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View Poll Results: Which book shall we read for February's discussion?
Portrait of Jennie by Robert Nathan 13 20.63%
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 14 22.22%
Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy 5 7.94%
The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick 8 12.70%
Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold 10 15.87%
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon 14 22.22%
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen 10 15.87%
A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute 24 38.10%
Love Story by Erich Segal 11 17.46%
Stardust by Neil Gaiman 22 34.92%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 63. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-23-2013, 10:51 AM   #46
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I'm glad Lois McMaster Bujold 's Shards of Honor isn't in the lead, and I was wrong to give a third to its nomination. It's science-fiction, not romance, and doesn't belong on the list. Stardust by Neil Gaiman is fantasy, and likewise has no business being on the list. Both of these are simply stealth candidates whose only reason for running is to circumvent the romance category.

And that's my opinion.
Portrait of Jennie <-- has a time-slip
Lolita <-- a sick man wanting a little girl
Circle of Friends <-- description reads nothing like a romance
The Greatest Knight <-- description reads like a typical poor knight rises to fame type story
Shards of Honor <-- has science fiction elements to it
Outlander <-- has time-travel and the description says nothing about romance or love
Water for Elephants <-- description read nothing like a romance
A Town Like Alice <-- description reads more like the girl is looking for the hero to thank him for his help
Love Story <-- description doesn't read like a romance
Stardust <-- has fantasy elements

Now, after reading all the descriptions, Shards of Honor and Stardust do sound more like romances then everything else.

Should we be clamping down on what's nominated so we don't get books that only maybe sort of fit and books that don't actually fit (like Cloud Atlas)?

In your opinion, what is romance?

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Old 01-23-2013, 11:20 AM   #47
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I can see Outlander as romance, just as The Time Traveler's Wife is romance. Sure, both have elements of science fiction, but is you remove the romantic element there's no story left. The romance overshadows the scf-fi element.

I'm not sure that's the case with Stardust.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:53 AM   #48
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I can see Outlander as romance, just as The Time Traveler's Wife is romance. Sure, both have elements of science fiction, but is you remove the romantic element there's no story left. The romance overshadows the scf-fi element.

I'm not sure that's the case with Stardust.
I cannot say about Stardust. I've never read the book or seen the movie.

Shards of Honor sounds like a romance amid an interplanetary war.

Overall, the descriptions do not play up the romance aspect of the stories. So based on just the descriptions, the two that you feel may be least suited sound the most suited.

When I was looking for a book to nominate, I did think of the Princess Bride (we've already read it). That's a romance for sure and if you take out the romance, the story does fall apart.

I've read Outlander and if you removed the time-travel/romance out of it, it could still work as a historical novel.

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Old 01-23-2013, 03:12 PM   #49
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I've read Stardust and seen the movie. It's a romance. It has a fantasy-adventure setting, and it's not *only* a romance, unlike Harlequin or Mills & Boone stories where "boy meets girl; tensions ensue; everybody lives lustfully ever after" is the only thing going on. But the core plot is one of the classic romance tropes. (I don't want to go into detail and spoil it for those who'll be reading it soon.) If the romance were removed, the story would be impossible; the relationships are the driving force for the adventures.

Shards of Honor is a military SF story with a romance in its center. The story would be different without the romance, but not impossible. I'd call it "romantic science fiction" rather than "a science fiction romance" (which doesn't mean I think it's inappropriate for February's choice; I'm happy to have broad categories instead of narrow ones). I suspect that in a more restrained society--Victorian era England or US, perhaps--it would read more firmly as a "romance;" the parts are all there, but it's more subtle than modern romance-genre books expect.

Lolita, which, I haven't read, I understand to be a creepy psychological study about obsession rather than "romance." Again, though, I'm willing for "romance" to cover "all stories with strong elements of romantic or sexual relationships," even if they're not the classic "meet other person, overcome obstacles together, " style of story.

Love Story is a romance. It was hailed as an Epic Novel of Great Truths in the 70s; it's likely to come across as either a bit dated or wonderfully nostalgic now.

Outlander is on my do-not-read list; Gabaldon had some vile things to say about fanfiction... although she admits that she based one of her own characters on Dr. Who. Authors who insist it's illegal and immoral for me to be artistically inspired by their works are off my readlist.
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:19 PM   #50
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Thanks. I saw that one, but couldn't tell if the Kindle version was the same.
Sorry if I confused you. I'm pretty sure the illustrated version is only available in paper.
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:25 PM   #51
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Sorry if I confused you. I'm pretty sure the illustrated version is only available in paper.
It is only available in paper. I've downloaded the eBook from the library and there are no illustrations. I've hopefully ordered the correct pBook vversion with the illustrations to read. If it is the one with the illustrations, I'll read it regardless if it wins or not. Thank you for pointing out the illustrated version of Stardust.
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:26 PM   #52
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Elfwreck, thank you for your take on some of the books for this month. It really does help put them into perspective.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:11 PM   #53
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I think it was pretty clear that there was circumvention going on, because it's already basically been discussed earlier on. People have freely admitted that romance is "not their thing" and attempted a compromise with several nominations that have reasonably strong romantic leanings that still remained palatable to them.

