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Old 10-01-2018, 08:34 AM   #1
issybird
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Nominations for November 2018 • Lies and Misdirections: Unreliable Narrators


Help us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read for November 2018. The theme is Lies and Misdirections: Unreliable Narrators

Everyone is welcome to join the nomination process even if they'd rather lurk during the voting and discussion; if that is still a little too much commitment, please feel free to suggest titles without making a formal nomination.

The nominations will run through 7 AM EDT, October 7, 2018. Each nomination requires a second and a third to make it to the poll, which will remain open for four days. The discussion of the selection will start on November 15, 2018. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the October selection, The House on the Strand, on October 15.

Any questions? See below, or just ask!

FAQs for the Nomination, Selection and Discussion process

General Guidelines for the New Leaf Book Club

Official choices with three nominations:

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood [Catlady, Bookpossum, issybird]
Amazon U.S., $11.99 | Amazon CA $4.99 | Amazon UK, £4.99 | Amazon AU $11.99 | Kobo U.S. $11.99 | Kobo CA $4.99 | Kobo UK, £4.99 | Kobo AU $11.99 | OverDrive | Audible
Spoiler:
Quote:
In this astonishing tour de force, Margaret Atwood takes the reader back in time and into the life and mind of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the nineteenth century. In 1843, at the age of sixteen, servant girl Grace Marks was convicted for her part in the vicious murders of her employer and his mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Grace herself claims to have no memory of the murders. As Dr. Simon Jordan – an expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness – tries to unlock her memory, what will he find? Was Grace a femme fatale – or a weak and unwilling victim of circumstances? Taut and compelling, penetrating and wise, Alias Grace is a beautifully crafted work of the imagination that vividly evokes time and place. The novel and its characters will continue to haunt the reader long after the final page.
480 pp.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey [darryl, astrangerhere, Bookpossum]
Amazon AU $14.99 | Amazon CA $8.99 | Amazon UK £4.99 | Amazon US $4.99 | OverDrive | Audible
Spoiler:
Quote:
(From Amazon US book description). Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Now in a new deluxe edition with a foreword by Chuck Palahniuk and cover by Joe Sacco, here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them all imprisoned
284 pp.

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay [issybird, darryl, CRussel]
Amazon US $5.99 | Amazon UK £4.99 | Amazon AU $10.99 | Amazon CA $14.99 | Audible | OverDrive
Spoiler:
From Wikipedia:

Quote:
Picnic at Hanging Rock is an Australian historical fiction novel by Joan Lindsay. Set in 1900, it is about a group of female students at an Australian girls' boarding school who vanish at Hanging Rock while on a Valentine's Day picnic, and the effects the disappearances have on the school and local community. The novel was first published in 1967 in Australia by Cheshire Publishing and was reprinted by Penguin in 1975. It is widely considered by critics to be one of the best Australian novels.

Although the events depicted in the novel are entirely fictional, it is framed as though it is a true story, corroborated by ambiguous pseudohistorical references. Its irresolute conclusion has sparked significant public, critical, and scholarly analysis, and the narrative has become a part of Australia's national folklore as a result.
198 pp.

Notes on a Scandal (What Was She Thinking?) by Zoë Heller [Bookpossum, gmw, issybird]
Kobo: $US7.99, $C8.99, $A12.99 and UK£4.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
Shortlisted for the 2003 Man Booker Prize, Zoë Heller's Notes on a Scandal is a darkly compelling novel that explores the taboo subject of pupil/teacher relationships, obsession and betrayal.

From the first day that the beguiling Sheba Hart joins the staff of St George's history teacher Barbara Covett is convinced she has found a kindred spirit. Barbara's loyalty to her new friend is passionate and unstinting and when Sheba is discovered having an illicit affair with one of her pupils, Barbara quickly elects herself as Sheba's chief defender. But all is not as it first seems in this dark story and, as Sheba will soon discover, a friend can be just as treacherous as any lover.

'Brilliant, nasty, gripping' Zadie Smith
'Compelling, dark, sexy' Observer
'Superbly gripping. One of the most compelling books I've read in ages' Daily Telegraph
'Deliciously sinister' Daily Mail
258 pp.

