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Old 11-01-2018, 07:29 AM   #1
issybird
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Nominations for December 2018 • Just for Fun: Guilty Pleasures


Help us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read for December 2018. The theme is Just for Fun: Guilty Pleasures

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. Also, don't sweat the links. It's helpful to check availability and prices before nominating in order to eliminate anything that's out of the question, but ultimately our global members with different gadgets and preferences will have to check for themselves.

The nominations will run through 7 AM EST, November 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 December 15, 2018. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the November selection, Alias Grace, on November 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:

The Chronicles of Clovis by Saki (H.H. Munro) [gmw, issybird, Bookpossum]
MobileRead | Project Gutenberg
Spoiler:
Quote:
Just for the record, The Chronicles of Clovis has nothing whatever to do with the legendary French king. It is a collection of 30 extremely wry and witty short stories written by the inimitable Saki (the pen name for H.H. Munro). The setting is in the midst of upper class English society during the Edwardian Period, the period between the Boer War and World War when the British Empire reached it's peak. Devotees of Downton Abbey will find themselves on familiar ground, save for the slightly disconcerting presence of Clovis. Clovis Sangrail, the nominal central character about whom these stories revolve, is a typical Saki hero: young, vain, effete, worldly, slightly cruel, a bit decadent and extremely witty.

Included in this collection are some of Saki's very best works, including "Mrs. Packleetide's Tiger", "The Background", "The Jesting of Arlington Stingham", "Tobermory", "Sredni Vastar", "The talking-Out of Tarrington", "Filboid Studge" and "The Secret Sin of Septimus Brope".

Both Saki, and the world about which he wrote so well, came to an end during with World War I. Nevertheless, few writers have ever been able to achieve Saki's level of irony, satire, wit and sophistication. It was a terrible loss, both to Britain and the reading public everywhere, when Saki was killed on the Western Front in 1916.
168 pp.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy [Dazrin, CRussel, drofgnal]
Public Domain in the US and Life+70.
Project Gutenberg | Patricia Clark Memorial Library | Amazon | Audible | Kobo
Spoiler:
Quote:
A timeless novel of adventure, intrigue, and romance is sparked by one man's defiance in the face of authority...

The year is 1792. The French Revolution, driven to excess by its own triumph, has turned into a reign of terror. Daily, tumbrels bearing new victims to the guillotine roll over the cobbled streets of Paris.... Thus the stage is set for one of the most enthralling novels of historical adventure ever written.

The mysterious figure known as the Scarlet Pimpernel, sworn to rescue helpless men, women, and children from their doom; his implacable foe, the French agent Chauvelin, relentlessly hunting him down; and lovely Marguerite Blakeney, a beautiful French exile married to an English lord and caught in a terrible conflict of loyalties--all play their parts in a suspenseful tale that ranges from the squalid slums of Paris to the aristocratic salons of London, from intrigue on a great English country estate to the final denouement on the cliffs of the French coast.

There have been many imitations of The Scarlet Pimpernel, but none has ever equaled its superb sense of color and drama and its irresistible gift of wonderfully romantic escape.
275 pp.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin [Bookworm_Girl, Bookpossum, gmw]
Amazon US: $9.04 | UK, CA, AU
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:
Quote:
A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn't take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.'s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn't see coming.
260 pp.

The Water Rat of Wanchai (The Deadly Touch of the Tigress) by Ian Hamilton [CRussel, gmw, Dazrin]
AmazonUS $9.99 | AmazonCA $7.93 | AmazonUK £2.99 | AmazonAU $12.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel
A CBC Bookie Award: Mystery and Thriller, Finalist
A Quill & Quire Book of the Year
An Amazon.ca Editors’ Pick

In the first electrifying book of the series, Ian Hamilton introduces us to Ava Lee — the smartest, most stylish heroine in crime fiction since Lisbeth Salandar.

Ava Lee is a young Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant who works for an elderly Hong Kong–based “Uncle,” who may or may not have ties to the Triads. At 115 lbs., she hardly seems a threat. But her razorsharp intellect and resourcefulness allows her to succeed where traditional methods have failed.

In The Water Rat of Wanchai, Ava travels across continents to track $5 million owed by a seafood company. But it’s in Guyana where she meets her match: Captain Robbins, a huge hulk of a man and godfather-like figure who controls the police, politicians, and criminals alike. In exchange for his help, he decides he wants a piece of Ava’s $5 million action and will do whatever it takes to get his fair share . .
400 pp.

