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Old 03-01-2019, 07:01 AM   #1
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Queer as Folk • March 2019

Help select what we'll read and discuss next!


The topic is There's Nowt so Queer as Folk.

This references the original turn of the phrase- that people in general can be odd and different. So, the topic could be about any character or group of characters with 'differences' whatever those may be, or considered strange by others or those around them. Or it could be about seemingly ordinary people who turn out not to be so ordinary after all. Or it could have something to do with the modern-day meaning of 'queer' often relating to LGBT. Or, as the polysemy of the word 'queer' was brought up, the polysemous aspect might bring inspiration for a nomination. Or however else you may interpret the topic!


Detailed nominating and voting guidelines can be found here. Basically, nominations are open for about four days and each person may nominate up to three literary selections which will go automatically to the vote. Voting by post then opens for four days, and a voter may give each nomination either one or two votes but only has a limited number of votes to use which is equal to the number of nominations minus one. Any questions, feel free to ask.

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

*

Nominations are complete. Initial voting is complete. Run-off voting is complete. Final results-

  • Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
    Post . Goodreads . 293 Pages . Votes 3 . Run-off 3 . 1987 . Chile

  • Passing Strange by Ellen Klages
    Post . Goodreads . 220 Pages . Votes 1 . Run-off – . 2017 . U.S.

  • Unreliable Memoirs by Clive James
    Post . Goodreads . 192 Pages . Votes 3 . Run-off 3 . 1980 . Australia

  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    Post . Goodreads . 093 Pages . Votes 3 . Run-off 0 . 1943 . France

  • Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott
    Post . Goodreads . 124 Pages . Votes 1 . Run-off – . 1884 . England

  • Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake
    Post . Goodreads . 510 Pages . Votes 1 . Run-off – . 1946 . England

  • Observatory Mansions by Edward Carey
    Post . Goodreads . 352 Pages . Votes 3 . Run-off 3 . 2000 . England

  • The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
    Post . Goodreads . 325 Pages . Votes 1 . Run-off – . 2011 . U.S.

  • The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
    Post . Goodreads . 349 Pages . Votes 2 . Run-off – . 2006 . Finland

  • Troubles by J.G. Farrell
    Post . Goodreads . 459 Pages . Votes 0 . Run-off – . 1970 . Ireland & England

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Old 03-01-2019, 06:22 PM   #2
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I’m excited about the nominations for this topic. I already have a long list of options. It should be fun to see what others have in mind.
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Old 03-03-2019, 04:06 PM   #3
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Glad you like the topic, Bookworm_Girl. Hopefully it will be an interesting month!
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Old 03-03-2019, 10:35 PM   #4
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My first nomination is Eva Luna by Isabel Allende. I thought this would fit the topic well because the main character encounters all sorts and strange and wonderful people and learns of their stories; as one Goodreads top review bluntly puts it, 'A host of unusual tales tumble out of this book, like so many magpie-gathered jewels that had been crammed into a box.' Another top review states, 'I've read a few of Allende's novels and her memoir. I must say, I've settled on this one as my favorite just as one would settle on choice of wine: a few sips here and there, tightening of the tastebuds around one flavor and the instinctive feeling' and another is of the opinion that, 'this is one of my all-time favorite books.' Goodreads 293 pages, Chile, 1987

Quote:
Meet New York Times bestselling author Isabel Allende’s most enchanting creation, Eva Luna: a lover, a writer, a revolutionary, and above all a storyteller—available for the first time in ebook.

Eva Luna is the daughter of a professor’s assistant and a snake-bitten gardener—born poor, orphaned at an early age, and working as a servant. Eva is a naturally gifted and imaginative storyteller who meets people from all stations and walks of life. Though she has no wealth, she trades her stories like currency with people who are kind to her. In this novel, she shares the story of her own life and introduces readers to a diverse and eccentric cast of characters including the Lebanese émigré who befriends her and takes her in; her unfortunate godmother, whose brain is addled by rum and who believes in all the Catholic saints and a few of her own invention; a street urchin who grows into a petty criminal and, later, a leader in the guerrilla struggle; a celebrated transsexual entertainer who instructs her in the ways of the adult world; and a young refugee whose flight from postwar Europe will prove crucial to Eva's fate.

