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Tue May 01 2018

Nominations for June 2018 • I'll be There for You: Best Friends

07:39 AM by issybird in Reading Recommendations | Book Clubs


Happy May Day, whether worker or queen!

Help us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read for June 2018. The theme is I'll be There for You: Best Friends.

The nominations will run through 7 AM EDT, May 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 June 15, 2018. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the May selection, The Radium Girls, on May 15.

FAQs for the Nomination, Selection and Discussion process

General Guidelines for the New Leaf Book Club

Official choices with three nominations:

Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian [CRussel, Bookpossum, bfisher]
AmazonUS: $9.99 | AmazonAU: $12.99 | AmazonUK: £3.99 | Overdrive | Audible

Spoiler:

Set sail for the read of your life …

Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written. Now, for the first time, they are available in electronic book format, so a whole new generation of readers can be swept away on the adventure of a lifetime.

Master and Commander is the first of Patrick O’Brian’s now famous Aubrey/Maturin novels, regarded by many as the greatest series of historical novels ever written. It establishes the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey RN and Stephen Maturin, who becomes his secretive ship’s surgeon and an intelligence agent. It contains all the action and excitement which could possibly be hoped for in a historical novel, but it also displays the qualities which have put O’Brian far ahead of any of his competitors: his depiction of the detail of life aboard a Nelsonic man-of-war, of weapons, food, conversation and ambience, of the landscape and of the sea. O’Brian’s portrayal of each of these is faultless and the sense of period throughout is acute. His power of characterisation is above all masterly.

This brilliant historical novel marked the début of a writer who grew into one of our greatest novelists ever, the author of what Alan Judd, writing in the Sunday Times, has described as ‘the most significant extended story since Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time’.

A Catskill Eagle by Robert B. Parker [orlok, CRussel, Dazrin]
Amazon US $7.99 | Amazon UK £4.99 | Amazon AUS $11.99

Spoiler:
It's not the first in his Spenser series, but it is one of the best (you can read this series in any order, though the developing relationships are fun to follow chronologically). The friendship I am nominating this for is that between Spenser and Hawk, an African-American solider of fortune and unquestionably the greatest badass ever created in crime novels (IMHO).

In this story a letter tells Spenser that Susan (his long time partner) is in trouble and Hawk is in jail, and from there it’s a foregone conclusion on all hell breaking loose. The bonds between the three are never stronger, the story has never been more intense and the action has never been so defined. It’s a masterfully written book that could easily stand alone, not as minimalist as later Spensers or as hard-boiled as earlier ones, transitional both in terms of his style and the way the characters develop.

My Brilliant Friend by Elana Ferrante [astrangerhere, Catlady, latepaul]
Amazon US $6.00 | Kobo US $8.69

Spoiler:

Beginning in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Ferrante’s four-volume story spans almost sixty years, as its protagonists, the fiery and unforgettable Lila, and the bookish narrator, Elena, become women, wives, mothers, and leaders, all the while maintaining a complex and at times conflictual friendship. Book one in the series follows Lila and Elena from their first fateful meeting as ten-year-olds through their school years and adolescence.

Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists.

Absolute Friends by John Le Carré [pablo, gmw, Bookpossum]
Amazon US $7.99 | Amazon UK £5.99

Spoiler:
From Amazon:

Absolute Friends is a superbly paced novel spanning fifty-six years, a theatrical masterstroke of tragi-comic writing, and a savage fable of our times, almost of our hours.
The friends of the title are Ted Mundy, British soldier’s son born in 1947 in a shining new independent Pakistan, and Sasha, a refugee son of an East German Lutheran pastor and his wife who have sought sanctuary in the West.
The two men meet first as students in riot-torn West Berlin of the late Sixties, again in the grimy looking-glass of Cold War espionage and, most terribly, in today’s unipolar world of terror, counter-terror and the war of lies.
Absolute Friends presents us with magical writing, characters to delight, and a spellbinding story that enchants even as it challenges.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas [issybird, gmw, orlok]
Public domain | Feedbooks epub/Kindle FREE | Amazon US/Pevear translation $9.99 | Amazon UK/Pevear £2.99

Spoiler:

This swashbuckling epic of chivalry, honor, and derring-do, set in France during the 1620s, is richly populated with romantic heroes, unattainable heroines, kings, queens, cavaliers, and criminals in a whirl of adventure, espionage, conspiracy, murder, vengeance, love, scandal, and suspense. Dumas transforms minor historical figures into larger- than-life characters: the Comte d’Artagnan, an impetuous young man in pursuit of glory; the beguilingly evil seductress “Milady”; the powerful and devious Cardinal Richelieu; the weak King Louis XIII and his unhappy queen—and, of course, the three musketeers themselves, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, whose motto “all for one, one for all” has come to epitomize devoted friendship. With a plot that delivers stolen diamonds, masked balls, purloined letters, and, of course, great bouts of swordplay, The Three Musketeers is eternally entertaining.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry AKA My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Fredrik Backman [JSWolf, latepaul, Dazrin]
Overdrive | Amazon US | Kobo UK | Kobo US | Kobo CA | Kobo AU | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Spoiler:

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy—as in standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s instructions lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and old crones but also to the truth about fairy tales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

Everyone remembers the smell of their grandmother's house.

Everyone remembers the stories their grandmother told them.

But does everyone remember their grandmother flirting with policemen? Driving illegally?
Breaking into a zoo in the middle of the night? Firing a paintball gun from a balcony in her dressing gown?

Seven-year-old Elsa does.

Some might call Elsa's granny 'eccentric', or even 'crazy'. Elsa calls her a superhero. And granny's stories, of knights and princesses and dragons and castles, are her superpower. Because, as Elsa is starting to learn, heroes and villains don't always exist in imaginary kingdoms; they could live just down the hallway.

As Christmas draws near, even the best superhero grandmothers may have one or two things they'd like to apologise for. And, in the process, Elsa can have some breath-taking adventures of her own . . .

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery [Dazrin, CRussel, bfisher]
MR Library | Public domain

Spoiler:

Everyone's favorite redhead, the spunky Anne Shirley, begins her adventures at Green Gables, a farm outside Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. When the freckled girl realizes that the elderly Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy instead, she begins to try to win them and, consequently, the reader, over.

The Little White Bird by J.M. Barrie [gmw, Bookpossum, issybird]
MobileRead PCM Library EPub Free | MobileRead PCM Library Kindle/azw3 | public domain

Spoiler:
The best description I've found is from GrannyGrump's post in the MobileRead thread linked above:

“The Little White Bird” is a novel for adult readers, ranging in tone from fantasy and whimsy to social comedy with dark, aggressive undertones.

