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View Poll Results: Short Vote • July 2014, Multiple Choice
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino 6 46.15%
The Summer Book by Tove Jansson 6 46.15%
Runaway by Alice Munro 5 38.46%
The Club of Queer Trades by G. K. Chesterton 7 53.85%
Berlin Stories by Robert Walser 6 46.15%
Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges 4 30.77%
O Pioneers! by Willa Cather 4 30.77%
The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 3 23.08%
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates 4 30.77%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-05-2014, 04:35 AM   #1
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Short Vote • July 2014

Help choose the July 2014 selection to read for the MR Literary Club! The poll will be open for three days and a discussion thread will begin shortly after a winner is chosen.

The vote is multiple choice. You may vote for as many or as few as you like. If you vote for the winner it is hoped that you will read the selection with the club and/or join in the discussion.

In the event of a tie, there will be a one-day non-multiple-choice run-off poll. If the run-off also ends in a tie, then the tie will be resolved in favour of the selection that received all of its initial nominations first.


Select from the following works:


Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
Spoiler:
4.21 stars at GR.


Imaginary conversations between Marco Polo and his host, the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan, conjure up cities of magical times. “Of all tasks, describing the contents of a book is the most difficult and in the case of a marvelous invention like Invisible Cities, perfectly irrelevant” (Gore Vidal).


Available as an ebook in the U.S.


The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
Spoiler:
4.12 stars at GR.


Tove Jansson distills the essence of the summer—its sunlight and storms—into twenty-two crystalline vignettes. This brief novel tells the story of Sophia, a six-year-old girl awakening to existence, and Sophia’s grandmother, nearing the end of hers, as they spend the summer on a tiny unspoiled island in the Gulf of Finland. The grandmother is unsentimental and wise, if a little cranky; Sophia is impetuous and volatile, but she tends to her grandmother with the care of a new parent. Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature Venice, write a fanciful study of local bugs. They discuss things that matter to young and old alike: life, death, the nature of God and of love. “On an island,” thinks the grandmother, “everything is complete.” In The Summer Book, Jansson creates her own complete world, full of the varied joys and sorrows of life.


Available as an ebook in the U.S.


Runaway by Alice Munro
Spoiler:
Alice Munro is last year's Nobel Prize winner. This book collects eight short stories.


From Kobo:

The matchless Munro makes art out of everyday lives in this exquisite collection. Here are men and women of wildly different times and circumstances, their lives made vividly palpable by the nuance and empathy of Munro's writing. Runaway is about the power and betrayals of love, about lost children, lost chances. There is pain and desolation beneath the surface, like a needle in the heart, which makes these stories more powerful and compelling than anything she has written before.


The Club of Queer Trades by G. K. Chesterton
Spoiler:
From the blurb on the Penguin Edition:

"A master of the tongue in cheek, G.K. Chesterton's ingenious and, above all, paradoxical stories introduce Basil Grant, a sleuth so finely portrayed as to rival Sherlock Holmes. Eschewing facts for physiognomy, deduction for intuition, method for madness, he moves unerringly to his goal.
"Accompanied by the gullible narrator of the tales and an excitable private detective, Basil Grant deals with a lethal message written in pansies, a professor's insanity, a country vicar's predicament and other puzzling situations, all of which lead them to the same source . . . .
"While each story is complete in itself, together they weave another mystery which leads to its own climax . . . ."

The six classic stories taken together occupy only 126 pages in the Penguin edition.

It is available free from Project Gutenberg and in both a free and very cheap Kindle edition in Amazon {and on Feedbooks} as well as being included in many ebook collections devoted to Chesterton.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_...k%3AThe+Club+o


Berlin Stories by Robert Walser
Spoiler:
In 1905 the young Swiss writer Robert Walser arrived in Berlin to join his older brother Karl, already an important stage-set designer, and immediately threw himself into the vibrant social and cultural life of the city. Berlin Stories collects his alternately celebratory, droll, and satirical observations on every aspect of the bustling German capital, from its theaters, cabarets, painters’ galleries, and literary salons, to the metropolitan street, markets, the Tiergarten, rapid-service restaurants, and the electric tram. Originally appearing in literary magazines as well as the feuilleton sections of newspapers, the early stories are characterized by a joyous urgency and the generosity of an unconventional guide. Later pieces take the form of more personal reflections on the writing process, memories, and character studies. All are full of counter-intuitive images and vignettes of startling clarity, showcasing a unique talent for whom no detail was trivial, at grips with a city diving headlong into modernity.


