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Old 09-19-2017, 10:22 PM   #1
WT Sharpe
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October 2017 Book Club Nominations

MobileRead Book Club
October 2017 Nominations


Help us select the next book that the MobileRead Book Club will read for October, 2017.

The nominations will run through midnight EDT September 26 or until 10 books have made the list. The poll will then be posted and will remain open for five days.

Book selection category for October is:

Humor

In order for a book to be included in the poll it needs THREE NOMINATIONS (original nomination, a second and a third).

How Does This Work?
The Mobile Read Book Club (MRBC) is an informal club that requires nothing of you. Each month a book is selected by polling. On the last week of that month a discussion thread is started for the book. If you want to participate feel free. There is no need to "join" or sign up. All are welcome.

How Does a Book Get Selected?
Each book that is nominated will be listed in a poll at the end of the nomination period. The book that polls the most votes will be the official selection.

How Many Nominations Can I Make?
Each participant has 3 nominations. You can nominate a new book for consideration or nominate (second, third) one that has already been nominated by another person.

How Do I Nominate a Book?
Please just post a message with your nomination. If you are the FIRST to nominate a book, please try to provide an abstract to the book so others may consider their level of interest.

How Do I Know What Has Been Nominated?
Just follow the thread. This message will be updated with the status of the nominations as often as I can. If one is missed, please just post a message with a multi-quote of the 3 nominations and it will be added to the list ASAP.

When is the Poll?
The poll thread will open at the end of the nomination period, or once there have been 10 books with 3 nominations each. At that time a link to the initial poll thread will be posted here and this thread will be closed.

The floor is open to nominations. Please comment if you discover a nomination is not available as an ebook in your area.


Official choices with three nominations each:



(1) England, Their England by A.G. Macdonell
Goodreads | Faded Page | Patricia Clark Memorial Library: ePub / Kindle
Print Length: 114 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

Banished from his native Scotland by a curious clause in his father’s will, Donald Cameron moves to London and decides to conduct a study of the English people; a strange race who, he is told, have built an entire national identity around a reverence for team spirit and the memory of Lord Nelson....

What follows is one of the funniest social satires ever written. Whether Cameron is haplessly participating in a village cricket match, being shown around an exclusive golf course, or trying to watch a rugby match in the thick London fog, his affectionately bemused portrait of his new countrymen is a joy to read.

Reminiscent of the gentle wit of P. G. Wodehouse and Jerome K. Jerome, England, Their England offers a delightful portrait of Britain in the 1920s.


(2) Alice, Let's Eat: Further Adventures of a Happy Eater (The Tummy Trilogy #2) by Calvin Trillin
Goodreads | Amazon Ca / Amazon US / Overdrive
Print Length: 192 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

In this delightful and delicious book, Calvin Trillin, guided by an insatiable appetite, embarks on a hilarious odyssey in search of “something decent to eat.” Across time zones and cultures, and often with his wife, Alice, at his side, Trillin shares his triumphs in the art of culinary discovery, including Dungeness crabs in California, barbecued mutton in Kentucky, potato latkes in London, blaff d’oursins in Martinique, and a $33 picnic on a no-frills flight to Miami. His eating companions include Fats Goldberg, the New York pizza baron and reformed blimp; William Edgett Smith, the man with the Naughahyde palate; and his six-year-old daughter, Sarah, who refuses to enter a Chinese restaurant unless she is carrying a bagel (“just in case”). And though Alice “has a weird predilection for limiting our family to three meals a day,” on the road she proves to be a serious eater–despite “seemingly uncontrollable attacks of moderation.”


(3) Post Office: A Novel by Charles Bukowski
Goodreads | Amazon US
Print Length: 162 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

"It began as a mistake." By middle age, Henry Chinaski has lost more than twelve years of his life to the U.S. Postal Service. In a world where his three true, bitter pleasures are women, booze, and racetrack betting, he somehow drags his hangover out of bed every dawn to lug waterlogged mailbags up mud-soaked mountains, outsmart vicious guard dogs, and pray to survive the day-to-day trials of sadistic bosses and certifiable coworkers. This classic 1971 novel—the one that catapulted its author to national fame—is the perfect introduction to the grimly hysterical world of legendary writer, poet, and Dirty Old Man Charles Bukowski and his fictional alter ego, Chinaski.


