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 #7 – Independence Tuesday, Jul 1 2008 

Here in the United States, tomorrow is Independence Day (I’m writing the suggestions on the 3rd). Other major independence days celebrated in July are Burundi (Belgium), Canada (U.K.) and Rwanda (Belgium) on the 1st, Belarus (German occupation of Minsk) on the 3rd, Algeria (France), the Cape Verde Islands (Portugal) and Venezuela (Spain) on the 5th, Malawi (U.K.) on the 6th, Argentina (Spain) on the 9th, the Bahamas (U.K) on the 10th, Sao Tome and Principe (Portugal) on the 12th, Colombia (Spain) on the 20th, Liberia and Maldives (U.K.) on the 26th, and Peru (Spain) on the 28th. Revolutionary movements celebrated in July are France on the 14th (Bastille Day) and Belgium on the 21st. Stories of personal independence, especially coming of age stories, have been popular throughout the history of literature. Discover your personal meaning of independence!

  • U.S. Independence Day
    • The American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence (Library of America) by Various and John H. Rhodehamel
    • Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence by John Ferling
    • The American Creed: A Biography of the Declaration of Independence by Forrest Church
    • Founding Fighters: The Battlefield Leaders Who Made American Independence by Alan C. Cate
    • Britain and America Since Independence (British Studies Series) by Howard Temperly
    • The Declaration of Independence: A Global History by David Armitage
    • 1776 by David McCullough
  • Colonial Independence movements
    • The Independence of Spanish America (Cambridge Latin American Studies) by Jaime E. Rodríguez
    • Rebels and Informers: Stirrings of Irish Independence by Oliver Knox
    • Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire by Alex Von Tunzelmann
    • The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence by Martin Meredith
    • To Independence and Beyond: Memoirs of a Colonial Commonwealth Civil Servant by Peter Snelson
  • Revolutionary movements
    • The French Revolution by Owen Connelly
    • Sister Revolutions: French Lightning, American Light by Susan Dunn
    • A Concise History of the French Revolution by Sylvia Neely
    • The Iranian Constitutional Revolution, 1906-1911 by Janet Afary
    • The Pursuit of Glory: The Five Revolutions that Made Modern Europe: 1648-1815 by Tim Blanning and David Cannadine
  • Fiction with independence themes
    • Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
    • 1921 : The Great Novel of the Irish Civil War by Morgan Llywelyn
    • Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (YA)
    • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Coming of age (YA friendly)
    • Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal snogging by Louise Rennison
    • The Giver by Lois Lowry
    • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
    • Born confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier
    • The astonishing adventures of Fanboy & Goth Girl by Barry Lyga

Challenge #5 – Mother Thursday, May 1 2008 

This month’s theme may seem a little obvious for those in the U.S., but I had to be reminded that Mother’s Day was this month by looking at one of those ubiquitous holiday calendars. Luckily I’ve already taken care of my present for my mother. Whew! As usual, there’s a wide-range of books you can read to incorporate into the challenge, though it may take a little effort. Some of the ones I’ve thought up are: books on the joys of being a mother/grandmother, the trials and tribulations of becoming/being a mother, famous mothers, fiction where mothers/grandmothers are a central theme, Mother Earth, and someone with mother issues.

  • Mothering humor
    • Belly Laughs: the Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth by Jenny McCarthy
    • Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother-to-be by Rebecca Eckler
    • Motherhood, the Second Oldest Profession by Erma Bombeck
    • The Sweet Potato Queens’ Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit by Jill Conner Browne
    • You Make Me Feel Like an Unnatural Woman : Diary of a New (Older) Mother by Judith Newman
  • Mother biographies
    • The Autobiography of Mother Jones by Mother Jones
    • A Simple Path by Mother Theresa and Lucinda Vardey
    • Teta, Mother, and Me: Three Generations of Arab Women by Jean Said Makdisi
    • A Remarkable Mother by Jimmy Carter
    • A Woman of Uncertain Character: the Amorous and Radical Adventures of My Mother Jennie (Who Always Wanted to be a Respectable Jewish Mom) by Her Bastard Son by Clancy Sigal
  • Mother fiction
    • Sweet Love by Sarah Strohmeyer
    • Odd Mom Out by Jane Porter
    • A Boy in Winter by Maxine Chernoff
    • The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan
    • White Oleander by Janet Fitch
  • Mother Earth – ecology/environmentalism
    • An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore
    • Extinction: the Causes and Consequences of the Disappearance of Species by Paul R. Ehrlich Anne H. Ehrlich
    • Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared M Diamond
    • Gaia’s Revenge: Climate Change and Humanity’s Loss by P H Liotta; Allan W Shearer
    • Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
  • Mother issues
    • Freud on Women : a Reader by Sigmund Freud and Elisabeth Young-Bruehl
    • Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
    • Postcards From the Edge by Carrie Fisher
    • The Woman Who Gave Birth To Her Mother by Kim Chernin
    • Oh No! I’ve Become My Mother by Sandra Reishus

Challenge #4 – Beauty Tuesday, Apr 1 2008 

In my neck of the woods, April is the true start of spring as the weather is finally hitting over 50 degrees as the high on a regular basis, the trees are greening, and the scent of freshness fills the air. The world around me is waking like Sleeping Beauty after the dark dormancy of winter. This month’s challenge is to read about beauty. Maybe you read a book of poetry you find evokes beauty. What about reimaginations of the tale of Sleeping Beauty? Music and art are routinely noted as beautiful expressions of the soul. Do you find a certain public person beautiful either in face and form or soul? Maybe the beauty industry and what constitutes “beauty” fascinates you. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and so is the meaning in the books you read.

