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Suggestions for the January/February Fiction Selection 
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Post Suggestions for the January/February Fiction Selection
The process for choosing the bi-monthly fiction reading begins with suggestions made by BookTalk users, and ends with a poll in which users vote between three nominations. These nominations are chosen by the mods (based mostly on community interest) from the suggestions made at the beginning of the cycle.

The November/December Fiction Book will be decided upon soon; see the current poll to vote on the three nominations. Any suggestions you have for future fiction selections should be made in this thread.

How do I make a suggestions?
Simply reply to this post, in this thread, with your suggestions. 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. Make as many suggestions as you like, but please, only suggest books you'd like to read and discuss with the group.

Also use this thread to discuss suggestions that other people have made. We encourage you to say why you support or oppose a particular suggestion, as this helps us decide later on which books will make it onto the poll. As a BookTalk contributer, you have a stake in deciding what we'll be reading as a community.

So talk it up! Make your voice heard!




Mon Oct 23, 2006 8:54 pm
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Post Re: Suggestions for the January/February Fiction Selection
Heh; I know I'm starting the suggestion thread a little early this time around (we still have a little less than a week before we finish voting for the current round), but I wanted to get a few suggestions off my chest. Such are the perks of responsibility.

AidingandAbetting, by Muriel Spark

This one looks like a fun read, and Muriel Sparks is hardly a featherweight, so it should provide a nice balance between provoking discussion and keeping us entertained. Plus, it has a little known historical backdrop, so it's informative to boot. And, dammit, I like the cover -- so there!

And, as is traditional, here's the blurb from Amazon so you don't have to go far to figure out what the book is about:

From Publishers Weekly
Terse, astringent and blessed with a wicked satiric wit, Spark has been casting a jaundiced eye on British society in more than 20 works of fiction, including Memento Mori and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Here she spins an inspired "what-if" scenario on the criminal career of the notorious seventh Earl of Lucan, convicted in absentia in 1974 of bludgeoning his children's nanny to death and severely wounding his wife, before eluding the police and leaving the country. It was clear at the time, Spark reminds readers, that "Lucky" Lucan could not have avoided capture unless he was liberally supplied with funds, undoubtedly by other members of the arrogant aristocracy who considered class loyalty more important than justice, and whose warped morality convinced them that they were above the law. Spark's ingenious plot, set in the present, features two men who identify themselves as the fugitive Lucan when they (separately) consult a notorious Paris psychiatrist, Hildegard Wolf. Wolf's unconventional methods have made her famous, but in this case she is bewildered by the situation until one of the men threatens her with blackmail. Lucan, it turns out, is not the only one with blood on his hands. Wolf was born Beate Pappenheim in Bavaria, and under that name perpetrated a notorious scam in which she passed herself off as a stigmatic, creating her "wounds" with her menstrual blood. After soliciting contributions to perform "miracles," she absconded with millions. As the narrative unfolds, the reader is immersed in a puzzling maze with three characters who are all imposters and fraudsDone of whom is a murderer, too. Only a writer of Spark's caliber could get away with the coincidences in the blatantly manipulated plot but, then again, she writes brilliantly about the criminal mind. (Feb. 20)

Edited by: MadArchitect at: 10/23/06 10:12 pm



Mon Oct 23, 2006 9:03 pm
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Post Re: Suggestions for the January/February Fiction Selection
Saul Bellow's one of those writers I've been meaning to check into for some time now, and he's been receiving a lot of attention in the last year or so in the wake of his death in April of last year. I chose this book mostly because it's short and I liked the plot description on the back; "Auggie March" would probably be the more traditional choice, but I'm not much of a traditionalists. I think we'll be better able as a group to absorb a book this size, and the theme ought to give us plenty to talk about.

Seize the Day, by Saul Bellow

Amazon's page for the book lacks a description, and the publisher provides only a small blurb, so the following is from Wikipedia:
Seize the Day, first published in 1956, is considered (by, for example, prominent critic James Wood) one of the great literary works by Saul Bellow. Seize the Day was Bellow's fourth novel (or perhaps novella, given its short length). It was written in the 1950s, a formative period in the creation of the middle class in the United States.