(4) Bucky F&%@ing Dent by David Duchovny
Goodreads
Print Length: 306 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

Ted Fullilove, aka Mr. Peanut, is not like other Ivy League grads. He shares an apartment with Goldberg, his beloved battery-operated fish, sleeps on a bed littered with yellow legal pads penned with what he hopes will be the next great American Novel, and spends the waning days of the Carter administration at Yankee Stadium, waxing poetic while slinging peanuts to pay the rent.

When Ted hears the news that his estranged father, Marty, is dying of lung cancer, he immediately moves back into his childhood home, where a whirlwind of revelations ensues. The browbeating absentee father of Ted’s youth tries to make up for lost time, but his health dips drastically whenever his beloved Red Sox lose. And so, with help from Mariana—the Nuyorican grief counselor with whom Ted promptly falls in love—and a crew of neighborhood old-timers, Ted orchestrates the illusion of a Boston winning streak, enabling Marty and the Red Sox to reverse the Curse of the Bambino and cruise their way to World Series victory. Well, sort of.

David Duchovny’s richly drawn Bucky F*cking Dent explores the bonds between fathers and sons and the age-old rivalry between Yankee fans and the Fenway faithful, and grapples with our urgent need to persevere—and risk everything—in the name of love. Culminating in that fateful moment in October of ’78 when the mighty Bucky Dent hit his way into baseball history with the unlikeliest of home runs, this tender, insightful, and hilarious novel demonstrates how life truly belongs to the losers, and that the long shots are the ones worth betting on.

Bucky F*cking Dent is a singular tale that brims with the mirth, poignancy, and profound solitude of modern life.


(5) The Worst Class Trip Ever (Class Trip, Book 1) by Dave Barry
Goodreads | Amazon US / Amazon US (audiobook) / Audible
Print Length: pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

In this hilarious novel, written in the voice of eighth-grader Wyatt Palmer, Dave Barry takes us on a class trip to Washington, DC. Wyatt, his best friend, Matt, and a few kids from Culver Middle School find themselves in a heap of trouble—not just with their teachers, who have long lost patience with them—but from several mysterious men they first meet on their flight to the nation's capital. In a fast-paced adventure with the monuments as a backdrop, the kids try to stay out of danger and out of the doghouse while trying to save the president from attack—or maybe not.


(6) The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols
Goodreads
Print Length: 623 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

Joe Mondragon, a feisty hustler with a talent for trouble, slammed his battered pickup to a stop, tugged on his gumboots, and marched into the arid patch of ground. Carefully (and also illegally), he tapped into the main irrigation channel. And so began-though few knew it at the time-the Milagro beanfield war. But like everything else in the dirt-poor town of Milagro, it would be a patchwork war, fought more by tactical retreats than by battlefield victories. Gradually, the small farmers and sheepmen begin to rally to Joe's beanfield as the symbol of their lost rights and their lost lands. And downstate in the capital, the Anglo water barons and power brokers huddle in urgent conference, intent on destroying that symbol before it destroys their multimillion-dollar land-development schemes. The tale of Milagro's rising is wildly comic and lovingly tender, a vivid portrayal of a town that, half-stumbling and partly prodded, gropes its way toward its own stubborn salvation.


(7) Breakup (Kate Shugak #7) by Dana Stabenow
Goodreads | Amazon UK / Amazon US / Audible UK / Audible US / Kobo UK
Print Length: 260 pages
Spoiler:
From Amazon:

When winter’s done, but spring has not yet fully-sprung, much of Alaska turns to slush. Locally, it’s called “breakup,” and it’s a… messy time of year. It’s certainly messy for Kate Shugak; between doing her taxes, being chased by grizzlies and getting shot-at by feuding families, she has to cope with an NTSB investigation that hits very close to home. Then, of course, there’s the body in the woods. And up at the old mining town. And… being Kate Shugak, somehow she can’t leave well enough alone, and begins to tease-apart a well-planned and surprising crime.

