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Old 10-01-2019, 07:06 AM   #1
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Nominations for November 2019 • Books like Onions: Layers


It's time for us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read in November 2019. The theme is Books like Onions: Layers.

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 7 AM EDT, October 7, 2019. Each nomination requires a second and a third to make it to the poll, which will remain open for three days. The discussion of the selection will start on November 15, 2019. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the October selection, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, on October 15.

Any questions? See below, or just ask!

FAQs for the Nomination, Selection and Discussion process

General Guidelines for the New Leaf Book Club

Official choices with three nominations:

Why Shoot a Butler? by Georgette Heyer [Victoria, CRussel, astrangerhere]
Kobo: CA$13.59; US$11.19; AU$12.99 Kindle: US$9.68
Spoiler:
From Amazon:

Quote:
Every family has secrets, but now they are turning deadly...

On a dark night, along a lonely country road, barrister Frank Amberley stops to help a young lady in distress and discovers a sports car with a corpse behind the wheel. The girl protests her innocence and Amberley believes her—at least until he gets drawn into the mystery and the evidence incriminating Shirley Brown begins to add up.

Why Shoot a Butler? is an English country-house murder with a twist. In this beloved classic by Georgette Heyer, the butler is the victim, every clue complicates the puzzle, and the bumbling police are well-meaning but completely baffled. Fortunately, amateur sleuth Amberley is as brilliant as he is arrogant as he ferrets out the desperate killer—even though this time he's not sure he wants to know the truth...
320 pp.

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters [Catlady, Bookpossum, Bookworm_Girl]
Amazon U.S. $12.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked out streets, illicit liaisons, sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch is the work of a truly brilliant and compelling storyteller.

This is the story of four Londoners – three women and a young man with a past, drawn with absolute truth and intimacy. Kay, who drove an ambulance during the war and lived life at full throttle, now dresses in mannish clothes and wanders the streets with a restless hunger, searching. Helen, clever, sweet, much-loved, harbours a painful secret. Viv, glamour girl, is stubbornly, even foolishly loyal, to her soldier lover. Duncan, an apparent innocent, has had his own demons to fight during the war. Their lives, and their secrets connect in sometimes startling ways. War leads to strange alliances…

Tender, tragic and beautifully poignant, set against the backdrop of feats of heroism both epic and ordinary, here is a novel of relationships that offers up subtle surprises and twists. The Night Watch is thrilling. A towering achievement.
513 pp.

The Overstory by Richard Powers [twitchly, gmw, Bookpossum]
Kindle: UK£5.99; US$9.99; AU$12.99; CA$14.72
Spoiler:
Quote:
From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers' twelfth book unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century timber wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn to see that world and are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.
500 pp.

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield [gmw, Bookworm_Girl, issybird]
US$12.99, CA$14.99, GB£4.99, AU$12.99.
Spoiler:
Blurb from Kobo:
Quote:
On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the Thames, the regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open and in steps an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a child.

Hours later, the dead girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life.

Is it a miracle?

Is it magic?

And who does the little girl belong to?

An exquisitely crafted multi-layered mystery brimming with folklore, suspense and romance, as well as with the urgent scientific curiosity of the Darwinian age, Once Upon a River is as richly atmospheric as Setterfield’s bestseller The Thirteenth Tale.
Goodread's blurb is a bit long-winded, but here's the link
464 pp.

Ever After by Graham Swift [Bookpossum, gmw, CRussel]
Kobo prices: $US11.99, $A12.99, £5.99.
Spoiler:
Quote:
Dazzling in its structure and shattering in its emotional force, Graham Swift's Ever After spans two centuries and settings from the adulterous bedrooms of postwar Paris to the contemporary entanglements in the groves of academe.

