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View Poll Results: What Non-Fiction Book Should We Discuss in July?
Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden 12 29.27%
The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer 9 21.95%
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot 6 14.63%
A Night to Remember by Walter Lord 15 36.59%
What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England by Daniel Pool 7 17.07%
The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark 10 24.39%
We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch 9 21.95%
Gulp by Mary Roach 12 29.27%
Faust in Copenhagen by Gino Segrè 6 14.63%
Fanny and Stella: The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England by Neil McKenna 15 36.59%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 41. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-22-2013, 12:56 PM   #1
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July 2013 Book Club Vote

July 2013 MobileRead Book Club Vote

Help us choose a book as the July 2013 eBook for the MobileRead Book Club. The poll will be open for 5 days. There will be no runoff vote unless the voting results a tie, in which case there will be a 3 day run-off poll. This is a visible poll: others can see how you voted. It is multiple-choice: you may cast a vote for each book that appeals to you.



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

Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden
No Links Provided
Spoiler:
Originally Posted by Amazon.com
The heartwrenching New York Times bestseller about the only known person born inside a North Korean prison camp to have escaped

North Korea’s political prison camps have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. No one born and raised in these camps is known to have escaped. No one, that is, except Shin Dong-hyuk.

In Escape From Camp 14, Blaine Harden unlocks the secrets of the world’s most repressive totalitarian state through the story of Shin’s shocking imprisonment and his astounding getaway. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence—he saw his mother as a competitor for food, guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his mother and brother.
...


The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer
Amazon UK / Amazon US / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Sony Reader Store
Spoiler:
From Amazon:

“[Eric Hoffer] is a student of extraordinary perception and insight. The range of his reading and research is vast, amazing. [The True Believer is] one of the most provocative books of our immediate day.”—Christian Science Monitor

The famous bestseller with “concise insight into what drives the mind of the fanatic and the dynamics of a mass movement” (Wall St. Journal) by Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Eric Hoffer, The True Believer is a landmark in the field of social psychology, and even more relevant today than ever before in history. Called a “brilliant and original inquiry” and “a genuine contribution to our social thought” by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., The True Believer is mandatory reading for anyone interested in the machinations by which an individual becomes a fanatic.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
No Links Provided
Spoiler:
Starred Review. Science journalist Skloot makes a remarkable debut with this multilayered story about faith, science, journalism, and grace. It is also a tale of medical wonders and medical arrogance, racism, poverty and the bond that grows, sometimes painfully, between two very different women—Skloot and Deborah Lacks—sharing an obsession to learn about Deborah's mother, Henrietta, and her magical, immortal cells. Henrietta Lacks was a 31-year-old black mother of five in Baltimore when she died of cervical cancer in 1951. Without her knowledge, doctors treating her at Johns Hopkins took tissue samples from her cervix for research. They spawned the first viable, indeed miraculously productive, cell line—known as HeLa. These cells have aided in medical discoveries from the polio vaccine to AIDS treatments. What Skloot so poignantly portrays is the devastating impact Henrietta's death and the eventual importance of her cells had on her husband and children. Skloot's portraits of Deborah, her father and brothers are so vibrant and immediate they recall Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's Random Family. Writing in plain, clear prose, Skloot avoids melodrama and makes no judgments. Letting people and events speak for themselves, Skloot tells a rich, resonant tale of modern science, the wonders it can perform and how easily it can exploit society's most vulnerable people.


A Night to Remember by Walter Lord
Amazon UK
Spoiler:
From HarryT:

This is the classic account of the sinking of the Titanic from the eye-witness accounts of the survivors. A simply amazing book which everyone should read.


What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist—the Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England by Daniel Pool
Amazon UK / Amazon US / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Sony Reader Store
Spoiler:
Amazon Book Description:
Publication Date: October 2, 2012

For every frustrated reader of the great nineteenth-century English novels of Austen, Trollope, Dickens, or the Brontës who has ever wondered whether a duke outranked an earl, when to yell "Tally Ho!" at a fox hunt, or how one landed in "debtor's prison," here is a "delightful reader's companion that lights up the literary dark" (The New York Times).

This fascinating, lively guide clarifies the sometimes bizarre maze of rules, regulations, and customs that governed everyday life in Victorian England. Author Daniel Pool provides countless intriguing details (did you know that the "plums" in Christmas plum pudding were actually raisins?) on the Church of England, sex, Parliament, dinner parties, country house visiting, and a host of other aspects of nineteenth-century English life -- both "upstairs" and "downstairs."

An illuminating glossary gives at a glance the meaning and significance of terms ranging from "ague" to "wainscoting," the specifics of the currency system, and a lively host of other details and curiosities of the day.


The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark
Amazon US / Barnes & Noble / Kobo
Spoiler:
From the Boston Globe:

For a century the question of the origins of World War I has bedeviled historians, who have struggled to determine whether a conflict that claimed 20 million lives and prompted the death of three empires could have been avoided and, if not, who was to blame.

