Help us select what the MR Literary Club will read in February 2017!
The options this month are courtesy of our rotating nominator, fantasyfan.
Voting will run for four days. The vote will close exactly four days from this post; even if the final tally doesn't occur immediately after voting closes, no votes made after that time will count.
Votes will be made by post. Each person has NINE votes to use.
You may give each nominee one or two (or no) votes. You may vote all at once in one post or vote in separate posts at different times, so long as you have more votes remaining to cast. You may use any number of your possible votes up to the maximum. Any extraneous votes per person (past their maximum or more than two for one nominee) won't count. Votes cannot be changed once they are cast.
The rotating nominator may not vote. Once voting is complete, the count will be tallied and a winner declared. In the event of a tie, there will be a one-day run-off vote, also in this thread. If the run-off also ends in a tie, then the tie will be resolved by the nominator.
We hope that you will read the selection with the club and join in the discussion.
The floor is now open!
From fantasyfan: I have had an itch to suggest a list of famous works of literary criticism. I think that as we are a literary club that would be a reasonable approach. The choices wouldn't necessarily be long; sometimes an essay has had a very significant impact. They could range from books examining philosophical approaches to literature, genre areas, and even specific authors or works.
One would have to think about factors such as availability and price as works of literary criticism are not always best sellers nor inexpensive.
Here's my list in chronological order, generally with the descriptions from Goodreads:
Voting is closed. Final Results-
1904 Shakespearean Tragedy by A.C. Bradley Goodreads / 479 Pages / Votes- 4
"A.C. Bradley put Shakespeare on the map for generations of readers and students for whom the plays might not otherwise have become 'real' at all" writes John Bayley in his foreword to this edition of Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth.
Approaching the tragedies as drama, wondering about their characters as he might have wondered about people in novels or in life, Bradley is one of the most liberating in the line of distinguished Shakespeare critics. His acute yet undogmatic and almost conversational critical method has—despite fluctuations in fashion—remained enduringly popular and influential. For, as John Bayley observes, these lectures give us a true and exhilarating sense of "the tragedies joining up with life, with all our lives; leading us into a perspective of possibilities that stretch forward and back in time, and in our total awareness of things."
1905 Aspects of the Novel by E.M. Forster Goodreads / 189 Pages / Votes- 9
Another classic. "Forster’s lively, informed originality and wit have made this book a classic. Avoiding the chronological approach of what he calls “pseudoscholarship,” he freely examines aspects all English-language novels have in common: story, people, plot, fantasy, prophecy, pattern, and rhythm. Index."
1913 The Victorian Age in Literature by G.K. Chesterton Goodreads / 132 Pages / Votes- 6
‘I was born a Victorian; and sympathise not a little with the serious Victorian Spirit.’ In this engaging and extremely personal account G K Chesterton expounds his views on Victorian literature. Many of his opinions reflect the conventions of the age; however of the Victorian novel he refreshingly comments ‘it is an art in which women are quite beyond controversy’. Equally uncompromising about poets and poetry he does not hesitate to call Tennyson ‘a provincial Virgil’. This book is an important landmark in our understanding of an age which produced some of Britain’s most widely enjoyed literature.
1942 A Preface to Paradise Lost by C.S. Lewis Goodreads / 149 Pages / Votes- 1
Astonishingly, this remarkably perceptive book does not seem to be available for Kindle. Goodreads says little about it, but I have read it and this is a profound and brilliant exposition of the philosophy that underlies the great poem. It is also an attempt to rebut the very attractive views of Shelley who asserts that Satan is the true hero of the poem.
Available in paperback
1948 Yeats: The Man and the Masks by Richard Ellmann Goodreads / 344 Pages / Votes- 1
One of the most influential poets of his age, W.B. Yeats eluded the grasp of many who sought to explain him. His life was complex in both its outer and inner events. Yeats's mystical concerns, such as his involvement with spiritualism and construction of a transcendental world system in A Vision, coexisted and occasionally clashed with his active involvement in public affairs. In this classic critical examination of the poet, Richard Ellmann strips away the masks of his subject: occultist, senator of the Irish Free State, libidinous old man, and Nobel Prize winner.
