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Old 09-05-2013, 04:20 AM   #31
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I'll nominate Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland by Samuel Johnson. Here's a comment from Wikipedia:

"Scotland was still a relatively wild place in 1773. Marauding privateers and slave-ships worked the coasts (seven slavers were reported in 1774 alone). The destruction of Scottish forests was in full swing. The Scottish clan system had been dismantled by Act of Parliament, the population had been disarmed and wearing of the tartan was prohibited. Scotch whisky was distilled illegally and profusely (Johnson noted the custom of the skalk, or drinking whisky before breakfast). The rule of law was by no means properly established, and the power of the clan chieftains was curtailed but was often the only real authority.
"Johnson and Boswell toured the Highlands and islands by carriage, on horseback and by boat, planning the stages of their journey to stay at the houses of the local gentry. They were astounded when they visited their colleague Lord Monboddo at Monboddo House and saw him in his primitive attire as a farmer, a quite different picture from his image as an urbane Edinburgh Court of Session jurist, philosopher and evolutionary thinker.
This part of Scotland in 1773 was a romantic place. It was relatively empty of people and nearly unspoiled by commerce, roads, and other trappings of modern life – Johnson noted that in some Highland islands money had not yet become custom. Indeed with no money or roads parts of Scotland were more akin to the 8th century than 18th. Once Johnson reached the West Highlands, there were few roads, none at all on the Isle of Skye, and so they traveled by horseback, usually along the ridge of a hill with a local guide who knew the terrain and the best route for the season. "Journies made in this manner are rather tedious and long. A very few miles requires several hours", Johnson wrote. He deplored the depopulation of the Highlands: "Some method to stop this epidemic desire of wandering, which spreads its contagion from valley to valley, ought to be sought with great diligence".
"Johnson came to Scotland to see the primitive and wild, but Scotland by 1773 was already changing quickly, and he feared they had come "too late". But they did see some of the things they sought out, such as one gentleman wearing the traditional plaid kilt, and bagpipe playing – but none of the martial spirit Scotland was so famous for, except in relics and stories. Johnson records and comments on many things about Scottish life, including the happiness and health of the people, antiquities, the economy, orchards and trees, whisky, dress, architecture, religion, language, and education.
Johnson had spent most of his life in London, and only travelled for the first time in 1771."

It is in the public domain and available free from Project Gutenberg

ManyBooks:

http://manybooks.net/authors/johnsonsam.html

and Amazon UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Journey-West...on+kindle+free

Last edited by fantasyfan; 09-05-2013 at 07:30 AM.
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Old 09-05-2013, 07:26 AM   #32
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I'll see if I can get one more nomination under the wire! I'll nominate an sutobiography: Under the Eye of the Clock: The Life Story of Christopher Nolan by Christopher Nolan.

It won the 1987 Whitbread Book of the year. While Nolan does not actually use his own name it is about his own experience:

From the back of the book:
"This is the story of Joseph Meehan, born cruelly handicapped and known to the world as 'the crippled boy'. Filled with insight into the soul inside a broken body and warm with the beauties of the Irish landscape, it is the story of Joseph's fight to escape the restrictions and confines of his existence. It can also be read as the autobiography of its author, the brilliantly gifted young writer Christopher Nolan."

It is available in two inexpensive editions at Amazon UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_...f%2Cnull%2C232

In epub format in the iTunes Book Store and in Kobo:

http://www.kobobooks.com/search/sear...bORJVJWct75ONA

And I'll use my final nomination to second Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Last edited by fantasyfan; 09-05-2013 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:58 AM   #33
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Speaking of daunting, can it be true that The Diary of Samuel Pepys is really 4,000 pages long? Before we get to the vote, I wonder if Hamlet53 would like to clarify the nomination? Is the nomination for the entire diary, as the free MR download link he provided would indicate, or for an abridged version? Or will it be each person for themselves to decide how much they want to read?
The Pepys Diary is one of those works that can be read in a non-linear way. I have the three volume Warrington edition from Everyman Library that runs to over 1500 pages and I've always found it sufficient {though Warrington removes the spicier bits}.

Pepys lived in a very eventful time and most people might well want to begin with his vivid description of the Great Fire of London or the Black Death which ravaged London at that time. He mentions the two dramatic Comets that appeared over the London skies and the coronation of Charles II. His literary tastes come through in an interesting way--he tends to regard Shakespeare as a lesser dramatist than Dryden.

Wikipedia gives a useful overview of it and one can simply browse through it with an index of some of the important characters. "Penn" his professional partner, for instance, was the father of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, who made a short visit {as a child} to Ireland.

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Old 09-05-2013, 10:35 AM   #34
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fantasyfan, thanks for your comment on the Pepys diary; I've added it to the nomination.

I'll use my final nomination to second Under the Eye of the Clock. I'm not sure how much my support will matter down to the wire as we are, but it was still a tough decision which of the new nominations to second.

Speaking of being under the eye of the clock, judging by the time nominations began, they should end in a few hours, but after this I won't be back at a proper computer until a while later so I'll leave the nominations open until I'm able to put the poll up.
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:11 PM   #35
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fantasyfan, thanks for your comment on the Pepys diary; I've added it to the nomination.

I'll use my final nomination to second Under the Eye of the Clock. I'm not sure how much my support will matter down to the wire as we are, but it was still a tough decision which of the new nominations to second.