Bedelia by Vera Caspary [Catlady, Darryl, Bookworm_Girl]
Amazon U.S., $9.99 | Amazon CA $8.99 | Amazon UK, £8.63 | Amazon AU $15.44 | Kobo U.S. $11.19 | Kobo CA $15.19 | Kobo UK, £8.63 | Kobo AU $16.71
Spoiler:
Quote:
Long before Desperate Housewives, there was Bedelia: pretty, ultra femme, and "adoring as a kitten." A perfect housekeeper and lover, she wants nothing more than to please her insecure new husband, who can't believe his luck. But is Bedelia too good to be true?

A mysterious new neighbor turns out to be a detective on the trail of a "kitten with claws of steel"—a picture-perfect wife with a string of dead husbands in her wake. Caspary builds this tale to a peak of psychological suspense as her characters are trapped together by a blizzard. The true Bedelia, the woman who chose murder over a life on the street, reveals how she turns male fantasies of superiority into a deadly con.
Quote:
"Vera Caspary's gift was perhaps more subtle, and deadly [than Jim Thompson, David Goodis, and Charles Willeford]." --Robert Polito, author of Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson

"You must read Bedelia to see just how slick Miss Caspary's techique of soft-shoe terror can be--how frightening she can make the chatter at an innocent dinner party, the lure of a lady's deshabille, the glimpse of a black pearl in a dresser drawer." --The New York Times

"A sinister entertainment 'especially for admirers of the psychological horror story.'" --The New Yorker

"A tour de force of psychological suspense, Desperate Housewives meets Double Indemnity in Caspary's Bedelia." --Liahna Armstrong, President Emerita, Popular Culture Association
240 pp.

Wild Strawberries by Angela Thirkell [issybird, Bookworm_Girl, Dazrin]
Faded Page: Free | US$5.99, AU$12.99, UK £3.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
Deliciously funny, to use a Thirkellism. This book is absolutely perfect to read when you are feeling glum and under the weather -- it will make you laugh out loud. The upper-class characters at its centre are ridiculously wonderful, all so self-absorbed that they pay no attention to other people and are constantly getting hold of the wrong end of the stick. Lady Emily's attempts to organise everyone and everything are sensibly ignored by the lower-class characters who actually get things done. The bunch of French royalists seemed a bit of a bizarre idea, but just added to the joyful chaos. I think my favourite scene was the lunch in the restaurant with David, Joan and Mary -- sparks fly from Thirkell's pen in a positively Austenish way.
Quote:
A summer at an English Country-house in the 1930s, with all the accompanying silliness and minor inconveniences and class issues that one might expect from such a setting. It is laugh-out-loud funny: there is a wonderfully irreverent joy in the foibles, idiocies, and innocent pleasures of minor gentry.
227 pp.

Last edited by issybird; 11-07-2018 at 08:03 AM. Reason: Through post #62.
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Old 11-01-2018, 07:30 AM   #2
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Choices with one or two nominations:

**The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig [Catlady, CRussel]
Amazon U.S. $2.99 | Amazon CA $8.99 | Amazon UK £2.48 | Amazon AU $3.69 | Kobo U.S. $2.99 | Kobo CA $8.99 | Kobo UK £2.63 | Kobo AU $4.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
Nothing ever goes right for Eloise. The day she wears her new suede boots, it rains. When the subway stops short, she's the one thrown into some stranger's lap. And she's had her share of misfortune in the way of love. So, after deciding that romantic heroes must be a thing of the past, Eloise is ready for a fresh start.

Setting off for England, Eloise is determined to finish her dissertation on two spies, the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian. But what she discovers is something historians have missed: the secret history of the Pink Carnation-the most elusive spy of all time. As she works to unmask this obscure spy, Eloise has more and more questions. Like, how did the Pink Carnation save England from Napoleon? What became of the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian? And will Eloise Kelly escape her bad luck and find a living, breathing hero of her own?
449 pp.

*Jurgen by James Branch Cabell [Ralph Sir Edwards]
Public domain in the US and Life+50 countries
Spoiler:
A quote:

Then Jurgen passed a Cistercian Abbey and was approaching Bellegarde, when he met a black gentleman, who saluted him and said,"Thanks, Jurgen, for your good word!"
"Who are you, and why do you thank me?"
"My name is of no great matter. But you have a kind heart, Jurgen. May your life be free from care!"
"Save us from hurt and harm, friend, but I am already married."
350 pp.

