'From Man Booker Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Hisham Matar, a memoir of his journey home to his native Libya in search of answers to his father's disappearance. In 2012, after the overthrow of Qaddafi, the acclaimed novelist Hisham Matar journeys to his native Libya after an absence of thirty years.
When he was twelve, Matar and his family went into political exile. Eight years later Matar's father, a former diplomat and military man turned brave political dissident, was kidnapped from the streets of Cairo by the Libyan government and is believed to have been held in the regime's most notorious prison. Now, the prisons are empty and little hope remains that Jaballa Matar will be found alive. Yet, as the author writes, hope is "persistent and cunning".
This book is a profoundly moving family memoir, a brilliant and affecting portrait of a country and a people on the cusp of immense change, and a disturbing and timeless depiction of the monstrous nature of absolute power.'
The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between is the winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography.
This is the MR Literary Club selection for September 2017. Whether you've already read it or would like to, feel free to start or join in the conversation at any time, and guests are always welcome! So, what are your thoughts on it?
This coming Wednesday at 4:00am EDT, MobileRead will be offline for approximately one hour. We're going to move our server equipment to a new location in Germany. That's right, good bye New York, you served us well. The new hardware is a somewhat beefed-up version of the current one, ready to serve us for the long-awaiting switch to a new forum software.
In preparation, we lowered the time-to-live values of our DNS entries. This will allow your local ISP to pick up more quickly our new IP addresses.
Help us select the book that the MobileRead Book Club will read for September, 2017.
The nominations will run through midnight EST August 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 September is: The Classics.
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.
She is the story of Cambridge professor Horace Holly and his ward Leo Vincey, and their journey to a lost kingdom in the African interior. The journey is triggered by a mysterious package left to Leo by his father, to be opened on his 25th birthday; the package contains an ancient shard of pottery and several documents, suggesting an ancient mystery about the Vincey family. Holly and Leo eventually arrive in eastern Africa where they encounter a primitive race of natives and a mysterious white queen, Ayesha, who reigns as the all-powerful "She" or "She-who-must-be-obeyed" and who has a mysterious connection to young Leo.
The story expresses numerous racial and evolutionary conceptions of the late Victorians, especially notions of degeneration and racial decline prominent during the fin de siècle. In the figure of She, the novel notably explored themes of female authority and feminine behaviour. It has received praise and criticism alike for its representation of womanhood.
(2) The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold Goodreads | Overdrive Print Length: 146 pages
This classic work of science fiction is widely considered to be the ultimate time-travel novel. When Daniel Eakins inherits a time machine, he soon realizes that he has enormous power to shape the course of history. He can foil terrorists, prevent assassinations, or just make some fast money at the racetrack. And if he doesn't like the results of the change, he can simply go back in time and talk himself out of making it! But Dan soon finds that there are limits to his powers and forces beyond his control.
Jane Eyre is a nineteenth century proto feminist novel by Charlotte Bronte. It is a radical story of Jane Eyre, an unwanted orphan girl who is sent to live in a charity school by her aunt. Here she overcomes oppression to emerge a mature woman and lead life on her own terms. As an independent woman, she goes to Thornfield Hall as a governess, where she falls in love with the owner. However, it is on her most important day in life that she must take a difficult decision, which would change her life forever and of people around her.
Wimseys mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver, rings her son with news of such a quaint thing. She has heard through a friend that Mr. Thipps, a respectable Battersea architect, found a dead man in his bathwearing nothing but a gold pince-nez. Lord Wimsey makes his way straight over to Mr. Thipps, and a good look at the body raises a number of interesting questions. Why would such an apparently well groomed man have filthy black toenails, flea bites and the scent of carbolic soap lingering on his corpse? Then comes the disappearance of oil millionaire Sir Reuben Levy, last seen on the Battersea Park Road. With his beard shaved he would look very similar to the man found in the bath, but is Sir Levy really dead?
"Whose Body" is something of an apprentice work. Lord Peter is here more a bundle of characteristics than a character: a collector of rare books and incunabula, facile with quotations, fluent in French and probably in Latin, a skillful and sensitive pianist who never needs to practise, slightly built but possessed of "curious" strength and speed which he maintains without exercise. Over subsequent books, this caricature smooths and deepens into one of the most interesting and attractive detectives in fiction.
In spite of its awkwardness, Whose Body is worth reading. The plot is clever, the villain is believable and sadistic, and most of the supporting characters are a delight. Some of these characters are further developed in later novels: Bunter, Parker, the Dowager Duchess, Freddy Arbuthnot. Others fortunately are not. Sayers is much better with people she might recognise as "like us" then with people from other social groups.
