The Seasonal Reading Challenge discussion

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OLD TASK HELP THREADS > Alternative History (15.2)

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message 1: by Rae (new)

Rae (rachforevers) | 7 comments I have a book that is a collection of essays written by historians speculating on past events and how they might have gone differently and changed the world as we know it drastically. The book in question: What If? The World's Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been.

So, my question is: would this work?

(Also, I hope I put this in the right spot!)


Sarah (Mood Reader) (bookworm1887) | 467 comments I would probably ask your question in the Fall Challenge categorey with the question section. I hope this makes sense!


message 3: by Sara ♥ (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) | 1136 comments Let's leave this up though. Alternate Histories anyone? Ideas? I think right now I have 1984 listed as my pick.... but I would really like to read something else......


message 4: by Tammy AZ (new)

Tammy AZ (tammyaz) | 867 comments I'm going to read The Plot Against America but The Yiddish Policeman's Union would also work.


message 5: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lbhick) | 736 comments Tammy wrote: "I'm going to read The Plot Against America but The Yiddish Policeman's Union would also work."

Tammy, those are the same two books I've narrowed my choices down to.


message 6: by Leslie (new)

Leslie (lesliecs) | 51 comments Is 1984 really considered alternative history? It was written a long time before the year of 1984, so when it was written it definitely wouldn't have fallen into that category. Does any book that takes place in the future turn into an alternative history once enough time has passed that the time it is set in is now in the past? Don't mind me, I'm just interested in the question.


message 7: by Sara ♥ (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) | 1136 comments Good point. *shrugs*


message 8: by Liz M (new)

Liz M Wiki list of alternate history fiction

I'm considering:
It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
The Alteration by Kingsley Amis
The Difference Engine by William Gibson
Making History by Stephen Fry
The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

I've read & would recommend these:
Watchmen by Alan Moore
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

Not listed on Wikipedia, but approved by Cynthia:
The Eyre Affair


message 9: by Bluemoon (new)

Bluemoon (bluemoon286) | 1837 comments I will be reading Fatherland by Robert Harris. It is about President Kennedy's trip to Germany 20 years after the Nazi's won WW II.


message 10: by Candace (new)

Candace (candacerenee) Leslie wrote: "Is 1984 really considered alternative history? It was written a long time before the year of 1984, so when it was written it definitely wouldn't have fallen into that category. Does any book that t..."

I'm pretty sure Cynthia ok'd 1984 for this task, but you might want to check with her to be sure :)


message 11: by Usako (new)

Usako (bbmeltdown) | 1341 comments http://www.uchronia.net/

Apparently that's a website solely focused on alternative history novels.


The Walls of the Universe looks good.



message 12: by Tammy AZ (new)

Tammy AZ (tammyaz) | 867 comments Lisa wrote: "Tammy wrote: "I'm going to read The Plot Against America but The Yiddish Policeman's Union would also work."

Tammy, those are the same two books I've narrowed my choices down to."


Great minds think alike :)


message 13: by Julia (new)

Julia (bambbles) | 119 comments Stephanie wrote: "I will be reading Fatherland by Robert Harris. It is about President Kennedy's trip to Germany 20 years after the Nazi's won WW II."

I second this book. I read this book in high school and it was so good. It's less about Kennedy (not JFK but his Dad) and more about the Nazi's won WWII, how has the world changed and coped with that. There is an investigator and a reporter. It's a good book, and I remember I couldn't put it down. So yeah... check out Fatherland.


message 14: by Mary Beth (new)

Mary Beth (marybethbaker) | 143 comments I keep coming across Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell as I read through the websites with lists of alternative history novels, so I think I'm going to go with that one.


message 15: by Sam (new)

Sam (archieleach9) | 275 comments I received an email from a rep at the NoveList database that said she will be adding the "alternative history" tag to all of the Thursday Next novels, so all the sequels should be okay for the task rather than just "The Eyre Affair."


message 16: by Abigail (new)

Abigail | 318 comments I'm reading "Guns of the South" by Harry Turtledove, which I found listed somewhere as the quintessential alternative history novel -- but mostly I'm reading it b/c a friend gave it to me and it's been languishing in my TBR pile for more than a year... ;)

That said, if ANYONE is thinking of reading "The Eyre Affair," it's one of my favs. I definitely recommend it!


message 17: by Jill (new)

Jill | 13 comments Thank you Sam, for researching all of that for 'The Eyre Affair' series! I had read and loved the first one and was really hoping to get the next one into this challenge (and I already had a book selected for time travel). I had looked it up on Wikipedia and it was listed as alternative history, but that was the only place I had found it listed as so.


message 18: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrisa-uk) | 233 comments I was going to read Fatherland for this task, but I've had The Eyre Affair on my TBR pile for soooo long, I think I'll use that one. I might still read Fatherland for the Germany task ...


message 19: by Sara ♥ (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) | 1136 comments Abigail wrote: "That said, if ANYONE is thinking of reading "The Eyre Affair," it's one of my favs. I definitely recommend it!"

