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View Poll Results: In what guilty pleasure will we indulge in December?
The Chronicles of Clovis by Saki 5 41.67%
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy 6 50.00%
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin 5 41.67%
The Water Rat of Wanchai by Ian Hamilton 3 25.00%
Bedelia by Vera Caspary 2 16.67%
Wild Strawberries by Angela Thirkell 4 33.33%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-07-2018, 08:15 AM   #1
issybird
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Vote for December 2018 • Just for Fun: Guilty Pleasures


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

We love new participants. We're happy for you to vote, but we'd like to request that you not vote unless you plan to join the discussion whatever the selection, in the interest of a vibrant conversation.


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

Choices:

The Chronicles of Clovis by Saki (H.H. Munro)
Public domain in the US and Life+70 countries.
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
Public Domain in the US and Life+70 countries.
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
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
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
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
Public domain in Life+50 countries.
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 10:48 AM. Reason: Clarify public domain status.
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Old 11-07-2018, 08:36 AM   #2
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December is shaping up to be an early summer scorcher up here at the top of the world, so having read the raves about A.J. Fikry, I hope it "wins". Though a return to my far away adolescence via that demned elusive Pimpernel would be great fun too. Either way, plenty of excuses to hide from our "fry you in 15 minutes" summer sun.
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:06 AM   #3
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May I politely note the The Chronicles Of Clovis is Public domain in the US and the Life+70 countries. "Saki" was killed in 1916 in the trenches of World War I.
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:46 AM   #4
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May I politely note the The Chronicles Of Clovis is Public domain in the US and the Life+70 countries. "Saki" was killed in 1916 in the trenches of World War I.
Thanks for the clarification. I'll update a line to its listing as well as Wild Strawberries to be consistent with the listing for The Scarlet Pimpernel.
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Old 11-07-2018, 01:57 PM   #5
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A good selection, if a bit shorter than usual. I prefer to limit my voting to no more than half of the offerings, but I find myself forced to vote for 2/3rds this month. A good sign, and I look forward to reading any of them in the list. Though I do rather wish that Pink Carnation had made it through, because I already know I'll be reading that.
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Old 11-07-2018, 02:34 PM   #6
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I'm glad more of these are shorter. I am not making much progress on this month's 500+ page selection and December is never a great month for long books.
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Old 11-07-2018, 03:45 PM   #7
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I'm glad more of these are shorter. I am not making much progress on this month's 500+ page selection and December is never a great month for long books.
And even the longest one, The Water Rat of Wanchai at 400 pages, is a fast read.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:09 PM   #8
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December is shaping up to be an early summer scorcher up here at the top of the world, so having read the raves about A.J. Fikry, I hope it "wins". Though a return to my far away adolescence via that demned elusive Pimpernel would be great fun too. Either way, plenty of excuses to hide from our "fry you in 15 minutes" summer sun.
Welcome to NLBC Stuart! Good to have an addition to the antipodean members. I must confess I have never thought of beautiful New Zealand in the scorcher category though.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:25 PM   #9
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Welcome to NLBC Stuart! Good to have an addition to the antipodean members. I must confess I have never thought of beautiful New Zealand in the scorcher category though.
Our temperatures aren't super hot - summers in the high 20s to mid 30s Celsius. The problem is our UV. It's vicious, and part of the reason why, along with our convict cousins on the penal side of the Tasman (), we have world-leading melanoma rates. Making our savage summers the perfect time to hide in the shade with a good book or ten.
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Old 11-07-2018, 08:18 PM   #10
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I'm glad more of these are shorter. I am not making much progress on this month's 500+ page selection and December is never a great month for long books.
Yeah, I am sure I *thought* it was a great idea to embark on Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum the same month I started a new and very hectic job...
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Old 11-07-2018, 08:26 PM   #11
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ROFLU! Did you really?! That's as bad as my starting a new David Weber at 900+ pages the month I started a new job. A very much more intense and time consuming job. Why DO we do this to ourselves?? I know, there isn't a good answer to that.
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Old 11-08-2018, 06:33 AM   #12
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Our temperatures aren't super hot - summers in the high 20s to mid 30s Celsius. The problem is our UV. It's vicious, and part of the reason why, along with our convict cousins on the penal side of the Tasman (), we have world-leading melanoma rates. Making our savage summers the perfect time to hide in the shade with a good book or ten.
Yes, UV is ferocious indeed in this part of the world. (The clanking noise you hear is my ball and chain!)
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Old 11-09-2018, 11:34 AM   #13
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I haven't voted in the poll yet, so I can see the names of those who have. I just noticed that there are discrepancies in the first two totals:

Clovis has five names listed, but the total shows four votes.
Pimpernel has six names listed but the total shows five votes.

Quote:
The Chronicles of Clovis by Saki
Bookpossum, CRussel, gmw, issybird, siegie
4
40.00%

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
astrangerhere, CRussel, darryl, drofgnal, MickiTee, siegie
5
50.00%
Since we can presumably rule out Russian meddling or voter suppression, there must be some sort of glitch.
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Old 11-09-2018, 11:44 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
I haven't voted in the poll yet, so I can see the names of those who have. I just noticed that there are discrepancies in the first two totals:

Clovis has five names listed, but the total shows four votes.
Pimpernel has six names listed but the total shows five votes.



Since we can presumably rule out Russian meddling or voter suppression, there must be some sort of glitch.
It's not a glitch; the votes were manually adjusted.

ETA: You can see the names after you've voted in a poll as well, by clicking on one of the vote totals for any of the options.

Last edited by issybird; 11-09-2018 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 11-09-2018, 08:16 PM   #15
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Senility is a terrible thing - I was absolutely CERTAIN that I'd voted for Orczy in addition to Zevin, but the poll vote list says otherwise. My "ment" is compost! On the up side, looking for a commercially published edition (a bit leery of some Gutenbergs) I discovered that she also wrote a female detective, one of the first. I had never known that before today, so my apparent vote failure turned out for the good
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