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Old 04-01-2020, 07:24 PM   #1
sun surfer
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Viral • April 2020

Help select what we'll read and discuss next!


The topic is Viral.

I think we're all pretty familiar with this word and concept at the moment. Virus, Pestilence, Plague, oh my! Anything to do with any of those would work. There is the more obvious interpretation of virus, although it might also suggest computer viruses and other types as well. The topic could also do with the newer meaning of viral as being much discussed because of some aspect especially unique or tantalising, or becoming very well known very quickly, sometimes for the wrong reasons; this might include infamous literary books, or ones that struck a particular chord in the zeitgeist, or books with plots, themes or titles involving something of that nature.


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 now complete. Initial voting is complete. Run-off voting is complete. Final results-
  • The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams
    Post . Goodreads . Preview . 448 Pages . Votes 1 . Run-off – . 1977 . England

  • Blindness by José Saramago
    Post . Goodreads . Preview . 309 Pages . Votes 4 . Run-off 1 . 1995 . Portugal

  • A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel DeFoe
    Post . Goodreads . Preview . 218 Pages . Votes 2 . Run-off – . 1722 . England

  • The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
    Post . Goodreads . Preview . 320 Pages . Votes 2 . Run-off – . 2019 . U.S.

  • Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter
    Post . Goodreads . Preview . 205 Pages . Votes 2 . Run-off – . 1939 . U.S.

  • The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama
    Post . Goodreads . Preview . 225 Pages . Votes 4 . Run-off 2 . 1994 . U.S.

  • Fever by Mary Beth Keane
    Post . Goodreads . Preview . 336 Pages . Votes 2 . Run-off – . 2013 . U.S.

  • The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
    Post . Goodreads . Preview . 312 Pages . Votes 3 . Run-off – . 2006 . U.S.

  • The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
    Post . Goodreads . Preview . 306 Pages . Votes 3 . Run-off – . 1969 . U.S.

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Old 04-01-2020, 10:43 PM   #2
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I will post my nominations this weekend. I am going to try to think of both traditional and creative interpretations!
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Old 04-02-2020, 12:28 AM   #3
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I feel guilty getting in early with nominations because I am still lagging behind back at Doctor Zhivago but these are books I have previously considered for reading and so came readily to mind. Mine are:

Doomsday Book - Connie Willis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doomsday_Book_(novel)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24983.Doomsday_Book
https://web.archive.org/web/20080521...0/classic.html

The Plague Dogs - Richard Adams
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Plague_Dogs
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...he_Plague_Dogs

Blindness - José Saramago
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blindness_(novel)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40495148-blindness

Doomsday Book is a long shot, but is long and seems people either love it or hate it. The Plague Dogs is on my reread list, not a great literary example but has survived time.

If those who have mentioned them already, or anyone else, were to nominate The Andromeda Strain and Love in the Time of Cholera I would do backward flips with excitement .
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Old 04-02-2020, 01:39 AM   #4
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Don't feel guilty; it's great getting your nominations in early! I wish I could too but I often like my time to hem and haw over which books to pick lol. Anyway, it's especially good you did this month because one of the nominations isn't eligible, which is so rare I don't think we've had it happen in years now.

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis was chosen by the old MR book club and one of the only guidelines for nominations is that they haven't been a selection of any book club here before. I might not've even noticed... if I hadn't read it that month back then. Although, I could still write an... informative post on my thoughts on that book, heh (suffice to say it wasn't my favourite but if you liked Willis' other book you might like it; her realistic description of a medieval town battling the plague was detailed and interesting). Anyway you've got your nomination back and can still add another nomination if you want.

As well, fyi Love in the Time of Cholera isn't eligible either since the lit club chose it some years ago. And just to get it out there for everyone now, it might not be an exhaustive list of past sickness/plague selections but from a quick look The Plague and Year of Wonders also aren't eligible as we've chosen them for the lit club before, and neither is A Canticle for Leibowitz as it was chosen for the general MR book club.

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Old 04-02-2020, 03:05 PM   #5
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I had a look on the spreadsheet and saw neither of them there, but I may well have missed them (I used the spreadsheet's search macro).

Is there a definitive list of what has been nominated and what has been read before?
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Old 04-02-2020, 03:24 PM   #6
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I don't think there's a list of all previous nominations anywhere, that I know of anyway, but only books chosen as the selection for a month are ineligible to us, and there are lists of those.

For the lit club the complete list is here. The other clubs each have complete lists here too, the older general club here and the newer one here.

However, they're all combined on a spreadsheet made by Dazrin (not sure if that's what you were referring to) here. If you were referring to Dazrin's spreadsheets, the first default spreadsheet shown using most links to go there is the eligibility for the other club which is a little different from ours. That list is titled 'NLBC Eligibility Search'. I think the link I just gave automatically opens the second spreadsheet of Dazrin's, which is titled 'Complete List' (if not, you can click that title at the bottom of the spreadsheets to go to it). This is a combined list of all selections from the clubs here, and those are the ones that are ineligible for the lit club.

