Read Around the World Book Club 2/05
February 22, 2005 - 03:59 pm

Read Around The World

Click on map to enlarge

Stop I: Afghanistan
Stop II: New Zealand
Stop III: Italy             

Join us in SeniorNet Books and Literature's newest book club!

The premise is to read authors from all over the world.

  • Our First Selection was: Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan)

  • Our Second Selection was The Bone People by Keri Hulme (New Zealand)

  • Our Third Selection on August 1 will be The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, The by Umberto Eco (Italy)

  • Weekend Stubble from

    Expand your horizons, Read Around the World!

    Read around the World Guidelines Survey Results

    April 2005 ballot [April discussion]

    May 2005 ballot [June discussion]

    June 2005 ballot [August discussion]

    Discussion Leader: ginny

    B&N Bookstore | Books Main Page | Book Discussion Guidelines | Suggest a Book for Discussion
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    February 22, 2005 - 05:11 pm
    Welcome! Welcome to our newest "book club," a reading club in which everybody is welcome and in which our goal will be to hear the voices of other countries in translation.

    We have not decided one thing! We need help in figuring out a name for this series, whose first selection will debut on July 1: what shall we do? Should we select the country first with a pin in a map or the book first? What should be our parameters of selection? How should we go about this?

    What should we call ourselves? Let's get up lists of books, nominations, ideas, names, and let's form a new book club here in 2005, another First for the Books in 2005, we're smokin' on SeniorNet~!

    What issue do you want to decide first? Let's hear from YOU!!

    Ann Alden
    February 22, 2005 - 06:06 pm
    What are you going to do with the good Australian and New Zealander authors?? If its around the world, shouldn't they be included? Also, I don't think we can leave out a country just because they speak English. What about the Canadians??

    Jackie Lynch
    February 22, 2005 - 06:22 pm
    Ginny, I agree with Ann. Please reconsider. We are looking into the literature of other Countries as written by its native speakers, not just other Languages. Accessability can be a real problem, although if local libraries don't have what we request they can, frequently, borrow from other libraries for us. The Mystery of the Dog in the Nighttime, or whatever its title is, was a good example of another culture.

    Kevin Freeman
    February 22, 2005 - 06:48 pm
    Hmn. I'm going to have to get my scissors (for cuttin' and not running with) and my glue (for pasting and not horsing around with) because a lot of the preguntas Ginny poses in her Post #1 I've already blathered on and on (ad finitum, ad nauseum, ad subracteum) about over in the First Byte Café (is that where I was? a clean well-lighted place, in any case).

    Before I do that, I must say (well, "must" is a strong word -- I will say, then) that I agree with Jackie and Ann about the "English from overseas is OK" bit.

    To my mind, the chief purpose of a "worldwide" reading group like this is "insight into cultures other than our own." That means South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, and anywhere else where English is common exchange. New Zealand ain't Maine, afterall ('cept for the skeeters, maybe).

    I will be a hypocrite about England, though. I feel, being the Mother Country (sorry, DARs in the crowd), England is too much like us in many ways. Plus, if you ask any English major, you'll see that American and British Literature are the chief reading materials assigned in class. It's familiar ground. It's taught from middle school to high school to college. That's not the case with literature from Canada or Australia or South Africa.

    This group, one (or more) would hope, would cover more the "World Literature" type lists we didn't see in regular ole English classes (or American and Brit Lit survey classes). It would also be different in that it would confine itself to contemporary writers and books, not old chestnuts from the foreign canon. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a wonderful book, but it doesn't have its finger on the pulse of what life is like in France today (or what one particular Frenchman's or Frenchwoman's take on what life is like in France today).

    That said, I concede that we might want to avoid TOO many English-without-the-need-for-translation choices. Maybe 3 or less a year from English-speaking, don't-walk-or-talk-like-USA-or-England countries? Then the majority would hail from non-English-writing authors who depend on good translators. This by default would mean a discussion of translators as well as authors (understanding that few of us would be able to second-guess the translator by "reading" the original).

    Re: country first, book first, I'll get the sticky scissors out and post south of here (next post, I mean).

    Kevin Freeman
    February 22, 2005 - 07:12 pm
    Cut and Paste from a post I made in the First Page Café, where we first started batting around ideas about "What-in-the-World Are We Reading?" Groups and rabbits that talk and skeeters the size of collie dogs (etc., etc., like most talk in cafés):

    Ginny, the Brave New World in Translation Reading Group sounds like a good idea. A couple of thoughts:

    1. I like the idea of confining it to contemporary writers. Reading new books from overseas widens our proverbial horizons and gives us insight into cultures better than any CNN or Fox News special could (or any newspaper article, for that matter). Art is the most truthful medium, even if it deals in lies (for fiction is the graceful art of prevarication, no?).

    Plus I think Americans, more than many other country's citizens, need the exposure. Our culture is so exhuberant and in-our-face via TV, Internet, movies, music, innovation, whatnot, that it's hard to see past it all and across the ponds that surround us (Atlantic, Pacific, Carribbean, etc.)

    2. I would rather not choose the country first, and the book second -- I would rather open it up to ANY book from foreign shores, and then, only after agreeing on a title, check off the country it hails from as "retired for the year."

    If you said, say, July is GREECE month, then we'd all be confined to a handful of Greek writers and maybe there's nothing especially appealing out of Greece recently, whereas there's hot stuff off the presses begging to be read out of South Africa or Japan or Poland or Argentina or India.

    If this "book primary driver, country secondary driver" system were followed, it'd be like a travel agency of possibilities every month, with only one country out of hundreds of possibilities removed from the list each month (or two, three, four, etc., off the list as the year progresses).

    If you started in July of '05, you could do SIX countries and start over in Jan. '06. At the very worst, by December of each year, you'd only be subtracting 11 countries from a United Nations' worth of library pickings. Talk about Christmas Morning! Now I know how UNICEF kids must feel (if you read me).

    Joan Grimes
    February 22, 2005 - 08:44 pm
    This sounds like a wonderful idea. However I think we should read contemporary literature from other English speaking countries also. I have noticed that if I buy my books in England and bring them home that many expressions are different from those that appear in the books when they are published in The United States. This could be considered a kind of translation from English English to American English. That is in itself an interesting aspect of reading a book from another country. American English is very different from that spoken and written in England.

    Sorry did not mean to get on my soap box about that.

    Joan Grimes

    February 22, 2005 - 09:06 pm
    we could vote on the books if you said July is mystery month all of us would send or post names I believe we should choose a country first because that will help find a book to read!

    February 22, 2005 - 10:01 pm
    As others have said, we can't ignore the other English speaking countries. There may even be some we don't know about. I agree with Kevin, pick the book first and the country will follow. I don't think there will be any lack of books to choose from. Everyone posting right now probably has a book in mind. Then vote. This is exciting. I for one plan to look more at that IMPAC Dublin Award list.

    Kevin Freeman
    February 23, 2005 - 05:57 am
    Imagine the headache if we had to pick a book from a certain country! Instead of surfing a long list like IMPAC's (work enough! OK, so it's fun work...), one would have to TRY to find, say, Lithuanian authors only on the list.

    Under such a scenario, the thought process might go something like so:

    "Let's see. THIS name looks Lithuanian. Ach! Polish! Hmn. Haven't had kielbasa in a long time. Must look up that old sauerkraut and kielbasa recipe... Um. Oh. Here we go. Anna Krzyzinkskimenovitch. GOTTA be Lithuanian. Tarnation! Latvian! Hmn. I always did like buying Baltic Avenue in Monopoly... worthless, I know, but I loved the purple color. Purdy... and the color of royalty! Anyway, where was I... ah, Lithuania, Lithuania..."

    Etc., etc. The IMPAC and many other fine international lists on the Web would be worthless in such a scenario because readers would be forced to work the mines for a particular country's gems only.

    How much easier to need only cross off England and the United States (or, at the very least, the U.S.). Then, when you find a BOOK that interests you (remember Shakespeare's playful quote: "The book's the thing!"), you nominate it and, if it wins, you simply cross that country off the list for the year.

    "Book first, country second" is like shopping in a mall with all manner of choices and possibilities. "Country first, book second" is like shopping at a 7-11. You get what you get because it's the only thing open at 2 a.m. Your choice goes from thousands of possibilities to possibly seven (or eleven, as fate would have it).

