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Old 08-01-2020, 12:27 AM   #1
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September Nominations • Over the Hills and Far Away: Journeys

Good morning, and welcome to the New Leaf Book Club's September Book Nomination thread where we select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read in September, 2020. The theme is Over the Hills and Far Away: Journeys.

Everyone is welcome to join the nomination process even if they'd rather lurk during the voting and discussion; if that is still a little too much commitment, please feel free to suggest titles without making a formal nomination. Also, don't sweat the links. It's helpful to check availability and prices before nominating in order to eliminate anything that's out of the question, but ultimately our global members with different gadgets and preferences will have to check for themselves.

The nominations will run through 9 AM PST, August 7, 2020. Each nomination requires a second to make it to the poll, which will remain open for three days. The discussion of the selection will start on September 15, 2020.

And don't forget to join us for the discussion of Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, our August selection. That discussion starts on Saturday, August 15th. (Or whenever I manage to get the discussion thread up!)

Any questions? See the FAQ below, or just ask!

FAQs for the Nomination, Selection and Discussion process

General Guidelines for the New Leaf Book Club

Official choices with two nominations:
  • Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. (Victoria, CRussel)
    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    “ The story starts in London on Wednesday, 2 October 1872.

    Phileas Fogg is a rich British gentleman living in solitude. Despite his wealth, Fogg lives a modest life with habits carried out with mathematical precision. Very little can be said about his social life other than that he is a member of the Reform Club, where he spends much of every day. Having dismissed his former valet, James Forster, for bringing him shaving water at 84 °F (29 °C) instead of 86 °F (30 °C), Fogg hires Frenchman Jean Passepartout as a replacement.

    At the Reform Club, Fogg gets involved in an argument over an article in The Daily Telegraph stating that with the opening of a new railway section in India, it is now possible to travel around the world in 80 days. He accepts a wager for £20,000, half of his total fortune, from his fellow club members to complete such a journey within this time period. With Passepartout accompanying him, Fogg departs from London by train at 8:45 p.m. on 2 October; in order to win the wager, he must return to the club by this same time on 21 December, 80 days later. They take the remaining £20,000 of Fogg's fortune with them to cover expenses during the journey.”
    ~130 pp.
  • Tracks: One Woman's Solo Trek Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback by Robyn Davidson (Bookworm_Girl,CRussel)
    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Goodreads
    Robyn Davidson's opens the memoir of her perilous journey across 1,700 miles of hostile Australian desert to the sea with only four camels and a dog for company with the following words: “I experienced that sinking feeling you get when you know you have conned yourself into doing something difficult and there's no going back."

    Enduring sweltering heat, fending off poisonous snakes and lecherous men, chasing her camels when they get skittish and nursing them when they are injured, Davidson emerges as an extraordinarily courageous heroine driven by a love of Australia's landscape, an empathy for its indigenous people, and a willingness to cast away the trappings of her former identity. Tracks is the compelling, candid story of her odyssey of discovery and transformation.
    280 pp.
  • South by Ernest Shackleton. (CRussel,fantasyfan)
    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Goodreads
    In 1914 Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 stalwart individuals attempted to undertake what Shackleton described as “the one remaining great object of Antarctic journeying” - crossing the continent on foot from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea via the South Pole. While disaster famously beset the Endurance expedition, Shackleton, through extraordinary leadership and dogged, relentless effort, lost none of his men; all were saved in 1916.

    The legendary tale of how he accomplished this is still taught in the best military and business schools on the planet. South! is the story of the doomed expedition, straight from the man who led it - Sir Ernest Shackleton.
    ~350-400 pp, depending on edition.
  • The Eyre Affair by Jasper FForde. (JSWolf,Victoria)
    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    Jasper Fforde’s beloved New York Times bestselling novel introduces literary detective Thursday Next and her alternate reality of literature-obsessed England.

    Fans of Douglas Adams and P. G. Wodehouse will love visiting Jasper Fforde's Great Britain, circa 1985, when time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously: it's a bibliophile's dream. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection. But when someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Brontë's novel, Thursday is faced with the challenge of her career. Fforde's ingenious fantasy—enhanced by a Web site that re-creates the world of the novel—unites intrigue with English literature in a delightfully witty mix.
    379 pp.
  • Erebus: The Story of a Ship By Michael Palin. (fantasyfan,Victoria)
    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    In the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign, HMS Erebus undertook two of the most ambitious naval expeditions of all time.

