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Book Lovers Club @ Flyleaf Books Message Board Book Lovers Monthly Meetup @ Flyleaf Books Discussion Forum › Book choices for the year ahead

Book choices for the year ahead

Evelyn D.
EvelynDaniel
Group Organizer
Chapel Hill, NC
Post #: 1
I believe Janna agreed to moderate this discussion forum -- that's assuming we can all get on board with making it work correctly -- smile.

I did write down a few of the titles that folks suggested from the last meeting. Here they are:

My Life in School, a memoir by Fish, I think. I couldn't find this on amazon so it needs some tracking down.
Bring Up the bodies, by Hilary Mantel -- a sequel to Wolf Hall, but can be read without having read the first.
The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
Life and Death are wearing me out -- Mo Yan -- Winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature
Behind the Beautiful Forevers; Live and death in a Mumbai undercity -- Katherine Boo -- National book Award -- name one of Ten Best Books of 2012
Mansion of Happiness; A history of life and death -- Jill Lapore
Tiny beautiful things; Advice on Life and Love from Dear Sugar -- Cheryl Strayed (earlier book by author of Wild)
The Twelve tribes of Hattie -- Ayana Mathis -- selected for Oprah's Book Club
Intuition -- Allegra Goodman

There may have been more. It's what I caught.

BTW -- nice website at lablit.com with suggestions for the more scientifically-oriented readers.
A former member
Post #: 24
A Life in School is by Jane Tompkins, wife of Stanley Fish
Jorge C.
user 57650562
Durham, NC
Post #: 1
Great choices from the group!

If you don't mind, I could add a couple of favorites of my own:

In fiction, "The map and the territory" by Michel Hoellebecq, who won the most important prize in France (Goncourt?) with the book. An unclassifiable novel, part mystery and part transposed biography of an artist. Like nothing you read in USA these days.

In science-fiction, a first novel (Young Adult theme) that for once made me agree with the jacket's glowing comments, and was one of the best reviewed and list-selected books in 2012, "The Age of Miracles" by Karen Thompson Walker. It will be available in paperback around January 2013. The kind of book that's a little 'miracle' in itself, marrying world-wide apocalyptic visions, coming of age teen novel and wonderful storytelling.

And as for Nobel Prize winner, why not reading something from Orhan Pamuk? I haven't read Mo Yan yet, but Pamuk is an extraordinary writer ("Istanbul" is technically a biography, but "Snow" is an amazing novel)
Pamuk, who now teaches in NYU, has a more recent book, "Silent House", but it won't be in paperback until July.

Any of these books can prompt nice discussions about the novels themselves but also about writing in general.

In non-fiction, "Why does the world exist? An existential detective story" by Jim Holt, another notable book of 2012 and the best written philosophical-scientific book I've seen in a long time. (paperback scheduled for April 2013)

And in the more general statistical world, "The signal and the noise" by Nate Silver, a book popularized by an author who clearly predicted the result of the last elections when the "fog of war" seemed to make everybody go 50-50 or all over the place. Unfortunately, I can't see a paperback publish-date for this one.


Two other NF books that I do remember being mentioned (perhaps by Vanessa) where "Quiet" by Susan Cain and "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman (paperback in April 2013), and maybe we should also consider them.

Thanks for collecting the information from last meeting. Hope to see you all next time.

Jorge Cortese, Co-Organizer
Janna
user 48084752
Carrboro, NC
Post #: 2
Hope everyone has been having a happy holiday season.

Earlier this month, I started a discussion forum on how we might organize our reading group for 2013. Perhaps it was a bit confusing because I did not receive any responses. At our last meeting there did seem to be somewhat of a consensus around selecting the books for all 12 months at the beginning of the year. Several people also expressed an interest in adding some science fiction.

As far as covering the Meetup expenses, I suggest a $12 contribution in January ($1/month) from those you are able to do so. As I understand it, the Meetup costs are $150/year so this should cover it.

I like the books identified by Evelyn, Vanessa, and Georges. If we truly want to have a year's worth of suggestions, why don't we each choose 2 books and identify the genre? Then I'll compile the list and submit it for voting. The top 6 fiction and non-fiction will be our 2013 books.

