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Old 01-01-2017, 10:52 AM   #1
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Contemporary Nominations & Vote • January 2017

Happy New Year everyone! Here's to 2017 being a great reading year!

Help us select what the MR Literary Club will read in January 2017!


The category for this month is:

Contemporary (2001-Present)


-Nominations will run for three days.-

You may offer up to two nominations. All nominees (so long as they are within the category) will move forward to the vote with no need for support from others.

Once nominations are complete, voting will begin and also occur in this thread.


-Voting will then run for four days.-

I will make a post in this thread to open voting. The vote will close exactly four days from that post; even if the final tally doesn't occur immediately after voting closes, no votes made after that time will count.

Votes will be made by post. You will have a number of votes to cast equal to the number of nominees minus one, which will be specified when the vote begins. You may give each nominee one or two (or no) votes. You may vote all at once in one post or vote in separate posts at different times, so long as you have more votes remaining to cast. You may use any number of your possible votes up to the maximum. Any extraneous votes per person (past their maximum or more than two for one nominee) won't count. Votes cannot be changed once they are cast.

Once voting is complete, the count will be tallied and a winner declared. In the event of a tie, there will be a one-day run-off vote, also in this thread. If the run-off also ends in a tie, then the tie will be resolved in favour of the selection that was nominated first.


We hope that you will read the selection with the club and join in the discussion.


What is literature for the purposes of this club? A superior work of lasting merit that enriches the mind. Often it is important, challenging, critically acclaimed. It may be from ancient times to today; it may be from anywhere in the world; it may be obscure or famous, short or long; it may be a story, a novel, a play, a poem, an essay or another written form. If you are unsure if a work would be considered literature, just ask!


The is now open!

*

Nominations are closed. Voting is closed. Final results:
  • About Grace by Anthony Doerr, 2004
    Post / Goodreads / 420 Pages / Votes- 3

  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, 2013
    Post / Goodreads / 391 Pages / Votes- 5

  • Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín, 2014
    Post / Goodreads / 371 Pages / Votes- 7

  • The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht, 2011
    Post / Goodreads / 342 Pages / Votes- 1

  • All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld, 2013
    Post / Goodreads / 238 Pages / Votes- 5

  • A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, 2013
    Post / Goodreads / 422 Pages / Votes- 3

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Old 01-01-2017, 11:13 AM   #2
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About Grace by Anthony Doerr.

From Publishers Weekly:
The majesty of nature, the meaning of courage, the redemptive power of love and the pathos of isolation—all are gracefully explored in Doerr's story of the price paid for a gift. So why does so little seem to happen in this beautiful, ponderous and sometimes monotonous first novel by the author of the exquisite collection The Shell Collector? David Winkler has seen glimpses of the future ever since he was a boy. As a 32-year-old hydrologist in Anchorage, Alaska, he dreams of his future wife; soon they meet, fall in love and run away to Ohio, where she gives birth to their daughter, Grace. But when he dreams that he fails to save Grace from a flood, Winkler abandons wife and child, hoping to flee the future. He becomes a hermetic handyman on a Caribbean island near St. Vincent, befriended by a local family. The years pass until, emboldened by his surrogate family's grown daughter, a gifted marine biologist, Winkler realizes that he must embark on a journey to discover if Grace is alive. This is a lyrical tale tuned a bit too fine: Doerr's dreamy prose accords more attention to nature than character, so that Winkler, transfixed by the wonders of water and snowflakes but singularly unreflective about his actual life, is a frustratingly opaque protagonist. There are gorgeous moments here, but a stifling lack of story.
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Old 01-03-2017, 01:35 AM   #3
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I have been looking forward to this category! For my first nomination I select The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan published in 2013 by Vintage Australia and winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2014.

From Goodreads:
Quote:
A novel of the cruelty of war, and tenuousness of life and the impossibility of love.

Richard Flanagan's story — of Dorrigo Evans, an Australian doctor haunted by a love affair with his uncle's wife — journeys from the caves of Tasmanian trappers in the early twentieth century to a crumbling pre-war beachside hotel, from a Thai jungle prison to a Japanese snow festival, from the Changi gallows to a chance meeting of lovers on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Taking its title from 17th-century haiku poet Basho's travel journal, The Narrow Road to the Deep North is about the impossibility of love. At its heart is one day in a Japanese slave labour camp in August 1943. As the day builds to its horrific climax, Dorrigo Evans battles and fails in his quest to save the lives of his fellow POWs, a man is killed for no reason, and a love story unfolds.
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Old 01-03-2017, 11:09 PM   #4
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Wow - great nomination! (And not just because Flanagan is an Australian.)

I would like to nominate Nora Webster by Colm Toibin. I thought The Master was terrific, and plan on reading more of Toibin's books. From Goodreads:

Quote:
From one of contemporary literature's most acclaimed and beloved authors comes this magnificent new novel set in a small town in Ireland in the 1960s, where a fiercely compelling, too-young widow and mother of four moves from grief, fear, and longing to unexpected discovery. Toibin's portrayal of the intricacy and drama of ordinary lives brings to mind of the work of Alice Munro.
Set in Wexford, Ireland, and in breathtaking Ballyconnigar by the sea, Colm Toibin's tour de force eighth novel introduces the formidable, memorable Nora Webster. Widowed at 40, with four children and not enough money, Nora has lost the love of her life, Maurice, the man who rescued her from the stifling world she was born into. Wounded and self-centred from grief and the need to provide for her family, she struggles to be attentive to her children's needs and their own difficult loss. In masterfully detailing the intimate lives of one small family, Toibin has given us a vivid portrait of a time and an intricately woven tapestry of lives in a small town where everyone knows everyone's business, and where well-meaning gestures often have unforeseen consequences. Toibin has created one of contemporary fiction's most memorable female characters, one who has the strength and depth of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler. In Nora Webster, Colm Toibin is writing at the height of his powers. (less)
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Old 01-04-2017, 01:13 AM   #5
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My second nomination is The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht published in 2011 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, a British imprint of Orion Books, and by Random House in America.