It is the story of Bill Unwin, a man haunted by the death of his beautiful wife and a survivor himself of a recent brush with mortality. And although it touches on Darwin and dinosaurs, bees and bridge builders, the true subject of Ever After is nothing less than the eternal question, "Why should things matter?"
295 pp.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë [Bookworm_Girl, CRussel, Catlady]
Public Domain
Spoiler:
From Amazon:
Quote:
A mysterious young widow arrives at Wildfell Hall, an Elizabethan mansion which has been empty for many years, with her young son and servant. She lives there in strict seclusion under the assumed name Helen Graham and very soon finds herself the victim of local slander. Refusing to believe anything scandalous about her, Gilbert Markham, a young farmer, discovers her dark secrets. In her diary, Helen writes about her husband's physical and moral decline through alcohol, and the world of debauchery and cruelty from which she has fled.
500 pp.

Last edited by issybird; 10-06-2019 at 11:01 AM. Reason: Through post #55.
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Old 10-01-2019, 07:07 AM   #2
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Choices with one or two nominations:

**The Memory Chalet by Tony Judt [issybird, Victoria]
UK£5.99; AU$14.99; CA$12.99; US$11.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
The Memory Chalet is a memoir unlike any you have ever read before. Each essay charts some experience or remembrance of the past through the sieve of Tony Judt s prodigious mind. His youthful love of a particular London bus route evolves into a reflection on public civility and interwar urban planning. Memories of the 1968 student riots of Paris meander through the divergent sex politics of Europe, before concluding that his generation was a revolutionary generation, but missed the revolution. A series of road trips across America lead not just to an appreciation of American history, but to an eventual acquisition of citizenship. Foods and trains and long-lost smells all compete for Judt s attention; but for us, he has forged his reflections into an elegant arc of analysis. All as simply and beautifully arranged as a Swiss chalet—a reassuring refuge deep in the mountains of memory.
225 pp.

**Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami [astrangerhere, Dazrin]
US$9.99
Spoiler:
Goodreads:
Quote:
A narrative particle accelerator that zooms between Wild Turkey Whiskey and Bob Dylan, unicorn skulls and voracious librarians, John Coltrane and Lord Jim. Science fiction, detective story and post-modern manifesto all rolled into one rip-roaring novel, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is the tour de force that expanded Haruki Murakami's international following. Tracking one man's descent into the Kafkaesque underworld of contemporary Tokyo, Murakami unites East and West, tragedy and farce, compassion and detachment, slang and philosophy.
400 pp.

*Paths of Glory by Humphrey Cobb [issybird]
Kindle prices: US$6.99; AU$8.99, UK£5.49; CA$13.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
Paths of Glory explores the perilous complications involved in what nations demand of their soldiers in wartime. Humphrey Cobb's protagonists are Frenchmen during the First World War whose nightmare in the trenches takes a new and terrible turn when they are ordered to assault a German position deemed all but invulnerable. When the attack fails, an inquiry into allegations of cowardice indicts a small handful of lower-ranked scapegoats whose trial exposes the farce of ordering ordinary men to risk their lives in an impossible cause. A chilling portrait of injustice, this novel offers insight into the tragedies of war in any age.
228 pp.

Last edited by issybird; 10-06-2019 at 03:27 PM. Reason: Through post #59.
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Old 10-01-2019, 09:06 AM   #3
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I'm going to nominate The Memory Chalet by Tony Judt. This is Judt's chronicling of his memories as he suffered from ALS/MND/Lou Gehrig's disease. 225 pp.

From Goodreads:

Quote:
The Memory Chalet is a memoir unlike any you have ever read before. Each essay charts some experience or remembrance of the past through the sieve of Tony Judt s prodigious mind. His youthful love of a particular London bus route evolves into a reflection on public civility and interwar urban planning. Memories of the 1968 student riots of Paris meander through the divergent sex politics of Europe, before concluding that his generation was a revolutionary generation, but missed the revolution. A series of road trips across America lead not just to an appreciation of American history, but to an eventual acquisition of citizenship. Foods and trains and long-lost smells all compete for Judt s attention; but for us, he has forged his reflections into an elegant arc of analysis. All as simply and beautifully arranged as a Swiss chalet—a reassuring refuge deep in the mountains of memory.
Prices, from cheapest to dearest: UK£5.99; AU$14.99; CA$12.99; US$11.99. Available through OverDrive.
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Old 10-01-2019, 11:24 AM   #4
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I nominate Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

Blurb from Kobo:
Quote:
On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the Thames, the regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open and in steps an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a child.