It's short, at 160 paper pages, as well as being short stories.

Available as an ebook in the US.


Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
Spoiler:
~179 pages


From Goodreads:

Jorge Luis Borge's Fictions introduced an entirely new voice into world literature. It is here we find the astonishing accounts of Funes, the man who can forget nothing; the French poet who recreated Don Quixote word for word; the fatal lottery in Babylon; the mysterious planet of Tlön; and the library containing every possible book in the whole universe. Here too are the philosophical detective stories and the haunting tales of Irish revolutionaries, gaucho knife fights and dreams within dreams which proved so influential (and yet impossible to imitate). This collection was eventually to bring Borges international fame; over fifty years later, it remains endlessly intriguing.


O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
Spoiler:
~176 pages


From Goodreads:

A tale of the prairie land encountered by America's Swedish, Czech, Bohemian, and French immigrants, as well as a story of how the land challenged them, changed them, and, in some cases, defeated them, Cather's novel is a uniquely American epic.

Alexandra Bergson, a young Swedish immigrant girl who inherits her father's farm and must transform it from raw prairie into a prosperous enterprise, is the first of Cather's great heroines, all of them women of strong will and an even stronger desire to overcome adversity and succeed. But the wild land itself is an equally important character in Cather's books, and her descriptions of it are so evocative, lush, and moving that they provoked writer Rebecca West to say of her: "The most sensuous of writers, Willa Cather builds her imagined world almost as solidly as our five senses build the universe around us."


The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Spoiler:
~144 pages


From Goodreads:

Visiting an idyllic German village, Werther, a sensitive and romantic young man, meets and falls in love with sweet-natured Lotte. Although he realizes that Lotte is to marry Albert, he is unable to subdue his passion for her, and his infatuation torments him to the point of absolute despair. The first great 'confessional' novel, 'The Sorrows of Young Werther' draws both on Goethe's own unrequited love for Charlotte Buff and on the death of his friend Karl Wilhelm Jerusalem. Goethe's sensitive exploration of the mind of a young artist at odds with soceity and ill-equipped to cope with life is now considered the first great tragic novel of European literature.


Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates
Spoiler:
The single short story, not the collection.


(note- the link in the title is to Wikipedia since there is no Goodreads page for the single story, but be aware that there are spoilers on the Wikipedia page)


Apparently available online for free at the University of Minnesota Duluth here.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:34 PM   #2
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Thanks sun surfer. Yes, the Goodreads link you made is to the right book. An interesting selection once again, but I limited myself to four of them.
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Old 07-08-2014, 04:41 AM   #3
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Hmm, I see the time now is right on the button, and Chesterton wins by a nose. Although I didn't vote for it (because I thought there could be a rush on a free one from elsewhere) I'm glad to see it was seven regulars who voted for it.
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookpossum View Post
Hmm, I see the time now is right on the button, and Chesterton wins by a nose. Although I didn't vote for it (because I thought there could be a rush on a free one from elsewhere) I'm glad to see it was seven regulars who voted for it.
Ah, well, I would have liked Ficciones or Berlin stories as well.
I am still not decided which strategy of voting is the best, so I voted for Chesterton as well. I remember as a child I used to love his Father Brown stories and I expect, as I didn't read any of his in the time between, that reading The club of queer trades will provide me with another point of view on this author than my previous one. Yes, I'm looking forward to reading it.
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:46 AM   #5
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Starting to read tomorrow.
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:55 AM   #6
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I need to find the time to finish Between the Woods and the Water (which is just as beautiful as A Time of Gifts), and then I'll be on to it too.

I downloaded it from the MR library.
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