Challenge #11 – Giving Sunday, Nov 2 2008 

November in the U.S. means Thanksgiving. Many other countries celebrate their own Thanksgivings, and it’s still fresh in the mind of Canadians as they celebrated theirs just last month. With the year winding down and the final holidays almost here, it’s the perfect time to reflect on things we are thankful for and what we can do to give back to the communities that support us.

  • Philanthropy

    • Why the Wealthy Give by Francie Ostrower

    • Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by John Wood

    • Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good by Paul Newman & A.E. Hotchner

    • Philanthropy and Police: London Charity in the 18th Century by Donna T. Andrew

    • Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson

  • Thanksgiving novels

    • Thanksgiving by Janet Evanovich

    • Thanksgiving Night by Richard Bausch

    • An Old-fashioned Thanksgiving and Other Stories by Louisa May Alcott

    • The Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote

    • The Ghost at the Table by Suzanne Berne

  • Giving

    • Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World by Bill Clinton

    • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – YA

    • The Generosity Factor by Ken Blanchard

    • Why Good Things Happen to Good People by Stephen Post

    • Stone Soup by Marcia Brown – YA

  • Volunteering

    • Peace Corps – The Great Adventure: Volunteer Stories of Life Overseas by the Peace Corps

    • The Virgin Guide to Volunteering by Rebecca Hardy

    • The Rough Guide to a Better World by Martin Wroe

    • How to Make the World a Better Place by Jeffrey Hollender

    • Crossing the Yard: Thirty Years as a Prison Volunteer by Richard Shelton

And for those of you in the U.S., vote for your candidates of choice on Tuesday!

Challenge #10 – Haunting Wednesday, Oct 1 2008 

In keeping with Halloween, October’s theme is “Haunting”. Now, you *could* load up with ghost stories, or you could suggest books that will haunt you long after you read them, good or bad. Horror books are always a prime favorite of this time of year, but maybe you want to include books in other genres that include traditional horror elements such as paranormal romances, urban fantasy, mysteries such as the Sookie Stackhouse series (now on HBO as the “True Blood” series!), and others. Some non-fiction horror can be found in today’s political climate if you’re in the US – market pro-Obama books to your conservatives and pro-McCain books to your liberals.  A definition of “haunt” from Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry:
1: haunt
Pronunciation: \ˈhȯnt, ˈhänt\
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French hanter, probably from Old Norse heimta to lead home, pull, claim, from heimr home
Date: 14th century

transitive verb
1 a: to visit often : frequent
b: to continually seek the company of
2 a: to have a disquieting or harmful effect on : trouble <problems we ignore now will come back to haunt us>
b: to recur constantly and spontaneously to <the tune haunted her>
c: to reappear continually in <a sense of tension that haunts his writing>
3: to visit or inhabit as a ghost

intransitive verb
1: to stay around or persist : linger
2: to appear habitually as a ghost

— haunt·er noun
— haunt·ing·ly \ˈhȯn-tiŋ-lē, ˈhän-\ adverb

  • Ghost Stories
    • Chicago Haunts by Ursula Bielski
    • The Dark: New Ghost Stories by Ellen Datlow
    • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell – YA
    • The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories by Michael Cox and R A Gilbert
    • Nightshade: 20th Century Ghost Stories by Robert S Phillips
  • Horror with ghosts
    • Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
    • Haunting of Cambria by Richard Taylor
    • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
    • The Taken by Sarah Pinborough
    • Dead Souls by Michael Laimo
    • Bag of Bones by Stephen King
  • Stories that haunt you
    • The Memory of Water by Karen White
    • The Complete Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman
    • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
    • Mystic River by Dennis Lehane
    • The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
  • Stories that feature ghosts
    • Stardust of Yesterday by Lynn Kurland
    • The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson
    • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – YA
    • Second Glance by Jodi Picoult
    • The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Alice Kimberly
  • American politics
    • Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama’s Plan to Renew America’s Promise by Barack Obama
    • Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life by John McCain
    • Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics by Joe Biden
    • Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska’s Political Establishment Upside Down by Kaylene Johnson

