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Old 12-05-2019, 08:08 PM   #46
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Now that the nominations are winding down, I feel as if I can breathe a public sigh of relief that a book I loathed but dreaded might be suggested didn't get nominated. Early this year, I read, that is, abandoned, The Library Book by Susan Orleans, which heads my list of worst of the year. Shallow, smug, elitist and self-involved, Orleans made a dog's breakfast of a subject I thought was a slam-dunk for me, the fire that destroyed the Los Angeles Public Library. While the book was surprisingly (to me) popular, my short, negative review at Goodreads got a ton of likes, so it's not just me. But it's a book about books, and I was apprehensive.

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Old 12-05-2019, 08:43 PM   #47
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Part of what bugs me about Amazon (apart from the particular problem I had) is that I used to have a US account before they moved into Australia, and was no longer allowed to use it once they did.

All well and good except that they are flogging all sorts of stuff to Australians from their Australian headquarters, but hastily send all the profits overseas and are paying hardly any tax in Australia despite supposedly doing business here.
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:44 PM   #48
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Now that the nominations are winding down, I feel as if I can breathe a public sigh of relief that a book I loathed but dreaded might be suggested didn't get nominated. Early this year, I read, that is, abandoned, The Library Book by Susan Orleans, which heads my list of worst of the year. Shallow, smug, elitist and self-involved, Orleans made a dog's breakfast of a subject I thought was a slam-dunk for me, the fire that destroyed the Los Angeles Public Library. While the book was surprisingly (to me) popular, my short, negative review at Goodreads got a ton of likes, so it's not just me. But it's a book about books, and I was apprehensive.

Thanks for the warning!
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Old 12-05-2019, 09:03 PM   #49
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Part of what bugs me about Amazon (apart from the particular problem I had) is that I used to have a US account before they moved into Australia, and was no longer allowed to use it once they did.

All well and good except that they are flogging all sorts of stuff to Australians from their Australian headquarters, but hastily send all the profits overseas and are paying hardly any tax in Australia despite supposedly doing business here.
Amazon's not paying any taxes here, either, if it makes you feel better.
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Old 12-05-2019, 10:08 PM   #50
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[...] Early this year, I read, that is, abandoned, The Library Book by Susan Orleans [...]
I picked that up on special a couple of months ago, thinking it sounded good. I have not tried to read it yet. Not sure why it didn't occur to me to nominate it ... probably because I was already spoilt for choice. A few books I did think about:

The Penguin Classics Book by Henry Eliot. HarryT mentioned this on another thread some time ago, and it sounds interesting. But it's also very long and very expensive.

Empires of the Word: A language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler. So this one might have been a stretch for the theme, since it's not specifically about books, but it's been on my wish list for a long while. It is also quite long and very expensive.

There were more, but some were excluded on the grounds that I couldn't find ebook editions.
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Old 12-05-2019, 10:25 PM   #51
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Amazon's not paying any taxes here, either, if it makes you feel better.
Not really, but I suppose that at least they are consistent in their immoral behaviour!
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:01 AM   #52
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To offset The Library Book, I'd like to mention another book that fits the theme but is too short for a club discussion. I was totally charmed by The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, which is the account of how Elizabeth II discovered reading. Very funny and insightful, it made my ten-best list the year I read it.

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I picked that up on special a couple of months ago, thinking it sounded good. I have not tried to read it yet. Not sure why it didn't occur to me to nominate it ... probably because I was already spoilt for choice.
I'm glad you didn't! If you do get around to it, I'd be interested in your reaction. For me, the raging elitism of the author and her inserting her not-very-profound personal take on the story were unendurable. The low was the idiotic sequence about experiencing book-burning.