Plot introduction
The story centers around a day in the life of Wilhelm Adler (aka Tommy Wilhelm), a failed actor in his forties. Wilhelm is unemployed, impecunious, separated from his wife (who refuses to agree to a divorce), and estranged from his children and his father. He is also stuck with the same immaturity and lack of insight which has brought him to failure. In "Seize the Day" Wilhelm experiences a day of reckoning as he is forced to examine his life and to finally accept the "burden of self" and forgive himself and others.




Mon Oct 23, 2006 9:11 pm
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Post Re: Suggestions for the January/February Fiction Selection
One more suggestion tonight, and then I'll turn it over to you guys. This one is hot off the presses:

The Road, Cormac McCarthy

McCarthy's another one of those modern American heavyweights that I've been meaning to read for some time now -- sort of a literary Sam Peckinpah. His new book looks like as good a place to start as any. It's getting good write-ups, and it's got an interesting premise, so it might be worthwhile considering it for our next reading.

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Violence, in McCarthy's postapocalyptic tour de force, has been visited worldwide in the form of a "long shear of light and then a series of low concussions" that leaves cities and forests burned, birds and fish dead and the earth shrouded in gray clouds of ash. In this landscape, an unnamed man and his young son journey down a road to get to the sea. (The man's wife, who gave birth to the boy after calamity struck, has killed herself.) They carry blankets and scavenged food in a shopping cart, and the man is armed with a revolver loaded with his last two bullets. Beyond the ever-present possibility of starvation lies the threat of roving bands of cannibalistic thugs. The man assures the boy that the two of them are "good guys," but from the way his father treats other stray survivors the boy sees that his father has turned into an amoral survivalist, tenuously attached to the morality of the past by his fierce love for his son. McCarthy establishes himself here as the closest thing in American literature to an Old Testament prophet, trolling the blackest registers of human emotion to create a haunting and grim novel about civilization's slow death after the power goes out.




Mon Oct 23, 2006 9:16 pm
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Post Re: Suggestions for the January/February Fiction Selection
Aiding and Abetting, by Muriel Spark, sounds intriguing.




Mon Oct 23, 2006 10:09 pm
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Post Re: Suggestions for the January/February Fiction Selection
Seize the Day, by Saul Bellow, sounds rather dry and boring. Obviously, my opinion is based solely on what I've read in your copied and pasted description. I can't see myself wanting to spend my money and time on a book that dwells on a day in the life of anyone other than a historical figure.

Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 10/23/06 11:14 pm



Mon Oct 23, 2006 10:13 pm
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Post Re: Suggestions for the January/February Fiction Selection
The Road, Cormac McCarthy, looks awesome. ::80




Mon Oct 23, 2006 10:17 pm
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Post Re: Suggestions for the January/February Fiction Selection
Well, in defence of "Seize the Day", it's considered by some one of Bellow's best books, and he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 73. Studs Terkel claims that Bellow once called him a Stalinist, but Terkel still admitted to thinking that "Seize the Day" was brilliant.

But it's a matter of personal taste, I suppose. I can think, offhand, of several books I like quite a bit, whose plot can be described as a day in the life of a fictional character -- "Catcher in the Rye" comes to mind. But if that isn't up your alley, then it just isn't.




Mon Oct 23, 2006 10:48 pm
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Post Re: Suggestions for the January/February Fiction Selection
Chris:

Quote:
I can't see myself wanting to spend my money and time on a book that dwells on a day in the life of anyone other than a historical figure.


Wow...really? I would tend to think that most of us have more in common with non-historical figures and thus could gain from a study of a 'normal' life, for then we could read about real issues and matters in everyday life...and it is fiction, so this was not even a real life anyway!

This sounds interesting to me.

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Tue Oct 24, 2006 8:43 am
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Post Re: Suggestions for the January/February Fiction Selection
Yeah, you're probably right. Let's see what other people have to say about each of the book choices. I could be swayed and change my vote distribution. ::171




Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:02 pm
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Post Re: Suggestions for the January/February Fiction Selection
What about fight club I think it worths a discussion or maybe something about traveling like the beach, they'll sure generate a lot of posts ;)

I like Paul Auster's books very much and in the same line I will suggest moon palace, let's have a good discussion to begin the year, vote one of this books, you wont regret ;)

Tyler Durden: Listen to me . . . you have to consider the possibility that God does not like you. He never wanted you. In all probability, he hates you. (fight club quote)




Sun Oct 29, 2006 4:58 am
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