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View Poll Results: What scholastic book will we read in September?
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro 7 58.33%
Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris 5 41.67%
Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-11-2018, 08:58 AM   #1
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Runoff Vote for September 2018 • The Shortest, Gladdest Years of Life: School


This is a runoff poll to choose the book we'll read and discuss in September 2018.

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.


Vote for one. I won't vote unless there's another tie, in which case I'll be the tiebreaker.

Questions? FAQs | Guidelines Or just ask!

Choices:

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Amazon | Kobo | Google Play All $9.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special—and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.
362 pages

Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris
$US7.99, $C7.99, $A12.99, £0.99 - time to travel again! All from Kobo.
Spoiler:
Quote:
Audere, agere, auferre. To dare, to strive, to conquer. For generations, privileged young men have attended St. Oswald's Grammar School for Boys, groomed for success by the likes of Roy Straitley, the eccentric Classics teacher who has been a fixture there for more than thirty years. But this year the wind of unwelcome change is blowing. Suits, paperwork, and information technology are beginning to overshadow St. Oswald's tradition, and Straitley is finally, and reluctantly, contemplating retirement. He is joined this term by five new faculty members, including one who -- unbeknownst to Straitley and everyone else -- holds intimate and dangerous knowledge of St. Oswald's ways and secrets. Harboring dark ties to the school's past, this young teacher has arrived with one terrible goal: to destroy St. Oswald's.

As the new term gets under way, a number of incidents befall students and faculty alike. Beginning as small annoyances -- a lost pen, a misplaced coffee mug -- they are initially overlooked. But as the incidents escalate in both number and consequence, it soon becomes apparent that a darker undercurrent is stirring within the school. With St. Oswald's unraveling, only Straitley stands in the way of its ruin. The veteran teacher faces a formidable opponent, however -- a master player with a bitter grudge and a strategy that has been meticulously planned to the final move, a secret game with very real, very deadly consequences.

A harrowing tale of cat and mouse, this riveting, hypnotically atmospheric novel showcases New York Times bestselling author Joanne Harris's astonishing storytelling talent as never before.
422 pages
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:01 AM   #2
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Although I nominated the Harris, I voted for Never Let Me Go.

I have read and enjoyed both books, but I think the Ishiguro will give us a lot more to discuss and think about.

Last edited by Bookpossum; 08-11-2018 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 08-11-2018, 11:49 AM   #3
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I've read neither, but voted for Never Let Me Go because I suspect it will lead to more discussion. OTOH, I intend to read Gentlemen and Players because I expect to enjoy it. Good nominations, both!
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Old 08-11-2018, 02:39 PM   #4
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I have not read either, but I now own both because I intended to read both. But I voted for Never Let Me Go because it actually got a mention at the end of a book I just finished reading.

In the "Book group questions" appendix of The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey, is this question: "The book has been compared with Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. How far does each of these books characterise children as grotesque and to be feared?"

And that got me rather curious.
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Old 08-12-2018, 09:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
I have not read either, but I now own both because I intended to read both. But I voted for Never Let Me Go because it actually got a mention at the end of a book I just finished reading.

In the "Book group questions" appendix of The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey, is this question: "The book has been compared with Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. How far does each of these books characterise children as grotesque and to be feared?"

And that got me rather curious.
My vote is cast: I loved The Girl With All the Gifts, and I was leaning toward Ishiguro anyway, but this post cements it.
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Old 08-12-2018, 09:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dngrsone View Post
My vote is cast: I loved The Girl With All the Gifts, and I was leaning toward Ishiguro anyway, but this post cements it.
The posts here got me curious and I took a look at The Girl with All the Gifts, thinking perhaps I'd read it in conjunction with Ishiguro, but then I ran across a dread word:

Spoiler:
zombie


Can someone with a distaste for

Spoiler:
zombies


read it with enjoyment anyway, or is it a concept too far?
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Old 08-12-2018, 09:41 PM   #7
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Frankly, I'm not a fan of the genre myself, but this one took me in, and I blew through a couple chapters before I realized what was going on there. The book is on my reread list (actually, I have reread it once already) and since finding out today that there are related books (thanks again, Orlok) I am picking those up from the library shortly.

...along with Never Let Me Go, hah!
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Old 08-12-2018, 11:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by issybird View Post
The posts here got me curious and I took a look at The Girl with All the Gifts, thinking perhaps I'd read it in conjunction with Ishiguro, but then I ran across a dread word:
I saw that too, and now I'm feeling pretty hesitant about Never Let Me Go if the books are similar.
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Old 08-12-2018, 11:22 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
I saw that too, and now I'm feeling pretty hesitant about Never Let Me Go if the books are similar.
Never Let Me Go isn't about
Spoiler:
zombies
Not having read either, I think it's possible to read too much into similar themes. There are only so many anyway!
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Old 08-12-2018, 11:48 PM   #10
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Yeah, but any similarity when it comes to THAT might be too much ...
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Old 08-13-2018, 01:04 AM   #11
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Regarding: The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey
Quote:
Originally Posted by issybird View Post
[...]
Can someone with a distaste for

Spoiler:
zombies


read it with enjoyment anyway, or is it a concept too far?
A definite yes, it can be enjoyed anyway.

Oh, and the
Spoiler:
z-word
never appears in the story.

Had I known the genre I would not have picked it up. The blurb hint
Spoiler:
She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.
didn't give it away for me because I wasn't even thinking about this genre (the person who recommended it to me is not into that genre either). It took a good few pages before I realised where it was going, and by then it was too late, I was caught up and wanted to know more.

There is a strong science-fiction element to it (it seems to take the science of the situation more seriously than some), although I would describe it as character driven. There are holes, but that is to be expected. It comes close to hitting the aspects of the genre that I don't much like (the aspects that always seem to me like farce or out-of-place humour), but mostly manages to just touch up against them and move away again.

I liked some of the ideas. I liked the characters, and I liked the questions it raises, and I liked the fact that it kept on moving fast enough that its flaws didn't matter.

That book group question I quoted above ("How far does each of these books characterise children as grotesque and to be feared?") struck me as strange, or at least unexpected. Although I can see where it comes from, there was nothing about the story that made me think specifically of children as "grotesque and to be feared". The situation may have been that, but the children, no.

Last edited by gmw; 08-13-2018 at 01:08 AM.
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Old 08-13-2018, 02:24 AM   #12
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Fear not Catlady, Never Let Me Go is very definitely not about things starting with Z. But it is a book that you go on thinking about long after you have read it, and that for me is the mark of a book that is very well worth reading.
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Old 08-13-2018, 09:02 AM   #13
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I can assure you all - I would never nominate a book with that particular theme. Ever.
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Old 08-13-2018, 01:27 PM   #14
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I've voted for Never Let Me Go, and will participate in the discussion, never fear

My wife's Aunt recommended The Girl with all the Gifts to her, and anyone less likely to read Z related books I can't imagine.
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Old 08-14-2018, 09:43 AM   #15
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I am excited for everyone to read this!

If I can make a suggestion - read as little as possible about the book before you begin reading it. I think the less you know going in, the better the organic development of the book is.
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