Help us select what the MR Literary Club will read for February 2012!
The nominations will run through January 11 or until five works have made the list.
Final voting in a new poll will begin by January 11, where the month's selection will be decided.
The category for this month is:
1981-2000, as chosen in the poll
This month is a two-part process:
The first part begins with a ONE-DAY POLL to determine the time period we will use. It is MULTIPLE CHOICE and you may choose as many options as you like when voting. This voting is separate from your nominations. There are no nominations during the poll, only voting. I will not vote in the poll, and if there is a tie, I will break it.
As soon as the poll is over and the time period is determined, then the second part (nominations) starts and you can begin nominating like normal. Nominations can be set in any time period and published in any time period, but they should be written during the time period selected.
Once the poll is over and nominations begin:
In order for a work to be included in the final poll it needs five nominations - the original nomination plus four supporting.
Each participant has FOUR nominations this month.
You can nominate a new work for consideration or you can support (second, third, fourth or fifth) a work that has already been nominated by another person.
To nominate a work just post a message with your nomination. If you are the first to nominate a work, it's always nice to provide an abstract to the work so others may consider their level of interest.
What is literature for the purposes of this club? A superior work of lasting merit that enriches the mind. Often it is important, challenging, critically acclaimed. It may be from ancient times to today; it may be from anywhere in the world; it may be obscure or famous, short or long; it may be a story, a novel, a play, a poem, an essay or another written form. If you are unsure if a work would be considered literature, just ask!
Nominations are closed:
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, 1989 - Fully nominated
The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald, 1995 - Fully nominated
In favour - issybird, sun surfer, hpulley, fantasyfan, paola
Shortlisted for the 1998 Los Angeles Times Book Award in Fiction: "Stunning and strange . . . Sebald has done what every writer dreams of doing. . . . The book is like a dream you want to last forever. . . . It glows with the radiance and resilience of the human spirit."—Roberta Silman, The New York Times Book Review
"Ostensibly a record of a journey on foot through coastal East Anglia," as Robert McCrum in the London Observer noted, The Rings of Saturn "is also a brilliantly allusive study of England's imperial past and the nature of decline and fall, of loss and decay. . . . The Rings of Saturn is exhilaratingly, you might say hypnotically, readable. . . . It is hard to imagine a stranger or more compelling work." The Rings of Saturn - with its curious archive of photographs - chronicles a tour across epochs as well as countryside. On his way, the narrator meets lonely eccentrics inhabiting tumble-down mansions and links them to Rembrandt's "Anatomy Lesson," the natural history of the herring, a matchstick model of the Temple of Jerusalem, the travels of Sir Thomas Browne's skull, and the massive bombings of WWII. Cataloging change, oblivion, and memories, he connects sugar fortunes, Joseph Conrad, and the horrors of colonizing the Belgian Congo. The narrator finds threads which run from an abandoned bridge over the River Blyth to the terrible dowager Empress Tzu Hsi and the silk industry in Norwich. "Sebald," as The New Yorker stated, "weaves his tale together with a complexity and historical sweep that easily encompasses both truth and fiction." The Emigrants (hailed by Susan Sontag as an "astonishing masterpiece-perfect while being unlike any book one has ever read") was "one of the great books of the last few years," as Michael Ondaatje noted: "and now The Rings of Saturn is a similar and as strange a triumph."
In The Pond by Ha Jin, 1998 - 4
Neuromancer by William Gibson, 1984 - 4
In favour - fantasyfan, Nyssa, hpulley, John F
"Here is the novel that started it all, launching the cyberpunk generation, and the first novel to win the holy trinity of science fiction: the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award and the Philip K. Dick Award. With Neuromancer, William Gibson introduced the world to cyberspace--and science fiction has never been the same.
Case was the hottest computer cowboy cruising the information superhighway--jacking his consciousness into cyberspace, soaring through tactile lattices of data and logic, rustling encoded secrets for anyone with the money to buy his skills. Then he double-crossed the wrong people, who caught up with him in a big way--and burned the talent out of his brain, micron by micron. Banished from cyberspace, trapped in the meat of his physical body, Case courted death in the high-tech underworld. Until a shadowy conspiracy offered him a second chance--and a cure--for a price...."
This is an amazing, challenging, cyberpunk novel that explores all sorts of significant concepts in a framework that has influenced not only novels but anime masterpieces such as the Ghost in the Shell sequence of Oshii.
It's not an easy read, but it rewards the challenges Gibson sets the reader.