  • Poetry
    • The Beauty of the Beast by Jack Prelutsky and Meilo So (YA)
    • When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple by Sandra Martz
    • The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats by W.B. Yeats
    • The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
    • Ontarian Beauty by Christopher W. Herbert
  • Biography
    • Savage Beauty: the Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
    • Cybill Disobedience by Cybill Shepherd
    • Greta Garbo: a Life Apart by Karen Swenson
    • Dark Lover: the Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino by Emily Wortis Leider
    • Dalai Lama: Man, Monk, Mystic by Mayank Chhaya
  • Sleeping Beauty
    • Sleeping Beauty trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice) **Mature situations/themes
    • The Sleeping Beauty Proposal by Sarah Strohmeyer
    • Sleeping With Beauty by Donna Kauffman
    • Sleeping Beauty by Phillip Margolin
    • Briar Rose by Jane Yolen and Terri Windling (YA)
  • Art
    • Art in the Modern Era by Amy Dempsey
    • Art 21: Art in the21st Century by Thelma Golden
    • Museum of the Missing: a History of Art Theft by Simon Houpt
    • Exploring the Invisible by Lynn Gamwell
    • Art: a New History by Paul Johnson
  • Beauty industry
    • The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
    • Beauty Junkies by Alex Kuczynski
    • Bellisima: Feminine Beauty and the Idea of Italy by Stephen Gundle
    • Imagining American Women by Martha Banta
    • The Power of Beauty by Nancy Friday
  • Beautiful titles
    • Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (YA)
    • On Beauty by Zadie Smith
    • In the Beauty of the Lilies by John Updike
    • Miss Julia’s School of Beauty by Ann B. Ross
    • Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez

Challenge #1 – Time Tuesday, Jan 1 2008 

It’s that time of the year. Ha ha. Okay, bad pun, but true. At the start of the new year, time is on everyone’s mind: the passing of it, past, present, future, planning how we will spend the new year with our lists upon lists of resolutions and goals. Heck, participating in the BAM Challenge may be one of your resolutions and it certainly is a time commitment. Time can be an abstract concept, or it can be one of the most precise measurements in the world. History is the study of the times of a place, historical fiction is set in a certain time, epics take place over time. Biographies are a way to immerse yourself in a specific time period and look at it through the eyes of the person living it. Your first challenge of the year: read a book involving time.

Random suggestions:

  • Time travel
    • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
    • First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde
    • When I Fall in Love by Lynn Kurland
    • Brasyl by Ian McDonald
  • Historical events, places and people
    • The War: an Intimate History, 1941-1945 by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns
    • The Hundred Years’ War AD 1337-1453 by Anne Curry
    • The Dynasties of China: a History by Bamber Gascoigne
    • The Lion and the Unicorn: Gladstone vs. Disraeli by Richard Aldous
  • Historical fiction
    • Annette Vallon by James Tipton
    • City of Dreams by Beverly Swerling
    • The Seanachie by Bob Huerter
    • Daughter of the Sun by Barbara Wood
    • The Religion by Tim Willocks
  • Fiction set in historical times (yes, there is a difference between this and historical fiction)
    • Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
    • Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson
    • River God: A Novel of Ancient Egypt by Wilbur Smith
    • The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer
  • Epic fiction
    • The Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough
    • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
    • The Godfather by Mario Puzo
    • Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
    • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • The science of time
    • A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
    • The Nature of Space and Time by Stephen Hawking
    • Travels in Four Dimensions: the Enigmas of Space and Time by Robin Le Poidevin
    • The New Time Travelers: a Journey to the Frontiers of Physics by David Toomey
    • A World Without Time: the Forgotten Legacy of Godel and Einstein by Palle Yourgrau
  • Calendars
    • Mapping Time: the Calendar and Its History by E. G. Richards
    • Calendar: Humanity’s Epic Struggle to Determine a True and Accurate Year by David Ewing Duncan
    • Empires of Time by Anthony Aveni
    • Marking Time: the Epic Quest to Invent the Perfect Calendar by Duncan Steel
  • Time titles
    • Five O’Clock Shadow by Genie Davis
    • Five O’Clock Lightning: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and the Greatest Baseball Team in History, the 1927 New York Yankees by Harvey Frommer
    • Midnight by Dean Koontz
    • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
    • The One O’Clock Chop by Ralph Fletcher (YA)
    • The Two O’Clock War: The 1973 Yom Kippur Conflict and the Airlift that Saved Israel by Walter J. Boyne
    • No Girl Needs a Husband Seven Days a Week by Nina Foxx
    • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle (YA)
    • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (YA)
    • The Worst Hard Time: the Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan
    • The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson