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View Poll Results: Which book shall be the selection for our April Book Club Classic?
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway 11 32.35%
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells 13 38.24%
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck 14 41.18%
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson 10 29.41%
Shōgun by James Clavell 8 23.53%
Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett 8 23.53%
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde 5 14.71%
Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos 5 14.71%
Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry 8 23.53%
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens 5 14.71%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 34. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-24-2015, 01:28 PM   #1
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April 2015 Book Club Vote

April 2015 MobileRead Book Club Vote

Help us choose a book as the April 2015 eBook for the MobileRead Book Club. The poll will be open for 5 days. There will be no runoff vote unless the voting results a tie, in which case there will be a 3 day run-off poll. This is a visible poll: others can see how you voted. It is You may cast a vote for each book that appeals to you.

We will start the discussion thread for this book on April 20th. Select from the following Official Choices with three nominations each:

(1) For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
Amazon US / Kobo US
Spoiler:
In 1937 Ernest Hemingway traveled to Spain to cover the civil war there for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Three years later he completed the greatest novel to emerge from "the good fight," For Whom the Bell Tolls. The story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains of Spain, it tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal. In his portrayal of Jordan's love for the beautiful Maria and his superb account of El Sordo's last stand, in his brilliant travesty of La Pasionaria and his unwillingness to believe in blind faith, Hemingway surpasses his achievement in The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms to create a work at once rare and beautiful, strong and brutal, compassionate, moving and wise. "If the function of a writer is to reveal reality," Maxwell Perkins wrote to Hemingway after reading the manuscript, "no one ever so completely performed it." Greater in power, broader in scope, and more intensely emotional than any of the author's previous works, it stands as one of the best war novels of all time.


(2) The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
The Patricia Clark Memorial Library: ePub / Kindle
Spoiler:
From Amazon:

With his face swaddled in bandages, his eyes hidden behind dark glasses and his hands covered even indoors, Griffin – the new guest at The Coach and Horses – is at first assumed to be a shy accident-victim. But the true reason for his disguise is far more chilling: he has developed a process that has made him invisible, and is locked in a struggle to discover the antidote. Forced from the village, and driven to murder, he seeks the aid of an old friend, Kemp. The horror of his fate has affected his mind, however – and when Kemp refuse to help, he resolves to wreak his revenge.


(3) Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
Goodreads | Amazon Au / Amazon Ca / Amacon UK / Amazon US / Kobo /
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

Unburdened by the material necessities of the more fortunate, the denizens of Cannery Row discover rewards unknown in more traditional society. Henry the painter sorts through junk lots for pieces of wood to incorporate into the boat he is building, while the girls from Dora Flood’s bordello venture out now and then to enjoy a bit of sunshine. Lee Chong stocks his grocery with almost anything a man could want, and Doc, a young marine biologist who ministers to sick puppies and unhappy souls, unexpectedly finds true love.

Cannery Row is just a few blocks long, but the story it harbors is suffused with warmth, understanding, and a great fund of human values.

First published in 1945, Cannery Row focuses on the acceptance of life as it is—both the exuberance of community and the loneliness of the individual. John Steinbeck draws on his memories of the real inhabitants of Monterey, California, and interweaves their stories in this world where only the fittest survive—creating what is at once one of his most humorous and poignant works. In Cannery Row, John Steinbeck returns to the setting of Tortilla Flat to create another evocative portrait of life as it is lived by those who unabashedly put the highest value on the intangibles—human warmth, camaraderie, and love.


(4) Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Goodreads | The Patricia Clark Memorial Library: ePub (Illustrated) / Kindle | Amazon Au / Amazon Ca / Amazon UK / Amazon US / Kobo
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

The most popular pirate story ever written in English, featuring one of literature’s most beloved “bad guys,” Treasure Island has been happily devoured by several generations of boys—and girls—and grownups. Its unforgettable characters include: young Jim Hawkins, who finds himself owner of a map to Treasure Island, where the fabled pirate booty is buried; honest Captain Smollett, heroic Dr. Livesey, and the good-hearted but obtuse Squire Trelawney, who help Jim on his quest for the treasure; the frightening Blind Pew, double-dealing Israel Hands, and seemingly mad Ben Gunn, buccaneers of varying shades of menace; and, of course, garrulous, affable, ambiguous Long John Silver, who is one moment a friendly, laughing, one-legged sea-cook . . .and the next a dangerous pirate leader!

The unexpected and complex relationship that develops between Silver and Jim helps transform what seems at first to be a simple, rip-roaring adventure story into a deeply moving study of a boy’s growth into manhood, as he learns hard lessons about friendship, loyalty, courage and honor—and the uncertain meaning of good and evil.


(5) Shōgun by James Clavell
Goodreads | Amazon US / Google Play / Kobo Ca / Overdrive
Spoiler:
A bold English adventuer. An invincible Japanese warlord. A beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love. All brought together in a mighty saga of a time and place aflame with conflict, passion, ambition, lust and the struggle for power.


