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View Poll Results: BelleZora Vote • February 2014, Multiple Choice
Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie, Spokane-Coeur d'Alene 3 37.50%
The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King, Cherokee 4 50.00%
House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday, Kiowa-Cherokee 2 25.00%
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich, Turtle Mountain Ojibwe 3 37.50%
Life of Black Hawk, or Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak: Dictated by Himself, Sauk 6 75.00%
Fools Crow by James Welch, Blackfeet-Gros Ventre 6 75.00%
Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko, Laguna Pueblo 2 25.00%
People of the Whale by Linda Hogan, Chickasaw Nation 2 25.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 8. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-01-2014, 08:10 AM   #1
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BelleZora Vote • February 2014

Help us choose the February 2014 selection to read for the MR Literary Club! The poll will be open for three days.

The vote is multiple choice. You may vote for as many or as few as you like.

The Rotating nominator (this month - BelleZora) may not vote in the poll.

A discussion thread will begin shortly after a winner is chosen.

In the event of a tie, there will be a one-day non-multiple-choice run-off poll (where the Rotating nominator again may note vote). In the event that the run-off poll also ends in a tie, the tie will be resolved by the Rotating nominator.


Select from the following works:


Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie, Spokane-Coeur d'Alene
Spoiler:
Winner of the American Book Award and the Murray Morgan Prize, Sherman Alexie’s brilliant first novel tells a powerful tale of Indians, rock ’n’ roll, and redemption.

Coyote Springs is the only all-Indian rock band in Washington State—and the entire rest of the world. Thomas Builds-the-Fire takes vocals and bass guitar, Victor Joseph hits lead guitar, and Junior Polatkin rounds off the sound on drums. Backup vocals come from sisters Chess and Checkers Warm Water. The band sings its own brand of the blues, full of poverty, pain, and loss—but also joy and laughter.

It all started one day when legendary bluesman Robert Johnson showed up on the Spokane Indian Reservation with a magical guitar, leaving it on the floor of Thomas Builds-the-Fire’s van after setting off to climb Wellpinit Mountain in search of Big Mom.

In Reservation Blues, National Book Award winner Alexie vaults with ease from comedy to tragedy and back in a tour-de-force outing powered by a collision of cultures: Delta blues and Indian rock.


The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King, Cherokee
Spoiler:
In The Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King offers a deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian–White relations in North America since initial contact. Ranging freely across the centuries and the Canada–U.S. border, King debunks fabricated stories of Indian savagery and White heroism, takes an oblique look at Indians (and cowboys) in film and popular culture, wrestles with the history of Native American resistance and his own experiences as a Native rights activist, and articulates a profound, revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.

Suffused with wit, anger, perception, and wisdom, The Inconvenient Indian is at once an engaging chronicle and a devastating subversion of history, insightfully distilling what it means to be “Indian” in North America. It is a critical and personal meditation that sees Native American history not as a straight line but rather as a circle in which the same absurd, tragic dynamics are played out over and over again. At the heart of the dysfunctional relationship between Indians and Whites, King writes, is land: “The issue has always been land.” With that insight, the history inflicted on the indigenous peoples of North America—broken treaties, forced removals, genocidal violence, and racist stereotypes—sharpens into focus. Both timeless and timely, The Inconvenient Indian ultimately rejects the pessimism and cynicism with which Natives and Whites regard one another to chart a new and just way forward for Indians and non-Indians alike.


House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday, Kiowa-Cherokee
Spoiler:
A young Native American, Abel has come home from a foreign war to find himself caught between two worlds. The first is the world of his father's, wedding him to the rhythm of the seasons, the harsh beauty of the land, and the ancient rites and traditions of his people. But the other world -- modern, industrial America -- pulls at Abel, demanding his loyalty, claiming his soul, goading him into a destructive, compulsive cycle of dissipation and disgust. And the young man, torn in two, descends into hell. Won Pulitzer Prize for fiction, 1969.


Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich, Turtle Mountain Ojibwe
Spoiler:
The stunning first novel in Louise Erdrich's Native American series, Love Medicine tells the story of two families -- the Kashpaws and the Lamartines. Written in Erdrich's uniquely poetic, powerful style, it is a multigenerational portrait of strong men and women caught in an unforgettable drama of anger, desire, and the healing power that is love medicine. Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction (1985), Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction (1985), National Book Critics Circle Award (1984)


Life of Black Hawk, or Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak: Dictated by Himself, Sauk
Spoiler:
Upon its publication in 1833, this unflinching narrative by the vanquished Sauk leader Black Hawk was the first thoroughly adversarial account of frontier hostilities between white settlers and Native Americans. Black Hawk, a complex, contradictory figure, relates his life story and that of his people, who had been forced from western Illinois in what was known as the Black Hawk War. The first published account of a victim of the American war of extermination, this vivid portrait of Indian life stands as a tribute to the author and his extraordinary people, as well as an invaluable historical document.


Fools Crow by James Welch, Blackfeet-Gros Ventre
Spoiler:
The year is 1870, and Fool's Crow, so called after he killed the chief of the Crows during a raid, has a vision at the annual Sun Dance ceremony. The young warrior sees the end of the Indian way of life and the choice that must be made: resistance or humiliating accommodation. "A major contibution to Native American literature."--Wallace Stegner. Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction (1987)


Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko, Laguna Pueblo
Spoiler:
A tour de force examination of the historical conflict between Native and Anglo Americans by critically acclaimed author Leslie Marmon Silko, under the hot desert sun of the American Southwest.

