June Fiction: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Well, I gave the poll a week in hopes of getting more votes...but too late, people, too late. The dye, it is cast. 

The choice of the masses, well...handful, is The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, winner of this year's Man Booker Prize. 

I am actually quite excited, as I have been wanting to read this, but haven't yet (unlike several other titles I listed :). I am confident that we, who chose to take on this task, will feel like quite the literati once we've waded through the 800+ pages of this laureled novel.

Here's the NYT Book Review of it: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/17/books/review/eleanor-cattons-booker-prize-winning-luminaries.html?_r=0

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Alrighy now! Poll is posted - please go participate in our literary democracy!

Seemed people liked the Lake Harriet idea so I am going with it! We can meet at the bandshell and then move up onto the grassy knoll to the north of the bandshell. Hell, maybe we'll even score picnic tables! (Bring blankets/towels/chairs in case we don't though. 

There is a cafe there, Bread and Pickle with fries and hotdogs and ice cream and such. However, I encourage people to bring some potluck type things to share: chips, bread, cheese, salad, fruit, wine (can we drink in the parks here?!)...whatever says summer-time picnic to you. 

If it rains...well, I still need to figure that out so stay tuned I guess.

**************

I have some ideas for the June fiction (enumerated below) and am open to more suggestions - so pitch me. I will set up a poll next weekend (Sunday) with the 5-8 works that generate the most interest (or that interest me). So please - share your opinions, ideas and preferences!

Also, for location I am thinking a park - perhaps Lake Harriet? Picnic potluck, anyone? (Weather willing...)

You may notice that my suggestions below are a bit...thematic: post-apocalypse! I am just naming a few stars of this deep and dark genre - and not even my favorites...(The Road by C. McCarthy if you must know).
Of course, please feel free to suggest non-apocalypse related works. They will also happily be considered. Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban
"Russell Hoban's 'Riddley Walker' is that rare novel that can be loved by doomster geeks and literary readers alike. It's narrated in a language burnt to its rudiments by nuclear holocaust and revived into new forms by survivors in England who live as hunters, and who believe in a past that's half history, half myth." —Michael Helm

The Pesthouse by Jim Crace
"In this postapocalyptic picaresque from Whitbread-winner Crace (for Quarantine), America has regressed to medieval conditions. After a forgotten eco-reaction in the distant past, the U.S. government, economy and society have collapsed... with crop yields and fish runs mysteriously dwindling, most are trekking to the Atlantic coast to take ships to the promised land of Europe...Heading east, naïve farm boy Franklin teams up with Margaret, a recovering victim of the mysterious "flux" whose shaven head (mark of the unclean) causes passersby to shun her. Their love blossoms amid misadventures in an anarchic landscape. Crace's ninth novel leaves the U.S. impoverished, backward, fearful and abandoned by history. Less crushing than Cormac McCarthy's The Road and less over-the-top than Matthew Sharpe's Jamestown (to name two recent postapocalyptos), Crace's fable is an engrossing, if not completely convincing, outline of the shape of things to come." Publishers Weekly The Children of Men by P. D. James
"The human race has become infertile, and the last generation to be born is now adult. Civilization itself is crumbling as suicide and despair become commonplace. Oxford historian Theodore Faron, apathetic toward a future without a future, spends most of his time reminiscing. Then he is approached by Julian, a bright, attractive woman who wants him to help get her an audience with his cousin, the powerful Warden of England. She and her band of unlikely revolutionaries may just awaken his desire to live . . . and they may also hold the key to survival for the human race." Amazon

The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10273413/Will-Self-on-JG-Ballards-The-Drowned-World.html

And for something less end-of-the-worldy (that I've been wanting to read):
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize, a breathtaking feat of storytelling where everything is connected, but nothing is as it seems.... It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

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  • Sandra

    Sorry to miss the discussion, but I have too much on my plate today. I am really enjoying this book so far. If anyone is hungry I recommend checking out the Rabbit Hole at the Midtown Global Market. Great Korean fusion food!

    June 15

  • Michelle B

    I'm not going to make it today. not feeling well today. Enjoy the global market, sound like a great venue!

    June 15

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry I will be missing the discussion. It finally just did't work out.
    I appreciate the indoor locations in this very bad allergy year, and look forward to one that meets at a cafe or other place without mold, pollen, bugs, and page-turner wind.

    June 15

  • Heather R.

    :/ I knew if I changed the location it would turn sunny. Fricking *knew* it. At 9am this morning every weather site said rain until 6pm...
    Anyhoo, would still be too wet to sit down.
    Hopefully we'll do July outside.

    1 · June 15

  • Heather R.

    Well, I was really hoping the weather would come to its senses...but I guess not.
    Please meet at MIDTOWN GLOBAL MARKET, in the seating area near the STAGE, which is due north (straight) from the LAKE STREET ENTRANCE. If it is too noisy there we can go to the other seating area further from the entrance. There is parking to the west of the building in a lot, very cheap. Also there is a parking garage to the east.

    I will also send an email...

    June 15

  • Chris H.

    Since Lake Harriet has the covered pavilion next to the Bread and Pickle kiosk, what say we hold off about the weather until we've all gotten together under that roof, and then move en masse to a mutually agreed rainsite if it's very bad outside? There's usually a dozen folks, we can achieve consensus on the spot without bloodshed (I hope!).

    1 · June 14

    • Chris H.

      I'm just overly-hopeful. Which is silly, now that Saturday turned out to be so bad for weather. Sunday is supposed to be more of the same, and moving indoors would be smarter, all-in-all.

      June 15

    • Chris H.

      Midtown Global Market is looking a lot better after yesterday, Heather!