(6) Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
Amazon US / Audible / Kobo US
Spoiler:
Welcome to Guards! Guards!, the eighth book in Terry Pratchett’s legendary Discworld series.

Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco nobilis ("noble dragon" for those who don't understand italics) has appeared in Discworld's greatest city. Not only does this unwelcome visitor have a nasty habit of charbroiling everything in its path, in rather short order it is crowned King (it is a noble dragon, after all...). How did it get there? How is the Unique and Supreme Lodge of the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night involved? Can the Ankh-Morpork City Watch restore order – and the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork to power?

Magic, mayhem, and a marauding dragon...who could ask for anything more?

Review
"'This is one of Pratchett's best books. Hilarious and highly recommended'" The Times "'Pratchett is at the peak of his powers; it's hard to think of any humorist writing in Britain today who can match him...A masterful ear for dialogue, a keen eye for the ridiculous and a real feel for language'" Time Out "'The best humorous English author since P.G. Wodehouse'" --Sunday Telegraph

Review
"Discworld takes the classic fantasy universe through its logical, and comic evolution".--Cleveland Plain Dealer


(7) The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
The Patricia Clark Memorial Library: ePub / Kindle | Project Gutenberg
Spoiler:
From Amazon:

Here is Oscar Wilde's most brilliant tour de force, a witty and buoyant comedy of manners that has delighted millions in countless productions since its first performance in London's St. James' Theatre on February 14, 1895. The Importance of Being Earnest is celebrated not only for the lighthearted ingenuity of its plot, but for its inspired dialogue, rich with scintillating epigrams still savored by all who enjoy artful conversation.


(8) Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos
Kindle US / Kobo US / Overdrive
Spoiler:
From Wikipedia:

Manhattan Transfer is a novel by John Dos Passos published in 1925. It focuses on the development of urban life in New York City from the Gilded Age to the Jazz Age as told through a series of overlapping individual stories.

It is considered to be one of Dos Passos' most important works. The book attacks the consumerism and social indifference of contemporary urban life, portraying a Manhattan that is merciless yet teeming with energy and restlessness. The book shows some of Dos Passos' experimental writing techniques and narrative collages that would become more pronounced in his U.S.A. trilogy and other later works.
<snip>
Sinclair Lewis described it as "a novel of the very first importance ... The dawn of a whole new school of writing." D.H. Lawrence called it "the best modern book about New York" he had ever read, describing it as "a very complete film ... of the vast loose gang of strivers and winners and losers which seems to be the very pep of New York." In a blurb for a European edition, Ernest Hemingway wrote that, alone among American writers, Dos Passos has "been able to show to Europeans the America they really find when they come here."


(9) Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry
Goodreads | Amazon Au / Amazon Ca / Amazon UK / Amazon US / Kobo
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

Geoffrey Firmin, a former British consul, has come to Quauhnahuac, Mexico. Here the consul's debilitating malaise is drinking, an activity that has overshadowed his life. Under the Volcano is set during the most fateful day of the consul's life--the Day of the Dead, 1938. His wife, Yvonne, arrives in Quauhnahuac to rescue him and their failing marriage, inspired by a vision of life together away from Mexico and the circumstances that have driven their relationship to the brink of collapse. Yvonne's mission to save the consul is further complicated by the presence of Hugh, the consul's half-brother, and Jacques, a childhood friend. The events of this one day unfold against a backdrop unforgettable for its evocation of a Mexico at once magical and diabolical.

Under the Volcano remains one of the most powerful and lyrical statements on the human condition and one man's constant struggle against the elemental forces that threaten to destroy him.


(10) Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
The Patricia Clark Memorial Library: ePub / Kindle
Spoiler:
From Wikipedia (edited & condensed):

Oliver Twist is about an orphan who endures a miserable existence in a workhouse and then is placed with an undertaker. He escapes and travels to London where he meets the Artful Dodger, leader of a gang of juvenile pickpockets. Naïvely unaware of their unlawful activities, Oliver is led to the lair of their elderly criminal trainer Fagin. The book is notable for Dickens' unromantic portrayal of criminals and its exposé of the cruel treatment of the many orphans in London during the Dickensian era.
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Old 03-24-2015, 01:45 PM   #2
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Some data:

Title / Year Published / Goodreads Rating / Must Read Classics listopia position / Guardian's 1000 novels list?

