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View Poll Results: Vote for MobileRead's best fiction book of 1921-1930
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse Votes are hidden until this poll is closed
Ulysses by James Joyce Votes are hidden until this poll is closed
A Passage to India by Edward Morgan Forster Votes are hidden until this poll is closed
The Great Gatsby by Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald Votes are hidden until this poll is closed
Der Process/The Trial by Franz Kafka Votes are hidden until this poll is closed
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser Votes are hidden until this poll is closed
Wild Geese by Martha Ostenso Votes are hidden until this poll is closed
Carry on Jeeves by Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse Votes are hidden until this poll is closed
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie Votes are hidden until this poll is closed
Winnie-the-Pooh by Alan Alexander Milne Votes are hidden until this poll is closed
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre by ?B. Traven? Votes are hidden until this poll is closed
Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse Votes are hidden until this poll is closed
Мы: Роман/We: A Novel by Yevgeny Zamyatin Votes are hidden until this poll is closed
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf Votes are hidden until this poll is closed
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Nancy Drew: The Secret of the Old Clock by Edward L. Stratemeyer Votes are hidden until this poll is closed
Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften/The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil Votes are hidden until this poll is closed
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The Passage by Vance Palmer Votes are hidden until this poll is closed
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Old 05-22-2015, 03:58 PM   #1
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Vote for MobileRead's best fiction book of 1921-1930

This is the third voting thread for choosing MobileRead's ten best fiction books of the 20th Century. This thread covers 1921-1930.

VOTING IS NOW OPEN! Voting totals will be hidden until the poll ends (so that no-one is influenced by previously recorded votes), and voting will be anonymous.

You are, of course, welcome to make your choice known in the discussion thread associated with this poll.

The nominations and nominators are:
  1. 1922 Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) Gutenberg German, amaxo, Amazon UK English(frddgls)
  2. 1922 Ulysses by James Joyce (1882-1941) Gutenberg (sun surfer)
  3. 1924 A Passage to India by Edward Morgan Forster (1879-1970) Amazon UK (BelleZora)
  4. 1925 The Great Gatsby by Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (1896-1940) Amazon US, mobi (issybird)
  5. 1925 Der Process/The Trial by Franz Kafka (1883-1924) Amazon US, mobi (HomeInMyShoes)
  6. 1925 An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945) No ebook found (spellbanisher)
  7. 1925 Wild Geese by Martha Ostenso (1900-1963) No ebook found (ccowie)
  8. 1925 Carry on Jeeves by Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (1881-1975) Amazon UK (Bilbo1967)
  9. 1926 The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (1890-1976) Amazon UK (treadlightly)
  10. 1926 Winnie-the-Pooh by Alan Alexander Milne (1882-1956) Amazon UK (gmw)
  11. 1927 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre by ?B. Traven? (?1882-?1969) No ebook found (knuthmeyer)
  12. 1927 Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) Amazon UK English(everlod)
  13. 1927 Мы: Роман/We: A Novel by Yevgeny Zamyatin (1884-1937) Amazon UK English (caleb72)
  14. 1927 To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) mobi (missimpossible)
  15. 1929 Red Harvest by Dashiel Hammett (1894-1961) Amazon UK (Ralph Sir Edward)
  16. 1929 The Maltese Falcon by Dashiel Hammett (1894-1961) Amazon UK (GA Russell)
  17. 1929 The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (1897-1962) Amazon UK (bfisher)
  18. 1929 Im Westen nichts Neues/All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970) Amazon UK English (AnemicOak)
  19. 1930 Nancy Drew: The Secret of the Old Clock by Edward L. Stratemeyer (1862-1930) and Mildred Wirt Benson (1905-2002) Original 1930 version not available as ebook. Revised versions: Amazon US, Amazon UK (BearMountainBooks)
  20. 1930 Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften/The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil (1880-1942) No ebook found (pynch)
  21. 1930 Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie (1890-1976) Amazon UK (disconnected)
  22. 1930 The Passage by Vance Palmer (1885-1959) No ebook found (Lynx-lynx)

Most of these books are still in copyright. Those published in 1922 or earlier are in the US public domain. Those whose author died before 1945 are in the EU public domain. Links have been given to Amazon UK where possible for those in copyright, or to MobileRead or Gutenberg for those in the public domain.

