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Old 04-01-2019, 09:56 PM   #1
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A Journey, or Journeys • April 2019

Help select what we'll read and discuss next!


The topic is A Journey, or Journeys.

Could be a single journey or several journeys, fiction or non-fiction, long distance or short distance, etc.


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. Voting is complete! Final results-

  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
    Post . Goodreads . 318 Pages . Votes 0 . 1937 . England

  • Erebus by Michael Palin
    Post . Goodreads . 334 Pages . Votes 3 . 2018 . England

  • The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerlöf
    Post . Goodreads . 240 Pages . Votes 2 . 1906 . Sweden

  • Sea and Sardinia by D.H. Lawrence
    Post . Goodreads . 215 Pages . Votes 4 . 1921 . England

  • Journey without Maps by Graham Greene
    Post . Goodreads . 256 Pages . Votes 6 . 1936 . England

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    Post . Goodreads . 316 Pages . Votes 5 . 1884 . U.S.

  • The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane
    Post . Goodreads . 432 Pages . Votes 2 . 2012 . England

  • The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
    Post . Goodreads . 443 Pages . Votes 1 . 2012 . U.S.

  • Into the Heart of Borneo by Redmond O'Hanlon
    Post . Goodreads . 199 Pages . Votes 1 . 1984 . England

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Old 04-01-2019, 11:59 PM   #2
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I'll begin with something a little different from my usual types of nominations but it was the first thing I thought of for the topic- The Hobbit or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien. I realise it's very famous and perhaps you've all already read it, but I've never read any Tolkien and think it could lead to a vibrant discussion. Goodreads 318 pages, 1937, England

J.R.R. Tolkien's own description for the original edition:
Quote:
If you care for journeys there and back, out of the comfortable Western world, over the edge of the Wild, and home again, and can take an interest in a humble hero (blessed with a little wisdom and a little courage and considerable good luck), here is a record of such a journey and such a traveler. The period is the ancient time between the age of Faerie and the dominion of men, when the famous forest of Mirkwood was still standing, and the mountains were full of danger. In following the path of this humble adventurer, you will learn by the way (as he did) -- if you do not already know all about these things -- much about trolls, goblins, dwarves, and elves, and get some glimpses into the history and politics of a neglected but important period. For Mr. Bilbo Baggins visited various notable persons; conversed with the dragon, Smaug the Magnificent; and was present, rather unwillingly, at the Battle of the Five Armies. This is all the more remarkable, since he was a hobbit. Hobbits have hitherto been passed over in history and legend, perhaps because they as a rule preferred comfort to excitement. But this account, based on his personal memoirs, of the one exciting year in the otherwise quiet life of Mr. Baggins will give you a fair idea of the estimable people now (it is said) becoming rather rare. They do not like noise.
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Old 04-02-2019, 12:49 AM   #3
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I cannot ignore the coincidences (here you are looking for journeys, I bought the following book on special just a few days ago, and I see that fantasyfan recently put up a positive review on the "What are we reading?" thread), so feel that I must nominate:

Erebus: The Story of a Ship by Michael Palin. Goodreads 334 pages, 2018.
Quote:
In his major new work, Michael Palin – former Monty Python stalwart and much-loved television globe-trotter – brings to life the world and voyages of HMS Erebus, from its construction in the naval dockyards of Pembroke, to the part it played in Ross’s Antarctic expedition of 1839–43, to its abandonment during Franklin’s ill-fated Arctic expedition, and to its final rediscovery on the seabed in Queen Maud Gulf in 2014. He explores the intertwined careers of the men who shared its journeys: the organisational genius James Clark Ross, who mapped much of the Antarctic coastline and oversaw some of the earliest scientific experiments to be conducted there; and the troubled Sir John Franklin, who, at the age of 60 and after a chequered career, commanded the ship on its final journey. And he describes what life on board was like for the dozens of men who stepped ashore in Antarctica’s Victoria Land, and for the officers and crew who, one by one, froze and starved to death in the Arctic wastes as rescue missions desperately tried to track them down.

To help tell the story, he has travelled to various locations across the world – Tasmania, the Falklands, the Canadian Arctic – to search for local information, and to experience at first hand the terrain and the conditions that would have confronted the Erebus and her crew.

Illustrated with maps, paintings and engravings, this is a wonderfully evocative and epic account, written by a master explorer and storyteller.
Note that the epub is something like 67MB thanks to the embedded images. Each chapter has a black and white image prefix - these display quite well on an e-ink reader. But then there is a "picture section" chapter at the back that includes many colour images; this is very slow to load but did eventually load and show quite well (but not perfectly) on my Kobo H2O. (I haven't actually read the book yet, I just checked out how it was going to work before nominating.)

