaKIT: H
BingoDOG#18: Book in Translation

7. The Hidden Face of Eve by Nawal El Saadawi
A disturbing history of women in the Arab world and how they have been brutalized and mistreated in many ways throughout history up to the present day. This isn't a happy read, but would be an important one, I think, if it weren't for the frequent and sometimes incredibly blatant inaccuracies included in the text. I assume the author knows her own subject (Arab women and their mistreatment) since she is a doctor herself and has treated and interviewed many Arab women and has extensively studied the subject. But she should have stuck to what she knows; she branches out into the history of mistreatment of women in other areas of the world, including ancient Greece and Rome, and she boldly states as fact - frequently without citing sources - wildly inaccurate and untrue ideas. This, as you can probably guess, drove me absolutely bananas.

Gestern, 3:51pm

CAT#3: 1001 Fantasy Books You Must Read Before You Turn Into a Newt
CAT#17: Audiobooks

8. Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
Anita Blake is a reanimator and vampire hunter by trade, living and working in St. Louis. She gets a job offer that she literally can't refuse from the local vampire master to find out who's been murdering vampires in town. Things get...complicated from there on out.
And I mean ridiculously complicated, or at least it seemed to me that the plot was overly convoluted. It could just be that I couldn't ever quite manage to care enough about Anita to bother with following along in all the details. She annoyed me. To be fair, I listened to the audiobook and it could be that the narrator was the annoying part and that if I had read a print version I wouldn't have been so not taken with Blake. At any rate, I don't think I'll continue with the series. For me, there are better vampire/monster stories out there and much more interesting vampire/monster hunters.