How familiar does a person need to be with Jane Eyre to read this book? Would you recommend this book to someone who really didn't like Jane Eyre very much?


message 20: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather I'm going to be reading one of these:
Bring the Jubilee by Ward Moore
Gloriana, Or The Unfulfill'd Queen by Michael Moorcock
The Dragon Waiting A Masque of History by John M. Ford
The Years of Rice and Salt by by Kim Stanley Robinson


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) Sara wrote: "Abigail wrote: "That said, if ANYONE is thinking of reading "The Eyre Affair," it's one of my favs. I definitely recommend it!"

How familiar does a person need to be with Jane Eyre to read this bo..."


It really has very little to do with the plot or actual story of Jane Eyre. The book is about an alternate society where books are all important. Don't want to give it away, but I think don't think you had to have liked, or even read Jane Eyre to read this book and enjoy it.


message 22: by Sara ♥ (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) | 1136 comments Lyn wrote: "It really has very little to do with the plot or actual story of Jane Eyre. The book is about an alternate society where books are all important. Don't want to give it away, but I think don't think you had to have liked, or even read Jane Eyre to read this book and enjoy it. "

Fabulous. I'll give it a go. Have you read Ella Minnow Pea? I bet you'd like it. It's very clever... It's a society that's more about letters/words/phrases rather than whole books, but your description reminded me of it.


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) No I haven't, but I'll add it to my TBR list. Thanks


message 24: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie | 111 comments For those who are interested in YA The Bartimaeus Trilogy Boxed Set by Jonathan Stroud is set in an alternative Europe where wizards are real and have become the dominant power and a rebel faction of normal children is trying to take down the corrupt and tyrannical wizard rulers of Britain. It tells the story of the snarky demon Bartimaeus, the wizard wunderkid who summons him and the leader of the rebel faction. Very good, but a bit dark for YA!


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) You guys should also check out Robert Conroy. He writes books where he takes historical events, like the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and changes the outcome. I am reading 1942 A Novel, where he makes the Japanese strike Pearl Harbor more than once, and what different outcomes that might have led to.


message 26: by Abigail (new)

Abigail | 318 comments Re: The Eyre Affair and Ella Minnow Pea:
You definitely don't need to be a Jane Eyre lover to enjoy The Eyre Affair -- although you might like it a bit more if you are... If someone is doing Jane Eyre for the school reread or for the related authors task, though, it'd be a fun pairing!

And Ella Minnow Pea is another fav of mine! Lyn, you absolutely should read it. It's super-fast too, so a good one for the challenge. :)

Thanks for the Conroy suggestion, too. I'll add him to by TBR pile, although I'm not sure I'll fit him in this time around.


message 27: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cindyreece) | 15 comments Newt Gingrich has written a trilogy about the Civil War and two about Pearl Harbor and WWII.




message 28: by BJ Rose (new)

BJ Rose (bjrose) | 822 comments Lulu wrote: "Newt Gingrich has written a trilogy about the Civil War and two about Pearl Harbor and WWII."

I'll second this suggestion. I read the Civil War trilogy last year and they were riveting - starts with Gettysburg. And I'm using the two WWII books in this challenge - one for Are Two Heads Better Than One? because he co-wrote them with William Forstchen, and the other for Alternative History




Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) I added Ella Minnow Pea to my list. It sounds great. Thanks Abigail.


message 30: by Krista (new)

Krista (kacey14) Fatherland would work for this task. It is based on the premise that the Germans won WWII. I haven't read it, but it sounded kind of interesting in that it was a mystery/suspense as well as Alt History.


message 31: by Megan (new)

Megan | 15 comments I'm wondering if Larklight A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space would work for this. I think it's like space-travel, etc., but in a victorian setting. Dunno, anyone?


Jan (the Gryphon) (yogryphongmailcom) | 228 comments Would William Buckley Jnr.'s Blackford Oakes spy novels fall under alternative history?


message 33: by Heidi (new)

Heidi | 52 comments I'm hoping to read Resistance for this task - like fatherland its set in World War Two and involves the Germans landing on British soil.


message 34: by Patricia (new)

Patricia | 680 comments I liked The Plot Against America a lot for those of you considering to read it. I'm thinking of reading Blonde Roots for this challenge.


message 35: by El (new)

El Patricia wrote: "I liked The Plot Against America a lot for those of you considering to read it. I'm thinking of reading Blonde Roots for this challenge."

