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Old 12-01-2019, 07:52 AM   #1
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Nominations for January 2020 • I'd Rather be Reading: Books about Books


It's time for us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read in January 2020. The theme is I'd Rather be Reading: Books about Books.

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, December 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 January 15, 2020. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the December selection, The End of the Affair, on December 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:

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux [Catlady, Victoria, issybird]
Amazon U.S. $9.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
"Lively and informative . . . does what–ideally–books about books can do: I’ve taken Little Women down from the shelf and put it on top of the books I plan to read.–Francine Prose, New York Times Book Review

Soon after its publication on September 30, 1868, Little Women became an enormous bestseller and one of America’s favorite novels. It quickly traveled the world and since has become an international classic. When Anne Boyd Rioux read it in her twenties, it had a singularly powerful effect on her. Through teaching it, she has seen its effect on many others.

In Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, she recounts how Louisa May Alcott came to write the book, drawing inspiration for it from her own life. She also examines why this tale of family and community ties, set while the Civil War tore the country apart, has resonated through later wars, the Great Depression, and times of changing opportunities for women.

Today, Rioux sees the novel’s beating heart in its portrayal of family resilience and its honest look at the struggles of girls growing into women. In gauging its current status, she shows why it remains a book with such power that people carry its characters and spirit throughout their lives.

"Highly companionable and illuminating."–Mark Rozzo , Vanity Fair

"Straddling the line between entertainment and nuanced complexity, this fascinating look at Alcott’s novel is not to be missed."–A Mighty Girl

"A love letter written not by a smitten youngster naïve to her beloved’s drawbacks but by a mature adult who can recognize complexity and nuance."–Ilana Masad , NPR

"An affectionate and perceptive tribute."–Wendy Smith, Boston Globe
286 pp.

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis [Victoria, gmw, astrangerhere]
Kobo: $8.99 CA; $6.99 US; $11.99 AU; £5.99 GB Kindle: $7.80 CA
Spoiler:
From Amazon:
Quote:
To Say Nothing of the Dog is a science-fiction fantasy in the guise of an old-fashioned Victorian novel, complete with epigraphs, brief outlines, and a rather ugly boxer in three-quarters profile at the start of each chapter. Or is it a Victorian novel in the guise of a time-traveling tale, or a highly comic romp, or a great, allusive literary game, complete with spry references to Dorothy L. Sayers, Wilkie Collins, and Arthur Conan Doyle?

What Connie Willis soon makes clear is that genre can go to the dogs. To Say Nothing of the Dog is a fine, and fun, romance--an amused examination of conceptions and misconceptions about other eras, other people.
From Booklist:
Quote:
What a stitch! Willis' delectable romp through time from 2057 back to Victorian England, with a few side excursions into World War II and medieval Britain, will have readers happily glued to the pages. Rich dowager Lady Schrapnell has invaded Oxford University's time travel research project in 2057, promising to endow it if they help her rebuild Coventry Cathedral, destroyed by a Nazi air raid in 1940..

Take an excursion through time, add chaos theory, romance, plenty of humor, a dollop of mystery, and a spoof of the Victorian novel, and you end up with what seems like a comedy of errors but is actually a grand scheme "involving the entire course of history and all of time and space that, for some unfathomable reason, chose to work out its designs with cats and croquet mallets and penwipers, to say nothing of the dog. And a hideous piece of Victorian artwork."
512 pp.

Rereadings by Anne Fadiman, Ed. [issybird, gmw, Bookpossum]
Kobo: US$9.99; CA$10.99; AU$13.08; UK£6.95 / Amazon AU: $9.86
Spoiler:
From Kobo:

Quote:
Is a book the same book-or a reader the same reader-the second time around? The seventeen authors in this witty and poignant collection of essays all agree on the answer: Never.

<SNIP>

These essays are not conventional literary criticism; they are about relationships. The relationship between reader and book is a powerful one, and as these writers attest, it evolves over time. Rereadings reveals at least as much about the reader as about the book: each is a miniature memoir that focuses on that most interesting of topics, the protean nature of love. And as every bibliophile knows, no love is more life-changing than the love of a book.
272 pp.

