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View Poll Results: What book that came first shall we read for March?
The Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang 10 43.48%
Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis 7 30.43%
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman 5 21.74%
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway 11 47.83%
Despite the Falling Snow by Shamim Sarif 2 8.70%
Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith 7 30.43%
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller 3 13.04%
Before the Fact by Francis Iles 2 8.70%
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick 8 34.78%
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 7 30.43%
A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick 3 13.04%
Still Life (Chief Inspector Gamache #1) by Louise Penny 4 17.39%
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers 9 39.13%
The Body by Stephen King 6 26.09%
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck 9 39.13%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-07-2018, 08:54 AM   #1
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Vote for March 2018 • The Book Came First


Let's select the book we'll read and discuss in March 2018!

All are welcome to vote, but please don't vote unless you plan to participate in the discussion, whatever the selection.


This is a poll. Vote for as many books as you'd like. Questions? FAQs | Guidelines Or just ask!

Choices:

Story of Your Life, from Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
Amazon US | Amazon US, film tie-in edition | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Kobo US | Kobo UK | Kobo CA | Kobo AU
Spoiler:
Description of Story of Your Life (from me):
Quote:
Two threads run through this story: a woman remembering her daughter growing up; and the woman being called as a linguistic expert to try and communicate with aliens that have landed. These two threads are related in an unexpected way.
Description for the book Stories of Your Life and Others (from Kobo):
Quote:
With his masterful first collection, multiple-award-winning author Ted Chiang deftly blends human emotion and scientific rationalism in eight remarkably diverse stories, all told in his trademark precise and evocative prose.
From a soaring Babylonian tower that connects a flat Earth with the firmament above, to a world where angelic visitations are a wondrous and terrifying part of everyday life; from a neural modification that eliminates the appeal of physical beauty, to an alien language that challenges our very perception of time and reality. . . Chiang's rigorously imagined fantasia invites us to question our understanding of the universe and our place in it.


Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis
University of Adelaide - free (ePub and Kindle downloads) | Amazon UK - £2.23 | Amazon US - $2.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodreads
Universally recognized as a landmark in American literature, Elmer Gantry scandalized readers when it was first published, causing Sinclair Lewis to be "invited" to a jail cell in New Hampshire and to his own lynching in Virginia. His portrait of a golden-tongued evangelist who rises to power within his church--a saver of souls who lives a life of duplicity, sensuality, and ruthless self-indulgence--is also the record of a period, a reign of grotesque vulgarity, which but for Lewis would have left no trace of itself. Elmer Gantry has been called the greatest, most vital, and most penetrating study of hypocrisy that has been written since the works of Voltaire.


The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Overdrive | Kobo UK | Kobo US | Kobo CA | Kobo AU | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Spoiler:
Quote:
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.


The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
FadedPage -- FREE | AmazonUS -- $9.99 | AmazonUK -- £5.99 | AmazonAU -- $2.04 | KoboUS -- $6.49 | KoboUK -- £5.49 | KoboCA -- $0.99 | AudibleUK -- £6.75 (or £5.99 WhisperSync) | AudibleUS -- $11.15 (or $8.49 WhisperSync )
Spoiler:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodreads
It is the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent twentieth-century classic.
This is a short book (132 pages in hardcover), it's FREE in Canada and Life+50 countries, and is both powerful and approachable. Really, if you read no other Hemingway, read this one.


Despite the Falling Snow by Shamim Sarif
Amazon US -$3.99 | Kobo - $3.99 | Amazon CA - $5.99 | Amazon AU - $5.99 |
Amazon UK - £2.99 | Overdrive | Scribd
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:
Quote:
The action of Despite the Falling Snow moves between present day Boston and 1950s Moscow. After an early career amongst the political elite of Cold War Russia, Alexander Ivanov has lived in the States for forty years. Here he has built a successful business; and here he has managed to bury the tragic memories surrounding his charismatic late wife, Katya - or so he believes.

For into his life come two women - one who will start to open up the heart he has kept protected for so long; another who is determined to uncover the truth about what really happened to Katya all those years ago. The novel's journey back to the snowbound streets of post-Stalinist Moscow reveals a precarious, dangerous world of secrets and treachery.

“a perfectly balanced novel of love and tragedy.…The beauty of the streets of Moscow is a majestic backdrop to a play of mistrust and deception where friends, even the best of friends, can turn against each other in fear.” Waterstones


Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
Amazon - $7.64 | Kobo - $11.99 | Amazon UK - £9.99
Spoiler:
Strangers on a Train (1950) is a psychological thriller novel by Patricia Highsmith about two men whose lives become entangled after one of them proposes they 'trade' murders. He then goes ahead and fulfills his end of the imaginary bargain, leading to fatal consequences for both.

