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View Poll Results: What color-full book shall we read for February?
Nothing But Blue Skies by Tom Holt 9 47.37%
Fadeout by Joseph Hansen 5 26.32%
The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith 8 42.11%
Passing by Nella Larsen 11 57.89%
Rainbows End: A Novel with One Foot in the Future by Vernor Vinge 7 36.84%
The Amber Fury by Natalie Haynes 4 21.05%
The Color Purple by Alice Walker 4 21.05%
The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiesen 6 31.58%
The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton 6 31.58%
The Crimson Chalice by Victor Canning 2 10.53%
Green Island by Shawna Yang Ryan 5 26.32%
Colours (Earth Incorporated #1) by Adrian J. Walker 3 15.79%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-08-2018, 08:32 AM   #1
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New Leaf Book Club • Vote for February 2018 • A Rainbow of Reading


Let's select the book we'll read and discuss in February 2018!

All are welcome to vote, but please don't vote unless you plan to participate in the discussion, whatever the selection.


This is a poll. Vote for as many books as you'd like. Questions? FAQs | Guidelines Or just ask!

Choices:

Nothing But Blue Skies by Tom Holt
Kindle | Kobo | OverDrive
Spoiler:

From Amazon:

Quote:
There are many reasons why British summers are either non-existent or, alternatively, held on a Thursday. Many of these reasons are either scientific, mad, or both-but all of them are wrong, especially the scientific ones. The real reason why it rains perpetually from January 1st to December 31st is, of course, irritable Chinese Water Dragons. Karen is one such legendary creature. Ancient, noble, nearly indestructible and, for a number of wildly improbable reasons, working as a real estate agent, Karen is irritable quite a lot of the time. But now things have changed, and Karen's no longer irritable. She's furious.


Fadeout by Joseph Hansen
Length: 202 pages.
AmazonUS: $7.99 | AmazonUK: £3.99 | KoboUK: £3.99
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:
Quote:
Dave Brandstetter stands alongside Philip Marlow, Sam Spade and Lew Archer as one of the best fictional PIs in the business. Like them, he was tough, determined, and ruthless when the case demanded it. Unlike them, he was gay.

Joseph Hansen's groundbreaking novels follow Brandstetter as he investigates cases in which motives are murky, passions run high, and nothing is ever as simple as it looks. Set in 1970s and 80s California, the series is a fascinating portrait of a time and a place, with mysteries to match Chandler and Macdonald.

In Fadeout, Dave is sent to investigate the death of radio personality Fox Olsen. His car is found crashed in a dry river bed. But there is no body - and as Dave looks deeper into his life, it seems as though he had good reasons to disappear.


The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
Kindle: $0.99 | Kobo
Spoiler:

Quote:
Based on a true story plucked from Highsmith's own life, Carol tells the riveting drama of Therese Belivet, a stage designer trapped in a department-store day job, whose routine is forever shattered by a gorgeous epiphany—the appearance of Carol Aird, a customer who comes in to buy her daughter a Christmas toy. Therese begins to gravitate toward the alluring suburban housewife, who is trapped in a marriage as stultifying as Therese's job. They fall in love and set out across the United States, ensnared by society's confines and the imminent disapproval of others, yet propelled by their infatuation. Carol is a brilliantly written story that may surprise Highsmith fans and will delight those discovering her work.
The novel was also adapted in 2015 for the film Carol, directed by Todd Haynes.


Passing by Nella Larsen
Kindle | Kobo
Spoiler:
Quote:
"Absolutely absorbing, fascinating, and indispensable.--Alice Walker.
"A work so fine, sensitive, and distinguished that it rises above race categories and becomes that rare object, a good novel."--*The Saturday Review of Literature*

Married to a successful physician and prominently ensconced in Harlem's vibrant society of the 1920s, Irene Redfield leads a charmed existence-until she is shaken out of it by a chance encounter with a childhood friend who has been "passing for white."

