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Fiction suggestions needed for Jan./Feb. discussion 
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Post Fiction suggestions needed for Jan./Feb. discussion
It's time to start thinking about what book of fiction we would like to discuss during the months of January and February.

Please add your fiction book suggestions here and remember to add a link to the book you are recommending. Feel free to add whether or not you have already read the book you are suggesting, and why you feel it would make for a good discussion. Comments on the books suggested are crucial to deciding which books will go into the official poll. Please leave feedback on the suggested novels, without feedback, it is impossible to determine which books will generate the best discussions.

Members who are eligible to nominate books are those members who have made a minimum of 25 posts. The goal for our fiction discussion is to attract active members who will participate in the discussion of the book of fiction that is ultimately selected.

The novels which receive the most positive feedback will be placed in a poll open to all members with 25 or more posts. Personal taste in books of fiction varies greatly. Please keep this in mind and be respectful when making any negative comments.

I'm looking forward to seeing the suggestions.



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Chris OConnor
Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:04 pm
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Post Re: Fiction suggestions needed for Jan./Feb. discussion
I started reading this book over the weekend.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel by Susanna Clarke
http://www.amazon.com/Jonathan-Strange- ... 1582346038
Quote:
Amazon.com Review
It's 1808 and that Corsican upstart Napoleon is battering the English army and navy. Enter Mr. Norrell, a fusty but ambitious scholar from the Yorkshire countryside and the first practical magician in hundreds of years. What better way to demonstrate his revival of British magic than to change the course of the Napoleonic wars? Susanna Clarke's ingenious first novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, has the cleverness and lightness of touch of the Harry Potter series, but is less a fairy tale of good versus evil than a fantastic comedy of manners, complete with elaborate false footnotes, occasional period spellings, and a dense, lively mythology teeming beneath the narrative. Mr. Norrell moves to London to establish his influence in government circles, devising such powerful illusions as an 11-day blockade of French ports by English ships fabricated from rainwater. But however skillful his magic, his vanity provides an Achilles heel, and the differing ambitions of his more glamorous apprentice, Jonathan Strange, threaten to topple all that Mr. Norrell has achieved. A sparkling debut from Susanna Clarke--and it's not all fairy dust.

From Publishers Weekly
The drawing room social comedies of early 19th-century Britain are infused with the powerful forces of English folklore and fantasy in this extraordinary novel of two magicians who attempt to restore English magic in the age of Napoleon. In Clarke's world, gentlemen scholars pore over the magical history of England, which is dominated by the Raven King, a human who mastered magic from the lands of faerie. The study is purely theoretical until Mr. Norrell, a reclusive, mistrustful bookworm, reveals that he is capable of producing magic and becomes the toast of London society, while an impetuous young aristocrat named Jonathan Strange tumbles into the practice, too, and finds himself quickly mastering it. Though irritated by the reticent Norrell, Strange becomes the magician's first pupil, and the British government is soon using their skills. Mr. Strange serves under Wellington in the Napoleonic Wars (in a series of wonderful historical scenes), but afterward the younger magician finds himself unable to accept Norrell's restrictive views of magic's proper place and sets out to create a new age of magic by himself. Clarke manages to portray magic as both a believably complex and tedious labor, and an eerie world of signs and wonders where every object may have secret meaning. London politics and talking stones are portrayed with equal realism and seem indisputably part of the same England, as signs indicate that the Raven King may return. The chock-full, old-fashioned narrative (supplemented with deft footnotes to fill in the ignorant reader on incidents in magical history) may seem a bit stiff and mannered at first, but immersion in the mesmerizing story reveals its intimacy, humor and insight, and will enchant readers of fantasy and literary fiction alike.



Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:31 am
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Post Re: Fiction suggestions needed for Jan./Feb. discussion
I am somewhat surprised to find that BookTalk.org has never read Pilgrim's Progress. Regarding this book, Wikipedia says: "The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come is a Christian allegory written by John Bunyan and published in February, 1678. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature,[1] has been translated into more than 200 languages, and has never been out of print.[

I nominate Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan


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Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:28 am
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Post Re: Fiction suggestions needed for Jan./Feb. discussion
Here's a link for "Pilgrim's Progress"


http://www.amazon.com/Pilgrims-Progress ... 0916441245



Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:38 am
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Post Re: Fiction suggestions needed for Jan./Feb. discussion
Pilgrim's Progress is a great idea. I'd definitely participate!