This book is a series of short episodes, including accounts of the narrator's day-to-day activities in contemporary London, as well as fanciful tales set in Kensington Gardens and elsewhere; with the two main characters being the first-person narrator Captain W—— (“Barrie thinly disguised”), and the boy David (based on George Llewelyn Davies, one of several children of the Davies family who provided inspiration for many characters in Barrie's writings). The main theme of the book is an exploration of the emotional relationship of the narrator, a childless Victorian-era retired soldier and London bachelor, with a young boy born to a working-class married couple in his neighbourhood.

Many places emphasise that the middle chapters of this book were extracted to be published as Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, but for me those chapters are less of a draw than the developing relationship between the narrator and the young couple. The early chapters and the final, in particular, I found quite touching.

The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff [Catlady, issybird, Bookworm_Girl]
Amazon US $9.99 | Kobo US $9.99 | Amazon CA $9.99 | Kobo CA $9.99 | Amazon AU $11.99 | Kobo AU $11.99 | Amazon UK £2.99 | Kobo UK £2.99

Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan's Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.

Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

Truth and Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett [Bookworm_Girl, bfisher, orlok]
Overdrive, Scribd | Amazon US

Spoiler:
From Amazon:

What happens when the person who is your family is someone you aren't bound to by blood? What happens when the person you promise to love and to honor for the rest of your life is not your lover, but your best friend? In Truth & Beauty, her frank and startlingly intimate first work of nonfiction, Ann Patchett shines a fresh, revealing light on the world of women's friendships and shows us what it means to stand together.

Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and, after enrolling in the Iowa Writers' Workshop, began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work was. In her critically acclaimed and hugely successful memoir, Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy wrote about losing part of her jaw to childhood cancer, the years of chemotherapy and radiation, and then the endless reconstructive surgeries. In Truth & Beauty, the story isn't Lucy's life or Ann's life, but the parts of their lives they shared. This is a portrait of unwavering commitment that spans twenty years, from the long, cold winters of the Midwest, to surgical wards, to book parties in New York. Through love, fame, drugs, and despair, this book shows us what it means to be part of two lives that are intertwined.

Greyfriars Bobby by Eleanor Atkinson [Catlady, JSWolf, Bookworm_Girl]
Public domain

Spoiler:
From Amazon:

The classic true story of a lovable Scottish dog whose loyalty knew no bounds

Each day, the cannon of Edinburgh Castle blasts a shot across town. It never fails to surprise Bobby, the silver-haired Skye terrier of Greyfriars Kirkyard, who fires back with a flurry of indignant yips. He always quiets down, though, because he knows it means it’s one o’clock—and one o’clock is when it’s time to eat. Bobby’s master, the shepherd Auld Jock, feeds the dog well, and Bobby repays him with limitless devotion. Everyone in Edinburgh knows that Bobby is a fine dog, but they have no idea just how loyal he really is.

When Jock dies, Bobby refuses to abandon his master, standing guard over his grave through wind and sleet and snow. No matter what obstacles stand in his way, Bobby remains steadfast—inspiring a city, a country, and the world.

A timeless tale of the special relationship between a man and his dog, Greyfriars Bobby has inspired generations of readers and was adapted into the Disney film of the same name.

[ 74 replies ]


Sat April 07 2018

MobileRead Week in Review: 03/31 - 04/07

06:00 AM by Alexander Turcic in Miscellaneous | Week in Review

Missed some of our big stories this week? Time to catch up:

E-Book General - Reading Recommendations


Sun April 01 2018

Nominations for May 2018 • Doomed to Repeat It: History

01:55 AM by issybird in Reading Recommendations | Book Clubs


Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all those who are celebrating and stay wary today to all.

Help us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read for May 2018. The theme is Doomed to Repeat It: History (fact and fiction).

The nominations will run through 7 AM EDT April 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 May 15, 2018. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the April selection of the New Leaf Book Club, Making History, on April 15.

FAQs for the Nomination, Selection and Discussion process

General Guidelines for the New Leaf Book Club

Official choices with three nominations:

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore [issybird, CRussel, Alohamora]
Amazon US $9.99 | Amazon UK £0.99 | Amazon CA $17.53 | Amazon AU $10.99 | Kobo US $14.39 | Kobo CA $19.19 |Kobo UK £0.99 | Kobo AU $10.99 | OverDrive | Hoopla (ebook and audiobook)

Spoiler:
From Goodreads, where it has a rating of 4.24 stars:

The Curies' newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.

Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" are the luckiest alive — until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.

But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women's cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America's early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights that will echo for centuries to come.

Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the "wonder" substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives...

Willoughbyland by Matthew Parker [latepaul, issybird, Bookpossum]
Amazon UK £2.99 | Amazon US $13.99 | Amazon CA $14.99 | Amazon AU $14.99 | Kobo UK | Kobo US | Kobo CA | Overdrive

Spoiler:
Summary from Amazon:

At the beginning of the 1650s, England was in ruins – wrecked, impoverished, grief-stricken by plague and civil war. Yet shimmering on the horizon was an intoxicating possibility, a vision of paradise: Willoughbyland.

Ambitious and free-thinking adventurers poured in, attracted by the toleration, the optimism, the rich soil and the promise of the gold of El Dorado. It was England's most hopeful colony.

But the Restoration saw the end of political freedom, and brought in its place spies, war, rebellion and treachery. The advent of racial slavery poisoned everything. What started out as a heaven was soon to become one of the cruellest places on earth.

The history of Willoughbyland is a microcosm of empire, its heady attractions and fatal dangers.

The Prestige by Christopher Priest [Bookpossum, bfisher, gmw]
Kobo: $US7.99, $C9.99, $A9.99 and GBP5.99

Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

In 1878, two young stage magicians clash in the dark during the course of a fraudulent séance. From this moment on, their lives become webs of deceit and revelation as they vie to outwit and expose one another.

Their rivalry will take them to the peaks of their careers, but with terrible consequences. In the course of pursuing each other's ruin, they will deploy all the deception their magicians' craft can command--the highest misdirection and the darkest science.

Blood will be spilled, but it will not be enough. In the end, their legacy will pass on for generations...to descendants who must, for their sanity's sake, untangle the puzzle left to them.

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky [Dngersone, gmw, Luffy]
Goodreads US$16.99

Spoiler:
The doomed to repeat part falls into the much-anticipated apocalypse-- if our modern world goes down the tubes, it'll be the people with access to salt and other food preservation methods who will likely survive.

Writing on the Wall: Social Media - The First 2000 Years by Tom Standage [Bookworm_Girl, Bookpossum, Dazrin]
Amazon US $9.99 | Amazon UK £8.63 | Amazon Canada $9.99 | Amazon Australia $7.12 |Kobo | Overdrive | Scribd | Audio: Overdrive | Hoopla | Scribd

Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

Papyrus rolls and Twitter have much in common, as each was their generation's signature means of “instant” communication. Indeed, as Tom Standage reveals in his scintillating new book, social media is anything but a new phenomenon.