Frederica by Georgette Heyer [CRussel, gmw, Dazrin]
Amazon $9.99 | Amazon UK £3.99 | Amazon CA $9.99 | Amazon AU $12.99 | Audible | OverDrive | Kindle Unlimited
Spoiler:
Quote:
Determined to secure a brilliant marriage for her beautiful sister, Frederica seeks out their distant cousin the Marquis of Alverstoke. Lovely, competent, and refreshingly straightforward, Frederica makes such a strong impression that to his own amazement, the Marquis agrees to help launch them all into society.

Normally wary of his family, which includes two overbearing sisters and innumerable favor-seekers, Lord Alverstoke does his best to keep his distance. But with his enterprising — and altogether entertaining —country cousins getting into one scrape after another right on his doorstep, before he knows it the Marquis finds himself dangerously embroiled.
450 pp

Dog On It (Chet and Bernie #1) by Spencer Quinn [gmw, CRussel, Dazrin]
Amazon US $12.99 | Amazon UK - £4.99 | Amazon CA $8.49Amazon AU $8.60 | Kobo US $12.99 | Kobo UK £4.99 | Kobo CA $11.99 | Kobo AU $20.45
Spoiler:
Quote:
I could smell him - or rather the booze on his breath - before he even opened the door, but my sense of smell is pretty good, probably better than yours.

So begins this fabulous, funny new detective novel featuring Bernie, a slightly down-at-heel PI; and his offsider, Chet, a dog - and the captivating narrator of the story.

Chet may have flunked out of police school (I'd been the best leaper in K-9 class, which had led to all the trouble in a way I couldn't remember exactly, although blood was involved), but he's just as much a detective as Bernie - superior, sometimes, in his insight into human foibles.

In Dog On It, their first adventure, Chet and Bernie investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl who may or may not have been kidnapped, but who's definitely gotten herself mixed up with some very unsavoury characters.
324 pp.

Last edited by issybird; 10-06-2018 at 08:24 PM. Reason: Through post #66.
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Old 10-01-2018, 08:34 AM   #2
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Choices with one or two nominations:

*Mind of Winter by Laura Kasischke [Catlady]
Amazon U.S. $10.74 | Amazon CA $9.99 | Amazon UK £4.74 | Amazon AU $7.47 | Kobo U.S. $10.74 | Kobo CA $9.99 | Kobo UK £4.79 | Kobo AU $8.13 | OverDrive | Hoopla | RBdigital | Axis360 | Freading | Scribd
Spoiler:
Quote:
The critically acclaimed and bestselling author of The Raising returns with a haunting and shadowy thriller about the love between a mother and daughter.

Something had followed them from Russia.

On a snowy Christmas morning, Holly Judge awakens, the fragments of a nightmare—something so important that she must write it down—floating on the edge of her consciousness.

Something had followed them from Russia.

It was thirteen years ago that she and her husband, Eric, went to Siberia to adopt the sweet, dark-haired child they had wanted so desperately. How they laughed at the nurses of Pokrovka Orphanage #2 with their garlic and superstitions, and ignored their insistent warnings. After all, their fairy princess Tatiana—Baby Tatty—was perfect.

As the snow falls, enveloping the world in its white silence, Holly senses that something is not right, and has never been right in the years since they brought their daughter home. Now Tatty is a dangerously beautiful, petulant, and often erratic teenager, and Holly feels there is something evil lurking within their house.

She and Tatiana are alone. Eric is stuck on the roads, and none of the other guests for Christmas dinner will be able to make it through the snow. With each passing hour, the blizzard rages and Tatiana's mood darkens, her behavior becoming increasingly disturbing . . . until, in every mother's worst nightmare, Holly finds she no longer recognizes her daughter.
Quote:
From Booklist
*Starred Review* Holly Judge wakes up on Christmas morning knowing “Something had followed them home from Russia.” Trapped at home with her teenage daughter during a blizzard, Holly’s thoughts drift back to the trips she and her husband took to Siberia’s Pokrovka Orphanage #2 to adopt baby Tatiana. Versions of those visits change as the day progresses. Holly’s slow revelations about what drove her to adopt and her own family history cause the reader to become even more suspicious of Holly’s increasingly confused descriptions of the day’s events. Whatever happened in Russia, something, or someone, in that house is not right. The slow, cold menace in the book is palpable. As a reader, you know that something horrible is going to be revealed—something awful and inevitable. And, when you finally force yourself to turn that last page, it will not be a scream that gets caught in your throat, but a gut-punching, heart-wrenching sob. A book that will haunt you for days and long, long nights after reading. --Karen Keefe
293 pp.

