Official Book Selection Poll
2nd Quarter 2006 FICTION book POLL!
Please read these directions BEFORE you vote!
How long will the poll stay open?
This poll is opening on Tuesday, March 7th, 2006, and will remain open until Thursday, March 16th. 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 April 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 regularly and making posts quite often. It doesn't mean living in the forum and posting daily.
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 2nd Quarter 2006 (April, May, & June) 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...
by Ismail Kadare From Publishers Weekly
Albanian novelist Kadare (The Concert), living in political exile in France since 1991, spins cogent tales about the temptations and evils of totalitarian bureaucracy. His latest carries a universal message. Set in ancient Egypt-where Pharaoh Cheops oversees the construction of his tomb, the highest, most majestic pyramid ever, to be built by tens of thousands of his brainwashed subjects-the novel's hypnotically Kafkaesque narrative exposes the alienating, destructive effects of investing unquestioned power in a ruler, a state or a religion. The massive pyramid devours Egypt's resources and energies. Thousands die as it rises ever higher, and Cheops, depicted as a power-mad lunatic who craves adulation, periodically unleashes waves of arrests and torture of those falsely accused of sabotaging the project. Analogies to Stalin's paranoia, bloody purges and other terrors spring to mind, but the story takes on a broader meaning, demonstrating how a state or a ruling elite can mold public opinion so that its citizens willingly act against their own best interests. As the narrative closes, it leaps ahead centuries to display Timur the Lame (Tamerlane) erecting in central Asia a pyramid made of 70,000 skulls. Through this closing image, and the horrors that precede it, Kadare again proves himself a master of the political parable.From Library Journal
In ancient Egypt, Pharaoh Cheops declares that he does not want a pyramid built to house him after death, but when the terrified priests argue that building the pyramids is an important task that has always kept the populace occupied and hence compliant, he relents. Soon the construction of the grandest pyramid of them all obssesses the people, who are at first elated but soon crushed by the reign of terror that results, as suspected saboteurs are tortured and men die daily while putting in place the huge stones. In a refreshingly clear, bold style, Kadare (The Concert, LJ 10/1/94) ably depicts the misuse of power and the hollow results for all involved. An effective political fable from one of Albania's few novelists, now living in France; for most collections.From Booklist
Kadare imagines that Cheops, the twenty-sixth-century B.C. pharaoh responsible for the largest of Egypt's pyramids, at first contemplates not building the great structure. Dismayed, his ministers set out to convince him of the necessity of pyramids. They explain that pyramids really have "no connection with tombs or death" but are devices for social control; the enormous expense of materials, time, and labor involved in making pyramids keeps the people from the temptations of prosperity--worst among them, resistance to authority. Cheops capitulates to his ministers' argument, and the rest of Kadare's reconception of ancient history portrays pharaonic Egypt as a brutal totalitarianism highly suggestive of Kadare's homeland, Albania, under its late Communist regime. Shot through with elegantly minimalist wry humor and utterly excluding any hope for even benevolent tyranny, let alone democracy, this is a reverse dystopia; that is, it is a vision of a past rather than, as in such prime dystopias as Orwell's 1984 and Zamyatin's We, a future whose ostensible glories are totally compromised by political repression.
by Orson Scott Card New York Times
Intense is the word for Ender's Game. Aliens have attacked Earth twice and almost destroyed the human species. To make sure humans win the next encounter, the world government has taken to breeding military geniuses -- and then training them in the arts of war... The early training, not surprisingly, takes the form of 'games'... Ender Wiggin is a genius among geniuses; he wins all the games... He is smart enough to know that time is running out. But is he smart enough to save the planet? From Publishers Weekly
For the 20th anniversary of Card's Hugo and Nebula Award