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Old 11-01-2019, 07:03 AM   #1
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Nominations for December 2019 • The End of the Road: Finales


It's time for us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read in December 2019. The theme is The End of the Road: Finales.

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, 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 December 15, 2019. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the November selection, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, 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:

Ending Up by Kingsley Amis [Bookpossum, CRussel, gmw]
$US9.99, $C11.19, £2.99, $A14.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
At Tuppenny-hapenny Cottage in the English countryside, five elderly people live together in rancorous disharmony. Adela Bastable bosses the house, as her brother Bernard passes his days thinking up malicious schemes against the baby-talking Marigold and secret drinker Shorty, while kindly George lies bedridden upstairs. The mismatched quintet keep their spirits alive by bickering and waiting for grandchildren to visit at Christmas. But the festive season does not herald goodwill to all at Tuppenny-hapenny Cottage. Disaster and chaos, it seems, are just around the corner ...

Told with Amis's piercing wit and humanity, Ending Up (1974) is a wickedly funny black comedy of the indignities of old age.
145 pp.

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene [issybird, gmw, Bookpossum]
US$11.33; CA$10.99; AU$12.99; UK£4.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
Graham Greene’s masterful novel of love and betrayal in World War II London is “undeniably a major work of art” (The New Yorker).

Maurice Bendrix, a writer in Clapham during the Blitz, develops an acquaintance with Sarah Miles, the bored, beautiful wife of a dull civil servant named Henry. Maurice claims it’s to divine a character for his novel-in-progress. That’s the first deception. What he really wants is Sarah, and what Sarah needs is a man with passion. So begins a series of reckless trysts doomed by Maurice’s increasing romantic demands and Sarah’s tortured sense of guilt. Then, after Maurice miraculously survives a bombing, Sarah ends the affair—quickly, absolutely, and without explanation. It’s only when Maurice crosses paths with Sarah’s husband that he discovers the fallout of their duplicity—and it’s more unexpected than Maurice, Henry, or Sarah herself could have imagined.

Adapted for film in both 1956 and 1999, Greene’s novel of all that inspires love—and all that poisons it—is “singularly moving and beautiful” (Evelyn Waugh).
200 pp.

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman [gmw, issybird, Bookpossum]
US$9.99, CA$10.99, GB£7.99, AU$14.99
Spoiler:
Synopsis from Kobo:
Quote:
"On the day after humans disappear, nature takes over and immediately begins cleaning house - or houses, that is. Cleans them right off the face of the earth. They all go."

What if mankind disappeared right now, forever ... what would happen to the Earth in a week, a year, a millennium? Could the planet's climate ever recover from human activity? How would nature destroy our huge cities and our myriad plastics? And what would our final legacy be?

Speaking to experts in fields as diverse as oil production and ecology, and visiting the places that have escaped recent human activity to discover how they have adapted to life without us, Alan Weisman paints an intriguing picture of the future of Earth. Exploring key concerns of our time, this absorbing thought experiment reveals a powerful - and surprising - picture of our planet's future.
324 pp.

Every Man Dies Alone (aka Alone in Berlin) by Hans Fallada [Catlady, issybird, Bookworm_Girl]
Amazon U.S. $12.99; Amazon CA, CA $9.88; Amazon UK £4.99; Amazon AU $14.99; Kobo U.S. $12.99; Kobo CA $13.59; Kobo UK, £4.99; Kobo AU $14.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
Based on a true story, this never-before-translated masterpiece was overlooked for years after its author—a bestselling writer before World War II who found himself in a Nazi insane asylum at war’s end—died just before it was published.

In a richly detailed portrait of life in Berlin under the Nazis, it tells the sweeping saga of one working-class couple who decides to take a stand when their only son is killed at the front. With nothing but their grief and each other against the awesome power of the Third Reich, Otto and Anna Quangel launch a simple, clandestine resistance campaign that soon has an enraged Gestapo on their trail, and a world of terrified neighbors and cynical snitches ready to turn them in.

In the end, Every Man Dies Alone is more than an edge-of-your-seat thriller, more than a moving romance, even more than literature of the highest order—it’s a deeply stirring story of two people standing up for what’s right, and for each other.

This edition includes an afterword detailing the gripping history of the book and its author, including excerpts from the Gestapo file on the real-life couple that inspired it.
546 pp.

Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case by Agatha Christie [Victoria, CRussel, Catlady]
US$10; AU$11; CA$12
Spoiler:
Quote:
A wheelchair-bound Poirot returns to Styles, the venue of his first investigation, where he knows another murder is going to take place… The house guests at Styles seemed perfectly pleasant to Captain Hastings; there was his own daughter Judith, an inoffensive ornithologist called Norton, dashing Mr Allerton, brittle Miss Cole, Doctor Franklin and his fragile wife Barbara , Nurse Craven, Colonel Luttrell and his charming wife, Daisy, and the charismatic Boyd-Carrington. So Hastings was shocked to learn from Hercule Poirot’s declaration that one of them was a five-times murderer. True, the ageing detective was crippled with arthritis, but had his deductive instincts finally deserted him?…
215 pp.

The Stone Angel by Margaret Lawrence [Victoria, Bookworm_Girl, Dazrin]
US$9.59; CA$12.79; AU$10.55
Spoiler:
Quote:
Above the town, on the hill brow, the stone angel used to stand. I wonder if she stands there yet...
Hagar Shipley – an irascible, independent nonagenarian – has lived a quiet life full of rage.....
Quote:
The Stone Angel is a compelling journey seen through the eyes of a woman nearing the end of her life. At ninety, Hagar Shipley speaks movingly of the perils of growing old and reflects with bitterness, humor, and a painful awareness of her own frailties on the life she has led. From her childhood as the daughter of a respected merchant, to her rebellious marriage, Hagar has fought a long and sometimes misguided battle for independence and respect. In the course of examining and trying to understand the shape her life has taken, her divided feelings about her husband, her passionate attachment to one son and her neglect of another, she is sometimes regretful, but rarely penitent. Asking forgiveness from neither God nor those around her, she must still wrestle with her own nature: "Pride was my wilderness, and the demon that led me there was fear." She has been afraid of being unrespectable, afraid of needing too much, afraid of giving too much, and her pride is both disturbing and inspiring. The Stone Angel is an excellent example of the realism and compassion present in all of Margaret Laurence's writing. -
328 pp.

The Remorseful Day by Colin Dexter [CRussel, Victoria, Dazrin]
AmazonUS $7.99; AmazonUK £5.99; AmazonCA $12.99 AmazonAU $9.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amazon
For a year, the murder of Mrs. Yvonne Harrison at her home in Oxfordshire had baffled the Thames Valley CID. The manner of her death--her naked handcuffed body left lying in bed--matched her reputation as a women of adventuresome sexual tastes. The case seemed perfect for Inspector Morse. So why has he refused to become involved--even after anonymous hints of new evidence, even after a fresh murder? Sgt. Lewis's loyalty to his infuriating boss slowly turns to deep distress as his own investigations suggest that Mrs. Harrison was no stranger to Morse. Far from it. Never has Morse performed more brilliantly than in this final adventure, whose masterly twists and turns through the shadowy byways of passion grip us to the death. . . .
332 pp.

Last edited by issybird; 11-06-2019 at 10:35 PM. Reason: Through post #34.
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Old 11-01-2019, 07:03 AM   #2
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Choices with one or two nominations:

**The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal [Dazrin, fantasyfan]
US$10
Spoiler:
Goodreads | Amazon

Quote:
On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.

Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too.

Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.
430 pp.

*The Final Days by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein [Catlady]
Amazon U.S.
$13.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
“An extraordinary work of reportage on the epic political story of our time” (Newsweek)—from Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Pulitzer Prize-winning coauthors of All the President’s Men.

The Final Days is the #1 New York Times bestselling, classic, behind-the-scenes account of Richard Nixon’s dramatic last months as president. Moment by moment, Bernstein and Woodward portray the taut, post-Watergate White House as Nixon, his family, his staff, and many members of Congress strained desperately to prevent his inevitable resignation. This brilliant book reveals the ordeal of Nixon’s fall from office—one of the gravest crises in presidential history.
500 pp.

*The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood [Bookworm_Girl]
US$9.99
Spoiler:
From Amazon US:
Quote:
The story of your life never starts at the beginning. Don't they teach you anything at school?

So says 104-year-old Ona to the 11-year-old boy who's been sent to help her out every Saturday morning. As he refills the bird feeders and tidies the garden shed, Ona tells him about her long life, from first love to second chances. Soon she's confessing secrets she has kept hidden for decades.

One Saturday, the boy doesn't show up. Ona starts to think he's not so special after all, but then his father arrives on her doorstep, determined to finish his son's good deed. The boy's mother is not so far behind. Ona is set to discover that the world can surprise us at any age, and that sometimes sharing a loss is the only way to find ourselves again.
416 pp.

Last edited by issybird; 11-06-2019 at 10:33 PM. Reason: Through post #34.
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Old 11-01-2019, 03:18 PM   #3
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I nominate Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case, by Agatha Christie.