    On the first, she ventured further south than any human had ever been. On the second, she vanished with her 129-strong crew in the wastes of the Canadian Arctic.

    “Her fate remained a mystery for over 160 years.

    Then, in 2014, she was found.

    This is her story.“
    365 pp.
  • Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian (Catlady,gmw)
    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    In January 1945, in the waning months of World War II, a small group of people begin the longest journey of their lives: an attempt to cross the remnants of the Third Reich, from Warsaw to the Rhine if necessary, to reach the British and American lines.

    Among the group is eighteen-year-old Anna Emmerich, the daughter of Prussian aristocrats. There is her lover, Callum Finella, a twenty-year-old Scottish prisoner of war who was brought from the stalag to her family’s farm as forced labor. And there is a twenty-six-year-old Wehrmacht corporal, who the pair know as Manfred–who is, in reality, Uri Singer, a Jew from Germany who managed to escape a train bound for Auschwitz.

    As they work their way west, they encounter a countryside ravaged by war. Their flight will test both Anna’s and Callum’s love, as well as their friendship with Manfred–assuming any of them even survive.

    Perhaps not since The English Patient has a novel so deftly captured both the power and poignancy of romance and the terror and tragedy of war. Skillfully portraying the flesh and blood of history, Chris Bohjalian has crafted a rich tapestry that puts a face on one of the twentieth century’s greatest tragedies–while creating, perhaps, a masterpiece that will haunt readers for generations.
    Quote:
    "The perfect novel for a book club. . .this book sucked me right in. It’s vivid and heart-wrenching."
    —John Searles, The Today Show

    "Reading Bohjalian's descriptions of terror and tragedy on the road has just as much impact as seeing newsreels from the end of World War II....While creating suspense, Bohjalian agilely balances the moral ambiguities of war....Right and wrong shift depending on the situation. Ignorance is tolerated and murder is justified. But Bohjalian does posit that one absolute exists: No one wins at war."
    —Dennis Moore, USA Today

    "Harrowing. . .ingenious. . .compelling. . .Judging who's right or wrong is difficult in Skeletons at the Feast, and one senses that's just the way Bohjalian wants it. . .A tightly woven, moving story for anyone who thinks there's nothing left to learn, or feel, about the Second World War. That Bohjalian can extract greater truths about faith, hope and compassion from something as mundane as a diary is testament not only to his skill as a writer but also to the enduring ability of well-written war fiction to stir our deepest emotions."
    —Paula L. Woods, The Los Angeles Times

    "Harrowing. . .Bohjalian spins a suspenseful tale in which the plot triumphs over any single sorrow. . .[His] sense of character and place, his skillful plotting and his clear grasp of this confusing period of history make for a deeply satisfying novel, one that asks readers to consider, and reconsider, how they would rise to the challenge of terrible deprivation and agonizing moral choices."
    -- Margot Livesey, The Washington Post Book World
    386 pp.
  • Winter Journey by Diane Armstrong (gmw,Luffy)
    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Goodreads
    :
    A mother's silence, a village with a terrible secret, and an Australian woman who travels to Poland to uncover the truth ...

    When forensic dentist Halina Shore arrives in Nowa Kalwaria to take part in a war crimes investigation, she finds herself at the centre of a bitter struggle in a community that has been divided by a grim legacy. What she does not realise is that she has also embarked on a confronting personal journey.

    Inspired by a true incident that took place in Poland in 1941, Diane Armstrong's powerful novel is part mystery, part forensic investigation, and a moving and confronting story of love, loss and sacrifice.
    467 or 381 pp.
  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. (JSWolf,gmw)
    Spoiler:
    Quote:
    God only knows what possessed Bill Bryson, a reluctant adventurer if ever there was one, to undertake a grueling hike along the world's longest continuous footpath—The Appalachian Trail.

    The 2,000-plus-mile trail winds through 14 states, stretching along the east coast of the United States, from Georgia to Maine. It snakes through some of the wildest and most spectacular landscapes in North America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas.

    With his offbeat sensibility, his eye for the absurd, and his laugh-out-loud sense of humor, Bryson recounts his confrontations with nature at its most uncompromising over his five-month journey.

