MobileRead Book Club
Help us select the next book that the MobileRead Book Club
will read for August 2012.
The nominations will run through midnight EST August 30 or until 10 books have made the list. The first poll will then be posted and will be open for 4 days, followed by a 3 day run-off poll between the two*
top vote getters.
Book selection category for August is:
Free For All
In order for a book to be included in the poll it needs THREE NOMINATIONS (original nomination, a second and a third).
How Does This Work?
The Mobile Read Book Club (MRBC) is an informal club that requires nothing of you. Each month a book is selected by polling. On the last week of that month a discussion thread is started for the book. If you want to participate feel free. There is no need to "join" or sign up. All are welcome.
How Does a Book Get Selected?
Each book that is nominated will be listed in a poll at the end of the nomination period. The book that polls the most votes will be the official selection.
How Many Nominations Can I Make?
Each participant has 3 nominations. You can nominate a new book for consideration or nominate (second, third) one that has already been nominated by another person.
How Do I Nominate a Book?
Please just post a message with your nomination. If you are the FIRST to nominate a book, please try to provide an abstract to the book so others may consider their level of interest.
How Do I Know What Has Been Nominated?
Just follow the thread. This message will be updated with the status of the nominations as often as I can. If one is missed, please just post a message with a multi-quote of the 3 nominations and it will be added to the list ASAP.
When is the Poll?
The poll thread will open at the end of the nomination period, or once there have been 10 books with 3 nominations each. At that time a link to the initial poll thread will be posted here and this thread will be closed.
The floor is open to nominations. Please comment if you discover a nomination is not available as an ebook in your area
* In case of a first or second place tie in the first voting poll, the run-off poll may have more than two choices.
Official choices with three nominations each:
(1) The Lightning Thief
(Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan [Nyssa, fantasyfan, JSWolf]
(2) Blood Meridian
Subjects: Children's Fiction, Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Description: Book Description In this stunning collectors' edition of The Lightning Thief, Percy Jackson's world is brought to life with eight full-color plates by the series jacket artist John Rocco. The edition comes in an elegant slipcase with a ribbon bookmark, rough edges, and cloth cover--a perfect keepsake for fans of this truly epic series. After getting expelled from yet another school for yet another clash with mythological monsters only he can see, twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is taken to Camp Half-Blood, where he finally learns the truth about his unique abilities: He is a demigod, half human, half immortal. Even more stunning: His father is the Greek god Poseidon, ruler of the sea, making Percy one of the most powerful demigods alive. There's little time to process this news. All too soon, a cryptic prophecy from the Oracle sends Percy on his first quest, a mission to the Underworld to prevent a war among the gods of Olympus. This first installment of Rick Riordan's best-selling series is a non-stop thrill-ride and a classic of mythic proportions. A Note for Amazon Customers from Illustrator John Rocco Dear Readers, When I was about eight years old I had the great luck of stumbling upon my father’s collection of Classics Illustrated comic books. I instantly fell in love with the stories of Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, and James Fenimore Cooper. Many years later, when I became interested in illustration, I discovered the beautiful hardbound editions of these stories featuring the arresting artwork of incredible artists like N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle, and Maxfield Parrish. What I love about their paintings is not just the beautiful draftsmanship, color and composition, but their ability to capture a moment that held the promise of swashbuckling adventure. That promise let me know that if I read the words surrounding that picture, I could unlock the adventure. That promise is what I tried to achieve when creating the pictures for this incredible series. My approach has never been just to describe a scene from the book, but to create an illustration that offers tension and mystery--an image that provides just enough information to leave the viewer wanting to know more. When I was asked to create images for the Deluxe Edition of Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief it was a dream come true. It was my chance to illustrate what I consider to be a new classic. The Lightning Thief has so many wonderful moments it was difficult to choose what to paint, but I knew I wanted to create a balance of dramatic scenes and quiet moments and to capture the spirit of Rick’s unforgettable characters. It has been my own great adventure to