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View Poll Results: How will we lose ourselves in translation in January?
Embassytown by China Miéville 3 33.33%
Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada 3 33.33%
The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa 5 55.56%
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin 7 77.78%
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto 3 33.33%
The Man Who Watched the Trains Go By by Georges Simenon 6 66.67%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 9. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-12-2018, 01:36 PM   #31
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Hmm. You've given me something to think about.

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It's important to take great care in the selection process, but once I've selected a book to read, I trust the instinct that attracted me to the book in the first place--interesting premise/characters/setting, reliable author, recommendation/review, even (gasp!) the cover art.
I tend to pick books mostly by whim; "What do I feel like reading now?" without giving it much thought and that could be why sometimes I feel as if I've been immersed in a string of two-star reads. I'd like to be more thoughtful about it, especially as books I know I want to read languish while I pick up my next momentary yen.

I usually read a few books at the same time (well, people will know what I mean). My guess is that you read one book at a time.

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*Except Russian novels assigned in high school. Though I AM going to get through Anna Karenina someday.
Anna Karenina was a selection of the Mobile Read Book Club in 2011. I was underwhelmed; it wasn't as good as I'd remembered. Still, I plan to reread War and Peace. Maybe even next year.
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Old 12-12-2018, 04:05 PM   #32
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I tend to pick books mostly by whim; "What do I feel like reading now?" without giving it much thought and that could be why sometimes I feel as if I've been immersed in a string of two-star reads. I'd like to be more thoughtful about it, especially as books I know I want to read languish while I pick up my next momentary yen.
I don't spend a ton of time on selection, but I know what sounds appealing and what doesn't. I'm sure I miss out on books out of my comfort zone, which is why I joined this book club--to move the boundaries a little bit at least.

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I usually read a few books at the same time (well, people will know what I mean). My guess is that you read one book at a time.
Of course. That's another rule I follow, and when I become queen, it will be mandatory for all.

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Anna Karenina was a selection of the Mobile Read Book Club in 2011. I was underwhelmed; it wasn't as good as I'd remembered. Still, I plan to reread War and Peace. Maybe even next year.
Anna Karenina was assigned reading one summer in high school; I read the Cliff Notes for the test on it, and I've always felt a slight twinge of guilt about that. So I have to read it eventually.
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:44 PM   #33
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I confess to avoiding the Russians almost completely. I did read both Anna Karenina (in high school), and Doctor Zhivago after the movie came out. But otherwise, I'll pass.

I used to be of the "if I started it, I must finish it" school of readers. But as I've gotten older, and as my Kindle Oasis holds hundreds of books I haven't read, plus a hundred or two I have and wouldn't mind re-reading, I've gotten quite hard about reading dreck I am not enjoying. I abandon them at 25%. Unless the book is for the New Leaf Book Club, and then I give it 50%, at least.
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Old 12-12-2018, 06:00 PM   #34
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I have slogged through Anna Karenina a couple of times. I think Tolstoy needed a good editor to tighten the whole thing up. I might join you in a War and Peace reread issybird - it’s a very long time since I read it and I’m sure I would get more out of it now.

I’m in the midst of a “finish or abandon” dilemma right now over Love in the Time of Cholera, which I’m really not enjoying. I think I’m going to give upon Latin American literature though - I have yet to read a book I have liked, so clearly my mindset is out of kilter with the LA way of thinking and doing.

Queen Catlady - I like your no-nonsense approach!
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Old 12-12-2018, 06:16 PM   #35
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I'm with you on Love in the Time of Cholera, Bookpossum. I could never quite get into it. OTOH, my DW loved it. We have a lot of overlap on things we like, but then a whole other layer we do NOT agree on. Cholera was in that latter category.
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Old 12-12-2018, 07:10 PM   #36
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I have slogged through Anna Karenina a couple of times. I think Tolstoy needed a good editor to tighten the whole thing up. I might join you in a War and Peace reread issybird - it’s a very long time since I read it and I’m sure I would get more out of it now.

I’m in the midst of a “finish or abandon” dilemma right now over Love in the Time of Cholera, which I’m really not enjoying. I think I’m going to give upon Latin American literature though - I have yet to read a book I have liked, so clearly my mindset is out of kilter with the LA way of thinking and doing.

Queen Catlady - I like your no-nonsense approach!
And I thought it was just me! Love in the Time of Cholera is the only book in the Lit Club that I have not finished. Since I hate to abandon books, it’s still haunting me on my “To Be Completed Later” list!
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Old 12-12-2018, 07:41 PM   #37
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And I thought it was just me! Love in the Time of Cholera is the only book in the Lit Club that I have not finished. Since I hate to abandon books, it’s still haunting me on my “To Be Completed Later” list!
That would drive me mad. My obsessive side hates unfinished, but having finally learned that there are some things I'm never going to "get", I found that I can appease it by making the decision: I give up. I set the book to "finished" in the reader so it's not always reminding me I'm not done, I write my little review to remind me why I gave up, and then I put it behind me.