    An instant classic, riotously funny, A Walk in the Woods will add a whole new audience to the legions of Bill Bryson fans
    Quote:
    In the company of his friend Stephen Katz (last seen in the bestselling Neither Here nor There), Bill Bryson set off to hike the Appalachian Trail, the longest continuous footpath in the world. Ahead lay almost 2,200 miles of remote mountain wilderness filled with bears, moose, bobcats, rattlesnakes, poisonous plants, disease-bearing tics, the occasional chuckling murderer and—perhaps most alarming of all - people whose favourite pastime is discussing the relative merits of the external-frame backpack.

    Facing savage weather, merciless insects, unreliable maps and a fickle companion whose profoundest wish was to go to a motel and watch The X-Files, Bryson gamely struggled through the wilderness to achieve a lifetime's ambition—not to die outdoors.
    Quote:
    Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes—and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.

    For a start there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. Despite Katz's overwhelming desire to find cozy restaurants, he and Bryson eventually settle into their stride, and while on the trail they meet a bizarre assortment of hilarious characters. But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful but fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness. An adventure, a comedy, and a celebration, A Walk in the Woods has become a modern classic of travel literature.
    294 Pp.


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Old 08-01-2020, 12:28 AM   #2
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Nominations awaiting a second:

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Old 08-01-2020, 01:19 AM   #3
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Hmm, so many possibilities for this theme. My favourite, West with the Night, isn't eligible yet. But there's always Steinbeck's Travels with Charlie , that should be fun. Or Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods. Sigh, must think about this. Hmmm. Or, since West with the Night isn't eligible, how about a somewhat different take on very much the same period and place? We could do Elspeth Huxley's The Flame Trees of Thika, or maybe Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen/Karen Blixen? Sigh, sadly, I suspect all three of the colonial Africa books are showing their age, though I admit to having enjoyed each of them in spite of that.

Or, how about going at it a completely different way -- with something like Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander, or one of the Sharpe books from Bernard Cornwell.

Finally (well, for now, anyway), it seems to me that there are a whole range of Space Operas that would fit the category.

I can see it's going to take me a bit to pick just one or two to nominate. Ah, well, I'll be back.
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Old 08-01-2020, 04:03 AM   #4
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This theme instantly made me think of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (There and Back Again, a Hobbit's Tale by Bilbo Baggins), but I expect everyone that wants to has probably read it already.

Given the concept of the monomyth, or the Hero's Journey, pretty much adventure story could be said to fit the theme.

I'm thinking non-fiction might be good. I failed to get one David Attenborough up in April, but I've got another I want to read ... but for the moment I will keep thinking about it.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:33 AM   #5
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I nominate Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian (2008, 386 pp.). (I nominated it earlier this year, and the interest in it was underwhelming--not even a second!--but I am undeterred.)

Quote:
In January 1945, in the waning months of World War II, a small group of people begin the longest journey of their lives: an attempt to cross the remnants of the Third Reich, from Warsaw to the Rhine if necessary, to reach the British and American lines.

Among the group is eighteen-year-old Anna Emmerich, the daughter of Prussian aristocrats. There is her lover, Callum Finella, a twenty-year-old Scottish prisoner of war who was brought from the stalag to her family’s farm as forced labor. And there is a twenty-six-year-old Wehrmacht corporal, who the pair know as Manfred–who is, in reality, Uri Singer, a Jew from Germany who managed to escape a train bound for Auschwitz.

As they work their way west, they encounter a countryside ravaged by war. Their flight will test both Anna’s and Callum’s love, as well as their friendship with Manfred–assuming any of them even survive.