Speaking of being under the eye of the clock, judging by the time nominations began, they should end in a few hours, but after this I won't be back at a proper computer until a while later so I'll leave the nominations open until I'm able to put the poll up.
Thank you for your comments Sunsurfer. I know my nominations were coming in late but one of the nice things about the club is that one can share books that gave enjoyment and that can be taken up by others at a later date.

BTW another for selecting Things Come Apart! It's an amazing novel.
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:04 PM   #36
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I'll third Under the Eye of the Clock
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Old 09-05-2013, 04:36 PM   #37
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Speaking of being under the eye of the clock, judging by the time nominations began, they should end in a few hours, but after this I won't be back at a proper computer until a while later so I'll leave the nominations open until I'm able to put the poll up.
I am on and off tomorrow, and then possibly offline again for a week - will be able to vote, but perhaps only find out which book makes it later on.
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Old 09-05-2013, 07:45 PM   #38
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The nominations are now closed. It was a great nomination month. The poll will be up shortly.
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Old 09-06-2013, 12:55 AM   #39
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hm....I am known for reading almost anything but I have a weakness, or strong point, or foolishness..........I never read biographies or memories. I do like to get to know a writer, but I do it by reading all of hers/his books and books about their context.

But I trust all your nominations and I will vote and aim to participate.
I hope you enjoy this category. It is one of my favorites. I especially like to look for books in this category when I travel. I have read some fascinating memoirs by ordinary people (not great literature giants) that have had amazing experiences. It's an interesting perspective on history and life lessons.
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Old 09-06-2013, 02:59 AM   #40
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I hope you enjoy this category. It is one of my favorites. I especially like to look for books in this category when I travel. I have read some fascinating memoirs by ordinary people (not great literature giants) that have had amazing experiences. It's an interesting perspective on history and life lessons.
Thanks, Bookwormgirl. I can see your enthousiasm.
And.... there are nice nominations so I'll be glad to participate.
It's not all -black-and-white- with me, but I changed my reading-tactics these last few years; from reading hap-hazard, to reading all books of one author, in order to get a better sense of what a specific writer is about.

Having researched my books, I see that I have read the memoirs of writers such as Marguerite Yourcenar and Simone de Beauvoir a long time ago. And a few years ago I read Wild Swans, which I enjoyed very much.
So, I'm not per se against the genre, but I tend to not choose memoirs and biographies myself these days.

But...............and this is the great thing about the MR-bookclub........the nominations and choices of the often unexpected books do broaden my horizon. The discussions about the books are sometimes surprising and almost always very rewarding.
I'm happy to keep an open mind about this genre.
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Old 09-06-2013, 03:10 AM   #41
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Old 09-07-2013, 01:00 PM   #42
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Speaking of daunting, can it be true that The Diary of Samuel Pepys is really 4,000 pages long? Before we get to the vote, I wonder if Hamlet53 would like to clarify the nomination? Is the nomination for the entire diary, as the free MR download link he provided would indicate, or for an abridged version? Or will it be each person for themselves to decide how much they want to read?
So I have always wanted to read Pepys Diary, but must admit I put if forth without checking its length. So the ~4,000 pages is a “sticker shock” for me. I still want to read it, but it will be an ongoing project for me. Not something I would expect to read in a month.

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The Pepys Diary is one of those works that can be read in a non-linear way. I have the three volume Warrington edition from Everyman Library that runs to over 1500 pages and I've always found it sufficient {though Warrington removes the spicier bits}.

Pepys lived in a very eventful time and most people might well want to begin with his vivid description of the Great Fire of London or the Black Death which ravaged London at that time. He mentions the two dramatic Comets that appeared over the London skies and the coronation of Charles II. His literary tastes come through in an interesting way--he tends to regard Shakespeare as a lesser dramatist than Dryden.

Wikipedia gives a useful overview of it and one can simply browse through it with an index of some of the important characters. "Penn" his professional partner, for instance, was the father of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, who made a short visit {as a child} to Ireland.
Thanks for the great information Fantasyfan. I admit though I'm interested in the entire eye witness and actual living through of the full diary. Including the spicy passages.
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Old 09-08-2013, 09:26 AM   #43
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I'm glad all of this has come up. Not only did I intend to read Pepys's diary this year, I had meant to start reading him at this site, which posts the entry for the corresponding day in 1660, the year he started it. You can even get the daily entry sent to you by email or follow it by RSS feed and I see they have a twitter account, too.

If you check the archive, you could get caught up and then follow along. Granted, it'll be a long time before you're done, but it's very manageable that way and perhaps your interest will be fired. I hope to get myself started.
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Old 09-08-2013, 01:59 PM   #44
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I'm glad all of this has come up. Not only did I intend to read Pepys's diary this year, I had meant to start reading him at this site, which posts the entry for the corresponding day in 1660, the year he started it. You can even get the daily entry sent to you by email or follow it by RSS feed and I see they have a twitter account, too.

If you check the archive, you could get caught up and then follow along. Granted, it'll be a long time before you're done, but it's very manageable that way and perhaps your interest will be fired. I hope to get myself started.
Thanks for that information Issybird. I did a little comparison of the entries given on the Pepys site and those in my Everyman edition and those in the former are more detailed--sometimes not by much, but consistently so. I checked and noted that it is from the Wheatley Edition which I have since downloaded from PG.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 09-08-2013 at 02:01 PM.
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