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Old 01-31-2019, 07:24 PM   #1
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Free Falling • February 2019

Help select what we'll read and discuss next!


The topic is Free Falling.

It could be:
A fall into or out of a relationship.
A fall into personal despair (economic, depression,...).
A novel (or maybe non-fiction) framed within a stock market, business or economic crash.
Science fiction with an anti-gravity thread.
A novel involving sky-divers.
A free falling journey.
etc.

Also a few clues in this video



Detailed nominating and voting guidelines can be found here. Basically, nominations are open for about 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 are complete. Initial voting is complete. Run-off voting is complete. Final results-

  • The Death of the Gods. Julian the Apostate by Dmitry Merezhkovsky
    Post . Goodreads . 463 Pages . Votes 4 . Run-off - . 1895 . Russia

  • Life of Galileo by Bertold Brecht
    Post . Goodreads . 192 Pages . Votes 3 . Run-off - . 1943 . Germany

  • Equus by Peter Shaffer
    Post . Goodreads . 125 Pages . Votes 5 . Run-off 2 . 1973 . England

  • Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler
    Post . Goodreads . 267 Pages . Votes 3 . Run-off - . 1940 . Hungary

  • A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul
    Post . Goodreads . 288 Pages . Votes 2 . Run-off - . 1979 . Trinidad and Tobago

  • Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara
    Post . Goodreads . 251 Pages . Votes 4 . Run-off - . 1934 . United States

  • Prisoner by Jason Rezaian
    Post . Goodreads . 320 Pages . Votes 3 . Run-off - . 2019 . United States & Iran

  • Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
    Post . Goodreads . 269 Pages . Votes 2 . Run-off - . 2015 . England

  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova
    Post . Goodreads . 336 Pages . Votes 4 . Run-off - . 2007 . United States

  • Disturbing the Peace by Richard Yates
    Post . Goodreads . 274 Pages . Votes 1 . Run-off - . 1975 . United States

  • Monsieur Monde Vanishes by Georges Simenon
    Post . Goodreads . 160 Pages . Votes 3 . Run-off - . 1945 . France

  • Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
    Post . Goodreads . 202 Pages . Votes 5 . Run-off 2 . 1967 . Australia

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Old 02-01-2019, 05:20 AM   #2
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The first nomination concerns the fall of the classical antiquity and the olympian worship, and a hopeless attempt to rescue it from the fall under a from Christianity to Paganism re-converted emperor Julian the Apostate. A wonderful and insightful Russian novel.

The Death of the Gods. Julian the Apostate by Dmitry Merezhkovsky

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Death_of_the_Gods

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Old 02-01-2019, 05:31 AM   #3
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The second nomination touches on the theme of the fall of the church authority on the astronomy. That is the story of Galileo Galilei, told in a German theater.

Life of Galileo by Bertold Brecht

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_of_Galileo

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Old 02-01-2019, 10:10 AM   #4
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The third nomination concerns a kind of pyschological "fall" or a certain "fall" of a personality. So I also recommend a English theater.

Equus by Peter Shaffer

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equus_(play)
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Old 02-01-2019, 12:58 PM   #5
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I haven't decided on what I want to nominate yet, but I just noticed and want to point out that I love the full alliteration with topic title and month.

Also, interesting nominations, Spinnenmonat!
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Old 02-01-2019, 11:19 PM   #6
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Some time back I did a search of lists of the type "Best 100 Novels of the 20th Century" looking for additions to my "To Read" list. These three I have not read so, for me, their only known merit is that they appeared in such lists .

Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler, approx. 200 ADE pages. The breaking of a man tried for treason in a dictatorship he helped create, through to the making of his false confession.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darkness_at_Noon

A Bend in the River, V. S Naipaul, approx. 260 ADE pages. The attempt and failure of the character establishing himself in the darkness of a post colonial African country fallen into endemic dislocation.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Bend_in_the_River

Appointment in Samarra, John O'Hara, approx. 190 ADE pages. A story of a man's self destruction over the course of three days.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appointment_in_Samarra

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Old 02-02-2019, 01:33 AM   #7
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Great nominations so far! I think this subject is very interesting and has great potential. I’m looking forward to exploring this topic over the weekend to pick some nominations.
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:02 AM   #8
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My first nomination is Prisoner by Jason Rezaian. It's a brand new memoir of a journalist who is almost more interested in food and travel (he was good friends with Anthony Bourdain) but who gets imprisoned in Iran for a year and a half on suspicion of spying for the U.S. (and his wife was separately jailed there for some months too). I've already read an excerpt from the book in a Washington Post article and was captivated. I thought of it for the topic because he suffered a sudden fall from freedom to imprisonment. Goodreads 320 pages, 2019, United States & Iran

Quote:
In July 2014, Washington Post Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian was arrested by Iranian police, accused of spying for America. The charges were absurd. Rezaian’s reporting was a mix of human interest stories and political analysis. He had even served as a guide for Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. Initially, Rezaian thought the whole thing was a terrible misunderstanding, but soon realized that it was much more dire as it became an eighteen-month prison stint with impossibly high diplomatic stakes.

While in prison, Rezaian had tireless advocates working on his behalf. His brother lobbied political heavyweights including John Kerry and Barack Obama and started a social media campaign—#FreeJason—while Jason’s wife navigated the red tape of the Iranian security apparatus, all while the courts used Rezaian as a bargaining chip in negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal.

In Prisoner, Rezaian writes of his exhausting interrogations and farcical trial. He also reflects on his idyllic childhood in Northern California and his bond with his Iranian father, a rug merchant; how his teacher Christopher Hitchens inspired him to pursue journalism; and his life-changing decision to move to Tehran, where his career took off and he met his wife. Written with wit, humor, and grace, Prisoner brings to life a fascinating, maddening culture in all its complexity.