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Old 04-03-2019, 03:30 PM   #4
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Coincidences are the best. I’m looking forward to exploring this subject to look for nominations. I do not have anything in mind yet.
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Old 04-04-2019, 02:46 PM   #5
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I would like to nominate these:
1. The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerlöf
2. Sea and Sardinia by D. H. Lawrence
3. Journey without Maps by Graham Greene

Please forgive me for cutting the introductions into these book, because my Internet service still has connection problems with this website. However, I think these books are not unknown, especially among you who read and know a lot.
I have to acknowledge that this topic is not something I am familiar with. But in this book club I am always happy to read with you anything brand-new for me.

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Old 04-05-2019, 01:56 AM   #6
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Wonderful choices, Spinnenmonat. I looked up the information in Goodreads for you on the books to help.

1. The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerlöf
Quote:
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1909 — the first woman to be so honored — Swedish novelist Selma Lagerlöf (1858–1940) was a gifted storyteller whose writings were often tinged with the supernatural and rooted in the sagas and legends of her homeland.

She secured her reputation as a children's-book author with The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, long considered a masterpiece of children's literature. Written at the request of Swedish school authorities and first published in 1906, it is the enchanting and remarkably original tale of Nils Holgersson, a mischievous boy of 14 who is changed by an elf into a tiny being able to understand the speech of birds and animals.

Brilliantly weaving fact and fiction into a breathtaking and beautiful fable, the story recounts Nils's adventures as he is transported over the countryside on the back of a goose. From this vantage point, Nils witnesses a host of events that provide young readers with an abundance of information about nature, geography, folklore, animal life, and more.

Reset in easy-to-read type and enhanced with 10 new illustrations, this inexpensive, unabridged edition will bring new generations of readers under the magical spell of a timeless classic.
2. Sea and Sardinia by D. H. Lawrence
Quote:
Written after the First World War when he was living in Sicily, Sea and Sardinia records Lawrence's journey to Sardinia and back in January 1921. It reveals his response to a new landscape and people and his ability to transmute the spirit of place into literary art. Like his other travel writings the book is also a shrewd inquiry into the political and social values of an era which saw the rise of communism and fascism. On one level an indictment of contemporary materialism, Sea and Sardinia is nevertheless an optimistic book, celebrating the creativity of the human spirit and seeking in the fundamental laws which governed human nature in the past fresh inspiration for the present. This 1997 edition restores censored passages and corrects corrupt textual readings to reveal for the first time the book Lawrence himself called 'a marvel of veracity'.
3. Journey without Maps by Graham Greene
Quote:
His mind crowded with vivid images of Africa, Graham Greene set off in 1935 to discover Liberia, a remote and unfamiliar republic founded for released slaves. Now with a new introduction by Paul Theroux, Journey Without Maps is the spellbinding record of Greene's journey. Crossing the red-clay terrain from Sierra Leone to the coast of Grand Bassa with a chain of porters, he came to know one of the few areas of Africa untouched by colonization. Western civilization had not yet impinged on either the human psyche or the social structure, and neither poverty, disease, nor hunger seemed able to quell the native spirit.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
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Old 04-05-2019, 02:09 AM   #7
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My first nomination is an American classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

From Amazon:
Quote:
Refusing to be civilized by Southern society or cowed by his drunken father’s lashings, young Huckleberry Finn decides he has only one option left: fake his own death and hop a raft down the Mississippi River. Instead of carrying him far from trouble, though, Huck’s raft delivers him to a place of moral uncertainty.

Mark Twain unwinds Huck’s harrowing journey to manhood with satirical wit, revealing the troubled history of the American South, where slavery held sway long after the Civil War ended. Huck’s relationship with runaway slave Jim forces him to confront his beliefs about friendship and freedom.
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Old 04-05-2019, 02:13 AM   #8
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My second nomination is The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot by Robert Macfarlane.

From Goodreads:
Quote:
From the acclaimed author of The Wild Places, an exploration of walking and thinking

In this exquisitely written book, Robert Macfarlane sets off from his Cambridge, England, home to follow the ancient tracks, holloways, drove roads, and sea paths that crisscross both the British landscape and its waters and territories beyond. The result is an immersive, enthralling exploration of the ghosts and voices that haunt old paths, of the stories our tracks keep and tell, and of pilgrimage and ritual.