If this seems acceptable, let's try to get book ideas in by January 9.

My choices are

Fiction
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers - NYT Top 10 Book of 2012 - Powers is an Iraq War vet whose first novel follows two soldiers through harrowing war experiences. Critics say destined to be a classic. Paperback comes out in April.

Non-fiction
Behind the Beautiful Forevers; Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbani Undercity by Katherine Boo - NYT Top 10 Book of 2012 - The title and the discussion at our last meeting intrigued me.

I'm open to other methods of book selection.

Janna


Evelyn D.
EvelynDaniel
Group Organizer
Chapel Hill, NC
Post #: 3
I'm back from vacation in Maine where I had no Internet service (hard to imagine, but true)! We have a nice discussion going here even if only a few folks have contributed. I like Janna's idea about asking everyone to choose two titles and identify their genre. I'm not quite ready to do that but I'll share some of my reading over the holidays -- Half a Yellow Sun by Adichie (violent birth and death of Biafra in Nigeria -- very powerful. Genre ? historical fiction, perhaps but relatively contemporary.
--NW by Zadie Smith -- a fictional description (more true than non-fiction) of a corner of London told through the voices of four people who are connected to one another by place -- very reminiscent of James Joyce'Ulysses -- stream of consciouness. A fine book if a bit depressing.
--Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. Contemporary fiction that grapples with climate warming and the poor science education of folks in the rural Tenessee area in which novel is set. A warm and wonderful writer who is herself a scientist. We could do well with any of her earlier books.
--Baudolino by Umberto Eco. Definitely historical fiction. Tells of the mid-12th century and the struggle for Constantinople by means of a character inserted into the narrative (reminds me of Quixote). the 4th Crusade, Barbarossa, the quest for Prester John, miracles and relics, and much commentary on language and linguistics as we would expect from Eco who gave us the Name of the Rose, among many other delightful works.
--the Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver. Nice to see this on Georges' list above. It's a really fun book about statistics and how to understand the odds when playing poker, betting on baseball outcome or predicting elections (which Silver did 100%). In the genre with Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow and related to our next discussion book, Everything is Obvious which I partly read aloud to my daughter who wants to read it to some of her 6-8 graders (she's an art teacher in a K-8 school).
--Confederation of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole and a biography of the author (who committed suicide before the publication of the book) Butterfly in the Typewriter by Cory MacLaughlin. This is for another books group called the Classic Literature Book Group.

I have two books on my reading chair that I'm eager to begin -- The mansion of happiness by Jill Lepore (It's a history of American ideas about life and death) and The Oath by Jeffrey Toobin (about the struggle between John Roberts and Obama by author of a wonderful history of the Supreme Court called The Nine -- which might also be a good suggestion for the club).

Well, way too long but I hope to seed the discussion and hear what others are reading whether or not they recommend it for our discussions.

Evelyn
Jorge C.
user 57650562
Durham, NC
Post #: 2
Glad to see more activity on the Discussion, although the way it’s hidden through a few tags can explain why we didn’t get more responses.

I like Janna’s suggestion about making a couple of selections now and voting for the final list, with three comments: first, funnier, if we would’ve gotten such long list of choices like I see here from all 190-something members, we could be reading for a whole decade, so it wasn’t so bad not to have an immense response to Janna’s posting;

second, since some books have been chosen by more than one of us, and we are only five (two choices will take us to only ten books), why don’t we simply consider those that at least two of us have identified for a vote at the meeting. Perhaps we can keep a log of members’ suggestions at each meeting, collecting them throughout the year.

and third, let’s have an almost certain choice for February, a fiction one to keep the alternated sequence, that’s already available in paperback. (this by any chance collecting and sorting out the votes and the sequence takes a few days and pushes people too much to get and read the book by the following meeting. I suggest for this “The Cat’s Table” by Ondaatje, which was very popular last year and some people might’ve already read.

My choices:

I do highly recommend, in fiction, “The age of miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker, as a sci-fi book choice. An apocalyptic coming-of-age young adult novel, it’s probably at the top of all books I’ve read last year, regardless of any list made by critics, although it did make the list of a notable books of 2012 in Barnes and Noble’s choices. If you wanted a sci-fi book that has a great premise and doesn’t need a glossary of alien names to be read (like many other ones in the genre), this is something Ray Bradbury would’ve both loved and envied not to have written himself. It will make for a good introduction to SciFi for those book club members who might not like space operas and the like.