A wheelchair-bound Poirot returns to Styles, the venue of his first investigation, where he knows another murder is going to take place… The house guests at Styles seemed perfectly pleasant to Captain Hastings; there was his own daughter Judith, an inoffensive ornithologist called Norton, dashing Mr Allerton, brittle Miss Cole, Doctor Franklin and his fragile wife Barbara , Nurse Craven, Colonel Luttrell and his charming wife, Daisy, and the charismatic Boyd-Carrington. So Hastings was shocked to learn from Hercule Poirot’s declaration that one of them was a five-times murderer. True, the ageing detective was crippled with arthritis, but had his deductive instincts finally deserted him?…


I just can’t resist nominating this, despite the risk that everyone may have read it. It seems perfect for the theme. More importantly, and without giving a spoiler, I’ll just say I was when I read it several eons ago, and think it might be fun to discuss (debate)

Amazon kindle shows me $9.99USD, & $12 CDN;
Kobo: USD $10; AUD $11; CDN $12

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Old 11-01-2019, 03:34 PM   #4
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I show Curtain as $9.99 USD, Victoria. Probably what most of those south of us will see for a price. There's also an Audible version, with Hugh Fraser as the narrator, for $21.67 ($15.17 member price, or $11.49 WhisperSync). It's a short book, 224 pages or 5 hours, 42 minutes Audible. And no, I haven't read it, so I'll give it a second.
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Old 11-01-2019, 03:45 PM   #5
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My second nomination is The Stone Angel by Margaret Lawrence

Above the town, on the hill brow, the stone angel used to stand. I wonder if she stands there yet...
Hagar Shipley – an irascible, independent nonagenarian – has lived a quiet life full of rage.....

The Stone Angel is a compelling journey seen through the eyes of a woman nearing the end of her life. At ninety, Hagar Shipley speaks movingly of the perils of growing old and reflects with bitterness, humor, and a painful awareness of her own frailties on the life she has led. From her childhood as the daughter of a respected merchant, to her rebellious marriage, Hagar has fought a long and sometimes misguided battle for independence and respect. In the course of examining and trying to understand the shape her life has taken, her divided feelings about her husband, her passionate attachment to one son and her neglect of another, she is sometimes regretful, but rarely penitent. Asking forgiveness from neither God nor those around her, she must still wrestle with her own nature: "Pride was my wilderness, and the demon that led me there was fear." She has been afraid of being unrespectable, afraid of needing too much, afraid of giving too much, and her pride is both disturbing and inspiring. The Stone Angel is an excellent example of the realism and compassion present in all of Margaret Laurence's writing. -

Again, given the theme, I had to nominate this book. I didn’t always like Hagar Shipley, but meeting her at the end of her journey, I absolutely rooted for her. I think it’s a beautiful, poignant portrait of someone of my grandmother’s generation.

The book is available on Overdrive.
Kindle: $9.72 USD; $12.79 CDN
kobo: $10.88 AUD; $9.89 USD; $12.79 CDN
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Old 11-01-2019, 03:49 PM   #6
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Inspector Morse

I'll nominate the final Inspector Morse book, The Remorseful Day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amazon
For a year, the murder of Mrs. Yvonne Harrison at her home in Oxfordshire had baffled the Thames Valley CID. The manner of her death--her naked handcuffed body left lying in bed--matched her reputation as a women of adventuresome sexual tastes. The case seemed perfect for Inspector Morse. So why has he refused to become involved--even after anonymous hints of new evidence, even after a fresh murder? Sgt. Lewis's loyalty to his infuriating boss slowly turns to deep distress as his own investigations suggest that Mrs. Harrison was no stranger to Morse. Far from it. Never has Morse performed more brilliantly than in this final adventure, whose masterly twists and turns through the shadowy byways of passion grip us to the death. . . .
332 Pages

AmazonUS: $7.99

AmazonUK: £5.99

AmazonCA: $12.99

AmazonAU: $9.99

There is an unabridged Audible version, available in the UK, CA, and AU, but not in the US. In the US, only the abridged version is available.
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Old 11-01-2019, 03:50 PM   #7
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I show Curtain as $9.99 USD, Victoria. Probably what most of those south of us will see for a price. There's also an Audible version, with Hugh Fraser as the narrator, for $21.67 ($15.17 member price, or $11.49 WhisperSync). It's a short book, 224 pages or 5 hours, 42 minutes Audible. And no, I haven't read it, so I'll give it a second.
Oh fun! Thanks Charlie.