From the papyrus letters that Roman statesmen used to exchange news across the Empire to the advent of hand-printed tracts of the Reformation to the pamphlets that spread propaganda during the American and French revolutions, Standage chronicles the increasingly sophisticated ways people shared information with each other, spontaneously and organically, down the centuries. With the rise of newspapers in the nineteenth century, then radio and television, “mass media” consolidated control of information in the hands of a few moguls. However, the Internet has brought information sharing full circle, and the spreading of news along social networks has reemerged in powerful new ways.

A fresh, provocative exploration of social media over two millennia, Writing on the Wall reminds us how modern behavior echoes that of prior centuries-the Catholic Church, for example, faced similar dilemmas in deciding whether or how to respond to Martin Luther's attacks in the early sixteenth century to those that large institutions confront today in responding to public criticism on the Internet. Invoking the likes of Thomas Paine and Vinton Cerf, co-inventor of the Internet, Standage explores themes that have long been debated: the tension between freedom of expression and censorship; whether social media trivializes, coarsens or enhances public discourse; and its role in spurring innovation, enabling self-promotion, and fomenting revolution. As engaging as it is visionary, Writing on the Wall draws on history to cast new light on today's social media and encourages debate and discussion about how we'll communicate in the future.


The Appointment by Herta Müller [astrangerhere, Luffy, Bookworm_Girl]
Amazon $9.99 / Kobo $9.99

Spoiler:
From the description:

"I've been summoned. Thursday, ten sharp." Thus begins one day in the life of a young clothing-factory worker during Ceaucescu's totalitarian regime. She has been questioned before; this time, she believes, will be worse. Her crime? Sewing notes into the linings of men's suits bound for Italy. "Marry me," the notes say, with her name and address. Anything to get out of the country.

As she rides the tram to her interrogation, her thoughts stray to her friend Lilli, shot trying to flee to Hungary, to her grandparents, deported after her first husband informed on them, to Major Albu, her interrogator, who begins each session with a wet kiss on her fingers, and to Paul, her lover, her one source of trust, despite his constant drunkenness. In her distraction, she misses her stop to find herself on an unfamiliar street. And what she discovers there makes her fear of the appointment pale by comparison.

Herta Müller pitilessly renders the humiliating terrors of a crushing regime. Bone-spare and intense, The Appointment confirms her standing as one of Europe's greatest writers.

The Soul of a New Machine Tracy Kidder [CRussel, bfisher, latepaul]
AmazonUS: $9.99 | AmazonUK: £3.99 | AmazonAU: $12.99 | KoboCA: $12.99 | AudibleUS

Spoiler:
Goodreads:

The computer revolution brought with it new methods of getting work done—just look at today's news for reports of hard-driven, highly-motivated young software and online commerce developers who sacrifice evenings and weekends to meet impossible deadlines. Tracy Kidder got a preview of this world in the late 1970s when he observed the engineers of Data General design and build a new 32-bit minicomputer in just one year. His thoughtful, prescient book, The Soul of a New Machine, tells stories of 35-year-old "veteran" engineers hiring recent college graduates and encouraging them to work harder and faster on complex and difficult projects, exploiting the youngsters' ignorance of normal scheduling processes while engendering a new kind of work ethic.

These days, we are used to the "total commitment" philosophy of managing technical creation, but Kidder was surprised and even a little alarmed at the obsessions and compulsions he found. From in-house political struggles to workers being permitted to tease management to marathon 24-hour work sessions, The Soul of a New Machine explores concepts that already seem familiar, even old-hat, less than 20 years later. Kidder plainly admires his subjects; while he admits to hopeless confusion about their work, he finds their dedication heroic. The reader wonders, though, what will become of it all, now and in the future. —Rob Lightner

Amazon description:

Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder memorably records the drama, comedy, and excitement of one company's efforts to bring a new microcomputer to market.
Computers have changed since 1981, when The Soul of a New Machine first examined the culture of the computer revolution. What has not changed is the feverish pace of the high-tech industry, the go-for-broke approach to business that has caused so many computer companies to win big (or go belly up), and the cult of pursuing mind-bending technological innovations.
The Soul of a New Machine is an essential chapter in the history of the machine that revolutionized the world in the twentieth century.

Concrete Planet: The Strange and Fascinating Story of the World's Most Common Man-Made Material by Robert Courland [gmw, Dazrin, issybird]
Amazon US - $12.99 | Amazon UK - £10.44 | Amazon CA - CDN$9.99 | Amazon AU - AUD$10.97 | Kobo US - USD$12.99 | Kobo UK £8.99 | Kobo CA - CAD$10.69 | Kobo AU AUD$15.06

Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

Concrete: We use it for our buildings, bridges, dams, and roads. We walk on it, drive on it, and many of us live and work within its walls. But very few of us know what it is. We take for granted this ubiquitous substance, which both literally and figuratively comprises much of modern civilization’s constructed environment; yet the story of its creation and development features a cast of fascinating characters and remarkable historical episodes. This book delves into this history, opening readers’ eyes at every turn. [...]

A relevant quote from the introduction explains what to expect: "This is not a technical book [...] it is the human story of concrete, with emphasis on the people who discovered—and rediscovered—this building material, and who also pioneered novel ways of using it."

Most of us will have read fantasy stories where the ancients held great secrets, with concrete that has been true: for centuries it appeared the secret of making strong concrete had died with the Romans. We do now know how they did it, but the author laments that - unlike the Romans - we continue to make buildings, and even memorials, that may not long outlast the generation that built them.

All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka [JSWolf, Dngrsone, CRussel]
Goodreads | Hoopla Digital | Overdrive: | Kobo US | Kobo UK | Kobo CA | Kobo AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA

Spoiler:
It was made into the movie Edge of Tomorrow.

[q_index]There’s one thing worse than dying. It’s coming back to do it again and again… When the alien Gitai invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many raw recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to find himself reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On the 158th iteration though, he sees something different, something out of place: the female soldier known

[ 101 replies ]


Sat March 03 2018

MobileRead Week in Review: 02/24 - 03/03

06:00 AM by Alexander Turcic in Miscellaneous | Week in Review

It's time again for our roundup on all the stuff we posted on our frontpage this past week.

E-Book General - Reading Recommendations


Thu March 01 2018

Nominations for April 2018 • It's All Relative: Time

07:04 AM by issybird in Reading Recommendations | Book Clubs


March is in like a lamb here!

Help us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read for April 2018. The theme is It's All Relative: Time-ly books.

