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Old 11-27-2011, 05:11 PM   #1
sun surfer
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The MR Literary Club • Welcome, Information & General Discussion

Welcome to the MR Literary Club! We're a small but friendly group and newcomers are always invited to join in anytime whether for one post, as a new regular, or anywhere in between. In this post you'll find upcoming topics, all our selections to date, links to all of our threads, and our current guidelines. Anyone can post in this thread with general discussion, or jump directly into participating in one of our other threads. If anyone has any questions feel free to post them here or PM me. We hope you'll join us.

On Goodreads, Link
Dazrin's Excellent Stats Spreadsheets, Link

Selections, Topics & Thread Links

Links are numbered at the end of each line in chronological order; the first number (1) should generally be the nomination thread while the last number should generally be the discussion thread.

  • May 2021, 1 2
  • The Readers' Room by Antoine Laurain, April 2021, Bookworms, 1 2
  • Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris, March 2021, Feast & Famine, 1 2
  • Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, February 2021, Flights of Fantasy, 1 2
  • Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively, January 2021, Weaving Time in a Tapestry, 1 2

  • The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories, December 2020, Winter Wonderland, 1 2
  • Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, November 2020, Drawing on a Nation's Culture, 1 2
  • Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym, October 2020, Spring & Fall, Seasons of Transformation, 1 2
  • In a Free State by V.S. Naipaul, September 2020, Freedom, 1 2
  • The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector, August 2020, The Zodiac, 1 2
  • The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano, July 2020, Distancing, 1 2
  • Owls Do Cry by Janet Frame, June 2020, The Southern Hemisphere, 1 2
  • Moonfleet by John Meade Falkner, May 2020, I Will Not Follow Where the Path May Lead, 1 2
  • The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama, April 2020, Viral, 1 2
  • I, Claudius by Robert Graves, March 2020, Rome - Republic and Empire, 1 2
  • Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, February 2020, X, 1 2
  • Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley, January 2020, Silence Is Golden, 1 2

  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, December 2019, The 2010s, 1 2
  • Ghosts of the Tsunami by Richard Lloyd Parry, November 2019, Nice Weather We're Having, 1 2
  • The Party by Elizabeth Day, October 2019, Celebrate Good Times, 1 2
  • The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, September 2019, Stranded, 1 2
  • Lies of Silence by Brian Moore, August 2019, Always a Bridesmaid, 1 2
  • A True Story by Lucian of Samosata, July 2019, Moonlighting, 1 2
  • Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, June 2019, Something New Under the Sun, 1 2
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, May 2019, An Unusual Viewpoint, 1 2
  • Journey without Maps by Graham Greene, April 2019, A Journey, or Journeys, 1 2
  • Eva Luna by Isabel Allende, March 2019, Queer as Folk, 1 2
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay, February 2019, Free Falling, 1 2
  • Goblin Market & Other Poems by Christina Rossetti, January 2019, A Touch of the Poetic, 1 2

  • The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, December 2018, With Heart, 1 2
  • Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, November 2018, International Feel, 1 2
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, October 2018, Fun! Fun! Fun!, 1 2
  • The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, September 2018, Ch Ch Changes, 1 2
  • City by Clifford D. Simak, August 2018, Award Winners, 1 2
  • Green Mansions by William Henry Hudson, July 2018, New Beginnings & Uncharted Waters, 1 2
  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, June 2018, Region, 1 2
  • The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith, May 2018, Time Period, 1 2
  • Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh, April 2018, Region, 1 2
  • The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron, March 2018, Non-Fiction, 1 2
  • Please Look After Mom by Kyung-sook Shin, February 2018, Region, 1 2
  • A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes, January 2018, Youth Fiction, 1 2

  • On the Makaloa Mat by Jack London, December 2017, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty, November 2017, Time Period, 1 2
  • The Gathering by Anne Enright, October 2017, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • The Return by Hisham Matar, September 2017, Biographies & Memoirs, 1 2
  • Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot, August 2017, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • Loving by Henry Green, July 2017, Open, 1 2
  • Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis, June 2017, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • One Thousand and One Nights, May 2017, Time Period, 1 2
  • Burmese Days by George Orwell, April 2017, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee, March 2017, Non-Fiction, 1 2
  • Aspects of the Novel by E.M. Forster, February 2017, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín, January 2017, Contemporary, 1 2

