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Old 08-01-2019, 06:55 AM   #1
issybird
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Nominations for September 2019 • Labour of Love: Working Class


It's time for us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read in September 2019. The theme is Labour of Love: Working Class.

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 EDT, August 7, 2019. Each nomination requires a second and a third to make it to the poll, which will remain open for three days. The discussion of the selection will start on September 15, 2019. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the August selection, I Am a Cat, on August 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 Shepherd's Life: A Tale of the Lake District by James Rebanks [astrangerhere, Bookpossum, CRussel]
Amazon US $9.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
The Shepherd's Life: A Tale of the Lake District is an autobiographical book by James Rebanks, a sheep farmer from Matterdale, Cumbria, England, published by Allen Lane in 2015.

Rebanks writes that he was moved and inspired by another book with almost the same title, A Shepherd's Life by W.H. Hudson, who wrote about sheep-farming in Wiltshire in the early years of the 20th century.

Rebanks describes the traditional way of life of shepherds on the Cumbrian fells and vales, and his determination to continue to farm where generations of his forebears had done.
306 pp.

Shirley by Charlotte Brontë [Bookworm_Girl, issybird, gmw]
Public domain everywhere
Spoiler:
Quote:
Following the tremendous popular success of Jane Eyre, which earned her lifelong notoriety as a moral revolutionary, Charlotte Brontë vowed to write a sweeping social chronicle that focused on "something real and unromantic as Monday morning." Set in the industrializing England of the Napoleonic wars and Luddite revolts of 1811-12, Shirley (1849) is the story of two contrasting heroines. One is the shy Caroline Helstone, who is trapped in the oppressive atmosphere of a Yorkshire rectory and whose bare life symbolizes the plight of single women in the nineteenth century. The other is the vivacious Shirley Keeldar, who inherits a local estate and whose wealth liberates her from convention.
500 pp.

A Month in the Country by J L Carr [Bookpossum, gmw, Victoria]
$US8.99, $C11.19, $A12.99, £4.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
In J. L. Carr's deeply charged poetic novel, Tom Birkin, a veteran of the Great War and a broken marriage, arrives in the remote Yorkshire village of Oxgodby where he is to restore a recently discovered medieval mural in the local church. Living in the bell tower, surrounded by the resplendent countryside of high summer, and laboring each day to uncover an anonymous painter's depiction of the apocalypse, Birkin finds that he himself has been restored to a new, and hopeful, attachment to life. But summer ends, and with the work done, Birkin must leave. Now, long after, as he reflects on the passage of time and the power of art, he finds in his memories some consolation for all that has been lost.
136 pp.

My Life in France by Julia Child [Victoria, Bookpossum, issybird]
US$14, CA$14, AU$10
Spoiler:
Quote:
The bestselling story of Julia’s years in France. ..... Julia Child was not always a master chef. Indeed, when she first arrived in France in 1948 with her husband, Paul, who was to work for the USIS, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country itself. But as she dove into French culture, buying food at local markets and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life changed forever with her newfound passion for cooking and teaching. Julia’s unforgettable story—struggles with the head of the Cordon Bleu, rejections from publishers to whom she sent her now-famous cookbook, a wonderful, nearly fifty-year long marriage that took the Childs across the globe—unfolds with the spirit so key to Julia’s success as a chef and a writer
336 pp.

Forty Fathoms Deep by Ion L. Idriess [gmw, Bookworm_Girl, Victoria]
US$4.99, CA$5.99, £3.95, AU$6.37
Spoiler:
Quote:
Forty Fathoms Deep is part of the story of the pearl seas of north-western Australia. In all but a few instances, I have used names well known in the pearl world of Broome, but have taken care not to hurt susceptibilities. I am conscious I have only gleaned in a field rich with romance. There is material for many books in the adventurous lives of the men who have built up the history and industry of Broome. It is to be hoped that someone more persuasive than I will induce them to sit down and write, or, failing that, sit and talk for the enlightenment and entertainment of fellow Australians.

I am greatly indebted to numerous friends in Broome who have helped me with material and who went to such pains to get for me authentic data.

Hail and farewell, with a warm heart, to Con and old Sebaro, and to all the divers and tenders and seamen who were so patient at explaining the many things I desired to see and know.

To all, a fair wind and a hungry market when the fleets put to sea!

ION L. IDRIESS.
220 pp.

Last edited by issybird; 08-05-2019 at 06:31 PM. Reason: Through post #40.
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Old 08-01-2019, 06:55 AM   #2
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Choices with one or two nominations:

**Bread and Roses: Mills, Migrants, and the Struggle for the American Dream by Bruce Watson [Catlady, issybird]
Amazon US $9.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
On January 12, 1912, an army of textile workers stormed out of the mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts, commencing what has since become known as the "Bread and Roses" strike. Based on newspaper accounts, magazine reportage, and oral histories, Watson reconstructs a Dickensian drama involving thousands of parading strikers from fifty-one nations, unforgettable acts of cruelty, and even a protracted murder trial that tested the boundaries of free speech. A rousing look at a seminal and overlooked chapter of the past, Bread and Roses is indispensable reading.
Quote:
Well sourced, evenhanded and briskly paced, Watson's account of the dramatic textile mill strike in Lawrence, Mass., during the icy winter of 1912 presents a panoramic glimpse of a half-forgotten America, one in which violent agitation and swift repression were often the order of the day. The story of how a polyglot mass of immigrants hailing from Syria to Scotland cohered into a powerful bargaining force is riveting in itself, and Watson (The Man Who Changed How Boys and Toys Were Made) places that struggle within the larger currents of reform that were slowly reshaping America. The cast includes self-made mill owner William Wood, who simply couldn't understand how "his" workers could betray him; Joseph Ettor, the union organizer who slept in a different bed every night to avoid reprisals; fiery Big Bill Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn of the IWW and muckracker Ida Tarbell. The bloody strike was repressed from public memory in the hyperpatriotic years of WWI, later idealized by the labor movement in ways that downplayed union violence. This book's subtitle, and its contents, suggest that the "American Dream" enjoyed by the nation's middle class had to be taken by force by the working class and is by no means a permanent entitlement.
368 pp.

*The Silent March by C.M. Klyne [CRussel]
AmazonUS $5.04, AmazonCA $4.99, AmazonAU $6.66, AmazonUK £3.59
Spoiler:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodreads.com
Winnipeg, 1919. The Winnipeg General Strike, the Spanish influenza and a sociopathic personality coalesce to forge a summer of strife, death and hope for a community still suffering the pestilence of the first world war.
Can bacteriologist Dr. Anna Williams, driven by the need to prove herself in a predominantly male research lab and responding to a panicky public health department, overcome the resistant attitudes of her male colleagues, to unlock the mysteries surrounding the deadly influenza virus?
Will the infamous Committee of One Thousand subvert the intentions of the strike leaders and the growing union movement and prevent the spread of Bolshevism upon Canadian soil?
Will Earle Nelson, a murderous sociopath and righteous zealot, force his will upon those he perceives as undesirable and unacceptable?
Follow Klyne’s story as he leads you through the streets of Winnipeg – reliving historical events with brilliant character creations whose intricate paths of emotions, ideas and conflicts culminated in what became known as Bloody Saturday.
416 pp.

*In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck [Catlady]
Amazon U.S. $12.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
At once a relentlessly fast-paced, admirably observed novel of social unrest and the story of a young man's struggle for identity, In Dubious Battle is set in the California apple country, where a strike by migrant workers against rapacious landowners spirals out of control, as a principled defiance metamorphoses into blind fanaticism. Caught in the upheaval is Jim Nolan, a once aimless man who find himself in the course of the strike, briefly becomes its leader, and is ultimately crushed in its service.
302 pp.

Last edited by issybird; 08-06-2019 at 05:30 PM. Reason: Through post #46.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:01 AM   #3
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I have had a cataract operation today so am operating with a patch over one eye and not doing so well on the computer. So I shall be back tomorrow my time when I have two functioning eyes again and can actually perch my glasses on my nose.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bookpossum View Post
I have had a cataract operation today so am operating with a patch over one eye and not doing so well on the computer. So I shall be back tomorrow my time when I have two functioning eyes again and can actually perch my glasses on my nose.
I hope you're feeling well after your operation and that you have a rapid recovery.

You really didn't have to post, unless you're trying to shame the rest of us who aren't immediately post-op into nominating! I know I'm still considering my options.
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Old 08-01-2019, 12:38 PM   #5
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I have had a cataract operation today so am operating with a patch over one eye and not doing so well on the computer. So I shall be back tomorrow my time when I have two functioning eyes again and can actually perch my glasses on my nose.
I hope all goes well. This is "routine surgery" these days, but IME, routine surgery is that which happens to someone else. I know I was a bit concerned about mine on the actual day, but it all went well, both times.
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Old 08-01-2019, 01:15 PM   #6
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I hope all goes well for you, Bookpossum!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CRussel View Post
routine surgery is that which happens to someone else.
So true!
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Old 08-01-2019, 02:58 PM   #7
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I would like to nominate James Rebank's nonfiction book The Shepherd's Life. From the Wiki blurb:

Quote:
The Shepherd's Life: A Tale of the Lake District is an autobiographical book by James Rebanks, a sheep farmer from Matterdale, Cumbria, England, published by Allen Lane in 2015.[1]

Rebanks writes that he was moved and inspired by another book with almost the same title, A Shepherd's Life by W.H. Hudson, who wrote about sheep-farming in Wiltshire in the early years of the 20th century.