As Eva tells her story, Isabel Allende conjures up a whole complex South American nation—the rich, the poor, the simple, and the sophisticated—in a novel replete with character and incident, with drama and comedy and history, with battles and passions, rebellions and reunions, a novel that celebrates the power of imagination to create a better world.
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Old 03-03-2019, 10:50 PM   #5
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I have never read anything by Isabel Allende, and she has been on my want to read list of authors for ages. I will post my nominations by tomorrow night.
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Old 03-04-2019, 01:41 AM   #6
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Sounds good. I've wanted to read Allende for a long time too. I'm deciding between a few for my other nominations. I was originally thinking I might nominate at least one lgbt themed book or author for that aspect of the topic but it's looking like that might not happen unless I get some sudden new inspiration.
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Old 03-04-2019, 02:11 AM   #7
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I'm not sure if I have time for two club participations or not, but if you have no objections I do have a nomination I found fairly recently that fits this theme quite nicely (I think). After some early reservations I enjoyed this very much:

Passing Strange by Ellen Klages. It's only a novella (39k words) - 224 pages according to Amazon, 143 ADE pages.

Goodreads description:
Quote:
San Francisco in 1940 is a haven for the unconventional. Tourists flock to the cities within the city: the Magic City of the World’s Fair on an island created of artifice and illusion; the forbidden city of Chinatown, a separate, alien world of exotic food and nightclubs that offer “authentic” experiences, straight from the pages of the pulps; and the twilight world of forbidden love, where outcasts from conventional society can meet.

Six women find their lives as tangled with each other’s as they are with the city they call home. They discover love and danger on the borders where mystery, science, and art intersect.

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Old 03-04-2019, 02:00 PM   #8
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Thanks for the nomination gmw; it sounds like it fits the theme perfectly! If it's all right with you, when I list everything in the first post I'll use my normal method to find page numbers using the median found in a book's Goodreads editions which for Passing Strange equals 220 pages so almost the same as what Amazon has, although with 143 ADE pages it does sound like a novella.
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Old 03-04-2019, 02:19 PM   #9
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For my second nomination, even though a book from Australia just won last month, I'm putting forth another Australian book, this time a memoir: Unreliable Memoirs by Clive James. Though it's an autobiography, James makes no claim to being faithfully accurate and some have labelled the book as (purposely) half nonfiction, half novel. I thought it would fit the topic well because in the book he tells of his time growing up in post-war Sydney and of various acquaintances and relatives, some of whom are unpredictable, eccentric and outrageous. Goodreads 192 pages, 1980, Australia

Quote:
'Do not read this book in public. You will risk severe internal injuries from trying to suppress your laughter.' Sunday Times


I was born in 1939. The other big event of that year was the outbreak of the Second World War, but for the moment that did not affect me.

In the first instalment of Clive James's memoirs we follow the young Clive on his journey from boyhood to the cusp of manhood, when his days of wearing short trousers are finally behind him. Battling with school, girls, various relatives and an overwhelming desire to be a superhero, Clive's adventures growing up in the suburbs of post-war Sydney are hair-raising, uproarious and almost too good to be true . . .

Told with James's unassailable sense of humour and self-effacing charm, Unreliable Memoirs is a hilarious and touching introduction to the story of a national treasure. A million-copy bestseller, this classic memoir is a celebration of life in all its unpredictable glory.
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Old 03-04-2019, 05:25 PM   #10
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Now that Clive James has been nominated I don't feel any great need to nominate anything else .

But I will, and for my attack on "queer" I have selected some books that are, well, just "queer" in themselves (if one gets as far as finishing them, so two are short to lessen the pain). Not sure if any are books to be enjoyed, perhaps important enough to just be persevered with .

