Help us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read for December 2018. The theme is Just for Fun: Guilty Pleasures
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, 2018. Each nomination requires a second and a third to make it to the poll, which will remain open for four days. The discussion of the selection will start on December 15, 2018. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the November selection, Alias Grace, on November 15.
Just for the record, The Chronicles of Clovis has nothing whatever to do with the legendary French king. It is a collection of 30 extremely wry and witty short stories written by the inimitable Saki (the pen name for H.H. Munro). The setting is in the midst of upper class English society during the Edwardian Period, the period between the Boer War and World War when the British Empire reached it's peak. Devotees of Downton Abbey will find themselves on familiar ground, save for the slightly disconcerting presence of Clovis. Clovis Sangrail, the nominal central character about whom these stories revolve, is a typical Saki hero: young, vain, effete, worldly, slightly cruel, a bit decadent and extremely witty.
Included in this collection are some of Saki's very best works, including "Mrs. Packleetide's Tiger", "The Background", "The Jesting of Arlington Stingham", "Tobermory", "Sredni Vastar", "The talking-Out of Tarrington", "Filboid Studge" and "The Secret Sin of Septimus Brope".
Both Saki, and the world about which he wrote so well, came to an end during with World War I. Nevertheless, few writers have ever been able to achieve Saki's level of irony, satire, wit and sophistication. It was a terrible loss, both to Britain and the reading public everywhere, when Saki was killed on the Western Front in 1916.
A timeless novel of adventure, intrigue, and romance is sparked by one man's defiance in the face of authority...
The year is 1792. The French Revolution, driven to excess by its own triumph, has turned into a reign of terror. Daily, tumbrels bearing new victims to the guillotine roll over the cobbled streets of Paris.... Thus the stage is set for one of the most enthralling novels of historical adventure ever written.
The mysterious figure known as the Scarlet Pimpernel, sworn to rescue helpless men, women, and children from their doom; his implacable foe, the French agent Chauvelin, relentlessly hunting him down; and lovely Marguerite Blakeney, a beautiful French exile married to an English lord and caught in a terrible conflict of loyalties--all play their parts in a suspenseful tale that ranges from the squalid slums of Paris to the aristocratic salons of London, from intrigue on a great English country estate to the final denouement on the cliffs of the French coast.
There have been many imitations of The Scarlet Pimpernel, but none has ever equaled its superb sense of color and drama and its irresistible gift of wonderfully romantic escape.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin [Bookworm_Girl, Bookpossum, gmw]
Amazon US: $9.04 | UK, CA, AU
A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.
And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn't take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.'s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn't see coming.
The Water Rat of Wanchai (The Deadly Touch of the Tigress) by Ian Hamilton [CRussel, gmw, Dazrin] AmazonUS $9.99 | AmazonCA $7.93 | AmazonUK £2.99 | AmazonAU $12.99
Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel
A CBC Bookie Award: Mystery and Thriller, Finalist
A Quill & Quire Book of the Year
An Amazon.ca Editors’ Pick
In the first electrifying book of the series, Ian Hamilton introduces us to Ava Lee — the smartest, most stylish heroine in crime fiction since Lisbeth Salandar.
Ava Lee is a young Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant who works for an elderly Hong Kong–based “Uncle,” who may or may not have ties to the Triads. At 115 lbs., she hardly seems a threat. But her razorsharp intellect and resourcefulness allows her to succeed where traditional methods have failed.
In The Water Rat of Wanchai, Ava travels across continents to track $5 million owed by a seafood company. But it’s in Guyana where she meets her match: Captain Robbins, a huge hulk of a man and godfather-like figure who controls the police, politicians, and criminals alike. In exchange for his help, he decides he wants a piece of Ava’s $5 million action and will do whatever it takes to get his fair share . .
Long before Desperate Housewives, there was Bedelia: pretty, ultra femme, and "adoring as a kitten." A perfect housekeeper and lover, she wants nothing more than to please her insecure new husband, who can't believe his luck. But is Bedelia too good to be true?
A mysterious new neighbor turns out to be a detective on the trail of a "kitten with claws of steel"—a picture-perfect wife with a string of dead husbands in her wake. Caspary builds this tale to a peak of psychological suspense as her characters are trapped together by a blizzard. The true Bedelia, the woman who chose murder over a life on the street, reveals how she turns male fantasies of superiority into a deadly con.
"Vera Caspary's gift was perhaps more subtle, and deadly [than Jim Thompson, David Goodis, and Charles Willeford]." --Robert Polito, author of Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson
"You must read Bedelia to see just how slick Miss Caspary's techique of soft-shoe terror can be--how frightening she can make the chatter at an innocent dinner party, the lure of a lady's deshabille, the glimpse of a black pearl in a dresser drawer." --The New York Times
"A sinister entertainment 'especially for admirers of the psychological horror story.'" --The New Yorker
"A tour de force of psychological suspense, Desperate Housewives meets Double Indemnity in Caspary's Bedelia." --Liahna Armstrong, President Emerita, Popular Culture Association
Wild Strawberries by Angela Thirkell [issybird, Bookworm_Girl, Dazrin] Faded Page: Free | US$5.99, AU$12.99, UK £3.99
Deliciously funny, to use a Thirkellism. This book is absolutely perfect to read when you are feeling glum and under the weather -- it will make you laugh out loud. The upper-class characters at its centre are ridiculously wonderful, all so self-absorbed that they pay no attention to other people and are constantly getting hold of the wrong end of the stick. Lady Emily's attempts to organise everyone and everything are sensibly ignored by the lower-class characters who actually get things done. The bunch of French royalists seemed a bit of a bizarre idea, but just added to the joyful chaos. I think my favourite scene was the lunch in the restaurant with David, Joan and Mary -- sparks fly from Thirkell's pen in a positively Austenish way.