I'll try to update the first post in our welcome thread that has the more detailed guidelines with those links at some point, though aside from the selections list that post really needs a thorough going over altogether and I keep putting it off, heh.
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Old 04-02-2020, 03:28 PM   #7
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Dazrin’s spreadsheet is AWESOME and a great help.
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Old 04-02-2020, 03:51 PM   #8
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Yes, it is! I also enjoying perusing all those stats every once in awhile.

I just messaged him to see if he might add something to that second spreadsheet to make it clear that's the list for the lit club eligibility (I'm not sure he even knew before; he might've just made that particular Complete List spreadsheet as a repository of all prior selections).

It's so rare this even comes up though, and now that I think of it, with that list only growing I think we amended that guideline to only include prior book selections anyone in the lit club was originally there for and speaks up about during the nominations. So someone can get away with nominating a prior selection if no one says anything about it, heh. In current practice this still pretty much excludes any prior lit club selection, and any other club selection after at least February 2011 which was when I joined the clubs, and I feel like at least one of us or another has been participating in the other book clubs each month since. I'm not sure if either of you or others here had participated earlier than February '11, but as far as I'm concerned you can have at any selections prior to that.

And for what it's worth, while looking at the list to see what month I originally joined by finding the first book I had participated in reading, I noticed only two months before I joined The Woman in White was the December 2010 general club selection, and we successfully nominated and selected that book in the lit club not all that long ago, so it's possible! That month might've been the month we discussed all this originally and altered it to our current guidelines.

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Old 04-02-2020, 06:09 PM   #9
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Yes it was Dazrin's spreadsheet that I used, so seems I used the wrong one.

I'll try and dream up a replacement book . At least I am saved from the possibility of an immediate very lengthy Doomsday Book read .
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Old 04-03-2020, 07:16 AM   #10
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You recently had Station Eleven, that was a prophetic choice. I've always wanted to read the Andromeda Strain, having liked the movie. The Plague by Albert Camus would also be a good read.
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Old 04-03-2020, 04:42 PM   #11
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Yes it was Dazrin's spreadsheet that I used, so seems I used the wrong one...
I've discovered the problem, well for me . When one opens the spreadsheet from the link it is populated with a subset of the whole population of books. So if one does a search (either by the filtering macros or visually) of "doom" or "cholera" for example the output is blank. If one then filters on "All" then one gets all the books.

My problem is that I am so used to working with spreadsheets and databases that to find one that opens already filtered to a subset of the whole population is most unusual. I now see that there is a note by the filtering "Show" macro cell " (Blank = NLBC Ineligible books only)" (what is NLBC? took me a few minutes to fathom that out too, turned out to not be North London Borough Council ) but that was just noise to me as is contrary to usual database practice (should open fully populated or empty, not in some in between state).

Maybe I am the only one who has run into this but my suggestion would be that the spreadsheet should open fully populated and filters applied by the user to get the subset of books looked for. Compare with Calibre, for example, when run the library list opens full populated, not at some subset filtered on some tag.

(This could be moved into the Literary Club sticky thread)

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Old 04-03-2020, 06:31 PM   #12
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FYI, I added a couple comments for how to use it for the literary club to the "Eligibility Search" and "Complete List" tabs. The sheet was really intended for the New Leaf Book Club so while I don't mind adding some features for the literary club I'm probably not going to change the defaults right now.
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Old 04-04-2020, 01:51 PM   #13
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At least I am saved from the possibility of an immediate very lengthy Doomsday Book read .
If you do ever read it, I'd like to know what you thought of it. I thought it was a great idea, but some things about it really irked me, including (vague ending spoiler):
Spoiler:
an incredibly eye-rolling (to me at least!) deus ex machina.


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Maybe I am the only one who has run into this but my suggestion would be that the spreadsheet should open fully populated and filters applied by the user to get the subset of books looked for.
The best I can do is give this link, which is the same bolded one from my last post. It works for me to open the specific spreadsheet with an exact list of our ineligible books (which is also the list of all prior selections).

It is default sorted by date. Sorting by author on that list can be a little problematic for me (although it might work fine for you), but I just go straight to the linked list as is, then do a manual search for author last name or title (on a Mac, I press Command & F, then enter a word in the pop up search field... I think on a PC the keys to press are Control & F).
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Old 04-04-2020, 01:56 PM   #14
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FYI, I added a couple comments for how to use it for the literary club to the "Eligibility Search" and "Complete List" tabs. The sheet was really intended for the New Leaf Book Club so while I don't mind adding some features for the literary club I'm probably not going to change the defaults right now.
Thanks for adding that! Those spreadsheets are an amazing resource... even if they weren't technically meant for the lit club.
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Old 04-04-2020, 02:00 PM   #15
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You recently had Station Eleven, that was a prophetic choice.
You're right, although let's hope it's not too prophetic!
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