Told in Macfarlane’s distinctive voice, The Old Ways folds together natural history, cartography, geology, archaeology and literature. His walks take him from the chalk downs of England to the bird islands of the Scottish northwest, from Palestine to the sacred landscapes of Spain and the Himalayas. Along the way he crosses paths with walkers of many kinds—wanderers, pilgrims, guides, and artists. Above all this is a book about walking as a journey inward and the subtle ways we are shaped by the landscapes through which we move. Macfarlane discovers that paths offer not just a means of traversing space, but of feeling, knowing, and thinking.
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Old 04-05-2019, 06:00 AM   #9
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Thank you so much, Bookworm_Girl.

PS: I've made some little mistakes in my original post, but now corrected them.
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Old 04-06-2019, 03:11 PM   #10
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I'll be updating the OP with all the info within the next hour or two and starting the vote; until then nominations are still open if anyone else has any more.

My second nomination is The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson. Goodreads 443 pages, 2012, United States

The jacket description-

Quote:
An epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, The Orphan Master's Son follows a young man's journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world's most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea.

Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother - a singer "stolen" to Pyongyang - and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.

Considering himself "a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world," Jun Do becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress "so pure, she didn't know what starving people looked like."

Part breathless thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, The Orphan Master's Son is also a riveting portrait of a world heretofore hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love. A towering literary achievement, The Orphan Master's Son ushers Adam Johnson into the small group of today's greatest writers.
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Old 04-06-2019, 04:00 PM   #11
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And finally I nominate Into the Heart of Borneo by Redmond O'Hanlon. Goodreads 199 pages, 1984, England

Quote:
The story of a 1983 journey to the center of Borneo, which no expedition had attempted since 1926. O'Hanlon, accompanied by friend and poet James Fenton and three native guides brings wit and humor to a dangerous journey.
Since the Goodreads description is so short, here are a few excerpts of top reviews there:

Quote:
This book (his first) I consider to be OHanlon's masterpiece. An absurd, aging, overweight British naturalist with an enthusiasm for nature that border's on the manic, travels with the perfect straight-man, the poet James Fenton, up river deep into the wilds of Borneo, in order to catch a glimpse of the Borneo rhinocerous. The local Dayak guides, masters of the forest, never tire of ridiculing and abusing OHanlon and Fenton - "Redmond you're so fats!" - they constantly exclaim, and the grey-bearded Fenton is declared as the wise elder. But the book is more than just the journey - it is full of "fun facts", history, particularly of the naturalist Alfred Wallace, and beautiful descriptions of the rainforest flora and fauna. As travel-writing goes this book is a gem - every bit as funny as Bill Bryson or Mark Twain.
Quote:
Fun! Two British guys who had no business mucking about in a tropical jungle decide to go into the center of Malaysia where no European or American had been in fifty years. Armed with cigarettes, alcohol, antibiotics and books, they embark on a nutty, sweaty and very funny trip with three native men as guides.
Quote:
It is absolutely hysterical, droll, meaty, and a dazzling window on a life almost none of us will ever experience.
Quote:
One of the funniest tales I've read, Redmond's dry wit will have you sore from laughing, all the while by his side struggling deep in the jungle.

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Old 04-06-2019, 06:31 PM   #12
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Nominations are complete and voting is now open!

Voting will close exactly four days from this post.

Each person has EIGHT votes to use.
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Old 04-08-2019, 04:04 PM   #13
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The list for this month is very interesting. The books seem to be on either side of the scale for classics versus contemporary. It will take some research to decide my votes.
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Old 04-08-2019, 11:56 PM   #14
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It looks an interesting list.

I have been and still am travelling outside of civilization with no internet or even cellular coverage to enable me to post. But we seem to have drifted into a bit of weak cellular coverage this afternoon so I hope this squeaks out.

So I won't take part in the choice as I won't be able to follow the thread, but am looking forward to seeing what you all choose.
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Old 04-09-2019, 02:25 AM   #15
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Good to hear from you, AnotherCat! I hope you have safe travels and join us again when you are back to civilization. I thought this was a fun topic that you suggested and am excited about the choices. We all understand how difficult it is to keep up while traveling, especially when you have no reliable cell service.

I was on a work trip a week ago and thought I’d have more time to read on the plane rides or at the hotel in the evenings but was just too tired. Then I had another trip over the weekend so I am just now nearing the end of Eva Luna. I have many thoughts in my head that I haven’t been able to post in that thread but will do soon.
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