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, 1997 - 1
Money by Martin Amis, 1984 - 2
In favour - Synamon, hpulley
Absolutely one of the funniest, smartest, meanest books I know. John Self, the Rabelaisian narrator of the novel, is an advertising man and director of TV commercials who lurches through London and Manhattan, eating, drinking, drugging and smoking too much, buying too much sex, and caring for little else besides getting the big movie deal that will make him lots of money. Hey, it was the '80s. Most importantly, however, Amis in Money musters more sheer entertainment power in any single sentence than most writers are lucky to produce in a career.
About the Author - Regarded by many critics as one of the most influential and innovative voices in contemporary British fiction, Amis is often grouped with the generation of British-based novelists that emerged during the 1980s and included Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes. His work has been heavily influenced by American fiction, especially the work of Philip Roth, John Updike and Saul Bellow. A loose trilogy of novels set in London begins with Money: A Suicide Note (1984), a satire of Thatcherite amorality and greed, continues with London Fields (1989), and concludes with The Information (1995), a tale of literary rivalry. Time's Arrow (1991), was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction.
Beloved by Toni Morrison, 1987 - 2
In favour - Hamlet53, HomeInMyShoes
At the center of Toni Morrison's fifth novel, which earned her the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, is an almost unspeakable act of horror and heroism: a woman brutally kills her infant daughter rather than allow her to be enslaved. The woman is Sethe, and the novel traces her journey from slavery to freedom during and immediately following the Civil War. Woven into this circular, mesmerizing narrative are the horrible truths of Sethe's past: the incredible cruelties she endured as a slave, and the hardships she suffered in her journey north to freedom. Just as Sethe finds the past too painful to remember, and the future just "a matter of keeping the past at bay," her story is almost too painful to read. Yet Morrison manages to imbue the wreckage of her characters' lives with compassion, humanity, and humor. Part ghost story, part history lesson, part folk tale, Beloved finds beauty in the unbearable, and lets us all see the enduring promise of hope that lies in anyone's future.
Godric by Frederick Buechner, 1981 - 4
In favour - sun surfer, issybird, Hamlet53, fantasyfan
If you think a novel about a saint is likely to be a dry and airy sort of thing, think again. Godric was a 12th-century saint--born to Anglo-Saxon parents in Norfolk almost in the year of the Norman invasion (1066 for those of you long unschooled!). He was a peddler and wanderer long before he settled into the life of a hermit in northern England, led there by the famous hermit St. Cuthbert, who told him, "your true nesting place lies farther on, [and] until you reach it, every other place you find will fret you like a cage."
In Godric Frederick Buechner captures the voice and the times of this saint with a style that recalls the richly alliterative language of Middle English poetry. So too does it recall the beautiful earthiness of that literature, reminding us that this time of deep spirituality was also a time of real flesh-and-blood folk. And in some ways this is the deepest point of this delightful (and at times comic) novel: these people, like those who live among us today, become saints not by leaving the body behind but by finding a way to live more deeply within it. They find a way to turn it to glory.
"In the extraordinary figure of Godric, both stubborn outsider and true child of God, both worldly and unworldly, Frederick Buechner has found an ideal means of exploring the nature of spirituality. Godric is a living battleground where God fights it out with the world, the Flesh, and the Devil." - London Times Literary Supplement
Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner, 1984 - 1
In The Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, 1994 - 1
In favour - sun surfer
It is November 25, 1960, and three sisters have been found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The official state newspaper reports their deaths as accidental. It does not mention that a fourth sister lives. Nor does it explain that the sisters were among the leading opponents of Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo’s dictatorship. It doesn’t have to. Everybody knows of Las Mariposas—“The Butterflies.”
In this extraordinary novel inspired by the true story, the voices of all four sisters—Minerva, Patria, María Teresa, and the survivor, Dedé—speak across the decades to tell their own stories, from hair ribbons and secret crushes to gunrunning and prison torture, and to describe the everyday horrors of life under Trujillo’s rule. Through the art and magic of Julia Alvarez’s imagination, the martyred Butterflies live again in this novel of courage and love, and the human cost of political oppression.
The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth, 1986 - 1
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, 1993 - 3
In favour - paola, issybird, Synamon
Vikram Seth's novel is, at its core, a love story: Lata and her mother, Mrs. Rupa Mehra, are both trying to find -- through love or through exacting maternal appraisal -- a suitable boy for Lata to marry. Set in the early 1950s, in an India newly independent and struggling through a time of crisis, A Suitable Boy takes us into the richly imagined world of four large extended families and spins a compulsively readable tale of their lives and loves. A sweeping panoramic portrait of a complex, multi ethnic society in flux, A Suitable Boy remains the story of ordinary people caught up in a web of love and ambition, humor and sadness, prejudice and reconciliation, the most delicate social etiquette and the most appalling violence.
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks, 1984 - 2