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View Poll Results: Down to two: What deal will we negotiate in February?
A Delicate Truth by John Le Carré 5 55.56%
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith 4 44.44%
Voters: 9. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-11-2019, 08:27 AM   #1
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Runoff vote for February 2019 • Let's Make a Deal: Trade Secrets


This is a runoff vote to select the book we'll read and discuss in February 2019!

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. So if you haven't posted in a book club thread yet, do please say a quick hello here or in the Welcome thread.


Vote for one. Questions? FAQs | Guidelines Or just ask!

Choices:

A Delicate Truth by John Le Carré
Kobo: $US5.99, $C11.99, $A12.99, $NZ16.32, £4.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
A counter-terror operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted in Britain's most precious colony, Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms-buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, and a private defence contractor who is also his close friend. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister's Private Secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it.

Suspecting a disastrous conspiracy, Toby attempts to forestall it, but is promptly posted overseas. Three years on, summoned by Sir Christopher Probyn, retired British diplomat, to his decaying Cornish manor house, and closely watched by Probyn's daughter Emily, Toby must choose between his conscience and his duty to the Service.

If the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, how can he keep silent?

'No other writer has charted - pitilessly for politicians but thrillingly for readers - the public and secret histories of his times, from the Second World War to the 'War on Terror'' Guardian

'The master of the modern spy novel returns . . . this is writing of such quality that - as Robert Harris put it - it will be read in one hundred years. John le Carré was never a spy-turned-writer, he was a writer who found his canvas in espionage, as Dickens did in other worlds. The two men deserve comparison' Daily Mail

'A brilliant climax, with sinister deaths, casual torture, wrecked lives and shameful compromises' Observer

'With A Delicate Truth, le Carré has in a sense come home. And it's a splendid homecoming . . . the novel is the most satisfying, subtle and compelling of his recent oeuvre' The Times
321 pp.

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
Amazon US $8.48
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Quote:
One of the great crime novels of the 20th century, Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley is a blend of the narrative subtlety of Henry James and the self-reflexive irony of Vladimir Nabokov. Like the best modernist fiction, Ripley works on two levels. First, it is the story of a young man, Tom Ripley, whose nihilistic tendencies lead him on a deadly passage across Europe. On another level, the novel is a commentary on fictionmaking and techniques of narrative persuasion. Like Humbert Humbert, Tom Ripley seduces readers into empathizing with him even as his actions defy all moral standards.

The novel begins with a play on James's The Ambassadors. Tom Ripley is chosen by the wealthy Herbert Greenleaf to retrieve Greenleaf's son, Dickie, from his overlong sojourn in Italy. Dickie, it seems, is held captive both by the Mediterranean climate and the attractions of his female companion, but Mr. Greenleaf needs him back in New York to help with the family business. With an allowance and a new purpose, Tom leaves behind his dismal city apartment to begin his career as a return escort. But Tom, too, is captivated by Italy. He is also taken with the life and looks of Dickie Greenleaf. He insinuates himself into Dickie's world and soon finds that his passion for a lifestyle of wealth and sophistication transcends moral compunction. Tom will become Dickie Greenleaf--at all costs.

Unlike many modernist experiments, The Talented Mr. Ripley is eminently readable and is driven by a gripping chase narrative that chronicles each of Tom's calculated maneuvers of self-preservation. Highsmith was in peak form with this novel, and her ability to enter the mind of a sociopath and view the world through his disturbingly amoral eyes is a model that has spawned such latter-day serial killers as Hannibal Lecter. --Patrick O'Kelley
320 pp.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:31 AM   #2
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I won't vote unless we need another tiebreaker once the poll closes.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:51 AM   #3
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Given the choice, I am always going to vote for a woman and/or someone who is from a marginalized group (in this case LGBT). Has no effect on the book at all, but I have to go with my gut on this one.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:45 AM   #4
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Despite not having voted for either in the first poll, I am quite interested in both these books; I have not previously read either of them; I have read others books by both authors; they are almost the same length; they are almost the same price. How the <bleep> to decide?

I literally did just flip a coin. It came up heads: A Delicate Truth.
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Old 01-11-2019, 02:02 PM   #5
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I'm quite torn with this one, I confess. Le Carré is a known and enjoyed quantity, and a book I haven't read. The Highsmith is less of a known quantity although I quite enjoyed The Price of Salt that was nominated last year. I'm still debating.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:01 PM   #6
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At this point I really don't have a preference so I will check my library and vote by which is easier to get. Or just not vote if they are both easy to get.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:36 PM   #7
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I voted for Le Carré as it’s the one I haven’t read, but I think either would make for a good discussion.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:43 PM   #8
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Hi everyone! Though I’m a lifelong reader, this is my first time connecting with a book club, of any type. So I’m not exactly sure what to expect, or even how to participate, but I’m looking forward to the adventure.
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Old 01-11-2019, 06:56 PM   #9
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OK, I think I'm going to go with the Highsmith. Though, as I said, both are perfectly good options and I'll likely be reading both.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victoria View Post
Hi everyone! Though I’m a lifelong reader, this is my first time connecting with a book club, of any type. So I’m not exactly sure what to expect, or even how to participate, but I’m looking forward to the adventure.
What to expect? Well, if previous months are any indication, a rather spirited discussion starting February 15th. Your part is to read the selected book, hopefully by the 15th, and then jump into the discussion with your thoughts. There really isn't any other requirement. Well, that and start thinking about books you might want to nominate for March's discussion. Nominations open up February 1st, and the theme is Murder They Wrote, Deadly Pursuits. (Follow the link for details on upcoming themes.)
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:27 PM   #11
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Hi everyone! Though I’m a lifelong reader, this is my first time connecting with a book club, of any type. So I’m not exactly sure what to expect, or even how to participate, but I’m looking forward to the adventure.
Charlie has covered most aspects. You could have a look at some of the previous discussions to get a flavour of how we do it - the December one on The Scarlet Pimpernel is as good a one to look at as any. You can find the discussion listed under the Book Clubs.

What we really like of course is to keep the discussion going with new ideas and discussion points, so rather than dumping a book review down and then disappearing, it's really good if you can make a point or two, maybe respond to something someone else has said, and then put in something else a bit further down the thread.

When you are reading the chosen book, I find it useful to keep a little notebook and jot down points I think are important, whether on character development, or the writer's style/way of dealing with a situation, or whatever. Don't worry, you don't get marked out of 10!

The main thing is to enjoy the whole thing, and then come back next month and do it again.
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Old 01-12-2019, 12:58 PM   #12
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Charlie and Bookpossum, thanks for the great tips. It sounds like fun. I’m off to check out the Scarlet P thread.
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Old 01-12-2019, 03:21 PM   #13
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We're also discussing Ursula K. Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness in a few days, if you'd like to join the discussion on that. Perhaps you've read it, or would like to.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:00 PM   #14
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We're also discussing Ursula K. Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness in a few days, if you'd like to join the discussion on that. Perhaps you've read it, or would like to.
Thank you - I haven’t read this yet, so will check it out.
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Old 01-14-2019, 09:29 AM   #15
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Well, it was close in the end. I started the audiobook of Le Carre on my commute this morning. The audiobook version is read by the author, who is a very good reader.
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