The nominations will run through 7 AM EST March 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 April 15, 2018. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the March selection of the New Leaf Book Club, The Old Man and the Sea, on March 15.

FAQs for the Nomination, Selection and Discussion process

General Guidelines for the New Leaf Book Club

Official choices with three nominations:

1916: The Easter Rising by Tim Pat Coogan
Amazon US- $6.99 | Kobo US - $6.99 | Kobo CA - $10.99 | Amazon UK - £6.99 | Kobo UK - £6.99 | Kobo AU - $12.99

Spoiler:

The Easter Rising began at 12 noon, 24 April, 1916 and lasted for six short but bloody days, resulting in the deaths of innocent civilians, the destruction of many parts of Dublin, and the true beginning of Irish independence. The 1916 Rising was born out of the Conservative and Unionist parties' illegal defiance of the democratically expressed wish of the Irish electorate for Home Rule; and of confusion, mishap and disorganisation, compounded by a split within the Volunteer leadership. Tim Pat Coogan introduces the major players, themes and outcomes of a drama that would profoundly affect twentieth-century Irish history.

1632 by Eric Flint
Baen - All formats, DRM-Free | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU (All free) | Kobo (2nd Edition) $6.99 | Audible $7.49 WhisperSync
553 pages

Spoiler:
This is an alternate history work that transports a coal-mining town from West Virginia to a Germany in the middle of the 30 Years War. This book spawned an entire eco-system of books based on this alternate history, all of them meticulously researched and consistent.

I simply can't recommend this book too highly. Not only does it have some fairly unusual protagonists -- Mike Stearns is the Organizer for the local UMWA chapter and he is by no means the only one -- we'll also learn and appreciate an historical period I knew NOTHING about before this book, the 30 Years War. Because of the level of historical and scientific accuracy and the consistency used throughout all the books in the eco-system, we'll learn a lot while also having a great read. Really, it's a wonderful book!

From Goodreads:

FREEDOM AND JUSTICE -- AMERICAN STYLE 1632 And in northern Germany things couldn't get much worse. Famine. Disease. Religous war laying waste the cities. Only the aristocrats remained relatively unscathed; for the peasants, death was a mercy. 2000 Things are going OK in Grantville, West Virginia, and everybody attending the wedding of Mike Stearn's sister (including the entire local chapter of the United Mine Workers of America, which Mike leads) is having a good time. THEN, EVERYTHING CHANGED.... When the dust settles, Mike leads a group of armed miners to find out what happened and finds the road into town is cut, as with a sword. On the other side, a scene out of Hell: a man nailed to a farmhouse door, his wife and daughter attacked by men in steel vests. Faced with this, Mike and his friends don't have to ask who to shoot. At that moment Freedom and Justice, American style, are introduced to the middle of the Thirty Years' War.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
Amazon US | Kobo US - $9.99 | Available as an ebook in Australia, Canada and UK | Overdrive, Cloud (previously 3M) and Axis 360 Libraries and Scribd as an audiobook.

Spoiler:
Because the Goodreads description is rather vague, I've copied a starred review from Booklist instead.

Harry August isn’t human. Well, that’s not quite accurate. He is human but a different sort of human from the rest of us: he was born (in the ladies’ washroom of a train station in England in 1919), he lives a certain number of years, and he dies—and then he’s born again, right back where he started, and a handful of years later his memories of his first life return. Harry is, like a few others, a kalachakra, an immortal who is constantly reborn, each time with all the memories of his previous lives. This wonderful novel, narrated by Harry, ranges back and forth in time as he recounts episodes from his various lives, but it’s all held together by a compelling mystery involving nothing less than the end of the world itself (a thousand years in the future).

From Wikipedia:

The Wheel of time or wheel of history (also known as Kalachakra) is a concept found in several religious traditions and philosophies, notably religions of Indian origin such as Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, which regard time as cyclical and consisting of repeating ages. Many other cultures contain belief in a similar concept: notably, the Q'ero Indians in Peru, as well as the Hopi Indians of Arizona.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Overdrive | Scribd | Kobo UK | Kobo US | Kobo CA | Kobo AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Google Play US

Spoiler:
Fans of Douglas Adams and P. G. Wodehouse will love visiting Jasper Fforde's Great Britain, circa 1985, when time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously: it’s a bibliophile’s dream. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection. But when someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Brontë's novel, Thursday is faced with the challenge of her career. Fforde's ingenious fantasy—enhanced by a Web site that re-creates the world of the novel—unites intrigue with English literature in a delightfully witty mix. Thursday’s zany investigations continue with six more bestselling Thursday Next novels,

And read this short review. It might help you decide to give it a go. https://www.goodreads.com/review/sho..._review_page=1

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
PCML: Epub | prc

Spoiler:
From Goodreads.

So begins the Time Traveller’s astonishing firsthand account of his journey 800,000 years beyond his own era—and the story that launched H.G. Wells’s successful career and earned him his reputation as the father of science fiction. With a speculative leap that still fires the imagination, Wells sends his brave explorer to face a future burdened with our greatest hopes...and our darkest fears. A pull of the Time Machine’s lever propels him to the age of a slowly dying Earth. There he discovers two bizarre races—the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks—who not only symbolize the duality of human nature, but offer a terrifying portrait of the men of tomorrow as well. Published in 1895, this masterpiece of invention captivated readers on the threshold of a new century. Thanks to Wells’s expert storytelling and provocative insight, The Time Machine will continue to enthrall readers for generations to come.

Making History by Stephen Fry
Overdrive | RBdigital | Kobo UK | Kobo US | Kobo CA | Kobo AU | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Spoiler:

Stephen Fry tackles alternate history, asking: What if Hitler had never been born?

Michael Young is a graduate student at Cambridge who is completing his dissertation on the early life of Adolf Hitler. Leo Zuckerman is an aging German physicist and Holocaust survivor. Together they idealistically embark on an experiment to change the course of history. And with their success is launched a brave new world that is in some ways better than ours—but in most ways even worse.

Days Without Number by Robert Goddard
Amazon US $9.99 | Amazon UK £3.99 | Amazon CA CDN$10.99 | Amazon AU AUD$12.99 | Kobo US USD$12.79 | Kobo UK £3.99 | Kobo CA CAD$13.99 | Kobo AU AUD$12.99 | Hoopla | Scribd

Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

Michael Paleologus, retired archaeologist and supposed descendant of the last Emperors of Byzantium, lives alone in a remote and rambling house in Cornwall. His son, Nicholas, is summoned to resolve a dispute which threatens to set his brothers and sisters against their aged and irascible father. An overly generous offer has been made for the house, but Michael refuses to sell.

Only after the stalemate is tragically broken do Nick and his siblings discover why their father was bound at all costs to reject the offer. Their desperate efforts to conceal the truth drag them into a deadly conflict with an unseen enemy, who seems as determined to force them into a confrontation with their family’s past as he is to conceal his own identity.