A summer at an English Country-house in the 1930s, with all the accompanying silliness and minor inconveniences and class issues that one might expect from such a setting. It is laugh-out-loud funny: there is a wonderfully irreverent joy in the foibles, idiocies, and innocent pleasures of minor gentry.
Harlequin, the big romance publisher, is changing the way they supply ebooks bought directly on their web site. It will no longer be possible to download copies of your ebooks, you will only be able to access them through web browsers and the supplied app.
It important to note that while the new ebook reading experience does support offline reading through the web browser and app, you will not be able to download files and transfer them to older devices that are not web enabled. If you would like to keep copies of the files for this use, please download them prior to November 12th, 2018.
This does mean that you will not be able to download books from the Harlequin web site to Adobe Digital Editions. (Edit: Confirmed with Harlequin tech support.)
So if you want your own back-ups of your ebooks, make sure you download them before the 12th. That's only two weeks away!
Help us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read for November 2018. The theme is Lies and Misdirections: Unreliable Narrators
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.
The nominations will run through 7 AM EDT, October 7, 2018. Each nomination requires a second and a third to make it to the poll, which will remain open for four days. The discussion of the selection will start on November 15, 2018. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the October selection, The House on the Strand, on October 15.
In this astonishing tour de force, Margaret Atwood takes the reader back in time and into the life and mind of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the nineteenth century. In 1843, at the age of sixteen, servant girl Grace Marks was convicted for her part in the vicious murders of her employer and his mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Grace herself claims to have no memory of the murders. As Dr. Simon Jordan – an expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness – tries to unlock her memory, what will he find? Was Grace a femme fatale – or a weak and unwilling victim of circumstances? Taut and compelling, penetrating and wise, Alias Grace is a beautifully crafted work of the imagination that vividly evokes time and place. The novel and its characters will continue to haunt the reader long after the final page.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey [darryl, astrangerhere, Bookpossum]
Amazon AU $14.99 | Amazon CA $8.99 | Amazon UK £4.99 | Amazon US $4.99 | OverDrive | Audible
(From Amazon US book description). Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Now in a new deluxe edition with a foreword by Chuck Palahniuk and cover by Joe Sacco, here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them all imprisoned
Picnic at Hanging Rock is an Australian historical fiction novel by Joan Lindsay. Set in 1900, it is about a group of female students at an Australian girls' boarding school who vanish at Hanging Rock while on a Valentine's Day picnic, and the effects the disappearances have on the school and local community. The novel was first published in 1967 in Australia by Cheshire Publishing and was reprinted by Penguin in 1975. It is widely considered by critics to be one of the best Australian novels.
Although the events depicted in the novel are entirely fictional, it is framed as though it is a true story, corroborated by ambiguous pseudohistorical references. Its irresolute conclusion has sparked significant public, critical, and scholarly analysis, and the narrative has become a part of Australia's national folklore as a result.
Notes on a Scandal (What Was She Thinking?) by Zoë Heller [Bookpossum, gmw, issybird]
Kobo: $US7.99, $C8.99, $A12.99 and UK£4.99
Shortlisted for the 2003 Man Booker Prize, Zoë Heller's Notes on a Scandal is a darkly compelling novel that explores the taboo subject of pupil/teacher relationships, obsession and betrayal.
From the first day that the beguiling Sheba Hart joins the staff of St George's history teacher Barbara Covett is convinced she has found a kindred spirit. Barbara's loyalty to her new friend is passionate and unstinting and when Sheba is discovered having an illicit affair with one of her pupils, Barbara quickly elects herself as Sheba's chief defender. But all is not as it first seems in this dark story and, as Sheba will soon discover, a friend can be just as treacherous as any lover.
'Brilliant, nasty, gripping' Zadie Smith
'Compelling, dark, sexy' Observer
'Superbly gripping. One of the most compelling books I've read in ages' Daily Telegraph
'Deliciously sinister' Daily Mail
Determined to secure a brilliant marriage for her beautiful sister, Frederica seeks out their distant cousin the Marquis of Alverstoke. Lovely, competent, and refreshingly straightforward, Frederica makes such a strong impression that to his own amazement, the Marquis agrees to help launch them all into society.
Normally wary of his family, which includes two overbearing sisters and innumerable favor-seekers, Lord Alverstoke does his best to keep his distance. But with his enterprising — and altogether entertaining —country cousins getting into one scrape after another right on his doorstep, before he knows it the Marquis finds himself dangerously embroiled.
I could smell him - or rather the booze on his breath - before he even opened the door, but my sense of smell is pretty good, probably better than yours.
So begins this fabulous, funny new detective novel featuring Bernie, a slightly down-at-heel PI; and his offsider, Chet, a dog - and the captivating narrator of the story.
Chet may have flunked out of police school (I'd been the best leaper in K-9 class, which had led to all the trouble in a way I couldn't remember exactly, although blood was involved), but he's just as much a detective as Bernie - superior, sometimes, in his insight into human foibles.
In Dog On It, their first adventure, Chet and Bernie investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl who may or may not have been kidnapped, but who's definitely gotten herself mixed up with some very unsavoury characters.