1948 The Great Tradition by F.R. Leavis Goodreads / 302 Pages / Votes- 3
Again, there is very little about this book on Goodreads. It has been both influential and controversial. Leavis does brilliant work with James, Eliot, and Conrad. He is dismissive of Fielding and Dickens and doesn't quite know what to make of Emily Bronte.
Some have said that he mistitled his book and should have used "A" instead of "The".
So far the books have all been modestly priced. This one you might want to get from a library.
1949 Seven Types of Ambiguity by William Empson Goodreads / 281 Pages / Votes- 4
Revised twice since it first appeared, it has remained one of the most widely read and quoted works of literary analysis. Ambiguity, according to Empson, includes "any verbal nuance, however slight, which gives room for alternative reactions to the same piece of language." From this definition, broad enough by his own admission sometimes to see "stretched absurdly far," he launches into a brilliant discussion, under seven classifications of differing complexity and depth, of such works, among others, as Shakespeare's plays and the poetry of Chaucer, Donne, Marvell, Pope, Wordsworth, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and T. S. Eliot.
This is a trailblazer! It is also quite modestly priced.
1982 The Rhetoric of Fiction Second edition by Wayne C. Booth Goodreads / 508 Pages / Votes- 2
The first edition of The Rhetoric of Fiction transformed the criticism of fiction and soon became a classic in the field. One of the most widely used texts in fiction courses, it is a standard reference point in advanced discussions of how fictional form works, how authors make novels accessible, and how readers recreate texts, and its concepts and terms—such as "the implied author," "the postulated reader," and "the unreliable narrator"—have become part of the standard critical lexicon.
For this new edition, Wayne C. Booth has written an extensive Afterword in which he clarifies misunderstandings, corrects what he now views as errors, and sets forth his own recent thinking about the rhetoric of fiction. The other new feature is a Supplementary Bibliography, prepared by James Phelan in consultation with the author, which lists the important critical works of the past twenty years—two decades that Booth describes as "the richest in the history of the subject."
A major work but quite expensive--I suggest you get it from the library. I have the PB edition which was cheaper than the ebook.
1984 Celtic Dawn: A Portrait of the Irish Literary Renaissance (AKA Black Swan) by Ulick O'Connor Goodreads / 374 Pages / Votes- 4
"It is the small details that make this book such a fascinating read. Often times, O’Connor includes anecdotes that make the characters seem more than characters from a not too distant history, but highlight them in the mind through their personal interactions with each other and with those around them. If you are a fan of any of the authors of the Irish Renaissance, this is a must read." Mr Hardie on Goodreads
I found this book difficult to put down! Ulick O'Connor is a gifted writer and sensitive critic. It is a bit pricey at £7 but worth it.
2003 The Road to Middle-Earth Third edition by Tom Shippey Goodreads / 463 Pages / Votes- 2
Shippey's classic work, now revised in paperback, explores J.R.R. Tolkien's creativity and the sources of his inspiration. Shippey shows in detail how Tolkien's professional background led him to write "The Hobbit" and how he created a timeless charm for millions of readers.
We regret to inform you that Shelfie will be ceasing operations on January 31, 2017.
What this means for Shelfie users:
Our servers will be shutting down on January 31. You can re-download any DRM-free books between now and then.
You no longer have access to DRM (.acsm) books.
Your app will cease to function in a meaningful way on January 31.
We started Shelfie with the idea of connecting books and readers and we have worked hard over the past four years to make that a reality. We are grateful for the support we have received from amazing readers like you, who have been a part of Shelfie.