Last edited by WT Sharpe; 09-27-2017 at 09:45 AM. Reason: Through post #72
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:23 PM   #2
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October 2017 Book Club Nominations

* Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! (Elmwood Springs #1) by Fannie Flagg [JSWolf]
Goodreads | Overdrive
Print Length: 480 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

Once again, Flagg's humor and respect and affection for her characters shine forth. Many inhabit small-town or suburban America. But this time, her heroine is urban: a brainy, beautiful, and ambitious rising star of 1970s television. Dena Nordstrom, pride of the network, is a woman whose future is full of promise, her present rich with complications, and her past marked by mystery.Among the colorful cast of characters are: Sookie, of Selma, Alabama, Dena's exuberant college roommate, who is everything that Dena is not; she is thrilled by Dena's success and will do everything short of signing autographs for her; Sookie's a mom, a wife, and a Kappa forever Dena's cousins, the Warrens, and her aunt Elner, of Elmwood Springs, Missouri, endearing, loyal, talkative, ditsy, and, in their way, wise Neighbor Dorothy, whose spirit hovers over them all through the radio show that she broadcast from her home in the 1940s Sidney Capello, pioneer of modern sleaze journalism and privateer of privacy, and Ira Wallace, his partner in tabloid television Several doctors, all of them taken with--and almost taken in by-DenaThere are others, captivated by a woman who tries to go home again, not knowing where home or love lie.


*** Alice, Let's Eat: Further Adventures of a Happy Eater (The Tummy Trilogy #2) by Calvin Trillin [CRussel, issybird, Dazrin]
Goodreads | Amazon Ca / Amazon US / Overdrive
Print Length: 192 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

In this delightful and delicious book, Calvin Trillin, guided by an insatiable appetite, embarks on a hilarious odyssey in search of “something decent to eat.” Across time zones and cultures, and often with his wife, Alice, at his side, Trillin shares his triumphs in the art of culinary discovery, including Dungeness crabs in California, barbecued mutton in Kentucky, potato latkes in London, blaff d’oursins in Martinique, and a $33 picnic on a no-frills flight to Miami. His eating companions include Fats Goldberg, the New York pizza baron and reformed blimp; William Edgett Smith, the man with the Naughahyde palate; and his six-year-old daughter, Sarah, who refuses to enter a Chinese restaurant unless she is carrying a bagel (“just in case”). And though Alice “has a weird predilection for limiting our family to three meals a day,” on the road she proves to be a serious eater–despite “seemingly uncontrollable attacks of moderation.”


*** Breakup (Kate Shugak #7) by Dana Stabenow [CRussel, Luffy, GA Russell]
Goodreads | Amazon UK / Amazon US / Audible UK / Audible US / Kobo UK
Print Length: 260 pages
Spoiler:
From Amazon:

When winter’s done, but spring has not yet fully-sprung, much of Alaska turns to slush. Locally, it’s called “breakup,” and it’s a… messy time of year. It’s certainly messy for Kate Shugak; between doing her taxes, being chased by grizzlies and getting shot-at by feuding families, she has to cope with an NTSB investigation that hits very close to home. Then, of course, there’s the body in the woods. And up at the old mining town. And… being Kate Shugak, somehow she can’t leave well enough alone, and begins to tease-apart a well-planned and surprising crime.


*** The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols [BenG, John F, GA Russell]
Goodreads
Print Length: 623 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

Joe Mondragon, a feisty hustler with a talent for trouble, slammed his battered pickup to a stop, tugged on his gumboots, and marched into the arid patch of ground. Carefully (and also illegally), he tapped into the main irrigation channel. And so began-though few knew it at the time-the Milagro beanfield war. But like everything else in the dirt-poor town of Milagro, it would be a patchwork war, fought more by tactical retreats than by battlefield victories. Gradually, the small farmers and sheepmen begin to rally to Joe's beanfield as the symbol of their lost rights and their lost lands. And downstate in the capital, the Anglo water barons and power brokers huddle in urgent conference, intent on destroying that symbol before it destroys their multimillion-dollar land-development schemes. The tale of Milagro's rising is wildly comic and lovingly tender, a vivid portrayal of a town that, half-stumbling and partly prodded, gropes its way toward its own stubborn salvation.


*** Post Office: A Novel by Charles Bukowski [obs20, JSWolf, issybird]
Goodreads | Amazon US
Print Length: 162 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

"It began as a mistake." By middle age, Henry Chinaski has lost more than twelve years of his life to the U.S. Postal Service. In a world where his three true, bitter pleasures are women, booze, and racetrack betting, he somehow drags his hangover out of bed every dawn to lug waterlogged mailbags up mud-soaked mountains, outsmart vicious guard dogs, and pray to survive the day-to-day trials of sadistic bosses and certifiable coworkers. This classic 1971 novel—the one that catapulted its author to national fame—is the perfect introduction to the grimly hysterical world of legendary writer, poet, and Dirty Old Man Charles Bukowski and his fictional alter ego, Chinaski.


