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View Poll Results: Which of these Classics should be our December reading selection?
The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck 3 5.88%
Crime and Punishment by F.M. Dostoevsky 7 13.73%
Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz 6 11.76%
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov 11 21.57%
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton 8 15.69%
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons 6 11.76%
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 2 3.92%
The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark 2 3.92%
Flush by Virginia Woolf 3 5.88%
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens 3 5.88%
Voters: 51. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-22-2012, 10:52 AM   #1
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December 2012 Book Club 1st Vote

December 2012 Mobile Read Book Club 1st Vote

Help us choose a book as the December 2012 eBook for the Mobile Read Book Club. The poll will be open for 4 days, followed by a 3 day run-off poll between the two* most popular choices. The vote this month will be visible.

We will start the discussion thread for this book on December 20th. Select from the following Official Choices with three nominations each:

(1) The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck
Amazon (UK) / Amazon (US) / B&N / Kobo
Spoiler:
From Wikipedia:
The Good Earth is a novel by Pearl S. Buck published in 1931 and awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1932. The best-selling novel in the United States in both 1931 and 1932, it was an influential factor in Buck's winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938. It is the first book in a trilogy that includes Sons (1932) and A House Divided (1935).
The novel of family life in a Chinese village before World War II has been a steady favorite ever since. In 2004, the book was returned to the bestseller list when chosen by the television host Oprah Winfrey for Oprah's Book Club. The novel helped prepare Americans of the 1930s to consider Chinese as allies in the coming war with Japan.
A Broadway stage adaptation was produced by the Theatre Guild in 1932, written by the father and son playwriting team of Owen and Donald Davis, but it was poorly received by the critics, and ran only 56 performances. However, the 1937 film, The Good Earth, which was based on the stage version, was more successful.


(2) Crime and Punishment by F.M. Dostoevsky
Amazon UK / Amazon US (free) / Patricia Clark Memorial Library: LRF
Spoiler:
From Wikipedia: "Crime and Punishment focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, an impoverished St. Petersburg student who formulates and executes a plan to kill a hated, unscrupulous pawnbroker for her money, thereby solving his financial problems and at the same time, he argues, ridding the world of evil. Written at fever-heat, Crime and Punishment is considered by many as the first of Dostoevsky's cycle of great novels, which would culminate with his last completed work, The Brothers Karamazov, shortly before his death."


(3) Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
Patricia Clark Memorial Library: EPUB / LRF / PRC
Spoiler:
From "Wikipedia":

"Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero", commonly known as "Quo Vadis", is a historical novel written by Henryk Sienkiewicz. Quo vadis is Latin for "Where are you going?" and alludes to a New Testament verse (John 13:36). The verse, in the King James Version, reads as follows,

"Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou can not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards."

Quo Vadis tells of a love that develops between a young Christian woman, Ligia (or Lygia), and Marcus Vinicius, a Roman patrician. It takes place in the city of Rome under the rule of emperor Nero around AD 64.

Sienkiewicz studied the Roman Empire extensively prior to writing the novel, with the aim of getting historical details correct. As such, several historical figures appear in the book. As a whole, the novel carries a powerful pro-Christian message.

Published in installments in three Polish dailies in 1895, it came out in book form in 1896 and has since been translated into more than 50 languages. This novel contributed to Sienkiewicz's Nobel Prize for literature in 1905.

Several movies have been based on Quo Vadis. The most famous movie is the Hollywood production "Quo Vadis" filmed in 1951.


(4) I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
Amazon (US) / B&N / BooksOnBoard / Kobo / Sony
Spoiler:
The three laws of Robotics:
1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
2) A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

With these three, simple directives, Isaac Asimov changed our perception of robots forever when he formulated the laws governing their behavior. In I, Robot, Asimov chronicles the development of the robot through a series of interlinked stories: from its primitive origins in the present to its ultimate perfection in the not-so-distant future—a future in which humanity itself may be rendered obsolete.

Here are stories of robots gone mad, of mind-read robots, and robots with a sense of humor. Of robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world—all told with the dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction that has become Asmiov's trademark.


(5) Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Patricia Clark Memorial Library: PRC / Gutenberg EPUB / Amazon UK / Amazon US / Barnes & Noble / Dymocks Australia / Kobo / Sony Reader Store
Spoiler:
Set against the bleak winter landscape of New England, Ethan Frome tells the story of a poor farmer, lonely and downtrodden, his wife Zeena, and her cousin, the enchanting Mattie Silver. In the playing out of this short novel's powerful and engrossing drama, Edith Wharton constructed her least characteristic and most celebrated book. In its unyielding and shocking pessimism, its bleak demonstration of tragic waste, it is a masterpiece of psychological and emotional realism.