It works ... mostly. I sit here now and can remember my last few failures and feel that "should I have kept going?" twinge. But it fades. By this time next year I'll be worrying about different books I didn't finish.
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Old 12-12-2018, 07:50 PM   #38
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I am getting more comfortable with abandoning books I have selected than I used to be, but I still don't like to do it.

It is a totally different thing to not finish a book someone else or a group has selected for me to read. I give book club selections an honest shot (even when I'm dreading them), meaning "more of a chance than I would give a book I selected", but I don't feel (too) bad when I have done that and still end up abandoning one.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:33 PM   #39
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Of course. That's another rule I follow, and when I become queen, it will be mandatory for all.
I refer to when I become czarina, but we have essentially the same plan for the future.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:37 PM   #40
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I have slogged through Anna Karenina a couple of times. I think Tolstoy needed a good editor to tighten the whole thing up. I might join you in a War and Peace reread issybird - it’s a very long time since I read it and I’m sure I would get more out of it now.
I am seriously considering it for next year. It wouldn't take much of a nudge - and anyone else would be welcome to join in!

As for AK, it's appalling that the famous scene isn't the end of the novel. Talk about anti-climactic!
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:54 PM   #41
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And I thought it was just me! Love in the Time of Cholera is the only book in the Lit Club that I have not finished. Since I hate to abandon books, it’s still haunting me on my “To Be Completed Later” list!
Good to know you were a fellow sufferer! No, if I dump a book (and there aren't many), that's it. The only problem with ebooks is that they stay in the library, though I suppose I could delete them if I feel strongly enough about them!

Paper books, whether abandoned or just ones I won't read again, go to the charity shop. I wish there was a way of doing the same with ebooks, to do someone else some good with the ones I don't want.
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Old 12-13-2018, 05:37 AM   #42
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I am getting more comfortable with abandoning books I have selected than I used to be, but I still don't like to do it.

It is a totally different thing to not finish a book someone else or a group has selected for me to read. I give book club selections an honest shot (even when I'm dreading them), meaning "more of a chance than I would give a book I selected", but I don't feel (too) bad when I have done that and still end up abandoning one.
I feel much the same way. Sometimes I do refrain from voting if I feel there is a book that I am certain I won’t read on the list but usually I will give the selection a trial. But as Issybird said, “Time is precious” and I submerge my completist tendency if I am simply not going to enjoy the book.

As to LeGuin, she is recognised as a truly great feminist science fiction writer and The Left Hand of Darkness is a trailblazer in the field. I hadn’t realised that she died only last January. Here is a brief biographical snippet from The Science Fiction Encyclopedia.

(1929-2018) US author, based in Portland, Oregon, whose first novel was published in 1966; by 1970 she was already recognized as one of the most important writers within the field. Decades before her death, her reputation had extended far beyond the readership of Genre SF, while within the genre she was honoured with five Hugos and six Nebulas; as much attention has been paid to her by the academic community as to Philip K Dick.
Le Guin was the daughter of Dr Alfred Louis Kroeber (1876-1960) and Theodora Kroeber (1897-1979), the former a noted anthropologist who published much work on Native Americans, the latter a writer and anthropologist best known for Ishi in Two Worlds: A Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America (1961). Le Guin was thus brought up in academic surroundings; her own education, including a master's degree from Columbia, was in Romance Literatures of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, particularly French. She wrote Poetry – collected in several volumes beginning with Wild Angels (coll 1975 chap) – and several unpublished nonfantastic novels, seemingly all set in the imaginary Central European country of Orsinia.

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Old 12-13-2018, 06:02 AM   #43
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I submerge my completist tendency if I am simply not going to enjoy the book.

As to LeGuin, she is recognised as a truly great feminist science fiction writer and The Left Hand of Darkness is a trailblazer in the field.

I look forward to being challenged by this famous work, and hope that I can finish it. I already know that like Mieville's nominated work, it is fiction that transcends the oft-held preconceptions of its genre.
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Old 12-13-2018, 07:24 AM   #44
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And there I was thinking that all I'd done was nominate a good book. (Or so I remember it.)

fantasyfan, Le Guin died in January. I purchased the ebook edition of this (and the Earthsea novels) back in February; news of her death being a reminder that I'd been meaning to revisit her books for a long time. When this theme came up it seemed like kismet: now was the time to start my re-reads.
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Old 12-13-2018, 09:27 AM   #45
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[...] I tend to pick books mostly by whim; "What do I feel like reading now?" without giving it much thought and that could be why sometimes I feel as if I've been immersed in a string of two-star reads. [...]
I was reviewing my year in books for the favourite thread, and I realised that my average rating this year is much lower than it has been in a long time. More than half are 2s and 3s (only one 1). I put it down as the cost of being more adventurous.

My average was previously higher because I usually re-read much more than I have in the last year (and, of course, I only re-read stuff I know I like). Stay in your safe zones and you can get a better average, but you miss out on the discoveries. I'd always told myself that reading was at least partly about opening my eyes (broadening horizons and all those other feel-good metaphors), but for the several years I doubt if that's been true for me. But now it is again and I find it very satisfying.
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