Hours later, the dead girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life.

Is it a miracle?

Is it magic?

And who does the little girl belong to?

An exquisitely crafted multi-layered mystery brimming with folklore, suspense and romance, as well as with the urgent scientific curiosity of the Darwinian age, Once Upon a River is as richly atmospheric as Setterfield’s bestseller The Thirteenth Tale.
464 pages

Indicative pricing (from Kobo): USD $12.99, CAD $14.99, GBP £4.99, AUD $12.99.

Goodread's blurb is a bit long-winded, but here's the link.


Right there in the blurb it says "multi-layered" so I'm covered for the theme.


I had rather more difficulty working out what to nominate than I thought I would. I seriously considered The Great Wheel by Ian R. MacLeod, or maybe one of his books that I haven't read yet, like Red Snow, but the MacLeod I nominated for July didn't attract much interest. I'd have liked to nominate The Stonor Eagles by William Horwood but it doesn't seem to have made it into e-book form yet. Gingerbread by Robert Dinsdale was high on my list but apparently it's not available in the US. And so it went on. I finally opted for this Diane Setterfield because I really to want read it (already own it) and it sounds like the sort of thing I wanted for this theme.
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Old 10-01-2019, 02:25 PM   #5
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Oh, I should have explained why I thought my nomination fit. I assume "memory chalet" is a play on "memory palace," the method of remembering by creating and building mental images associated with what you want to recall. To me, the building of images implied layers. Or close enough!
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Old 10-01-2019, 03:41 PM   #6
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I keep thinking I should nominate Cloud Atlas but then I remember that while it was ok, it wasn't one of my favorites and it is pretty long (~500 pages). It certainly fits the theme though and I keep getting stuck on it and drawing blanks for other books.
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Old 10-01-2019, 03:55 PM   #7
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I keep thinking I should nominate Cloud Atlas but then I remember that while it was ok, it wasn't one of my favorites and it is pretty long (~500 pages). It certainly fits the theme though and I keep getting stuck on it and drawing blanks for other books.
I remembered reading Cloud Atlas for the old MR club and was surprised on checking to see it was seven years ago. It does fit, of course, but I suspect it's in your mind because the structure trumped the content.

I think it's fair to say that any book with more than one plot would qualify which leaves the field pretty open.
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Old 10-01-2019, 04:13 PM   #8
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I nominate Why Shoot a Butler, by Georgette Heyer.

From Amazon:
Every family has secrets, but now they are turning deadly...

On a dark night, along a lonely country road, barrister Frank Amberley stops to help a young lady in distress and discovers a sports car with a corpse behind the wheel. The girl protests her innocence and Amberley believes her—at least until he gets drawn into the mystery and the evidence incriminating Shirley Brown begins to add up.

Why Shoot a Butler? is an English country-house murder with a twist. In this beloved classic by Georgette Heyer, the butler is the victim, every clue complicates the puzzle, and the bumbling police are well-meaning but completely baffled. Fortunately, amateur sleuth Amberley is as brilliant as he is arrogant as he ferrets out the desperate killer—even though this time he's not sure he wants to know the truth...


This has been on my list for quite a while. Though I haven’t read it, it sounds like a really fun layered mystery, complete with false turns and herring. Also, many Mobileread members mention Georgette Heyer with near reverence, so I thought it was high time to try her out.

The book is available on Overboard, so I hope that mitigates the rather high cost:
Kobo: $13.59 Ca; $11.19 USD; $12.99 AUD
Kindle: $10.87 USD
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Old 10-01-2019, 06:44 PM   #9
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I nominate The Night Watch by Sarah Waters (2006, 513 pp).

