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What FICTION books would make for a great discussion? 
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 What FICTION books would make for a great discussion?
Before we create a poll to select a fiction book lets have a discussion about how we can make the next fiction discussion a success. Ideally we want at least 5 people actively participating and many more would be wonderful.

Should we limit the book choices to the classics? Audio books? Books available only for free?

Maybe the poll should only consists of fiction books that have received some sort of book award.

What are your ideas? And are you interested in participating in a fiction discussion?



Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:12 am
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Post Re: What FICTION books would make for a great discussion?
I don't know how to solve this problem. When I serve as a "Discussion Leader" it would probably help to ask questions that get people talking. But not everybody gets the same questions from a given work of fiction.

Teaching theory suggests that good discussion questions are
1. Open-ended. "Choose your favorite X" is not so good, but if you add, "and say why" it opens up a little. Better is "would you have made a different decision?" or even "have you ever found yourself in a situation this reminds you of?" Best is more like "Why do you think some people are like that?"

2. Emotionally involving. If people care about the issue, they will get into it.

3. Connected to lots of other stuff. Discussion should probably end up wandering down unpredictable alleyways.

This is unlike my typical approach. For this I apologize, but then, most of us just jump in with whatever seems relevant, which is pretty much my typical approach.



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Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:09 am
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Post Re: What FICTION books would make for a great discussion?
On how to choose a particular fiction book, we might rate the books with subratings, like "Will you read the book anyway if the group doesn't choose it?" or "What things you've heard about it make you interested in selecting it?" We get some of that already in comments.

It's still going to involve nominations and the commitment issue. I am (apparently) getting over the cash flow crunch that made me hang back quite a bit. My wife and I are back to buying books just because, instead of treating them like an expensive night out that has to be just right.



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Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:13 am
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Post Re: What FICTION books would make for a great discussion?
I've never been a big fiction reader, but I recently created a real-world book club that is reading through a traditional selection of the "Great Books." So far it's a small group, and we're finishing The Iliad, going right into The Odyssey and then some of the Greek tragedies (not necessarily sticking to chronological order after that, and not sure if we'll do non-fiction). So I'm following the philosophy that these books are not only worth reading carefully, but there's also something there to discuss. You could have a book with a great story, but maybe there's not much to talk about other than "I liked/disliked X and Y"

Always wondered why it seems so difficult to get an online reading group together (not just BookTalk but in general) -- you should be able to take any well-known book, and find 50 people who will start reading it at any given time.

For the BT fiction selections, I’ll propose what I’m reading and see if there are any takers.



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Sat Jan 26, 2019 7:51 am
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Post Re: What FICTION books would make for a great discussion?
'The Promised Land' - Erich Maria Remarque.



Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:08 am
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Post Re: What FICTION books would make for a great discussion?
I've been thinking lately that The Book of the Duncow might be a good book for discussion. This is one of those rare books I am always willing to reread. As always, a good discussion needs people who are willing to read and discuss. So I'll throw it out there to see if anyone is interested.

https://www.amazon.com/Book-Dun-Cow-Wal ... 386&sr=1-1

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The timeless National Book Award-winning story of the epic struggle between good and evil.

“Far and away the most literate and intelligent story of the year … Mr. Wangerin’s allegorical fantasy about the age-old struggle between good and evil produces a resonance; it is a taut string plucked that reverberates in memory” —New York Times

“Belongs on the shelf with Animal Farm, Watership Down and The Lord of the Rings. It is, like them, an absorbing, fanciful parade of the war between good and evil. A powerful and enjoyable work of the imagination.” —Los Angeles Times

In a time when the sun revolved around the Earth, and the animals could speak, Chauntecleer the Rooster rules justly over his kingdom. But while peace reigns for Chauntecleer, evil is brewing across the river, as the monstrous Cockatrice pillages his own lands and people, preparing for the return of Wyrm.

Imprisoned within the Earth to contain this ancient evil, Wyrm is determined to return, with the help of Cockatrice. Keeping Wyrm in his prison is a task too great for any individual animal, so it is up to Chantecleer to rally all of the animals, great and small, to work together to keep the Earth safe once again.

“Good and evil were never seen more distinctly not pitted more ferociously than in this animal fable, reverberating with the righteousness of the Bible or a medieval morality play … The animals are not mere literary symbols but are invested with a humanness all their won.” —The Saturday Evening Post


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Post Re: What FICTION books would make for a great discussion?
Huh. The Book of the Dun Cow sounds interesting, especially since I knew the author's brother pretty well (Walter Wangerin's brother Greg), back 20 years ago. I picked up an old paperback of the book at a sale some years after, but it languished on the shelf because nobody told me it was an award winner and a good read. Now it is in a box.



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Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:44 am
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Post Re: What FICTION books would make for a great discussion?
In general I feel like the following things get me excited about talking a book over with someone else. They don't all have to be present, but having more than one seems to help a lot.

Historical backdrop: literature serves as a great reflection of the times in which they are written, either directly because it's the setting of the narrative, or indirectly by signalling cultural/moral/political concerns that are salient at the time of writing. Recently the discussion surrounding The Master and Margarita gave us a good historical look at Stalinist USSR, or alternatively Les Misérables' view of 19th century France and the political turmoil that served as a backdrop to much of the book.