    Yes? No? Maybe so?

    Oh. Good morning, pedln, Joan, bluebird, et al. I hate to B-Negative, but today I give blood. And attend to my "Honey Do" which is "overdue" List...

    February 23, 2005 - 10:59 am

    I just saw the notice for this group and subbed. I'm sure I know a few of you from other SN boards I've been on. Just wanted to say that I belong to a similar group on Yahoo that's been going on for quite some time.

    The way that particular list owner does it when setting up the schedule is to ask the group to nominate what countries they want to read for the next 3 months or so. A country for each month in question. Once that's settled then books and authors for the country are nominated and voted on. It's a small group and we only do one book per month.

    She has two stipulations: (1) the author must be from the country in question. So, for example, if Israel were the country selected .. a book by James Michener like The Source would not be accepted. (2) the title must be available in English translation to make it accessible to the most people on the group.

    There are many nationalities on the group who read multiple languages and they are free to read the book in whatever language they want. But .. you have to be able to get it in English regardless.

    Also, a country is a country so .. Australia, New Zealand etc are fine to be nominated or even the US.

    I don't have any thoughts or preferences about how Ginny does this group but I thought I'd contribute how the same idea is working at Yahoo.


    February 23, 2005 - 01:31 pm
    Would there be an interest in this group in reading some of the fine authors from the Middle East? Their work would not only provide stimulating reading, bnt an opportunity to learn about the cultures of the region and how they have affected contemporary times. Authors may be of one major religion, but their tribal affiliations are often primary in their social development. And there are MAJOR cultural differences between the Arabs, Turks, Persians, Kurds, etc. of the region. And of course as more women respond to the opportunity to speak out in recent times, there will be more female authors' works available in translation, while others write in English so that the West can better understand their background and cultural traditions (good and bad).

    February 23, 2005 - 02:55 pm
    Over in First Page Cafe, this book was listed for consideration.
    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is about the people of Afghanistan.
    Surely that would qualify for international reading.
    I read it last year, and would re-suggest it strongly.

    Jackie Lynch
    February 23, 2005 - 05:40 pm
    I for one have no restrictions in mind. Middle east has been the subject of some books I have read, as has Japan, Australia, Africa, France, Italy, Spain, England, Russia, Afghanistan. We all have much to learn about one another. I enjoy reading about places I know, places I may visit, but there are so many places and peoples to read about. It almost seems as if we are facing a giant buffet table, loaded with bits and pieces of different cultures. Here a bite of Iceland, there some Nepal for spice, followed by Polish savories and French deserts.

    Kevin Freeman
    February 24, 2005 - 06:03 am
    Thanks for the input, Suzz. And Persian, I would think reading Middle Eastern authors ESSENTIAL to what such a group as this is about. Maybe we can get President Bush on board, as he could use it, too (try the "Books on Tape" approach, if he cannot read in his busy schedule).

    Mippy I have a copy of The Kite Runner and it is on my To-Be-Read pile (said pile took 1st Prize, by the way, in the "Leaning Tower of Pisa Look-alike" Contest). And Jackie, we think the same way (scary for you, I admit, but it'll be all right, I promise).

    Is there a reason why JULY was chosen as a first month for this? I'm not sure how we could sustain discussion on logistics (without driving each other crazy, that is) for 130 days, is all I mean.

    You'd think the details could be pressed out in two weeks and the show put on the road if not on APRIL 1 (No Foolin') then on MAY 1.

    WHAT'S THE HOLD-UP? Is this like Amtrak or something?

    Just a thought. And I don't know the Roberts Rules of Orders or the Procedures here because I've just pulled in for a while while on my long Internet journeys...

    Malryn (Mal)
    February 24, 2005 - 06:24 am

    KEVIN, a discussion leader has to be rounded up. That might account for the delay, since many of them are otherwise occupied at this time.

    Did you say you're in North Carolina? I'm a Freeman located just south of Chapel Hill.

    Mal aka Marilyn Freeman

    February 24, 2005 - 12:17 pm
    Wow, love all the enthusiasm here and especially the great ideas and suggestions, I love free debate and new things.

    Ann, that's a good point, if we exclude English and only read books in translation we do exclude a lot of countries, let's not. Good point.

    Jackie, another good point on accessibility. I was thinking after we talked about this that we would be excluding the works of Chinua Achebe, whom the Name That Book just featured, had never heard of him, too, but he LIVES in America and writes of Africa, so let's not be exclusionary, we want to hear all the voices.

    Thank you, Kevin, for copying all that over, that's good of you and will save us much time. Will somebody who has time please go back to the First Page Café and copy over all of the book suggestions as well, so we can have them all in one place?

    I love the literate discussion here.

    I agree, Kevin on the contemporary author idea. Ok let's see what the consensus is here:

  • Book First:
    (1) Kevin
    (2) Pedln

  • Country First: (1)Bluebird

    Good point Joan G on English speaking countries so different from ours! I agree with you on English translations to American English.

    I agree, Pedln, this IS exciting and I also want to look further into the IMPAC Dublin Award List, never heard of IT either, I must live under a rock

    Kevin, you are a hoot, "THIS name looks Lithuanian." Hahaaha Good points made.

    We will continue our debate on book first or country first, I'll put that in the heading, this is NOT a vote but a good chance to say your druthers.

    Welcome, Suzz, so nice to see you again! And thank you for that information on how the Yahoo board does their similar discussion, very useful. I've copied it down and we may want to try some of their ideas, I like ideas. That requirement that the author must be FROM the country again we may need to talk more about, think of Pearl Buck, whose writings on China are required in China today, she lived IN China but was not FROM China, I wonder if we want to talk more about that one, of course she's no longer contemporary so we wouldn't be reading her anyway, but is there anybody else like her out there now?

    Persian, I'm sure that we'll consider all books from all places, thank you for that suggestion.

    Mippy, thank you for the Kite Runner, I'll try to get up a list in the heading of nominations if somebody will copy them over here from the Library.

    Jackie I LOVE that quote! I put it in the heading yesterday and it defaulted crazily, so will try again today, " It almost seems as if we are facing a giant buffet table, loaded with bits and pieces of different cultures. Here a bite of Iceland, there some Nepal for spice, followed by Polish savories and French deserts."

    Love it, thank you.

    Thank you Malryn for explaining the need for a Discussion Leader, you are absolutely right.

    I think you are right also, tho, Kevin in that July, in retrospect, seems a bit far away. I was (somewhat selfishly) wanting to participate in the first one, and I have quite a few conflicts in March, but what the HEY, I think you are right, how does a date of March 15 (the Ides of March) seem to everybody?

    If we get on the stick we can vote on (once we decide book first or country first, I'll slap that in the heading now) and then we have a week to get the book. Let's take it slowly, this first one, and let's do really vote and not ram a particular choice down anybody's throat? How about it?

    Is March 15 close enough or too soon? Would April 1, April Fool's Day be better?

    What are your thoughts, Everybody: Book or country first? We have two issues on the floor, Book or Country and Date? Once we decide that, and As soon as we can get up all of the nominations so we can vote, we can proceed.

    Kevin, I hope we run better than Amtrack, think of us as an ICE with leather seats. I hope you will light a spell in your internet journeys and stay here a while, and join us when we begin discussing our first book March 15 (or April 1?) What do you all think?

    Let me get our two issues du jour in the heading and Jackie's quote and Mippy's nomination and then let's give our opinions!
  • Hats
    February 24, 2005 - 12:30 pm
    I would love to read books written by authors from around the world too. This is soooo exciting. I hope a map of the author's country is displayed in the header. My geographical knowledge is very low. I can clearly remember a teacher pointing to Italy and describing its shape.It's shaped like a boot.About finding countries on a map, that's as far as my knowledge goes. Learning about authors, different countries and cultures is just too exciting for words.

    February 24, 2005 - 12:31 pm
    Oh GOOD point, Hats, our Patwest can make us a map we can stick no end of pins in, and we'll put that in the heading too, good point!!!