Rebanks describes the traditional way of life of shepherds on the Cumbrian fells and vales, and his determination to continue to farm where generations of his forebears had done.
(There is also a great love and fondness for his working sheepdogs throughout the book!)
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Old 08-01-2019, 06:30 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by astrangerhere View Post
I would like to nominate James Rebank's nonfiction book The Shepherd's Life.
I'm going to quote the Goodreads blurb, which I find quite beguiling:

Quote:
Some people's lives are entirely their own creations. James Rebanks' isn't. The first son of a shepherd, who was the first son of a shepherd himself, he and his family have lived and worked in and around the Lake District for generations. Their way of life is ordered by the seasons and the work they demand, and has been for hundreds of years. A Viking would understand the work they do: sending the sheep to the fells in the summer and making the hay; the autumn fairs where the flocks are replenished; the gruelling toil of winter when the sheep must be kept alive, and the light-headedness that comes with spring, as the lambs are born and the sheep get ready to return to the fells.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:28 PM   #9
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Thanks for your kind messages, issybird, CRussel and Dazrin. All is going well and with the help of a pair of cheap glasses from the chemist, I can read again!

I love the sound of The Shepherd's Life and second it.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:52 PM   #10
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I would like to nominate A Month in the Country by J L Carr. From Goodreads:

Quote:
In J. L. Carr's deeply charged poetic novel, Tom Birkin, a veteran of the Great War and a broken marriage, arrives in the remote Yorkshire village of Oxgodby where he is to restore a recently discovered medieval mural in the local church. Living in the bell tower, surrounded by the resplendent countryside of high summer, and laboring each day to uncover an anonymous painter's depiction of the apocalypse, Birkin finds that he himself has been restored to a new, and hopeful, attachment to life. But summer ends, and with the work done, Birkin must leave. Now, long after, as he reflects on the passage of time and the power of art, he finds in his memories some consolation for all that has been lost.
It is a short book - 136 pages according to Kobo - but has garnered a lot of praise.

$US8.99, $C11.19, $A12.99, £4.99.
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Old 08-02-2019, 01:08 AM   #11
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I'm in trouble here. I thought I had two books picked out, but neither one of them is available in either the UK or Australia. Clearly non-starters. I'm going to post them both here, because they are both interesting books in the theme of working class, and both are available on Overdrive in North America for those who might have an interest. Meanwhile, I'll go back and rethink my nominations.

First up, The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times, and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon, by William M. Adler, the story of Joe Hill, an IWW (Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies) labor organizer who was convicted of murder in 1914, in Utah.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodreads
Spoiler:
In 1914, Joe Hill was convicted of murder in Utah and sentenced to death by firing squad, igniting international controversy. Many believed Hill was innocent, condemned for his association with the Industrial Workers of the World -- the radical Wobblies. Now, following four years of intensive investigation, William M. Adler gives us the first full-scale biography of Joe Hill, and presents never before published documentary evidence that comes as close as one can to definitively exonerating him.

Joe Hill's gripping tale is set against a brief but electrifying moment in American history, between the century's turn and World War I, when the call for industrial unionism struck a deep chord among disenfranchised workers; when class warfare raged and capitalism was on the run. Hill was the union's preeminent songwriter, and in death, he became organized labor's most venerated martyr, celebrated by Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, and immortalized in the ballad "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night."

The Man Who Never Died does justice to Joe Hill's extraordinary life and its controversial end. Drawing on extensive new evidence, Adler deconstructs the case against his subject and argues convincingly for the guilt of another man. Reading like a murder mystery, and set against the background of the raw, turn-of-the-century West, this essential American story will make news and expose the roots of critical contemporary issues.
The other, also by William M. Adler, is Mollie's Job: A Story of Life and Work on the Global Assembly Line, which traces one job across three different factories.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodreads
Spoiler:
Following the flight of one woman's factory job from the United States to Mexico, this compelling work offers a revealing and unprecedented look at the flesh-and-blood consequences of globalization.