      June 15

  • Barbara T.

    Please count me as a "maybe." Forgot it's Father's Day and going to take Mom out to lunch do she's not home alone. Will meet up with you if the timing works.

    June 14

  • Amy

    Any sounds good to me. Another idea is namaste cafe on hennepin. They have tea, food and appetizers. Because it is in an old house there are different rooms. Tasty, but not generally crowded. Uncommon Grounds on hennepin has a similar set up, but seems to be more crowded.

    1 · June 14

  • Elizabeth

    Have you thought to check out Sebastian Joe's in Linden Hills?

    June 14

    • Heather R.

      *of there, not if there :)

      June 14

    • Chris H.

      you're typing on ur phone again, huh?

      June 14

  • Heather R.

    I have been looking into reserving library rooms, but how would people feel about Midtown Global Market? They have seating in a food court and oodles of options for food, including one of MPLS's best bakeries - Salty Tart. I went to a coffee meet-up there once and it seemed to have lots of space and lots of yummy options. I am still trying to figure out whether it will be clearing up by afternoon tomorrow...

    June 14

  • Heather R.

    Hmmmmm Any suggestions for a place to meet Sunday??? Looks like it's going to rain all day... I will look into some options in MPLS.

    June 13

  • Heather R.

    Don't know about ya'll but I am really liking the book so far...Tangled webs!

    June 3

    • Chris H.

      Oh, H. - you would be able to get a headstart on us mere mortals. We tortoises can only say: no spoilers! :)

      June 3

  • Barbara T.

    Just joined the group. How long do gatherings usually go?

    1 · June 3

    • Chris H.

      Around one and a half hours. Sometimes a bit more or less, if the group is cookin' or not. Sometimes we socialize before or after also. It's all up to you though - if you need to leave early, we won't judge (aloud!). Sometimes one is late - okay, it happens. We're sorta nice that way. ;-)

      2 · June 3

    • Heather R.

      Welcome to the group Barbara. As Chris indicated, we're fun folk and none too stuffy.

      1 · June 3

  • KarenF

    How about "The Yiddish Policeman's Union," by Michael Chabon. It's alternate history/noir.

    "For sixty years Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a "temporary" safe haven created in the wake of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. The Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant and complex frontier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. But now the District is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end.

    ... At once a gripping whodunit, a love story, and an exploration of the mysteries of exile and redemption, The Yiddish Policemen's Union is a novel only Michael Chabon could have written."

    1 · April 29, 2014

    • Ana M.

      I want to read this one so bad! It has been on my "to do" list for like 5 years now.....::kicks self:: I need to get on it

      1 · May 27

    • Chris H.

      Don't know if you are interested in LISTENING to Chabon's book, Tat, but I did and it was good, and I still have my MP3 copy. Let me know if it would help you "git 'er done". (what a mixed cultural metaphor, eh?)

      May 27

  • Heather R.

    Just a heads up people - this is a time investment: 800+ pages. You may want to buy it earlier than a week beforehand (talking to myself here) :-)

    May 15, 2014

  • Heather R.

    Ze poll, it has been posted. Vote, and tell your friends to vote!

    1 · May 7, 2014

    • Doug

      Um, I don't have friends, and my dog can't read.....

      May 8, 2014

    • Doug

      as far as I know.

      May 8, 2014

  • Chris H.

    ummm, Heather? Is the single choice in the poll a glitch, or ... has Tat taught you too well the meaning of "sorta democracy"? (Just askin')

    2 · May 7, 2014

  • Heather R.

    Mmmmm, well, the weekend totally got away from me. I will try to post a poll tonight or tomorrow.

    1 · May 6, 2014

  • Doug

    "THE SERPENT'S DISCIPLE"
    Fiction Thriller set in Italy
    Watch the "Book Trailer" on YouTube
    and on Website: www.deborahstevensauthor.com
    Available in: Paperback & eBook
    www.deborahstevensauthor.com & Amazon.com Local author who would like us to review her book. Interested in coming to the discussion, as well, if we want her to. Book got good reviews on Amazon.

    May 5, 2014

  • Michelle B

    Interested in the Drowned World J.G. Ballard or The Luminaires by Eleanor Catton. Looking forward to getting outside - crossing fingers....

    May 4, 2014

  • Chris H.

    What a dark streak you have for being such a nice lady! While I have checked out 'Riddley Walker' from your earlier recommendation, I will lean towards 'The Luminaries' by Eleanor Catton. It may be a bit of a challenge, but the reviews whet my appetite for something with style. Hope it lives up to the hype, since an 800 page audiobook from Audible.com will be a big commitment. (Maybe I should start now?) ... ;-)

    1 · April 29, 2014

    • Heather R.

      Ummmm....maaaaybe. I would say I have nothing to do with that, but that would not be the case - I think I may have lobbied for it. But it is really good! :)

      April 30, 2014

    • Doug

      What happened to mayhaps????

      1 · May 1, 2014

  • Chris H.

    That's a good book also, Karen. Chabon has his share of style and writing talent. We might like to do this book - vote early, vote often! (heh).

    April 29, 2014

  • Doug

    Lake Harriet sounds awesome, and I am up for a picnic lunch. No opinion on the book; I like at least attempting to read stuff other people suggest. Of course, I am 0-2 on the last two books.

    April 29, 2014

  • Deborah

    Liking The Pesthouse and Lake Harriet would be great!

    April 29, 2014

  • Chris H.

    Oh yeah, the Lake Harriet bandshell area would be excellent. Especially with that Bread and Pickle place to eat right there. I would approve of such a choice!

    April 29, 2014

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