(1911 Pulitzer).


(6) Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Amazon / Inkmesh / Kobo
Spoiler:
From Goodreads: Winner of the 1933 Femina Vie Heureuse Prize, COLD COMFORT FARM is a wickedly funny portrait of British rural life in the 1930s. Flora Poste, a recently orphaned socialite, moves in with her country relatives, the gloomy Starkadders of Cold Comfort Farm, and becomes enmeshed in a web of violent emotions, despair, and scheming, until Flora manages to set things right.


(7) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Patricia Clark Memorial Library: PRC / Project Gutenberg
Spoiler:
It has a wonderful theme of family and charity, making it a good read for the holiday season.


(8) The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
No links provided.
Spoiler:
From Amazon:

Muriel Spark’s timeless classic about a controversial teacher who deeply marks the lives of a select group of students in the years leading up to World War II

“Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life!” So asserts Jean Brodie, a magnetic, dubious, and sometimes comic teacher at the conservative Marcia Blaine School for Girls in Edinburgh. Brodie selects six favorite pupils to mold—and she doesn’t stop with just their intellectual lives. She has a plan for them all, including how they will live, whom they will love, and what sacrifices they will make to uphold her ideals. When the girls reach adulthood and begin to find their own destinies, Jean Brodie’s indelible imprint is a gift to some, and a curse to others.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is Spark’s masterpiece, a novel that offers one of twentieth-century English literature’s most iconic and complex characters—a woman at once admirable and sinister, benevolent and conniving.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Muriel Spark including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s archive at the National Library of Scotland.


Also:

"A perfect book." - Chicago Tribune

A short classic novel about an eccentric Edinburgh teacher who inspires cultlike reverence in her young students.

At the staid Marcia Blaine School for Girls, in Edinburgh, Scotland, teacher extraordinaire Miss Jean Brodie is unmistakably, and outspokenly, in her prime. She is passionate in the application of her unorthodox teaching methods, in her attraction to the married art master, Teddy Lloyd, in her affair with the bachelor music master, Gordon Lowther, and—most important—in her dedication to "her girls," the students she selects to be her crème de la crème. Fanatically devoted, each member of the Brodie set—Eunice, Jenny, Mary, Monica, Rose, and Sandy—is "famous for something," and Miss Brodie strives to bring out the best in each one. Determined to instill in them independence, passion, and ambition, Miss Brodie advises her girls, "Safety does not come first. Goodness, Truth, and Beauty come first. Follow me."

And they do. But one of them will betray her.


(9) Flush by Virginia Woolf
Patricia Clark Memorial Library: IMP / LRF / PRC / EPUB (in the Complete Works)
Spoiler:
It is a quasi-biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, written from the perspective of her cocker-spaniel! Looking at the world with bewildered eyes, he never quite understands what is happening to him. I am not a fan of dogs, usually, but this story broke my heart. Being a much easier read than some of her other writings, it serves a great introduction to Virginia Woolf. I have only read this in a translation so far, so I’d like to give the original a try.


(10) Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
Patricia Clark Memorial Library: EPUB / IMP / LRF / PRC
Spoiler:
From Amazon:
Left penniless after his feckless father's death, young Nicholas Nickleby has no choice but to make his own way in the world. For the sake of his mother and sister, he is forced by his hard-hearted uncle to take a post as an assistant master at Dotheboys Hall, a school for unwanted boys, run by the cruel and tyrannical headmaster, Wackford Squeers. But this is only the beginning of Nicholas's adventures in this most entertaining of Charles Dickens's novels. We follow the progress of Nicholas and his slow-witted companion Smike on their travels and encounter a supporting cast of delectable characters including the rambunctious Crummles theatre company and their talented performing pony, the dastardly Sir Mulberry Hawk, the delightful Mrs. Nickleby, the preposterous Kenwings, and many more. Like many of Dickens's novels, Nicholas Nickleby is characterized by his criticism of cruelty and social injustice, but is above all one of the greatest comic masterpieces of nineteenth-century literature.



The fine print:
*Should the first vote produce a 3-way or more tie for first place, or 2-way or more tie for second, the second poll will have more than two choices.
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:00 AM   #2
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First vote is in
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:23 AM   #3
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So many good nominations this month! I'll go with my nominee, but could be happy reading most of these.
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:27 AM   #4
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Since I am familiar with almost all of the nominations this month, I'll list them in order of preference -


The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Voted for this one. It is short at only 150 pages and a great choice for December.

Ethan Frome - I saw the film when it first came out 20 years ago, but I've pretty much completely forgotten it. I've also never read Wharton so this would be a great start, and it's also short and good for December.