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Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:19 am
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Post Re: Fiction suggestions needed for Jan./Feb. discussion
JulianTheApostate wrote:
I started reading this book over the weekend.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel by Susanna Clarke



You know, I just checked out the amazon reviews out of curiosity... I was a bit wary of another vampire thriller or harry potter at first... but I think I'll add this to my queue, it seems fun and promises to give a cool perspective on magic.

I've recently acquired a Kindle, and thousands of free books along with it, which means I'm sort of up to my neck in popular classics right now. So I'm going to suggest some of the ones I have on my reading list:


Right, who am I kidding, if you guys ever want to read a popular classic just name one and I am there baby xD.
The only bad thing about having a Kindle is that there's literally not enough time to read all the books you can get on it for free.



Last edited by VMLM on Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:33 am, edited 2 times in total.



Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:24 am
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Post Re: Fiction suggestions needed for Jan./Feb. discussion
JulianTheApostate wrote:
I started reading this book over the weekend.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel by Susanna Clarke
http://www.amazon.com/Jonathan-Strange- ... 1582346038

I'm over 200 pages into that book, since I took it home with me for Thanksgiving. Now it's probably not the best book suggestion, for a few reasons. It's long (over 1000 pages), a little dull, and doesn't provide that much to discuss.

Here's another possibility:

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
http://www.amazon.com/Lacuna-Novel-P-S- ... 0060852585
Quote:
From Publishers Weekly
Kingsolver's ambitious new novel, her first in nine years (after the The Poisonwood Bible), focuses on Harrison William Shepherd, the product of a divorced American father and a Mexican mother. After getting kicked out of his American military academy, Harrison spends his formative years in Mexico in the 1930s in the household of Diego Rivera; his wife, Frida Kahlo; and their houseguest, Leon Trotsky, who is hiding from Soviet assassins. After Trotsky is assassinated, Harrison returns to the U.S., settling down in Asheville, N.C., where he becomes an author of historical potboilers (e.g., Vassals of Majesty) and is later investigated as a possible subversive. Narrated in the form of letters, diary entries and newspaper clippings, the novel takes a while to get going, but once it does, it achieves a rare dramatic power that reaches its emotional peak when Harrison wittily and eloquently defends himself before the House Un-American Activities Committee (on the panel is a young Dick Nixon). Employed by the American imagination, is how one character describes Harrison, a term that could apply equally to Kingsolver as she masterfully resurrects a dark period in American history with the assured hand of a true literary artist.

From Bookmarks Magazine
The Lacuna contains two very distinct parts. One features a vibrant Mexican landscape with the equally colorful personalities of Rivera, Kahlo, and Trotsky. The other centers more on Harrison's reclusive existence in small-town America and his battle with the House Un-American Activities Committee. Despite the prodigious research that both parts exhibit, critics clearly preferred the former, marveling at Kingsolver's lyrical passages and her expert recreation of 1930s Mexico. A few reviewers also noted instances of sermonizing and inaccurate history. However, the novel's compelling, engrossing story certainly outweighed these minor complaints, and in the end, Kingsolver has created a convincing "tableau vivant of epochs and people that time has transformed almost past recognition" (New York Times Book Review).



Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:32 am
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Post Re: Fiction suggestions needed for Jan./Feb. discussion
May I be so bold as to suggest my own Pink Noise? The requested information about the book can be found in the following thread on this forum:

topic9426.html
http://www.amazon.com/Pink-Noise-Posthu ... 297&sr=8-2

Briefly: The story explores the subtle but important differences between human and digital intelligences, the price of immortality and, ultimately, what it means to be human.

Among the highlights: Pink Noise was featured on BoingBoing.net and chosen as Book of the Month by SFBook.com.

