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View Poll Results: Multiple Choice - Which region should we use for nominations this month?
Sub-Saharan Africa 2 18.18%
North Africa & The Middle East 1 9.09%
Southeast Europe 3 27.27%
Portugal, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain & France 1 9.09%
North & Central Europe 1 9.09%
Ireland & The U.K. 1 9.09%
Canada & The U.S.A. 9 81.82%
The South Pacific 2 18.18%
Southeast Asia 4 36.36%
Japan 2 18.18%
The Korean Peninsula, Mongolia & China 2 18.18%
South Asia 2 18.18%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-01-2013, 01:43 AM   #1
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Region Nominations • February 2013

Help us select what the MR Literary Club will read for February 2013!


The category for this month is:

Region
Canada & the U.S.A., as chosen in the poll


This month is a two-part process:

The first part begins with a one-day poll to determine the region we will use. It is multiple choice and you may choose as many options as you like when voting. This voting is separate from your nominations. There are no nominations during the poll, only voting. I will not vote in the poll, and if there is a tie, I will break it.

As soon as the poll is over and the region is determined, then the second part (nominations) starts and you can begin nominating like normal. This will run for three days until February 5. We no longer aim for a certain number of fully nominated works; rather, we now only aim for a certain length of time for nominations (three days).

Nominations can be set in any region, but they should be written by an author from that region.





Notes:

-Regions are named in the poll and colour-coded on the map. Region names are generalities and not exact.

-If a country or territory is too small to show regional colour on the map, it will be part of the region closest to it physically and culturally. If you are unsure, just ask.

-I had help making the regions list that was much appreciated.

-Previously chosen regions currently ineligible:
Latin America
Central Asia, East Europe & Russia



Once the poll is over and nominations begin:

In order for a work to be included in the poll it needs four nominations - the original nomination plus three supporting.

Each participant has four nominations to use. You can nominate a new work for consideration or you can support (second, third or fourth) a work that has already been nominated by another person.

To nominate a work just post a message with your nomination. If you are the first to nominate a work, it's always nice to provide an abstract to the work so others may consider their level of interest.


What is literature for the purposes of this club? A superior work of lasting merit that enriches the mind. Often it is important, challenging, critically acclaimed. It may be from ancient times to today; it may be from anywhere in the world; it may be obscure or famous, short or long; it may be a story, a novel, a play, a poem, an essay or another written form. If you are unsure if a work would be considered literature, just ask!


The floor is now open!

*

Nominations are now closed. Final results are:


Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov - Fully nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - Hamlet53, paola, issybird, Synamon


Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich by Stephen Leacock - Fully nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - issybird, paola, fantasyfan, sun surfer


From Goodreads:

Of the many books by Canada’s most celebrated humorist, none has received more acclaim than his brilliant, caustic treatment of the glittering rich who gather at the Mausoleum Club on Plutoria Avenue.

Today, Leacock’s pointed satire of the privileged class, and their social abuses and pretences, retains every ounce of its freshness and bite. An undisputed comic masterpiece, Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich reveals a depth of compassionate criticism rare in Leacock’s writings.


Written in 1914, it's in the public domain and available here at MR; free audio version at LibriVox.


Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington - Fully nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - fantasyfan, sun surfer, Bookpossum, Billi


Here's the Amazon review:

Nineteenth-century African American businessman, activist, and educator Booker Taliaferro Washington's Up from Slavery is one of the greatest American autobiographies ever written. Its mantras of black economic empowerment, land ownership, and self-help inspired generations of black leaders, including Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and Louis Farrakhan. In rags-to-riches fashion, Washington recounts his ascendance from early life as a mulatto slave in Virginia to a 34-year term as president of the influential, agriculturally based Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. From that position, Washington reigned as the most important leader of his people, with slogans like "cast down your buckets," which emphasized vocational merit rather than the academic and political excellence championed by his contemporary rival W.E.B. Du Bois. Though many considered him too accommodating to segregationists, Washington, as he said in his historic "Atlanta Compromise" speech of 1895, believed that "political agitation alone would not save [the Negro]," and that "property, industry, skill, intelligence, and character" would prove necessary to black Americans' success. The potency of his philosophies are alive today in the nationalist and conservative camps that compose the complex quilt of black American society.