Themes that speak to the human condition: books that have a thick, juicy subtext are great for discussion as they keep the reader on his toes as well as speaking to things we can generally understand at least one side of. For example, Frankenstein's science vs. religion theme, or the pre-enlightenment vs enlightenment Europe, or even creator vs creation themes are all worthy of lengthy discussion both within the context of the story, but also generalised out to their effects beyond just the story.

Informative while not being instructive: novels that teach us a lot about a way of life, another culture, or a period in history while not "feeling" like you're being taught it do double duty in my mind. For example, Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha, which I understand he researched for 10 years before finishing, gives a very in depth look at pre-war Japan, but also informs a great deal about the Japanese as a people as well as how they view the world. I felt like I had learned an awful lot I didn't know about Japan, the geisha, and that period without reading a more rigorous history or cultural study.

Double readings/interpretations of the story or story themes: some stories lend themselves quite readily to a double entendre type reading of the themes or even narrative, and I often miss the alternate explanations/interpretations of these works. This is obviously dependent on having someone who can see the work through different eyes than oneself, but I am always amazed at my own inability to envision a story in a completely different way than I already had (e.g. The Grapes of Wrath as apologetics for socialism)

Lasting influence: Most classics got the moniker because they were good reads, but many of them have gone on to have a lasting impact on culture or are commonly referenced in culture (e.g. Frankenstein, The Sound and the Fury, The Stranger, the work of Jane Austin, Atlas Shrugged, etc.)

Quality of writing: sometimes an author's writing is so enjoyable you can actually get into discussing the mechanics and diction in the writing. It's not my favourite aspect of writing to discuss, but with a sufficiently interesting author, it can be a joy.

Besides all of that, I like a good read for enjoyment alone, but I really feel like I'm getting more out of a work of fiction if it can do double duty through one of the ways above.



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Post Re: What FICTION books would make for a great discussion?
.
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Switch it up. If we have a topical fiction book, perhaps from the bestseller lists this time, next time let's have a work of fiction that's made a significant impact on the Western Canon.


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Post Re: What FICTION books would make for a great discussion?
Litwitlou wrote:
.
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Switch it up. If we have a topical fiction book, perhaps from the bestseller lists this time, next time let's have a work of fiction that's made a significant impact on the Western Canon.


That sounds agreeable to me. It should give us a nice mix of things without getting "stuck" in one aspect of literature, and provide a big enough mix that people would hopefully get to try some stuff they haven't seen before.

Select at random a book from the NYT Bestseller's List, The Lifetime Reading Plan, Nobel Literature, and an another like the Dublin Literary Awards?



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Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:23 pm
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Post Re: What FICTION books would make for a great discussion?
My proposals, in order of approximate preference:

1. The Book of the Dun Cow

2. The Fault in Our Stars (John Green) with rather thin review on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Fault-Our-Stars- ... 223&sr=1-2

3. The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah)

https://www.amazon.com/Nightingale-Nove ... 1250080401

The second two are mainly for the reputed quality of writing. I suspect the themes in the Nightingale may be a little overdone, but apparently she does a good job with rendering characters and depth within that.



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Post Re: What FICTION books would make for a great discussion?
Amy's Secret qualifies for that; an unputdownable psychological suspense - thriller. If you are kinda uninspired by the common, notable books that mostly follow the same script/storyline- & hence are predictable, then perhaps you would want to read this different novel. An uncommon- for it's from a debutant- yet gripping novel. Discover & enjoy!
-- amazon.com/author/joseph.k

The book will be offered for free one of these coming days, so let's be on the lookout....



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Post Re: What FICTION books would make for a great discussion?
Hello everyone, I am new to the sight. I am also a new Children's Book Author. This is my first book and I really need some feedback from people who love to read as well as other Author's. I also need reviews. I would really appreciate if all of you would consider taking time to read my book for your discussion. It's only 24 pages and can be read in less than 30 min. It is available for a limited time as a free eBook at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QGL9HCC.
It is a true story called Ember: The Shelter Cat. I know it is not what you normally read however it would be truly helpful. If you do like the story a review on the Amazon website would be really appreciated. Either way, good or bad I would like to get you opinions on my book, so I know if I have what it takes to be a Children's Book Author.

Your consideration would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you



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Post Re: What FICTION books would make for a great discussion?
I would definitely love to discuss and hear about Hanif Kureishi's literature. Because it is such an outside-insider voice and speaks of the degenerative and luscious powers of desire and faith.

And to pick another favorite would be Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. IT would be quite interesting to discuss any of his books actually. And of course, Chimamanda Adichie's short stories. They are just so eloquent and descriptive.



Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:48 am
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Post Re: What FICTION books would make for a great discussion?
Litwitlou wrote:
.
.
Switch it up. If we have a topical fiction book, perhaps from the bestseller lists this time, next time let's have a work of fiction that's made a significant impact on the Western Canon.

That is a very good idea.

KevinMcCabe recommends Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky in another thread.

I'll add It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis. Written in 1935, it describes how fascism could come to America. Reading it now, has some parallels with today...



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