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Old 06-01-2018, 12:57 PM   #1
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Region Nominations & Vote • June 2018

Help us select what the MR Literary Club will read in June 2018!

This is a special Region month in that it is the final one in its cycle. There will be no vote to determine a region first, and all remaining eligible regions will be available to nominate from. As there are five regions left, each person may nominate up to FIVE selections; however, each nomination from any one person should be from a different region.


The category for this month is:

Region
Ireland & The U.K., Japan, The South Pacific, Southeast Europe, and Sub Saharan Africa


Nominations can be set in any region, but they should be written by an author from that region.

Detailed nominating and voting guidelines can be found here. Simply put, nominations are open for four days and each person may nominate up to five literary selections which will go automatically to the vote. Voting then opens for four days and each person votes by post, receives a number of votes equal to the number of nominations minus one and may give each nomination up to two votes. Any questions, feel free to ask.

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

Spoiler:


-Previously chosen regions currently ineligible:
Latin America
Central Asia, East Europe & Russia
Canada & the U.S.A.
North Africa & The Middle East
Southeast Asia
Portugal, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain & France
North & Central Europe
The Korean Peninsula, Mongolia & China
South Asia


The floor is now open!

*

Nominations are complete. Voting is complete. Final results-

  • Tales of the Tikongs by Epeli Hauʻofa, Tonga & Fiji
    Post . Goodreads . 099 Pages . Votes 1

  • The Daughter by Pavlos Matesis, Greece
    Post . Goodreads . 221 Pages . Votes 1

  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigeria
    Post . Goodreads . 506 Pages . Votes 5

  • Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata, Japan
    Post . Goodreads . 191 Pages . Votes 3

  • Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Scotland
    Post . Goodreads . 280 Pages . Votes 4

  • Resistance by Owen Sheers, Wales
    Post . Goodreads . 328 Pages . Votes 4

  • Petals of Blood by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Kenya
    Post . Goodreads . 384 Pages . Votes 2

  • Kokoro by Natsume Sōseki, Japan
    Post . Goodreads . 258 Pages . Votes 1

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Old 06-01-2018, 01:15 PM   #2
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Out of the five regions this month, three have major English-speaking countries (including England, heh), so it'll be interesting to see whether we choose an English-language or foreign-language book this month (either's fine with me). Also, none of the five regions touch so it's a very diverse group.

Just a note, there is a map in the spoiler (the last time this map will be used; I still remember making it for this category all those years ago!) that details which countries are included in each region, but if there are any questions just ask.

Also, to reiterate since it's different than our usual guideline, each person may nominate up to five selections this month, but each nomination by any one person should be from a different eligible region. Those five eligible regions are:

-Ireland & The U.K.
-Japan
-The South Pacific
-Southeast Europe
-Sub Saharan Africa

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Old 06-01-2018, 02:57 PM   #3
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An interesting mix! Should be fun to search for nominations over the weekend.
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Old 06-01-2018, 04:59 PM   #4
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I'll begin by nominating a longshot since it doesn't seem to be available as an ebook. It is by Epeli Hauʻofa who was born of Tongan missionary parents in Papua New Guinea and lived the end of his life in Fiji, so he is about as South Pacific an author as one can get. He attended school in all of those countries as well as Australia, gaining a Ph.D. in social anthropology, and taught at the University of Papua New Guinea and as well for the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, where he was the first Director of the Rural Development Centre based in Tonga, became the Head of the Department of Sociology and became the founder and director of the Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture. He also spent some years as the Deputy Private Secretary to His Majesty King Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV (The King of Tonga) and while back in Tonga co-produced the literary magazine Faikara. Here is his Goodreads page with more bio information.