It's in the public domain


The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway - Fully nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - caleb72, fantasyfan, Billi, issybird


The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck - Fully nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - paola, caleb72, Synamon, Hamlet53


From Goodreads:

Wang Lung, rising from humble Chinese farmer to wealthy landowner, gloried in the soil he worked. He held it above his family, even above his gods. But soon, between Wang Lung and the kindly soil that sustained him, came flood and drought, pestilence and revolution....

Through this one Chinese peasant and his children, Nobel Prize-winner Pearl S. Buck traces the whole cycle of life, its terrors, its passion, its persistent ambitions and its rewards. Her brilliant novel beloved by millions of readers throughout the world is a universal tale of the destiny of men.


Published in 1931


Fifth Business by Robertson Davies - Fully nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - issybird, Billi, sun surfer, Bookpossum


From Goodreads:

Ramsay is a man twice born, a man who has returned from the hell of the battle-grave at Passchendaele in World War I decorated with the Victoria Cross and destined to be caught in a no man's land where memory, history, and myth collide. As Ramsay tells his story, it begins to seem that from boyhood, he has exerted a perhaps mystical, perhaps pernicious, influence on those around him. His apparently innocent involvement in such innocuous events as the throwing of a snowball or the teaching of card tricks to a small boy in the end prove neither innocent nor innocuous. Fifth Business stands alone as a remarkable story told by a rational man who discovers that the marvelous is only another aspect of the real.


It doesn't seem to be available as an ebook but it is easily available from The Book Depository in paperback--published by Penguin as part of Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics at a reasonable price and free delivery world wide. fantasyfan has always found them excellent, quick, and reliable.

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Fift.../9780141186153


The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck - Fully nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - Hamlet53, Synamon, caleb72, Bookpossum


From Wikipedia:

The Grapes of Wrath is an American realist novel written by John Steinbeck and published in 1939. For it he won the annual National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for novels and it was cited prominently when he won the Nobel Prize in 1962.

Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in financial and agricultural industries. Due to their nearly hopeless situation, and in part because they were trapped in the Dust Bowl, the Joads set out for California. Along with thousands of other "Okies", they sought jobs, land, dignity, and a future.


It's available as an ebook.


Catch-22 by Joseph Heller - 3
Spoiler:
In favour - paola, Hamlet53, fantasyfan


From wikipedia:

Catch-22 is a satirical and somewhat historical novel by the American author Joseph Heller. He began writing it in 1953, and the novel was first published in 1961. It is set during World War II in 1943 and is frequently cited as one of the great literary works of the twentieth century. It uses a distinctive non-chronological third-person omniscient narration, describing events from different characters' points of view and out of sequence so that the time line develops along with the plot.

The novel follows Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier. Most of the events in the book occur while the fictional 256th squadron is based on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea west of Italy. The novel looks into the experiences of Yossarian and the other airmen in the camp, and their attempts to keep their sanity in order to fulfill their service requirements, so that they can return home. The phrase "Catch-22", "a problematic situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem or by a rule," has entered the English language.


The Colour Purple by Alice Walker - 1
Spoiler:
In favour - caleb72


A Separate Peace by John Knowles - 3
Spoiler:
In favour - sun surfer, Bookpossum, orlok


From Amazon:

Set at a boys’ boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

A bestseller for more than thirty years, A Separate Peace is John Knowles’s crowning achievement and an undisputed American classic.

"A masterpiece." - National Review

"A model of restraint, deeply felt and beautifully written." - The Observer


Rabbit, Run by John Updike - 2
Spoiler:
In favour - orlok, Billi


It's 1959 and Harry 'Rabbit' Angstrom, one time high school sports superstar, is going nowhere. At twenty-six he is trapped in a second-rate existence - stuck with a fragile, alcoholic wife, a house full of overflowing ashtrays and discarded glasses, a young son and a futile job. With no way to fix things, he resolves to flee from his family and his home in Pennsylvania, beginning a thousand-mile journey that he hopes will free him from his mediocre life. Because, as he knows only too well, 'after you've been first-rate at something, no matter what, it kind of takes the kick out of being second-rate'.


Finnie Walsh by Steven Galloway - 1
Spoiler:
In favour - HomeInMyShoes


Finnie Walsh by Steven Galloway. A Canadian topic by a Canadian author.