help bring this book to life in a new way, in color, on the page. I hope you enjoy this Deluxe Edition of The Lightning Thief . Yours, John Illustrations from Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Deluxe Edition(Click to Enlarge) Percy and a Nereid Percy and Annabelle on their way to Las Vegas Percy at the Entrance to Mount Olympus Starred Review. Grade 5-9–An adventure-quest with a hip edge. At first glance, Perseus Jackson seems like a loser (readers meet him at a boarding school for troubled youth), but he's really the son of Poseidon and a mortal woman. As he discovers his heritage, he also loses that mother and falls into mortal danger. The gods (still very active in the 21st-century world) are about to go to war over a lost thunderbolt, so Percy and sidekicks Grover (a young satyr) and Annabeth (daughter of Athena) set out to retrieve it. Many close calls and monster-attacks later, they enter Hades's realm (via L.A.). A virtuoso description of the Underworld is matched by a later account of Olympus (hovering 600 floors above Manhattan). There's lots of zippy review of Greek myth and legend, and characters like Medusa, Procrustes, Charon, and the Eumenides get updates. Some of the Labors of Heracles or Odysseus's adventures are recycled, but nothing seems stale, and the breakneck pace keeps the action from being too predictable. Percy is an ADHD, wise-cracking, first-person narrator. Naturally, his real quest is for his own identity. Along the way, such topics as family, trust, war, the environment, dreams, and perceptions are raised. There is subtle social critique for sophisticated readers who can see it. Although the novel ends with a satisfying conclusion (and at least one surprise), it is clear that the story isn't over. The 12-year-old has matured and is ready for another quest, and the villain is at large. Readers will be eager to follow the young protagonist's next move. –Patricia D. Lothrop, St. George's School, Newport, RI Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. (from Amazon.com)
by Cormac McCarthy [John F, HomeInMyShoes, issybird]
(3) Wool Omnibus Edition
Description: "The men as they rode turned black in the sun from the blood on their clothes and their faces and then paled slowly in the rising dust until they assumed once more the color of the land through which they passed." If what we call "horror" can be seen as including any literature that has dark, horrific subject matter, then Blood Meridian is, in this reviewer's estimation, the best horror novel ever written. It's a perverse, picaresque Western about bounty hunters for Indian scalps near the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s--a ragged caravan of indiscriminate killers led by an unforgettable human monster called "The Judge." Imagine the imagery of Sam Peckinpah and Heironymus Bosch as written by William Faulkner, and you'll have just an inkling of this novel's power. From the opening scenes about a 14-year-old Tennessee boy who joins the band of hunters to the extraordinary, mythic ending, this is an American classic about extreme violence. "McCarthy is a writer to be read, to be admired, and quite honestly—envied." —Ralph Ellison "McCarthy is a born narrator, and his writing has, line by line, the stab of actuality. He is here to stay." —Robert Penn Warren From the Hardcover edition. (from Amazon.com)
by Hugh Howey [John F, JSWolf, AnemicOak]
(4) The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon [WT Sharpe, colinsky, issybird]
(5) A Visit from the Goon Squad
Description: Barcelona, 1945—just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother’s face. To console his only child, Daniel’s widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona’s guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniel’s father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax’s work. To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last one in existence. Before Daniel knows it his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness and doomed love. And before long he realizes that if he doesn’t find out the truth about Julian Carax, he and those closest to him will suffer horribly. As with all astounding novels, The Shadow of the Wind sends the mind groping for comparisons—The Crimson Petal and the White? The novels of Arturo Pérez-Reverte? Of Victor Hugo? Love in the Time of Cholera?—but in the end, as with all astounding novels, no comparison can suffice. As one leading Spanish reviewer wrote, “The originality of Ruiz Zafón’s voice is bombproof and displays a diabolical talent. The Shadow of the Wind announces a phenomenon in Spanish literature.” An uncannily absorbing historical mystery, a heart-piercing romance, and a moving homage to the mystical power of books, The Shadow of the Wind is a triumph of the storyteller’s art. (from eBooks.com)
by Jennifer Egan [HomeInMyShoes, colinsky, sun surfer]
(6) The Color of Magic
Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Here Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs. With music pulsing on every page, A Visit from the Goon Squad is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption.