I also liked The Plot Against America - it's great for this task!


message 36: by Cait (new)

Cait Poytress (caitertot) | 662 comments I'm so excited to hear the recommendations for The Plot Against America. I was going to read either that or The Man in the High Castle, but I'll go with Roth since it's a book I already own.


message 37: by El (new)

El Cait wrote: "I'm so excited to hear the recommendations for The Plot Against America. I was going to read either that or The Man in the High Castle, but I'll go with Roth since it's a book I alre..."

I plan to read the Philip K. Dick book since I've already read the Roth book. I've heard good things about the Dick, so hopefully you can find another place to plug it in for this challenge.


message 38: by Candace (new)

Candace (candacerenee) Krista wrote: "Fatherland would work for this task. It is based on the premise that the Germans won WWII. I haven't read it, but it sounded kind of interesting in that it was a mystery/suspense as ..."

Ooo, that DOES sounds interesting! I think I'm switching my choice! Thanks for the great idea Krista!


message 39: by Bridgit (new)

Bridgit | 515 comments I'm reading Jamestown A Novel which is supposed to be a retelling of the settling of Jamestown with a twist that it was done by gangs and colonial era corporations, complete with some modern technologies like guns and automobiles. Pocahontas and John Rolfe are main characters in the story. It seems to be sort of an alternate history/post-apocolyptic novel that will really entertain.


message 40: by Sam (new)

Sam (archieleach9) | 275 comments Cait wrote: "I'm so excited to hear the recommendations for The Plot Against America. I was going to read either that or The Man in the High Castle, but I'll go with Roth since it's a book I alre..."

What's really nice is how he includes appendices at the end that contain speeches and other stuff that demonstrate how real what he writes about could have been.


message 41: by Jan (the Gryphon) (last edited Sep 01, 2009 06:46AM) (new)

Jan (the Gryphon) (yogryphongmailcom) | 228 comments Would Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede fit this task? The clerk at the bookstore said to "think The Little House on the Prairie meets Dr. Who."


message 42: by Sara ♥ (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) | 1136 comments Did everyone see that Cynthia is NOT allowing 1984 as an alternate history task? Just wanted to make sure...


message 43: by Candace (new)

Candace (candacerenee) Sara wrote: "Did everyone see that Cynthia is NOT allowing 1984 as an alternate history task? Just wanted to make sure..."

Yeah - I've already switched over to Fatherland which I know she's approved :) So yay!


message 44: by Sara ♥ (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) | 1136 comments Candace wrote: "Sara wrote: "Did everyone see that Cynthia is NOT allowing 1984 as an alternate history task? Just wanted to make sure..."

Yeah - I've already switched over to Fatherland which I kno..."


I switched to The Eyre Affair.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) I think it would definitely qualify under the Time Travel one - not sure about alternate history. Interesting question.


message 46: by Rach (new)

Rach (rachlovestv) | 263 comments El wrote: "Cait wrote: "I'm so excited to hear the recommendations for The Plot Against America. I was going to read either that or The Man in the High Castle, but I'll go with Roth since it's ..."

I REALLY loved The Man in the High Castle when I read it a few years ago. I am tempted to re-read it for this task, but I am trying to limit my re-reading this challenge. There are just so many good books out there! :)


message 47: by Usako (new)

Usako (bbmeltdown) | 1341 comments Think I'll do The Yiddish Policemen's Union for this one. It looks interesting! Or The Eyre Affair. Huh.


message 48: by Andreea (new)

Andreea (andyyy) | 61 comments Sara wrote: "Did everyone see that Cynthia is NOT allowing 1984 as an alternate history task? Just wanted to make sure..."
She did in the FALL CHALLENGE 2009 QUESTIONS thread, she said:

Heather wrote: "For 15.2 Alternate History...what about 1984?

Heather in KS"No because that was written in 1949 and so Orwell had no idea what it would be like then in Alternative fiction the author re-writes history after the fact - it would work for the science fiction tasks though.



message 49: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer  (jml_417) In the "Native American Books" HELP thread, someone mentioned that 1,000 White Women, The Journals of Mae Dodd by Jim Fergus could be considered alternative history. I haven't read it and was wondering if it does work for this challenge.

If not, I've got other possible choices, but it would be nice if I could knock this one off my TBR list.

Thanks!


message 50: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lbhick) | 736 comments Jennifer L. wrote: "In the "Native American Books" HELP thread, someone mentioned that 1,000 White Women, The Journals of Mae Dodd by Jim Fergus could be considered alternative history. I haven't read ..."

Jennifer, the book works for alternative history because there was an actual historical proposal to assimilate the Indian and Caucasian cultures by providing white women to the Indians, because they were a matriarchal tribe. The author's premise for the novel is what if lawmakers had followed through with this proposal. This was a fantastic book!


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