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In accordance with our meta agreement to have topic challenges, and since the list of suggestions has a clear winner as June nears its end, it's time to announce the next topic challenge! Throughout July 2017, our topic challenge, proposed by Torisuda, will be

I Am a Cat, by Natsume Sōseki.

As with the previous announcements, I'm posting this before the actual start of the challenge, so that people have time to prepare, get a copy of the book to start reading, and so forth. The topic challenge itself will start on the 1st of July.


What's a topic challenge?

See the meta posts linked above, and also this main meta post. In short, during July we should all read I Am a Cat and try to post thoughtful and interesting questions about it.

Participation is not obligatory in any sense, but those who participate will be forever remembered in the annals of our history. And of course it goes without saying that questions on other works are more than welcome during July too; they just won't count as part of this topic challenge.

How can I take part?

By getting hold of the book, in whatever language you prefer, and asking good questions about it. These questions should be tagged with and and , and other tags if applicable. We'll keep track of the list of all such questions in an answer to this meta post.

The original Japanese version is old enough to be out of copyright, and is available in full here. A partial English translation is freely available at Wikisource, if you want to read the first couple of chapters and get an idea of whether you'll like the book.

What's next?

  • Vote here for the next topic challenge, or propose your own!
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    @Hamlet The quote marks clarify that "I Am a Cat" is the title of a book, since we can't do italics in question titles. (It's not all that important for this particular challenge, since I doubt anyone would think I've mastered the art of feline transmogrification, but imagine if we had a topic challenge for a book called Love or Poetry, where without quotes it wouldn't be clear that the challenge was for a single book.) – Rand al'Thor Jun 25 '17 at 12:24
  • The Author died in 1916. You can find English translations pretty easily online. – KittenWithAWhip Jul 19 '17 at 21:43
  • @KittenWithAWhip I found a few, but wasn't sure of the translations' copyright status; at least some of them seemed to be still copyrighted. If you know of one that isn't, could you give me a link? – Rand al'Thor Jul 19 '17 at 23:05
  • toleratedindividuality.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/… is the one I liked. The bit of IP law I was taught simply said that Copyright status was determined by "Authors death + 80 (in America) years." The translator isn't a new author. After all, a modern translation of Shakespeare doesn't alter the fact that the story has been around for several hundred years and copyright, unlike other types of IP, is not registered, but exists from the moment of creation. – KittenWithAWhip Jul 20 '17 at 7:19
  • @KittenWithAWhip That's the translation I've been reading too, but on page 3 it says "Copyright © 1972, 1979, 1986, 2002 (compilation) by Aiko Ito and Graeme Wilson". – Rand al'Thor Jul 20 '17 at 9:50
  • I see that. Wouldn't this fall under fair use? I would say questions and answers on a NFP site would count as commenting upon. "In its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. ... If your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an infringement." – KittenWithAWhip Jul 20 '17 at 23:27
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List of all questions posted as part of the July 2017 Topic Challenge


The highest-voted of these is Does this passage in "I Am a Cat" reference a real Western novel?, with a score of 6 at the end of the month.

The most viewed is Why should a teacher's cat care less about human robbery?, with approximately 70 views during the month.

Three answers were submitted during the topic challenge: two on the first question and one on the third question. (Some more answers were submitted later.)

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