Last edited by sun surfer; 02-05-2013 at 03:38 AM.
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:09 AM   #2
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I don't wanna influence anyone which region to choose, I just wanna mention that in this post

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...&postcount=163

in the February book voting-thread fantasyfan brought up the idea to propose "Lolita" for the next discussion in this club here if it fits the category. I personally find it a very good idea. In this case the region would be US/Canada as the alternative Russia is not available this time.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billi View Post
I don't wanna influence anyone which region to choose, I just wanna mention that in this post

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...&postcount=163

in the February book voting-thread fantasyfan brought up the idea to propose "Lolita" for the next discussion in this club here if it fits the category. I personally find it a very good idea. In this case the region would be US/Canada as the alternative Russia is not available this time.
Nabokov was born in Russia in April 1899. His family left Russia in April 1919, having been on the side of the Whites in the Russian Civil War. Nabokov spent the next 21 years in Western Europe, mainly Germany, but emigrated to the US 1940. Lolita was not published until 1955. So to me the most appropriate geographical assignment for Nabokov would be North & Central Europe or Canada & The U.S.A..

Perhaps we need a ruling from Sun Surfer?
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:34 AM   #4
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^^sun surfer's said that it's up to the members' judgment.

As I posted elsewhere, I think Lolita is clearly an American novel. Nabokov was a US citizen, the book was written in English and it's set in the USA. An American novel must perforce have been written by an American.

I think sometimes you have to be squishy to get it right.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:21 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by issybird View Post
^^sun surfer's said that it's up to the members' judgment.

As I posted elsewhere, I think Lolita is clearly an American novel. Nabokov was a US citizen, the book was written in English and it's set in the USA. An American novel must perforce have been written by an American.

I think sometimes you have to be squishy to get it right.
I agree with Issybird. It would be stretching things to say Nabokov can't qualify because he was a naturalised American citizen. In a broad, cultural sense he is "from" America--from the American literary tradition.

He's an American version of Joseph Conrad. Conrad was born in Poland, spoke English with an accent, became a UK citizen and is regarded by everyone as the greatest English novelist post-Dickens. Conrad represents, contributed to and is from the English literary tradition--not the Polish.

Nabokov is in a very similar position.

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Old 02-01-2013, 09:55 AM   #6
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I am also comfortable with calling Nabokov an American, especially for Lolita. In no small part because may appetite has been whetted for reading and discussing Lolita here by some means.

My concern is where it might lead once the criteria is made squishy. Is Out of Africa by a author from North & Central Europe or by an author from Sub-Saharan Africa? Is Kim by an author from Ireland & The U.K. or South Asia? Then my main concern with getting squishy is opening the scope of what are, at least culturally and from a point of view, American, Canadian, and United Kingdom authors, to the entire world. Really the opposite of any contention over Nabokov.

So I've voted so as to cover all the bases for what I would like to see next. Ideally Lolita, and if not . . .
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:33 AM   #7
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I think I'd vote Nabokov as American, but then someone like Rohinton Mistry is definitely Indian, despite living in Canada.

Why am I the only one interested in SouthEast Europe?

I disagree with Lolita as the next choice, but that's me. The part of me that hopes Lolita wins is so that it can be removed from further book nomination discussions.

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Old 02-01-2013, 10:33 AM   #8
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I'm on board the Lolita train.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:35 AM   #9
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Hey! What about the Arctic and the Great White North???
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:38 AM   #10
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:59 PM   #11
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it won't be me stopping the Lolita train - only, I fear my copy may still be in a box (from the last removal four years ago!), and i wouldn't want to buy a second copy for a reread.. but I am jumping gun here

I've also selected something that feels more exotic to read, though it would be very nice to have a good, adult discussion on Lolita.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:03 PM   #12
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I'll give some background info on coming up with this category -

I basically had two choices on region guidelines - either that a book be mostly set in that region, or the author be from that region. I chose the latter to prevent a region's nominations being filled up with foreigners writing fiction about a region, especially that every region may then have many U.S./U.K. author nominations since those countries have such huge and well-known literary traditions. That would defeat the purpose of sampling a region's literature, so I felt the more authentic approach was defining it by where the author comes from.

After that, I could've said an author should be from the region and the book should be set in that region, but I didn't want to automatically eliminate so many books from fitting in any region, since many are set in places that the author is not from, and aside from other countries, there are even locations such as books set on the ocean, unknown or unnamed locations or science-fiction books set not on the earth, etc.

