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Old 09-01-2016, 08:28 AM   #1
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Biographies & Memoirs Nominations & Vote • September 2016

Help us select what the MR Literary Club will read in September 2016!

The category for this month is:
Biographies & Memoirs


*Please note the changes to our process, as detailed below.*


-Nominations will run for three days.-

You may offer up to two nominations. All nominees 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 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. *Since this is a new process, feel free to ask questions at any time.* If you vote for the winner it is hoped that you will read the selection with the club and join in the discussion.

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.


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 floor is now open!

*

Nominations are closed. Regular voting is closed. Run-off voting is closed. Final results:
  • Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
    Post / Goodreads / 302 Pages / Votes- 6 / Run-off- 3

  • A Sort of Life by Graham Greene
    Post / Goodreads / 190 Pages / Votes- 3

  • Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas de Quincey
    Post / Goodreads / 157 Pages / Votes- 4

  • A Memoir of Jane Austen by James Edward Austen-Leigh
    Post / Goodreads / 177 Pages / Votes- 6 / Run-off- 5

  • The Black Count by Tom Reiss
    Post / Goodreads / 416 Pages / Votes- 3

  • Ahead of Time by Ruth Gruber
    Post / Goodreads / 328 Pages / Votes- 1

  • Charles Dickens by Claire Tomalin
    Post / Goodreads / 541 Pages / Votes- 6 / Run-off- 0

  • The Story of San Michele by Axel Munthe
    Post / Goodreads / 381 Pages / Votes- 5

Last edited by sun surfer; 09-09-2016 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 09-02-2016, 07:39 AM   #2
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I would like to nominate Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov. From Goodreads:

Quote:
'Speak, memory' said Vladimir Nabokov. And immediately there came flooding back to him a host of enchanting recollections - of his comfortable childhood and adolescence, of his rich, liberal-minded father, his beautiful mother, an army of relations and family hangers-on and of grand old houses in St Petersburg and the surrounding countryside in pre-revolutionary Russia. Young love, butterflies, tutors and a multitude of other themes thread together to weave an autobiography which is itself a work of art.

Speak, Memory was first published in 1951 as Conclusive Evidence and then assiduously revised and republished in 1966 under the title Speak Memory, an Autobiography Revisited.
A few years ago, we read Nabokov's Lolita, a book which produced a particularly interesting discussion among members, and I would like to explore more of Nabokov's writing.
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Old 09-03-2016, 08:26 AM   #3
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Where is everyone?

I have a second nomination if that's okay, sun surfer: A Sort of Life by Graham Greene. From Kobo:

Quote:
Graham Greene's 'long journey through time' began in 1904, when he was born into a tribe of Greenes based in Berkhamstead at the public school where his father was headmaster. In A Sort of Life Greene recalls schooldays and Oxford, adolescent encounters with psychoanalysis and Russian roulette, his marriage and conversion to Catholicism, and how he rashly resigned from The Times when his first novel, The Man Within was published in 1929. A Sort of Life reveals, brilliantly and compellingly, a life lived and an art obsessed by 'the dangerous edge of things'.
It's part of my TBR heap (mountain?) and is quite a short book. He followed it some time later with Ways of Escape, and I think there is a third book which was published posthumously, but I would like to start with this first volume.
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Old 09-03-2016, 01:14 PM   #4
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It's a 3-day holiday weekend in the US, and it's the start of the college football season (lots of games across the country on TV here). Glad to have some time off work. I still need to finish reading last month's book. I'll post some nominations later (after I watch my university win their game!).
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Old 09-03-2016, 04:20 PM   #5
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I have a second nomination if that's okay, sun surfer:
Yes, of course!
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Old 09-03-2016, 04:55 PM   #6
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Has Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey been a selection before? I believe it was previously nominated in one of the book clubs.

I would like to nominate it if it is legit.

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Old 09-03-2016, 06:54 PM   #7
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I'll nominate A Memoir of Jane Austen by James Edward Austen-Leigh. James was the nephew of Jane Austen "The Memoir remains the prime authority for her life and continues to inform all subsequent accounts."

It is free from Project Gutenberg and often included in compilations of Austen's works. If you wish to pay a not-too-unreasonable price then the excellent A Memoir of Jane Austen: and Other Family Recollections (Oxford World's Classics) is available on Kindle. My nomination, however, is for the Memoir.
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookworm_Girl View Post
It's a 3-day holiday weekend in the US, and it's the start of the college football season (lots of games across the country on TV here). Glad to have some time off work. I still need to finish reading last month's book. I'll post some nominations later (after I watch my university win their game!).
Good luck to them!
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Old 09-03-2016, 10:52 PM   #9
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I nominate The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss, winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Biography.

From Goodreads:
Quote:
Here is the remarkable true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo – a stunning feat of historical sleuthing that brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

The real-life protagonist of The Black Count, General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today yet with a story that is strikingly familiar, because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used it to create some of the best loved heroes of literature.

Yet, hidden behind these swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: the real hero was the son of a black slave -- who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time.

Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. Enlisting as a private, he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution, in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East – until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat.

The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of 18th-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multi-racial society. But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.

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Old 09-03-2016, 11:11 PM   #10
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For my second nomination, I will go with a memoir that's been on my TBR for awhile because the author seems an amazing woman who lived through some of the most important events of the 20th century and came in contact with many famous people. She learned storytelling from Virginia Woolf and wrote a biography/doctoral dissertation/critique about her. I nominate Ahead of Time: My Early Years as a Foreign Correspondent by Ruth Gruber.

From Goodreads:
Quote:
Long before feminism became a potent force in our time, Ruth Gruber was already blazing a trail for later generations of women. Now in paperback for the first time, this captivating memoir covers the first twenty-five years of an inspiring life, including these historic moments: Gruber's unprecedented academic career, which reached its zenith in 1932, when at twenty she became the world's youngest Ph.D. as a visiting American student at Cologne University, her return to Nazi Germany in 1935, and the rallies she attended where Hitler inveighed against "international Jews" like her; and her first stint as a foreign correspondent, when she became the only journalist to report from the Soviet Arctic, traveled in open cockpit seaplanes, met utopians who extolled Stalin's system, and gulag inmates who told her the bitter truth about his terrible schemes. Gruber writes with warmth, compassion, and humor, offering a life story that will be long remembered by all history lovers, adventurers, and women and men of all ages.

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Old 09-04-2016, 09:10 AM   #11
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For my second nomination I will choose Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin. This is a good modern study of (IMO) the most important novelist of he Victorian era.
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:33 AM   #12
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I nominate The Story of San Michele by Axel Munthe.

I'll start the vote a little later; nominations will remain open until then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bfisher View Post
Has Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey been a selection before?
Nope, you're good.

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Old 09-04-2016, 12:28 PM   #13
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Nominations are now closed and voting is now open!

Voting will close exactly four days from this post.

Each person has SEVEN votes to use.

Please refer to the first post for all other information.
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Old 09-04-2016, 01:34 PM   #14
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A fantastic list! It's going to be a very tough decision to vote.
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Old 09-04-2016, 06:30 PM   #15
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It certainly is! How did your team go, Bookworm-Girl?
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