Perhaps not since The English Patient has a novel so deftly captured both the power and poignancy of romance and the terror and tragedy of war. Skillfully portraying the flesh and blood of history, Chris Bohjalian has crafted a rich tapestry that puts a face on one of the twentieth century’s greatest tragedies–while creating, perhaps, a masterpiece that will haunt readers for generations.
Quote:
"The perfect novel for a book club. . .this book sucked me right in. It’s vivid and heart-wrenching."
—John Searles, The Today Show

"Reading Bohjalian's descriptions of terror and tragedy on the road has just as much impact as seeing newsreels from the end of World War II....While creating suspense, Bohjalian agilely balances the moral ambiguities of war....Right and wrong shift depending on the situation. Ignorance is tolerated and murder is justified. But Bohjalian does posit that one absolute exists: No one wins at war."
—Dennis Moore, USA Today

"Harrowing. . .ingenious. . .compelling. . .Judging who's right or wrong is difficult in Skeletons at the Feast, and one senses that's just the way Bohjalian wants it. . .A tightly woven, moving story for anyone who thinks there's nothing left to learn, or feel, about the Second World War. That Bohjalian can extract greater truths about faith, hope and compassion from something as mundane as a diary is testament not only to his skill as a writer but also to the enduring ability of well-written war fiction to stir our deepest emotions."
—Paula L. Woods, The Los Angeles Times

"Harrowing. . .Bohjalian spins a suspenseful tale in which the plot triumphs over any single sorrow. . .[His] sense of character and place, his skillful plotting and his clear grasp of this confusing period of history make for a deeply satisfying novel, one that asks readers to consider, and reconsider, how they would rise to the challenge of terrible deprivation and agonizing moral choices."
-- Margot Livesey, The Washington Post Book World
Available in all relevant countries and through Overdrive (e-book and audiobook).

Amazon U.S., $12.99
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Old 08-01-2020, 04:02 PM   #6
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I immediately thought of Fellowship of the Rings - which is my quintessential ‘over the hills’ book. Lovely wafts of nostalgia. But as gmw said about The Hobbit, everyone who wants to read it, already has.

Several of the old classics, like Huckleberry Finn come to mind, but I’m afraid they haven’t aged well. I’ve read several articles on the best adventure books, etc, but nothing quite fits. So I need to do a bit more thinking too.

Charlie, fwiw, I think the space operas would fit the theme very well.
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:21 AM   #7
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Charlie, fwiw, I think the space operas would fit the theme very well.
Well, while I'm sure you and I wouldn't object to a re-read of, say, Balance of Trade, a perfect journey book on several different levels, some amongst us dislike anything SFF almost as much as I abhor horror, or really, anything even moderately dark. So I'm hoping to go with something of somewhat more general acceptability.
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Old 08-02-2020, 06:19 AM   #8
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The first book I thought of was Noah Gordon's Physician. From Amazon:

Spoiler:
Quote:
When nine-year-old Rob Cole felt the life force slipping from his mother's hand he could not foresee that this terrifying awareness of impending death was a gift that would lead him from the familiar life of 11th-century London to small villages throughout England and finally to the medical school at Ispahan. Though apprenticed to an itinerant barber surgeon, it is the dazzling surgery of a Jewish physician trained by the legendary Persian physician Avicenna that inspires him to accept his gift and to commit his life to healing by studying at Avicenna's school. Despite the ban on Christian students, Rob goes there, disguising himself as a Jew to gain admission. Gordon has written an adventurous and inspiring tale of a quest for medical knowledge pursued in a violent world full of superstition and prejudice. Recommended. Literary Guild alternate. Cynthia Johnson Whealler, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, Mass.


I'm not nominating this, I've read it so I'm just putting it out there if someone else wants to. Warning, It's quite lengthy. 838 pages.
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:16 AM   #9
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The first book I thought of was Noah Gordon's Physician. From Amazon: [...]
I read this 15-20 years ago and enjoyed it enough that I recently purchased ebook editions of this and the two sequels on special, intending to re-read. So I'd be up for it if others were interested, but you're right, drofgnal, it is quite a doorstop of a book, and could be a bit much to expect for a club read.


I'm tempted to nominate The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, because I liked it a lot and would like to re-read it soon ... but our last Ishiguro got very a mixed reception here.

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Old 08-02-2020, 11:32 AM   #10
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Well, this is a cliché, and probably a groaner. However, it’s been on my tbr list for most of my lifetime, so if not by now, when? Plus, it does sound like fun. Therefore, I nominate Around the World in Eighty Days ,by Jules Verne. Depending on the translation, it’s approximately 130 pages.


From Wikipedia:

“ The story starts in London on Wednesday, 2 October 1872.