It was adapted as a film in 1951 by director Alfred Hitchcock. It has since been adapted in whole or in part for film and television several times. The novel was adapted for radio in 2004 by Craig Warner, and adapted for the stage in 2013 (also by Warner). In 2015, it was announced that director David Fincher and writer Gillian Flynn are working on a remake for Warner Bros. that is said to be a "modern take" of the Hitchcock version.


Catch-22 by Joseph Heller [GA Russell, Bookpossum, bfisher]
Amazon US | Kobo | Nook - $11.99 for all
Spoiler:
One wag said that it was written during Korea, set in World War II, but about Viet Nam!


Before the Fact by Francis Iles
Amazon - $4 | Amazon UK - £2 | Kobo Canada | Kobo UK
Spoiler:
This book is the basis for Hitchcock's film Suspicion, and has what I consider one of the grabbiest openings ever:

Quote:
Some women give birth to murderers, some go to bed with them, and some marry them. Lina Aysgarth had lived with her husband for nearly eight years before she realized that she was married to a murderer.


Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Spoiler:
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep begat the movie Blade runner, which set the standard for the dystopian future in the 1980's and was an early entry in what became known as the cyberpunk sub-genre.


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
1831 edition: MobileRead mobi | MobileRead epub
Original 1818 version: | MobileRead mobi
Spoiler:
At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.


A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

Still Life by Louise Penny (Chief Inspector Gamache #1)
AmazonCA -- $3.99 CAD | AmazonUK -- £2.99 |
AmazonUS -- $7.99 | AmazonAU - $4.99 | AudibleUS --$12.99 WhisperSync |
AudibleUK -- £6.49 WhisperSync | KoboUS -- $7.99 | KoboUK -- £2.99 | KoboAU -- $4.99 | KoboCA -- $3.99 | Overdrive
Spoiler:
Quote:
From Goodreads:
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montréal and yet a world away. Jane Neal, a long-time resident of Three Pines, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it's a tragic hunting accident and nothing more but Gamache smells something foul this holiday season…and is soon certain that Jane died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.

With this award-winning first novel, Louise Penny introduces an engaging hero in Inspector Gamache, who commands his forces--and this series--with power, ingenuity, and charm.


The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Amazon | Kobo | Nook
Spoiler:
Quote:
With the publication of her first novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers, all of twenty-three, became a literary sensation. With its profound sense of moral isolation and its compassionate glimpses into its characters' inner lives, the novel is considered McCullers' finest work, an enduring masterpiece first published by Houghton Mifflin in 1940. At its center is the deaf-mute John Singer, who becomes the confidant for various types of misfits in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Each one yearns for escape from small town life. When Singer's mute companion goes insane, Singer moves into the Kelly house, where Mick Kelly, the book's heroine (and loosely based on McCullers), finds solace in her music. Wonderfully attuned to the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition, and with a deft sense for racial tensions in the South, McCullers spins a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated—and, through Mick Kelly, gives voice to the quiet, intensely personal search for beauty.

Richard Wright praised Carson McCullers for her ability "to rise above the pressures of her environment and embrace white and black humanity in one sweep of apprehension and tenderness." She writes "with a sweep and certainty that are overwhelming," said the New York Times. McCullers became an overnight literary sensation, but her novel has endured, just as timely and powerful today as when it was first published. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is Carson McCullers at her most compassionate, endearing best.


The Body by Stephen King, from his collection of four novellas Different Seasons
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Kobo US | Kobo UK | Kobo CA | Kobo AU
Spoiler:
Description of The Body (from me):
Quote:
Gordon Lachance, the narrator 20 years on, tells how he and three other 12yo boys, Chris Chambers, Vern Tessio and Teddy Duchamp, went to see a dead body. The body was that of Ray Brower, a boy much their own age, he had been hit by a train - he was known to be missing, the police were still searching for him.
Description of Different Seasons (from Amazon):
Quote:
Read the original stories which became the celebrated films STAND BY ME, APT PUPIL and THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, voted the world's most popular movie.

In this classic collection of four novellas, the grand master takes you on irresistible journeys into the far reaches of horror, heartache and hope.

Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is the story of two men convicted of murder - one guilty, one innocent - who form the perfect partnership as they dream up a scheme to escape from prison.

In Apt Pupil a golden schoolboy entices an old man with a past to join in a dreadful union.

The Body sees four young boys venture into the woods and find life, death . . . and the end of innocence.

The Breathing Method is the tale of a doctor who goes to his club and discovers a woman determined to give birth - no matter what.


Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Amazon UK - £4.99 | Amazon CAN - $8.99 | Amazon US - $7.99 | Amazon Oz - $12.99 | Kobo US - $7.99 | [Kobo UK | Kobo AU | Kobo CA | Overdrive

Last edited by issybird; 02-07-2018 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 02-07-2018, 11:27 AM   #2
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Okay I've voted. Glad I didn't miss it this month

I could genuinely voted for any of these (I think the theme approach is working well), but that would have been pointless, so I avoided ones I've already read, plus a couple of "probably wouldn't reads" (unless they win, of course ).
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Old 02-07-2018, 12:32 PM   #3
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oh, dear.... so many good choices... I still haven't decided which ones to vote for. Lots of them are on my to-buy / wishlist already...
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Old 02-07-2018, 12:59 PM   #4
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Yeah, I'm trying to decide as well. I do agree with orlok that the theme approach is working well. We have such a diverse selection that I'm seriously challenged to decide on my votes.

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Old 02-07-2018, 02:52 PM   #5
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Ok, I voted.
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Old 02-07-2018, 03:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by CRussel View Post
Yeah, I'm trying to decide as well. I do agree with orlok that the theme approach is working well. We have such a diverse selection that I'm seriously challenged to decide on my votes.
I'm not saying that at some point we wouldn't like a nice history, say. But I think we're having fun for now with the themes.

I think this is a strong slate; for good or ill it's got a lot of known quantities so my challenge is to step outside my usual with at least a few selections. I'm not close to having made up my mind!
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Old 02-07-2018, 05:15 PM   #7
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Odd question about voting. Once I vote, am I locked out of the poll? What I mean is, if I vote today for A, B, and C, can I decide tomorrow that I also want to vote for X, Y, and Z? Or do I need to vote for all my choices at once?
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Old 02-07-2018, 05:28 PM   #8
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Yes, you need to vote all at once. Once you've voted, that's it and you're locked out of voting. (I know, there have been many times I've wished we could go back and change our votes, but the current software does not allow that.)
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Old 02-07-2018, 05:53 PM   #9
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Yes, you need to vote all at once. Once you've voted, that's it and you're locked out of voting. (I know, there have been many times I've wished we could go back and change our votes, but the current software does not allow that.)
Thanks; I wasn't thinking in terms of changing a vote, just adding another vote. For example, say a couple books I didn't vote for are tied near the end of the voting--I wondered if I could go back and vote for the one I disliked less.

Oh well. There goes my sneaky plan.
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Old 02-07-2018, 06:04 PM   #10
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Thanks; I wasn't thinking in terms of changing a vote, just adding another vote. For example, say a couple books I didn't vote for are tied near the end of the voting--I wondered if I could go back and vote for the one I disliked less.

Oh well. There goes my sneaky plan.
You could wait until just before the vote it due to end to vote. But I think that just defeats the purpose of the vote.
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Old 02-07-2018, 07:14 PM   #11
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You could wait until just before the vote it due to end to vote. But I think that just defeats the purpose of the vote.
Well, no, it doesn't defeat the purpose at all. My purpose would be to try to ensure that a book I find palatable wins.
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Old 02-08-2018, 12:18 AM   #12
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Well, no, it doesn't defeat the purpose at all. My purpose would be to try to ensure that a book I find palatable wins.
I can see this is an approach that is possibly encouraged by the "only vote if you intend to participate rule" - by holding off until you can see if a book you like might win, and only voting if you think your vote can carry it over, you get to obey the letter of the rule if not necessarily the spirit of it.

After seeing how things worked last month, I don't think you would be alone in doing this. But the more people that do it the riskier it becomes as the deadline approaches, with everyone sitting there hitting refreshing waiting to be the last to cast their (hopefully deciding) vote, and also trying to make sure they get in early enough for their vote to count.

What I find difficult is working out if I should vote for books I nominated. On a personal/selfish level this can be counter productive (I am here mostly in the hope of being exposed to new stuff but I have so far I have been nominating books I have already read because I know they are worth nominating); but why bother nominating them if I don't want to encourage others to read them? So far I've gone with voting for my nominations but sort of hoping that my other votes counts more.
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Old 02-08-2018, 12:26 AM   #13
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I'm still on the fence about one book. Frankly, it's more than I want to spend on a book I'm not really sure about. It's $10, and that's really my outside limit. Not currently in the BC Library, either. Other than that, I'm pretty comfortable with my choices at this point. I'm going to sleep on it, then decide.
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Old 02-08-2018, 05:55 AM   #14
JSWolf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRussel View Post
I'm still on the fence about one book. Frankly, it's more than I want to spend on a book I'm not really sure about. It's $10, and that's really my outside limit. Not currently in the BC Library, either. Other than that, I'm pretty comfortable with my choices at this point. I'm going to sleep on it, then decide.
Why not request this book at your local library and see if they get it? You've nothing to lose.
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Old 02-08-2018, 09:22 AM   #15
CRussel
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I did. But I know the likelihood that they will get it at all, much less soon enough to help.
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