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The Penguin Classics Book by Henry Eliot. HarryT mentioned this on another thread some time ago, and it sounds interesting. But it's also very long and very expensive.
I'm glad you've jogged my memory about this, not that it's become more affordable! But I'd love to read it.
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:42 AM   #53
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To offset The Library Book, I'd like to mention another book that fits the theme but is too short for a club discussion. I was totally charmed by The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, which is the account of how Elizabeth II discovered reading. Very funny and insightful, it made my ten-best list the year I read it.[...]
I did look at some Alan Bennett as part of my researches for this, but came to much the same conclusion: too short and too expensive. His name comes up in connection with another book called The Library Book, which would have been relevant to this theme.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:05 PM   #54
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Now that the nominations are winding down, I feel as if I can breathe a public sigh of relief that a book I loathed but dreaded might be suggested didn't get nominated. Early this year, I read, that is, abandoned, The Library Book by Susan Orleans, which heads my list of worst of the year. Shallow, smug, elitist and self-involved, Orleans made a dog's breakfast of a subject I thought was a slam-dunk for me, the fire that destroyed the Los Angeles Public Library. While the book was surprisingly (to me) popular, my short, negative review at Goodreads got a ton of likes, so it's not just me. But it's a book about books, and I was apprehensive.
Ha. If I'd remembered it, I would have considered nominating it. It was a title I'd thought of when the categories were being discussed way back when, but then I forgot it. I did like Orlean's book about Rin-Tin-Tin, but that might be because I love dogs and grew up watching the TV show. So lucky for you my memory failed me.

Among the books I considered are these.

Unbuttoning America: A Biography of Peyton Place by Ardis Cameron. I really wanted to nominate this, but in some countries only the audiobook is available, and even where the ebook is available, it's expensive, so I reluctantly passed on it.
Spoiler:
Published in 1956, Peyton Place became a bestseller and a literary phenomenon. A lurid and gripping story of murder, incest, female desire, and social injustice, it was consumed as avidly by readers as it was condemned by critics and the clergy. Its author, Grace Metalious, a housewife who grew up in poverty in a New Hampshire mill town and had aspired to be a writer from childhood, loosely based the novel’s setting, characters, and incidents on real-life places, people, and events. The novel sold more than 30 million copies in hardcover and paperback, and it was adapted into a hit Hollywood film in 1957 and a popular television series that aired from 1964 to 1969. More than half a century later, the term “Peyton Place” is still in circulation as a code for a community harboring sordid secrets.

In Unbuttoning America, Ardis Cameron mines extensive interviews, fan letters, and archival materials including contemporary cartoons and cover images from film posters and foreign editions to tell how the story of a patricide in a small New England village circulated over time and became a cultural phenomenon. She argues that Peyton Place, with its frank discussions of poverty, sexuality, class and ethnic discrimination, and small-town hypocrisy, was more than a tawdry potboiler. Metalious’s depiction of how her three central female characters come to terms with their identity as women and sexual beings anticipated second-wave feminism. More broadly, Cameron asserts, the novel was also part of a larger postwar struggle over belonging and recognition. Fictionalizing contemporary realities, Metalious pushed to the surface the hidden talk and secret rebellions of a generation no longer willing to ignore the disparities and domestic constraints of Cold War America.


The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe. I was shocked that this one isn't available everywhere, but it isn't.
Spoiler:
Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.


When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning. This was my first choice, but, again, geographical restrictions killed it.
Spoiler:
When America entered World War II in 1941, we faced an enemy that had banned and burned 100 million books. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943, the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks for troops to carry in their pockets and rucksacks in every theater of war. These Armed Services Editions were beloved by the troops and are still fondly remembered today. Soldiers read them while waiting to land at Normandy, in hellish trenches in the midst of battles in the Pacific, in field hospitals, and on long bombing flights. They helped rescue The Great Gatsby from obscurity and made Betty Smith, author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, into a national icon. When Books Went to War is the inspiring story of the Armed Services Editions, and a treasure for history buffs and book lovers alike.


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. While there were no availability problems with this one, I didn't think of it till the other day and figured there are enough nominations already.
Spoiler:
The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that is now a major motion picture, Markus Zusak's unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.

When Death has a story to tell, you listen.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:30 PM   #55
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Among the books I considered are these.

