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Old 01-21-2013, 08:57 AM   #61
JSWolf
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Whatever happened to a simple bodice ripper?
Some of us don't happen to like those. So we don't nominate them, don't vote for them and don't read them.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:09 AM   #62
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It's not so much just the US and Europe seeing things differently. It was banned in Canada in 1958. It has since been lifted. It was also banned in France, the United Kingdom, Argentina and New Zealand. I think all the bans have been lifted, but it is not just the US that deemed it controversial. I am of split minds on it. I haven't read it and I had put it on my to read list, but I've taken it off again.

@John F: I might read the romance selection if it was a simple bodice ripper.
Just my opinion, but shying away from books banned in the 1950s will likely eliminate a lot of literature now acknowledged as great.

People are really thinking outside of what I would consider the 'romance box'—Lolita, Shards of Honor, Stardust (literature, science fiction, fantasy)—but that is fine with me as romance is not my favorite category. Stilll I can't help but think of something that I believe Sun Surfer said quite while ago about what it seems would qualify a book as romance. Something like that as long as one character was nice to another character it could be called a romance.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:13 AM   #63
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Just my opinion, but shying away from books banned in the 1950s will likely eliminate a lot of literature now acknowledged as great.

People are really thinking outside of what I would consider the 'romance box'—Lolita, Shards of Honor, Stardust (literature, science fiction, fantasy)—but that is fine with me as romance is not my favorite category. Stilll I can't help but think of something that I believe Sun Surfer said quite while ago about what it seems would qualify a book as romance. Something like that as long as one character was nice to another character it could be called a romance.
Yes, we may be pushing it here in terms of romance. But (IMHO) I think romance is when two characters fall in love during the course of the story. If it's just sex or lust, then it doesn't count as romance.

I find Sun Surfer's description invalid. Because if his description was correct for romance, then we could read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as romance because we do have Ford Prefect being nice to Arthur Dent and saving Arthur's life. That just doesn't work (IMHO).

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Old 01-21-2013, 09:18 AM   #64
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^But Arthur definitely has the hots for Tricia. Now there's romance. At least in the spurned for the guy with two heads kind of way.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:40 AM   #65
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^But Arthur definitely has the hots for Tricia. Now there's romance. At least in the spurned for the guy with two heads kind of way.
Not spurned. More like annoyed that Zaphod was so easily able to take the girl Arthur was trying to chat up.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:43 AM   #66
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The nominations will run through midnight EST January 30 or until 10 books have made the list. The poll will then be posted and will remain open for 5 days.
Problem there. We'll run into February if we don't get the 10 books in time. Then we'll lose reading time. Why not have the nominations starting earlier so no matter what happens they won't run into the reading time? For example, February is a short month. If Outlander was to win, it might be a problem as it is a rather larger book and some reading time would have been lost.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:50 AM   #67
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I'll second Stardust.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:12 AM   #68
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I'm not sure if WorldCat should be the authoritative resource for this kind of classification or not, but it has the following for Lolita:
  • Erotic fiction
  • Love stories
  • Fiction
Erotic fiction surely does not encompass the musings of a mentally ill, erudite pedophile as he stalks little girls in playgrounds.

I stalled at reading Lolita for decades because of the subject matter. However, the book was fascinating and in no way promoted pedophilia. But it falls into the erotic and romantic categories in the same way that The Silence of the Lambs falls into the Culinary Delights category.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:21 AM   #69
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Erotic fiction surely does not encompass the musings of a mentally ill, erudite pedophile as he stalks little girls in playgrounds.

I stalled at reading Lolita for decades because of the subject matter. However, the book was fascinating and in no way promoted pedophilia. But it falls into the erotic and romantic categories in the same way that The Silence of the Lambs falls into the Culinary Delights category.
I love that description. Well done!
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:25 AM   #70
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Since Lolita gets nominated and always brings up the issue that it's a book of pedophilia and not a romance book, why nominate and then 2nd/3rd it? (IMHO), I would be thinking that the people doing so have some sort of affinity for the subject given that it's been said in no uncertain terms that's it's not romance. This may not be true, but it seems that the people behind this book want the controversy. They have been around long enough to know this book won't go without comment and discussion/argument. So really, we have nobody to blame but them (IMHO).
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:33 AM   #71
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Lolita is going to win this time. I'm hopeful it does because then we can end the discussion once and for all and just chalk it up to being a previous book club selection.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:37 AM   #72
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Lolita is going to win this time. I'm hopeful it does because then we can end the discussion once and for all and just chalk it up to being a previous book club selection.
Personally, I hope it doesn't win and never gets nominated again. We have much better books in the nomination list much more worthy of being read.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:45 AM   #73
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I will nominate Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.

Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.

Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, Cutting for Stone is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles--and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined.

I will also nominate Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami.

The story of one college student's romantic coming-of-age, a journey to that distant place of a young man's first, hopeless, and heroic love.

Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:46 AM   #74
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I nominate Maurice by E. M. Forster.

From Amazon:

"The work of an exceptional artist working close to the peak of his powers." Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

Set in the elegant Edwardian world of Cambridge undergraduate life, this story by a master novelist introduces us to Maurice Hall when he is fourteen. We follow him through public school and Cambridge, and on into his father's firm, Hill and Hall, Stock Brokers. In a highly structured society, Maurice is a conventional young man in almost every way, "stepping into the niche that England had prepared for him": except that his is homosexual. Written during 1913 and 1914, immediately after Howards End, and not published until 1971, Maurice was ahead of its time in its theme and in its affirmation that love between men can be happy. "Happiness," Forster wrote, "is its keynote. In Maurice I tried to create a character who was completely unlike myself or what I supposed myself to be: someone handsome, healthy, bodily attractive, mentally torpid, not a bad businessman and rather a snob. Into this mixture I dropped an ingredient that puzzles him, wakes him up, torments him and finally saves him."
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:47 AM   #75
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Since Lolita gets nominated and always brings up the issue that it's a book of pedophilia and not a romance book, why nominate and then 2nd/3rd it? (IMHO), I would be thinking that the people doing so have some sort of affinity for the subject given that it's been said in no uncertain terms that's it's not romance. This may not be true, but it seems that the people behind this book want the controversy. They have been around long enough to know this book won't go without comment and discussion/argument. So really, we have nobody to blame but them (IMHO).
Since I nominated it, I'll answer your question and respond to your allegation.

I nominated Lolita because it's worth reading and because I don't care for popular contemporary romance. Whether or not it (or any other book) is chosen is up to the membership. Long odds on any one book and I don't read much into the process, win or lose.

It's offensive to suggest that interest in Lolita implies a penchant for pedophilia. Just the same, I'm not offended. I assume you don't really believe that, or if you do, it says more about you than it does about anyone with an interest in the book.

What does offend me is the notion that somehow it's inappropriate (and ideally, censorable) to read a work considered one of the greats of the last century. I refer you to fantasyfan's excellent post above.

As for the controversy, if you're looking to blame and it seems you are since you use the word, I think it's down to one person. Naming no names. Reasonable discussion, pro and con, on a book's merits and whether or not it fits a category is illuminating and part of what I had in mind when I nominated Lolita. Rants and imputations of perversion and demands for rulings and censorship are what create controversy.
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