*** England, Their England by A.G. Macdonell [issybird, JSWolf, CRussel]
Goodreads | Faded Page | Patricia Clark Memorial Library: ePub / Kindle
Print Length: 114 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

Banished from his native Scotland by a curious clause in his father’s will, Donald Cameron moves to London and decides to conduct a study of the English people; a strange race who, he is told, have built an entire national identity around a reverence for team spirit and the memory of Lord Nelson....

What follows is one of the funniest social satires ever written. Whether Cameron is haplessly participating in a village cricket match, being shown around an exclusive golf course, or trying to watch a rugby match in the thick London fog, his affectionately bemused portrait of his new countrymen is a joy to read.

Reminiscent of the gentle wit of P. G. Wodehouse and Jerome K. Jerome, England, Their England offers a delightful portrait of Britain in the 1920s.


*** The Worst Class Trip Ever (Class Trip, Book 1) by Dave Barry [WT Sharpe, Dazrin, GA Russell]
Goodreads | Amazon US / Amazon US (audiobook) / Audible
Print Length: pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

In this hilarious novel, written in the voice of eighth-grader Wyatt Palmer, Dave Barry takes us on a class trip to Washington, DC. Wyatt, his best friend, Matt, and a few kids from Culver Middle School find themselves in a heap of trouble—not just with their teachers, who have long lost patience with them—but from several mysterious men they first meet on their flight to the nation's capital. In a fast-paced adventure with the monuments as a backdrop, the kids try to stay out of danger and out of the doghouse while trying to save the president from attack—or maybe not.


*** Bucky F&%@ing Dent by David Duchovny [WT Sharpe, John F, drofgnal]
Goodreads
Print Length: 306 pages
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

Ted Fullilove, aka Mr. Peanut, is not like other Ivy League grads. He shares an apartment with Goldberg, his beloved battery-operated fish, sleeps on a bed littered with yellow legal pads penned with what he hopes will be the next great American Novel, and spends the waning days of the Carter administration at Yankee Stadium, waxing poetic while slinging peanuts to pay the rent.

When Ted hears the news that his estranged father, Marty, is dying of lung cancer, he immediately moves back into his childhood home, where a whirlwind of revelations ensues. The browbeating absentee father of Ted’s youth tries to make up for lost time, but his health dips drastically whenever his beloved Red Sox lose. And so, with help from Mariana—the Nuyorican grief counselor with whom Ted promptly falls in love—and a crew of neighborhood old-timers, Ted orchestrates the illusion of a Boston winning streak, enabling Marty and the Red Sox to reverse the Curse of the Bambino and cruise their way to World Series victory. Well, sort of.

David Duchovny’s richly drawn Bucky F*cking Dent explores the bonds between fathers and sons and the age-old rivalry between Yankee fans and the Fenway faithful, and grapples with our urgent need to persevere—and risk everything—in the name of love. Culminating in that fateful moment in October of ’78 when the mighty Bucky Dent hit his way into baseball history with the unlikeliest of home runs, this tender, insightful, and hilarious novel demonstrates how life truly belongs to the losers, and that the long shots are the ones worth betting on.

Bucky F*cking Dent is a singular tale that brims with the mirth, poignancy, and profound solitude of modern life.

Last edited by WT Sharpe; 09-27-2017 at 09:44 AM. Reason: Through post #72
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Old 09-20-2017, 02:13 AM   #3
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Other than the obvious 2013 issue, are we increasing the nomination period from 7 days to 10 days?

Just want to check so I can update the selections list notes if this is intentional. Seems long to me but I haven't been able to pay a lot of attention recently and there may be something I am not aware of.

The October 2017 selection will complete 9 full years of the MR Book Club. The first selection was A Passage to India in November 2008.

Last edited by Dazrin; 09-20-2017 at 02:17 AM.
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Old 09-20-2017, 07:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dazrin View Post
Other than the obvious 2013 issue, are we increasing the nomination period from 7 days to 10 days?

Just want to check so I can update the selections list notes if this is intentional. Seems long to me but I haven't been able to pay a lot of attention recently and there may be something I am not aware of.

The October 2017 selection will complete 9 full years of the MR Book Club. The first selection was A Passage to India in November 2008.
You are correct. I have changed the date to reflect that the nominations end at midnight on the 26th.

