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Old 10-01-2018, 01:00 PM   #1
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Fun! Fun! Fun! • October 2018

Help select what we'll read next!


The topic is Fun! Fun! Fun!

This is anything to do with the idea of ‘fun’, which is often not something one thinks of in relation to literary books, so it could be an interesting, different and perhaps even revelatory month. It could be a book you think looks (or was) fun to read, a book that somehow seems to have fun in it from title or from content, a book that seems to have some light-hearted or joyful aspect, or something else as the topic is open to interpretation.


Detailed nominating and voting guidelines can be found here. Basically, nominations are open for four days and each person may nominate up to three literary selections which will go automatically to the vote. Voting by post then opens for four days, and a voter may give each nomination either one or two votes but only has a limited number of votes to use which is equal to the number of nominations minus one. Any questions, feel free to ask.

We hope that you will read the selection with us and join in the discussion.

*

Nominations and voting are complete. Final results-

  • The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton
    Post . Goodreads . 182 Pages . Votes 1 . Run-off – . 1908 . England

  • The Catcher In the Rye by J.D. Salinger
    Post . Goodreads . 230 Pages . Votes 0 . Run-off – . 1951 . United States

  • Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
    Post . Goodreads . 240 Pages . Votes 0 . Run-off – . 1932 . England

  • The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
    Post . Goodreads . 573 Pages . Votes 2 . Run-off – . 2016 . United States

  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
    Post . Goodreads . 358 Pages . Votes 5 . Run-off 1 . 1911 . England

  • A Stitch In Time by Penelope Lively
    Post . Goodreads . 224 Pages . Votes 5 . Run-off 0 . 1976 . England & Egypt

  • Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
    Post . Goodreads . 350 Pages . Votes 1 . Run-off – . 1984 . England

  • The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope
    Post . Goodreads . 178 Pages . Votes 5 . Run-off 0 . 1894 . England

  • The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
    Post . Goodreads . 374 Pages . Votes 1 . Run-off – . 2001 . England

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Old 10-01-2018, 02:32 PM   #2
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I’ll nominate The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton. Chesterton, despite the Kafkaesque quality of his plots, is always clearly enjoying every word he writes. His works are most certainly literary and usually involve significant underlying spiritual themes but he is never dull. He had a significant effect on C. S. Lewis but the adult novels of Lewis are not the equal of Chesterton’s.
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Old 10-02-2018, 09:30 AM   #3
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I’ll offer as a second nomination J. D. Sallinger’s Catcher In the Rye. The novel details the various ways people “have fun” through playing a game using the stereotyped roles society provides. The irony of this activity is perceived by the lonely narrator who wanders through the various by ways of his world.

Unfortunately this book does not seem to exist in an ebook format and this may be a dealbreaker though we have used paper back editions in the past. PB editions of the novel are easy to obtain and reasonably inexpensive.

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Old 10-04-2018, 04:30 PM   #4
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I have an old Bantam Classics version of Catcher in the Rye with authentic aged-yellow pages.

I have generated a list of ideas. The hard part is always narrowing it down!
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Old 10-05-2018, 02:21 AM   #5
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My first nomination is a classic, Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons.

From Goodreads:
Quote:
When sensible, sophisticated Flora Poste is orphaned at nineteen, she decides her only choice is to descend upon relatives in deepest Sussex. At the aptly named Cold Comfort Farm, she meets the doomed Starkadders: cousin Judith, heaving with remorse for unspoken wickedness; Amos, preaching fire and damnation; their sons, lustful Seth and despairing Reuben; child of nature Elfine; and crazed old Aunt Ada Doom, who has kept to her bedroom for the last twenty years. But Flora loves nothing better than to organize other people. Armed with common sense and a strong will, she resolves to take each of the family in hand. A hilarious and merciless parody of rural melodramas, Cold Comfort Farm (1932) is one of the best-loved comic novels of all time.
My second nomination is a contemporary novel, The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee. I saw it on a list of literature with great party scenes.

From Overdrive:
Quote:
A "wild opera of a novel," The Queen of the Night tells the mesmerizing story of Lilliet Berne, an orphan who left the American frontier for Europe and was swept into the glamour and terror of Second Empire France. She became a sensation of the Paris Opera, with every accolade but an original role—her chance at immortality. When one is offered to her, she finds the libretto is based on her deepest secret, something only four people have ever known. But who betrayed her? With "epic sweep, gorgeous language, and haunting details," Alexander Chee shares Lilliet's cunning transformation from circus rider to courtesan to legendary soprano, retracing the path that led to the role that could secure her reputation—or destroy her with the secrets it reveals.
My third nomination is children's literature, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. No matter what age I am, I always enjoy re-reading this book. One of my all-time favorites.