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald [Bookpossum, Bookworm_Girl, issybird]
Kobo: $A9.99, $US2.99, $C11.99,£5.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
In 1959 Florence Green, a kindhearted widow with a small inheritance, risks everything to open a bookshop - the only bookshop - in the seaside town of Hardborough. By making a success of a business so impractical, she invites the hostility of the town's less prosperous shopkeepers. By daring to enlarge her neighbors' lives, she crosses Mrs. Gamart, the local arts doyenne. Florence's warehouse leaks, her cellar seeps, and the shop is apparently haunted. Only too late does she begin to suspect the truth: a town that lacks a bookshop isn't always a town that wants one.
163 pp.

The Binding by Bridget Collins [gmw, CRussel, Bookpossum]
Kobo: US $2.99; CA $2.99; GB £4.99; AU $8.99
Spoiler:
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Quote:
Books are dangerous things in Collins's alternate universe, a place vaguely reminiscent of 19th-century England. It's a world in which people visit book binders to rid themselves of painful or treacherous memories. Once their stories have been told and are bound between the pages of a book, the slate is wiped clean and their memories lose the power to hurt or haunt them.

After having suffered some sort of mental collapse and no longer able to keep up with his farm chores, Emmett Farmer is sent to the workshop of one such binder to live and work as her apprentice. Leaving behind home and family, Emmett slowly regains his health while learning the binding trade. He is forbidden to enter the locked room where books are stored, so he spends many months marbling end pages, tooling leather book covers, and gilding edges. But his curiosity is piqued by the people who come and go from the inner sanctum, and the arrival of the lordly Lucian Darnay, with whom he senses a connection, changes everything.
437 pp.

Original Sin by P.D. James [CRussel, Victoria, Dazrin]
AmazonUS: $11.99; AmazonCA: $12.99; AmazonUK: £4.68; AmazonAU: $7.59
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:
Quote:
Adam Dalgliesh takes on a baffling murder in the rarefied world of London book publishing in this masterful mystery from one of our finest novelists.

Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team are confronted with a puzzle of impenetrable complexity. A murder has taken place in the offices of the Peverell Press, a venerable London publishing house located in a dramatic mock-Venetian palace on the Thames. The victim is Gerard Etienne, the brilliant but ruthless new managing director, who had vowed to restore the firm's fortunes. Etienne was clearly a man with enemies—a discarded mistress, a rejected and humiliated author, and rebellious colleagues, one of who apparently killed herself a short time earlier. Yet Etienne's death, which occurred under bizarre circumstances, is for Dalgliesh only the beginning of the mystery, as he desperately pursues the search for a killer prepared to strike and strike again.
434 pp.

The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett [Bookworm_Girl, Dazrin, CRussel]
US$9.99
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:
Quote:
"What about the most valuable relic in the history of English literature—would that be worth killing for?"

Hay-on-Wye, 1995. Peter Byerly isn't sure what drew him into this particular bookshop. Nine months earlier, the death of his beloved wife, Amanda, had left him shattered. The young antiquarian bookseller relocated from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, Peter is shocked when a portrait of Amanda tumbles out of its pages. Of course, it isn't really her. The watercolor is clearly Victorian. Yet the resemblance is uncanny, and Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture's origins.

As he follows the trail back first to the Victorian era and then to Shakespeare's time, Peter communes with Amanda's spirit, learns the truth about his own past, and discovers a book that might definitively prove Shakespeare was, indeed, the author of all his plays.
355 pp.

Last edited by issybird; 12-07-2019 at 06:05 AM. Reason: Through post #62.
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Old 12-01-2019, 07:53 AM   #2
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Choices with one or two nominations:

Last edited by issybird; 12-07-2019 at 06:03 AM. Reason: Through post #62.
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:56 AM   #3
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I nominate Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux (2018, 286 pp.).