Cold Comfort Farm - I already have this book; I got it after becoming interested in it when it was nominated another month over a year and a half ago. I hope my copy is the good version! I've read a little of it and it's light and funny and good for December.

The Good Earth

Flush - Short and since I've never read Woolf would be a good start.

Little Women

Nicholas Nickleby - Longer than I'd like for December as I try to finish my reading challenge, but I really liked the film.

I, Robot - Eh, I'm having my recent fill of sci-fi with the books chosen for both book clubs for November, but still wouldn't mind.

Quo Vadis - Not what I'm in the mood for this month and is on the longer side as well, but sounds interesting and if it wins I'll give it a go.

Crime and Punishment - A great book, but I've already read it. I should be rooting for this one to win since then I'd have one less book to read to finish my reading challenge this year, but that would feel too disingenuous. But I admit, if it wins I won't necessarily be disappointed.
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:36 AM   #5
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Difficult choice, but I went for Cold Comfort Farm. It has been nominated before and I got a bit curious about it.
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:55 PM   #6
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I'm going with Quo Vadis. I've read eight of the others and would like to read something new that isn't I, Robot.

Seriously, Quo Vadis sounds like a great read and it's a somewhat unusual choice, which is a good thing. Expand horizons and all that.
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:58 PM   #7
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I'm partial to free books in the Classics category and something short for the busy month of December, so I'll vote for Ethan Frome.

I have Cold Comfort Farm on hold at the library, but since I'm second on the list I'm not likely to get it in time for this month. I do have the audiobook for The Good Earth, so I'd be willing to try that if it wins. On the other hand, the pro-Christian theme of Quo Vadis is unappealing to me and I gave Crime and Punishment a try last summer but couldn't get past 50 pages, so I'd give both of those a pass. Dickens and Little Women are too long to tackle right now.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:21 PM   #8
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Happy holiday to everyone who celebrated one today.

Very interesting vote so far. Nine nominees with at least one vote, and no nominee with more than four yet. It'll be fun to watch and see what happens over the next few days.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by sun surfer View Post
Very interesting vote so far. Nine nominees with at least one vote, and no nominee with more than four yet. It'll be fun to watch and see what happens over the next few days.
So much for the "voters are lemmings when votes are visible" theory.
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:52 PM   #10
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I listened to Ethan Frome from Audible a couple weeks ago and liked it a lot. The narrator Scott Brick does an excellent job. Although I want to re-read Crime and Punishment, I think it is very dark for the Christmas season. Every month I end up reading the winner as well as one or two nominees. I'll read The Good Earth and Cold Comfort Farm no matter what. Great choices!
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:34 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by BelleZora View Post
Although I want to re-read Crime and Punishment, I think it is very dark for the Christmas season.
I nominated Crime and Punishment last December, and it received few votes for the reason BelleZora mentions.

Perhaps it is a mistake to have December a classics month. A lot of classics are downers. I would recommend that we make December the humor month. Everyone should be in a good mood in December.

April is currently the humor month, presumably because the first of April is April Fool's Day. But I don't find the period of March 20 through April 20 to be any more joyful than other months, and perhaps April should be the classics month.

I suggest a simple trade of April for December.

PS - Most people are very busy in December. If you don't like my idea of making December the humor month, perhaps we can make it the short works month.

Last edited by GA Russell; 11-23-2012 at 02:37 AM.
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Old 11-23-2012, 03:01 AM   #12
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Well I could vote "strategically". But I have a strong preference for The Good Earth so I'm on the campaign trail!

Having said that, several of these books would be great. As much as I adored Crime and Punishment, I'm planning to read The Brothers Karamazov in January, and I think even the magnificence of Dostoyevsky can be too much.

Other than that though, I'm quite interested in:
Ethan Frome
Flush
Quo Vadis
Cold Comfort Farm

I, Robot and The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie both look good but I'm too stingy to buy them so they will probably get a pass from me. Unfortunately, I can't get either from an eLibrary.

And one day I'd like to read Little Women and Nicholas Nickleby, but I don't think that time is now.

Forgot to mention - I really like this list of options. Most of these I would need hardly a push to jump straight into. I'm looking forward to watching the progress.

Last edited by caleb72; 11-23-2012 at 03:09 AM.
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Old 11-23-2012, 03:02 AM   #13
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Oh - and vote for The Good Earth please. You know you want to.
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:48 AM   #14
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Well I've read the Good Earth, twice, so sorry I passed. I voted for Nicholas Nickelby. Dickens in December seems natural!
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:57 AM   #15
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There are some good choices on that list, but I wish I had thirded both Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday and Huxley's Brave New World.

No one to blame but myself.

And Jon, who was late with his thirds.
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