    Kevin Freeman
    February 24, 2005 - 12:38 pm
    The three titles I mentioned in the Clean, Well-Lighted Café were:

    House of Day, House of Night by Olga Tokarczuk (Poland)

    Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas (Spain)

    Under the Glacier by Halldor Laxness (Iceland)

    The start-up date that seems most feasible is April Foolst.

    P.S. Mal, we are out of New York originally (according to family "lore" which, I admit, is often synonymous with family "stretchers").

    "Stretchers" is Mark Twain's euphemism for lies. He was very good at stretching. Good enough to make an honest living out of it.

    February 24, 2005 - 12:43 pm
    Thank you Kevin, I've got up the three books, appreciate that. I can't help refecting that it's quite a smorgasbord of countries, I agree with Hats, this IS exciting!

    I've got your April Foolst hahaha up too, in retrospect April does seem a better choice, after all we do need some time to vote and to discuss the various merits of each book (don't they all look good) and to GET the book.

    What do the rest of you think??

    Ann Alden
    February 24, 2005 - 01:03 pm
    What happened to "Kite Runner"?? Are we reading it somewhere else in Books?

    Has anyone suggested author, Nadine Gordimer and her three titles that I know, "A Guest Of Honour" and "Burger's Daughter" and "July's People"?? Both books are from Africa. Here's an article of this Nobel Prize winner, Nadine Gordimer

    April 1st sounds good, Ginny. Sounds like the Yahoo group runs about like we do here with each discussion lasting about a month.

    February 24, 2005 - 01:03 pm
    This Russian mystery might not warrant a full month's discussion, but it's a fun read with an interesting group of characters . . .

    Murder on the Leviathan by Boris Akunin

    And it's available in paperback.

    See what the Wall Street Journal says about book.

    The Wall Street Journal "Akunin’s Erast Fandorin novels feature a Slavic Sherlock Holmes who speaks Japanese and English, is skilled at martial arts and has lady-killer good looks....Millions of readers have been seduced by the books’ elegant style and classy, retro feel."

    For more info, click here:

    February 24, 2005 - 03:19 pm
    Please put my vote in for book first, not country first.

    April Fool's Day -- what a great goal for a start! We won't be Fools!

    Another suggested author: V.S. Naipaul
    I've read pieces by him, essays and stories, for years, and just looked him up on Amazon:
    "A Bend in the River" is a 1989 (paperback) novel about a man of Indian descent living in Africa.
    Has anyone read this, or other books, by this famous author?
    His country of origin would be India.

    Nadine Gordimer sounds like an excellent choice, as well.

    February 24, 2005 - 06:03 pm
    Mippy, we read and discussed "House for Mr. Biswas ~ V. S. Naipaul ~ 2/02 ~ Book Club Online" in 2002

    February 24, 2005 - 06:56 pm

    Thanks for the kind welcome. I have not been doing book discussions at Senior Net for a really long time. Yahoo is my comfort zone I guess

    I skimmed the messages really fast so apologies if I repeat what anyone else has said. I'm having a major crisis with my Dad.

    About Things Fall Apart. I read that yearrrrrrs ago and, iirc, at the time of the writing Achebee (spelling?) was a native of Ghana (?). Meaning .. if he's now living in America, it was as a result of his success. I think he won the Nobel, didn't he? Sorry, synapses are connecting even less than usual. Anyway, he is a native of Africa and is not American even if he's now living here.

    The same thing could be said of the author of The Kite Runner.

    About the Middle East. Well, I love reading authors from the ME. I would suggest the first volume of Naguib Mahfouz's trilogy .. Palace Walk. He's Egyptian and won the Nobel a few years back. It is very accessible. Great story telling etc.


    February 24, 2005 - 07:34 pm
    I choose april

    February 25, 2005 - 10:57 am
    I find this very exciting. It makes no difference to me what book is selected. I just hope I can find the time to read along with everyone.


    Kevin Freeman
    February 25, 2005 - 05:53 pm
    Two more nominees since Ginny's last drive-by:

    A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul (India)
    Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt)

    That's enough, no? I mean, after a while it starts to look like one of those Italian elections where 63 candidates are running. Get the dart board out, it amounts to, and shut your eyes while winging the dart.

    Plus, I won't beat around the Bush -- I love an election.

    I move we accept:

  • Book first, country second
  • April 1st as a start-up date
  • An election period of one week, beginning as soon as Ginny updates the header (and gee, wouldn't links to amazon or barnes and noble or something be nice in the header... a pain in the butt, but nice).

    Any seconds? Thirds? Fifths (oh, maybe not if this town is dry)? How about mutinies (throwing people named Kevin overboard for Russian things along too much)?

    Suzz, I haven't read a thing of Mahfouz' and I've been of a mind to since he won the Nobel. It's sad but true that a lot of these great writers from other countries fly below the radar unless or until they win some big award like that Swedish one that's worth a pretty krona (Swedish for lucre).

    Karmie, I like your spirit. Yes, she says. I'm there no matter what!
  • Barbara St. Aubrey
    February 25, 2005 - 11:39 pm
    Teriffic - I second that - although there are more titles that would be love-r-ly these are great - and thank goodness if Javier Cercas is chosen he has pushed the South Amerian [his home] literature past the complexities of magical realism.

    My fist love would have been a current German author but this list is great - my two favorites from the list are --

    February 26, 2005 - 01:21 am
    I choose book first, and April 1st.

    Kevin Freeman
    February 26, 2005 - 04:48 am
    Barbara -- Go ahead and throw a German title/author on the fire. Ginny hasn't updated the list yet, anyway, and what's 9 titles when you have 8 (other than "one more")?

    Wow. I still do math (after a lifetime of it doing me).

    Welcome, kidsal. Your passport updated? Mine, either. Beauty of it all. Even the Tin Man travels without a hitch when it's books instead of planes.

    February 26, 2005 - 07:22 am
    hahahaa I just love the enthusiasm here!

    Welcome, welcome, KARMIE, we are so glad to have you and I also hope you can find time to read with us, it really sounds like a World of Reading, pardon my puns, Kevin is infectious!

    Welcome Kidsal, I'll put your choices up in the heading as well, so glad to see you! It looks like nobody has plumped for the Ides of March so April Fool's Day seems much more reasonable, no fooling.

    Welcome Barbara! I'll add your books to the list along with that of Mippy and Naipul and the other one Kevin suggested by Naipul, love Naipul, doesn't he have a new one out as well?

    That is a good point, Kevin, we are getting in danger of overload here in choices, and I do like your idea of links to Barnes and Noble, I'll ask our Tech Teams here in the Books if they'll help with that!

    Suzz, so sorry about your Dad, hope things work out well for him there and hopefully you can find a comfort zone here in SeniorNet's Books, too! Two comfort zones are better than one, I always say! Hahhaha

    Yes we have read Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz, some time ago. That's where I learned to pronounce his name by listening to Roger Allen of the U of PA pronounce it on NPR. He was a friend of Mahfouz, and actually left to visit him during our discussion, and was very helpful to us in our reading. Super book, just loved it.

    Are there any last minute nominations? If you get the AARP Book Talk bulletin you can see (I swear that Empress of Books on AARP reads our discussions, it's just uncanny how many times she does the same thing) but anyway it came today and she is listing several on Africa:

    Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver (we read this and she's not from Africa)

    Good Doctor by Damon Galgut??

    No Turning Back: A Novel of South Africa by Beverley Naidoo??

    Journey of Hope: Two Novels, Angel of Mercy and Angel of Hope by Lurlene McDaniel??

    Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee??

    And a couple of others including Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi.

    Persepolis is apparently one of those, I am not sure what you call them, graphic novels? Comic books for adults?

    Of course if you've read Maus or that British one on the bomb, you know that they can be searing and actually devastating, and I don't know anything about this one or if it would interest you but I bring it here.

    She also recommends Reading Lolita in Teheran which we have mentioned before.

    Do any of these warrant putting them in the heading as well for a vote?

    Let's, I like what Kevin said here, let's get a ballot first to vote on, I'll ask the Tech Teams to put up links asap to the books in the heading, do we want anything listed here in my post up also?

    We've also had a suggestion in email on themes per month of reading, I like that too, let's get our first ballot up and get started and then decide later on possible themes as well!!!

    February 26, 2005 - 07:45 am

    I would like to read 'Things Fall Apart' by Chinua Achebe. I also like picking the book first.