The Shelfie Team
Shelfie was an app where you took pictures of your deadtree book collection and could purchase free or discounted ebook versions. I think there was some social aspect, as well, but I didn't use it very much so I'm not entirely sure!
Help us select the book that the MobileRead Book Club will read for February, 2017.
The nominations will run through midnight EST January 26 or until 10 books have made the list. The poll will then be posted and will remain open for five days.
The book selection category for February is: Mystery.
In order for a book to be included in the poll it needs THREE NOMINATIONS (original nomination, a second and a third).
How Does This Work?
The Mobile Read Book Club (MRBC) is an informal club that requires nothing of you. Each month a book is selected by polling. On the last week of that month a discussion thread is started for the book. If you want to participate feel free. There is no need to "join" or sign up. All are welcome.
How Does a Book Get Selected?
Each book that is nominated will be listed in a poll at the end of the nomination period. The book that polls the most votes will be the official selection.
How Many Nominations Can I Make?
Each participant has 3 nominations. You can nominate a new book for consideration or nominate (second, third) one that has already been nominated by another person.
How Do I Nominate a Book?
Please just post a message with your nomination. If you are the FIRST to nominate a book, please try to provide an abstract to the book so others may consider their level of interest.
How Do I Know What Has Been Nominated?
Just follow the thread. This message will be updated with the status of the nominations as often as I can. If one is missed, please just post a message with a multi-quote of the 3 nominations and it will be added to the list ASAP.
When is the Poll?
The poll thread will open at the end of the nomination period, or once there have been 10 books with 3 nominations each. At that time a link to the initial poll thread will be posted here and this thread will be closed.
The floor is open to nominations. Please comment if you discover a nomination is not available as an ebook in your area.
Nominations are now closed. Official choices with three nominations each:
The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.
Body and soul—they’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.
It was a bizarre pose for beautiful model Sonia Gluck--and her last. For in the draperies of her couch lay a fatal dagger, and behind her murder lies all the intrigue and acid-etched temperament of an artist's colony. Called in to investigate, Scotland Yard's Inspector Roderick Alleyn finds his own passions unexpectedly stirred by the fiesty painter Agatha Troy--brilliant artist and suspected murderess. First published in 1938.
In the movies, it’s known as a “meet cute.” But for Inspector Alleyn and Miss Agatha Troy, it’s more like irritation: On the ship back to England, she finds him tedious and dull; he thinks she’s a bohemian cliché. They may be destined for romance, but there’s a murder in the way: No sooner has Alleyn settled in to his mother’s house, eager for a relaxing end to his vacation, then he gets a call that a model has been stabbed at the artists’ community down the road. And the artistic Miss Troy is one of the community’s most prominent and outspoken members.
This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith’s widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to “help people with problems in their lives.” Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witch doctors.
The fascinating hero of Nevada Barr’s award-winning series—park ranger Anna Pigeon—has brought an unyielding love of nature and sense of fair play to the mystery genre. Track of the Cat is the acclaimed novel that first introduced readers to Anna, as a woman looking for peace in the wilderness—and finding murder instead…
Patrolling the remote West Texas backcountry, Anna’s first job as a national park ranger is marred by violence she thought she had left behind: the brutal death of a fellow ranger. When the cause of death is chalked up to a mountain lion attack, Anna’s rage knows no bounds. It’s up to her to save the protected cats from the politics and prejudices of the locals—and prove the kill was the work of a species far less rare…
Anna Pigeon fled the turmoil of New York to become a national park ranger, only to discover she hasn't escaped murder and violence. When a colleague is killed, claw marks on the victim's throat and paw prints around the body are too perfect to be those of an alleged killer mountain lion.
From the vivid opening vista, high in craggy mountains, to the final haunting glimpse of a moonlit canyon, Nevada Barr's first mystery, Track of the Cat, instantly caught the attention of readers and reviewers. Its popularity gained it both an Agatha and an Anthony Award.