  • Babette's Feast by Isak Dinesen, December 2016, Retrospective, 1 2 3
  • The Door by Magda Szabó, NYRB Classics edition, November 2016, Region, 1 2
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, October 2016, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • A Memoir of Jane Austen by James Edward Austen-Leigh, September 2016, Biographies & Memoirs, 1 2
  • Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham, August 2016, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain, July 2016, Open, 1 2
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, June 2016, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, May 2016, Time Period, 1 2 3
  • What Maisie Knew by Henry James, April 2016, Rotating, 1 2 3 4
  • In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick, March 2016, Non-Fiction, 1 2 3
  • Eucalyptus by Murray Bail, February 2016, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • The poetry of John Clare, January 2016, Poetry, 1 2 3

  • The Untouchable by John Banville, December 2015, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar November 2015, Region, 1 2 3
  • Remembering Babylon by David Malouf, October 2015, Retrospective, 1 2 3 4
  • H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, September 2015, Biographies & Memoirs, 1 2 3
  • Tirra Lirra by the River by Jessica Anderson, August 2015, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • The Plague by Albert Camus, July 2015, Journey around the World, 1 2 3
  • Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, June 2015, Rotating, 1 2 3 4
  • Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow, May 2015, Time Period, 1 2 3
  • Silk by Alessandro Baricco, April 2015, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • The Master by Colm Tóibín, March 2015, Contemporary, 1 2 3 4
  • Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels, February 2015, Rotating, 1 2 3 4
  • Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot, January 2015, Poetry, 1 2 3

  • Under Fire by Henri Barbusse, December 2014, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • Noli Me Tángere by José Rizal, November 2014, Region, 1 2 3
  • O Pioneers! by Willa Cather, October 2014, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • Empress Dowager Cixi by Jung Chang, September 2014, Biographies & Memoirs, 1 2 3
  • The White Castle by Orhan Pamuk, August 2014, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • The Club of Queer Trades by G.K. Chesterton, July 2014, Short, 1 2 3
  • Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain, June 2014, Rotating, 1 2 3 4
  • Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad, May 2014, Time Period, 1 2 3 4
  • Akhenaten, Dweller in Truth by Naguib Mahfouz, April 2014, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor, March 2014, Non-Fiction, 1 2 3
  • Fools Crow by James Welch, February 2014, Rotating, 1 2 3 4
  • Inferno by Dante, January 2014, Poetry, 1 2 3 4

  • My Oedipus Complex and Other Stories by Frank O'Connor, December 2013, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz, November 2013, Region, 1 2 3
  • The Secret River by Kate Grenville, October 2013, Rotating, 1 2 3
  • Queen Victoria by Lytton Strachey, September 2013, Biographies & Memoirs, 1 2 3
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, August 2013, Rotating, 1 2 3 4
  • Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann, July 2013, Highly Challenging, 1 2 3
  • after the quake by Haruki Murakami, June 2013, Short, 1 2 3
  • The American Senator by Anthony Trollope, May 2013, Time Period, 1 2 3
  • Chess Story by Stefan Zweig, April 2013, Obscure, 1 2 3
  • The Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming, March 2013, Non-Fiction, 1 2 3 4
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, February 2013, Region, 1 2 3
  • The War Poems of Siegfried Sassoon, January 2013, Poetry, 1 2 3

  • Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, December 2012, Open, 1 2 3 4 5
  • We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, November 2012, Region, 1 2 3
  • Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw, October 2012, Plays, 1 2 3
  • Black Swan Green by David Mitchell, September 2012, Contemporary, 1 2 3
  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, August 2012, Lottery, 1 2
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot, July 2012, Highly Challenging, 1 2 3
  • My Old Man by Ernest Hemingway, June 2012, Short Stories, 1 2 3 4
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, May 2012, Region, 1 2 3 4
  • The Eternal Husband by Fyodor Dostoevsky, April 2012, Obscure, 1 2 3
  • Turn, Magic Wheel by Dawn Powell, March 2012, Lottery, 1 2 3
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, February 2012, Time Period, 1 2 3
  • Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, January 2012, Poetry, 1 2 3

  • The stories of Saki, December 2011, Open, 1 2 3
  • Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima, November 2011, Lottery, 1 2 3
  • Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen, October 2011, Plays, 1 2 3
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, September 2011, Non-Fiction, 1 2 3
  • A Passage to India by E.M. Forster, August 2011, Lottery, 1 2 3
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens, July 2011, Highly Challenging, 1 2 3
  • The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, June 2011, Open, 1 2 3 4


Current Guidelines & Club Operations

Topics, Categories & Themes

Currently we set topics on a month-to-month basis. Every month around the first we ask for topic, category or theme ideas for the next month in this thread. Around the 10th or so we will settle on one. We don't have any hard or fast guideline but if there seems to be a majority interest in a particular idea, we'll go with that one. If there is no clear majority interest then we might go with an idea by someone who hasn't chosen a topic before or in awhile. If neither of those are relevant, we'll likely go with the first one suggested that isn't my own. If we happen to have no ideas posted then I will choose and announce a topic for the next month, but if this is the case then any others can still post ideas after this and we'll likely go with one of those instead.