Last edited by issybird; 10-06-2018 at 08:22 PM. Reason: Through post #66.
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Old 10-01-2018, 02:14 PM   #3
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OK, I struggled with this theme, primarily because I focused on the "unreliable narrator" portion. But then I looked at the "Lies and Misdirections" part and immediately thought of Georgette Heyer's marvelous Regencies. OK, I know this isn't great literature, but her Regencies are delightful reads whose historical details have been thoroughly researched. And they're all about misdirection! To pick one is a challenge, but I'll go with Frederica, which is currently on KU for free.
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"Heyer was one of the great protagonists of the historical novel in the post-war golden age..." —Philippa Gregory

A reader favorite from the Queen of Regency Romance, Frederica is a charming story of a woman seeking security for her family, but finding love where and when she least expected it.

Determined to secure a brilliant marriage for her beautiful sister, Frederica seeks out their distant cousin the Marquis of Alverstoke. Lovely, competent, and refreshingly straightforward, Frederica makes such a strong impression that to his own amazement, the Marquis agrees to help launch them all into society.

Normally wary of his family, which includes two overbearing sisters and innumerable favor-seekers, Lord Alverstoke does his best to keep his distance. But with his enterprising — and altogether entertaining —country cousins getting into one scrape after another right on his doorstep, before he knows it the Marquis finds himself dangerously embroiled.

What reviewers are saying about Frederica

"Humorous, light-hearted...a nice, comfortable way to get your Austen-fix."—Love Romance Passion

"This is a great book that explores both the relationships of the characters, and the Regency era itself. Fun, entertaining, enthralling!"—Wendi's Book Corner

"[A] fun, charming book... Frederica is a keeper, going on my bookshelf."—Lesa's Book Critiques

"There was a playful, light-hearted feel to this book that, along with the engaging characters, totally charmed me."—Genre Reviews

"The novel ends on a most satisfying note, and I can think of no better way of spending a chilly winter evening — wrapped in a down comforter with my pooch sleeping by my side— than reading this gem of a book."—Jane Austen's World

"Overflowing with fun and family, this warm, joyful 1965 Regency is one of Heyer's later novels and another popular title."—Library Journal

Amazon: $9.99 or FREE on Kindle Unlimited
Amazon UK: £3.99
Amazon CA: $9.99 CAD or Free with Kindle Unlimited
Amazon AU: $12.99 AUD

The usual costs on Audible:
Audible
Audible UK

Overdrive has several editions. The base NA ebook appears to be:
Overdrive

The book is 450 pages long, but they're a fast 450 pages. Lots of fun and misdirection, with a witty and delightfully humourous look into Regency England (or at least the Regency England of a particular class.)

(Full Disclosure. I do NOT read Romances. With the sole exception of Heyer's Regencies, which suck me in every time. )

Last edited by CRussel; 10-01-2018 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 10-01-2018, 03:39 PM   #4
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I am nominating Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (1996, 480 pp.).

Quote:
In this astonishing tour de force, Margaret Atwood takes the reader back in time and into the life and mind of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the nineteenth century. In 1843, at the age of sixteen, servant girl Grace Marks was convicted for her part in the vicious murders of her employer and his mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Grace herself claims to have no memory of the murders. As Dr. Simon Jordan – an expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness – tries to unlock her memory, what will he find? Was Grace a femme fatale – or a weak and unwilling victim of circumstances? Taut and compelling, penetrating and wise, Alias Grace is a beautifully crafted work of the imagination that vividly evokes time and place. The novel and its characters will continue to haunt the reader long after the final page.
Quote:
Now a 6-part Netflix original mini-series: in Alias Grace, the bestselling author of The Handmaid's Tale takes readers into the life of one of the most notorious women of the nineteenth century.

It's 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders. An up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories? Captivating and disturbing, *Alias Grace *showcases bestselling, Booker Prize-winning author Margaret Atwood at the peak of her powers.