Nominators should now post about their nominated book, and everyone is welcome to discuss the relative merits of the nominations

Last edited by pdurrant; 05-30-2015 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 05-23-2015, 01:15 PM   #2
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Nancy Drew. I'm not sure what I can say to sway a vote to Nancy Drew, because you either read some of the series and loved it or you didn't. For me, the books represented my first real foray into series, mysteries and books based on characterization--that is to say the characters are in every book and in some of the books there is character growth. Do they stand the test of time? Yes, I think kids today can still enjoy them. Do they stand the test of age? No, not really. I went back and read this first installment when I was in my thirties. Goodness! Such a simplified mystery when I remembered much richer characters, plot and dialogue!

But they are great stories for a certain age and the wonderful memories of enjoying them does stand the test of time and age. They are accessible fiction and a great introduction to genre fiction. They are an escape for a child and Nancy Drew is a strong female character with brains, friends and a loyal family. I don't think they teach any real moral lessons (unless you learn that you really should not meet a mysterious stranger at midnight at the boat dock) and some of the descriptions that were "accurate" for that period in history have been erased/sanitized.

They certainly deserve a mention because I believe those stories touched many a heart and expanded many an imagination.
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Old 05-23-2015, 01:55 PM   #3
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This is the second third voting thread for choosing MobileRead's ten best fiction books of the 20th Century. This thread covers 1911-1920 1921-1930.
Yes??
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Old 05-23-2015, 03:36 PM   #4
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Nancy Drew. I'm not sure what I can say to sway a vote to Nancy Drew, because you either read some of the series and loved it or you didn't. For me, the books represented my first real foray into series, mysteries and books based on characterization--that is to say the characters are in every book and in some of the books there is character growth. Do they stand the test of time? Yes, I think kids today can still enjoy them. Do they stand the test of age? No, not really. I went back and read this first installment when I was in my thirties. Goodness! Such a simplified mystery when I remembered much richer characters, plot and dialogue!

But they are great stories for a certain age and the wonderful memories of enjoying them does stand the test of time and age. They are accessible fiction and a great introduction to genre fiction. They are an escape for a child and Nancy Drew is a strong female character with brains, friends and a loyal family. I don't think they teach any real moral lessons (unless you learn that you really should not meet a mysterious stranger at midnight at the boat dock) and some of the descriptions that were "accurate" for that period in history have been erased/sanitized.

They certainly deserve a mention because I believe those stories touched many a heart and expanded many an imagination.
Wondering if you read the same version of Nancy Drew both when you were a child and when you were an adult. The originals from the thirties are great fun; the revisions from the late fifties and sixties, not so much. The sanitizing of the stories to eliminate racism and class distinctions was so heavy-handed that it sucked out all the flavor and charm--Nancy became a much less interesting character, as did the people around her.
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Old 05-23-2015, 04:37 PM   #5
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Wondering if you read the same version of Nancy Drew both when you were a child and when you were an adult. The originals from the thirties are great fun; the revisions from the late fifties and sixties, not so much. The sanitizing of the stories to eliminate racism and class distinctions was so heavy-handed that it sucked out all the flavor and charm--Nancy became a much less interesting character, as did the people around her.
And that's not all they did. The books were made shorter and the sentence structure and vocabulary were made simpler. The books were eviscerated and are unreadable in the later version, IMO. Unfortunately, the ebooks are the "new" version.
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Old 05-23-2015, 05:29 PM   #6
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And that's not all they did. The books were made shorter and the sentence structure and vocabulary were made simpler. The books were eviscerated and are unreadable in the later version, IMO. Unfortunately, the ebooks are the "new" version.
Absolutely. The books were dumbed down. The page count was cut; the books were forced into a straitjacket of 180 pages, 20 chapters each; the character development was lost. Some titles were completely rewritten--e.g., The Secret at Shadow Ranch (which in the rewritten version is The Secret of Shadow Ranch). Nancy goes from a rule-breaking and independent rebel to a respectful do-gooder.