The stark naked body was lying in the tub. Not unusual for a proper bath, but highly irregular for murder -- especially with a pair of gold pince-nez deliberately perched before the sightless eyes. What's more, the face appeared to have been shaved after death. The police assumed that the victim was a prominent financier, but Lord Peter Wimsey, who dabbled in mystery detection as a hobby, knew better. In this, his first murder case, Lord Peter untangles the ghastly mystery of the corpse in the bath.
Denis Stone, a naive young poet, is invited to stay at Crome, a country house renowned for its gatherings of 'bright young things'. His hosts, Henry Wimbush and his exotic wife Priscilla, are joined by a party of colourful guests whose intrigues and opinions ensure Denis's stay is a memorable one. First published in 1921, Crome Yellow was Aldous Huxley's much-acclaimed debut novel.
First published in 1921, Crome Yellow was Aldous Huxley's much-acclaimed debut novel. With the evident relish of the true satirist, he mocked the fads, foibles and spirit of his time with an unsurpassed wit and brilliance.
(6) A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes Goodreads Print Length: 298 pages
A High Wind in Jamaica is not so much a book as a curious object, like a piece of driftwood torqued into an alarming shape from years at sea. And like driftwood, it seems not to have been made, exactly, but simply to have come into being, so perfectly is its form married to its content. The five Bas-Thornton children must leave their parents in Jamaica after a terrible hurricane blows down their family home. Accompanied by their Creole friends, the Fernandez children, they board a ship that is almost immediately set upon by pirates. The children take to corsair life coolly and matter-of-factly; just as coolly do they commit horrible deeds, and have horrible deeds visited upon them. First published in 1929, A High Wind in Jamaica has been compared to Lord of the Flies in its unflinching portrayal of innocence corrupted, but Richard Hughes is the supreme ironist William Golding never was. He possesses the ability to be one moment thoroughly inside a character's head, and the next outside of it altogether, hilariously commenting.
Irony finds a happy home indeed in the book's mixture of the macabre and the adorable. The baby girl, Rachel, "could even sum up maternal feelings for a marline-spike, and would sit up aloft rocking it in her arms and crooning. The sailors avoided walking underneath: for such an infant, if dropped from a height, will find its way through the thickest skull (an accident which sometimes befalls unpopular captains)." In that "such an infant" lies a world of mordant wit. In fact, throughout, Hughes's wildly eccentric punctuation and startling syntax make just the right verbal vehicle for this dark-hearted pirate story for grownups.
Hughes enjoys some coy riffing on the child mind, as with this description of the way Emily handles an uncomfortable social situation: "Much the best way of escaping from an embarrassing rencontre, when to walk away would be an impossible strain on the nerves, is to retire in a series of somersaults. Emily immediately started turning head over heels up the deck." Even so, Hughes never sentimentalizes his subject: "Babies of course are not human--they are animals, and have a very ancient and ramified culture, as cats have, and fishes, and even snakes." Children, as a race, are given rough treatment: "their minds are not just more ignorant and stupider than ours, but differ in kind of thinking (are mad, in fact)." That madness is here isolated, prodded, and poked to chilling effect. But Hughes never loses sight of his ultimate objective: A High Wind in Jamaica is, above all, a cracking good yarn.
Captain John Staple, back from the battlefront, is already bored with his quiet civilian life in the country. When he stumbles upon a mystery involving a disappearing toll-gate keeper, nothing could keep the adventure-loving captain from investigating.
But winning her will be his greatest yet...
The plot thickens when John encounters the enigmatic Lady Nell Stornaway and soon learns that rescuing her from her unsavory relatives makes even the most ferocious cavalry charge look like a particularly tame hand of loo. Between hiding his true identity from Nell and the arrival in the neighborhood of some distinctly shady characters, Captain Staple finds himself embarked on the adventure-and romance-of a lifetime.
Captain John Staple's exploits in the Peninsula had earned him the sobriquet 'Crazy' Jack amongst his fellows in the Dragoon Guards. Now home from Waterloo, life in peacetime is rather dull for the boisterous, adventure-loving Captain. But when he finds himself lost and benighted at an unmanned toll-house in the Pennines, his soldiering days suddenly pale away besides an adventure - and romance - of a lifetime.
Yet again Georgette Heyer shows the qualities that made her one of the most successful and best-loved romantic novelists of her age, and why her popularity endures to this day.
Help us select what the MR Literary Club will read in August 2017!*
The options this month are courtesy of our rotating nominator, Spinnenmonat.
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 survey asked: During the past 12 months, about how many books did you read either all or part of the way through?, but the highest possible answer was More than 40, so maybe the average of 20.6 is understated and some other results biased towards the behaviour of low-volume readers?