Leo



Last edited by silverberry on Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:31 am
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Post Re: Fiction suggestions needed for Jan./Feb. discussion
I'd prefer The Poisonwood Bible by Kingsolver. The Lacuna wasn't as stirring.

http://www.amazon.com/Poisonwood-Bible- ... 758&sr=1-1



Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:58 am
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Post Re: Fiction suggestions needed for Jan./Feb. discussion
The Tortilla Curtain was not chosen last time, but is still a good option.
http://www.amazon.com/Tortilla-Curtain- ... 735&sr=1-1



Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:03 am
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Post Re: Fiction suggestions needed for Jan./Feb. discussion
I just came across a little gem. Luka and the Fire of Life by Salmon Rushdie.

http://www.amazon.com/Luka-Fire-Life-Sa ... 889&sr=1-1



Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:09 pm
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Post Re: Fiction suggestions needed for Jan./Feb. discussion
Thank you silverberry for introducing your novel for consideration. I have read the reviews for "Pink Noise" and what I find interesting is that it is called a "prose poem". Also, it would be unique to discuss a novel with the author. Thanks again.

Below you will find a link to the collection of classics from Easton Press. For those who enjoy classic literature, please take a look at this list and nominate one or two that are of interest. Please remember to add a link, and please, fiction selections only. http://www.listology.com/list/easton-pr ... er-written

My suggestion from this list is:

The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas

http://www.amazon.com/Count-Monte-Crist ... 0140449264

Quote:
The story takes place in France, Italy, islands in the Mediterranean and the Levant during the historical events of 1815–1838 (from just before the Hundred Days through to the reign of Louis-Philippe of France). The historical setting is a fundamental element of the book. It is an adventure story primarily concerned with themes of hope, justice, vengeance, mercy and forgiveness.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Count_of_Monte_Cristo

Now this novel is lengthy. However, this novel has been highly praised by many readers here at BT. A novel of this length, 1300 pages would require a third month. The goal of a great discussion is to keep interest alive. A novel of length and depth may achieve this goal.

"Pilgrims Progress", which has been suggested is also from the Easton Press list. I would be interested in participating in a discussion of this novel.

We do need to select a book shortly. The top three-four novels with the most positive feedback will be placed in a poll for voting. Feedback is crucial! Please make your suggestions soon, and don't forget to leave feedback on the books nominated. :)



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Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:25 pm
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Post Re: Fiction suggestions needed for Jan./Feb. discussion
I recently started reading The Count of Monte Cristo, so I second that suggestion.

On the front cover of my copy, Robert Louis Stevenson calls it "a piece of perfect storytelling"

From a random book review:
Quote:
As translator Robin Buss points out in his introduction, many of those who haven't read The Count of Monte Cristo assume it is a children's adventure story, complete with daring prison escape culminating in a simple tale of revenge. There is very little for children in this very adult tale, however. Instead, the rich plot combines intrigue, betrayal, theft, drugs, adultery, presumed infanticide, torture, suicide, poisoning, murder, lesbianism, and unconventional revenge. http://www.slywy.com/bookreviews/cristo.html



Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:45 pm
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Post Re: Fiction suggestions needed for Jan./Feb. discussion
The Brother K by David James Duncan
http://www.amazon.com/Brothers-K-David- ... 362&sr=8-1
Has anyone read The Brothers K? It’s a fascinating blend of religion, atheism, and agnosticism all played out in the stories of four brothers growing up in a religiously divided home. (The mother’s a Seventh Day Adventist; the father a skeptic.) I guess you could say it’s a modern take-off of The Brothers Karamazov but in this case the setting is the 60’s with all its issues including the Vietnam War. Expect violence. Expect language. But not without very witty dialogue and life-like characterizations. This book took me closer than I wanted to go to the Vietnam War, an insane assylum, sexual abuse and the ins and outs of baseball (no pun intended!) but was nevertheless the best book I’ve read all year! Despite its length (645pg.) you don’t want it to be over when the end comes. (And it's nicely 'chunked' up into individual incidents that allow plenty of opportunity for interruptions.) This was my first time reading David James Duncan. I highly recommend his writing. I’d love to have the opportunity to re-visit this book and discuss it here!
-----------------

I'd also be open to a good classic like Pilgrim's Progress or the Count of Monte Cristo, but the Brothers K would be my top pick! Don't miss it.


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Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:32 pm
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Post Re: Fiction suggestions needed for Jan./Feb. discussion
I would read Pilgrim's Progress.



Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:53 pm
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