From Goodreads:
Quote:
"One of the most delightful and enduring classics of children's literature, The Secret Garden by Victorian author Frances Hodgson Burnett has remained a firm favorite with children the world over ever since it made its first appearance. Initially published as a serial story in 1910 in The American Magazine, it was brought out in novel form in 1911.

The plot centers round Mary Lennox, a young English girl who returns to England from India, having suffered the immense trauma by losing both her parents in a cholera epidemic. However, her memories of her parents are not pleasant, as they were a selfish, neglectful and pleasure-seeking couple. Mary is given to the care of her uncle Archibald Craven, whom she has never met. She travels to his home, Misselthwaite Manor located in the gloomy Yorkshire, a vast change from the sunny and warm climate she was used to. When she arrives, she is a rude, stubborn and given to stormy temper tantrums. However, her nature undergoes a gradual transformation when she learns of the tragedies that have befallen her strict and disciplinarian uncle whom she earlier feared and despised. Once when he's away from home, Mary discovers a charming walled garden which is always kept locked. The mystery deepens when she hears sounds of sobbing from somewhere within her uncle's vast mansion. The kindly servants ignore her queries or pretend they haven't heard, spiking Mary's curiosity.
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Old 10-05-2018, 10:47 AM   #6
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For my final nomination, I’ll offer A Stitch In Time by Penelope Lively.
It is somewhat in the vein of the marvellous Tom’s Midnight Garden but perhaps with a darker slant.

From Amazon:

“Maria likes to be alone with her thoughts. She talks to animals and objects, and generally prefers them to people. But whilst on holiday she begins to hear things that aren’t there – a swing creaking, a dog barking – and when she sees a Victorian embroidered picture, Maria feels a strange connection with the ten-year-old, Harriet, who stitched it.

But what happened to her? As Maria becomes more lost in Harriet’s world, she grows convinced that something tragic occurred…“
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Old 10-05-2018, 11:24 AM   #7
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Interesting nominations so far! About an hour and a half left for nominations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookworm_Girl View Post
I have generated a list of ideas. The hard part is always narrowing it down!
Oh yes! I still have a little while left to decide so I'm still mulling them over, but my 'shortlist' is, ahem, close to 20 books. Some months I just get a little overenthusiastic I suppose.

The only one I had so far decided on nominating was Three Men in a Boat, and then realised it is ineligible because it was a selection of the regular book club way back in its first year. That's really almost silly since I don't think even one of us was a club member for that, but that's that. It is churning the gears in my mind about the possibility of a tweaked eligibility guideline for older general book club selections though.

Anyway, while I'm still deciding, I'll jot down most of my shortlist here in a spoiler in case anyone is interested for the sake of discovery. It was definitely a 'fun' topic to search for nominations!

Spoiler:
-The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
-Augustus Carp, Esq. By Himself Being the Autobiography of a Really Good Man by Henry Howarth Bashford
-The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
-Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield
-The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
-The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
-Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
-The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving
-The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
-The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
-Mr. Penumbria's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
-My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
-My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
-Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
-The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope
-The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
-Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
-The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
-Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
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Old 10-05-2018, 01:38 PM   #8
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All right, I've narrowed my list down and have three nominations. I tried to choose three that were all uniquely different from each other yet all seemed to convey the idea of fun in one way or another and hopefully any would be fun reads.


First, for many people one of the most fun places on earth is the circus, and so I'm nominating Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter, a fantastical novel about a journalist wanting to discover if a performer that he is enamoured with and that is known as being half woman and half swan is really true or not and so he joins the circus, and the book is also a 'magical tour through turn-of-the-nineteenth-century London, St Petersburg and Siberia.' I don't see it available as an ebook on US Amazon, but it does have an ebook and is available on UK Amazon among others. Goodreads 350 pages, 1984, England

Quote:
Is Sophie Fevvers, toast of Europe's capitals, part swan...or all fake?

Courted by the Prince of Wales and painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, she is an aerialiste extraordinaire and star of Colonel Kearney's circus. She is also part woman, part swan. Jack Walser, an American journalist, is on a quest to discover the truth behind her identity. Dazzled by his love for her, and desperate for the scoop of a lifetime, Walser has no choice but to join the circus on its magical tour through turn-of-the-nineteenth-century London, St Petersburg and Siberia.