National Book Critics Circle Award Winner
PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist
A New York Times Book Review Best Book
One of the Best Books of the Year: Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, The Daily Beast, The Miami Herald, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Newsday, NPR's On Point, O, the Oprah Magazine, People, Publishers Weekly, Salon, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, Slate, Time, The Washington Post, and Village Voice
Description: In reading this novel of interconnected lives at the fringes of the music industry, Roxana Ortega freights her breathy voice with the moral confusion and sadness of Egan's disaffected, dismayed characters. A surprisingly supple instrument, Ortega's voice can drop to a gruff near-growl, and she craftily uses her range to convey the feeling of the bottom dropping out of the characters' lives. A Knopf hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 22). Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Critics loved Egan's newest novel, describing it as "audacious" and "extraordinary" ( Philadelphia Inquirer ). In the hands of a less-gifted writer, Egans's time-hopping narrative, unorthodox format, and motley cast of characters might have failed spectacularly. But it works here, primarily because each person shines within his or her individual chapter that offers a distinct voice and a fascinating backstory. A few reviewers mentioned the uneven nature of the chapters and the different stylistic experiments within them. Yet, hailed as "a frequently dazzling piece of layer-cake metafiction" ( Entertainment Weekly ), A Visit from the Goon Squad is a gutsy novel that succeeds on all levels. (from Amazon.com)
by Terry Pratchett [voodooblues, fantasyfan, Nyssa]
(7) Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
by Susan Cain [VioletVal, BelleZora, Asawi]
(8) A Question of Upbringing
Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2012: How many introverts do you know? The real answer will probably surprise you. In our culture, which emphasizes group work from elementary school through the business world, everything seems geared toward extroverts. Luckily, introverts everywhere have a new spokesperson: Susan Cain, a self-proclaimed introvert who’s taken it upon herself to better understand the place of introverts in culture and society. With Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Cain explores introversion through psychological research old and new, personal experiences, and even brain chemistry, in an engaging and highly-readable fashion. By delving into introversion, Cain also seeks to find ways for introverts and extroverts to better understand one another--and for introverts to understand their own contradictions, such as the ability to act like extroverts in certain situations. Highly accessible and uplifting for any introvert--and any extrovert who knows an introvert (and over one-third of us are introverts)--Quiet has the potential to revolutionize the “extrovert ideal.” –Malissa Kent
(Provided by VioletVal)
Description: Amazon Exclusive: Q & A with Author Susan Cain Q: Why did you write the book? A: For the same reason that Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique in 1963. Introverts are to extroverts what women were to men at that time--second-class citizens with gigantic amounts of untapped talent. Our schools, workplaces, and religious institutions are designed for extroverts, and many introverts believe that there is something wrong with them and that they should try to “pass” as extroverts. The bias against introversion leads to a colossal waste of talent, energy, and, ultimately, happiness. Q: What personal significance does the subject have for you? A: When I was in my twenties, I started practicing corporate law on Wall Street. At first I thought I was taking on an enormous challenge, because in my mind, the successful lawyer was comfortable in the spotlight, whereas I was introverted and occasionally shy. But I soon realized that my nature had a lot of advantages: I was good at building loyal alliances, one-on-one, behind the scenes; I could close my door, concentrate, and get the work done well; and like many introverts, I tended to ask a lot of questions and listen intently to the answers, which is an invaluable tool in negotiation. I started to realize that there’s a lot more going on here than the cultural stereotype of the introvert-as-unfortunate would have you believe. I had to know more, so I spent the past five years researching the powers of introversion. Q: Was there ever a time when American society valued introverts more highly? A: In the nation’s earlier years it was easier for introverts to earn respect. America once embodied what the cultural historian Warren Susman called a “Culture of Character,” which valued inner strength, integrity, and the good deeds you performed when no one was looking. You could cut an impressive figure by being quiet, reserved, and dignified. Abraham Lincoln was revered as a man who did not “offend by superiority,” as Emerson put it. Q: You discuss how we can better embrace introverts in the workplace. Can you explain? A: Introverts thrive in environments that are not overstimulating—surroundings in which they can think (deeply) before they speak. This has many implications. Here are two to consider: (1) Introverts perform best in quiet, private workspaces—but unfortunately we’re trending in precisely the opposite direction, toward open-plan offices. (2) If you want to get the best of all your employees’ brains, don’t simply throw them into a meeting and assume you’re hearing everyone’s ideas. You’re not; you’re hearing from the most vocally assertive people. Ask people to put their ideas in writing before the meeting, and make sure you give everyone time to speak. Q: Quiet offers some terrific insights for the parents of introverted children. What environment do introverted kids need in order to thrive, whether it’s at home or at school? A: The best thing parents and teachers can do for introverted kids is to treasure them for who they are, and encourage their passions. This means: (1) Giving them the space they need. If they need to recharge alone in their room after school instead of plunging into extracurricular activities, that’s okay. (2) Letting them master new skills at their own pace. If they’re not learning to swim in group settings, for example, teach them privately. (3) Not calling them “shy”--they’ll believe the label and experience their nervousness as a fixed trait rather than an emotion they can learn to control. Q: What are the advantages to being an introvert? A: There are too many to list in this short space, but here are two seemingly contradictory qualities that benefit introverts: introverts like to be alone--and introverts enjoy being cooperative. Studies suggest that many of the most creative people are introverts, and this is partly because of their capacity for quiet. Introverts are careful, reflective thinkers who can tolerate the solitude that idea-generation requires. On the other hand, implementing good ideas requires cooperation, and introverts are more likely to prefer cooperative environments, while extroverts favor competitive ones. “A superbly researched, deeply insightful, and fascinating book that will change forever the way society views introverts .” — Gretchen Rubin , author of The Happiness Project “ Susan Cain is the definer of a new and valuable paradigm . In this moving and original argument, she makes the case that we are losing immense reserves of talent and vision because of our culture's overvaluation of extroversion. A startling, important and readable page-turner that will make quiet people see themselves in a whole new light .” — Naomi Wolf , author of The Beauty Myth “Think Malcolm Gladwell for people who don’t take themselves too seriously. Mark my words, this book will be a bestseller.” — Guy Kawasaki , author of Enchantment “Susan Cain has done a superb job of sifting through decades of complex research. . . . This book will be a boon for the many highly sensitive people who are also introverts. ” — Elaine Aron , author of The Highly Sensitive Person From the Hardcover edition. (from Amazon.com)
by Anthony Powell [sun surfer, issybird, Asawi]
(9) Gods Behaving Badly
Relatively short at 181 print pages, it's the first book from A Dance to the Music of Time.