Amazon U.S., $11.99
Amazon Canada, CA $4.99
Amazon UK, £4.99
Amazon Australia, AU $11.99

Kobo U.S., $11.99
Kobo Canada, CA $4.99
Kobo UK, £4.99
Kobo Australia, AU $11.99

Available from Overdrive. Audiobook is an Audible exclusive.
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Old 10-01-2018, 07:21 PM   #5
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I enjoy Margaret Atwood a lot, and haven’t read this one, so I second Alias Grace.
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Old 10-01-2018, 07:53 PM   #6
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I'll third Alias Grace.
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Old 10-01-2018, 08:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by CRussel View Post
OK, I struggled with this theme, primarily because I focused on the "unreliable narrator" portion. But then I looked at the "Lies and Misdirections" part [...]
I've had similar difficulties. One of the problems is that having an "unreliable narrator" theme is actually a spoiler for some stories - and with a mystery that can be disastrous for the first-time read. Your idea of concentrating on the other half of the theme is probably a good idea ... but I'm going to have to think about this a bit longer.
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Old 10-02-2018, 09:04 AM   #8
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I'm going to nominate a classic, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

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(From Amazon US book description). Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Now in a new deluxe edition with a foreword by Chuck Palahniuk and cover by Joe Sacco, here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them all imprisoned
Amazon AU AU$ 6.55
Amazon CA CDN$ 8.99
Amazon UK UK£ 7.19
Amazon US US$ 4.99

It is available on Overdrive as both an ebook and an audiobook, and on Audible.

This is a great work of fiction and I highly recommend it, irrespective of whether it is chosen.

It focuses more on the unreliable narrator aspect though by definition an unreliable narrator must engage in lying and misdirection to some extent whether intended or otherwise. This is a story which I don't think will be spoilt by being selected for this theme. Indeed, readers must come to their own conclusion about what to make of the narration.

Last edited by darryl; 10-02-2018 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 10-02-2018, 09:30 AM   #9
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I was interested to learn when I did some rooting around on this topic that the term was only defined in 1961! Unreliable narrators go back far longer than that.

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I've had similar difficulties. One of the problems is that having an "unreliable narrator" theme is actually a spoiler for some stories - and with a mystery that can be disastrous for the first-time read.
No question that some books would be spoilt by knowing the narrator is unreliable going in, but it doesn't really matter for others. Either it's obvious from the start or the reader should have been reserving judgment anyway, that is, I think any first person account should imply the possibility that all is not as the narrator assumes or chooses to tell.

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I'm going to nominate a classic, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
This was on my short list for possible nominations.
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Old 10-02-2018, 11:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darryl View Post
I'm going to nominate a classic, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Amazon AU AU$ 6.55
Amazon CA CDN$ 8.99
Amazon UK UK£ 7.19
Amazon US US$ 4.99
I'm coming up with £4.99 in the UK and $14.99(!) in Australia and I'm going to alter the prices in the listing to those, absent further corrections.
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Old 10-02-2018, 11:47 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by gmw View Post
I've had similar difficulties. One of the problems is that having an "unreliable narrator" theme is actually a spoiler for some stories - and with a mystery that can be disastrous for the first-time read. Your idea of concentrating on the other half of the theme is probably a good idea ... but I'm going to have to think about this a bit longer.
Since suspense is my go-to genre, I've read many books where the twist is that the narrator you've been trusting all along is actually a diabolical liar, and of course revealing that is a spoiler. But often the unreliability is clear from the outset--the narrator has memory loss, for example, and is trying to piece together what happened.

Some examples in the memory-loss subgenre are Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin, The Memory Game by Nicci French. (A classic of the genre is The Black Curtain by Cornell Woolrich; the POV character has amnesia but the story is written in third person. Sadly, there's no e-book, or I might have tried to sneak it into the nominations anyway.)
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Old 10-02-2018, 12:08 PM   #12
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I'll second One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
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Old 10-02-2018, 09:43 PM   #13
darryl
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Originally Posted by issybird View Post
I'm coming up with £4.99 in the UK and $14.99(!) in Australia and I'm going to alter the prices in the listing to those, absent further corrections.
I'm not sure if it's my mistake or I was getting different pricing. In either event thanks for taking the trouble to check and fix it.
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Old 10-02-2018, 09:46 PM   #14
CRussel
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If one doesn't have an actual UK account, one is likely to see odd pricing. I used to run into the problem until I created an actual UK specific account. But I can confirm it is £4.99.
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:58 AM   #15
gmw
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Originally Posted by darryl View Post
I'm not sure if it's my mistake or I was getting different pricing. In either event thanks for taking the trouble to check and fix it.
I'm guessing you were looking at the "study notes", which were AU$6.55. Not that it worries me, I still have my copy from school. It's been read through a few times, and thrown in and out of school bags, but I think the pages are still hanging together okay.
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