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View Poll Results: Which award winning book shall we read for June 2013?
Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man by Siegfried Sassoon 9 18.37%
The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson 9 18.37%
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt 16 32.65%
The Tea Lords by Hella Haasse 14 28.57%
Among Others by Jo Walton 13 26.53%
More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon 6 12.24%
The Giver by Lois Lowry 15 30.61%
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami 11 22.45%
American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. Ellis 8 16.33%
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri 7 14.29%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 49. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-27-2013, 03:22 AM   #46
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You'd think I would be used to how close these votes get now that we have multiple choice, but I'm surprised every time.
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:05 AM   #47
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I suppose that when there are so many excellent choices there's bound to be a very competitive poll. Personally, I'm glad to see The Giver up there in contention.
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:20 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by caleb72 View Post
You'd think I would be used to how close these votes get now that we have multiple choice, but I'm surprised every time.
Yes, me too, and (stupid of course..), I keep thinking: haven't I got a vote somewhere that I can put to good use here?

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I suppose that when there are so many excellent choices there's bound to be a very competitive poll. Personally, I'm glad to see The Giver up there in contention.
There are indeed many good choices. I tend to read 3 or 4 from each selection each month, many votes or not, and put the rest on my TBR list. And sometimes, even though I frown upon a book, the winner is surprisingly good, as the Big Sleep of Chandler was.
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:25 AM   #49
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My nomination is back to second last. Nice to see things back to normal.
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:17 PM   #50
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My nomination is back to second last. Nice to see things back to normal.


Hang in there, HIMS. Every dog has its day. Yours is coming!
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:47 PM   #51
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^Baby steps. It did get more than three votes.
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Old 05-27-2013, 07:30 PM   #52
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The June vote is now history in more ways than one. The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt is our winner, and should make for a lively discussion.

Happy reading!
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:09 PM   #53
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:17 PM   #54
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Congrats non-fictionites. I hope this makes up a bit for the travel/adventure result earlier in the year.
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Old 05-28-2013, 09:30 AM   #55
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I've started reading the book, and for what it's worth, despite the impression given earlier in this thread via his critic, Harold Kirkpatrick, the author does not appear to be claiming that Lucucius' book was the sole cause of the enlightenment. From The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt, location 185-187:
Quote:
There is no single explanation for the emergence of the Renaissance and the release of the forces that have shaped our own world. But I have tried in this book to tell a little known but exemplary Renaissance story, the story of Poggio Bracciolini’s recovery of On the Nature of Things.
And from location 188-190:
Quote:
One poem by itself was certainly not responsible for an entire intellectual, moral, and social transformation—no single work was, let alone one that for centuries could not without danger be spoken about freely in public. But this particular ancient book, suddenly returning to view, made a difference.
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Originally Posted by sun surfer View Post
...I was also going to vote for The Swerve but then I went to read more about it on its Amazon page and came across some critical reviews including an excellent one by "Harold Kirkpatrick" here, which includes this paragraph:
Quote:
Greenblatt seriously overstates the role of Lucretius, whose influence, until the mid to late 18th century was arguably quite marginal. Peter Gay's The Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Paganism, unfortunately not mentioned by Greenblatt, deals at length with the influence of Lucretius on French Enlightenment thinkers, many of whom really were "pagans", i.e., materialists and epicureans. The standard view, of course, is that a revival of Platonic idealism, not of "pagan" materialism, was responsible for the Renaissance preoccupation with beauty and harmony.
Plato may have had a large influence upon the Renaissance, but he certainly didn't impress at least one Enlightenment thinker (who just happens to be the subject of the other book I nominated). The "whimsies of Plato's own foggy brain" was a common phrase Thomas Jefferson used in reference to Plato, as seen in his letter to William Short dated October 31, 1819:

Quote:
His prototype Plato, eloquent as himself, dealing out mysticisms incomprehensible to the human mind, has been deified by certain sects usurping the name of Christians; because, in his foggy conceptions, they found a basis of impenetrable darkness whereon to rear fabrications as delirious of their own invention.
and
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Of Socrates we have nothing genuine but in the Memorabilia of Xenophon; for Plato makes him one of his Collocutors merely to cover his own whimsies under the mantle of his name; a liberty of which we are told Socrates honestly complained.
There's also a Jefferson quote that refers to Plato as having a"third rate mind", but I don't seem to be able to find it at the moment. Of course, as a despiser of democracy, Plato would have been a natural target of Jefferson's animosities.

As for any further comments or spoilers concerning The Swerve, I'll wait until the official discussion begins on June 20th.
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Old 05-28-2013, 05:35 PM   #56
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Well I am glad that The Swerve edged out The Giver. The result of all the discussion of the part that On the Nature of Things by Lucretius plays in The Swerve has convinced me that it would be worthwhile to tackle Lucretius first. The happens to be the translation into English by John Selby Watson available in audio format for free download here at LibriVox:

On the Nature of Things LibriVox recording
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:17 PM   #57
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I'm glad too. Thanks for the LibriVox link, Hamlet.

And thanks for your introductory comments too, Tom. I have borrowed my husband's copy and am about to start it.
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:19 PM   #58
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Too bad, the best book did not win.
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Old 05-28-2013, 09:48 PM   #59
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And now the thread is complete.
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Old 05-28-2013, 10:37 PM   #60
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Using the SpringSave80 discount code at Kobo you can pick up The Swerve for under 4 dollars.
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