    February 26, 2005 - 07:48 am
    I started a good book about Africa. It's called 'JAMBO, MAMA' by Melinda Atwood. Atwood is a native of New Jersey. She lived many years in Africa and fell in love with the location.

    February 26, 2005 - 07:53 am
    Thank you Hats, will put up the Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and that's an interesting nomination on the Melinda Atwood.

    What did we decide on non native authors? I remember citing Pearl Buck who was not Chinese but whose works explain China to the point they are now required reading IN China, but what did we all decide?

    Maybe we should start out with the voices of those who are natives of that country, and then open ourselves up (after we've read a year's worth of books hahaha) to those like Pearl Buck who won a Nobel Prize for writing about China, and who grew up there and lived there but who were not native to that country. I am not sure!!!!

    What shall we do?

    February 26, 2005 - 07:54 am
    Hats, what part of Africa is Atwood writing about and does she cover any of the recent problems?

    February 26, 2005 - 07:55 am
    I am a great fan of Elspeth Huxley (most known for her books turned into a series The Flame Trees of Thika) whose books on Africa (three of them) are classics and quite wonderful. She also has written many other things, but again, like Pearl Buck, only grew up in the country: in this case, Africa.

    Jackie Lynch
    February 26, 2005 - 08:03 am
    Why can't we read some books in tandem? Or list some as alternatives? Few of us read only one book at a time anyway. Native born paired with immigrant. There have been some great books, Postcards from America by Alistair Cook, by those who were not born here. This is still brainstorming time, is it not?

    February 26, 2005 - 08:09 am
    It sure is, and that's an interesting concept, read two books at once for contrasting views, I like it, too, we could try Dickens on traveling in America, versus Steinbeck's Travels With Charlie, that might make interesting reading.

    I am not sure that we could do two books every month, but it's another intriguing proposal, we're getting a lot of super ideas, thank you Jackie! I hope to get some of them in the heading, so we have lots of things to try along the way.

    What do the rest of you think??

    February 26, 2005 - 08:10 am

    Atwood stayed in Kenya for six or seven years. It seems like a personal struggle with grief. Along the way, she meets and makes close friends with Africans.

    "Woven in among the tales of the wonders of Africa, larger than life characters, and daily occurences....With nothing in common but sons the same age, these two women, one black and one white, struck up a unique and very touching relationship."

    This might not go into depth about the struggles of the African people. Not sure.

    February 26, 2005 - 08:13 am
    Sounds good to me! If it doesn't fit our parameters here it will fit somewhere else, it's non fiction?

    February 26, 2005 - 08:14 am
    Yes, it's nonfiction.

    February 26, 2005 - 08:16 am
    Sounds good to me! Thank you for bringing this to our attention, if not here then elswhere!

    February 26, 2005 - 08:18 am
    You are welcome.

    February 26, 2005 - 08:20 am
    Some interesting proposals, ...but how did Dickens and Steinbeck get into a 'foreign authors' project?

    I would think choosing a good book would come first. I don't care what country it's from if the book itself isn't worthwhile reading. Alas, my participation will be limited to those books that I can lay my hands on!


    February 26, 2005 - 08:27 am
    ahahah Babi, I think we threw out the "foreign" when we learned we are all "foreign" to each other, since we come from so many different countries here on SeniorNet and America is a country of the world, too!

    Still I expect we'll start with those in the heading, anybody have another book for our ballot, it's getting a bit long as has been suggested, any more great books to nominate?

    February 26, 2005 - 08:39 am
    Thank you Jane for putting links to all of our suggested books in the heading to Barnes & Noble, we appreciate that, very much! Now we can peruse without spending a lot of time in the process, any last minute nominations??

    February 26, 2005 - 08:43 am
    Of course. Good point, Ginny. I hadn't considered that, and I must have missed that post. Actually, it's rather bracing to consider that I am an active member of an international organization!


    Kevin Freeman
    February 26, 2005 - 08:55 am
    BaBi, it's about time we went international. No use denying all those countries, right?

    And thanks for the links in the header, Jane (whoever you are). Nothing like a link to play with. Clicko-chango, you're there. Miracles never cease.

    I regret to say that I cannot read two books at once (nor chew gum and rub my stomach at once) because I am of limited mental means and often pressed for time as well. So I vote for ONE book at a time and then pray I
    a) get it, b) read it, and c) "get it" (get it?).

    I also hope we stick with living, contemporary authors who either live in the country of origin or situate their books in the country of origin. ("You, book -- over there. Where you origin. This minute.")

    As for Steinbeck and Dickens and Pearl Buck, I'd rather see them served up in a Classics Group. There must be a Classics Group SOMEwhere around here <looks behind the davenport... or would if he remembered what a davenport was>.

    Ginny, do you think a whole week is too long for voting? Wednesday, March 2nd good enough for a passed-awayline? That's the good doctor's birthday and a great day for counting:

    One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. And so on and so Seuss.

    I'll vote tomorrow or Monday. Need to think (scary as that sounds). It'd be good if on March 2nd internationalistas could begin hunting down their book and then settling in for the long March to DISCUSSION.

    February 26, 2005 - 09:39 am
    Amazing, isn't it, Babi? You can really see it in the Latin classes, we have 8 countries represented: it's quite fun.

    Kevin, I'm not sure if a week is long enough for voting: I just don't know: that's another good question. I'm not sure we have all the ballot in place, but we do need to set a time to vote and time IS flying.

    Let's hear in the next couple of days if there is any other book we need to ADD to the ballot? I think a week ought to be enough to vote, but we need to get the word out to all the voters. And we need to get the book.

    I'm going to strongly recommend that we do one of our "Read Along With Mitch" things here and look at the book in parts, that is divide it into chapters and discuss Chapters 1-10 in the first week, or whatever. That's our normal process and what people are used to, maybe in the future we could try some new approaches.

    Dr. Seuss? I loved how he invented his "Dr." Just put it on there, loved that creativity. That seems different from the Catch Me if you Can guy, to me, anyway. I'm sure he had plenty of honorary degrees later.

    Jackie Lynch
    February 26, 2005 - 09:39 am
    Kevin, Classics sounds like a good idea. Ginny, I, too, will vote by March 2.

    February 26, 2005 - 10:57 am
    There are ten books now in the heading. It looks to me like we'll need a primary or two to narrow down the choices. Also some publicity in other discussions about the upcoming elections -- for those readers who might be drawn in, but who have not become acquainted with this great new discussion.

    February 26, 2005 - 11:49 am

    I have read both Persepolis 1 and 2 by Satrapi. They were excellent and were the first graphic novels I've read.

    However, they *do* take some getting used to and seem to use up more of your synapses in processing the information . It was an odd sensation. They 'read' a little bit harder than either a traditional book or a comic book. I read them on Yahoo with some much younger people and they commented on the same thing.

    I have read Disgrace by Coetzee. I liked it and will read more by Coetzee but it's a bit on the dark side.

    My 2 cents about an author who writes about a country as opposed to an indigenous author is that I, personally, prefer to seek out the indigenous author. That's not to say I haven't enjoyed memoirs by authors like Huxley or Dinesan but it's just not the same to me.


    February 26, 2005 - 12:49 pm
    Could those people who have already read any of the 3 books by Nadine Gordimer please give the rest of us a heads-up?
    (a)Which one is the best for discussion in the format used here and/or
    (b) Which one did you enjoy the most, and do you think we'd enjoy?

    I think the voting would best organized if those who want to read a book by her all narrowed it down
    to a favorite, don't you?
    I can't find any of them here at home, so I probably read something by her in a library
    copy, years ago -- thus my request for "help".

    Jackie Lynch
    February 26, 2005 - 01:24 pm
    It wasn't until I started looking around on the net for availability of these books that I saw we have three by the same author. It is hard enough to choose without that complication. I suggest we have only one book per author per year to choose from. So many books, so little time. Also, book first is my choice, as April 1.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    February 26, 2005 - 05:11 pm
    I do like the idea of a discussion devoted to current International writers other than from the British Isles but it is amazing to review the current International writers not from Canada or, Britain or, American writers now living and writing from abroad or, International writers living and writing from America we have read and discussed their book in the past few years.