**Getting It Right by Elizabeth Jane Howard [Bookpossum, issybird]
Kobo: $US8.69, $C11.19, $A9.99, $NZ10.99, £6.47
Spoiler:
From the bestselling author of The Cazelet Chronicles comes Elizabeth Jane Howard's Getting It Right, a touching comedy about a young man trying desperately to get it right.
(Winner of the Yorkshire Post Novel of the Year Award.)

Gavin - a sensitive, shy, hairdresser in the West End - is, at thirty-one, still a virgin. He's a classic late developer, and he's worried that it's getting too late to develop at all. Then one night, Gavin finds himself at a penthouse party and, meets people the likes of which he's never come across before, and suddenly, everything begins to change . . . Over the next fortnight, Gavin might start, at last, to "get it right".

'Crammed with incidental pleasures . . . sometimes sad but more frequently hilarious . . . Getting It Right gets it, comically, right' Paul Bailey, Evening Standard.
275 pages

Last edited by issybird; 11-07-2018 at 08:04 AM. Reason: Through post #62.
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Old 11-01-2018, 11:11 AM   #3
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I nominate The Chronicles of Clovis by Saki (AKA H. H. Munro).

It is included in the omnibus of Saki books available here on MobileRead (free). Or see Project Gutenberg.

It's hard to find a good blurb, even Goodreads offers little more than a list of story titles. But I found the following review on Amazon that seemed informative and positive:
Quote:
Just for the record, The Chronicles of Clovis has nothing whatever to do with the legendary French king. It is a collection of 30 extremely wry and witty short stories written by the inimitable Saki (the pen name for H.H. Munro). The setting is in the midst of upper class English society during the Edwardian Period, the period between the Boer War and World War when the British Empire reached it's peak. Devotees of Downton Abbey will find themselves on familiar ground, save for the slightly disconcerting presence of Clovis. Clovis Sangrail, the nominal central character about whom these stories revolve, is a typical Saki hero: young, vain, effete, worldly, slightly cruel, a bit decadent and extremely witty.

Included in this collection are some of Saki's very best works, including "Mrs. Packleetide's Tiger", "The Background", "The Jesting of Arlington Stingham", "Tobermory", "Sredni Vastar", "The talking-Out of Tarrington", "Filboid Studge" and "The Secret Sin of Septimus Brope".

Both Saki, and the world about which he wrote so well, came to an end during with World War I. Nevertheless, few writers have ever been able to achieve Saki's level of irony, satire, wit and sophistication. It was a terrible loss, both to Britain and the reading public everywhere, when Saki was killed on the Western Front in 1916.
I've only ever read about Saki and figure it's high time I fixed that hole in my education. That the stories are supposed to be fun is just a bonus that fits nicely with the theme.

ETA: I added the Project Gutenberg link for those that would like the book separate rather than in an omnibus. Plus the Gutenberg edition includes an introduction by A.A. Milne.

Last edited by gmw; 11-01-2018 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 11-01-2018, 11:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
I nominate The Chronicles of Clovis by Saki (AKA H. H. Munro).
For the audiobook-obsessed among us (like me!), LibriVox has two versions, one by a single narrator, the other by multiple narrators.
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Old 11-01-2018, 03:34 PM   #5
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I'll second Clovis.
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Old 11-01-2018, 05:00 PM   #6
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I third Clovis. They are wonderful stories.
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Old 11-01-2018, 06:15 PM   #7
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For my Guilty Pleasure nomination, I'd like to nominate The Water Rat of Wanchai, the first of the Ava Lee books from Ian Hamilton. Really, these are my guilty pleasures. They're fast, they're fun, and Ava Lee always wins. Think Modesty Blaise, but with a Lesbian, Canadian, ethnically Chinese, forensic accountant as the protagonist. I mean really, with that combination, how could you possibly lose?!

From Amazon.ca:
Quote:
Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel
A CBC Bookie Award: Mystery and Thriller, Finalist
A Quill & Quire Book of the Year
An Amazon.ca Editors’ Pick

In the first electrifying book of the series, Ian Hamilton introduces us to Ava Lee — the smartest, most stylish heroine in crime fiction since Lisbeth Salandar.

Ava Lee is a young Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant who works for an elderly Hong Kong–based “Uncle,” who may or may not have ties to the Triads. At 115 lbs., she hardly seems a threat. But her razorsharp intellect and resourcefulness allows her to succeed where traditional methods have failed.

