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Old 11-27-2011, 12:11 PM   #1
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Post The MobileRead Literary Book Club December 2011 Vote

Help us choose the December 2011 selection to read for the MobileRead Literary Book Club! The poll will be open for three days.

We will be moving the timeline over half a month this month, so we will have longer than normal to read this month's selection. We will start the discussion thread for the selected work on JANUARY 1ST and a thread for January's nominations will be created five days later on JANUARY 6TH. I will start the threads, but the discussion thread may have a "discussion leader" if one volunteers. Everyone can post whatever thoughts they wish on the month's selection, but the discussion leader's goal will be to continue the dialogue in a thought-provoking direction with discussion questions and the like.

In the event of a tie, there will be a one-day run-off poll. In the event that the run-off poll also ends in a tie, the tie will be resolved in favour of the selection that received all of its initial nominations first.

The poll this month is hidden until close, but everyone is still free to discuss their own votes or anything else relative, if they so wish.

Select from the following works:

The short stories of Saki
This nomination is to “explore his vision of life, society, people, and relationships as it is transmuted through the prism of his work.”

He wrote numerous short stories that total somewhere around 600 pages.

Suggested Central Text:

-Beasts and Super-Beasts

Other Possible Central Texts:

-The Chronicles of Clovis (especially the story “Sredni Vashtar”)
-The Toys of Peace

Also to consider:

-Penguin anthologies “The Complete Saki” or “Complete Short Stories of Saki” (both include all his short stories)
-Various “Best Of” collections

Saki {H. H. Munro,18 December 1870 – 13 November 1916} was born in Burma but after the death of his mother he and his brother and sister were sent home to be raised by a grandmother and two maiden aunts. This was a Disaster. The aunts were totally unsuited to bringing up three lively children. Ridiculous, stupid, and often contradictory restrictions on their wards were constantly applied by the aunts; hence, Charles, Hector, and Ethel were united in hating their "guardians" with a passion. As a result of this experience, Saki wrote a number of brilliant stories featuring a conflict between intelligent, imaginative children and repressive hypocritical adults. The horrible women that dominate many of these stories {such as “The Lumber Room” and “Sredni Vashtar”} are based directly on the two aunts.

Saki was quite happy to criticize the self-satisfied assumptions and morals of Victorian and Edwardian society. Frequently authority figures and conventional attitudes are portrayed as foolish and futile. Nature, on the other hand is "red of tooth and claw" making a mockery of human civilised behaviour patterns.

Saki is one of the most imaginative writers of short fiction in his era and a master of the ironic, macabre and unsettling ending.

From the description for “Complete Short Stories”:

Saki is perhaps the most graceful spokesman for England's 'Golden Afternoon' - the slow and peaceful years before the First World War. Although, like so many of his generation, he died tragically young, in action on the Western Front, his reputation as a writer continued to grow long after his death. His stories are humorous, satiric, supernatural, and macabre, highly individual, full of eccentric wit and unconventional situations. With his great gift as a social satirist of his contemporary upper-class Edwardian world, Saki is one of the few undisputed English masters of the short story.

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
"A perfect book." - Chicago Tribune

A short classic novel about an eccentric Edinburgh teacher who inspires cultlike reverence in her young students.

At the staid Marcia Blaine School for Girls, in Edinburgh, Scotland, teacher extraordinaire Miss Jean Brodie is unmistakably, and outspokenly, in her prime. She is passionate in the application of her unorthodox teaching methods, in her attraction to the married art master, Teddy Lloyd, in her affair with the bachelor music master, Gordon Lowther, and—most important—in her dedication to "her girls," the students she selects to be her crème de la crème. Fanatically devoted, each member of the Brodie set—Eunice, Jenny, Mary, Monica, Rose, and Sandy—is "famous for something," and Miss Brodie strives to bring out the best in each one. Determined to instill in them independence, passion, and ambition, Miss Brodie advises her girls, "Safety does not come first. Goodness, Truth, and Beauty come first. Follow me."

And they do. But one of them will betray her.

The Daughter Of Time by Josephine Tey
“One of the best mysteries of all time.” - The New York Times

Part of the “Inspector Alan Grant” series

Josephine Tey re-creates one of history's most famous -- and vicious -- crimes in her classic novel, a must read for connoisseurs of fiction.

Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III that bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a sensitive, noble face actually belong to one of the world's most heinous villains -- a venomous hunchback who may have killed his brother's children to make his crown secure? Or could Richard have been the victim, turned into a monster by the usurpers of England's throne? Grant determines to find out once and for all, with the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, what kind of man Richard Plantagenet really was and who killed the Little Princes in the Tower.

The Daughter of Time is an ingeniously plotted, beautifully written, and suspenseful tale, a supreme achievement from one of mystery writing's most gifted masters.

Twenty-Six And One And Other Stories by Maxim Gorky
This collection includes: Twenty-Six and One, Tchelkache, and Malva.

Maxim Gorky (1868 - 1936) is the pen name of the Soviet/Russian author Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov -- orphaned at the age of nine, he was raised by his grandmother, a story-teller, who imprinted on him a love for tales and travel. All of his varied jobs and the places, people and situations he encountered on his way can be found in his stories.

He was a founder of the socialist realism literary method and a political activist. From 1906 to 1913 and from 1921 to 1929 he lived abroad, mostly in Capri, Italy; after his return to the Soviet Union he accepted the cultural policies of the time, although he was not permitted to leave the country.

From the introduction by Ivan Strannik: "The interest of these stories does not lie in the unraveling of an intricate plot. They are rather fragments of life, bits of biography covering some particular period, without reaching the limits of a real drama. And these are no more artificially combined than are the events of real life. Everything that he relates, Gorky has seen."
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