Official Book Selection Poll
February & March 2006 FICTION book selection!
Please read these directions BEFORE you vote!
How long will the poll stay open?
This poll is opening on Tuesday, January 10th, and will remain open until Thursday, January 19th. This is a total of 10 full days. Order your book right after the poll closes and you should have it before the reading period begins on February 1st.Who can vote?
All active members are invited and encouraged to vote and participate in our book selection process, but please follow these rules:
Only cast a vote if you have 10 or more posts on our forums. If you don't have at least 10 you should have no problem jumping into some discussion threads and meeting this rather relaxed criterion.
Don't vote if you don't plan on reading and discussing the winning book. And please understand that only one fiction book can win, but we are counting on you to actively participate independent of which book wins the poll. You matter and we need every member to participate.How do I vote?
If you are an active member with 10 or more total posts AND you plan on participating in the discussion THEN you are permitted to cast a total of 3 votes. You can use your three votes however you see fit, which could mean assigning all three votes to just one of the book choices, or distributing the three points over the book choices according to your own interest level for each book. You should make a brief post to this thread telling everyone how you wish to distribute your three votes. Nothing further needs to be said, but you're welcome to be as verbose as you like. Just make it crystal clear how you are voting.
It is inevitable that some people will either forget to cast all three votes or will not have read this entire post. They will simply vote on one book. If this happens I will be assigning all three of their votes to the one book they selected.
You are permitted to change your vote during the voting period, but not after I close the poll. The poll is closed on the last day of the polling period as stated above.
This thread can be used as an open discussion of the books on the poll. You're welcome to try to sell people on a particular book, or dissuade them from another. NOTE:
As always, we will need a discussion leader that is willing to be very active in the reading and discussion of the winning book. If you are up to the task please let us all know in this thread.
Please don't nominate yourself if you will not be active. Being active means checking the forum just about every day and making posts regularly. Regularly means a few times each week at the minimum.
Being a discussion leader does not entail being an authority on the subject matter or defending the author's position. You simply need to attempt to stimulate discussion.
And here are our FICTION book choices for our February and March 2006 reading period. Please read about all three before casting your votes. Think hard about which book will be the most probable to stimulate quality discussion. May the best book win!
Drum roll please...
Memories of My Melancholy Whores
by Gabriel Garcia MarquezAmazon.com
"The year I turned ninety, I wanted to give myself the gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin." So begins Memories of My Melancholy Whores
, and it becomes even more unlikely as the novel unfolds. This slim volume contains the story of the sad life of an unnamed, only slightly talented Colombian journalist and teacher, never married, never in love, living in the crumbling family manse. He calls Rosa Cabarcas, madame of the city's most successful brothel, to seek her assistance. Rosa tells him his wish is impossible--and then calls right back to say that she has found the perfect girl.
The protagonist says of himself: "I have never gone to bed with a woman I didn't pay ... by the time I was fifty there were 514 women with whom I had been at least once ... My public life, on the other hand, was lacking in interest: both parents dead, a bachelor without a future, a mediocre journalist ... and a favorite of caricaturists because of my exemplary ugliness."
The girl is 14 and works all day in a factory attaching buttons in order to provide for her family. Rosa gives her a combination of bromide and valerian to drink to calm her nerves, and when the prospective lover arrives, she is sound asleep. Now the story really begins. The nonagenarian is not a sex-starved adventurer; he is a tender voyeur. Throughout his 90th year, he continues to meet the girl and watch her sleep. He says, "This was something new for me. I was ignorant of the arts of seduction and had always chosen my brides for a night at random, more for their price than their charms, and we had made love without love, half-dressed most of the time and always in the dark, so we could imagine ourselves as better than we were ... That night I discovered the improbably pleasure of contemplating the body of a sleeping woman without the urgencies of desire or the obstacles of modesty."
Marquez's style never falters throughout this recounting of his life and his exploration of love, found at an unexpected time and place. The erstwhile lover is still capable of being surprised--and fulfilled. After an absence of ten years, it is a treat to have another parable from the master. --Valerie RyanFrom Publishers Weekly
Garcia Marquez's slim, reflective contribution to the romance of the brothel, his first book-length fiction in a decade, is narrated by perhaps the greatest connoisseur ever of girls for hire. After a lifetime spent in the arms of prostitutes (514 when he loses count at age 50), the unnamed journalist protagonist decides that his gift to himself on his 90th birthday will be a night with an adolescent virgin. But age, followed by the unexpected blossoming of love, disrupts his plans, and he finds himself wooing the allotted 14-year-old in silence for a year, sitting beside her as she sleeps and contemplating a life idly spent. Flashes of Garcia Marquez's brilliant imagery