An important figure in the Harlem Renaissance, Nella Larsen was the first African-American woman to be awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. Her fictional portraits of women seeking their identities through a fog of racial confusion were informed by her own Danish-West Indian parentage, and Passing offers fascinating psychological insights into issues of race and gender. (From Kobo.)


Rainbows End: A Novel with One Foot in the Future by Vernor Vinge
Overdrive | Kobo US | Kobo UK | Amazon US |Amazon UK
Spoiler:
Quote:
Robert Gu is a recovering Alzheimer's patient. The world that he remembers was much as we know it today. Now, as he regains his faculties through a cure developed during the years of his near-fatal decline, he discovers that the world has changed and so has his place in it. He was a world-renowned poet. Now he is seventy-five years old, though by a medical miracle he looks much younger, and he's starting over, for the first time unsure of his poetic gifts. Living with his son's family, he has no choice but to learn how to cope with a new information age in which the virtual and the real are a seamless continuum, layers of reality built on digital views seen by a single person or millions, depending on your choice. But the consensus reality of the digital world is available only if, like his thirteen-year-old granddaughter Miri, you know how to wear your wireless access—through nodes designed into smart clothes—and to see the digital context—through smart contact lenses.

With knowledge comes risk. When Robert begins to re-train at Fairmont High, learning with other older people what is second nature to Miri and other teens at school, he unwittingly becomes part of a wide-ranging conspiracy to use technology as a tool for world domination.

In a world where every computer chip has Homeland Security built-in, this conspiracy is something that baffles even the most sophisticated security analysts, including Robert's son and daughter-in law, two top people in the U.S. military. And even Miri, in her attempts to protect her grandfather, may be entangled in the plot.

As Robert becomes more deeply involved in conspiracy, he is shocked to learn of a radical change planned for the UCSD Geisel Library; all the books there, and worldwide, would cease to physically exist. He and his fellow re-trainees feel compelled to join protests against the change. With forces around the world converging on San Diego, both the conspiracy and the protest climax in a spectacular moment as unique and satisfying as it is unexpected.


The Amber Fury by Natalie Haynes
Amazon UK | Amazon US |Kobo UK | Kobo US | Overdrive (under the alternate title "The Furies")
Spoiler:
Description from Goodreads:

Quote:
When Alex Morris loses her fiancé in dreadful circumstances, she moves from London to Edinburgh to make a break with the past. Alex takes a job at a Pupil Referral Unit, which accepts the students excluded from other schools in the city. These are troubled, difficult kids and Alex is terrified of what she's taken on.

There is one class - a group of five teenagers - who intimidate Alex and every other teacher on The Unit. But with the help of the Greek tragedies she teaches, Alex gradually develops a rapport with them. Finding them enthralled by tales of cruel fate and bloody revenge, she even begins to worry that they are taking her lessons to heart, and that a whole new tragedy is being performed, right in front of her...


The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Amazon | Kobo
Spoiler:

From Goodreads:
Quote:
The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was later adapted into a film and musical of the same name.

Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence.
Goodreads


The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
Kindle | Kobo | OverDrive
Spoiler:
Quote:
In 1973, Peter Matthiessen and field biologist George Schaller traveled high into the remote mountains of Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and possibly glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard. Matthiessen, a student of Zen Buddhism, was also on a spiritual quest to find the Lama of Shey at the ancient shrine on Crystal Mountain. As the climb proceeds, Matthiessen charts his inner path as well as his outer one, with a deepening Buddhist understanding of reality, suffering, impermanence, and beauty.


The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton
PCML: ePub
Spoiler:
Quote:
With his round face, pipe and umbrella, the shambling, bespectacled priest Father Brown is an unlikely detective - yet his innocent air hides a razor-sharp understanding of the criminal mind. As this first volume of his adventures shows, the wise, worldly clerical sleuth has an uncanny ability to bring even the most elusive wrongdoer to justice.


The Crimson Chalice by Victor Canning
Amazon US | Kobo
Spoiler:
From me:
Quote:
The Crimson Chalice is the first book of a trilogy in which Victor Canning retells the legend of King Arthur. This is a tale set in the Dark Ages. The Romans are almost gone, driven out of Britain, and the tribes are warring among themselves for the spoils.