Every month around the first we begin nominations with a new thread for the month based on a simple topic, category or theme. These nominations last around four days. During this time, anyone interested in participating in the discussion that month can nominate a literary work which somehow fits the topic. Each participant can nominate one, two or three works in a given month. Generally all nominations will go to the vote.

Immediately after nominations, voting occurs in the same thread. Voting lasts exactly four days. Anyone wanting to participate in the discussion that month can vote. Each person receives a number of votes equal to the number of nominations that month minus one (e.g. if there are six nominations in a month then each person receives five votes). A person may give each nomination one or two votes, can vote all at once or a bit at a time, and can use all of their votes or only some. If anyone accidentally casts more votes than they have, only the number allowed are counted and in order listed. Voting is accomplished by post; votes cannot be changed and voting posts should not be edited.

We have a monthly selection, chosen by a vote after a nomination period in a specified category. Generally, we start the selection process for a month around the and we have our selection by around the tenth at the latest. Discussion threads are started soon after a selection is chosen so that people can discuss the selection before, during and after reading as they like. Nomination and voting threads are stickied only for a week or so while they're active, but discussion threads are stickied for close to two months each to give everyone plenty of time to contribute while the thread is stickied (threads can still be posted to after they're not stickied anymore as well). As such, there are usually two discussion threads stickied at any one time.

Nominations are open for around three days and everyone may nominate up to two selections each during this period, and all nominations automatically go forward to the vote so long as they fit the category (it is rare one doesn't, but if it happens I'll post that the nomination is invalid and that person will receive their nomination back and may nominate another if there is still time). Once nominations are complete voting begins in the same thread and lasts exactly four days from my post starting it. Each person receives a number of votes to use equal to the number of nominees minus one, and may give each nominee either zero, one or two votes. Votes are cast by post and the posts should not be edited and votes cannot be changed after being posted. Anyone may vote all in one post or split up in different posts as they like and may use all or if they prefer only some of their votes. They cannot give more votes than allowed however; if they do only their votes up to their limit counts (and this will be determined by the order votes are listed in and cannot be changed; listed counts ).

Here are more detailed guidelines for regular categories:

-Nominations will run for around three days.-

You may offer up to two nominations. All nominees (so long as they are within the category) will move forward to the vote with no need for support from others.

Once nominations are complete, voting will begin and also occur in the same thread.

-Voting will then run for four days.-

I will make a post in the thread to open voting. The vote will close exactly four days from that post; even if the final tally doesn't occur immediately after voting closes, no votes made after that time will count.

Votes will be made by post. You will have a number of votes to cast equal to the number of nominees minus one, which will be specified when the vote begins. You may give each nominee one or two (or no) votes. You may vote all at once in one post or vote in separate posts at different times, so long as you have more votes remaining to cast. You may use any number of your possible votes up to the maximum. Any extraneous votes per person (past their maximum or more than two for one nominee) won't count. Votes cannot be changed once they are cast.

Once voting is complete, the count will be tallied and a winner declared. In the event of a tie, there will be a one-day run-off vote, also in the same thread. If the run-off also ends in a tie, then the tie will be resolved in favour of the selection that received all of its votes first.

The only requirements for the selections are that they are literary, that none have been the monthly selection of either book club yet and that they number at least four. That’s it, pretty simple. Any questions, just ask!

I feel like we know and respect each other so I’m confident that these rotating months will be filled with good, interesting selections. The idea is for these months to be comfortable and fun for members. I want everyone to feel like it’s simply part of the club to have a turn at some point, and no big deal since everyone will have a go, and trust that the atmosphere in the club will be to treat each person’s Rotating selections with positivity and respect.