I read only a few Nancys as a child; some of them were revisions and some originals, though I did not know that at the time. When I looked at them again as an adult, the ones I remember enjoying all turned out to be originals. (The Clue in the Jewel Box was my favorite!)
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Old 05-23-2015, 05:35 PM   #7
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Yes??
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Old 05-23-2015, 05:37 PM   #8
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Unfortunately, the ebooks are the "new" version.
Thanks. Now noted in the listing.
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Old 05-23-2015, 05:42 PM   #9
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Wondering if you read the same version of Nancy Drew both when you were a child and when you were an adult. The originals from the thirties are great fun; the revisions from the late fifties and sixties, not so much. The sanitizing of the stories to eliminate racism and class distinctions was so heavy-handed that it sucked out all the flavor and charm--Nancy became a much less interesting character, as did the people around her.
I"m sure the ones I read later were the sanitized versions. I can only guess that the others I read were originals, but many were library copies and thrift shop buys. I do remember them as being longer and I never caught any racism (meaning the characters did not put anyone down or actively hate anyone) but I think that there were stereotypes that were true of the time and were taken out. The whole "housekeeper" idea itself came from a different time/place than we live in today.

But it is those originals that were valuable. I think kids today or back then are capable of seeing through history and to take that out is a shame. Changing the vocabulary and simplifying the stories is worse because there is no reason for that.
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Old 05-23-2015, 06:45 PM   #10
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Welcome to Poisonville. I hope you enjoy your stay there. Your tour guide is a person who only goes by his job title - Continental Op. You'll get to meet many colorful characters, and see a small time company town in action.

It's amazing how peaceful the town gets under Continental Op's tutelage. Only, as was usual during Prohibition, be careful from whom you take your shots...

And the first one to get to 20 wins...


The ulimate hard-boiled detective novel. It ain't pretty and it ain't clean. And the good don't always win. So put on your Kevlar and take a tour bus, straight to Poisonville...
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Old 05-23-2015, 07:35 PM   #11
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I"m sure the ones I read later were the sanitized versions. I can only guess that the others I read were originals, but many were library copies and thrift shop buys. I do remember them as being longer and I never caught any racism (meaning the characters did not put anyone down or actively hate anyone) but I think that there were stereotypes that were true of the time and were taken out. The whole "housekeeper" idea itself came from a different time/place than we live in today.

But it is those originals that were valuable. I think kids today or back then are capable of seeing through history and to take that out is a shame. Changing the vocabulary and simplifying the stories is worse because there is no reason for that.
The few black characters that appear in the early books are housekeepers, caretakers, and other servants. In addition to being in stereotyped roles, they are also depicted as slovenly and rather stupid. The revisions pretty much just eliminate black people entirely, so that River Heights seems to be populated only by whites.

Re the housekeeper--early on, Nancy runs the house, issuing orders to the housekeeper, but in the revisions the housekeeper becomes a parental figure. This is another limitation placed on Nancy's freedom that is so appealing in the originals.

Beyond the racial issue, the main difference between the originals and the revisions is Nancy's attitude toward authority. Originally she pretty much sneers at the police--I remember one passage where she's exceedingly annoyed because the police won't just arrest some criminal type on her say-so; they are so stupid as to insist on evidence. She thinks nothing of breaking and entering either. She's a child of privilege, rich and smart, so she believes whatever she wants to do in pursuit of justice is just fine.

I think that trying to remove or at least tone down this sort of attitude is what made the revisions so extensive. Nancy was still superior to everyone else, but she became modest about it and generally stayed within the rules.

Still, it's hard to deny the amazing influence of the character and the series.

By the way, though the original Nancys aren't available as e-books, Project Gutenberg has almost all the Penny Parker mysteries and a couple of Madge Sterling mysteries, all written by Nancy's original author, Mildred Wirt Benson.
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Old 05-23-2015, 07:57 PM   #12
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The few black characters that appear in the early books are housekeepers, caretakers, and other servants. In addition to being in stereotyped roles, they are also depicted as slovenly and rather stupid. The revisions pretty much just eliminate black people entirely, so that River Heights seems to be populated only by whites.

Re the housekeeper--early on, Nancy runs the house, issuing orders to the housekeeper, but in the revisions the housekeeper becomes a parental figure. This is another limitation placed on Nancy's freedom that is so appealing in the originals.

