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Book club nominations

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1russilwvong
Edited: Oct 16, 2009, 1:07pm

Thread for collecting book club nominations. To give ourselves some parameters, I'd suggest restricting ourselves to fiction this time around. Should be prominent enough that it'll be worth reading, but not so prominent that everyone will have already read it.

Some dystopian nominations:

Riddley Walker, by Russell Hoban
The Drowned World, by J. G. Ballard
Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood

The MetaTalk thread which sparked this: http://metatalk.metafilter.com/18332/Metafilter-Book-Club

2taz_
Oct 15, 2009, 5:38am

I'd be happy with any of those, russilwvong (especially the Atwood, because she's a favorite, and I haven't read O&C yet)!

Okay, for my nomination, I'd like to offer something a bit quirky and off the beaten track (and the sort of thing that's not for everyone because of adult themes, but is probably great for us):

Hotel de Dream by Edmund White, because it features an historic literary figure in a fictional setting (Stephen Crane|invented history); it's only 240 pages, which is convenient for our first discussion (quicker to start, before we lose interest and wander off...); not many people have read it, so not many of *us* will have read it; unusual, presumably edgy; available as an Ebook for Kindle and other EReaders.

Plus, this is *not* your Mother's Oprah Book Club selection, apparently. How many "Publishers Weekly" reviews contain the phrase "ganymede butt-boy buggaree"?

Amazon page is here: http://www.amazon.com/Hotel-Dream-New-York-Novel/dp/0060852267

(Note that I haven't read this yet, so I'm not recommending it as something I *know* is good; it's just something that grabbed my attention...)

Some other random selections from my (huge) to-read stack:

The Night Listener, by Armistead Maupin
The Savage Garden, by Mark Mills
Set This House in Order, by Matt Ruff
The Night Watch, by Sarah Waters

3GoBanana
Oct 15, 2009, 10:53am

I vote Savage Garden--love crime fiction.

4shothotbot
Edited: Oct 15, 2009, 11:12am

Off my todo list: Life and Fate, which is supposed to be great but I cant get motivated to read.

I would like to put a few non-fiction books in the mix:
Obama has asked his staff to read Lessons in Disaster about the escalation of the war in Viet Nam.
The Vertigo Years (Europe before WW1) sounds good too.

(you can edit your posts! Sweet.)

5naju
Oct 15, 2009, 11:59am

Hotel de Dream sounds really intriguing. I could go for that.

Another suggestion: The City and the City, by China Mieville

6eyeballkid
Oct 15, 2009, 12:30pm

I've been wanting to read both The City and The City and Oryx and Crake.

7_misha_
Oct 15, 2009, 12:42pm

I like the suggestion of Oryx and Crake, so I'll third (fourth?) that.

8rglasmann
Oct 15, 2009, 1:12pm

Hi everyone, just found LibraryThing via the MetaTalk thread.

I would read The City and The City or Oryx and Crake with the group. I love Mieville and the Atwood sounds good as well.

Also, one nomination from my current stack of unread is:

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancy

9taz_
Oct 15, 2009, 2:15pm

I'm a huge Mieville fan, and I started reading The City and The City... and actually put it down because I got bored, which is very unusual for me, and utterly unexpected; I love him, I love "city as a character" books (ohgod I want to live in "Armada," from The Scar), I love the "New Weird" genre... I was dancing on rooftops when I heard he had another book out.

Maybe my expectations were too high, or I was sort of looking forward to a detective-story-in-Bas-Lag sort of thing. I wouldn't mind trying again, because I will eventually anyway. I can't not read a new Mieville... it's unpossible!

10GoBanana
Oct 15, 2009, 2:22pm

I've heard not so great things about Oryx and Crake. The City and the City sounds good.

11russilwvong
Oct 15, 2009, 2:33pm

The City and the City looks pretty interesting (I haven't read anything by China Mieville before).

Here's the votes so far:

The City and the City, by China Mieville: 6
Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood: 5
Hotel de Dream, by Edmund White: 2
The Savage Garden, by Mark Mills: 2

Once we've picked a book (maybe in a day or so), we can open a new thread for discussion of the book itself--we can each add comments as we finish the book. I expect the thread will be full of spoilers, so people who haven't finished it yet should probably not open the thread!

12arcticwoman
Oct 15, 2009, 3:29pm

I've read Oryx and Crake and adored it. I would love to read it again and discuss it with others.

Otherwise, The City and The City sounds interesting too.

13kaitlynmeans
Oct 15, 2009, 5:01pm

I'm not a fan of what I've read by Atwood, so my vote goes to The City and the City.

14brocaine
Edited: Oct 15, 2009, 7:00pm

My nominations (w/ # votes so far) :

Lowboy by John Wray (1)
The Fire by Katherine Neville (1)
The Savage Garden by Mark Mills (3)
Sunshine by Robin McKinley (1)

15eyeballkid
Oct 15, 2009, 7:47pm

taz_ That The City and the City bored you enough to put it down worries me. I did the same thing with Iron Council. I literally couldn't work up enough will to finish it. Every time I cracked it open my eyes would glaze over. This is after being totally bowled over by Perdido Street Station and The Scar and chomping at the bit for Iron Council to arrive in the local bookstore.