For Whom the Bell Tolls / 1940 / 3.93 / #354 / Y
The Invisible Man / 1897 / 3.58 / #570 / Y
Cannery Row / 1945 / 3.99 / #314 / N
Treasure Island / 1883 / 3.80 / #63 / Y
Shōgun / 1975 / 4.34 / #398 / N
Guards! Guards! / 1989 / 4.28 / N/A / N
The Importance of Being Earnest / 1895 / 4.16 / #50 / N
Manhattan Transfer / 1925 / 3.70 / N/A / N
Under the Volcano / 1947 / 3.80 / N/A / Y
Oliver Twist / 1835 / 3.82 / #107 / Y
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Old 03-24-2015, 01:53 PM   #3
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I'm spraying my votes far and wide on this one. Honestly, I'd happily read any of these, and I'd even try to read Shogun in time for the discussion, though that's the one that's most problematic. I'm currently reading Guards! Guards! regardless, but would enjoy a Hemingway or Steinbeck (though neither of these would have been my first choice from the author.) And an excuse to read H.G. Wells or Oscar Wilde again? Who could object? Certainly I won't.
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Old 03-24-2015, 01:57 PM   #4
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I'm spraying my votes far and wide on this one. Honestly, I'd happily read any of these, and I'd even try to read Shogun in time for the discussion, though that's the one that's most problematic. I'm currently reading Guards! Guards! regardless, but would enjoy a Hemingway or Steinbeck (though neither of these would have been my first choice from the author.) And an excuse to read H.G. Wells or Oscar Wilde again? Who could object? Certainly I won't.
Well you must read Cannery Row Reguards! Reguards! Less.
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Old 03-24-2015, 02:48 PM   #5
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I knew before I checked that this Amazon Customer Review of For Whom the Bell Tolls had to be written of the Kindle edition.
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Old 03-24-2015, 03:51 PM   #6
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Season starts Aug. 5!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by treadlightly View Post
Some data:

Title / Year Published / Goodreads Rating / Must Read Classics listopia position / Guardian's 1000 novels list?

For Whom the Bell Tolls / 1940 / 3.93 / #354 / Y
The Invisible Man / 1897 / 3.58 / #570 / Y
Cannery Row / 1945 / 3.99 / #314 / N
Treasure Island / 1883 / 3.80 / #63 / Y
Shōgun / 1975 / 4.34 / #398 / N
Guards! Guards! / 1989 / 4.28 / N/A / N
The Importance of Being Earnest / 1895 / 4.16 / #50 / N
Manhattan Transfer / 1925 / 3.70 / N/A / N
Under the Volcano / 1947 / 3.80 / N/A / Y
Oliver Twist / 1835 / 3.82 / #107 / Y
Thanks! I'm going to study both of your links.

I notice that of our nominees, The Importance of Being Earnest is the highest ranked.
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Old 03-24-2015, 03:57 PM   #7
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But Harry Potter is ranked higher 4.39 and #46.
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Old 03-24-2015, 04:10 PM   #8
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Boy, don't pay attention for a few days and bam - 10 fully nominated books.

I'm voting for Under the Volcano because I have long wanted to read this book, but it doesn't look like it's doing too well now.

I'll also vote for Guards Guards. I read The Color of Magic a few months ago and wasn't as impressed as I was supposed to be. But, I've heard this one is supposed to be good.

I'm okay reading For Whom the Bell Tolls, but pleeeease don't make me read another Steinbeck! I read East of Eden years ago and was just bored. Last year the club read The Grapes of Wrath and I really disliked it.
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Old 03-24-2015, 09:26 PM   #9
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The Grapes of Wrath is most definitely NOT an easy book. If we don't pick this one, you might try Travels with Charley.
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Old 03-24-2015, 09:33 PM   #10
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Meh, It is a wonderful and easy book. Why in the world would you say it is NOT easy?

East of Eden I might agree with in that he seemed to be very much over-reaching and trying to make it too full of symbolism, theme, etc.

but Grapes of Wrath is my favorite book of all time, it reads like butter and is full of wonderful human drama.

Cannery Row is a hoot from the the first page to the last. Love it!

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Old 03-24-2015, 11:16 PM   #11
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I've enjoyed going through the Goodreads Listopia treadlightly linked to in post #2.

I voted for 10 books, including three I added to the list.
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Old 03-24-2015, 11:55 PM   #12
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I'm with you ccowie, Steinbeck does nothing for me. I guess he's a "love it or hate it" kind of author.

I'm not sure what to vote for this month, maybe I'll wait and see which way the wind is blowing.
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Old 03-25-2015, 12:26 AM   #13
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But Harry Potter is ranked higher 4.39 and #46.
So yes, books can be classics without having been out there so long that the pages go all yellow.
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Old 03-25-2015, 12:28 AM   #14
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Meh, It is a wonderful and easy book. Why in the world would you say it is NOT easy?

East of Eden I might agree with in that he seemed to be very much over-reaching and trying to make it too full of symbolism, theme, etc.

but Grapes of Wrath is my favorite book of all time, it reads like butter and is full of wonderful human drama.

Cannery Row is a hoot from the the first page to the last. Love it!
Don't get me wrong, I think Grapes of Wrath is a great book. BUT, it is a hard book, especially since I know how it turns out for the huge numbers of people it's about. GoW is also very much a book for _our_ time, with important lessons about monoculture and climate change. But it's still not an easy read for me.
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:38 AM   #15
issybird
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Synamon View Post
I'm with you ccowie, Steinbeck does nothing for me. I guess he's a "love it or hate it" kind of author.

I'm not sure what to vote for this month, maybe I'll wait and see which way the wind is blowing.
Don't forget that Hemingway is public domain in Canada!
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