I seem to be having some difficulty syncing the templates on my laptop PC and my iPad via One Drive and it keeps getting me in trouble.
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Old 09-20-2017, 07:52 AM   #5
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Since this is the October 2013 book, we don't need to nominate/vote as we've already done this.
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Old 09-20-2017, 08:11 AM   #6
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I'll nominate Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! by Fanny Flagg.

Quote:
Once again, Flagg's humor and respect and affection for her characters shine forth. Many inhabit small-town or suburban America. But this time, her heroine is urban: a brainy, beautiful, and ambitious rising star of 1970s television. Dena Nordstrom, pride of the network, is a woman whose future is full of promise, her present rich with complications, and her past marked by mystery.Among the colorful cast of characters are: Sookie, of Selma, Alabama, Dena's exuberant college roommate, who is everything that Dena is not; she is thrilled by Dena's success and will do everything short of signing autographs for her; Sookie's a mom, a wife, and a Kappa forever Dena's cousins, the Warrens, and her aunt Elner, of Elmwood Springs, Missouri, endearing, loyal, talkative, ditsy, and, in their way, wise Neighbor Dorothy, whose spirit hovers over them all through the radio show that she broadcast from her home in the 1940s Sidney Capello, pioneer of modern sleaze journalism and privateer of privacy, and Ira Wallace, his partner in tabloid television Several doctors, all of them taken with--and almost taken in by-DenaThere are others, captivated by a woman who tries to go home again, not knowing where home or love lie.
Overdrive: https://www.overdrive.com/media/5373...orld-baby-girl
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...rld_Baby_Girl_
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Old 09-20-2017, 08:17 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by WT Sharpe View Post
You are correct. I have changed the date to reflect that the nominations end at midnight on the 26th.

I seem to be having some difficulty syncing the templates on my laptop PC and my iPad via One Drive and it keeps getting me in trouble.
I fixed it. While I was at it, I took the opportunity to fix my personal OCD trigger.
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Old 09-20-2017, 08:17 AM   #8
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I fixed it. While I was at it, I took the opportunity to fix my personal OCD trigger.
The thread title still shows 2013.
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Old 09-20-2017, 08:19 AM   #9
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The thread title still shows 2013.
Yup, thanks, got it.
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Old 09-20-2017, 02:09 PM   #10
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I'd like to nominate Alice, Let's Eat by Calvin Trillin.

We ALL eat! And we all like to laugh out loud. With Alice, Let's Eat, we can do both. Originally published in 1996 1978, my DW and I read passages of this back and forth to each other as we both read it and often fought over who got to the book first (the problem of pBooks!) This is a collection of essays from The New Yorker that cover his attempts to find the best examples of local foods.

Quote:
In this delightful and delicious book, Calvin Trillin, guided by an insatiable appetite, embarks on a hilarious odyssey in search of “something decent to eat.” Across time zones and cultures, and often with his wife, Alice, at his side, Trillin shares his triumphs in the art of culinary discovery, including Dungeness crabs in California, barbecued mutton in Kentucky, potato latkes in London, blaff d’oursins in Martinique, and a $33 picnic on a no-frills flight to Miami. His eating companions include Fats Goldberg, the New York pizza baron and reformed blimp; William Edgett Smith, the man with the Naughahyde palate; and his six-year-old daughter, Sarah, who refuses to enter a Chinese restaurant unless she is carrying a bagel (“just in case”). And though Alice “has a weird predilection for limiting our family to three meals a day,” on the road she proves to be a serious eater–despite “seemingly uncontrollable attacks of moderation.”
Overdrive
Amazon US
Amazon CA
Goodreads


A bit pricey, but it IS on Overdrive, and it's a nice length (192 pages). Oh, and did I mention? This is really funny!

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Old 09-20-2017, 02:28 PM   #11
CRussel
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Breakup

Next nomination, Breakup by Dana Stabenow. This book is another Kate Shugak mystery, but far and away the funniest one in the series. It's situational humour, mostly, but as always well and wittily written. If you ask Ms. Stabenow's readers to vote for their favourite book in the series, this would likely win handily.