That’s for the correction on the US price. Unfortunately both Kobo & Amazon identify me as Canadian, even when I sign to the US & Australian stores, so it’s hard to figure out the price in other jurisdictions.
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Old 11-01-2019, 03:54 PM   #8
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Understood, Victoria. And I'm not completely positive about Australian prices for that reason. I have native US and UK accounts, so I'm fairly confident of those prices.
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Old 11-01-2019, 05:21 PM   #9
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An apocalypse is a finale, right?

I am going to nominate The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal.
Goodreads | Amazon
Pages ~430
Published in July 2018
Quote:
On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.

Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too.

Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.
It was the winner of the big 3 science fiction awards (Hugo, Nebula, and Locus) and several other awards. Wonderful book and highly recommended.

It's $10 at Amazon right now but I know this has been on sale recently for as little as $3.

Note: There is a short story associated with this series as well that was written before this story but is set AFTER this story so there are some mild spoilers in it.
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Old 11-01-2019, 09:15 PM   #10
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I would like to nominate a short and grimly funny book: Ending Up by Kingsley Amis. From Kobo:

Quote:
At Tuppenny-hapenny Cottage in the English countryside, five elderly people live together in rancorous disharmony. Adela Bastable bosses the house, as her brother Bernard passes his days thinking up malicious schemes against the baby-talking Marigold and secret drinker Shorty, while kindly George lies bedridden upstairs. The mismatched quintet keep their spirits alive by bickering and waiting for grandchildren to visit at Christmas. But the festive season does not herald goodwill to all at Tuppenny-hapenny Cottage. Disaster and chaos, it seems, are just around the corner ...

Told with Amis's piercing wit and humanity, Ending Up (1974) is a wickedly funny black comedy of the indignities of old age.
Kobo prices: $US9.99, $C11.19, £2.99, $A14.99. 145 pages.
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Old 11-02-2019, 01:51 AM   #11
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Oh, perfect, Bookpossum. I'm not going to wait -- I'll spend my last ticket on a second for Ending Up.
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Old 11-02-2019, 07:03 AM   #12
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Bookpossum, does The Last Policeman look like it would be available at your library? It's cheap in US and CA - but ridiculously expensive here and in the UK. I bought it back in April when it was cheap here, but I still haven't read it, and it would fit this theme.

Fantasyfan, same question. (Having just checked to see who was around lately from the UK )

Last edited by gmw; 11-02-2019 at 07:10 AM.
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Old 11-02-2019, 07:15 AM   #13
Bookpossum
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Bookpossum, does The Last Policeman look like it would be available at your library? It's cheap in US and CA - but ridiculously expensive here and in the UK. I bought it back in April when it was cheap here, but I still haven't read it, and it would fit this theme.

Fantasyfan, same question. (Having just checked to see who was around lately from the UK )
Sorry, no - it isn't in either of my libraries, though a couple of other books by that author are there.
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Old 11-02-2019, 07:23 AM   #14
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OK, thanks for checking. Maybe it's just as well anyway. If I like it I will want the next two books of the trilogy but I'm not spending that sort of money. I have a bunch of other ideas ... just having trouble making up my mind.
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Old 11-02-2019, 08:56 AM   #15
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I'm going to nominate The End of the Affair by Graham Greene.

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Graham Greene’s masterful novel of love and betrayal in World War II London is “undeniably a major work of art” (The New Yorker).

Maurice Bendrix, a writer in Clapham during the Blitz, develops an acquaintance with Sarah Miles, the bored, beautiful wife of a dull civil servant named Henry. Maurice claims it’s to divine a character for his novel-in-progress. That’s the first deception. What he really wants is Sarah, and what Sarah needs is a man with passion. So begins a series of reckless trysts doomed by Maurice’s increasing romantic demands and Sarah’s tortured sense of guilt. Then, after Maurice miraculously survives a bombing, Sarah ends the affair—quickly, absolutely, and without explanation. It’s only when Maurice crosses paths with Sarah’s husband that he discovers the fallout of their duplicity—and it’s more unexpected than Maurice, Henry, or Sarah herself could have imagined.

Adapted for film in both 1956 and 1999, Greene’s novel of all that inspires love—and all that poisons it—is “singularly moving and beautiful” (Evelyn Waugh).
It's a little pricey everywhere but the UK, but there are options: Freading and KU have it and there's an audiobook narrated by Colin Firth which was the Audible Audiobook of the Year in 2013. And it's short for the holiday month, at ~200 pp.

US$11.33; CA$10.99; AU$12.99; UK£4.99
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