In this absorbing and affecting narrative history, investigative journalist William M. Adler traces the migration of one factory job as it passes from the cradle of American industry, Paterson, New Jersey, to rural Mississippi during the turmoil of the civil rights movement, to the burgeoning border city of Matamoros, Mexico. The story of Mollie James, Dorothy Carter, and Balbina Duque, their company, and their communities provides an ideal prism through which to explore the larger issues at the heart of the new economy: the decline of unions and the middle class, the growing gap between rich and poor, public policies rewarding U.S. companies for transferring jobs abroad, and the ways in which "free trade" undermines stable businesses and communities.
Combining a deft historian's touch with first-rate reporting, Mollie's Job is a provocative and fresh perspective on the global economy -- at a time when downsizing is unraveling the American Dream for many working families.
These were books I ran across months ago, looking for something else entirely, and both grabbed my attention as books I'd quite like to read. But they're just not going to work for the NLBC because of availability issues, unfortunately.
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Old 08-02-2019, 01:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astrangerhere View Post
I would like to nominate James Rebank's nonfiction book The Shepherd's Life. From the Wiki blurb:



(There is also a great love and fondness for his working sheepdogs throughout the book!)
Thirded. As someone who religiously watched One Man and His Dog until it was finally taken off the air (and then went and bought the highlights DVD of it), I can't pass this up.
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Old 08-02-2019, 01:15 AM   #13
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I nominate Forty Fathoms Deep by Ion L. Idriess. Published 1937.

Taken from the Author Note at the start of the book:
Quote:
Forty Fathoms Deep is part of the story of the pearl seas of north-western Australia. In all but a few instances, I have used names well known in the pearl world of Broome, but have taken care not to hurt susceptibilities. I am conscious I have only gleaned in a field rich with romance. There is material for many books in the adventurous lives of the men who have built up the history and industry of Broome. It is to be hoped that someone more persuasive than I will induce them to sit down and write, or, failing that, sit and talk for the enlightenment and entertainment of fellow Australians.

I am greatly indebted to numerous friends in Broome who have helped me with material and who went to such pains to get for me authentic data.

Hail and farewell, with a warm heart, to Con and old Sebaro, and to all the divers and tenders and seamen who were so patient at explaining the many things I desired to see and know.

To all, a fair wind and a hungry market when the fleets put to sea!

ION L. IDRIESS.
220 pages.

Approximate pricing (from Kobo): USD $4.99, CAD $5.99, GBP £3.95, AUD $6.37

It is good to see some of the Idriess books making it into electronic form, although still only a limited selection (or else I might have nominated The Silver City or maybe Stone of Destiny).

Like many of Idriess's books, Forty Fathoms Deep is not entirely non-fiction and not entirely fiction, but the tales within this are definitely those of the working class. As to a labour of love ... well, if not love then maybe lust.

Last edited by gmw; 08-02-2019 at 08:48 PM. Reason: Forty not Forth - sorry about that.
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Old 08-02-2019, 07:53 AM   #14
issybird
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Originally Posted by Bookpossum View Post
I would like to nominate A Month in the Country by J L Carr.
For what my opinion is worth, this is a terrific book.
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:14 AM   #15
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My first nomination is Bread and Roses: Mills, Migrants, and the Struggle for the American Dream by Bruce Watson (2005, 368 pp.).

Quote:
On January 12, 1912, an army of textile workers stormed out of the mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts, commencing what has since become known as the "Bread and Roses" strike. Based on newspaper accounts, magazine reportage, and oral histories, Watson reconstructs a Dickensian drama involving thousands of parading strikers from fifty-one nations, unforgettable acts of cruelty, and even a protracted murder trial that tested the boundaries of free speech. A rousing look at a seminal and overlooked chapter of the past, Bread and Roses is indispensable reading.
Quote:
Well sourced, evenhanded and briskly paced, Watson's account of the dramatic textile mill strike in Lawrence, Mass., during the icy winter of 1912 presents a panoramic glimpse of a half-forgotten America, one in which violent agitation and swift repression were often the order of the day. The story of how a polyglot mass of immigrants hailing from Syria to Scotland cohered into a powerful bargaining force is riveting in itself, and Watson (The Man Who Changed How Boys and Toys Were Made) places that struggle within the larger currents of reform that were slowly reshaping America. The cast includes self-made mill owner William Wood, who simply couldn't understand how "his" workers could betray him; Joseph Ettor, the union organizer who slept in a different bed every night to avoid reprisals; fiery Big Bill Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn of the IWW and muckracker Ida Tarbell. The bloody strike was repressed from public memory in the hyperpatriotic years of WWI, later idealized by the labor movement in ways that downplayed union violence. This book's subtitle, and its contents, suggest that the "American Dream" enjoyed by the nation's middle class had to be taken by force by the working class and is by no means a permanent entitlement.
Amazon US, $6.99

Available in all relevant countries and in Overdrive. No audiobook.
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