    In addition to the ones listed in an earlier post - We read: The list does not include the current authors from Canadian, British, Irish, Scottish and Welsh we read - or those International authors who wrote books we consider classic today although the book may have only been written in the early part of the twentieth century - you almost have to wonder how we had any time for a good ol' down home American author.

    February 26, 2005 - 10:06 pm
    Sorry for butting in. I am an avid reader of the posts, but have been definitely discouraged from posting. However, if we don't want to limit our choice by geography, why do we want to limit it into a certain time frame? There are several books that have no exact actuality but have immortal merits? Those are the books I really appreciate. I won't be offended if I would be disregarded again.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    February 26, 2005 - 11:49 pm
    hegeso - so pleased you ventured forward and posted your thoughts - the only difference I can determine is that we discuss the "classic" authors, the ones of merit as you suggested most often in Great Books and sometimes we just include the book as a monthly read - often folks recommend an author or book that a few others also agree they would like to read and discuss - so the book is chosen -

    I think this discussion sort of grew like topsy and the folks chatting it up decided on the genre that included; an International author, as long as they were not from Britain or, an author who now lives in the US although, originally from another nation. I also think they wanted the newer International authors because they are often overlooked, unless their work receives some International acclaim, and their work will give us a peephole into the culture current within the nation the author represents.

    And so those wonderful books written by authors we admire from another time would not give us that peephole into the culture of the day. But please, if there are some authors or specific books or even nations that you are interested in discussing then please post those suggestions for us. You may suggest a book that some of us are longing to read and discuss.

    Looking forward to more of your posts and hope you do share the books you would enjoy reading - I know I have wanted to read Günter Grass from Germany and Rabelais whose Gargantua and Pantagruel would probably be a topic best suited for the Great Books reading list.

    Now Günter Grass' work is more recent and may at a future date be included here as a current International author - and so I have hope, where as, if I said Thomas Mann [we read his "Magic Mountain"] his work would really be better suited for Great Books, where the classic books have been discussed with Joan Pearson doing a yeoman's job for years as the discussion leader of that discussion.

    But fire away with the titles and authors of books you would enjoy discussing and who knows you may just hit upon a ringer that a few of us become excited about so that a discussion can be put together. First Page Café - Everyone is Welcome! is the better discussion location to include any and all of your suggestions. Thanks for sharing your thoughts...

    Éloïse De Pelteau
    February 27, 2005 - 06:37 am
    He wrote several of his work while living in the United States. Not only the Maigret series, but also several novels who took second place because they were less appreciated or popular than the Maigret series. He said "I write 'It rains': you will not find in my books drops of water that transform themselves into pearls ... I want nothing that resembles literature ...

    The book first rather than the country.

    Kevin Freeman
    February 27, 2005 - 06:48 am
    Regarding the three Nadine Gordimers in the nominees list: I scrolled back through time and discovered it was Ann Alden who nominated Gordimer, so Ann, if you want to choose ONE of those three titles to nominate, go for it. And if you don't, don't. That was easy.

    I hate to cast a vote until I'm sure the nominating process is over, so I'll wait for a cap on that (and I hope the cap comes soon, else we'll all be "What about this one-ing?" and "What about THAT one-ing?" forever and a day).

    You know how it is with books. No end to the possibilities and the joy. Giving reading addicts the chance to nominate books endlessly is like giving kids the chance to open unlimited gifts on Christmas morning. In a word (or is it two?): Yee-Hah!

    How many here have already read The Kite Runner (Afghanistan)? Think it was Mippy who nominated it. Anyway, I'd hate also to vote for books a lot of people have already read. Fresh readers, we need, fresh readers. Well-behaved, but fresh, I mean.

    The Kite Runner has had a lot of good buzz and appears to be what they call eminently-accessible. Might be a good starter. But not if half the people here read it two or four months ago.

    I really like Halldor Laxness' Under the Iceberg but it's not even available until March 8 so might not be the best choice for a start-off discussion on April Fools' Day. Later, maybe. Or so I'm thinking.

    All manner of thoughts rumbling -- but we need some structure, I think. As in: nominations close a 6 Eastern tonight, voting closes at 5:17 Tahiti Time Wednesday, Fun begins at midnight March 31st Greenwich Mean Time, and so forth.

    Yes, yes. I love to talk about structure unless it has to do with my own life. Do as I say, not as I do. Waited my whole life to enjoy that one (hated hearing it as a kid, back in the Chester Arthur Administration).

    P.S. Eloise -- the two Maigrets I always wanted to read but never could find (in English) were L'Ecluse Numéro 1 and La Maison du Canal. I'm more than sure that means The Canal House and I-Haven't-a-Clue Number One (loosely translated). Hard to find books!

    February 27, 2005 - 09:35 am
    Kevin, I appreciate your commments. I don't think whether one has already read a particular book (such as Kite Runner which you mentioned)really plays a part in selection of a title. Many folks come to the discussion of a book they've already read, and end up saying, "I never thought of that before," or "I missed that completely," etc.

    We have some hearty and hardy readers here. Little passes them by.

    February 27, 2005 - 09:36 am
    My own first choices are naturally those available in my local library. They have three of those on the list: Gordimer's "July' People"; Akunin's "Murder on the Leviathan", and Achebe's "Things Fall Apart". I'd like to know more about Gordimers and Achebes books to see it they look like something I would enjoy. Akunins, obviously, is a murder mystery and I always enjoy a good mystery.

    The library also has other books by Gordimer and Akunin not on the list. "Kite Runner" they have, but only in audio, unfortuntely for me. ..Babi

    Jackie Lynch
    February 27, 2005 - 09:54 am
    My preferences in reading are usually of the light, recreational variety: mysteries, science fiction, humor, historical novels, Georgette Heyer's Regencies, etc. So it is difficult for me to choose among such a variety of authors. The mystery, being a familiar format, is quite attractive. But, I try not be trapped in my rut. Will the proposers of the various books give us a taste of what we will experience if/when we choose their nominee? Thanks

    Kevin Freeman
    February 27, 2005 - 10:07 am
    pedln -- See your point about having read it awhile ago but still being good to go for a discussion. Thinking about my own sorry self, however, I would never reread a book I had just finished three or four months ago and I would be rusty as Dan Quayle's spelling trying to recall everything, too. But that's me. Mr. Short Term Memory's Gone South (with apologies to any Southerners in the crowd... just an expression, I believe).

    Jackie -- One strategy for you to try, if you want. Cut and paste a title, go to amazon, search for the book. Many there have this "Browse Inside" or "Look Inside" or whatever feature allowing you to get a taste of the opening pages of a book. I love it, because it's exactly what I do at a library or a bookstore -- read the first ten pages or so.

    February 27, 2005 - 11:45 am
    We could remove Kite Runner from the proposed books if all of the people now posting have read it. I read it last summer, I think, and do not even have a copy because I loaned it to someone.

    I'd like to suggest we start with something with a little more meat to it than a mystery.

    One of the great features of on-line discussions is bringing in links, as was done in the Iliad.
    In this group, sites on culture, geography, and language ought to link us out to some real mind-expanding information.

    Joan Grimes
    February 27, 2005 - 12:43 pm
    Oh I want to read Kite Runner. I hope it is not removed. Of course I can read it anyway I know but I have to limit my reading because of an eye problem.

    Eloise, Maigret is one of my favorites. Simenon's books are very meaty. I am trying to think of the name of one his best,in my estimation, psychological novels. Of course even his Roman Policiers are very psychological. The one I am thinking of is not a Maigret roman policier.

    I do want to participate in this discussion.

    Joan Grimes

    February 27, 2005 - 05:09 pm
    Joan G, I want to read Kite Runner also, especially since it has received awards. Also, it was one of those that many readers in First Page Cafe were interested in, but at that time it lost out to Gilead. Of course, when push comes to shove, I think the selection for this discussion will be decided by vote.

    And also, just because a book is outvoted here does not mean it can't be picked up for another discussion at some future time.

    Joan Grimes
    February 27, 2005 - 05:59 pm
    Right Pedlin. Maybe we could have a discussion of Kite Runner later if it is not discussed here. I hope it will be discussed at some time.

    I think I will go ahead and buy it and start to read it.