I'm nominating his short story collection Tales of the Tikongs which is set in a fictitious South Pacific island nation based on Tonga and is about 99 pages long. From Goodreads:

Quote:
Tiko, a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean, faces a tidal wave of D-E-V-E-L-O-P-M-E-N-T, which threatens to demolish ancestral ways and the human spirit. From Sione, who prefers to play cards with his secretary during work hours, to Ole Pasifikiwei, who masters the twists and turns of international funding games, all of the characters in these pages are seasoned surfers, capable of riding the biggest wave to shore. These are not stories of fatal impact so much as upbeat tales of indigenous responses to cultural and economic imperialism. Epeli Hauofa uses devices derived from oral storytelling to create a South Pacific voice that is lucid, hilarious, and compassionate in a work that has long been regarded as a milestone in Pacific literature.
Since it's not an ebook I'll list some Amazon pages for the book:
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK
Amazon Australia
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Old 06-01-2018, 05:31 PM   #5
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Next, I'll nominate The Daughter by Pavlos Matesis, from Greece, 221 pages. From Goodreads (where it has a 4.23 rating):

Quote:
Rural Greece during German occupation and the civil war. Meskaris, a young mother whose husband is away fighting, takes as her lover a shy Italian soldier, so as to better feed and clothe her children. With victory, the villagers will exact a terrible revenge. This is the mother's story as told by her daughter, Rarau, along with her own life story.

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Old 06-02-2018, 11:46 PM   #6
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My first nomination is Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie from Nigeria (Sub-Saharan Africa). I knew which author I wanted to nominate because she has been on my want-to-read list for a long while. The difficulty was in choosing which book!

From Goodreads:
Quote:
A masterly, haunting new novel from a writer heralded by The Washington Post Book World as “the 21st-century daughter of Chinua Achebe,” Half of a Yellow Sun re-creates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria in the 1960s, and the chilling violence that followed.

With astonishing empathy and the effortless grace of a natural storyteller, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie weaves together the lives of three characters swept up in the turbulence of the decade. Thirteen-year-old Ugwu is employed as a houseboy for a university professor full of revolutionary zeal. Olanna is the professor’s beautiful mistress, who has abandoned her life of privilege in Lagos for a dusty university town and the charisma of her new lover. And Richard is a shy young Englishman in thrall to Olanna’s twin sister, an enigmatic figure who refuses to belong to anyone. As Nigerian troops advance and the three must run for their lives, their ideals are severely tested, as are their loyalties to one another.

Epic, ambitious, and triumphantly realized, Half of a Yellow Sun is a remarkable novel about moral responsibility, about the end of colonialism, about ethnic allegiances, about class and race—and the ways in which love can complicate them all.
Quote:
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nigeria. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages and has appeared in various publications, including The New Yorker, Granta, The O. Henry Prize Stories, the Financial Times, and Zoetrope. She is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; Half of a Yellow Sun, which won the Orange Prize and was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist and a New York Times Notable Book; and Americanah, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was named one of The New York Times Top Ten Best Books of 2013. Ms. Adichie is also the author of the story collection The Thing Around Your Neck.

Ms. Adichie has been invited to speak around the world. Her 2009 TED Talk, The Danger of A Single Story, is now one of the most-viewed TED Talks of all time.
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Old 06-03-2018, 07:56 PM   #7
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My second nomination is Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata from Japan. It's available via Overdrive, and I love the beautiful cover of the Vintage International edition.

From Goodreads:
Quote:
Nobel Prize-winner Yasunari Kawabata's Snow Country is widely considered to be the writer's masterpiece, a powerful tale of wasted love set amid the desolate beauty of western Japan.

At an isolated mountain hot spring, with snow blanketing every surface, Shimamura, a wealthy dilettante meets Komako, a lowly geisha. She gives herself to him fully and without remorse, despite knowing that their passion cannot last and that the affair can have only one outcome. In chronicling the course of this doomed romance, Kawabata has created a story for the ages, a stunning novel dense in implication and exalting in its sadness.
Quote:
Yasunari Kawabata (川端 康成) was a Japanese short story writer and novelist whose spare, lyrical, subtly-shaded prose works won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, the first Japanese author to receive the award. His works have enjoyed broad international appeal and are still widely read.
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Old 06-03-2018, 08:24 PM   #8
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My third nomination is Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon from Scotland. We've read many Irish and English books, but I can't recall any of our previous selections set in Scotland. Voted the "Best Scottish Book of All Time" by the public in 2005.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/4189430.stm