16dfekart
Oct 16, 2009, 12:57am

I'd be up for Oryx and Crake.

17russilwvong
Oct 16, 2009, 1:48am

Looks like The City and the City and Oryx and Crake have about the same number of votes.

Something that just occurred to me: The City and the City came out quite recently, and is only available in hardcover. Since we're still in a recession, would people rather read an older book that's available in paperback or from libraries, rather than one that's only available in hardcover?

18taz_
Oct 16, 2009, 2:02am

eyeballkid, me too... *adored* PSS and The Scar, but slogged through Iron Council. My problem with The City & The City, as far as I read it (maybe a third of the way?) was that unlike those books, where the reader may "believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast" in a perfectly nonchalant and tantalizing narrative flow (in fact, it is the accretion of bits of information that fit together and build to form an intimacy with this world, which I very much appreciate), TC&TC keeps harping on this one aspect of the city that I had already happily accepted and digested after the first few vignettes of how that works... like going back to pound the same nail in, over and over. Still, it could be mostly me; everyone else seems to love it. (Also, check your memail; I have a recommendation for you!)

19meta87
Oct 16, 2009, 2:53am

One vote for Oryx and Crake. I've been meaning to check out Atwood.

20brocaine
Oct 16, 2009, 4:21am

Since it seems to be coming down to C&C vs O&C I'm voting Atwood.

21shothotbot
Oct 16, 2009, 7:58am

If its Oryx and Crake vs The City and The City, I will switch my vote to The City and The City

22russilwvong
Oct 16, 2009, 10:41am

So we have exactly the same number of votes for Oryx and Crake and The City and the City: 9 each. I'll break the tie by dropping my vote for The City and the City--I'd still like to read it, but maybe we could do it once it's out in paperback.

I'll open a new thread for discussion of Oryx and Crake.

Next question: shall we try to sync up by setting a target date to post in the thread, say Friday November 15? As BrotherCaine suggests in the MetaTalk thread, it may be a good idea to give people some time to read the book--make it more like a conversation instead of just posting our comments individually over the next month. (That said, if you don't think you'll remember the date, you can just post your comments in the thread early.)

23arcticwoman
Oct 16, 2009, 12:35pm

Sounds good! Let's do The City and The City when it's in softcover - my book budget does not allow for hardcovers, and I hate reading them anyway.

24CKmtl
Oct 27, 2009, 5:31pm

I'll be sitting this one out, as I don't think I'd be able to read Atwood without my brain grumbling about her weird Goodkindesque genrephobia.

Maybe next time.

25arcticwoman
Oct 29, 2009, 2:42pm

Goodkindesque genrephobia? Just curious, what do you mean by this?

26CKmtl
Oct 30, 2009, 2:55pm

Terry Goodkind is a fantasy author who gets in a snit when he's referred to as such. He looks down on the genre, even though his books are pretty much on par with the rest of fantasy. He writes about magic, swords, magic swords, quests, medieval-ish settings, Dark Lords, etc., but his books aren't Fantasy; they're Literature and Great Works of Philosophical Importance Relating to the Human Spirit. Blah, blah, blah.

Atwood doesn't get in as big of a huff about it as Goodkind, but she used to trash-talk science fiction a bit.

27arcticwoman
Oct 31, 2009, 3:09pm

Huh. Interesting. It's too bad that fantasy and sci-fi have such poor reputations among literary folk. I understand there's a lot of shit work in both genres (also, a lot of terrible "literary" stuff too) but good sci-fi and fantasy often are Great Works of Philosophical Importance blah blah blah. Snobbery and ignorance.

28russilwvong
Nov 19, 2009, 1:01pm

So ... what next? Should we try to do another discussion thread in mid-December, or would people rather wait until mid-January? I'm thinking, let's skip December.

Does anyone else want to take a turn counting the votes and starting the threads?

I was going to make a consolidated list of books previously nominated, but then I realized that LibraryThing already lists them all in the top right-hand corner ("Touchstone works"). (How did Harry Potter get in there?)

Looking through the list, I'll put down a couple votes for
The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin
The Savage Garden by Mark Mills

And I'll add one more nomination:
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

29CKmtl
Edited: Nov 19, 2009, 6:13pm

(How did Harry Potter get in there?)

brocaine goofed on the touchstone for The Fire in message 14. Sometimes it automatically finds the right book, sometimes you have to look for it under "(others)". Editing your comment will mess it up sometimes as well.

30russilwvong
Nov 24, 2009, 3:48am

Hmm, I think we're suffering from a lack of eyeballs.

Another nomination:
Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

If I don't see any more input, I'll make an executive decision. I'll post it here and on the MetaTalk thread.

31russilwvong
Nov 26, 2009, 10:01am

Okay, let's go with Cloud Atlas, January 15-17, 2010.

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