    I will be out of the country on April 1st but will be back on April 3rd.

    Joan Grimes

    February 27, 2005 - 06:09 pm
    pedln. I'm with you and Joan. I plan on reading The Kite Runner, if fact my daughter is bringing it to me when we meet in the Islands in one week.

    Jackie Lynch
    February 27, 2005 - 06:10 pm
    Some questions: we are choosing books from the IMPAC(?) list which is books nominated by librarians all over the world, correct? A corollary is that we will be reading books written by native born authors? Why do we have Naipaul, from India, writing about Africa on the list? What am I missing?

    Kevin Freeman
    February 27, 2005 - 06:49 pm
    Jackie -- the IMPAC list is just a resource. We can use any ole resource we want to track down fine, contemporary world literature. In fact, if anyone finds another site featuring new works in translation, I hope he or she shares it here. Eventually, Jane and Ginny could place these links in the header.

    As for your V.S. Naipaul question, it's just an added (and, to my mind, unnecessary) complication to worry about a nominated book's setting and topic matter. A Portuguese author could write about colonizing the moon and that would be good as far as I'm concerned. If he's from Lisbon and writing excellent literature, the sky's the limit on his topic or genre (science fiction, fantasy, contemporary realistic fiction, collection of short stories, etc.). He meets the criteria of being a contemporary talent from another country (and I'll bet you his astronauts are Portuguese just as Naipaul's protagonist in Africa is Indian).

    I have an unread copy of The Kite Runner as well. In fact, I might even vote for it, if it turns out that hardly anyone here has read it (even though it's been out for a year). I'm still waiting for an official "nominations are over, let the voting begin" signal, though.

    Should I look for white smoke or black smoke?

    Jackie Lynch
    February 28, 2005 - 05:48 am
    Kevin, thanks for clearing up my comfusion. All these questions are in aid of helping me choose. First I checked the availability of books, new and used, then I read a synopsis of each, and now I can prioritize. Great!

    February 28, 2005 - 08:49 am
    Great comments, All, I'm very much enjoying the dialogue here, thank you all!

    Kevin, and Jackie, yes we have a Classics Group here, we have had an ongoing Great Books series since 1997, and you're right, we want Steinbeck and Dickens in that area. They vote also on their selections, good point, we are trying to stay contemporary in here, forgot that!

    Pedln, good point, a ballot slate of 10 is enough for starters, we may well NEED a run off or to narrow the choices down, we have the month of March to discuss and vote but we need to be finished voting so we have a couple of weeks to GET the book, and see if we even have a quorum to discuss it, so let's do this, since we are having a call for organization, let's set it up this way:

  • 1. Voting and the Ballot: Let's consider what's in the heading now AS the Ballot and let's study the choices in the heading, and vote here this Wednesday. We'll send out an email also to every person who has expressed an interest here, (sign in if you're interested!) and when we see how close the votes are, we can then see if we need a run off.

  • 2. I like this discussion, it reminds me of our beginnings back in 1996, and I want it to remain as different and open to suggestion as we can possibly get it. I would like to put all the new suggestions in the heading eventually, and I would not like to be rushed while at the same time having some structure. So here is what I suggest:

  • A. I want to take our time with these. Let's vote March 2, as I think Kevin suggested, and let's all get the book. Let's read it the 4 weeks of April, taking it in sections to thoroughly discuss each part, and then when we have finished the last of April, let's use May to talk about where we want to focus the future discussions, to get up nominations (we may have new ones or new ideas based on our first reading) and to vote so we can begin again in June. I foresee an every two month's schedule at present as our best bet.

  • B. Let's vote this Wednesday, March 2 , see what wins and go from there.

  • How does this sound? Let's consider the current Ballot closed. Read on for other comments on some if the issues raised:

    Suzz I am interested, after your comments, to read Persepolis, I will look for it, thank you. I think I also agree that the indigenous writers have a different perspective. I think Huxley's perspective is that of the British who were colonizing Africa, and it's one that also has merit, but as you say of course it does not speak to the African experience. (Huxley, who went on to do major Conservation work in Africa, would agree with you about Dinesen hahaaha)

    Mippy good point, I am not familiar with any of them and am not sure anybody else, is, either, we'll have to see how it sorts out, but I love your suggestion, it may cause a split vote for that author which we'll have to remedy next time! If they are not readily available, that's a strike, unfortunately, too.

    Jackie, next time we'll limit choices to only one per author, I have not read that author, but she must be good! We'll really learn a lot here!

    Barbara, welcome and thank you for that very impressive list of what all we've read in the last going on 9 years here!

    You left off your own Tale of Genji, a super book.

    Hegeso, welcome. You need not feel discouraged, and you raise a valid point: why limit it by time frame!?! Let's see what people would like to read and as long as it does not encroach on our other ongoing book clubs, like the Great Books, I think we're good to go!

    Certainly your opinions will not be disregarded and everybody's ideas are equally welcome. As you can see we have a lot of conflicting ideas, so if we don't do what each person wants this time, there's always the next time, welcome!

    Welcome Eloise! I will get your "book first" up and if there is somebody whom I have missed putting up in the heading, please holler.

    Do you have a specific Simenon to suggest for a last minute addition to our ballot? Or would you prefer to wait till the next voting go round?

    Jackie, I think THAT is a good suggestion, those of you who have nominated books please talk a little about them, great idea!!

    Welcome Andrea, we're so glad to have you here! The Kite Runner is really generating a lot of buzz among several of our participants here, I like that.

    Welcome, Joan, we are very glad to see you here! And as you all are saying (do you mean you will be out of the country on April 1 and back the 3rd?) we can always read a selection in another book club or here another time.

    That brings up another thing about an ongoing book club: You can see 10 books nominated in the heading, we're only going to read ONE. The book club members whose books are not chosen hope for the next time and as a good open minded group members, read along with somebody else's suggestion, next time it could be theirs. There's a group thing going on too, and in this group everybody is welcome. You may not get YOUR selection or YOUR idea this time, but we've got plenty of time.

    Jackie I think as Kevin says, this time we're just, or we did just take nominations from the floor not necessarily the IMPAC list. In future, if we do theme reading we might want to limit the selection parameters.

    Kevin, love reading your posts and you always make such good points and suggestions. Look for blue smoke, it will match our heading here, which I love. hahahaa

    All right, we have a Ballot in the heading, (with perhaps a Simenon being added) and on Wednesday we'll begin to tally the votes. In the meantime, does anybody have any reflections on anything about the set up?

    February 28, 2005 - 09:12 am
    Ginny, I really think we should take out two of the Gordimers. Three titles by one author could skew the voting. Perhaps whoever submitted the three by her could narrow it down before the voting.

    February 28, 2005 - 09:46 am
    Just discovered this discussion: it looks like a great on. Count me in.

    February 28, 2005 - 10:24 am
    Great!! Welcome, Joan!

    Good suggestion, Pedln, Ann, will you please pick one from the Gordimers?

    Joan Grimes
    February 28, 2005 - 12:06 pm

    I leave for France on March 27th and return on April3rd. So I will be iyt of this country on April 1 but will be back home on April 3rd. Will join in the discussion on April 4th.

    I know it is a very short trip but is all that I can do at this point.

    Joan Grimes

    February 28, 2005 - 12:31 pm
    Thanks, Joan, I thought it was a misprint, I see what you are saying now!! Hope you have a wonderful time!

    Bluebird, it looks like you and I have been outvoted here and we're going to go for the book first, tho we'll remain flexible and we can change with the seasons like a heartbeat, so it's book first and we'll vote on Wednesday.

    I must say, having looked up House of Day, House of Night, that that one looks interesting, too, in addition to the ones discussed here, so this will be a tough choice, maybe. I don't know much about Poland, have never been there, but hope through this discussion to travel via the computer and the voices of the writers, to LOTS of places and get some first hand knowledge of their perspectives. I'm very excited about this discussion!

    We'll only vote for our First Choice, and no second, if we need a second choice we'll do another ballot.

    February 28, 2005 - 01:32 pm
    I am getting very confused here and I know the fault no doubt lies with me.

    Could someone just summarize simply for me what the criteria are for selecting a book for the group? I have become befuddled by live in/doesn't live in/used to live in .. not to mention when the book was written .. excluding Britain, Canada etc.

