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Old 01-01-2020, 08:15 AM   #1
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Nominations for February 2020 • It Takes Two to Tango: Collaborations


Good morning and Happy New Year to all New Leafers!

I'm a little behind my time, as I'd got on my stationery bicycle before I remembered it was the first of the month as well as the first of the year. How's that for keeping a resolution? Hope you're all doing as well! (Nothing wrong with the hair of the dog.)

It's time for us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read in February 2020. The theme is It Takes Two to Tango: Collaborations.

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, January 7, 2020. 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 February 15, 2020.

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:

Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution by Todd S. Purdum [Catlady, issybird, Bookpossum]
Amazon U.S. $9.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
A revelatory portrait of the creative partnership that transformed musical theater and provided the soundtrack to the American Century

They stand at the apex of the great age of songwriting, the creators of the classic Broadway musicals Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music, whose songs have never lost their popularity or emotional power. Even before they joined forces, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II had written dozens of Broadway shows, but together they pioneered a new art form: the serious musical play. Their songs and dance numbers served to advance the drama and reveal character, a sharp break from the past and the template on which all future musicals would be built.

Though different in personality and often emotionally distant from each other, Rodgers and Hammerstein presented an unbroken front to the world and forged much more than a songwriting team; their partnership was also one of the most profitable and powerful entertainment businesses of their era. They were cultural powerhouses whose work came to define postwar America on stage, screen, television, and radio. But they also had their failures and flops, and more than once they feared they had lost their touch.

Todd S. Purdum’s portrait of these two men, their creative process, and their groundbreaking innovations will captivate lovers of musical theater, lovers of the classic American songbook, and young lovers wherever they are. He shows that what Rodgers and Hammerstein wrought was truly something wonderful.
400 pp.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery [Victoria, CRussel, fantasy fan]
Public domain
Spoiler:
First, this brother / sister team are unlikely collaborators, and quite unprepared when they find themselves at mid-life suddenly raising a precocious child. Second, February can often use a lift, and it’s an optimistic and often quite funny book.

From Amazon.com:

Quote:
“When Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert of Green Gables, Prince Edward Island, send for a boy orphan to help them out at the farm, they are in no way prepared for the error that will change their lives. The mistake takes the shape of Anne Shirley, a redheaded 11-year-old girl who can talk anyone under the table. Fortunately, her sunny nature and quirky imagination quickly win over her reluctant foster parents. Anne's feisty spirit soon draws many friends--and much trouble--her way. Not a day goes by without some melodramatic new episode in the tragicomedy of her life.”
320 pp.

Local Custom by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller [CRussel, Victoria, gmw]
Amazon US $6.99; Amazon CA $8.51; Amazon UK £4.60; Amazon AU $8.94; BaenEbooks.com $6.99; Audible US $1.99 (WS)
Spoiler:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodreads
Master trader Er Thom knows the local custom of Liaden is to be matched with a proper bride, and provide his prominent clan Korval with an heir. Yet his heart is immersed in another universe, influenced by another culture, and lost to a woman not of his world. And to take a Terran wife such as scholar Anne Davis is to risk his honor and reputation. But when he discovers that their brief encounter years before has resulted in the birth of a child, even more is at stake than anyone imagined. Now, an interstellar scandal has erupted, a bitter war between two families-galaxies apart-has begun, and the only hope for Er Thom and Anne is a sacrifice neither is prepared to make...
384 pp.

Samarkand by Amin Maalouf (tr. Russell Harris) [issybird, Bookpossum, Bookworm_Girl]
US $3.99; Canada $10.99; Australia $12.99; UK £3.99
Spoiler:
The blurb from all over:

Quote:
A gripping historical novel set in 11th century Persia that imagines the life of poet and philosopher Omar Khayyam

Accused of mocking the inviolate codes of Islam, the Persian poet and sage Omar Khayyam fortuitously finds sympathy with the very man who is to judge his alleged crimes. Recognising genius, the judge decides to spare him and gives him instead a small, blank book, encouraging him to confine his thoughts to it alone.
From Wikipedia:

Quote:
Ahmed Rashid reviewed the book for The Independent, and wrote: "Maalouf has written an extraordinary book, describing the lives and times of people who have never appeared in fiction before and are unlikely to do so again. The book is far more than a simple historical novel; like the intricate embroidery of an oriental carpet it weaves back and forth through the centuries, linking the poetry, philosophy and passion of the Sufi past with modernism."
304 pp.