Quote:
"Lively and informative . . . does what–ideally–books about books can do: I’ve taken Little Women down from the shelf and put it on top of the books I plan to read.–Francine Prose, New York Times Book Review

Soon after its publication on September 30, 1868, Little Women became an enormous bestseller and one of America’s favorite novels. It quickly traveled the world and since has become an international classic. When Anne Boyd Rioux read it in her twenties, it had a singularly powerful effect on her. Through teaching it, she has seen its effect on many others.

In Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, she recounts how Louisa May Alcott came to write the book, drawing inspiration for it from her own life. She also examines why this tale of family and community ties, set while the Civil War tore the country apart, has resonated through later wars, the Great Depression, and times of changing opportunities for women.

Today, Rioux sees the novel’s beating heart in its portrayal of family resilience and its honest look at the struggles of girls growing into women. In gauging its current status, she shows why it remains a book with such power that people carry its characters and spirit throughout their lives.

"Highly companionable and illuminating."–Mark Rozzo , Vanity Fair

"Straddling the line between entertainment and nuanced complexity, this fascinating look at Alcott’s novel is not to be missed."–A Mighty Girl

"A love letter written not by a smitten youngster naïve to her beloved’s drawbacks but by a mature adult who can recognize complexity and nuance."–Ilana Masad , NPR

"An affectionate and perceptive tribute."–Wendy Smith, Boston Globe
I think this would make for an interesting discussion, as Little Women is so familiar--all of us have probably read the book or seen a movie/TV adaptation or at least know the basic story, giving everyone a solid frame of reference for the author's arguments.

Amazon U.S., $9.99

It's available in all relevant countries, but, sadly, the prices are high outside the U.S. E-book and audiobook in Overdrive; audiobook in Hoopla and Scribd.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:29 PM   #4
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I'd already had a book published this year on hold at OverDrive: March Sisters: On Life, Death, and Little Women; now I've added Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy. I shall plan to read both in tandem no matter what.

But what's up with the Boston Public Library? I had to suggest March Sisters to them and they don't have Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy either. What could be more local interest than LMA?
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Old 12-01-2019, 01:08 PM   #5
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I'd already had a book published this year on hold at OverDrive: March Sisters: On Life, Death, and Little Women; now I've added Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy. I shall plan to read both in tandem no matter what.

But what's up with the Boston Public Library? I had to suggest March Sisters to them and they don't have Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy either. What could be more local interest than LMA?
Seeing March Sisters at one of my libraries recently is what reminded me of Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, which had been on my wish list.

I'm kind of interested in the new movie version of LW too.
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Old 12-01-2019, 02:05 PM   #6
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I nominate The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, by Helen Hanff.

When devoted Anglophile Helene Hanff is invited to London for the English publication of 84, Charing Cross Road—in which she shares two decades of correspondence with Frank Doel, a British bookseller who became a dear friend—she can hardly believe her luck. Frank is no longer alive, but his widow and daughter, along with enthusiastic British fans from all walks of life, embrace Helene as an honored guest. Eager hosts, including a famous actress and a retired colonel, sweep her up in a whirlwind of plays and dinners, trips to Harrod’s, and wild jaunts to their favorite corners of the countryside.

A New Yorker who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, Helene Hanff delivers an outsider’s funny yet fabulous portrait of idiosyncratic Britain at its best. And whether she is walking across the Oxford University courtyard where John Donne used to tread, visiting Windsor Castle, or telling a British barman how to make a real American martini, Helene always wears her heart on her sleeve. The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street is not only a witty account of two different worlds colliding but also a love letter to England and its literary heritage—and a celebration of the written word’s power to sustain us, transport us, and unite us.

This is a short book - only 163 pages. But I can’t resist it, because 84 Charing Cross Road is nothing, if not a love letter to readers and books.

The book is available from Amazon & Kobo. However, they recognize my digital footprint, and won’t display the price in other currencies. The best I can track down is:

Kobo: $1.99 Canada & $1.99 US
Kindle: $1.70 Canada

The Overdrive site lists it, so it may be available in places, though not in my library.
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Old 12-01-2019, 02:13 PM   #7
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I nominate Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux (2018, 286 pp.).