    HELP!!!!! I think this is why the Yahoo group I'm on must have simply gone with choosing the country, requiring the author be from there and then letting nominations stem from that. It's a naturally limiting process.

    GINNY! This is why Yahoo is a comfort zone LOL LOL. I hope you do try Persepolis 1. It is a different kind of reading experience. I do plan to read more graphic novels. Maus 1&2 are ones that will be up next whenever I get back to them. They are about the Holocaust and won the Pulitzer, iirc.


    Kevin Freeman
    February 28, 2005 - 02:26 pm
    Now we're cooking with gas (as they say, naturally).

    March 2nd is cast-your-ballot day, right? Polls (Poles, if you're voting for Olga Tokarczuk) are open from 12:01 a.m. Wednesday to Midnight Wednesday, right? We go by the timezone of this site (Pacific, is it?).

    Then, beginning March 3rd -- with a winner announced and fanfare to middling all about -- we need a quo pass-the-rum to declare a willingness to read the book, right? Pregunta: How many make a quorum here?
    3.5 people? We all know the average American family has 2.5 kids, so it's not beyond the realm of possibility, especially if someone's half-hearted about the whole thing.

    Suzz, where are these Elysian Fields called "Yahoo Discussion Groups"? Yahoo to me is a big, Swiftian mess. They're everywhere and into everything. Like that Google guy (Barney, I think).

    Anyway, I suppose you're right about needing more definitive definites on eligibility for books in this group.

    Proposals (floating to be shot down or worshiped on high):

  • Book must have been published in or after 1995.

  • Author must either live in country of birth OR be an expatriate of no more than 10 years from country of birth (putting us back to 1995 again -- easier to remember).

  • Countries may only be used once in any given year (or two years, if discussions go every other month)

  • All countries eligible except the United States and England.

  • Book may be translated to English or written in English, as long as author meets above stipulations.

  • Author may not bring toenail clippers, penknives, or box openers into his or her novel. No refunds, no cancellations within 7 days.
  • Ann Alden
    February 28, 2005 - 02:26 pm
    The Burger's Daughter is supposed to be Gordimer's best, at the time. I think it is the one that won for her the Nobel but I'm not up to par on that.

    April 1st is fine with me. And for those who want to compare writings of others from same countries, sounds a little confusing for now but maybe after we've been doing this we will fall into a pattern which might encourage that possibility.

    February 28, 2005 - 02:26 pm
    Good point, Suzz. Right now for our first selction, we're going to pick from the 10 books in the heading. If we need to refine our parameters more for the next selection we'll do that in May when we're thru here?

    Does that sound more comfortable? haahahha We've closed the ballot, Ann is coming to suggest only one of the Gordimer books, but the " card is laid," so to speak (do you all know that phrase? A card laid is a card played? hahaha) in that we have 10 books to vote from in the heading (unless we add a Simenon) and the voting is Wednesday, so those 10, regardless of criterion, are on the ballot. Kind of like an election, once the ballot's on the voting machine it's too late to talk about the candidate's habit of eating sauerkraut and jelly. hahahaha AHAHHAAH (It's been a long day) hahahaa

    We'll choose our pick from one of the 10 and then we'll go from there in May, how does that sound? Yes Maus is searing and so is the one about the bomb from Great Britain.

    February 28, 2005 - 02:28 pm
    There's our Ann! Thank you Ann, we'll put that one in the heading and we'll all choose starting Wednesday from the 8 books in the heading, thank you!

    I'll put you up for April 1, also.

    Kevin Freeman
    February 28, 2005 - 02:30 pm
    Wow. Posts #80, 81, 82 all in a New York minute.

    February 28, 2005 - 02:35 pm
    hahaah Kevin! You are SUCH a hoot. I am sitting here howling over your post, which was done in that flurry hahahahaa I am not even going to try to answer that one, box cutters and Poles being open hahahaahah I think we can allow more than ONE day for voting tho hhahahaaa AHAHHAHAHAHAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    Kevin Freeman
    February 28, 2005 - 02:37 pm
    "I think we can allow more than ONE day for voting tho..."

    That's what John Kerry said.

    (I added the emoticon. With politics, you can't be careful enough.)

    February 28, 2005 - 02:53 pm
    AHAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa well one thing for sure, we're going to enjoy this entire experience! And that increases MY comfort zone. I needed that laugh, no joke.

    February 28, 2005 - 05:14 pm
    Africa is a continent, I know you all know that. Since I am researching Africa I'd be interested in knowing what countries the two African books represent. This book club sounds real interesting. It would have been fun to pick the country first I think and then look over the authors from that country...but I'm a little late. Do you mind if I join too?

    February 28, 2005 - 05:16 pm
    Welcome, Annie! I'm very interested in Africa, too, and there's no reason at all why along the way if this book club has a 9 year life like our Book Club Online, that we CAN'T pick a country first, we'll decide together, and we'll do as we like.

    We voted to start out with the book first, I am excited about this new thing, and we'll see how we like that in May. We'll decide together here.

    I think also a lot of times people tend to want to read things they hear about, so we can also use this space also in future to talk about some of the selections, and what we liked about them. I liked Mippy's suggestion on that.

    Welcome! Everyone is welcome and it's certainly not too late!

    Jackie Lynch
    February 28, 2005 - 06:25 pm
    Ginny, it seems as if you have made order out of the chaos of our clamoring. I will agree to everything you said above, and be prepared to vote on Wednesday. They all sound so interesting that it will be very hard for me to choose just one.

    Ann Alden
    February 28, 2005 - 06:43 pm
    I have found the beginning 6 pages of the Kite Runner on Amazon which is a big help for one to find out a little bit on style of writing.

    In fact, most of these titles are covered in the same manner on Amazon. When the book you are looking for appears, it is marked with a large spriraling arrow which says "search inside" on it.

    In answer to someone's question about which countries in Africa, Gordimer's books are all set in South Africa and Achebe's title, Things Fall Apart, is set in Nigeria.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 1, 2005 - 01:09 am
    I will be out of pocket for the next two days and so I am going to cast my vote now - Please count them -

    For my first choice, regardless, "Under the Glacier" by Halldor Laxness (Iceland) will not be dispatched till March 8th amd even with free mail service which can take up to 14 days, it should arrive by March 22. If it is as much as 5 days late that is still a March 27 delivery date - I really would love to tackle this author who I have not heard of until this discussion.

    For my second choice I would like to vote the book from Spain, although the author, Javier Cercas is South American - "Soldiers of Salamis".

    If I can peek in tomorrow night it would be after midnight. However, I have an early morning appointment on Wednesday so I doubt I will be looking in until Thursday...

    Kevin Freeman
    March 1, 2005 - 04:29 am
    I agree. I want to vote for Haldor Laxness's hot Icelandic book, but the logistics will not work for an April Fools discussion. Therefore my vote will be a second choice come Wednesday.

    Any SERIOUS thoughts on my SERIAL proposals for this group? Cut and paste from yesterday (all my troubles looked so far away), they are:

    # Book must have been published in or after 1995.

    # Author must either live in country of birth OR be an expatriate of no more than 10 years from country of birth (putting us back to 1995 again -- easier to remember).

    # Countries may only be used once in any given year (or two years, if discussions go every other month)

    # All countries eligible except the United States and England.

    # Book may be translated to English or written in English, as long as author meets above stipulations.

    Do they look feasible? Reasonable? Like the work of a crazed Maineiac?

    What do you all think on this fine, snowy Tuesday morning? And don't tell me Tuesdays are your day off from thinking -- that's my line.

    Jackie Lynch
    March 1, 2005 - 06:23 am
    Kevin, 1995 seems soon. Laxness' book was originally published in Iceland before that, wasn't it? Or do you mean English translation publication date? I know, picky, picky, picky.

    March 1, 2005 - 07:42 am
    Hi, all,
    The 1995 cut-off date eliminates the book by Naipaul, which was suggested way back in post #23.
    The paperback version was published in 1987,
    which means the hardback was earlier.
    Therefore, I suggest taking it off the list, at least for this first round.