That said, I still knew there would be some books that would be sticky to categorise and still may not fit in any region, and this could include some ancient authors whose ancient regions were different from current ones (which, for example, is one reason I put Turkey in the same region as Greece instead of its current more closely culturally aligned neighbours in the Middle East) and authors who moved, especially ones who became citizens of another country. I figured this probably wouldn't be much of a problem but that we'd just take any questions on a case by case basis.

I was deliberate in my guideline wording. I purposely left out "originally" before "from" to leave a little wiggle room for authors such as Kazuo Ishiguro who moved at a young age. But in general, my intent in the wording was an author who grew up in and therefore was culturally aligned with a region, despite where they may be while writing a book.

Ironically enough, I specifically thought of Nabokov and Lolita while writing the guidelines for the category as a sort most extreme example I could think of that could challenge the guidelines (and since he was mentioned, I'll note that I also thought of Conrad too). My conclusion was that some few books just may not fit any region really under the spirit of the guidelines and would be better nominated in some other month. Having thought of Lolita while writing the guidelines, I’m really amazed it's now come up not only as a possible nomination but one that people want to push through to a win before the nominations even start and are using it to choose a region.

Reading some of your posts now, I feel ambivalent on the issue. Though I feel that perhaps technically Nabokov could be considered "from" the U.S. after a certain point, I still think that Lolita as a nomination for the U.S. wouldn't really fit the spirit of the category, and, as Hamlet53 pointed out, a concern is also where things might lead once the criteria is made so squishy, as he put it.

Also, I'm not particularly enthused about a particular region winning in a landslide based on the prospect of nominating one particular book, even if that book definitely fit that region. It just feels a bit like trying to choose your chick before the hen's even laid the eggs.

All that said, I'm happy with Canada & the U.S. (presumably) winning and am looking forward to whatever the nominations may bring once the poll's over.

And to be clear, as issybird mentioned above, it’s up to the group to decide on this one through nominations and voting.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:05 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by sun surfer View Post

Ironically enough, I specifically thought of Nabokov and Lolita while writing the guidelines for the category as a sort most extreme example I could think of that could challenge the guidelines (and since he was mentioned, I'll note that I also thought of Conrad too). My conclusion was that some few books just may not fit any region really under the spirit of the guidelines and would be better nominated in some other month. Having thought of Lolita while writing the guidelines, I’m really amazed it's now come up not only as a possible nomination but one that people want to push through to a win before the nominations even start and are using it to choose a region.

Reading some of your posts now, I feel ambivalent on the issue. Though I feel that perhaps technically Nabokov could be considered "from" the U.S. after a certain point, I still think that Lolita as a nomination for the U.S. wouldn't really fit the spirit of the category, and, as Hamlet53 pointed out, a concern is also where things might lead once the criteria is made so squishy, as he put it.

Also, I'm not particularly enthused about a particular region winning in a landslide based on the prospect of nominating one particular book, even if that book definitely fit that region. It just feels a bit like trying to choose your chick before the hen's even laid the eggs.

All that said, I'm happy with Canada & the U.S. (presumably) winning and am looking forward to whatever the nominations may bring once the poll's over.

And to be clear, as issybird mentioned above, it’s up to the group to decide on this one through nominations and voting.
I was sort of surprised as well. Surprised that what started out as in idea to start a separate thread for the purpose of discussing Lolita, to discussing it as a selection in this book club, and then to doing so at the first opportunity by nominating it as a regional selection.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:42 PM   #14
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I actually didn't vote for US/Can despite my happiness to read Lolita. I thought I'd go for Sub-Saharan Africa because I'd be very interested to read Nigerian author Nnedi Okorafor, South Asia because I'd like to read India's Arundhati Roy and South Pacific because I'm patriotic.

I'm swimming upstream here - but I must just be in the mood for a bit of David vs Goliath.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:11 PM   #15
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I voted for Canada/US, Ireland and the UK, and North and Central Europe, the last two mainly because they were looking unloved.

I think part of the push to get "Lolita" up is indignation that a book considered by most serious readers as one of the great works of the 20th century could be traduced by being described as in praise of paedophilia, and a book which should be banned from MR as not being "family friendly".

It certainly made me feel that the barbarians were at the gates and that I needed to take a stand on behalf of artistic freedom from censorship.

Last edited by Bookpossum; 02-01-2013 at 10:14 PM.
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