A Question of Upbringing (1951) introduces us to the young Nick Jenkins and his housemates at boarding school in the years just after World War I. Boyhood pranks and visits from relatives bring to life the amusements and longueurs of schooldays even as they reveal characters and traits that will follow Jenkins and his friends through adolescence and beyond: Peter Templer, a rich, passionate womanizer; Charles Stringham, aristocratic and louche; and Kenneth Widmerpool, awkward and unhappy, yet strikingly ambitious. By the end of the novel, Jenkins has finished university and is setting out on a life in London; old ties are fraying, new ones are forming, and the first steps of the dance are well underway.
Anthony Powell’s universally acclaimed epic A Dance to the Music of Time offers a matchless panorama of twentieth-century London.
"Anthony Powell is the best living English novelist by far. His admirers are addicts, let us face it, held in thrall by a magician."—Chicago Tribune
"A book which creates a world and explores it in depth, which ponders changing relationships and values, which creates brilliantly living and diverse characters and then watches them grow and change in their milieu. . . . Powell's world is as large and as complex as Proust's."—Elizabeth Janeway, New York Times
"One of the most important works of fiction since the Second World War. . . . The novel looked, as it began, something like a comedy of manners; then, for a while, like a tragedy of manners; now like a vastly entertaining, deeply melancholy, yet somehow courageous statement about human experience."—Naomi Bliven, New Yorker
“The most brilliant and penetrating novelist we have.”—Kingsley Amis
“There is no other work in the annals of European fiction that attempts meticulously to recreate half a century of history, decade by decade, with anything like the emotional precision or details of Powell’s twelve volumes. Neither Balzac’s panorama of the Restoration, nor Zola’s chronicles of the Second Empire, nor Proust’s reveries in the Belle Epoque can match a comparable span of time, an attention to variations within it, or a compositional intricacy capable of uniting them into a single narrative. . . . The elegance of this artifice was only compatible with comedy.”—Perry Anderson
by Marie Phillips [HistoryWes, RoccoPaco, WT Sharpe]
(10) Another Roadside Attraction
Subjects: Literature, Fiction, General Fiction
Description: With a bit of sibling rivalry, some incestuous Greek gods, and good ol' contemporary London, Phillips puts together an amusing epic journey with perhaps a bit less pizzazz than Homer. Jealous of Neil, a mortal, because Alice loves him, Apollo schemes to bring about Alice's demise, but his sister Artemis won't let dead mortals lie. Needing a hero for a journey, she enlists the timid Neil to go into Hades and recover Alice (and save the world while he's at it). Phillips's tale is a delightful flight of fancy into the world of what would the Greek gods do that is adequately abridged, though listeners may want to hear the full extent of the characters' exploits. Tom Sellwood delivers in an English accent that works well with the setting. He ably projects the various gods' and goddesses' personas through their dialogue, so Apollo's arrogance is heard as well as Ares' more aggressive personality. Sellwood is at his best as Neil, the dry and mild-mannered engineer who gets caught up in the games of the gods. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Marie Phillips, a Cambridge graduate, just 30, left her research job at the BBC to work in a bookstore, publish a blog, and write her first novel, Gods Behaving Badly . Reviewers almost unanimously praise Phillips’s daring, high-concept premise and the wit and cleverness with which she recycles mythic tales and gives them a postmodern twist. Occasional complaints about forced, sitcom-worthy humor and reckless, predictable plotting creep into some of the reviews, but most critics send arrows of love her way—with nary a stab to the heart among them. Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. (from Amazon.com)
by Tom Robbins [HomeInMyShoes, sun surfer, Asawi]