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November & December 2006 FICTION suggestions! 
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Post November & December 2006 FICTION suggestions!
November & December 2006 FICTION suggestions!


Please start making your fiction suggestions now. Include the book title, author, Amazon.com link, and any comments you wish to say as to why you think your suggestion would be good as a fiction selection here on BookTalk.




Fri Aug 25, 2006 10:37 pm
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Post Re: November & December 2006 FICTION suggestions!
The Keep by Jennifer Egan

ABOUT THIS BOOK

From National Book Award finalist Jennifer Egan, author of Look at Me ("Brilliantly unnerving . . . A haunting, sharp, splendidly articulate novel"



Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:35 pm
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Post Re: November & December 2006 FICTION suggestions!
I would like to suggest "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" by Kim Edwards. www.amazon.com/Memory-Kee...60?ie=UTF8

Here is a bit of a review from the amazon website "I don't read a lot of fiction and I most especially do not read romances. I'm not sure how this book is categorized but it is the most compulsively readable, emotional, and memorable book I've read since "Gone With the Wind" over 40 years ago. This is an epic story of a doctor who, in an emotional moment and with all his medical knowledge telling him to protect those he loves, makes a decision that affects him and everyone around him forever. On a blizzardly night in 1964, David Henry helps his wife give birth to twins, one a perfect boy and the other a girl with Downs Syndrome. At that time, imperfect children were "put away" in institutions where they died young and families and friends spoke of them in shame-filled whispers, if at all. David grew up with a very sickly sister whose death at age 12 ended all meaningful life for his parents. With all good intentions of sparing his wife and new son the pain he and his parents endured, he made a fateful decision and told his wife the little girl had died at birth. It was a decision that, once made, could not be redeemed nor remedied. Time inexorably moves away from that moment but, instead of becoming distant, it grows tentacles that seize their beings and influence everything for the next three decades. We learn a photograph can capture a moment but it cannot tell you what encompasses it, what came before and after. It cannot effect change, it cannot correct. One moment, one choice, and an ever-widening circle of consequences, many roads taken and many not."

Discussion of ethics and morality in the face of past heartache could be lively.

Funda




Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:54 pm


Post Re: November & December 2006 FICTION suggestions!
From the nominations for the previous month: The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe

I haven't read anything by a Japanese author. The reviews seem to be very positive.

Amazon.com
This beautiful novel by one of Japan's most important writers is also one of the most strangely terrifying and memorable books you'll ever read. The Woman in the Dunes is the story of an amateur entomologist who wanders alone into a remote seaside village in pursuit of a rare beetle he wants to add to his collection. But the townspeople take him prisoner. They lower him into the sand-pit home of a young widow, a pariah in the poor community, who the villagers have condemned to a life of shoveling back the ever-encroaching dunes that threaten to bury the town. An amazing book.

The New York Times Book Review
Abe follows with meticulous precision his hero's constantly shifting physical, emotional and psychological states. He also presents...everyday existence in a sand pit with such compelling realism that these passages serve both to heighten the credibility of the bizarre plot and subtly increase the interior tensions of the novel.

Saturday Review
Some of Kobo Abe's readers will recall Kafka's manipulation of a nightmarish tyranny of the unknown, others Beckett's selection of sites like the sand pit...as a symbol of the undignified human predicament.

Book Description
One of the premier Japanese novels of the twentieth century, The Women in the Dunes combines the essence of myth, suspense, and the existential novel. In a remote seaside village, Niki Jumpei, a teacher and amateur entomologist, is held captive with a young woman at the bottom of a vast sand pit where, Sisyphus-like, they are pressed into shoveling off the ever-advancing sand dunes that threaten the village.

Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 9/12/06 8:32 pm



Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:22 am


Post Re: November & December 2006 FICTION suggestions!
This isn't a Japanese author, but he writes Japanese historical fiction. I don't know how acurrate his history is, but I hear this is a great book representing Japanese history. The reviews are high. It's a part of a series, but I guess you don't have to read them in any order; they don't actually follow each other. I have it on my to-read shelf. Here's a review by someone on Amazon.

Amazon.com
Reviewer:        Patrick Shepherd "hyperpat" (San Jose, CA USA) -

'Historical' fiction is something of a misnomer, as books placed in this category are almost always fiction first and 'historical' only in time and setting. Shogun, however, comes close to being a true example of this field, detailing the late 16th century exploration and exploitation of the Orient by the Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, and English. As few Americans are aware of some of the atrocities and cruelties committed in the name of crown and religion during this period, some of the scenes depicted in this book may come as shock. But they provide an excellent background portrait of the European mind-set of those times, a palette that Clavell uses to contrast and define the extraordinarily different culture of the Japan of that time.

And it is his portrait of the Japanese, his lovingly detailed characterizations of Toranaga, Mariko, Omi and their deeply intertwined interactions with the English pilot Blackthorne that defines and breathes life into this breathtakingly large and complex story of love, war, and political intrigue. And these characters are not static. Each grows and changes as events unfold, most especially Blackthorne himself, growing from a totally self-centered 'barbarian' of unclean habits to a person who can appreciate the beauty, intelligence, and moral rectitude of others, who comes to care deeply for those around him, who comes to understand a philosophy of life totally different from that of his own culture. The reader will eventually take each of these characters into his heart, will live right along with them and their problems, cares, successes, and failures, until they are almost more real than the mundane world the reader inhabits.