From Goodreads:
Quote:
Young Chris Guthrie comes of age in the harsh landscape of northern Scotland, torn between her passion for the land, her duty to her family and her love of books, until the First World War begins and the landscape around her changes dramatically. The first novel in Gibbon's classic trilogy A Scots Quair, Sunset Song marks the emotional and political changes that history and the coming of industrialization bring to Chris and the small farming community to which she belongs. Gibbon's book, an innovative display of passion and striking formal originality, blends Scots and English into an intense evocation of Scottish life in the early twentieth century.
Quote:
Scottish writer James Leslie Mitchell also wrote under the pseudonym of Lewis Grassic Gibbon.

Born in Auchterless and raised in Arbuthnott, then in Kincardineshire, Mitchell started working as a journalist for the Aberdeen Journal and the Scottish Farmer at age 16. In 1919 he joined the Royal Army Service Corps and served in Iran, India and Egypt before enlisting in the Royal Air Force in 1920. In the RAF he worked as a clerk and spent some time in the Middle East. He married Rebecca Middleton in 1925, with whom he settled in Welwyn Garden City. He began writing full-time in 1929. Mitchell wrote numerous books and shorter works under both his real name and nom de plume before his early death in 1935 of peritonitis brought on by a perforated ulcer.

Mitchell attracted attention from his earliest attempts at fiction, notably from H. G. Wells, but it was his trilogy entitled A Scots Quair, and in particular its first book Sunset Song, with which he made his mark. A Scots Quair with its combination of realist narrative and lyrical use of dialect is considered to be among the defining works of 20th century Scottish Renaissance.
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Old 06-05-2018, 12:22 AM   #9
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Very interesting nominations, Bookworm_Girl. We are on the same wavelength with the British Isles, as I've been mulling over which book from Wales to nominate. I'd narrowed the author down to Owen Sheers, who is a poet, author and playwright (and has won awards in all three areas), but hadn't been able to decide between two of his books. The one that first stood out to me was The Dust Diaries which won the award for the Wales Book of the Year. It's mostly non-fiction with some fictional elements, but what is so grand about it for this month is that it has a Welsh author who was born in Fiji writing about a sojourn to Zimbabwe, so it touches three of the five regions in play. Sheers finds out from a book about a great uncle who was a lyric poet and unorthodox missionary to Rhodesia for about 50 years until death and who was a colourful character and lived an extraordinary life, and so Sheers decides to travel there himself to better understand his ancestor as well as the country and people. The fictional elements are when he imagines scenes from his great uncle's life. However, this book isn't available in ebook, harumph.

I've been tempted enough to nominate it anyway to think it over for a few days now (and if anyone else wants to nominate it I'll vote for it!), but in the end I'm going to go for the other book, Resistance, which does have an ebook. It also sounds very interesting and is purely a novel. It's historical fiction, although the differentiating aspect of it is that it's alternative fiction. Honestly I'm not sure if I've ever read an alternative fiction book myself before, but I think the author has enough of a literary pedigree for it to fit the club and it sounds like it would make for an interesting discussion. 328 pages; from Goodreads:

Quote:
Imbued with immense imaginative breadth and confidence, Owen Sheers's debut novel unfolds with the pace and intensity of a thriller. A hymn to the glorious landscape of the Welsh border territories and a portrait of a community under siege.

1944. After the fall of Russia and the failed D-Day landings, a German counterattack lands on British soil. Within a month, half of Britain is occupied. The seat of British government has fled to Worcester, Churchill to Canada. A network of British resistance cells is all that is left to defy the German army.