A young Roman woman, Tia, finds Baradoc with his wrists and ankles bound and left to die. The man is guarded by his dogs and also a raven. Tia cuts down the young man and hides him as he recovers. Tia is escaping from her home after the servants revolted and killed everyone else. Baradoc is the son of a chief of a distant tribe, he is returning after the death of his master (he had been a slave for a time). Obliged to Tia, Baradoc says he will escort her to her uncle's villa.
I like the dark and primitive feel to this story - particularly in this first book. It makes the experience quite different from other variations of this story.


Green Island by Shawna Yang Ryan
Kindle | Kobo: $4.99 | OverDrive
Spoiler:
It was the Amazon Best Book of February 2016, a 2016 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Historical Fiction and winner of the American Book Award in 2017.

From Goodreads:
Quote:
A stunning story of love, betrayal, and family, set against the backdrop of a changing Taiwan over the course of the twentieth century.

February 28, 1947: Trapped inside the family home amid an uprising that has rocked Taipei, Dr. Tsai delivers his youngest daughter, the unnamed narrator of Green Island, just after midnight as the city is plunged into martial law. In the following weeks, as the Chinese Nationalists act to crush the opposition, Dr. Tsai becomes one of the many thousands of people dragged away from their families and thrown into prison. His return, after more than a decade, is marked by alienation from his loved ones and paranoia among his community — conflicts that loom over the growing bond he forms with his youngest daughter. Years later, this troubled past follows her to the United States, where, as a mother and a wife, she too is forced to decide between what is right and what might save her family — the same choice she witnessed her father make many years before.

As the novel sweeps across six decades and two continents, the life of the narrator shadows the course of Taiwan’s history from the end of Japanese colonial rule to the decades under martial law and, finally, to Taiwan’s transformation into a democracy. But, above all, Green Island is a lush and lyrical story of a family and a nation grappling with the nuances of complicity and survival, raising the question: how far would you be willing to go for the ones you love?


Colours (Earth Incorporated #1) by Adrian J. Walker
Kindle: $0.99
| Kobo: $0.99 | Amazon UK: £0.99
Spoiler:
From Goodreads
Quote:
People used to live in places called countries. They raised flags and elected governments to rule them. They had a nationality.

But that was a long time ago.

The words ’nation’ and ‘government’ are relics, things of the past. It has been centuries since the last tattered flag was raised.

Now, the world is dominated by corporations and the people that live within their vast, protective shells are the lucky employees. The less fortunate, the consumers, live outside in the Hoards.

Leafen is one such corporation, a technology giant famous for its Fronds - genetic implants that connect users to a vast social network. And for Leafen's 40 million employees, turning sixteen is a very special day. This is the day of their Colours - the personality grading test that will guide their behaviour...

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Old 01-08-2018, 10:14 AM   #2
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As always with me, the books fall into three groups: books I will vote for, books I won't vote for, and books I haven't quite decided about yet. The first cut eliminates the three books I've already read. Whose Body? was already a reread and I'd always rather read something new.
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Old 01-08-2018, 11:52 AM   #3
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I won't read a book in a series where it's not the first and I've not read the ones that came before or if the first book does not end unless it's a series I've wanted to read.
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Old 01-08-2018, 12:22 PM   #4
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I won't read a book in a series where it's not the first and I've not read the ones that came before or if the first book does not end unless it's a series I've wanted to read.
Jon, I don't see what this rant has to do with the poll. Let's drop it, please.
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Old 01-08-2018, 01:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by issybird View Post
As always with me, the books fall into three groups: books I will vote for, books I won't vote for, and books I haven't quite decided about yet. The first cut eliminates the three books I've already read. Whose Body? was already a reread and I'd always rather read something new.
Yup, I agree, except, of course, in the case of the book I nominated, which was, technically, a re-read. But separated by so many years as to be completely new. But there are others in this list that would be re-reads and wouldn't be ones I'm excited about, frankly. OTOH, there are books I'm quite intrigued by.
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:30 PM   #6
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The copy of the Father Brown omnibus that is in the library is chock full of errors. I PMed HarryT about it earlier today and so far, no answer. So I am correcting it and cleaning the code. It looks like it was converted from Mobipocket that was created with Book Designer.