The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling [Bookworm_Girl, fantasy fan, gmw]
US$11.99
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:
Quote:
1855: The Industrial Revolution is in full and inexorable swing, powered by steam-driven cybernetic Engines. Charles Babbage perfects his Analytical Engine and the computer age arrives a century ahead of its time. And three extraordinary characters race toward a rendezvous with history - and the future: Sybil Gerard - dishonored woman and daughter of a Luddite agitator; Edward "Leviathan" Mallory - explorer and paleontologist; Laurence Oliphant - diplomat and spy. Their adventure begins with the discovery of a box of punched Engine cards of unknown origin and purpose. Cards someone wants badly enough to kill for...

Part detective story, part historical thriller, The Difference Engine is the first collaborative novel by two of the most brilliant and controversial science fiction authors of our time. Provocative, compelling, intensely imagined, it is a startling extension of Gibson's and Sterling's unique visions - in a new and totally unexpected direction!
429 pp.

Wakulla Springs by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages [gmw, Victoria, CRussel]
US$2.99; CA$2.99; GB£2.35; AU$4.05; Tor (online) free
Spoiler:
GoodReads:
Quote:
Wakulla Springs, in the deep jungle of the Florida panhandle, is the deepest submerged freshwater cave system in the world. In its unfathomable depths, a variety of curious creatures have left a record of their coming, of their struggle to survive, and of their eventual end. And that's just the local human beings over the last seventy-five years. Then there are the prehistoric creatures...and, just maybe, something else.

Ranging from the late 1930s to the present day, "Wakulla Springs" is a tour de force of the human, the strange, and the miraculous.
193 pp.

Last edited by issybird; 01-06-2020 at 01:44 PM. Reason: Through post #28.
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Old 01-01-2020, 08:16 AM   #2
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Choices with one or two nominations:

*Through the Gates of the Silver Key: the Best Collaborations and Ghost Writings of H. P. Lovecraft By H.P. Lovecraft; ed. Cameron Walker [fantasy fan]
Amazon UK £2.31; Amazon US $3.O0
Spoiler:
From Amazon:

Quote:
Known primarily for his main body of work, Lovecraft none the less compiled a significant number of collaborations and ghost writings for other writers in a lesser known body of work that often goes overlooked and underappreciated. This anthology seeks to compile the best of these works into one cohesive volume that is a tribute and testimony to their brilliance.
344 pp.

**The Girls by Lori Lansens [Catlady, Bookworm_Girl]
US$9.99
Spoiler:
Quote:
In Lori Lansens' astonishing second novel, listeners come to know and love two of the most remarkable characters in Canadian fiction. Rose and Ruby are 29-year-old conjoined twins. Born during a tornado to a shocked teenage mother in the hospital at Leaford, Ontario, they are raised by the nurse who helped usher them into the world. Aunt Lovey and her husband, Uncle Stash, are middle-aged and with no children of their own. They relocate from the town to the drafty old farmhouse in the country that has been in Lovey's family for generations.

Joined to Ruby at the head, Rose's face is pulled to one side, but she has full use of her limbs. Ruby has a beautiful face, but her body is tiny and she is unable to walk. She rests her legs on her sister's hip, rather like a small child or a doll.

In spite of their situation, the girls lead surprisingly separate lives. Rose is bookish and a baseball fan. Ruby is fond of trash TV and has a passion for local history.

Rose has always wanted to be a writer, and as the novel opens, she begins to pen her autobiography. Here is how she begins:

I have never looked into my sister's eyes. I have never bathed alone. I have never stood in the grass at night and raised my arms to a beguiling moon. I've never used an airplane bathroom. Or worn a hat. Or been kissed like that. I've never driven a car. Or slept through the night. Never a private talk. Or solo walk. I've never climbed a tree. Or faded into a crowd. So many things I've never done, but oh, how I've been loved. And, if such things were to be, I'd live a thousand lives as me, to be loved so exponentially.

Ruby, with her marvellous characteristic logic, points out that Rose's autobiography will have to be Ruby's as well - and how can she trust Rose to represent her story accurately? Soon, Ruby decides to chime in with chapters of her own.

The novel begins with Rose, but eventually moves to Ruby's point of view and then switches back and forth. Because the girls face in slightly different directions, neither can see what the other is writing, and they don't tell each other either. The listener is treated to sometimes overlapping stories told in two wonderfully distinct styles. Rose is given to introspection and secrecy. Ruby's style is "tell-all" - frank and decidedly sweet.

We learn of their early years as the town "freaks" and of Lovey's and Stash's determination to give them as normal an upbringing as possible. But when we meet them, both Lovey and Stash are dead, the girls have moved back into town, and they've received some ominous news. They are on the verge of becoming the oldest surviving craniopagus (joined at the head) twins in history, but the question of whether they'll live to celebrate their 30th birthday is suddenly impossible to answer.

The Girls is nothing short of a tour de force.
352 pp.

