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Old 05-07-2019, 06:44 AM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drofgnal View Post
[...] Oh well, I was tempted to nominate a classic like Watership Down, The Hobbit (like Catlady) or similar. Quest to me means something like that, although in most good novels the protagonist has some sort of 'quest' or adventure.[...]
Given your suggestions, I thought you might have cast a little love to Duncton Wood. It has both a Quest (Boswell's quest for the seventh book and the StillStone), and a labyrinth (the maze under the Stone).

Just sayin'
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:14 AM   #62
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Nominations are closed. I'll work on getting the poll up.

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I've been following this thread a while. I think I preferred when we had categories like, crime, historical fiction, non fiction, etc. The change in categories pretty much allows anything.
Well, yes. Still, my own opinion is that that's more member-friendly in the long run. If you don't like SF, for example, SF month is going to leave you cold. Also, being genre fiction-heavy tends to limit the amount of general fiction that can be nominated and in the long run I think those are the best choices, as having the broadest appeal. In any case, people seem to be having fun with the themes for now and we can always contemplate a change after the next round.

I could have sworn Kidnapped was a book club choice, but I guess I read it when it came up for discussion in some thread. As it happens, I loved Kidnapped but ended up abandoning David Balfour. Overall, I'm a huge fan of Stevenson's nonfiction, his travel works and essays.
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:30 AM   #63
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The poll is up.
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:21 AM   #64
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Sorry you don't like themes drofgnal, as the rest of us do, for precisely the reasons issybird has given above. Also, we have a great deal of fun in working out both the themes themselves, and then each month, in various interpretations of them. So I hope we continue with them for quite some time to come.
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Old 05-07-2019, 10:11 AM   #65
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Well, yes. Still, my own opinion is that that's more member-friendly in the long run. If you don't like SF, for example, SF month is going to leave you cold. Also, being genre fiction-heavy tends to limit the amount of general fiction that can be nominated and in the long run I think those are the best choices, as having the broadest appeal. In any case, people seem to be having fun with the themes for now and we can always contemplate a change after the next round.
So many of the themes do tend to be at least genre-friendly, if not genre-specific. And people who are fans of certain type of books try to shoehorn their preferred genres into every theme--at least I do.
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Old 05-07-2019, 10:33 AM   #66
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Quote:
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So many of the themes do tend to be at least genre-friendly, if not genre-specific. And people who are fans of certain type of books try to shoehorn their preferred genres into every theme--at least I do.
I'd say that shoehorning is a feature of the theme system.

A genre explicit system means argument over "it isn't really <whatever>", but the double-labelled theme system means that a person can - if they want - find a way to squeeze in what they want on one label or another. I think we are seeing a lot of that this month, with people concentrating on "quest". And, let's face it, there aren't too many fiction books that could not be construed as a quest of some sort, but perhaps the surprise this month is the number of non-fiction nominations.

I specifically changed away from non-fiction when I saw the others coming up because I like to see some variety in the nominations. This is, I think, another feature of the theme system: everything month we get a good variety of books to investigate and that's really what I come here for.
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Old 05-07-2019, 11:09 AM   #67
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Quote:
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I'd say that shoehorning is a feature of the theme system.

A genre explicit system means argument over "it isn't really <whatever>", but the double-labelled theme system means that a person can - if they want - find a way to squeeze in what they want on one label or another. I think we are seeing a lot of that this month, with people concentrating on "quest". And, let's face it, there aren't too many fiction books that could not be construed as a quest of some sort, but perhaps the surprise this month is the number of non-fiction nominations.

I specifically changed away from non-fiction when I saw the others coming up because I like to see some variety in the nominations. This is, I think, another feature of the theme system: everything month we get a good variety of books to investigate and that's really what I come here for.
I expected this month's theme to generate a ton of SF and fantasy and I'm surprised it didn't.
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Old 05-07-2019, 11:33 AM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
So many of the themes do tend to be at least genre-friendly, if not genre-specific. And people who are fans of certain type of books try to shoehorn their preferred genres into every theme--at least I do.
And that's what makes a horse race. You can handicap (I certainly do an internal one every month ), but the winner can be a surprise at that.

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I specifically changed away from non-fiction when I saw the others coming up because I like to see some variety in the nominations. This is, I think, another feature of the theme system: everything month we get a good variety of books to investigate and that's really what I come here for.
I figure it's a process with two ends: choosing a selection and providing discovery. It's the rare month that doesn't bring to my attention at least one book of interest I hadn't known.

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I expected this month's theme to generate a ton of SF and fantasy and I'm surprised it didn't.
I can theorize a few reasons for that and one is that I think (and this is in line with gmw's comment) people like to go for the less obvious. Another might be that while we've had SF selections (Ishiguro and Le Guin come to mind), they've tended to be more mainstream or at least cross-genre.

For whatever reason, I think in the 16 months to date, we've had a good mix in terms of genre, whatever you might think of individual selections!
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Old 05-07-2019, 12:13 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by issybird View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
I expected this month's theme to generate a ton of SF and fantasy and I'm surprised it didn't.
I can theorize a few reasons for that and one is that I think (and this is in line with gmw's comment) people like to go for the less obvious. Another might be that while we've had SF selections (Ishiguro and Le Guin come to mind), they've tended to be more mainstream or at least cross-genre.

