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View Poll Results: Redux: Which gifted book shall we read and discuss in July?
The Man Who Knew Infinity by Robert Kanigel 3 50.00%
The Natural by Bernard Malamud 5 83.33%
Bee Season by Myla Goldberg 3 50.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 6. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-10-2019, 07:10 AM   #1
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Runoff Vote for July 2019 • Naturally Gifted: Prodigies


This is a runoff poll to select the book we'll read and discuss in July 2019.

We love new participants. We're happy for you to vote, but we'd like to request that you not vote unless you plan to join the discussion whatever the selection, in the interest of a vibrant conversation. So if you haven't posted in a book club thread yet, do please say a quick hello here or in the Welcome thread.


This is a poll. Vote for as many books as you'd like. Questions? FAQs | Guidelines Or just ask!

Choices:

The Man Who Knew Infinity by Robert Kanigel
Kobo: Au$13; UK£4; US$13; CA$10 | Kindle: US$13; CA$10; AU$13; UK£8 | Audible
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A moving and enlightening look at the unbelievable true story of how gifted prodigy Ramanujan stunned the scholars of Cambridge University and revolutionized mathematics.

In 1913, a young unschooled Indian clerk wrote a letter to G H Hardy, begging the preeminent English mathematician's opinion on several ideas he had about numbers. Realizing the letter was the work of a genius, Hardy arranged for Srinivasa Ramanujan to come to England.

Thus began one of the most improbable and productive collaborations ever chronicled. With a passion for rich and evocative detail, Robert Kanigel takes us from the temples and slums of Madras to the courts and chapels of Cambridge University........In time, Ramanujan's creative intensity took its toll: he died at the age of thirty-two, but left behind a magical and inspired legacy that is still being plumbed for its secrets today.
438 pp.

The Natural by Bernard Malamud
Kobo: US$9.99 | CA$10.99 | AU$14.99 | UK£4.99 | Overdrive: ebook & audiobook
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The Natural, Bernard Malamud's first novel, published in 1952, is also the first—and some would say still the best—novel ever written about baseball. In it Malamud, usually appreciated for his unerring portrayals of postwar Jewish life, took on very different material—the story of a superbly gifted "natural" at play in the fields of the old daylight baseball era—and invested it with the hardscrabble poetry, at once grand and altogether believable, that runs through all his best work. Four decades later, Alfred Kazin's comment still holds true: "Malamud has done something which—now that he has done it!—looks as if we have been waiting for it all our lives. He has really raised the whole passion and craziness and fanaticism of baseball as a popular spectacle to its ordained place in mythology."
249 pp.

Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
Amazon US $10.99 | Overdrive
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Eliza Naumann, a seemingly unremarkable nine-year-old, expects never to fit into her gifted family: her autodidact father, Saul, absorbed in his study of Jewish mysticism; her brother, Aaron, the vessel of his father's spiritual ambitions; and her brilliant but distant lawyer-mom, Miriam. But when Eliza sweeps her school and district spelling bees in quick succession, Saul takes it as a sign that she is destined for greatness. In this altered reality, Saul inducts her into his hallowed study and lavishes upon her the attention previously reserved for Aaron, who in his displacement embarks upon a lone quest for spiritual fulfillment. When Miriam's secret life triggers a familial explosion, it is Eliza who must order the chaos.

Myla Goldberg's keen eye for detail brings Eliza's journey to three-dimensional life. As she rises from classroom obscurity to the blinding lights and outsized expectations of the National Bee, Eliza's small pains and large joys are finely wrought and deeply felt.

Not merely a coming-of-age story, Goldberg's first novel delicately examines the unraveling fabric of one family. The outcome of this tale is as startling and unconventional as her prose, which wields its metaphors sharply and rings with maturity. The work of a lyrical and gifted storyteller, Bee Season marks the arrival of an extraordinarily talented new writer.
288 pp.
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:50 AM   #2
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Just to clarify: we vote for only one of the three?
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Old 06-10-2019, 09:02 AM   #3
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Just to clarify: we vote for only one of the three?
I set up the poll as multiple choice, but it could be changed if people think it better to vote for only one. I think the feeling with our usual polls is that multiple choice gives us a better outcome in choosing a book that's satisfactory to more members.

As a reminder to the vote watchers, I won't vote unless there's another tie.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:39 AM   #4
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As a reminder to the vote watchers, I won't vote unless there's another tie.
issybird - that doesn’t seem very fair! Why don’t you get to vote like the rest of us? And here you’re doing all the work.
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Old 06-12-2019, 12:12 PM   #5
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The baseball fan in me is rooting for Malamud! I also was able to put it on hold at my local library for pickup this week.
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Old 06-12-2019, 12:59 PM   #6
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While I like baseball (and have already scored the book at my one of my libraries), I'm really rooting for The Man Who Knew Infinity. First, because it sounds interesting, of course, but also because it's not something I would have found on my own.
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Old 06-12-2019, 03:06 PM   #7
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I’m happy with any of the options. I think they are all something that I wouldn’t have found on my own.
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:47 PM   #8
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Surprisingly, I’m rooting for ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity But the timing isn’t the best, coming on the heels of this month’s book. I realize now that they’re quite similar in vein - something I hadn’t thought of when I nominated it. No matter - it’s a fun line up.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:14 PM   #9
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issybird - that doesn’t seem very fair! Why don’t you get to vote like the rest of us? And here you’re doing all the work.
Well, this method of tie-breaking a runoff is a carryforward from the old MR Club; I suppose it seemed as good a way as any. I don't mind, though; while of course I have preferences I'm happy enough to read any selection so it's not as if I'm being all noble and self-sacrificing.
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:07 PM   #10
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It looks as if baseball is going to beat mathematics and spelling! However, I plan on reading The Man Who Knew Infinity anyway, so thanks for the nomination Victoria.

I think you are right though and it might not be the best book to follow straight on from the July selection. You can always renominate it after a period of time though.
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:37 AM   #11
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It looks as if baseball is going to beat mathematics and spelling! However, I plan on reading The Man Who Knew Infinity anyway, so thanks for the nomination Victoria. .
Good, Bookpossum I’m glad you found a book you’re interested in.

Your comment brought back fond memories of school in June. It was soooo hard to sit through math and spelling, as we looked out longingly at the baseball diamond
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:12 AM   #12
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Good, Bookpossum I’m glad you found a book you’re interested in.

Your comment brought back fond memories of school in June. It was soooo hard to sit through math and spelling, as we looked out longingly at the baseball diamond
My favorite school/baseball memory is how they'd let us watch the Yankees afternoon playoff games on the classroom television. I miss daytime baseball; there's not nearly enough of it anymore.
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:23 AM   #13
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I always wondered how so many people got interested in baseball - now I know: School or baseball, your choice kids. Brainwashing!
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:42 AM   #14
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I always wondered how so many people got interested in baseball - now I know: School or baseball, your choice kids. Brainwashing!
Oh, please. Baseball's a doddle compared to the incomprehensible and interminable snoozefest of cricket.
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:04 AM   #15
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The really incomprehensible game is Gridiron! But I must admit that cricket is all rather mysterious too, to me anyway.
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