That question won’t be settled by the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand a year from this summer. There are too many factors, too many moving parts and, alas, too many (contradictory) documents to produce an ironclad answer. But no one who examines the question will be able to ignore “The Sleepwalkers,’’ the monumental new volume by Cambridge University historian Christopher Clark that addresses this issue.

Though he does not provide a verdict, Clark’s view nonetheless is revelatory, even revolutionary. His thesis is that World War I is not a hoary event shrouded in the mists and mysteries of another age, but a thoroughly modern affair, begun in a way familiar to us today: by a terrorist group that worshipped sacrifice and death, had no clear geographic moorings, and was scattered across a vast area of festering grievances and unrequited dreams.

To all that irrationality was added the most dangerous element of all in international relations — cool reason fed by national interest.


We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch
No Links Provided
Spoiler:
Originally Posted by amazon.com
"Hutus kill Tutsis, then Tutsis kill Hutus--if that's really all there is to it, then no wonder we can't be bothered with it," Philip Gourevitch writes, imagining the response of somebody in a country far from the ethnic strife and mass killings of Rwanda. But the situation is not so simple, and in this complex and wrenching book, he explains why the Rwandan genocide should not be written off as just another tribal dispute.
The "stories" in this book's subtitle are both the author's, as he repeatedly visits this tiny country in an attempt to make sense of what has happened, and those of the people he interviews. These include a Tutsi doctor who has seen much of her family killed over decades of Tutsi oppression, a Schindleresque hotel manager who hid hundreds of refugees from certain death, and a Rwandan bishop who has been accused of supporting the slaughter of Tutsi schoolchildren, and can only answer these charges by saying, "What could I do?" Gourevitch, a staff writer for the New Yorker, describes Rwanda's history with remarkable clarity and documents the experience of tragedy with a sober grace. The reader will ask along with the author: Why does this happen? And why don't we bother to stop it?


Gulp by Mary Roach
Amazon US / Google Play (ePub) / Kobo
Spoiler:
The alimentary canal—the much-maligned tube from mouth to rear—is as taboo, in its way, as the cadavers in Stiff, and as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. In Gulp we meet the scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks—or has the courage—to ask. How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Why doesn't the stomach digest itself? Can wine tasters really tell a $10 bottle from a $100 bottle? Why is crunchy food so appealing? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? We go on location to a pet food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal.

Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of—or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach at our side, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists—who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tracts.

Like all of Roach's books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.


Faust in Copenhagen by Gino Segrè
Amazon US / Barnes & Noble / Kobo
Spoiler:
A physicist himself, Gino Segrè writes about what scientists do?and why they do it?with intimacy, clarity, and passion. In Faust in Copenhagen, he evokes the fleeting, magical moment when physics?and the world?was about to lose its innocence forever. Known by physicists as the miracle year, 1932 saw the discovery of the neutron and antimatter, as well as the first artificially induced nuclear transmutations. However, while scientists celebrated these momentous discoveries?which presaged the nuclear era and the emergence of big science?during a meeting at Niels Bohr?s Copenhagen Institute, Europe was moving inexorably toward totalitarianism and war. (from Amazon)


Fanny and Stella: The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England by Neil McKenna
Amazon US / Barnes & Noble / Kobo
Spoiler:
28th April 1870. The flamboyantly dressed Miss Fanny Park and Miss Stella Boulton are causing a stir in the Strand Theatre. All eyes are riveted upon their lascivious oglings of the gentlemen in the stalls. Moments later they are led away by the police. What followed was a scandal that shocked and titillated Victorian England in equal measure. It turned out that the alluring Miss Fanny Park and Miss Stella Boulton were no ordinary young women. Far from it. In fact, they were young men who liked to dress as women. When the Metropolitan Police launched a secret campaign to bring about their downfall, they were arrested and subjected to a sensational show trial in Westminster Hall. As the trial of 'the Young Men in Women's Clothes' unfolded, Fanny and Stella's extraordinary lives as wives and daughters, actresses and whores were revealed to an incredulous public. With a cast of peers, politicians and prostitutes, drag queens, doctors and detectives, "Fanny and Stella" is a Victorian peepshow, exposing the startling underbelly of nineteenth-century London. By turns tragic and comic, meticulously researched and dazzlingly written, "Fanny and Stella" is an enthralling tour-de-force.