Here is the Amazon description:
Quote:
A spellbinding journey through the troubled history and colourful folklore of the Balkans, from the youngest ever winner of the Orange Prize.

Natalia is on a quest: to discover the truth about her beloved grandfather. He has died far from home, in circumstances shrouded in mystery.

Recalling stories her grandfather told her as a child, Natalia suspects he may have died trying to unravel two mysteries. One was the fate of a tiger which escaped during German bombing raids in 1941; the other a man who claimed to be immortal. But, as Natalia learns, there are no simple truths or easy answers in this landscape echoing with myths but still scarred by war.
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Old 01-04-2017, 11:56 AM   #6
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Some very interesting nominations so far!

I looked around for two intriguing contemporary literary books that (a) haven't been nominated here before (in fact I don't even think either author has ever been nominated), (b) haven't already been marked as read by my lit club GR friends, (c) weren't already on my to-read lists and (d) were available in our various countries as ebooks. Here are the results. Oddly, both include cold, isolated islands, both are by female authors and feature women, and both are from 2013, though it was chance as I only realised these things while writing this post.


All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld, 2013

Miles Franklin Literary Award winner, European Union Prize for Literature UK winner, Costa Book Award for Novel nominee, among others

From Goodreads:

Jake Whyte is living on her own in an old farmhouse on a craggy British island, a place of ceaseless rains and battering winds. Her disobedient collie, , and a flock of sheep are her sole companions, which is how she wanted it to be. But every few nights something—or someone—picks off one of the sheep and sets off a new deep pulse of terror. There are foxes in the woods, a strange boy and a strange man, rumors of an obscure, formidable beast. But there is also Jake's past—hidden thousands of miles away and years ago, held in the silences about her family and the scars that stripe her back—a past that threatens to break into the present.

With exceptional artistry and empathy, All the Birds, Singing reveals an isolated life in all its struggles and stubborn hopes, unexpected beauty, and hard-won redemption.


A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, 2013

Man Booker Prize nominee, National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction nominee, Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction winner, among others

From Goodreads:

On a remote island in the Pacific Northwest, a Hello Kitty lunchbox washes up on the beach. Tucked inside is the diary of a sixteen-year-old Japanese girl names Nao Yasutani. Ruth--a writer who finds the lunchbox--suspects that it is debris from Japan's 2011 tsunami. Once she beings to read the diary, Ruth quickly finds herself drawn into the mystery of Nao's fate. Meanwhile in Tokyo, Nao, uprooted from her home in the U.S., bullied at school, and watching her parents spiral deeper into disaster, has decided to end her life. But first, she wants to recount the story of her great-grandmother, a 104-year-old Zen Buddhist nun, in the pages of her secret diary...
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:17 PM   #7
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Nominations are closed and voting is now open!

Voting will close exactly four days from this post.

Each person has FIVE votes to use.

Please refer to the first post for all other information.
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Old 01-04-2017, 06:02 PM   #8
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Interesting selections!

I will start with 2 votes for The Narrow Road to the Deep North.
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Old 01-04-2017, 06:22 PM   #9
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This is hard! I'll vote:

2 for Toibin
1 for Flanagan
1 for Obreht
1 for Wyld
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:39 PM   #10
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Very tough! I am going to have to download samples to figure out how to use my remaining votes.
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Old 01-04-2017, 10:46 PM   #11
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I vote:

2 for Toibin
2 for Flanagan

Still thinking about the fifth vote ...
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Old 01-06-2017, 11:01 AM   #12
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I'll begin with one vote for each of: Nora Webster, All the Birds, Singing and A Tale for the Time Being.
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Old 01-07-2017, 02:16 AM   #13
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I read through samples to help with my next choices.

1 for About Grace by Anthony Doerr. I've wanted to read something by him for awhile, and I really enjoyed the sample even more than I anticipated.

1 for All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld. I don't think I would have found this one on my own, and I wanted to keep reading more after the sample ended.
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Old 01-07-2017, 11:51 AM   #14
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1 vote for About Grace
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Old 01-07-2017, 02:19 PM   #15
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A little less than a day left for voting.

I had saved two votes until I'd investigated all of the options further. Now that I have, it's a tough choice! But I'll give one more vote to the Wyld, which is my top choice, and one more to the Tóibín.

I think if Nora Webster wins it'll be the first time we've ever had an author repeat in the lit club (and, oddly enough, his other win was our last go at the Contemporary category), but I did really like The Master, this one looks interesting and being an Irish book is tempting (did Bookpossum know what she was doing in nominating this? ... well maybe similar as Bookworm_Girl nominating the Flanagan!)

To speed up my club reading this month I might listen to our selection on audio whatever it is, if it's available. I checked out both the Tóibín and the Flanagan samples, those two being in the lead so far. The Tóibín is great - I really like the narrator, Fiona Shaw, and what I heard of the book. The Flanagan contained one of my pet peeves in samples whether audio or ebook, which is it wasn't the book but the introduction! Bah. How hard is it to synch up a sample to the actual book?
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