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Originally Posted by Amazon
When winter’s done, but spring has not yet fully-sprung, much of Alaska turns to slush. Locally, it’s called “breakup,” and it’s a… messy time of year. It’s certainly messy for Kate Shugak; between doing her taxes, being chased by grizzlies and getting shot-at by feuding families, she has to cope with an NTSB investigation that hits very close to home. Then, of course, there’s the body in the woods. And up at the old mining town. And… being Kate Shugak, somehow she can’t leave well enough alone, and begins to tease-apart a well-planned and surprising crime.
Print Length: 260 pages

Amazon -- $6.99 US.
Audible -- $1.99 WhisperSync

Kobo UK --£6.69
Amazon UK -- £5.24
Audible UK - £9.62 or 1 Credit

The audio book versions are read by Marguerite Gavin and are very good indeed.
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Old 09-20-2017, 03:39 PM   #12
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Alice, Let's Eat is book 2. We've not read book 1. Nominate American Fried instead and I'll second it.

Breakup is book 7. We've not read books 2-6. A Fatal Thaw is not humorous (but it is a good book) and I would not second it.

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Old 09-20-2017, 03:52 PM   #13
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Yup, thanks, got it.
Thanks!
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Old 09-20-2017, 03:52 PM   #14
CRussel
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Alice, Let's Eat is book 2. We've not read book 1. Nominate American Fried instead and I'll second it.
1.) because it's not readily available as an eBook. and
2.) because this is NOT A SERIES!
Quote:
Breakup is book 7. We've not read books 2-6. A Fatal Thaw is not humorous (but it is a good book) and I would not second it.
Yes, this is book 7. But I honestly don't think it matters, and it very much DOES fit the category. Having re-read Breakup recently, it's still funny enough to have me reading passage to my DW.
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Old 09-20-2017, 05:34 PM   #15
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I want to nominate The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols. I bought it when I saw Amazon had a kindle edition even though I already have both the paperback and hardcover. I must have read it a half dozen times in the 80s and 90s.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...-beanfield-war

Robert Redford directed a movie version back in 1988.

Spoiler:

Joe Mondragon, a feisty hustler with a talent for trouble, slammed his battered pickup to a stop, tugged on his gumboots, and marched into the arid patch of ground. Carefully (and also illegally), he tapped into the main irrigation channel. And so began-though few knew it at the time-the Milagro beanfield war. But like everything else in the dirt-poor town of Milagro, it would be a patchwork war, fought more by tactical retreats than by battlefield victories. Gradually, the small farmers and sheepmen begin to rally to Joe's beanfield as the symbol of their lost rights and their lost lands. And downstate in the capital, the Anglo water barons and power brokers huddle in urgent conference, intent on destroying that symbol before it destroys their multimillion-dollar land-development schemes. The tale of Milagro's rising is wildly comic and lovingly tender, a vivid portrayal of a town that, half-stumbling and partly prodded, gropes its way toward its own stubborn salvation.


The opening paragraphs:

Spoiler:
Many people in the Miracle Valley had theories about why Joe Mondragón did it. At first, the somewhat addlebrained but sympathetic sheriff, Bernabé Montoya, figured it was just one more irrational manifestation of an ornery temperament, of a kid, now almost middle-aged, with a king-sized chip on his shoulder, going slightly amuck. The Frontier Bar owner, Tranquilino Jeantete, said (with a sardonic wink) that Joe did it because he was hungry for an enchilada made from honest-to-God Milagro frijoles, with some Devine Company cojones mixed in. Nick Rael, the storekeeper, figured Joe might have done it because he could not pay the ninety-odd dollars he owed the store; or else maybe he did it just out of sheer renegade inbred spite, hoping to drive up ammo sales at the same time he put Nick out of business. The chief perpetrator of the Indian Creek Dam, Ladd Devine the Third, who held Milagro’s fate in his hand like a fragile egg, considered what Joe did a personal assault on his empire, on the Indian Creek Dam, and on that egg. And the immortal old man, Amarante Córdova, who lived on the west side of the highway in the ghost town neighborhood, believed Joe did it because God had ordered him to start the Revolution without any further delay.

Whatever the case, if there were mixed opinions on the matter, there were also mixed ideas about what the consequences might be. “What’s that little half-pint son of a bitch want to cause so much trouble for?” some said. Others quietly intoned: “I’m not saying it’s good, I’m not saying it’s bad. Let’s just wait and see what happens.” Still others on both sides of the Indian Creek Dam question armed themselves and prepared for war, while the governor and the state engineer down in the capital chewed their fingernails, wondering how to maintain their own untenable positions.

Of course the final consensus of opinion, arrived at by both those who were for Joe Mondragón and those who were against him, was that in order for him to do what he did and thus precipitate the war that was bound to follow, Joe had to be crazy. People also figured only a miracle could save Joe from his foolhardy suicidal gesture.

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