Amazon U.S., $9.99

It's available in all relevant countries, but, sadly, the prices are high outside the U.S. E-book and audiobook in Overdrive; audiobook in Hoopla and Scribd.
I second this - it sounds very interesting, and think it could make for a lively discussion too. (The CA kindle price is $10.37, so not bad here anyway).
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Old 12-01-2019, 02:40 PM   #8
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I nominate The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, by Helen Hanff.

This is a short book - only 163 pages. But I can’t resist it, because 84 Charing Cross Road is nothing, if not a love letter to readers and books.

The book is available from Amazon & Kobo. However, they recognize my digital footprint, and won’t display the price in other currencies. The best I can track down is:

Kobo: $1.99 Canada & $1.99 US
Kindle: $1.70 Canada

The Overdrive site lists it, so it may be available in places, though not in my library.
Kindle US: $1.99 USD

Sadly -- NOT available in Australia or the UK as an eBook.

I've already scored this at one of my libraries, so I will be reading it. And if the lack of availability in Australia is a major drawback, I'm sure something can be worked out. (It _is_ available as a dual book with 84 Charing Cross Road as a hardcover, so worth a look at your local libraries.)
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Old 12-01-2019, 03:03 PM   #9
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Kindle US: $1.99 USD

Sadly -- NOT available in Australia or the UK as an eBook.

I've already scored this at one of my libraries, so I will be reading it. And if the lack of availability in Australia is a major drawback, I'm sure something can be worked out. (It _is_ available as a dual book with 84 Charing Cross Road as a hardcover, so worth a look at your local libraries.)
Well darn it!! Thank you Charlie. That must be why, when I changed the country flag, they wouldn’t show me the price. Back to the drawing board. (I’m glad you could find it in the library).
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Old 12-01-2019, 03:36 PM   #10
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Well darn it!! Thank you Charlie. That must be why, when I changed the country flag, they wouldn’t show me the price. Back to the drawing board. (I’m glad you could find it in the library).
Do you want to withdraw the nomination, Victoria?
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Old 12-01-2019, 03:58 PM   #11
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Do you want to withdraw the nomination, Victoria?
Yes please, and thanks
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Old 12-01-2019, 04:17 PM   #12
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Yes please, and thanks
I hope you're planning on reading it anyway! It's really a must read if you've read 84, Charing Cross Road. I also liked her other memoir, Underfoot in Show Business, but I don't know if there's a digital edition.

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I've already scored this at one of my libraries, so I will be reading it. And if the lack of availability in Australia is a major drawback, I'm sure something can be worked out. (It _is_ available as a dual book with 84 Charing Cross Road as a hardcover, so worth a look at your local libraries.)
You really have to read 84, Charing Cross Road first if you haven't, Charlie. Duchess won't have nearly the same resonance without that context.

Last edited by issybird; 12-01-2019 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 12-01-2019, 04:47 PM   #13
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Thanks Issybird, I just bought it 84 CC Road is one of my all time favourites. And the movie is a delight! I just checked and Amazon does have a digital ‘Underfoot in Show Business’. Good to know you enjoyed it as well.
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Old 12-01-2019, 05:19 PM   #14
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I must try to get hold of it, as I too loved 84, Charing Cross Road. I loved the film too.

I would like to nominate The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald. From Goodreads:

Quote:
In 1959 Florence Green, a kindhearted widow with a small inheritance, risks everything to open a bookshop - the only bookshop - in the seaside town of Hardborough. By making a success of a business so impractical, she invites the hostility of the town's less prosperous shopkeepers. By daring to enlarge her neighbors' lives, she crosses Mrs. Gamart, the local arts doyenne. Florence's warehouse leaks, her cellar seeps, and the shop is apparently haunted. Only too late does she begin to suspect the truth: a town that lacks a bookshop isn't always a town that wants one.
Prices from Kobo: $A9.99, $US2.99, $C11.99,£5.99. 163 pages.

This made the shortlist for the Booker Prize back in 1978 or so. Fitzgerald is not an author I know, but having read up about her, I need to rectify that!
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Old 12-01-2019, 05:23 PM   #15
Bookpossum
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I have just checked and the Hanff is available from one of my libraries. gmw may have difficulties in getting it though.
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