Last edited by issybird; 01-07-2020 at 07:28 AM. Reason: Through post #28.
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Old 01-01-2020, 11:57 AM   #3
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Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a nice holiday.

I’m going to put my oar in first , to nominate Anne of Green Gables.

Two reasons. First, this brother / sister team are unlikely collaborators, and quite unprepared when they find themselves at mid-life suddenly raising a precocious child. Second, February can often use a lift, and it’s an optimistic and often quite funny book.

From Amazon.com:

“When Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert of Green Gables, Prince Edward Island, send for a boy orphan to help them out at the farm, they are in no way prepared for the error that will change their lives. The mistake takes the shape of Anne Shirley, a redheaded 11-year-old girl who can talk anyone under the table. Fortunately, her sunny nature and quirky imagination quickly win over her reluctant foster parents. Anne's feisty spirit soon draws many friends--and much trouble--her way. Not a day goes by without some melodramatic new episode in the tragicomedy of her life.”


Public domain.
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Old 01-01-2020, 12:39 PM   #4
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OK, I have a confession to make. Even though I am a Canadian, I've never read Anne. I actually did start it shortly after moving here, but never managed to finish it -- mostly because other things got in the way. So I'll second Anne as a way to encourage me to pick it up again. Really, this is such an iconic Canadian novel, I really should read it.
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Old 01-01-2020, 01:05 PM   #5
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OK, I have a confession to make. Even though I am a Canadian, I've never read Anne. I actually did start it shortly after moving here, but never managed to finish it -- mostly because other things got in the way. So I'll second Anne as a way to encourage me to pick it up again. Really, this is such an iconic Canadian novel, I really should read it.
Oh my goodness!! Whatever its fate here, you really should find the time - it’s delightful!

And you really shouldn’t run the risk of facing a pop quiz on it at a border crossing
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Old 01-01-2020, 03:35 PM   #6
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I'd like to nominate a book by my favourite collaborative pair of authors, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Plus, it's the start of a collaboration of (space) pilots, so it fits the category two different ways. Oh, and it's a great read!

Local Custom
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodreads
Master trader Er Thom knows the local custom of Liaden is to be matched with a proper bride, and provide his prominent clan Korval with an heir. Yet his heart is immersed in another universe, influenced by another culture, and lost to a woman not of his world. And to take a Terran wife such as scholar Anne Davis is to risk his honor and reputation. But when he discovers that their brief encounter years before has resulted in the birth of a child, even more is at stake than anyone imagined. Now, an interstellar scandal has erupted, a bitter war between two families-galaxies apart-has begun, and the only hope for Er Thom and Anne is a sacrifice neither is prepared to make...
Amazon US: $6.99 USD
Amazon CA: $8.51 CDN
Amazon UK: £4.60 GBP
Amazon AU: $8.94 AUD
BaenEbooks.com: $6.99 USD (All Formats, DRM-Free)

Audible US (Narrator - Bernadette Dunne): 1 credit or $1.99 WhisperSync

Overdrive: Yes, FINALLY! Check your library, but even there it's DRM-Free. If they don't have it, recommend it. Unlike some publishers, Baen isn't gouging libraries, or limiting the number of loans before the license ends.

Kobo: Check your country. Prices should correspond directly to the Amazon prices listed above. Or just get your ePub directly from Baen.

Length: 384 pages

While this is officially Liaden Universe #5 according to Goodreads, it is, in fact, very much a stand-alone book that is an excellent entry point into the Liaden Universe. It is, officially, a "space opera", but also a romance very much in the style of Georgette Heyer. And, as I said above, an excellent read.

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Old 01-01-2020, 06:32 PM   #7
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I second Local Custom. It’s an excellent entry point into a great series, and one of my favourites.
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Old 01-01-2020, 09:13 PM   #8
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I nominate a book about perhaps the greatest musical collaborators of the twentieth century: Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution by Todd S. Purdum (2018, 400 pp.).

Quote:
A revelatory portrait of the creative partnership that transformed musical theater and provided the soundtrack to the American Century

They stand at the apex of the great age of songwriting, the creators of the classic Broadway musicals Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music, whose songs have never lost their popularity or emotional power. Even before they joined forces, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II had written dozens of Broadway shows, but together they pioneered a new art form: the serious musical play. Their songs and dance numbers served to advance the drama and reveal character, a sharp break from the past and the template on which all future musicals would be built.

Though different in personality and often emotionally distant from each other, Rodgers and Hammerstein presented an unbroken front to the world and forged much more than a songwriting team; their partnership was also one of the most profitable and powerful entertainment businesses of their era. They were cultural powerhouses whose work came to define postwar America on stage, screen, television, and radio. But they also had their failures and flops, and more than once they feared they had lost their touch.

