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       Big Readers Forum Index -> Big Readers Cup 2009
Apple

BR Cup 2010?

Are we doing anything like this for 2010? I think I prefered the book based BR Cup rather than last years which concentrated on authors. Or we could perhaps do something on the different genres that way non fiction and historical books could get a look in rather than just novels??
Caro

I would like one on our favourite children's book.  But a non-fiction one could be interesting.

Cheers, Caro.
TheRejectAmidHair

Iím not sure how everyone would feel about having another one of these. The idea was taken from the British Horror Film Board, and there it is a lot of fun debating the merits of Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell against those of, say, Dr Terrorís House of Horrors. But while one may love or hate certain films, there isnít, to be honest, any great personal & emotional investment in any of them: even if my favourite Dracula film gets denigrated (Dracula, Prince of Darkness, in case youíre curious!) itís easy to shrug it off, and not take it too seriously.

But when it comes to favourite books, there is an emotional investment there, and when oneís favourite book or writer is denigrated, itís easy to feel that oneís own personal values are under attack. And this, I think, does lead to some frayed tempers.

The whole idea of this was to have a bit of fun, and to use it as an excuse to discuss some books. In practice, there was, I think, perhaps a bit too much emphasis on the competitive aspect of it (which was meant to be a bit of a laugh anyway), and, perhaps, not as much discussion as Iíd hoped for. I personally donít think it would be a good idea to have another one, but Iíll leave it to majority decision.
Chibiabos83

I'm in two minds about it myself, and erring towards Himadri's thinking. On the one hand, I can see the appeal of focusing on children's books or 20th century books this time around, which we thought got a bit neglected on previous occasions, though I think non-fiction may be just too vast a category. Verity suggested one on poems not so long ago, and I wondered about one on plays as well. It's just that I find I dislike the competition format increasingly. In both previous occasions there have been fraught tempers arising from the competitive aspect that has distracted from the intention of fostering discussion of books. I know it's meant to be lighthearted, but it's not easy to keep things on that level when passions run so high. So my own inclination is not to have another one, or at least not this year. I'm not sure I could contribute much to it myself anyway, with exams and things hanging over my head for the next few months. But I don't want to be a spoilsport and I'm quite open to other people feeling differently - if anyone is particularly passionate about the idea of another competition, they're more than welcome to take the initiative and start one off their own bat!
Caro

That's why I thought children's books would be interesting.  Surely people can't feel that strongly about these - I think of the ones I loved as a child and would probably vote for, but they don't read all that well now.  Values (attitudes to and in world war one are not quite in line with 21st century ones)   that I accepted when I was young are not mine now, though other of their values are still mine.  And some of the writing is less than wonderful.  But the romance and the humour is still there.

Maybe if we don't have a cup competition we could still have some question about our favourite kids' books or our favourite non-fiction book of some genre.  

These competitions might rouse passions but they do get people interested and involved and that might be good at the moment when things seem to have gone rather quiet.

Cheers, Caro.
Sandraseahorse

How about if people simply list their top 10 or 12 favourite children's books, similar to the thread about the top 20 short stories we had earlier? (Incidentally I'm still trying to decide my list of short stories)

People could say why they love these books and although others might respond with some mild criticism of their choices, we could avoid the temptation to denigrate other people's choices that we get in competitions.
Caro

That sounds a good idea, Sandra.  (But not this week - I am away on holiday for a week from tomorrow morning, and wouldn't like you to have all the fun without me!)

Cheers, Caro.
Sandraseahorse

Another argument against having a Cup Competition is that I found †while I could argue with passion for a writer or particular novel in the first couple of rounds, by the time it got to the fourth or fifth rounds I had said all I wanted to say. †I was simply reheating stale old arguments.

I feel a discussion on children's literature would be interesting enough without the competitive element. †I would be interested to learn what books people loved as a child and why and people might also list what books did nothing for them as a child. †We could discuss as well whether people have changed their minds over the years; did you read a much loved book from your childhood to your own children only to realise how poorly written it was? (As Caro mentioned in her thread above).†Or perhaps certain †books that left you cold as a child have grown on you over the years?
Caro

Great ideas, Sandra.  Perhaps you should get started as soon as you can, strike while the iron's hot.  I will fit in when I get home.  

Cheers, Caro.
Chibiabos83

Yes, excellent idea. A few months ago I made a rough list of my favourite children's books (not many, about 20 I think) with the idea of starting a thread and posting a little bit about each one, one book at a time. I think that might encourage more discussion of the books than the lists of 'top' books we made last year, fascinating though they were. Perhaps we could each have our own thread in the lists section. It gives a good excuse to revisit our favourite children's books - and not only from our own childhoods. I've discovered many marvellous children's books in my adulthood, and I'm sure the parents among us will have fond memories of discovering new books with their own children, bedtime stories and so on.
Apple

Himadri Wrote:
Quote:
The whole idea of this was to have a bit of fun, and to use it as an excuse to discuss some books. In practice, there was, I think, perhaps a bit too much emphasis on the competitive aspect of it (which was meant to be a bit of a laugh anyway), and, perhaps, not as much discussion as Iíd hoped for. I personally donít think it would be a good idea to have another one, but Iíll leave it to majority decision.