Phileas Fogg is a rich British gentleman living in solitude. Despite his wealth, Fogg lives a modest life with habits carried out with mathematical precision. Very little can be said about his social life other than that he is a member of the Reform Club, where he spends much of every day. Having dismissed his former valet, James Forster, for bringing him shaving water at 84 °F (29 °C) instead of 86 °F (30 °C), Fogg hires Frenchman Jean Passepartout as a replacement.

At the Reform Club, Fogg gets involved in an argument over an article in The Daily Telegraph stating that with the opening of a new railway section in India, it is now possible to travel around the world in 80 days. He accepts a wager for £20,000, half of his total fortune, from his fellow club members to complete such a journey within this time period. With Passepartout accompanying him, Fogg departs from London by train at 8:45 p.m. on 2 October; in order to win the wager, he must return to the club by this same time on 21 December, 80 days later. They take the remaining £20,000 of Fogg's fortune with them to cover expenses during the journey.”

It’s in the public domain, and available via overdrive.
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Old 08-02-2020, 06:59 PM   #11
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I nominate Tracks: One Woman's Solo Trek Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback by Robyn Davidson, a classic Australian travel book. Kindle prices are $9.99 US, $9.99 CDN, $8.99 AU. It's available to borrow in my Overdrive library.

From Goodreads:
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Robyn Davidson's opens the memoir of her perilous journey across 1,700 miles of hostile Australian desert to the sea with only four camels and a dog for company with the following words: “I experienced that sinking feeling you get when you know you have conned yourself into doing something difficult and there's no going back."

Enduring sweltering heat, fending off poisonous snakes and lecherous men, chasing her camels when they get skittish and nursing them when they are injured, Davidson emerges as an extraordinarily courageous heroine driven by a love of Australia's landscape, an empathy for its indigenous people, and a willingness to cast away the trappings of her former identity. Tracks is the compelling, candid story of her odyssey of discovery and transformation.
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:54 PM   #12
CRussel
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I'll second 80 Days and Tracks. First message will get updated later tonight.

Updated. And I'll add that if you get the Amazon Classics Edition (Free) of Around the World in 80 Days, you can get the Patrick Tull narration from Audible for the $7.49 WhisperSync price. There are lots of narrations available, but when you can choose Patrick Tull, why look further? (OK, some might prefer the Frederick Davidson narration, but you can choose that for the same WhisperSync price with this Amazon Classics edition.)

Last edited by CRussel; 08-03-2020 at 01:38 AM.
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:49 PM   #13
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I am going to nominate My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell.
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The inspiration for The Durrells in Corfu, a Masterpiece production on public television: A naturalist’s account of his childhood on the exotic Greek island.

When the Durrells could no longer endure the gray English climate, they did what any sensible family would do: sold their house and relocated to the sun-soaked island of Corfu.

As they settled into their new home, hilarious mishaps ensued as a ten-year-old Gerald Durrell pursued his interest in natural history and explored the island’s fauna. Soon, toads and tortoises, bats and butterflies—as well as scorpions, geckos, ladybugs, praying mantises, octopuses, pigeons, and gulls—became a common sight in the Durrell villa.

Uproarious tales of the island’s animals and Durrell’s fond reflections on his family bring this delightful memoir to life. Capturing the joyous chaos of growing up in an unconventional household, My Family and Other Animals will transport you to a place you won’t want to leave.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Gerald Durrell including rare photos from the author’s estate.
Overdrive: https://www.overdrive.com/search?q=M...Animals+gerald
Amazon: US https://www.amazon.com/Family-Other-.../dp/B01LYWHFSR
Kobo US: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/my-...ther-animals-2
eBooks.com UK: https://www.ebooks.com/en-gb/book/95...erald-durrell/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06ZZMLMKT
Kobo UK: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/my-...ther-animals-3
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:04 PM   #14
Catlady
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I am going to nominate My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell.
Are we following the six-month rule still, or being flexible? This one was nominated for April, and Dazrin's charts show it isn't eligible for another month.
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Old 08-03-2020, 12:37 AM   #15
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Are we following the six-month rule still, or being flexible? This one was nominated for April, and Dazrin's charts show it isn't eligible for another month.
The 6 month rule is still in effect. Too bad, I've been tempted to read it based on the original nomination, but haven't gotten around to it.

Sorry, Jon -- you'll have to wait to nominate My Family and Other Animals. Meanwhile, you have that ticket back.
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