When I am done and have attached it to this thread, could the link(s) in this thread be updated to point to the fixed version? Thanks.
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:36 PM   #7
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When I am done and have attached it to this thread, could the link(s) in this thread be updated to point to the fixed version? Thanks.
Of course.
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:04 PM   #8
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Here is the fixed Father Brown omnibus for the book club. The ePub in the library is chock full of errors. So I've fixed the code and it now validates with both Calibre and epubcheck 4.0.2.
Attached Files
File Type: epub G.K. Chesterton - Father Brown Omnibus.epub (828.3 KB, 230 views)

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Old 01-08-2018, 08:27 PM   #9
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Good work Jon.
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:47 PM   #10
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Here is the fixed Father Brown omnibus for the book club. The ePub in the library is chock full of errors. So I've fixed the code and it now validates with both Calibre and epubcheck 4.0.2.
I've swapped out the link in six(!) places. I hope I didn't miss any.
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Old 01-08-2018, 09:50 PM   #11
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As always with me, the books fall into three groups: books I will vote for, books I won't vote for, and books I haven't quite decided about yet. The first cut eliminates the three books I've already read. Whose Body? was already a reread and I'd always rather read something new.
Yes, there are a lot more books out there than there is time available to read them, so if you have already traveled down a trail before, why not take a new road instead.

Although there is something to be said for re-reading an excellent book if there has been a long enough passage of time that you may have become essentially a different traveler, so that you see new things with fresh eyes, especially if you travel in good company, and have the benefit of your companions' observations.
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Old 01-09-2018, 01:52 AM   #12
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Hey, folks, how about a little love for Fadeout? I know those of us in the MobileRead Book Club just read a mystery, but really, there's NO comparison. This isn't the story of an upper-class, British twit with too much time on his hands and a title; it's the story of a working-class, California, insurance investigator in the midst of recovering from the loss of his long time partner. And it's not set in the 20's, but in the 70's, a time at least some of us actually remember.

This is classic work of gay fiction, arguably the first major cross-over work of the modern era. Oh, and it was a success because it was a good, well-written, mystery. A worthy start to our New Leaf Book Club.
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Old 01-09-2018, 02:59 AM   #13
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Charlie, I think you nailed it for me. I read "mystery" and couldn't work out why "gay" was relevant. (For all I know Poirot might have been gay, come to that, I'm not ruling out Miss Marple, Mr Satterthwaite, Lord Wimsey ... or Columbo!) And if it's not relevant, why mention it? That combined with the fact that I was putting in votes for half of the books anyway ... I had to cut back somewhere, and Fadeout was one casualty.

I'm almost sorry to see the Tom Holt novel in front - but only because I know I will read it anyway. I became a fan of Tom Holt after "Expecting Someone Taller" and "Who's Afraid of Beowulf". I avidly chased up more of his books ... only to find that they didn't quite have the magic of the first two; most of them were good, they just weren't great. So now I am still interested but have less enthusiasm. Maybe "Nothing But Blue Skies" will be a return to top form - here's hoping.

I like all the nominations, but if I had to pick what I most hope to win, it would probably be Passing or The Amber Fury. These are both books I'd probably have overlooked if left to my own devices, but now they have my attention and I want to read them.
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Old 01-09-2018, 03:23 AM   #14
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Gay because of the rainbow reference. Lateral thinking was encouraged!
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Old 01-09-2018, 03:48 AM   #15
gmw
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I understand the gay/rainbow thing, but from perspective of choosing a story I wanted to read, I could not figure out why gay was relevant to the story*. Charlie's addition in this thread ("in the midst of recovering from the loss of his long time partner") does add some extra context to that question.

* This isn't the place to get into the whole positive discrimination argument, but my general expectation is that something mentioned in the blurb is relevant to the story.
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