Against this backdrop, Resistance opens with Sarah Lewis, a twenty-six-year-old farmer's wife, waking to find her husband, Tom, has disappeared. She is not alone, as all the other women in the Welsh border valley of Olchon wake to find their husbands gone. With this sudden and unexplained absence, the women regroup as an isolated, all-female community and wait, hoping for news.

Later, a German patrol arrives in the valley, the purpose of their mission a mystery. When a severe winter forces the two groups together, a fragile mutual dependency develops. Sarah begins a faltering acquaintance with the patrol’s commanding officer, Albrecht Wolfram, and it is to her that he reveals the purpose of the patrol. But as the pressure of the war beyond presses in on this isolated community, this fragile state of harmony is increasingly threatened.

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Old 06-05-2018, 12:40 PM   #10
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For my last two, I nominate:

Petals of Blood by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Kenya, 384 pages

It's a classic of African literature and often listed among the the most important and influential African novels. When it was first published in 1977 'it was so explosive that the author was imprisoned without charges by the Kenyan government. His incarceration was so shocking that newspapers around the world called attention to the case, and protests were raised by human-rights groups, scholars, and writers, including James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Donald Barthelme, Harold Pinter, and Margaret Drabble.'

From Goodreads:

Quote:
The puzzling murder of three African directors of a foreign-owned brewery sets the scene for this fervent, hard-hitting novel about disillusionment in independent Kenya. A deceptively simple tale, Petals of Blood is on the surface a suspenseful investigation of a spectacular triple murder in upcountry Kenya. Yet as the intertwined stories of the four suspects unfold, a devastating picture emerges of a modern third-world nation whose frustrated people feel their leaders have failed them time after time.

Kokoro by Natsume Sōseki, Japan, 258 pages

It has a 3.99 on Goodreads and I have four GR friends (including two former lit club members, Hamlet and HomeInMyShoes) who've read it, who all rated it 4 stars. About the author- 'He was a scholar of British literature and composer of haiku, kanshi, and fairy tales. From 1984 until 2004, his portrait appeared on the front of the Japanese 1000 yen note. In Japan, he is often considered the greatest writer in modern Japanese history. He has had a profound effect on almost all important Japanese writers since.'

From Goodreads:

Quote:
Hailed by The New Yorker as "rich in understanding and insight," Kokoro — "the heart of things" — is the work of one of Japan's most popular authors. This thought-provoking trilogy of stories explores the very essence of loneliness and stands as a stirring introduction to modern Japanese literature.
Quote:
No collection of Japanese literature is complete without Natsume Soseki's Kokoro, his most famous novel and the last he completed before his death. Published here in the first new translation in more than fifty years, Kokoro—meaning "heart"—is the story of a subtle and poignant friendship between two unnamed characters, a young man and an enigmatic elder whom he calls "Sensei". Haunted by tragic secrets that have cast a long shadow over his life, Sensei slowly opens up to his young disciple, confessing indiscretions from his own student days that have left him reeling with guilt, and revealing, in the seemingly unbridgeable chasm between his moral anguish and his student's struggle to understand it, the profound cultural shift from one generation to the next that characterized Japan in the early twentieth century.
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Old 06-05-2018, 03:17 PM   #11
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Nominations are closed and voting is now open!

Voting will close exactly four days from this post.

Each person has SEVEN votes to use.
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Old 06-06-2018, 12:45 AM   #12
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I'm going to start with 2 votes for Snow Country.
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Old 06-06-2018, 07:11 PM   #13
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I'll start with 2 votes for Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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Old 06-08-2018, 06:52 AM   #14
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To start I’ll give one vote each to:

-Half of a Yellow Sun
-Snow Country
-Tales of the Tikongs
-The Daughter
-Sunset Song
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Old 06-08-2018, 01:06 PM   #15
Bookworm_Girl
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Posts: 4,017
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southwest, USA
Device: Kindle Oasis 2; Kobo Aura One; iPad Pro 9.7
For my next round, I will give one vote each to:

Sunset Song
Resistance
Petals of Blood
Half of a Yellow Sun

Now I have 1 vote left.
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