I can’t help but to also suggest reading the new book by Orham Pamuk (my favorite writer of the last few years), “Silent House”, which will be available in paperback on July. I haven’t read it, but the guy has a Nobel Prize and is a fascinating intellectual, so I expect it will be a good read.

For non-fiction, I do agree with Evelyn on reading “The signal and the noise” by Nate Silver, and with her and others about reading “Behind the Beautiful Forevers,” but my vote for the best non-fiction I’ve read last year goes to the amazing “Why does the world exist? An existential detective story” by Jim Holt, a personal quest story to answer the greatest question philosophers–and physicists–have ever posed, why there is a universe rather than nothing? (obviously, there’s a lot of discussion about religion in the mix.) Paperback will come out on April 2013.

Hope this helps, and let me know if you need any other help before the meeting.

Regards to all of you,

Jorge
Evelyn D.
EvelynDaniel
Group Organizer
Chapel Hill, NC
Post #: 4
Good points, Jorge. I'm happy with The Cat's Table by Ondaatje for February. Would be good to announce and to notify Flyleaf of our selection on Jan. 14 at our meeting.

Thanks for the additional book suggestions. I love Pamuk and am not familiar with The age of miracles -- thanks for a new good thing. I read the review on the Holt book and I'm sure it would make a great discussion.

Could we meet as a leadership team after our discussion to make a few decisions and to consider possibly less expensive and possibly more flexible alternatives to Meet-Up? We'd lose the greater publicity.

I'm hoping Jorge or someone else might volunteer to analyze the suggestions and favorite authors that almost all new members submit when they join Meetup. Might be some good ideas in these.

Evelyn
Janna
user 48084752
Carrboro, NC
Post #: 3
Evelyn, Jorge (my apologies for my earlier misspelling), Vanessa and group,

The Cat's Table for February sounds good to me, too, so let's plan on that.

I will bring a list of the books discussed amongst us in this Discussion thread to our Monday meeting on Everything Is Obvious. I'll look at the favorite author submissions, too. Perhaps those in attendance can discuss these and other books and authors and we can choose books for 2-4 months out. Not a 12 month plan but at least it will move us forward.

Evelyn, I loved Confederacy of Dunces. It's been 20 plus years since I read it though... It was given to me by a favorite professor along with In the Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, author of another of your reads!

Best to you all.

Janna
Jorge C.
user 57650562
Durham, NC
Post #: 3
Good points, Jorge. I'm happy with The Cat's Table by Ondaatje for February. Would be good to announce and to notify Flyleaf of our selection on Jan. 14 at our meeting.

Thanks for the additional book suggestions. I love Pamuk and am not familiar with The age of miracles -- thanks for a new good thing. I read the review on the Holt book and I'm sure it would make a great discussion.

Could we meet as a leadership team after our discussion to make a few decisions and to consider possibly less expensive and possibly more flexible alternatives to Meet-Up? We'd lose the greater publicity.

I'm hoping Jorge or someone else might volunteer to analyze the suggestions and favorite authors that almost all new members submit when they join Meetup. Might be some good ideas in these.

Evelyn

Yes, Evelyn, it would be a good idea to stay a little over to talk about the year ahead and any other plans.

I don't have a problem with reviewing the posted book suggestions by signing members, but considering the huge list and my tendency to start checking out the books and their reviews online, I don't think I can get a second-line list by tomorrow. Perhaps we can make a few choices for the next four months, and submit a list later on for discussion with the general membership.

Best regards, and see you (all) tomorrow,

Jorge
Evelyn D.
EvelynDaniel
Group Organizer
Chapel Hill, NC
Post #: 5
A good plan, Jorge. Yes, on reflection I see that it's a bit too much to ask to check all those suggestions. Maybe there will be other people at the meeting looking to volunteer for tasks.

We can move incrementally as we see what works best for us. A few choices for the next 4 months alternating between fiction and non-fiction makes sense.

Evelyn
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