In The Water Rat of Wanchai, Ava travels across continents to track $5 million owed by a seafood company. But it’s in Guyana where she meets her match: Captain Robbins, a huge hulk of a man and godfather-like figure who controls the police, politicians, and criminals alike. In exchange for his help, he decides he wants a piece of Ava’s $5 million action and will do whatever it takes to get his fair share . .
AmazonUS: $9.99
AmazonCA: $7.93 CDN
AmazonUK: £2.99 (Title change: The Deadly Touch of the Tigress)
AmazonAU: $12.99 AUD (Title change: The Deadly Touch of the Tigress)

Goodreads
Overdrive

There's a bundle available in Canada of the first two books plus a shorter prequel for $14.99 CDN. I can provide a link if you wish.

The book is listed with several different page numbers, depending on what country you're in, but appears to be ~400 pages. And I might add, they go quickly!
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Old 11-01-2018, 08:42 PM   #8
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I second The Water Rat of Wanchai aka The Deadly Touch of the Tigress. An accounting thriller, got to see that.
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Old 11-02-2018, 01:36 PM   #9
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I am nominating The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig (2005, 449 pp.). First book in a series.

Quote:
Nothing ever goes right for Eloise. The day she wears her new suede boots, it rains. When the subway stops short, she's the one thrown into some stranger's lap. And she's had her share of misfortune in the way of love. So, after deciding that romantic heroes must be a thing of the past, Eloise is ready for a fresh start.

Setting off for England, Eloise is determined to finish her dissertation on two spies, the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian. But what she discovers is something historians have missed: the secret history of the Pink Carnation-the most elusive spy of all time. As she works to unmask this obscure spy, Eloise has more and more questions. Like, how did the Pink Carnation save England from Napoleon? What became of the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian? And will Eloise Kelly escape her bad luck and find a living, breathing hero of her own?
Amazon U.S., $2.99
Amazon Canada, CA $8.99
Amazon UK, £2.48
Amazon Australia, AU $3.69

Kobo U.S., $2.99
Kobo Canada, CA $8.99
Kobo UK, £2.63
Kobo Australia, AU $4.99

Also available as audiobook. Can be borrowed through Overdrive (e-book and audiobook) and Scribd (audiobook).

P.S. The audiobook was a freebie from Random House at one point, so if you routinely grab the freebies, you might own it.

Last edited by Catlady; 11-02-2018 at 01:45 PM. Reason: P.S.
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Old 11-02-2018, 02:05 PM   #10
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Sredni Vastar the Beautiful!

I nominate some "fine" literature, but still warped and witty.

Jurgen - James Branch Cabell. It is PD in the US (At least the 1919 and 1922 versions are)

A quote:

Then Jurgen passed a Cistercian Abbey and was approaching Bellegarde, when he met a black gentleman, who saluted him and said,"Thanks, Jurgen, for your good word!"
"Who are you, and why do you thank me?"
"My name is of no great matter. But you have a kind heart, Jurgen. May your life be free from care!"
"Save us from hurt and harm, friend, but I am already married."

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Old 11-02-2018, 03:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
Quote:
What became of the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian?
I considered nominating The Scarlet Pimpernel. Maybe it's meant to be.
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Old 11-02-2018, 03:50 PM   #12
Catlady
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I considered nominating The Scarlet Pimpernel. Maybe it's meant to be.
I've been putting off reading the Pink Carnation series because I think I should read The Scarlet Pimpernel first ...
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Old 11-02-2018, 03:53 PM   #13
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I've been putting off reading the Pink Carnation series because I think I should read The Scarlet Pimpernel first ...
No should about it. You must. Oh, how I loved that as a pre-adolescent. I can see I'll have to nominate it. (probably )
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Old 11-02-2018, 04:21 PM   #14
CRussel
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Yes The Scarlet Pimpernel is definitely something everyone should read. At least, if my memories of it are still valid. (Witness the very problems with T3M, after all.) But really, it's the basis for so many things. And I remember it as fun. But I wouldn't put it in the Guilty Pleasures category?
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Old 11-02-2018, 04:55 PM   #15
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Yes The Scarlet Pimpernel is definitely something everyone should read. At least, if my memories of it are still valid. (Witness the very problems with T3M, after all.) But really, it's the basis for so many things. And I remember it as fun. But I wouldn't put it in the Guilty Pleasures category?
And since when did you become such a stickler?

It could be a guilty pleasure because I darn near memorized it, I read it so many times.
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