Nick realizes that the only way to escape from the trap their persecutor has set for them is to hunt him down, wherever -- and whoever -- he may be. But the hunt involves excavating a terrible secret from their father’s past. And, once that secret is known, nothing will ever be the same again.

Most Goddard books would fit a "time-ly" theme, but this one also fits a "relative" theme - being very much a family affair. Some great family interactions, an intriguing mystery, and Goddard's usual blending of past events into the present. It's an excellent read.

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
Overdrive | Scribd | RBdigital audiobook | RBdigital eBook | Amazon AU | Amazon CA | | Amazon US | Kobo AU | Kobo CA | Kobo UK | Kobo US

Spoiler:

Elan Mastai's acclaimed debut novel is a story of friendship and family, of unexpected journeys and alternate paths, and of love in its multitude of forms.

It's 2016, and in Tom Barren's world, technology has solved all of humanity's problems—there's no war, no poverty, no under-ripe avocadoes. Unfortunately, Tom isn't happy. He's lost the girl of his dreams. And what do you do when you're heartbroken and have a time machine? Something stupid.

Finding himself stranded in a terrible alternate reality—which we immediately recognize as our 2016—Tom is desperate to fix his mistake and go home. Right up until the moment he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and the woman who may just be the love of his life.

Now Tom faces an impossible choice. Go back to his perfect but loveless life. Or stay in our messy reality with a soulmate by his side. His search for the answer takes him across continents and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.

Filled with humor and heart and packed with insight, intelligence, and mind-bending invention, All Our Wrong Todays is a powerful and moving story of life, loss, and love.

Their Finest, by Lissa Evans
Amazon U.S. $1.99 | Kobo U.S. $9.99 | Google Play U.S. $9.99 | Amazon UK £1.99 | Kobo UK £1.99 | Amazon Canada $1.99 | Kobo Canada $1.99 | Amazon Australia $10.99 | Kobo Australia $10.99 | Overdrive | Scribd

Spoiler:

From the author of the acclaimed Crooked Heart comes another “smart, funny, ingenious, revealing tale of London life during the Second World War” (The Independent)—longlisted for the Orange Prize upon its original publication in England.

It is 1940. France has fallen, and only a narrow strip of sea lies between Great Britain and invasion. The war could go either way and everyone must do their bit. Young copy writer Catrin Cole is drafted into the Ministry of Information to help “write women” into propaganda films—something that the men aren’t very good at.

She is quickly seconded to the Ministry’s latest endeavor: a heart-warming tale of bravery and rescue at Dunkirk. It’s all completely fabricated, of course, but what does that matter when the nation’s morale is at stake? Since call-up has stripped the industry of its brightest and best, it is the callow, the jaded and the utterly unsuitable who must make up the numbers: Ambrose Hilliard, third most popular British film-star of 1924; Edith Beadmore, Madame Tussauds wardrobe assistant turned costumier; and Arthur Frith, whose peacetime job as a catering manager has not really prepared him for his sudden, unexpected elevation to Special Military Advisor.

Now in a serious world, in a nation under siege, they must all swallow their mutual distaste, ill-will, and mistrust to unite for the common good, for King and Country, and—in one case—for better or worse....

“Evans displays a fine eye for detail and for the absurdities involved in filming. She also brilliantly evokes the disruption and dangers of wartime London. This funny, heart-warming and beautifully crafted novel is a must-read.”—Daily Mail (London)

The Bay of Noon by Shirley Hazzard
Kobo US | Amazon US $7.99 for both | Scribd

Spoiler:

Long out of print, Shirley Hazzard's classic novel of love and memory.

A young Englishwoman working in Naples, Jenny comes to Italy fleeing a history that threatened to undo her. Alone in the fabulously ruined city, she idly follows up a letter of introduction from an acquaintance and so changes her life forever. Through the letter, she meets Giocanda, a beautiful and gifted writer, and Gianni, a famous Roman film director and Giocanda’s lover. At work she encounters Justin, a Scotsman whose inscrutability Jenny finds mysteriously attractive. As she becomes increasingly involved in the lives of these three, she discovers that the past--and the patterns of a lifetime--are not easily discarded. (From Goodreads.)

Shirley Hazzard was an Australian born writer, the daughter of diplomats, who among other things worked for British Intelligence in Hong Kong, monitoring civil war in China, and worked for the United Nations Secretariat in New York.

Naples '44: A World War II Diary of Occupied Italy by Norman Lewis
Amazon US $7.99 | Kobo US $8.69 | Amazon UK £5.69 | Kobo UK £6.47 | Kobo AU $10.88 | Amazon AU $9.49

Spoiler:

From Goodreads:

As a young intelligence officer stationed in Naples following its liberation from Nazi forces, Norman Lewis recorded the lives of a proud and vibrant people forced to survive on prostitution, thievery, and a desperate belief in miracles and cures. The most popular of Lewis's twenty-seven books, Naples '44 is a landmark poetic study of the agony of wartime occupation and its ability to bring out the worst, and often the best, in human nature. In prose both heartrending and comic, Lewis describes an era of disillusionment, escapism, and hysteria in which the Allied occupiers mete out justice unfairly and fail to provide basic necessities to the populace while Neapolitan citizens accuse each other of being Nazi spies, women offer their bodies to the same Allied soldiers whose supplies they steal for sale on the black market, and angry young men organize militias to oppose "temporary" foreign rule. Yet over the chaotic din, Lewis sings intimately of the essential dignity of the Neapolitan people, whose traditions of civility, courage, and generosity of spirit shine through daily. This essential World War II book is as timely a read as ever.


Time and Again by Jack Finney
Amazon UK | Kobo UK | Amazon US | Kobo US | Amazon CAN | Kobo CAN | Amazon AUS | Kobo AUS

Spoiler:

One of the most beloved tales of our time!
Science fiction, mystery, a passionate love story, and a detailed history of Old New York blend together in Jack Finney's spellbinding story of a young man enlisted in a secret Government experiment.
Transported from the mid-twentieth century to New York City in the year 1882, Si Morley walks the fashionable "Ladies' Mile" of Broadway, is enchanted by the jingling sleigh bells in Central Park, and solves a 20th-century mystery by discovering its 19th-century roots. Falling in love with a beautiful young woman, he ultimately finds himself forced to choose between his lives in the present and the past.
A story that will remain in the reader's memory, "Time and Again" is a remarkable blending of the troubled present and a nostalgic past, made vivid and extraordinarily moving by the images of a time that was...and perhaps still is.
--Goodreads

[ 88 replies ]


Sat February 03 2018

MobileRead Week in Review: 01/27 - 02/03

06:00 AM by Alexander Turcic in Miscellaneous | Week in Review

It's time again for our roundup on all the stuff we posted on our frontpage this past week.