Quote:
Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked out streets, illicit liaisons, sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch is the work of a truly brilliant and compelling storyteller.

This is the story of four Londoners – three women and a young man with a past, drawn with absolute truth and intimacy. Kay, who drove an ambulance during the war and lived life at full throttle, now dresses in mannish clothes and wanders the streets with a restless hunger, searching. Helen, clever, sweet, much-loved, harbours a painful secret. Viv, glamour girl, is stubbornly, even foolishly loyal, to her soldier lover. Duncan, an apparent innocent, has had his own demons to fight during the war. Their lives, and their secrets connect in sometimes startling ways. War leads to strange alliances…

Tender, tragic and beautifully poignant, set against the backdrop of feats of heroism both epic and ordinary, here is a novel of relationships that offers up subtle surprises and twists. The Night Watch is thrilling. A towering achievement.
I figure a story whose plotline runs backwards and has four intersecting characters fits the requirement of layers, so ...

Amazon U.S., $12.99

Available in all relevant countries. Audiobook and ebook in Overdrive.
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Old 10-01-2019, 08:50 PM   #10
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I just realised that Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield is not quite twelve months old (release date Dec 2018). This probably goes some way to explaining the price in Canada (but does not explain why the price is fairly standard in Australia).

Would people prefer if I withdraw it and find something else?

Edited to add: Just so you know, there's good chance the replacement would be The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Not much cheaper anywhere, but since it's over a decade old it should be more readily available in libraries - perhaps.

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Old 10-01-2019, 09:11 PM   #11
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It could be a problem in some libraries I suppose, though apparently not in mine, so I leave that for others to respond to.

I thought The Thirteenth Tale was very good indeed when I read it many years ago, and can certainly recommend it if you decide to go with it.

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Old 10-01-2019, 09:12 PM   #12
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I second The Night Watch by Sarah Waters.

I read her book The Little Stranger a couple of years ago and thought it was very good, so would like to read more books by her.
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Old 10-01-2019, 09:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
I just realised that Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield is not quite twelve months old (release date Dec 2018). This probably goes some way to explaining the price in Canada (but does not explain why the price is fairly standard in Australia).

Would people prefer if I withdraw it and find something else?

Edited to add: Just so you know, there's good chance the replacement would be The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Not much cheaper anywhere, but since it's over a decade old it should be more readily available in libraries - perhaps.
Once Upon a River has been on my library wish list for ages, and I'm inclined to second it, depending on what else is nominated over the next few days; I'm less interested in Thirteenth Tale.
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Old 10-01-2019, 11:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
I just realised that Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield is not quite twelve months old (release date Dec 2018). This probably goes some way to explaining the price in Canada (but does not explain why the price is fairly standard in Australia).

Would people prefer if I withdraw it and find something else?
We've decided that the publication date is a recommendation. This is fine.

I should have it from OverDrive within the next three weeks myself. I'll note that the Canadian price is cheaper than the US price.

Last edited by issybird; 10-02-2019 at 12:05 AM.
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Old 10-02-2019, 12:19 AM   #15
CRussel
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Posts: 10,322
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
Device: 10th Gen Paperwhite, Oasis, Voyage, original Paperwhite, Fire HD 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Victoria View Post
I nominate Why Shoot a Butler, by Georgette Heyer.


This has been on my list for quite a while. Though I haven’t read it, it sounds like a really fun layered mystery, complete with false turns and herring. Also, many Mobileread members mention Georgette Heyer with near reverence, so I thought it was high time to try her out.

The book is available on Overboard, so I hope that mitigates the rather high cost:
Kobo: $13.59 Ca; $11.19 USD; $12.99 AUD
Kindle: $10.87 USD
Ah, this one is in my Calibre, bought when all the Georgette Heyer books were $1.99. I haven't read it yet, so why not? I'll second it.
(BTW, there IS an Audible version, but it's narrated by one of my "avoid at all costs" narrators, Ulli Birvé. So stick with the eBook.)
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