In this virtuoso symphony of character and culture, Leslie Marmon Silko’s breathtaking novel interweaves ideas and lives, fate and history, passion and conquest in an attempt to re-create the moral history of the Americas as told from the point of view of the conquered, not the conquerors. Touching on issues as disparate as the borderlands drug wars, ecological devastation committed for the benefit of agriculture, and the omnipresence of talking heads on American daytime television, The Almanac of the Dead is fiction on the grand scale, a sweeping epic of displacement, intrigue, and violent redemption.


People of the Whale by Linda Hogan, Chickasaw Nation
Spoiler:
“Deeply ecological, original, and spellbinding. . . . [A] hauntingly beautiful novel of the hidden dimensions of life.” —Booklist, starred review

Raised in a remote seaside village, Thomas Witka Just marries Ruth, his beloved since infancy. But an ill-fated decision to fight in Vietnam changes his life forever: cut off from his Native American community, he fathers a child with another woman. When he returns home a hero, he finds his tribe in conflict over the decision to hunt a whale, both a symbol of spirituality and rebirth and a means of survival. In the end, he reconciles his two existences, only to see tragedy befall the son he left behind.

Linda Hogan, called our most provocative Native American writer, with "her unparalleled gifts for truth and magic" (Barbara Kingsolver), has written a compassionate novel about the beauty of the natural world and the painful moral choices humans make in it. With a keen sense of the environment, spirituality, and the trauma of war, People of the Whale is a powerful novel for our times.
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Old 02-01-2014, 01:10 PM   #2
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So many great choices here. I decided to winnow it down to a total of five. Whatever happens I'm really looking forward to this month. Thanks BelleZora!

I thought that people might want to be made aware of the fact that there was an expanded version of Love Medicine by Louise Erdich available. This includes additional information about the author and about the book.
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Old 02-01-2014, 03:49 PM   #3
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Apart from being able to get a free copy of Black Hawk, I am going to have to buy, as my library doesn't have a single one of these books, which is very disappointing, to say the least! I can only get some of them on Kobo, and the one which interests me most of all, The Inconvenient Indian I can only get from Abe Books. So I'm crossing my fingers that one of the ones I can get wins!

If a book is available digitally, why on earth can't it be available anywhere in the world? (Mutter, mutter.)
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Old 02-01-2014, 04:09 PM   #4
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Apart from being able to get a free copy of Black Hawk, I am going to have to buy, as my library doesn't have a single one of these books, which is very disappointing, to say the least! I can only get some of them on Kobo, and the one which interests me most of all, The Inconvenient Indian I can only get from Abe Books. So I'm crossing my fingers that one of the ones I can get wins!

If a book is available digitally, why on earth can't it be available anywhere in the world? (Mutter, mutter.)
Well, there's always taking a "trip" in order to purchase King digitally. Definitely a MMV situation; my own feeling is that as long as I'm purchasing it, there's no moral or financial harm done. Indeed, King would benefit from a digital sale and not from an ABE purchase. The Inconvenient Indian is my favorite pick, also.
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Old 02-01-2014, 04:47 PM   #5
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I am also rooting for The inconvenient Indian, but it looks like it has tough competition!
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:44 PM   #6
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Well, there's always taking a "trip" in order to purchase King digitally. Definitely a MMV situation; my own feeling is that as long as I'm purchasing it, there's no moral or financial harm done. Indeed, King would benefit from a digital sale and not from an ABE purchase. The Inconvenient Indian is my favorite pick, also.
Good point about the benefit to the author. I'm guessing it is available digitally for those who travel? I have never tried it, as until recently I had some $A on my account so it wouldn't let me buy from elsewhere, but now I have used that up, maybe I can give it a shot.

I'll just dig out my passport ...
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:55 PM   #7
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All of the nominations appear to be available at Amazon US as Kindle books. None are available at my Overdrive library. I didn't check any other stores.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:24 PM   #8
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My goodness - what a difference a friend's address makes! Fingers crossed it will work when I select the winner.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:36 PM   #9
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My goodness - what a difference a friend's address makes! Fingers crossed it will work when I select the winner.
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Old 02-03-2014, 03:48 PM   #10
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Oooh, it looks as if it might be a tie and I might not be here to vote again if that's the case. I'm heading for Sydney for a couple of days, but will be back on Thursday evening my time, Thursday morning in the UK.

I'll be happy to go along with whatever the rest of you decide.
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Old 02-03-2014, 04:55 PM   #11
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We still may not end up with a tie; I would guess that we'll get at least one more vote, and sometimes there's a little cluster of votes at the end.

Bookpossum, if you want, you can either post here or PM me a list of books that you think may tie in order of preference. If there is a tie and your list includes all of whichever books tie, I'll count your vote for the one you most prefer.


ETA - ...And in the end, we do have a tie! I'll have the run-off up a little later.

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Old 02-04-2014, 01:48 PM   #12
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I voted for both, so obviously either is fine with me (as any of the other choices would have been), but Fools Crow sounds the better read and will get my vote.
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:55 AM   #13
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The run-off poll is up here. Will we be reading the Sauk autobiography or the Blackfeet-Gros Ventre novel?
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