E-Book General - News

E-Book General - Reading Recommendations


Thu February 01 2018

Nominations for March 2018 • The Book Came First

08:53 AM by issybird in Reading Recommendations | Book Clubs


Happy February and let's hope that Phil doesn't see his shadow tomorrow.

Help us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read for March 2018. The theme is The Book Came First: books adapted to screen. We mean that literally, for once, in that novelizations of films and shows don't count, nor books related to a screen franchise. The book had to come first!

The nominations will run through 9 AM EST February 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 March 15, 2018. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the first selection of the New Leaf Book Club, Passing, on February 15.

FAQs for the Nomination, Selection and Discussion process

General Guidelines for the New Leaf Book Club

Official choices with three nominations:

Story of Your Life, from Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
Amazon US | Amazon US, film tie-in edition | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Kobo US | Kobo UK | Kobo CA | Kobo AU

Spoiler:
Description of Story of Your Life (from me):

Two threads run through this story: a woman remembering her daughter growing up; and the woman being called as a linguistic expert to try and communicate with aliens that have landed. These two threads are related in an unexpected way.

Description for the book Stories of Your Life and Others (from Kobo):

With his masterful first collection, multiple-award-winning author Ted Chiang deftly blends human emotion and scientific rationalism in eight remarkably diverse stories, all told in his trademark precise and evocative prose.
From a soaring Babylonian tower that connects a flat Earth with the firmament above, to a world where angelic visitations are a wondrous and terrifying part of everyday life; from a neural modification that eliminates the appeal of physical beauty, to an alien language that challenges our very perception of time and reality. . . Chiang's rigorously imagined fantasia invites us to question our understanding of the universe and our place in it.

Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis
University of Adelaide - free (ePub and Kindle downloads) | Amazon UK - £2.23 | Amazon US - $2.99

Spoiler:

Universally recognized as a landmark in American literature, Elmer Gantry scandalized readers when it was first published, causing Sinclair Lewis to be "invited" to a jail cell in New Hampshire and to his own lynching in Virginia. His portrait of a golden-tongued evangelist who rises to power within his church--a saver of souls who lives a life of duplicity, sensuality, and ruthless self-indulgence--is also the record of a period, a reign of grotesque vulgarity, which but for Lewis would have left no trace of itself. Elmer Gantry has been called the greatest, most vital, and most penetrating study of hypocrisy that has been written since the works of Voltaire.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Overdrive | Kobo UK | Kobo US | Kobo CA | Kobo AU | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Spoiler:

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
FadedPage -- FREE | AmazonUS -- $9.99 | AmazonUK -- £5.99 | AmazonAU -- $2.04 | KoboUS -- $6.49 | KoboUK -- £5.49 | KoboCA -- $0.99 | AudibleUK -- £6.75 (or £5.99 WhisperSync) | AudibleUS -- $11.15 (or $8.49 WhisperSync )

Spoiler:

It is the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent twentieth-century classic.

This is a short book (132 pages in hardcover), it's FREE in Canada and Life+50 countries, and is both powerful and approachable. Really, if you read no other Hemingway, read this one.

Despite the Falling Snow Shamim Sarif
Amazon US -$3.99 | Kobo - $3.99 | Amazon CA - $5.99 | Amazon AU - $5.99 |
Amazon UK - £2.99 GBP | Overdrive | Scribd

Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

The action of Despite the Falling Snow moves between present day Boston and 1950s Moscow. After an early career amongst the political elite of Cold War Russia, Alexander Ivanov has lived in the States for forty years. Here he has built a successful business; and here he has managed to bury the tragic memories surrounding his charismatic late wife, Katya - or so he believes.

For into his life come two women - one who will start to open up the heart he has kept protected for so long; another who is determined to uncover the truth about what really happened to Katya all those years ago. The novel's journey back to the snowbound streets of post-Stalinist Moscow reveals a precarious, dangerous world of secrets and treachery.

“a perfectly balanced novel of love and tragedy.…The beauty of the streets of Moscow is a majestic backdrop to a play of mistrust and deception where friends, even the best of friends, can turn against each other in fear.” Waterstones

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
Amazon - $7.64 | Kobo - $11.99 | Amazon UK - £9.99

Spoiler:
Strangers on a Train (1950) is a psychological thriller novel by Patricia Highsmith about two men whose lives become entangled after one of them proposes they 'trade' murders. He then goes ahead and fulfills his end of the imaginary bargain, leading to fatal consequences for both.

It was adapted as a film in 1951 by director Alfred Hitchcock. It has since been adapted in whole or in part for film and television several times. The novel was adapted for radio in 2004 by Craig Warner, and adapted for the stage in 2013 (also by Warner). In 2015, it was announced that director David Fincher and writer Gillian Flynn are working on a remake for Warner Bros. that is said to be a "modern take" of the Hitchcock version.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller [GA Russell, Bookpossum, bfisher]
Amazon US | Kobo | Nook - $11.99 for all

Spoiler:
One wag said that it was written during Korea, set in World War II, but about Viet Nam!

Before the Fact by Francis Iles
Amazon - $4 | Amazon UK - £2 | Kobo Canada | Kobo UK

Spoiler:
This book is the basis for Hitchcock's film Suspicion, and has what I consider one of the grabbiest openings ever:

Some women give birth to murderers, some go to bed with them, and some marry them. Lina Aysgarth had lived with her husband for nearly eight years before she realized that she was married to a murderer.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Spoiler:
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep begat the movie Blade runner, which set the standard for the dystopian future in the 1980's and was an early entry in what became known as the cyberpunk sub-genre.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
1831 edition: MobileRead mobi | MobileRead epub
Original 1818 version: | MobileRead mobi

Spoiler:
At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

Still Life by Louise Penny Chief Inspector Gamache #1
AmazonCA -- $3.99 CAD | AmazonUK -- £2.99 |
AmazonUS -- $7.99 | AmazonAU - $4.99 | AudibleUS --$12.99 WhisperSync |
AudibleUK -- £6.49 WhisperSync | KoboUS -- $7.99 | KoboUK -- £2.99 | KoboAU -- $4.99 | KoboCA -- $3.99 | Overdrive

Spoiler:

From Goodreads:
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montréal and yet a world away. Jane Neal, a long-time resident of Three Pines, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it's a tragic hunting accident and nothing more but Gamache smells something foul this holiday season…and is soon certain that Jane died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.