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Old 06-22-2013, 01:13 PM   #2
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There are so many good choices this month that it would be easier to vote for what I don't want to read.
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:24 AM   #3
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I've always wanted to read The True Believer.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:52 AM   #4
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I've always wanted to read The True Believer.
I've read it at least twice and had it queued for a re-read, which is why I nominated it. I'll bet it's the only book on the list written by a Longshoreman. Hoffer was a real working class hero who went on to win the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983.
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:17 PM   #5
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Of all the books in the list, I think Gulp will be the most enjoyable and the one to give us the most learning. Mary Roach has a way of writing that can make even death enjoyable to read about. She's just that good an author.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:16 PM   #6
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Of all the books in the list, I think Gulp will be the most enjoyable and the one to give us the most learning. Mary Roach has a way of writing that can make even death enjoyable to read about. She's just that good an author.
I'm sure it would indeed be a learning experience. Having tackled sex and death in earlier books, she now gets to the underbelly of all humanity, so to speak. She's a talented writer who knows how to make fascinating subjects even more so.
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Old 06-24-2013, 04:37 AM   #7
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Though I find this (again) a good selection, I hope for Faust in Copenhagen or Fanny and Stella to 'win'. The first is important is understand one's own modern history I think, and I am just downright curious for Fanny and Stella's story.

I will read Escape from Camp 14, anyway, as I recently finished last month's MR-bookclub nomination about North Korea. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Orphan_Master's_Son

I will not read the excellent nomination of Stories of Rwanda, as I saw a film about this genocide which made a huge impression on me. Heartbreaking. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_Rwanda
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:15 AM   #8
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So far it looks as if "A night t0 remember" is doing very well.
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:24 AM   #9
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I will not read the excellent nomination of Stories of Rwanda, as I saw a film about this genocide which made a huge impression on me. Heartbreaking. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_Rwanda
There is so much more in this book than the hotel which was almost a side note. What struck me about this book was how little we know about the conditions in any given situation. The reasons. The errors in judegment we can make when we only see part of the story. This is an important book. I know that is just my opinion, but I think it was my best choice in books when doing my year in the life challenge. I think I'll be redoing my challenge for this year again, with maybe a caveat to keep the booklist a little shorter.
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:48 AM   #10
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There is so much more in this book than the hotel which was almost a side note. What struck me about this book was how little we know about the conditions in any given situation. The reasons. The errors in judegment we can make when we only see part of the story. This is an important book. I know that is just my opinion, but I think it was my best choice in books when doing my year in the life challenge. I think I'll be redoing my challenge for this year again, with maybe a caveat to keep the booklist a little shorter.
HomeInMyShoes: After watching the film I felt very bad about mankind, of which I'm a part, for quite some time. But it has been a few years....

On your recommandation I'll give the book a chance. Thanks for your words about the book.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:46 AM   #11
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So far it looks as if "A night t0 remember" is doing very well.
But the sinking of the Titanic is a topic that's just gone round and round. Since the movie came out, the subject of the Titanic has been dealt with a lot. In fact, enough such that another go at it could very well be boring. Why risk it when we have a book in the list that is a more modern book (Gulp) written by an author who knows how to write and make the most uninteresting sounding subjects actually very interesting to read about?
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:51 AM   #12
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I've noticed something about the book club. A lot of the nominations we seem to get are for old books. We don't get enough nominations for book written after WWII or about subjects that take place after WII. It would be nice to have more modern books or more modern time periods.

So for August, let's not have a single book nominated that's not written until at least after WWII and no books who's subjects do not take place until after WWII.

I just don't get what's the fascination with the old stuff.
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:39 AM   #13
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But the sinking of the Titanic is a topic that's just gone round and round.
Actually, I kinda agree with you. A Night to Remember, while important and groundbreaking when it came out, is just a chestnut now. Certainly it can't advance our understanding of what happened and in fact some of it's been disproved. I loved it as an adolescent and I have zero interest in revisiting it now. Good read, but ultimately kind of schlocky. IMHO, of course.

On the other hand, new treatments of historical incidents, of which we have several from which to choose, I find endlessly interesting and illuminating. Just because something happened in the past, doesn't mean that it's not relevant today; again, several choices fall under this rubric.

Don't get too excited, though--Gulp does nothing for me.
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:21 PM   #14
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On the other hand, new treatments of historical incidents, of which we have several from which to choose, I find endlessly interesting and illuminating. Just because something happened in the past, doesn't mean that it's not relevant today; again, several choices fall under this rubric.
I have read Sleepwalkers, the first few chapters, unfortunately. As many of the new treatments of historical incidents books which are recently appearing in order to cash on 100 year anniversary of the Great War + to celebrate "newly found" (though as events are going, not a long lasting) love in Europe and adoration of Germany, it twists facts...Also, the new so called historical treatment includes defining people fighting against colonisers as terrorists.
In the rewriting process, I would not be surprised to see in a few year somebody finding similarities between Mahatma Gandhi with the villain Osama. And all along the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Prussia, Britain and the rest were oh so naive, wishing all the best for the colonies and nothing for themselves...
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Old 06-24-2013, 01:01 PM   #15
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Next April 15th will mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Granted, it's only my opinion, but with all the interesting books that have been nominated, I fail to see the fascination with yet another account of a story that's been done to death.

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Originally Posted by HomeInMyShoes View Post
There is so much more in this book [Stories of Rwanda] than the hotel which was almost a side note....
That does sound interesting. Of course, I would rather one of the books I nominated or seconded wins (The True Believer, What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, or Gulp), but I would also be quite happy with that choice.
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