Challenge #9 – Change Monday, Sep 1 2008 

BAM Challengers have really been stepping up to the plate the last few months providing our challenges! This month’s challenge is provided by Linda Dyndiuk. Change is a fabulous theme that can be applied in so many different ways. Just examine some of Linda’s suggestions! I hope you have a lot of fun with this challenge. If you’re interested in providing next month’s, or any month’s challenge, e-mail me at bamchallenge{at}

  • Times of Change in History
    • 1776 by David McCullough
    • The Map that Changed the World by Simon Winchester
    • April 1865: The Month that Saved America by Jay Winik
    • Five Days in London: May 1940 by John Lukacs
    • 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents by David Pietrusza
    • The Boys from Dolores by Patrick Symmes
  • Climate Change
    • The Winds of Change: climate, weather, and the destruction of civilizations by Eugene Linden
    • The great warming: climate change and the rise and fall of civilizations by Brian Fagan
    • With speed and violence: why scientists fear tipping points in climate change by Fred Pearce
    • Field Notes from a Catastrophe: man, nature, and climate change by Elizabeth Kolbert
    • An Inconvenient Truth: the planetary emergency of global warming and what we can do about it by Al Gore
  • Memoirs of Change
    • She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan
    • Leaving Microsoft to change the world by John Wood
    • A Change of Heart: a memoir by Claire Sylvia
    • Drunk Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair by Laurie Perry
  • Novels of change
    • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
    • The Breast by Philip Roth
    • Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
    • Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
    • The Master Butcher’s Singing Club by Louise Erdrich
    • The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu
    • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Titles with the word “change”
    • Spare Change by Robert B. Parker
    • Step-ball-change by Jeanne Ray
    • Never Change by Elizabeth Berg
    • The Winds of Change and Other Stories by Isaac Asimov
    • A Sudden Change of Heart by Barbara Taylor Bradford
  • Change Your Life
    • Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: how a new science reveals our extraordinary potential to transform ourselves by Sharon Begley
    • Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: living the wisdom of the Tao by Wayne Dyer
    • A Weekend to Change Your life: find your authentic self after a lifetime of being all things to all people by Joan Anderson
    • The Gift of Change: spiritual guidance for a radically new life
    • Do One Thing Different: ten simple ways to change your life by Bill O’Hanlon
    • Learned Optimism: how to change your mind and your life by Martin Seligman
    • What Color is Your Parachute?: A Practical Manual for job-hunters and career-changers by Richard Nelson Bolles
    • Colleges That Change Lives by Loren Pope
  • Change the World
    • It’s your world – if you don’t like it, change it: activisim for teenagers by Mikki Halpin
    • How to Change the World: social entrepreneurs and the power of new ideas by David Bornstein
    • Giving: how each of us can change the world by Bill Clinton
    • Writing to Change the World by Mary Pipher

Challenge #8 – Cold Friday, Aug 1 2008 

First, many thanks to BAM Challenger Patty Franz for providing this month’s theme and booklist! If you’d like to contribute to future BAM Challenges, e-mail me at bamchallenge{at}

As it’s August, you’re either wishing for the cold to come back if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere or wishing it would just go away if you’re in the Southern one. Either way, an exploration of the many different meanings of cold is sure to take your mind off of the weather!

Cold Case Mysteries
Barnard, Robert – Bones in the Attic
Barnes, Linda – Cold Case
Buchanan, Edna – Cold Case Squad
Burcell, Robin – Cold Case
Burke, James Lee – Crusader’s Cross
Gourevitch, Philip – Cold Case
Grafton, Sue – A is for Alibi
Hooper, Kay – Chill of Fear
Tey, Josephine – Daughter of Time
Vickers, Roy – Department of Dead Ends
White, Stephen – Cold Case

Cold Feet Romances
Juska, Elise, et al – Cold Feet
Dave, Laura – London is the Best City in America

Places that are Cold
Krakauer, Jon – Into Thin Air
Lansing, Alfred – Endurance: Shackelton’s Incredible Voyage
Ehrlich, Gretel – The Future of Ice: a journey into cold
Nielsen, Jerri – Ice Bound
Taliaferro, John – In a Far Country: the True Story of a Mission, a Marriage, a Murder and the Remarkable Reindeer Rescue of 1898
Time Bandit

Snow Titles
Daheim, Mary – Snow Place to Die
Guterson , David – Snow falling on cedars
Houston, James – Snow Mountain Passage
Miller, Calvin – Snow
Olsen, Gregg – A wicked snow
O’Nan, Stewart – Snow Angels
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds – Blizzard’s Wake
Pamuk, Orhan – Snow
Park, David – The Big Snow
Parvin, Roy – In the Snow Forest
Shreve, Anita – Light on Snow
Stabenow, Dana – A Fine and Bitter Snow;
Tracy P. J. – Snow Blind

There are probably as many titles with ice in them as cold.