With this award-winning first novel, Louise Penny introduces an engaging hero in Inspector Gamache, who commands his forces--and this series--with power, ingenuity, and charm.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Amazon | Kobo | Nook

Spoiler:

With the publication of her first novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers, all of twenty-three, became a literary sensation. With its profound sense of moral isolation and its compassionate glimpses into its characters' inner lives, the novel is considered McCullers' finest work, an enduring masterpiece first published by Houghton Mifflin in 1940. At its center is the deaf-mute John Singer, who becomes the confidant for various types of misfits in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Each one yearns for escape from small town life. When Singer's mute companion goes insane, Singer moves into the Kelly house, where Mick Kelly, the book's heroine (and loosely based on McCullers), finds solace in her music. Wonderfully attuned to the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition, and with a deft sense for racial tensions in the South, McCullers spins a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated—and, through Mick Kelly, gives voice to the quiet, intensely personal search for beauty.

Richard Wright praised Carson McCullers for her ability "to rise above the pressures of her environment and embrace white and black humanity in one sweep of apprehension and tenderness." She writes "with a sweep and certainty that are overwhelming," said the New York Times. McCullers became an overnight literary sensation, but her novel has endured, just as timely and powerful today as when it was first published. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is Carson McCullers at her most compassionate, endearing best.

The Body by Stephen King, from his collection of four novellas Different Seasons
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Kobo US | Kobo UK | Kobo CA | Kobo AU

Spoiler:
Description of The Body (from me):

Gordon Lachance, the narrator 20 years on, tells how he and three other 12yo boys, Chris Chambers, Vern Tessio and Teddy Duchamp, went to see a dead body. The body was that of Ray Brower, a boy much their own age, he had been hit by a train - he was known to be missing, the police were still searching for him.

Description of Different Seasons (from Amazon):

Read the original stories which became the celebrated films STAND BY ME, APT PUPIL and THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, voted the world's most popular movie.

In this classic collection of four novellas, the grand master takes you on irresistible journeys into the far reaches of horror, heartache and hope.

Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is the story of two men convicted of murder - one guilty, one innocent - who form the perfect partnership as they dream up a scheme to escape from prison.

In Apt Pupil a golden schoolboy entices an old man with a past to join in a dreadful union.

The Body sees four young boys venture into the woods and find life, death . . . and the end of innocence.

The Breathing Method is the tale of a doctor who goes to his club and discovers a woman determined to give birth - no matter what.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Amazon UK - £4.99 | Amazon CAN - $8.99 | Amazon US - $7.99 | Amazon Oz - $12.99 | Kobo US - $7.99 | [Kobo UK | Kobo AU | Kobo CA | Overdrive

Nominations:

***Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck [orlok, CRussel, dazrin]
Amazon UK - £4.99 | Amazon CAN - $8.99 | Amazon US - $7.99 | Amazon Oz - $12.99 | Kobo US - $7.99 | [Kobo UK | Kobo AU | Kobo CA | Overdrive

***The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman [JSWolf, Bookworm_Girl, June]
Overdrive | Kobo UK | Kobo US | Kobo CA | Kobo AU | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Spoiler:

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

***The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway [CRussel, orlok, JSWolf]
FadedPage -- FREE | AmazonUS -- $9.99 | AmazonUK -- £5.99 | AmazonAU -- $2.04 | KoboUS -- $6.49 | KoboUK -- £5.49 | KoboCA -- $0.99 | AudibleUK -- £6.75 (or £5.99 WhisperSync) | AudibleUS -- $11.15 (or $8.49 WhisperSync )

Spoiler:

It is the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent twentieth-century classic.

This is a short book (132 pages in hardcover), it's FREE in Canada and Life+50 countries, and is both powerful and approachable. Really, if you read no other Hemingway, read this one.

***Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis [issybird, bfisher, latepaul]
University of Adelaide - free (ePub and Kindle downloads) | Amazon UK - £2.23 | Amazon US - $2.99

Spoiler:

Universally recognized as a landmark in American literature, Elmer Gantry scandalized readers when it was first published, causing Sinclair Lewis to be "invited" to a jail cell in New Hampshire and to his own lynching in Virginia. His portrait of a golden-tongued evangelist who rises to power within his church--a saver of souls who lives a life of duplicity, sensuality, and ruthless self-indulgence--is also the record of a period, a reign of grotesque vulgarity, which but for Lewis would have left no trace of itself. Elmer Gantry has been called the greatest, most vital, and most penetrating study of hypocrisy that has been written since the works of Voltaire.

***Story of Your Life, from Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang [gmw, Alohamora, Dazrin]
Amazon US | Amazon US, film tie-in edition | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Kobo US | Kobo UK | Kobo CA | Kobo AU

Spoiler:
Description of Story of Your Life (from me):

Two threads run through this story: a woman remembering her daughter growing up; and the woman being called as a linguistic expert to try and communicate with aliens that have landed. These two threads are related in an unexpected way.

Description for the book Stories of Your Life and Others (from Kobo):

With his masterful first collection, multiple-award-winning author Ted Chiang deftly blends human emotion and scientific rationalism in eight remarkably diverse stories, all told in his trademark precise and evocative prose.
From a soaring Babylonian tower that connects a flat Earth with the firmament above, to a world where angelic visitations are a wondrous and terrifying part of everyday life; from a neural modification that eliminates the appeal of physical beauty, to an alien language that challenges our very perception of time and reality. . . Chiang's rigorously imagined fantasia invites us to question our understanding of the universe and our place in it.

***Catch-22 by Joseph Heller [GA Russell, Bookpossum, bfisher]
Amazon US | Kobo | Nook - $11.99 for all

Spoiler:
One wag said that it was written during Korea, set in World War II, but about Viet Nam!

***Despite the Falling Snow by Shamim Sarif [Bookworm_Girl, Bookpossum, gmw]
Amazon US -$3.99 | Kobo - $3.99 | Amazon CA - $5.99 | Amazon AU - $5.99 |
Amazon UK - £2.99 GBP | Overdrive | Scribd

Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

The action of Despite the Falling Snow moves between present day Boston and 1950s Moscow. After an early career amongst the political elite of Cold War Russia, Alexander Ivanov has lived in the States for forty years. Here he has built a successful business; and here he has managed to bury the tragic memories surrounding his charismatic late wife, Katya - or so he believes.

For into his life come two women - one who will start to open up the heart he has kept protected for so long; another who is determined to uncover the truth about what really happened to Katya all those years ago. The novel's journey back to the snowbound streets of post-Stalinist Moscow reveals a precarious, dangerous world of secrets and treachery.

“a perfectly balanced novel of love and tragedy.…The beauty of the streets of Moscow is a majestic backdrop to a play of mistrust and deception where friends, even the best of friends, can turn against each other in fear.” Waterstones

*M*A*S*H [Ralph Sir Edward]

Spoiler:
To read the parts that both the movie and TV series left out. . .