For whatever reason, I think in the 16 months to date, we've had a good mix in terms of genre, whatever you might think of individual selections!
I know on my part I did try to take into consideration what other people have stated as preferences. I know Catlady does NOT like SF/F, so while I will nominate them when I do I try to make sure they are something that should have a draw for non-genre readers (therefore, The Alchemist instead of The Martian.)

And besides, anyone who has any inclination to read The Hobbit already has.
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Old 05-07-2019, 02:04 PM   #70
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I know on my part I did try to take into consideration what other people have stated as preferences. I know Catlady does NOT like SF/F, so while I will nominate them when I do I try to make sure they are something that should have a draw for non-genre readers (therefore, The Alchemist instead of The Martian.)

And besides, anyone who has any inclination to read The Hobbit already has.
Well, thank you, but please don't worry about my pet peeves. I usually have to be dragged kicking and screaming to go out of my comfort zones, but as long as one of my libraries has an audiobook version, I'll make the attempt--at least most of the time.
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Old 05-07-2019, 02:38 PM   #71
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I know on my part I did try to take into consideration what other people have stated as preferences. I know Catlady does NOT like SF/F, so while I will nominate them when I do I try to make sure they are something that should have a draw for non-genre readers (therefore, The Alchemist instead of The Martian.)

And besides, anyone who has any inclination to read The Hobbit already has.
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Well, thank you, but please don't worry about my pet peeves. I usually have to be dragged kicking and screaming to go out of my comfort zones, but as long as one of my libraries has an audiobook version, I'll make the attempt--at least most of the time.
Same here, I’ve refrained from nominating SF/F because “...it probably won’t appeal to Catlady.” So I was quite surprised to read in an old thread yesterday that The Once and Future King is one of her all time favourites. So much for pigeonholes - they’re going back on my list of options

One of the aspects I enjoy most about themes is seeing how creatively people interpret them. I’m always surprised by how varied the slate of nominations are. We seem to vote on such a broad field, that you’d be hard pressed to guess what the books have in common.
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Old 05-07-2019, 03:45 PM   #72
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Well, thank you, but please don't worry about my pet peeves. I usually have to be dragged kicking and screaming to go out of my comfort zones, but as long as one of my libraries has an audiobook version, I'll make the attempt--at least most of the time.
You were just the clear example but not the only one. That is certainly part of it, but the other part is that most of the time it feels like the discussion will be better by choosing a book that is more ambiguous or that straddles more than one genre.

Going back to The Hobbit or The Martian. They both meet the criteria, but is there really that much to discuss that's new? Both of the ones I ended up with should have more in them that is new to discuss, at least from the outside. I haven't read The Alchemist.
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Old 05-07-2019, 05:06 PM   #73
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Same here, I’ve refrained from nominating SF/F because “...it probably won’t appeal to Catlady.” So I was quite surprised to read in an old thread yesterday that The Once and Future King is one of her all time favourites. So much for pigeonholes - they’re going back on my list of options
The Once and Future King, The Last Unicorn, and The Princess Bride are all much-loved favorites--I considered nominating the last two, but I don't know that there's much to analyze about them.

What especially makes my eyes glaze over in SF/F are weird character names and non-Earth (or far future Earth) settings. And too much magic.

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You were just the clear example but not the only one. That is certainly part of it, but the other part is that most of the time it feels like the discussion will be better by choosing a book that is more ambiguous or that straddles more than one genre.

Going back to The Hobbit or The Martian. They both meet the criteria, but is there really that much to discuss that's new? Both of the ones I ended up with should have more in them that is new to discuss, at least from the outside. I haven't read The Alchemist.
I would not have wanted to read any Tolkien again, ever. As for The Martian, if my library had an audiobook, maybe.

I haven't read The Alchemist either, but I was a bit tempted, as I liked the only Paul Coelho novel I have read: The Winner Stands Alone (when I went to Amazon to check the title, I saw that it is currently in Kindle Unlimited). My recollection is that it was odd but quite compelling.
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Old 05-07-2019, 05:22 PM   #74
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I haven't read The Alchemist either, but I was a bit tempted, as I liked the only Paul Coelho novel I have read: The Winner Stands Alone (when I went to Amazon to check the title, I saw that it is currently in Kindle Unlimited). My recollection is that it was odd but quite compelling.
Since The Alchemist didn't make it to the slate, I feel I can say that I rapidly abandoned the one Coelho work I ever tried, The Pilgrimage. I love pilgrimage as a theme, but I found Coelho's brand of spirituality entirely not to my taste - and I consider myself pretty open to various interpretations, especially in a pilgrimage context.
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Old 05-08-2019, 01:15 AM   #75
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I've been following this thread a while. I think I preferred when we had categories like, crime, historical fiction, non fiction, etc.
I'm of divided feelings. I miss the old categories too sometimes. I'm all about variety. I really like the theme approach because they encourage creative thinking and can inspire a variety of nominations across all genres.

However, my opinion is that the genres of the monthly winners don't reflect the variety of the nominations. I would group the last 9 months into 2 buckets. 5 in the mystery/crime/thriller category and 4 in the SF/fantasy category.

It looks like we may get a non-fiction winner for June. The last nonfiction book that we read was August.
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