Is this book totally historically accurate? No, but it doesn't really need to be. It is a fictional account of one of the defining moments of Japanese history, with all the requirements of a work of fiction, written for an American audience, and certain items have yielded to literary license to make the story more approachable by the reader. Certainly Toranaga would not have played chess, but would American readers have understood 'Go' as metaphor for Toranaga's deep political machinations? As a story, a tale of high adventure, as a hard look at alternative life philosophies, as an exposition of a very exotic time, place, and culture, this work succeeds on almost every level. This is an excellent read that will expand your horizons and enrich your life, entertain you and satisfy your inner craving for something different from the every-day world of today.




Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:16 pm
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Post Re: November & December 2006 FICTION suggestions!
Any additional suggestions? Mad will be creating a poll soon so speak up or forever hold your piece (of literature).




Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:40 am
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Post Re: November & December 2006 FICTION suggestions!
Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors
I own this book but have only read the first chapter. I strongly endorse it from what I've personally read and due to the great reviews all over the web. John Shors has repeatedly volunteered to do a live author chat here on BookTalk.

From Publishers Weekly
Shors's spirited debut novel tells the story of the eldest daughter of the 17th-century emperor who built the Taj Mahal. From her self-imposed exile, Jahanara recalls growing up in the Red Fort; the devotion her parents, Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, had for each other; and the events that took place during the construction of the fabulous monument to their love. Although Jahan is the emperor and has many wives, Mumtaz (he calls her Taj) is his soul mate, a constant companion and wise political consultant. She even travels with him into battle, where she eventually dies giving birth to their 14th child. Fortunately, she has the foresight to begin preparing her favorite daughter, Jahanara, by instructing the girl in the arts of influence and political strategy. Thus the young woman is able to pick up where her savvy mother left off. From then on it is Jahanara who advises the emperor, often instead of her dreamy brother, Dara, who is the rightful heir to the throne. It is she who helps with construction of the magnificent mausoleum for Mumtaz's remains and who falls in love with its architect, Isa, a man whom she can never marry. And it is she who leads a failed effort to defend the throne against a coup by her evil brother, Aurangzeb. With infectious enthusiasm and just enough careful attention to detail, Shors give a real sense of the times, bringing the world of imperial Hindustan and its royal inhabitants to vivid life.
Copyright



Wed Oct 18, 2006 11:29 pm
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Post Re: November & December 2006 FICTION suggestions!
This one looks like a book that plenty of members would want to read!

Literature from the Axis of Evil and Other Enemy Nations by Alane Mason

Book Description
Short stories and fiction excerpts from Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, Sudan, and other countries from whom the government would rather we didn't hear.

"Not knowing what the rest of the world is thinking and writing is both dangerous and boring."



Wed Oct 18, 2006 11:32 pm
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Post Re: November & December 2006 FICTION suggestions!
A few last minute additions before we throw a poll at you guys. Think these over.

Trailerpark, by Russell Banks

Russell Banks is one of the few contemporary authors that I feel really compelled to read, and I thought this might make a good introduction. It's a collection of related short stories, which should make it more accessible to people who don't have a lot of time to commit to the fiction readings, but they're all connected, so I think it fits as well here as it would in "Short Story Discussions".

Book Description
Get to know the colorful cast of characters at the Granite State Trailerpark, where Flora in number 11 keeps more than a hundred guinea pigs andscreams at people to stay away from her babies, Claudel in number 5 thinks he is lucky until his wife burns down their trailer and runs off with Howie Leeke, and Noni in number 7 has telephone conversations with Jesus and tells the police about them. In this series of related short stories, Russell Banks offers gripping, realistic portrayals of individual Americans and paints a portrait of New England life that is at once dark, witty, and revealing.

The Unicorn, by Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch wrote one of my favorite novels, "The Bell", and I've been meaning to read more of her fiction, so I thought I'd put one forward as a suggestion for the quarterly selection. Maybe that way I'll finally get around to it.

Review
"Miss Murdoch has taken the stock elements of the Gothic novel and wrung hell out of them... a strange combination of fairy tale and blood-and-thunder." --Books and Bookmen

Book Description
When Marian Taylor takes a post as governess at Gaze Castle, a remote house on a desolate coast, she finds herself confronted with a number of weird mysteries and involved in a drama she only partly understands.

One more suggestion...
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, by Philip K. Dick

Dick is the guy who wrote the stories that eventually became "Blade Runner", "Total Recall" and "Minority Report". He blended science fiction, philosophy and counter culture into a kind of popular mind-bending genre. I've read a few of his books, and I enjoyed them more than most science fiction I've read. They also give plenty of food for thought, or in this case, discussion, so it might be worth our while to give one a try as a quarterly selection.

Book Description
In this wildly disorienting funhouse of a novel, populated by God-like--or perhaps Satanic--takeover artists and corporate psychics, Philip K. Dick explores mysteries that were once the property of St. Paul and Aquinas. His wit, compassion, and knife-edged irony make The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch moving as well as genuinely visionary.




Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:07 pm
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Post Re: November & December 2006 FICTION suggestions!
Since we're not getting much involvement in this thread we're going to have to make some decisions on our own.




Sun Oct 22, 2006 12:31 pm
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