The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery - a kid-dolt novella, some say the best book out of France during the 20th Century, but I wonder. There are several translations but no need to worry, they are all much the same.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Prince

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, Edwin Abbott - a geeky satirical novella commenting on Victorian hierarchies (women are stick figures, men are polygons, etc.).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatland

Titus Groan, Mervyn Peake - a fairly long Gothic fantasy which has sat on my reading list for a while. There is a library, the library gets burnt. It is a "queer" story" with "queer" characters in a "queer" setting. It is not a short novel so maybe I want to read it as a test to see if I can get through it without coming over "queer" (strange) myself.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titus_Groan

But getting back to Clive James - swoon .

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Old 03-04-2019, 08:54 PM   #11
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What fun nominations! I am working on mine.
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Old 03-04-2019, 09:23 PM   #12
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My first nomination is Observatory Mansions by Edward Carey.

From Goodreads:
Quote:
Once the Orme family’s magnificent ancestral estate, Observatory Mansions is now a crumbling apartment complex, home to an eccentric group of misfits. One of them is Francis Orme, who earns his livelihood as a living statue. When not practicing “inner and outer stillness,” Francis steals the cherished possessions of others to add to his private museum. The other tenants are equally as odd: his mother and father, who haven’t interacted in years; a man who continually sweats and cries; a recluse who prefers television to reality; and a woman who behaves like a dog. When Anna Tapp arrives among them she stirs their souls, bringing long forgotten memories to the surface–and arousing fears that this new resident intends to provoke a metamorphosis.
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Old 03-04-2019, 09:34 PM   #13
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My second nomination is The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson.

From Goodreads:
Quote:
Mr. and Mrs. Fang called it art.

Their children called it mischief.

Performance artists Caleb and Camille Fang dedicated themselves to making great art. But when an artist’s work lies in subverting normality, it can be difficult to raise well-adjusted children. Just ask Buster and Annie Fang. For as long as they can remember, they starred (unwillingly) in their parents’ madcap pieces. But now that they are grown up, the chaos of their childhood has made it difficult to cope with life outside the fishbowl of their parents’ strange world.

When the lives they’ve built come crashing down, brother and sister have nowhere to go but home, where they discover that Caleb and Camille are planning one last performance -– their magnum opus -– whether the kids agree to participate or not. Soon, ambition breeds conflict, bringing the Fangs to face the difficult decision about what’s ultimately more important: their family or their art.
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Old 03-04-2019, 09:37 PM   #14
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For my last nomination, I wanted something that had been translated into English and picked something completely outside the box for me. I had trouble finding something that was available in all countries. This one doesn't appear as an ebook in Canada, but it seems to be easily available every else.

It is The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen.

From Goodreads:
Quote:
A highly contagious book virus, a literary society and a Snow Queen-like disappearing author 'She came to realise that under one reality there's always another. And another one under that.' Only very special people are chosen by children's author Laura White to join 'The Society', an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a tenth member has been selected: Ella, literature teacher and possessor of beautifully curving lips. But soon Ella discovers that the Society is not what it seems. What is its mysterious ritual, 'The Game'? What explains the strange disappearance that occurs at Laura's winter party, in a whirlwind of snow? Why are the words inside books starting to rearrange themselves? Was there once another tenth member, before her? Slowly, disturbing secrets that had been buried come to light... In this chilling, darkly funny novel, the uncanny brushes up against the everyday in the most beguiling and unexpected of ways.
About the author from Amazon:
Quote:
Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen is well known in his native Finland for his fantasy and sci-fi narratives and has twice won the Kuvastaja Fantasy Prize given by Finland's Tolkien Society and four times won the Atorox Award for Fantasy. He teaches Finnish language and literature and is the father of three sons.
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Old 03-05-2019, 05:23 AM   #15
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For my last nomination I offer Troubles by J.G. Farrell. It’s the winner of the ‘Lost’ Man Booker Prize.

We still have at least a few more hours to go but I’ll add in more info about it, update the first post and start the vote a little later when I’m not on mobile.
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