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Old 02-03-2019, 05:01 PM   #9
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My first nomination is Prisoner by Jason Rezaian...
... I've already read an excerpt from the book in a Washington Post article and was captivated...
This book is already very close to the top of my "to read" list. I have only had a quick scan of it so far but it does indeed look very interesting.
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Old 02-04-2019, 01:24 AM   #10
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My first nomination is Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. He is an award-winning author of fiction for adults and children. I did not know that he had written this deeply personal memoir about his experience falling into depression.

From Goodreads:
Quote:
Like nearly one in five people, Matt Haig suffers from depression. Reasons to Stay Alive is Matt’s inspiring account of how, minute by minute and day by day, he overcame the disease with the help of reading, writing, and the love of his parents and his girlfriend (and now-wife), Andrea. And eventually, he learned to appreciate life all the more for it.

Everyone’s lives are touched by mental illness: if we do not suffer from it ourselves, then we have a friend or loved one who does. Matt’s frankness about his experiences is both inspiring to those who feel daunted by depression and illuminating to those who are mystified by it. Above all, his humor and encouragement never let us lose sight of hope. Speaking as his present self to his former self in the depths of depression, Matt is adamant that the oldest cliché is the truest—there is light at the end of the tunnel. He teaches us to celebrate the small joys and moments of peace that life brings, and reminds us that there are always reasons to stay alive.
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Old 02-04-2019, 01:28 AM   #11
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My second nomination is Still Alice by Lisa Genova. The premise of this book is haunting to me, a fictional account of a mother and professor's descent into early onset Alzheimer's disease.

From Goodreads:
Quote:
Still Alice is a compelling debut novel about a 50-year-old woman's sudden descent into early onset Alzheimer's disease, written by first-time author Lisa Genova, who holds a Ph. D in neuroscience from Harvard University.

Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer's disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what's it's like to literally lose your mind...
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Old 02-04-2019, 01:43 AM   #12
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My third nomination is a classic, Disturbing the Peace by Richard Yates published in 1975. It is about the collapse of a man's outwardly perfect life and his struggle with alcoholism and mental illness.

From Goodreads:
Quote:
Hailed as “America’s finest realistic novelist” by the Boston Globe, Richard Yates, author of Revolutionary Road, garnered rare critical acclaim for his bracing, unsentimental portraits of middle-class American life. Disturbing the Peace is no exception. Haunting, troubling, and mesmerizing, it shines a brilliant, unwavering light into the darkest recesses of a man’s psyche.

To all appearances, John Wilder has all the trappings of success, circa 1960: a promising career in advertising, a loving family, a beautiful apartment, even a country home. John’s evenings are spent with associates at quiet Manhattan lounges and his weekends with friends at glittering cocktail parties. But something deep within this seemingly perfect life has long since gone wrong. Something has disturbed John’s fragile peace, and he can no longer find solace in fleeting affairs or alcohol. The anger, the drinking, and the recklessness are building to a crescendo—and they’re about to take down John’s career and his family. What happens next will send John on a long, strange journey—at once tragic and inevitable.
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Old 02-04-2019, 08:47 PM   #13
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My next nomination is Monsieur Monde Vanishes by Georges Simenon. I could have sworn this had been nominated at some point in the past but apparently it never has. It fits the topic because Monsieur Monde is on a sort of free fall, abandoning his average, successful life and wife in Paris to disappear to the Riviera and hang out with drunks, prostitutes and thieves. Goodreads 160 pages, 1945, France

Quote:
Monsieur Monde is a successful middle-aged businessman in Paris. One morning he walks out on his life, leaving his wife asleep in bed, leaving everything. Not long after, he surfaces on the Riviera, keeping company with drunks, whores and pimps, with thieves and their marks. A whole new world, where he feels surprisingly at home—at least for a while.

Georges Simenon knew how obsession, buried for years, can come to life, and about the wreckage it leaves behind. He had a remarkable understanding of how bizarrely unaccountable people can be. And he had an almost uncanny ability to capture the look and feel of a given place and time. Monsieur Monde Vanishes is a subtle and profoundly disturbing triumph by the most popular of the twentieth century's great writers.
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Old 02-04-2019, 08:58 PM   #14
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My final nomination is something I've nominated before- Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay. I want to nominate it again because it did well when it was nominated in the lit club (it went to a tie-breaker), because there was a new mini-series adaptation of it in 2018 that could be a point of interest, and because I liked the idea of 'free falling' for this book what with the mysterious disappearances amongst other things. Gooreads 202 pages, 1967, Australia

Quote:
While Joan Lindsay's haunting Australian classic Picnic at Hanging Rock is a work of fiction, the story is often considered one of Australia's greatest mysteries.

In 1900, a class of young women from an exclusive private school go on an excursion to the isolated Hanging Rock, deep in the Australian bush. The excursion ends in tragedy when three girls and a teacher mysteriously vanish after climbing the rock. Only one girl returns, with no memory of what has become of the others...
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:16 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by sun surfer View Post
My final nomination is something I've nominated before- Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay. I want to nominate it again because it did well when it was nominated in the lit club (it went to a tie-breaker), because there was a new mini-series adaptation of it in 2018 that could be a point of interest, and because I liked the idea of 'free falling' for this book what with the mysterious disappearances amongst other things. Gooreads 202 pages, 1967, Australia
Someone else nominated this for November's NLBC and it went to a run-off then too. I was confused for a bit.

"Wait, sun surfer didn't nominate that. What's going on here?"
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