***Frankenstein by Mary Shelley [latepaul, June, Catlady]
1831 edition: MobileRead mobi | MobileRead epub
Original 1818 version: | MobileRead mobi

Spoiler:
At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

***Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith [astrangerhere, Bookpossum, bfisher]
Amazon - $7.64 | Kobo - $11.99 | Amazon UK - £9.99

Spoiler:
Strangers on a Train (1950) is a psychological thriller novel by Patricia Highsmith about two men whose lives become entangled after one of them proposes they 'trade' murders. He then goes ahead and fulfills his end of the imaginary bargain, leading to fatal consequences for both.

It was adapted as a film in 1951 by director Alfred Hitchcock. It has since been adapted in whole or in part for film and television several times. The novel was adapted for radio in 2004 by Craig Warner, and adapted for the stage in 2013 (also by Warner). In 2015, it was announced that director David Fincher and writer Gillian Flynn are working on a remake for Warner Bros. that is said to be a "modern take" of the Hitchcock version.

***Before the Fact by Francis Iles [Catlady, issybird, June]
Amazon - $4 | Amazon UK - £2 | Kobo Canada | Kobo UK

Spoiler:
This book is the basis for Hitchcock's film Suspicion, and has what I consider one of the grabbiest openings ever:

Some women give birth to murderers, some go to bed with them, and some marry them. Lina Aysgarth had lived with her husband for nearly eight years before she realized that she was married to a murderer.

***A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick [dangrsone, orlok, Alohamora]

***Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick [dangrsone, GA Russell, astrangerhere]

Spoiler:
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep begat the movie Blade runner, which set the standard for the dystopian future in the 1980's and was an early entry in what became known as the cyberpunk sub-genre.

***Still Life by Louise Penny Chief Inspector Gamache #1 [CRussel, JSWolf, Alohamora]
AmazonCA -- $3.99 CAD | AmazonUK -- £2.99 |
AmazonUS -- $7.99 | AmazonAU - $4.99 | AudibleUS --$12.99 WhisperSync |
AudibleUK -- £6.49 WhisperSync | KoboUS -- $7.99 | KoboUK -- £2.99 | KoboAU -- $4.99 | KoboCA -- $3.99 | Overdrive

Spoiler:

From Goodreads:
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montréal and yet a world away. Jane Neal, a long-time resident of Three Pines, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it's a tragic hunting accident and nothing more but Gamache smells something foul this holiday season…and is soon certain that Jane died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.

With this award-winning first novel, Louise Penny introduces an engaging hero in Inspector Gamache, who commands his forces--and this series--with power, ingenuity, and charm.

*The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe [Catlady]
Amazon | Kobo | Google all US$12.99, but also in OverDrive |
Amazon UK | Kobo UK - both £4.99

Spoiler:

When Rona Jaffe’s superb page-turner was first published in 1958, it changed contemporary fiction forever. Some readers were shocked, but millions more were electrified when they saw themselves reflected in its story of five young employees of a New York publishing company. Almost sixty years later, The Best of Everything remains touchingly—and sometimes hilariously—true to the personal and professional struggles women face in the city. There’s Ivy League Caroline, who dreams of graduating from the typing pool to an editor’s office; naïve country girl April, who within months of hitting town reinvents herself as the woman every man wants on his arm; and Gregg, the free-spirited actress with a secret yearning for domesticity. Jaffe follows their adventures with intelligence, sympathy, and prose as sharp as a paper cut.

The book was made into a wonderfully trashy, glossy soap-opera-ish movie, with a star-studded cast: Joan Crawford, Hope Lange, Diane Baker, Suzy Parker, Stephen Boyd, Louis Jourdan, Martha Hyer.

***The Body by Stephen King, from his collection of four novellas Different Seasons [gmw, dangersone, binaryhermit]
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Kobo US | Kobo UK | Kobo CA | Kobo AU

Spoiler:
Description of The Body (from me):

Gordon Lachance, the narrator 20 years on, tells how he and three other 12yo boys, Chris Chambers, Vern Tessio and Teddy Duchamp, went to see a dead body. The body was that of Ray Brower, a boy much their own age, he had been hit by a train - he was known to be missing, the police were still searching for him.

Description of Different Seasons (from Amazon):

Read the original stories which became the celebrated films STAND BY ME, APT PUPIL and THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, voted the world's most popular movie.

In this classic collection of four novellas, the grand master takes you on irresistible journeys into the far reaches of horror, heartache and hope.

Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is the story of two men convicted of murder - one guilty, one innocent - who form the perfect partnership as they dream up a scheme to escape from prison.

In Apt Pupil a golden schoolboy entices an old man with a past to join in a dreadful union.

The Body sees four young boys venture into the woods and find life, death . . . and the end of innocence.

The Breathing Method is the tale of a doctor who goes to his club and discovers a woman determined to give birth - no matter what.

***The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers [drofgnal, issybird, astrangerhere]
Amazon | Kobo | Nook

Spoiler:

With the publication of her first novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers, all of twenty-three, became a literary sensation. With its profound sense of moral isolation and its compassionate glimpses into its characters' inner lives, the novel is considered McCullers' finest work, an enduring masterpiece first published by Houghton Mifflin in 1940. At its center is the deaf-mute John Singer, who becomes the confidant for various types of misfits in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Each one yearns for escape from small town life. When Singer's mute companion goes insane, Singer moves into the Kelly house, where Mick Kelly, the book's heroine (and loosely based on McCullers), finds solace in her music. Wonderfully attuned to the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition, and with a deft sense for racial tensions in the South, McCullers spins a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated—and, through Mick Kelly, gives voice to the quiet, intensely personal search for beauty.

Richard Wright praised Carson McCullers for her ability "to rise above the pressures of her environment and embrace white and black humanity in one sweep of apprehension and tenderness." She writes "with a sweep and certainty that are overwhelming," said the New York Times. McCullers became an overnight literary sensation, but her novel has endured, just as timely and powerful today as when it was first published. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is Carson McCullers at her most compassionate, endearing best.

[ 102 replies ]


Tue January 30 2018

Order of Ontario Appointments

11:49 AM by PeterT in E-Book General | News

Proud to say that one of our members has been recognised

https://news.ontario.ca/mci/en/2018/...f-ontario.html


The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Chancellor of the Order of Ontario, today announced 23 new appointments to the Order of Ontario, the province's highest honour.

The 23 new members of the Order of Ontario include:
Internationally renowned pediatrician Dr. Upton Allen, whose approaches to treating hospital-borne diseases have prevented the deaths of countless children
...

  • Celebrated science-fiction author Robert J. Sawyer, who has published 23 novels and is a champion of the Canadian fiction industry.

...

[ 18 replies ]




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