Second, I'm going from a 1984 book to an 1894 book and nominating the swashbuckling adventure The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope. I love a good adventure book and while this one is old it looks like it could be a lot of fun. Goodreads 178 pages, 1894, England

Quote:
Anthony Hope's swashbuckling romance transports his English gentleman hero, Rudolf Rassendyll, from a comfortable life in London to fast-moving adventures in Ruritania, a mythical land steeped in political intrigue. Rassendyll bears a striking resemblance to Rudolf Elphberg who is about to be crowned King of Ruritania. When the rival to the throne, Black Michael of Strelsau, attempts to seize power by imprisoning Elphberg in the Castle of Zenda, Rassendyll is obliged to impersonate the King to uphold the rightful sovereignty and ensure political stability. Rassendyll endures a trial of strength in his encounters with the notorious Rupert of Hentzau, and a test of a different sort as he grows to love the Princess Flavia. Five times filmed, The Prisoner of Zenda has been deservedly popular as a classic of romance and adventure since its publication in 1894.

Finally, I'm going to go a bit 'out there' and nominate a book that immerses itself into the world of literary books and especially classics which could be a lot of fun for a lit club to read - The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. This strange but alluring book envisions a world in which people can go into literary works and wreak havoc, such as Jane Eyre being kidnapped from her own novel. Goodreads 374 pages, 2001, England

Quote:
Suspenseful and outlandish, absorbing and fun - a novel unlike any other and an introduction to the imagination of a most distinctive writer and his singular fictional universe.

Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. Baconians are trying to convince the world that Francis Bacon really wrote Shakespeare, there are riots between the Surrealists and Impressionists, and thousands of men are named John Milton, an homage to the real Milton and a very confusing situation for the police. Amidst all this, Acheron Hades, Third Most Wanted Man In the World, steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and kills a minor character, who then disappears from every volume of the novel ever printed! But that's just a prelude . . .

Hades' real target is the beloved Jane Eyre, and it's not long before he plucks her from the pages of Bronte's novel. Enter Thursday Next. She's the Special Operative's renowned literary detective, and she drives a Porsche. With the help of her uncle Mycroft's Prose Portal, Thursday enters the novel to rescue Jane Eyre from this heinous act of literary homicide. It's tricky business, all these interlopers running about Thornfield, and deceptions run rampant as their paths cross with Jane, Rochester, and Miss Fairfax. Can Thursday save Jane Eyre and Bronte's masterpiece? And what of the Crimean War? Will it ever end? And what about those annoying black holes that pop up now and again, sucking things into time-space voids . . .

This was just happenstance that I only noticed myself after I chose the three as I was writing this post and including the accompanying information for each nomination, but though I've managed to choose nominations from diverse publication dates and with distinctly different story aspects and settings, anyone eagle-eyed may notice all three have some sense of fantasy about them and all three are tied to or start in London and all are from English writers. To that I say, in the great words of Osgood from Some Like It Hot, 'Well, nobody's perfect!'

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Old 10-05-2018, 01:48 PM   #9
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It may take me a little while to add all the nominations to the first post so nominations will remain open until I finish.
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Old 10-05-2018, 02:19 PM   #10
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Nominations are closed and voting is now open!

Voting will close exactly four days from this post.

Each person has EIGHT votes to use.

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Old 10-06-2018, 10:51 PM   #11
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I've read a third of these before and all were either 4 or 5 star reads so I'm happy with all of those although I might not vote for any of them except the one I read the longest ago. Of the rest all look fun and very diverse so it's, as usual, difficult to decide which to vote for. I'll start with three votes for now-

-1 to The Secret Garden
-1 to A Stitch In Time
-1 to The Prisoner of Zenda
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:41 AM   #12
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I’ll start with:

The Prisoner of Zelda
A Stich in Time
The Secret Garden


Two votes each

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Old 10-08-2018, 05:06 AM   #13
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I hope you'll excuse this interruption to your normal schedule, but did anyone else notice that A Stitch in Time is a very common book title? I counted somewhere around 25 distinct books (before I gave up counting), spanning many different genres.
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
I hope you'll excuse this interruption to your normal schedule, but did anyone else notice that A Stitch in Time is a very common book title? I counted somewhere around 25 distinct books (before I gave up counting), spanning many different genres.
Interesting. A pity the amount of distinct books with that title isn't nine.
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:37 PM   #15
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I'll also give one vote each to-

-The Man Who Was Thursday
-The Queen of the Night
-The Eyre Affair
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