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Old 04-25-2012, 08:29 PM   #1
WT Sharpe
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May 2012 Mobile Read Book Club Run-Off Vote

May 2012 Mobile Read Book Club Run-Off Vote

Help us choose a book as the May 2012 eBook for the Mobile Read Book Club. This is the run-off poll for May. It will be open for 3 days. The winner determines the book we will read for May. The vote this month will be visible*.

Since the first vote produced a 2-way tie for second place, the poll this month has three choices. We will start the discussion thread for this book on March 20th. Select from the following three choices:

1) Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
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Description: Neverwhere 's protagonist, Richard Mayhew, learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished. He ceases to exist in the ordinary world of London Above, and joins a quest through the dark and dangerous London Below, a shadow city of lost and forgotten people, places, and times. His companions are Door, who is trying to find out who hired the assassins who murdered her family and why; the Marquis of Carabas, a trickster who trades services for very big favors; and Hunter, a mysterious lady who guards bodies and hunts only the biggest game. London Below is a wonderfully realized shadow world, and the story plunges through it like an express passing local stations, with plenty of action and a satisfying conclusion. The story is reminiscent of Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy , but Neil Gaiman's humor is much darker and his images sometimes truly horrific. Puns and allusions to everything from Paradise Lost to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz abound, but you can enjoy the book without getting all of them. Gaiman is definitely not just for graphic-novel fans anymore. --Nona Vero Starred Review. Gaiman assumes the role of narrator for his latest book, offering an intimate reading that steals one's attention almost immediately and keeps the listener involved throughout. As the story is based in the United Kingdom, Gaiman is a quintessential raconteur for the tale, with his charming Scottish brogue instilling life and spirit into the central character of Richard Mayhew. Pitch perfect, with clear pronunciation, Gaiman invites listeners into his living room for a fireside chat, offering a private and personal experience that transcends the limitations of traditional narration. The author knows his story through and through, capturing the desired emotion and audience reaction in each and every scene. His characters are unique, with diverse personalities and narrative approaches, and Gaiman offers a variety of dialects and tones. The reading sounds more like a private conversation among friends with Gaiman providing the convincing and likable performance the writing deserves. A Harper Perennial paperback (Reviews, May 19, 1997). (Nov.) Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. (from

2) Kraken by China Mieville
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Deep in the research wing of the Natural History Museum is a prize specimen, something that comes along much less often than once in a lifetime: a perfect, and perfectly preserved, giant squid. But what does it mean when the creature suddenly and impossibly disappears? For curator Billy Harrow it's the start of a headlong pitch into a London of warring cults, surreal magic, apostates and assassins. It might just be that the creature he's been preserving is more than a biological rarity: there are those who are sure it's a god. A god that someone is hoping will end the world.

3) The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany
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Come with me now for awhile, for we have worlds of magic to explore, and the Land of Dreams is close at hand.

If you’re tired of fat, cheesy fantasy novels that really do stink, and you want to experience what Fantasy writing once was and could have been, before a few lame-brained idiot writers took Fantasy down a dark alley and stabbed it in the back, then you should read Lord Dunsany’s beautiful prose.

This is writing that sings to the heart.


"A proper fantasy story would, of course, devote nine or so books to traveling very slowly through the elfish countryside, slowly accumulating plot tokens in order to complete the quest. Dunsany spends one chapter on this journey, then gets to the real point of his story, which is what happens when a girl from Elfland is forced to live in the mortal world, and what happens when the two worlds collide. It’s 1924, and already the good baron is overthrowing tired and worn out fantasy cliches. Lord Dunsany’s story has more in it of culture shock and the price of novelty than magic mcguffin hunting and evil overlord overthrowing.

"The prose itself is some of the finest and most magical in all of fantasy literature. It is like Tolkien without the idle sentiment, or like Lovecraft with a greater gift for language and more synonyms for “odd”. A brief sample should suffice:

"'Near the Castle of Erl there lived a lonely witch, on high land near the thunder, which used to roll in Summer along the hills. There she dwelt by herself in a narrow cottage of thatch and roamed the high fields alone to gather the thunderbolts. Of these thunderbolts, that had no earthly forging, were made, with suitable runes, such weapons as had to parry unearthly dangers.'

"Lord Dunsany’s prose can fairly be described as “oft-imitated”. It is the sound of fantasy. Rarely has it been surpassed."

This critic says this:

"Much of what we call modern fantasy is a pale, predictable mesh of cliches. It is a bookshelf filled with stories that bear far too much in common with one another. Sometimes indeed it feels that originality, which ought to be the cornerstone of fantasy seems to be all but evaporated. Lord Dunsay is - different. He is one of those illusive pre-Tolkien fantasy writers and you will be shocked at how much of modern fantasy derives from him. And then doubly shocked to find he still did it better. Lord Dunsay writes beautiful and elaborate prose. He weaves stories in which magic is not some work-a-day technology but rather a brooding, powerful and very nearly living force."

There is no better prose stylist who touched both the heart of Fantasy and the heart of the Reader.

Like all the books I assemble on MobileRead, this too was assembled to reflect human intervention and artistic judgment.

I hope you enjoy it.

Don [MobileRead's own Dr. Drib]

* Yes, I realize that this was suppose to be a hidden month, but since I messed up last month, this will get us back on schedule.

Last edited by WT Sharpe; 04-25-2012 at 08:36 PM.
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