I haven't read it yet, but Shards of Honor looks like a pretty reasonable compromise even if I don't think romance is the right classification for it. I mean if you had to choose a sci-fi book to fit into a romance category, it doesn't look like an awful choice.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:12 PM   #54
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OK - I'm still hoping for Love Story or Portrait of Jenny, but for the moment....

GO ALICE GO!!!!
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:17 PM   #55
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I've read Stardust and seen the movie. It's a romance. It has a fantasy-adventure setting, and it's not *only* a romance, unlike Harlequin or Mills & Boone stories where "boy meets girl; tensions ensue; everybody lives lustfully ever after" is the only thing going on. But the core plot is one of the classic romance tropes. (I don't want to go into detail and spoil it for those who'll be reading it soon.) If the romance were removed, the story would be impossible; the relationships are the driving force for the adventures.

Shards of Honor is a military SF story with a romance in its center. The story would be different without the romance, but not impossible. I'd call it "romantic science fiction" rather than "a science fiction romance" (which doesn't mean I think it's inappropriate for February's choice; I'm happy to have broad categories instead of narrow ones). I suspect that in a more restrained society--Victorian era England or US, perhaps--it would read more firmly as a "romance;" the parts are all there, but it's more subtle than modern romance-genre books expect.

Lolita, which, I haven't read, I understand to be a creepy psychological study about obsession rather than "romance." Again, though, I'm willing for "romance" to cover "all stories with strong elements of romantic or sexual relationships," even if they're not the classic "meet other person, overcome obstacles together, " style of story.

Love Story is a romance. It was hailed as an Epic Novel of Great Truths in the 70s; it's likely to come across as either a bit dated or wonderfully nostalgic now.

Outlander is on my do-not-read list; Gabaldon had some vile things to say about fanfiction... although she admits that she based one of her own characters on Dr. Who. Authors who insist it's illegal and immoral for me to be artistically inspired by their works are off my readlist.
Great post Elfwreck! Thank you. I think i'm at the point where I'll most likly read whichever selection wins, save Lolita. While I'm curious as to the quality of the work, I'm not sure I can get past the "pedophiliac obsession", which is the central theme of the story.

Besides Lolita, I'm actually least interested in Love Story. It sounds very... cliche.

My only reason for not voting for A Town Like Alice, is that it is quite expensive (and not public domain here in the US).

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Sorry if I confused you. I'm pretty sure the illustrated version is only available in paper.
No worries. Thanks again.

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Old 01-23-2013, 07:37 PM   #56
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Outlander is on my do-not-read list; Gabaldon had some vile things to say about fanfiction... although she admits that she based one of her own characters on Dr. Who. Authors who insist it's illegal and immoral for me to be artistically inspired by their works are off my readlist.
While I strongly disagree with Gabaldon, I'm not ready to write her off my list. This is the 2nd (or 3rd) time I've seen Outlander nominated for a book club of which I'm a member, so my curiosity has been piqued.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:16 PM   #57
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While I haven't read the book, the movie version of Stardust is definitely a romance, with love being the central theme. However, I must admit, it is the fantasy element that makes it more interesting to me. The illustrated version is on my Amazon wishlist. I do like the Outlander series "verra well" but have recently finished a reread so would prefer not to tackle it again.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:18 PM   #58
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While I strongly disagree with Gabaldon, I'm not ready to write her off my list. This is the 2nd (or 3rd) time I've seen Outlander nominated for a book club of which I'm a member, so my curiosity has been piqued.
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I do like the Outlander series "verra well" but have recently finished a reread so would prefer not to tackle it again.
Before finding out she has hatred of fan fiction, I've read Outlander. I found it awful. The time-travel is just a gimmick and doesn't really work. It's just rather unrealistic and the main female lead is just so unlikable. It's just too long as well. It plods on for too long going nowhere. Why it keeps getting nominated I'll never know.

That is an awful Scottish accent. I've heard plenty of real ones and can tell when one is a poor imitation.

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Old 01-23-2013, 08:30 PM   #59
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That is an awful Scottish accent. I've heard plenty of real ones and can tell when one is a poor imitation.
Back to the drawing board...lol...
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:31 PM   #60
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I've read Stardust and seen the movie. It's a romance. It has a fantasy-adventure setting, and it's not *only* a romance, unlike Harlequin or Mills & Boone stories where "boy meets girl; tensions ensue; everybody lives lustfully ever after" is the only thing going on. But the core plot is one of the classic romance tropes. (I don't want to go into detail and spoil it for those who'll be reading it soon.) If the romance were removed, the story would be impossible; the relationships are the driving force for the adventures....
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While I haven't read the book, the movie version of Stardust is definitely a romance, with love being the central theme....
Very well, then. I do hope Neil Gaiman's Stardust beats out the second place at the present time A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute. A wartime romance sounds a bit heavier reading than I'm presently in the mood for, and Gaiman is always fun to read.

Although my first choice remains Portrait of Jennie by Robert Nathan.
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