The weather is so cold it affects the book
These are suggestions from one of Patty’s colleagues:
Two books that come to mind immediately to me are Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith (part of the Arkady Renko series) and In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spenser-Fleming. In case you are not familiar with these titles, in both books the main characters are constantly dealing with the cold. So much so that the weather almost becomes a character in the book. Wolves takes place in Chernobyl, when Arkady is investigating a murder by plutonium. In Midwinter, the main character is the new Episcopal priest in a small town in the Catskills. She grew up in the South, and is totally unprepared for winter in New York. It is also a murder mystery.

Ghost Stories that can send chills down your spine
Burchill, James – The Cold, Cold Hand : More Stories of Ghosts and Haunts from the Appalachian Foothills

The Cold War
The Watchmen graphic novels

Other ideas to explore
Cold shoulder
Cold cuts
Cold remedies
Cold beer here (from baseball games)
Cold hard cash
Cold symptoms
Cold day in hell
Cold shower
Winter Holidays

Challenge #6 – Knowledge Monday, Jun 2 2008 

First, thanks to BAM Challenger, Laura Carscaddon, for submitting this month’s challenge. If you’ve got an idea for a future BAM Challenge, e-mail me at bamchallenge{at} with your idea.

The quest for knowledge has driven generation upon generation upon generation of humans. Whether it was forbidden knowledge, secret knowledge, or higher knowledge having knowledge has always meant having power. The world’s oldest sin in the Judeo-Christian tradition is Eve stealing the apple from the Tree of Knowledge, forever linking apples with knowledge. Isaac Newton’s nap under the apple tree, getting bopped on the head and coming up with the Law of Gravity cemented the relationship. Secrets and the spies in search of them are always lively reads. If nothing else, read a book on a topic you’ve always been interested in learning more about.

  • Education
    • An Incomplete Education: 3,684 Things You Should Have Learned but Probably Didn’t
    • The Knowledge Deficit: Closing the Shocking Education Gap for American Children by E. D. Hirsch
    • Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography by Roger Shattuck
    • Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools? by Kathy Emery
    • The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America by Jonathon Kozol
  • Secrets & Spies
    • Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (YA)
    • Passport to Treason: the inside story of spies in America by Alan Hynd
    • The Code Book by Simon Singh
    • The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet by David Kahn
    • Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
  • Title Secrets
    • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (YA)
    • The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
    • The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
    • Family Secrets: A Vengeance of Tears by R. A. Siracusa
    • The Sistine Secrets: Michelangelo’s Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican by Benjamin Blech and Roy Doliner
  • Title Knowledge
    • Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts
    • Knowledge of Hell by António Lobo Antunes and Clifford E. Landers
    • A Proper Knowledge by Michelle Latiolais
    • The Mountain Place of Knowledge by Marshall Chamberlain
    • The Knowledge of Water by Sarah Smith
  • Tasting the Apple
    • Original Sin: A Cultural History by Alan Jacobs
    • Original Sin: Origins, Developments, Contemporary Meanings by Tatha Wiley
    • Doing Without Adam and Eve: Sociobiology and Original Sin by Patricia A. Williams
    • Evolution and Eden: Balancing Original Sin and Contemporary Science by Jerry D. Korsmeyer
    • Original Sin: Illuminating the Riddle by Henri Blocher

Coming in 2008! Wednesday, Dec 5 2007 

Welcome to the Book A Month (BAM) Challenge. Right around the first of the month, every month, we’ll be posting a theme. All you have to do is read a book that corresponds to that theme and post a review, either on your own website/blog and comment with a link to it or in the comments for the post itself. Pretty simple, right? This is perfect for those looking to fulfill their New Year’s Resolution of “read more books”. See you around January 1st!