Unbuttoning America: A Biography of Peyton Place by Ardis Cameron. I really wanted to nominate this, but in some countries only the audiobook is available, and even where the ebook is available, it's expensive, so I reluctantly passed on it.
Spoiler:
Published in 1956, Peyton Place became a bestseller and a literary phenomenon. A lurid and gripping story of murder, incest, female desire, and social injustice, it was consumed as avidly by readers as it was condemned by critics and the clergy. Its author, Grace Metalious, a housewife who grew up in poverty in a New Hampshire mill town and had aspired to be a writer from childhood, loosely based the novel’s setting, characters, and incidents on real-life places, people, and events. The novel sold more than 30 million copies in hardcover and paperback, and it was adapted into a hit Hollywood film in 1957 and a popular television series that aired from 1964 to 1969. More than half a century later, the term “Peyton Place” is still in circulation as a code for a community harboring sordid secrets.

In Unbuttoning America, Ardis Cameron mines extensive interviews, fan letters, and archival materials including contemporary cartoons and cover images from film posters and foreign editions to tell how the story of a patricide in a small New England village circulated over time and became a cultural phenomenon. She argues that Peyton Place, with its frank discussions of poverty, sexuality, class and ethnic discrimination, and small-town hypocrisy, was more than a tawdry potboiler. Metalious’s depiction of how her three central female characters come to terms with their identity as women and sexual beings anticipated second-wave feminism. More broadly, Cameron asserts, the novel was also part of a larger postwar struggle over belonging and recognition. Fictionalizing contemporary realities, Metalious pushed to the surface the hidden talk and secret rebellions of a generation no longer willing to ignore the disparities and domestic constraints of Cold War America.
Oh, I'd like to read this. Thanks. I took a look at New Hampshire OverDrive, which is terrible so I wasn't expecting much, but where better? And they've got the audiobook and it's available. Narrated by Bernadette Dunne, too, which is a plus. I'm a little backed up on borrowed audio right now, but I'll get to this.

Quote:
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. While there were no availability problems with this one, I didn't think of it till the other day and figured there are enough nominations already.
Spoiler:
The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that is now a major motion picture, Markus Zusak's unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.

When Death has a story to tell, you listen.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
I liked this very much, but I know there's one member here who did not. (One star review at Goodreads.)

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Old 12-06-2019, 03:00 PM   #56
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I was quite surprised when no one nominated The Book Thief - it was the first book that came to mind when we chose the theme. I briefly considered it, because so many people love it, but it sort of reminded me too much of The Little Matchgirl.

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Old 12-06-2019, 04:01 PM   #57
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I will out myself as the one who hated The Book Thief! I thought it was a cheap exploitative hopping onto the bandwagon of the horrors of the Nazi regime.
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:41 PM   #58
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The Book Thief is still sitting unread on my reader. Each time I think about reading it I'm put off by the possibility of either Victoria's reaction or Bookpossum's . It will be interesting to see what my actual reaction is when I get around to it. My lack of enthusiasm for starting it meant I wasn't inclined to nominate it.
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:25 PM   #59
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I loved The Book Thief. The movie was good too!

I also liked The Library Book, although it could have been better organized and it wasn’t much about the arson as about a lot of other things about libraries. The audiobook narration was not good (read by the author). I should have read the ebook.

I also liked The Uncommon Reader. I figured several might have already read it.
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:30 PM   #60
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The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe. I was shocked that this one isn't available everywhere, but it isn't.
Spoiler:
Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning. This was my first choice, but, again, geographical restrictions killed it.
Spoiler:
When America entered World War II in 1941, we faced an enemy that had banned and burned 100 million books. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943, the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks for troops to carry in their pockets and rucksacks in every theater of war. These Armed Services Editions were beloved by the troops and are still fondly remembered today. Soldiers read them while waiting to land at Normandy, in hellish trenches in the midst of battles in the Pacific, in field hospitals, and on long bombing flights. They helped rescue The Great Gatsby from obscurity and made Betty Smith, author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, into a national icon. When Books Went to War is the inspiring story of the Armed Services Editions, and a treasure for history buffs and book lovers alike.
I thought about nominating these too. I have not read them, and they sounded interesting.
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