Beyond the racial issue, the main difference between the originals and the revisions is Nancy's attitude toward authority. Originally she pretty much sneers at the police--I remember one passage where she's exceedingly annoyed because the police won't just arrest some criminal type on her say-so; they are so stupid as to insist on evidence. She thinks nothing of breaking and entering either. She's a child of privilege, rich and smart, so she believes whatever she wants to do in pursuit of justice is just fine.

I think that trying to remove or at least tone down this sort of attitude is what made the revisions so extensive. Nancy was still superior to everyone else, but she became modest about it and generally stayed within the rules.

Still, it's hard to deny the amazing influence of the character and the series.

By the way, though the original Nancys aren't available as e-books, Project Gutenberg has almost all the Penny Parker mysteries and a couple of Madge Sterling mysteries, all written by Nancy's original author, Mildred Wirt Benson.
Thanks for this info.
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Old 05-23-2015, 10:08 PM   #13
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This books is to be neither accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure for those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by war.
I remember sitting in a high school English class and being moved by that brief author's statement, which prefaces All Quiet on the Western Front. We went on to read the book and then watch both the 1930 film and 1979 television re-make then having discussions about the novel and comparing/contrasting the films against each other and the book. I think because of all of this (the length & depth of discussions) the book has "stuck with me" all these years since and remained a favorite.

The novel does an excellent job of showing the mental and physical stresses a soldier faces in war. It's not a war story that tells of big acts of bravery and adventure, but rather just brings us along as we follow every day soldiers and what they encounter, how they felt. Waiting for the artillery to come, day to day boredom, and the detached feeling towards civilian life when visiting home. IMO whether one ends up liking the book or not it is an important book that everyone should read at least once.

My reading experiences are with the Arthur Wesley Wheen translation. There is a newer translation by Brian Murdoch which I've seen quite a bit of criticism about (as in highly flawed), but haven't read.
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Old 05-23-2015, 11:13 PM   #14
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I chose Murder at the Vicarage, Agatha Christie’s first Miss Marple book.

I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around the concept of “best book” so I just thought about what would I want on my desert island and what do I tend to reread when the real world seems a bit too much for me.

I almost chose a Nancy Drew book because that’s what started my whole mystery addiction, but I went with a Miss Marple book because I’ve been reading and enjoying them for nearly sixty years now.
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Old 05-24-2015, 01:18 AM   #15
gmw
cacoethes scribendi
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Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne. I'm assuming the book doesn't need a lot of introduction. Winnie-the-Pooh is a bear that likes honey. He and his friends, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Christopher Robin have adventures in a forest.

This book is, I guess, targeted at an even younger audience than my earlier nomination, The Wind in the Willows. The stories, characters and prose are all even simpler, more ... childish, is probably the most suitable word. It is a book designed to be read aloud to your children.

So how does such a book make it onto this list? One word covers it: Joy.

We avid readers here on this list are used to books that enthral us, that frighten us, that intrigue us, that make us cry or make us laugh. We are used to books full of conflict and mystery and depth. But how often do we pick up something that clearly and simply expresses heartfelt joy? That is the wonder of Winnie-the-Pooh.

There is something in the prose of A.A. Milne that I find very appealing. It's like listening to someone telling you the story, someone with a constant quiet smile on their face that is infectious in its intensity. Winnie-the-Pooh expresses the simple joy of childhood. I can't pick it up without thinking that I am watching Christopher Robin with his toys (the illustrations by E.H. Shephard in my copy make a perfect accompaniment).

Feeling depressed? Put aside all your notions of grown-up and pick up Winnie-the-Pooh.*

My personal reaction to the book might not, on its own, have convinced me to nominate it. But the ongoing popularity of the book and its characters has convinced me that it is an important part of the decade, and the century.

* I was going to say that it doesn't matter what age you are, but that's not entirely true. There is a certain age, that I think most of us go through, where such simple children's stories seem beneath us. But gather a bit more age, and a bit more experience, and you see that complexity, conflict, mystery and misery abound - they are commonplace things. In this light it becomes apparent what is so rare and special in a book like this one.
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