Yes maybe there was but a lot of people commented on how entertaining the light humoured banter I had with The Baron was over Emily Bronte and Wuthering Heights was and it engages people more if there is a hint of competion involved rather than just discussion, plus when people got passionate about their favourites, it gave me a deeper insight into what people saw in those books and a better appreciation of the books/authors concerned. †For example I did not like Nana by Emile Zola at all as I made abundantly clear, but after reading the comments by the Baron and you I could see your point of view even though I disagreed with it, and although I didn't like that book I appreciated it from what was said.

Plus I find these sort discussions helpful as it draws my attention to books/authors I have not come across before.

I agree that non-fiction in general is such a huge genre, but it could be split into separate sub genres ie war & millitary, science, historical, geography etc. and the merits of each genre as well as the books members put forward could be discussed.

I do like the idea of childrens books as well, although I don't think I would be able to be too persuasive of my childhood favourites, as they now leave me cold.
TheRejectAmidHair

Oh yes Ė we had a lot of banter and a lot of fun, and proceedings were generally very civilised, but my perception is that, at times Ė just at times - a bit of friction crept in as well. And thereís Sandraís point as well that in later rounds, we had mostly said all that we had to say about the various books.

I think it would be an excellent idea for each of us just to start a thread on the books we loved most up to, say, the age of 12 or 13 (letís not be too definite about that), and talk a little about what the books meant to us then, how we react to them now, and how they have influenced our adult tastes and literary perceptions.

We could each of us make up a list of our ten or so favourite books from childhood. And the thing will really get interesting if we comment on each otherís choices.

But as I said, Iím happy to abide by majority decision on the competition front.
Green Jay

Chibiabos83 wrote:
It's just that I find I dislike the competition format increasingly.


Me, too, although I've always felt like that. I'm just not really one of those people who likes to order things in a hierarchy - films, flowers, books, holiday destinations, anything like that. I find I'm not comparing like with like, so why make them vie with each other for 'best' or 'favourite'. I know which ones I like and don't like, but I like or admire any of them for different reasons. I can make a list of 10 or 20  preferred somethings if required, but hate to put them in order.

But then I always think when I read interviews that ask for someone's hero or heroine or role models, that I find it very hard to answer that question myself - not that I'm likely to be pressed to do so in print! A bit of a red herring, but does anyone else find that question straightforward and easy?
Green Jay

Caro wrote:
That's why I thought children's books would be interesting. †Surely people can't feel that strongly about these -


Ooh, I wouldn't bet on it! Wink They might be just the books people feel most strongly about. Imagine it, the Weasels versus all Rabbit's friends and relations... a terrible bloody battle could ensue. Can Black Beauty outrun Flicka? What would Jumble do if he got hold of Peter Rabbit ? - more damage than losing buttons and shoes, I suspect.

But Caro's idea is a lovely one, if we don't have to compete.
Thursday Next

I like the competition aspect. I do think a cup gives discussion a focus, and a deadline. After all we can have general discussion any time elsewhere on the board, having a cup does not preclude this.

I enjoyed the last cup and did read some of the authors nominated which I might not otherwise have done, so to me it had value.

I seem to remember last year there was a suggestion of a cup for contemporary authors which I thought was a good one - but is the suggestion now children's books instead?

Since children's books is a fairly broad topic (what counts - any age? Howe about picture books for toddlers? Teen books?) and since some people have quite rightly pointed out there was a problem with the cup format in that there was less to say about the same books in later rounds, how about a change of format, more a 'heat' system with books from different categories meeting in a final final, rather than a knockout competition?
TheRejectAmidHair

I'm certainly open to ideas. This board has been very quiet of late (and I have been having a bit of a torrid time at work lately, and have had barely a minute even to read, necver mind post!) and we do need some spark to kick off a bit more activity.
MikeAlx

The potential issue with children's books is that we will each inevitably be biased towards the books of our own childhoods, or those of our children (or grandchildren even). I wonder how much common ground we can find. But then I suppose this is an issue to some extent for adult books too.
Evie

I loathed every minute of the last BR Cup, but that's just me!  I think it just needs someone to kick things off in whatever way they want.  I like the idea of lists rather than a competition - and there is no reason why we have to have one genre, we could do Top 10s as the Guardian books section does - individual lists of top 10 crime novels, top 10 children's books, top 10 books about WWII, etc - not just a list, but a bit about why we've included each title.  But competition does seem to create more - er - debate.

But if someone just wants to start something, that's the best way to go, I think!

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