In addition to our monthly posts, we operate on a yearly cycle for discussing club changes and categories. Our club years go from July of one year to June of the next, and we generally discuss these yearly matter somewhere between March and July. Anyone can suggest changes, which must be approved by me (as it can change the work I do for the club) and then I may either simply either approve it or not myself, or ask for a casual vote in this thread by post on the proposed change, though there is always the possibility of a special vote thread for a change if I think it's warranted. Changes can be made any time of the year if I think it's appropriate and anyone can suggest changes at any time, but generally decisions and implementations are left until the normal change-of-cycle timeframe. There is usually a separate categories thread each year around the appropriate time in which we decide on the next yearly cycle's category line-up.

So, 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 , a poem, an essay or another written form. If you are unsure if a work would be considered literature, just ask!

A Brief History of Time the MR Literary Club

A group of people led by pilotbob started the MobileRead Book Club in 2008 as part of the Reading Recommendations forum. That club grew and, separately, in 2011 FlorenceArt started the MR Literary Society thread in the same forum to discuss literary books in general. Participating in both, this inspired sun surfer to propose the idea of a separate book club for MobileRead specifically focusing on literary selections. The interest was there and thus the MR Literary Club was created with its first selection being in June 2011.

The beginning saw a surge of participation. Soon after, both book clubs were moved to a sub-forum of Reading Recommendations specifically for the two clubs, where they still are to this day. Both began to experience a decline in participation there, but their core members sustained them through the years, along with new members joining at intervals and other posters stopping by to join in here and there.

The Lit Club has remained pretty consistent in its format, but there have been changes.

It had a lottery every so many months in the beginning, where one member would be randomly chosen from those willing and would then nominate the entire month's slate for everyone else to vote from. This was then replaced by a system of bi-monthly rotating nominations where members volunteered to similarly nominate the entire month's slate. After many years, rotating months were finally retired.

It also had some interestingly complex categories, such as Journey around the World which was invented by HomeInMyShoes and where only books from countries that hadn't had an author chosen by the club before were eligible, but the most famous being Region and Time Period. Both of those had a list of specific regions or time periods, and their months would begin with a one-day vote to determine which specific region or time period would be used that month, with that one then becoming ineligible thereafter with the goal being to eventually make it through the entire lists. That did happen with Time Period, and Region came close. After many years, both of those categories were finally retired as well together with complex categories in general.

The club began with the club runner (along with issybird) deciding the yearly slate of categories, per consensus of those discussing the matter. After a few years the club switched to having a nomination and vote process to come up with the yearly slate of categories. After many years and some tweaks along the way, this was finally retired in favour of deciding topics only a few months in advance on a more seasonal basis.

At first the lit club used the polling forum feature for voting but as the club became smaller voting by post became the preferred method, which contrasts starkly with the general MobileRead book clubs which still use polls for their voting. Similarly, the lit club also switched from nominations requiring seconds and thirds like the general book club to simply having all nominations go to the vote without the need for secondary or tertiary support beforehand.

The club also started a Goodreads page along the way. That page hasn't received much traction since all posts and discussions occur here, but it's handy for those who use that site to view all the club's selections in one place at Goodreads.

2017 and 2018 brought big changes to the MobileRead Book Clubs sub-forum. WTSharpe, who had run the general MobileRead book club for many years after taking over from pilotbob, retired from the position and issybird became his replacement. She in turn set in motion starting a new club, with the goal of combining the two clubs. The idea was bandied about and very seriously considered but issybird and others wanted the new club to be more of a 2.0 version of the general club with unfortunately little lit club format or spirit carryover, so in the end it was decided to keep the lit club as its own separate entity. The reincarnated version of the general club, the New Leaf Book Club, came with a surge in participation for it.

In mid-2018, the lit club had a major refresh, which is when most of the club's changes heretofore mentioned occurred. The idea for the refresh was to plan on a shorter basis and to simplify things.

sun surfer has run the lit club from its inception. issybird was a silent partner who helped with club administration the first few years, and Vandy helped with keeping track of the club's nominations at first. Bookpossum helped out for a few years later on, and contributed some lovely pictures during her tenure. In 2018 Dazrin began compiling and maintaining a large amount of statistical and historical data for all the MR book clubs including the lit club. Aside from those already mentioned, a sampling of lit club members past and present include fantasyfan, Bookworm_Girl, bfisher, Hamlet53, caleb72, paola, desertblues, BelleZora, Billi, ccowie, Synamon, John F, beppe, orlok, Spinnenmonat, and more.


*stats spreadsheets courtesy of Dazrin
*pictures here and on our goodreads page courtesy of and taken by Bookpossum
*region category map courtesy of sun surfer

Last edited by sun surfer; Yesterday at 02:02 PM.
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