Todd S. Purdum’s portrait of these two men, their creative process, and their groundbreaking innovations will captivate lovers of musical theater, lovers of the classic American songbook, and young lovers wherever they are. He shows that what Rodgers and Hammerstein wrought was truly something wonderful.
Available in all relevant countries and through Overdrive (e-book and audiobook), Axis360 (e-book), and Scribd (e-book).

Amazon U.S., $9.99
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Old 01-01-2020, 09:29 PM   #9
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I nominate a book about perhaps the greatest musical collaborators of the twentieth century: Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution by Todd S. Purdum (2018, 400 pp.).
Now there's a synchronicity! Within the last ten minutes, this title was suggested to me at Amazon and I was thinking it would be a suitable nomination. And since I believe you have to pay attention to synchronicities, I'll second it.
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Old 01-01-2020, 11:24 PM   #10
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So I wanted to nominate a book called The Collaborator by Diane Armstrong; it seems reasonably priced in Kobo US and CA, and normally priced in AU - despite having been published fairly late in 2019. But it does not seem to have arrived in the UK (Kobo GB) yet.

While looking at that, I saw another book called The Collaborator, this one by Mirza Waheed. It's sounds like a good fit for this theme and this club ... but while it's available in Kobo AU and GB, no sign of it in CA or US.

....

So I 'm still looking.
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Old 01-02-2020, 12:04 AM   #11
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So I wanted to nominate a book called The Collaborator by Diane Armstrong; it seems reasonably priced in Kobo US and CA, and normally priced in AU - despite having been published fairly late in 2019. But it does not seem to have arrived in the UK (Kobo GB) yet.

While looking at that, I saw another book called The Collaborator, this one by Mirza Waheed. It's sounds like a good fit for this theme and this club ... but while it's available in Kobo AU and GB, no sign of it in CA or US.

....

So I 'm still looking.
We don't have active British members, so why not nominate the Armstrong book?
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Old 01-02-2020, 12:22 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by gmw View Post
So I wanted to nominate a book called The Collaborator by Diane Armstrong; it seems reasonably priced in Kobo US and CA, and normally priced in AU - despite having been published fairly late in 2019. But it does not seem to have arrived in the UK (Kobo GB) yet.

While looking at that, I saw another book called The Collaborator, this one by Mirza Waheed. It's sounds like a good fit for this theme and this club ... but while it's available in Kobo AU and GB, no sign of it in CA or US.

....

So I 'm still looking.
The Armstrong book isn't available in the U.S. yet. I had considered it too--I came across it looking for books about Nazi collaborators. Amazon has the U.S. pub date as January 14, 2020.
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Old 01-02-2020, 12:22 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by issybird View Post
We don't have active British members, so why not nominate the Armstrong book?
I did wonder if it might be okay, but didn't like to presume as fantasyfan sometimes joins in. It may still come to that, but I do still have a novella in mind as well (author collaboration rather than character collaboration).
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Old 01-02-2020, 12:24 AM   #14
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The Armstrong book isn't available in the U.S. yet. I had considered it too--I came across it looking for books about Nazi collaborators. Amazon has the U.S. pub date as January 14, 2020.
Oh ... whoops. I didn't notice that, just the unexpectedly low price. Thanks.
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Old 01-02-2020, 02:43 PM   #15
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I wanted to try to get outside my personal typical fare and also come up with something outside our usual anglophone choices and I've settled on Samarkand by Amin Maalouf, a French-Lebanese writer. (Russell Harris, translator) I'm looking upon the poet and the judge in the blurb as the tangoing twosome.

The blurb from all over:

Quote:
A gripping historical novel set in 11th century Persia that imagines the life of poet and philosopher Omar Khayyam

Accused of mocking the inviolate codes of Islam, the Persian poet and sage Omar Khayyam fortuitously finds sympathy with the very man who is to judge his alleged crimes. Recognising genius, the judge decides to spare him and gives him instead a small, blank book, encouraging him to confine his thoughts to it alone.
From Wikipedia:

Quote:
Ahmed Rashid reviewed the book for The Independent, and wrote: "Maalouf has written an extraordinary book, describing the lives and times of people who have never appeared in fiction before and are unlikely to do so again. The book is far more than a simple historical novel; like the intricate embroidery of an oriental carpet it weaves back and forth through the centuries, linking the poetry, philosophy and passion of the Sufi past with modernism."
It won the Prix Maison de la Presse in 1988 and has a Goodreads rating of 4.22 on nearly 20,000 ratings.

Cheap in the US and UK; somewhat dearer in Canada and Australia.
US $3.99; Canada $10.99; Australia $12.99; UK £3.99

304 pp.
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