The young naturalist, Anna Pigeon, has moved to the Southwest wilderness to be a park ranger. There, her days are filled with the physical demands of working in the Guadalupe Mountains and the satisfaction of living in this splendid land. Her peace is shattered one morning, though, when she discovers the body of another ranger deep in Dog Canyon. How did the usually cautious woman die? Although at first the evidence indicates an attack by a mountain lion, Anna soon suspects that there are craftier predators afoot in the wild grasses.
Fast-paced suspense and sharply defined characters will immediately sweep you up in the force of this compelling mystery. By the end, you'll be nodding in satisfaction at the final twist and anticipating the next book in the Anna Pigeon series. Narrator Barbara Rosenblat's performance highlights Anna's savvy courage and determination to catch her prey.
Higgins was famous for his unique use of dialogue. George Pelicanos suggested to Elmore Leonard that before he write any more crime novels, he should first read Eddie Coyle.
Eddie Coyle works for Jimmy Scalisi, supplying him with guns for a couple of bank jobs. But a cop named Foley is on to Eddie and he's leaning on him to finger Scalisi, a gang leader with a lot to hide. And then there's Dillon-a full-time bartender and part-time contract killer--pretending to be Eddie's friend. Wheeling, dealing, chasing, and stealing--that's Eddie, and he's got lots of friends.
(6) Holmes On the Range by Steve Hockensmith Goodreads | Print Length: 308 pages
*Starred Review* The Amlingmeyer brothers--Big Red, our narrator, and Old Red--grabbed a job at the mysterious Bar-VR Ranch to avoid a winter without food or money. One of the hands at the ranch is found with a bullet in his brain and another ends up seemingly trampled, but no one can recall a stampede. The shadowy miscreants had best watch their backs, however, as the Amlingmeyers are not your ordinary cowpokes. Old Red can't read but has been entertained trailside by Big Red's reading Sherlock Holmes stories from Harper's Weekly. Old Red thus considers himself a budding master of what he calls "deducifyin'." With Old Red as a six-gun Holmes and Big Red as a skeptical, nervous Watson, the pair ferrets out the killers and motives from a colorful cast of characters with names such as Puddin-Foot, Tall John, and Swivel-Eye. The Amlingmeyers have graced the pages of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and their initial book-length case is every bit as memorable. At times, they may remind readers of Joe Lansdale's Hap Collins and Leonard Pine with their smart mouths, penchant for trouble, and unflagging loyalty to each other. This is a great reworking of the Holmes conceit, and one suspects Hockensmith will have a steady readership as long as the Amlingmeyers are on the case. Wes Lukowsky
(7) The Rook (The Checquy Files #1) by Daniel O'Malley Goodreads | Print Length: 496 pages
"The body you are wearing used to be mine." So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.
She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.
In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.
Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, The Rook is a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer.
A small town hides big secrets in The Dry, an atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.
After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke's steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn't tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.
Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there's more to Luke's death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.
"Gil is a recently qualified lawyer whose family still expect him to enter the priesthood. When he finds the body of a young woman in the new building at Glasgow Cathedral he is asked to investigate, and identifies the corpse as the runaway wife of cruel, unpleasant nobleman John Semphill. With the help of Maistre Pierre, the French master-mason, Gil must ask questions and seek a murderer in the heart of the city."
Did you know that MobileRead has a Literary Book Club? We are a small but active Club, now some five and a half years old, but because of the way life keeps on interfering with reading time, our numbers have been reducing in recent months. We would very much like to see some new members join us, and of course would be delighted to see former members who are able to join in our activities again.
You can find us under Reading Recommendations/Book Clubs. For January 2017 we are reading "Nora Webster" by Colm Tóibín. Do please feel free to join in the discussion.
Wonder if Edge offers (or will offer) offline mode for this content (as Kindle Cloud Reader does). I am not willing to install preview build of Windows 10 to find out, however. I just removed preview build from my Windows 10 Phone as half the apps I wanted to use stopped working...