    March 1, 2005 - 07:47 am
    Well we haven't actually decided on that date, tho it was one of the many great suggestions which I hope to get in the heading once we've voted. Let's leave the ballot as is, after all a card laid is a card played, let's play with the deck we've been dealt THIS time around, since the voting is tomorrow?

    Thank you Barbara, we're only taking First Choices, this time and we'll get your vote in the heading in the morning!

    March 1, 2005 - 07:57 am
    Thank you Jackie, if there is order it's the first time in my life. Hahaaha

    Thank you, Ann, Amazon does do a super job showing you what's in the book and it will be invaluable for us in this discussion to actually SEE the first few pages! I remember I used to go down to the B&N and read the first few pages of our nominated books.

    Thank you Kevin (now it looks as tho they're here to stay, huh? Hahaaha) Those are EXCELLENT suggestions and I want to get them on an HTML page with Jackie's so we can consider them after we vote. Since we're voting tomorrow I'd like those issues tabled, for now, if we can, since they do affect the current ballot, until we're finished voting, if that's ok. We can take (and should take) a great deal of May (OR the rest of March after we finally have a selection voted in) discussing these issues, I appreciate your bringing them up. We may have changed our minds by May, too, on several things.

    That's an interesting point you raise, Jackie, on the date of the book's original publication and the date of the translation.

    A great start, I look forward tomorrow to seeing your votes, will send out a ballot this afternoon in email, just to be sure nobody misses it. Be sure I have your email, please. Please email me if you have chosen for it not to show, thanks.

    March 1, 2005 - 08:01 am
    I'm dizzy, I'm spinning. I can't keep up with who wrote what where and lived when or is it who lived where and wrote what when?

    Can't we just be accepting and understand that International means differnet strokes for different folks. List the suggestions, then VOTE!

    March 1, 2005 - 08:59 am
    ... and see Ginny's post #96.
    Apparently, the 1995 date wasn't engraved in stone
    so we are voting based on the list above, including Naipal.
    The author is Indian, while the book takes place in several locations including Africa.
    (I have not read this book yet, but I have ordered it, anyway, to read whether or not the group votes it down.)

    March 1, 2005 - 12:27 pm
    I believe I am going to drop out of the discussion here for a time although I'll stay subbed so I don't forget you exist .

    My father died Saturday and I am, needless to say, broken hearted and unable to truly follow things. I thought it might work a bit like therapy and get my mind off everything but, instead, it's just too much.

    I will check back in awhile when things are settled down a bit and, perhaps, I can remember a post longer than the time it took me to read it


    March 1, 2005 - 12:54 pm
    Oh, SUZZ, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. Losing a father leaves an enormous void. I know; I've been there. I'll be thinking of you.


    Jackie Lynch
    March 1, 2005 - 05:17 pm
    Suzz, my heart goes out to you. I'm so sorry. We'll be here whenever you can check in; we'll be looking out for your posts.

    March 1, 2005 - 05:24 pm
    Dear Suzz,

    I'm so sorry to hear of the death of your father. Please accept my sympathy in your loss.

    Thinking of you, let us know how you're doing from time to time, we'll be here when you're ready to come back.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 1, 2005 - 06:21 pm
    Thinking of you, Suzz. When the time is right, I hope to see your words here again.

    March 1, 2005 - 07:26 pm
    Dear Suzz,
    I'm so sorry to hear about your father. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 2, 2005 - 03:35 am
    One book, two book, red book, blue book. Happy Dr. Seuss Day. Or voting day. Or whatever.

    Is this secret ballot (shhhhh!)? Can I vote out loud or is that bad form (as the Russian judge would say)?

    March 2, 2005 - 04:54 am
    I vote for Murder on the Leviathan just because I am a mystery fan and not in the mood for something toooooooo deep.

    March 2, 2005 - 07:18 am
    Dear Suzz:
    So very, very sorry to hear of your loss. My heart goes out to you.

    March 2, 2005 - 07:20 am
    Is it voting day already?
    If so, I'll stand by my nomination and vote for
    A Bend in the River by Naipaul.

    This is available in paperback from Amazon, and IMO his writing is challenging.

    March 2, 2005 - 07:36 am
    Election Day! Yes today is the day and yes you can cast your vote right here in public in the open or in email (if I ever get you all written). How about save us all some time and cast your vote right here. I'll update the heading tonight when I get back in and begin now with the votes I have!

    Vote today! Vote today! Vote today!

    Vote for ONE!

    The Polls will Close at midnight EST, March 4~

    Ann Alden
    March 2, 2005 - 07:41 am
    1) Bend in the River

    Just in case we need a tie breaker, I also vote for 2)Kite Runner

    Suzz, so sorry to hear of your dad's death. I hope you will rejoin us when you feel up to it. Meanwhile, you are in my prayers.

    Joan Grimes
    March 2, 2005 - 07:44 am
    I vote for Kite Runner.

    Joan Grimes

    Jackie Lynch
    March 2, 2005 - 08:26 am
    I vote for House of Day.

    March 2, 2005 - 08:53 am
    I vote for Kite Runner.

    March 2, 2005 - 10:01 am
    Thank you everyone for your very kind messages about my Dad. I am going to change my preference now so that SN won't automatically bring up messages from this group but I will still be subbed.


    March 3, 2005 - 08:57 am
    We're back in. Oh happy day.

    My vote is for Kite Runner.

    Joan Grimes
    March 3, 2005 - 10:04 am
    Yes we are back.

    Come on Folks vote here for one of the books.

    Ginny has been delayed today but will be here later.

    Joan Grimes

    March 3, 2005 - 10:07 am
    I vote for Kite Runner

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 3, 2005 - 03:02 pm
    Wow - who would have guessed - the gods crashed the whole system just so I would not miss that much - hehehehehe

    March 3, 2005 - 03:50 pm
    I was fortunate to hear the author speak, here in San Francisco. This is an amazing book with many insights. I'd like to join this group discussion! I recognize some names from Latin class.

    March 3, 2005 - 04:05 pm
    Welcome, Vouzon, vote today! (Or tomorrow)! I think we have lost a few posts so if you all don't see your vote in the heading please repost it, sorry for the problem.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 3, 2005 - 06:50 pm
    A few votes lost in translation? How apropos. That's Latin for "appropriate" as in the sentence "If you don't share one of those homemade Mrs. Fields' chocolate chip cookies this minute, I shall have to apropos one of them."

    Like 1929 yesterday. Rashcay entway hetay artypay. Pig Latin for: "It was a hard day for hard drives, weren't it?" Pigs have horrible grammar.

    Anyway, I'll cast my vote for HOUSE OF DAY, HOUSE OF NIGHT. Hey. The house always wins, my daddy used to say...

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 3, 2005 - 06:59 pm
    Since I really do not care to do the Kite Runner may I change my vote and give Kite Runner a run for the money - if so please change my vote to House of Day, House of Night

    March 4, 2005 - 06:47 am
    If changing votes is allowed, I'll decline the Naipal: Bend in the River, which is obviously is not a first runner. Maybe we would consider re-nominating it in a few months!

    So please change me to House of Day, House of Night
    IF changes are allowed. If not allowed, just ignore this!

    March 4, 2005 - 06:52 am
    Yep, changes and shape shifting are definitely allowed, anything's fair game till tonight at midnight EST!

    I'll change the heading!

    Kevin, clever pig Latin, I never mastered Pig Latin and it took me half of forever to figure out what you were saying hahahaha jeepers, there are a lot of Latins, including but not limited to dog Latin, pig Latin, and real Latin. Clever! Good thing we're not going to discuss in pig Latin.

    Everybody vote today, today's the last day!

    Joan Grimes
    March 4, 2005 - 08:00 am
    House of Day, House of Night looks good but I will not be able to read it until it either comes out in big print or is on audio. I know that I cannot read the paper back as the print will be too small and the hardback is $60. It is not worth that to me to buy that book. I will just have to opt out of the discussion. Oh well I might be able to join in a later one.

    Joan Grimes

    Jackie Lynch
    March 4, 2005 - 03:54 pm
    Joan, is Kite Runner the only one of the books above which is available in audio or large print? I didn't realize that your choices were limited to large print or audio. Isn't one of the criteria that the bllk be readily available for all participants?

    Kevin Freeman
    March 4, 2005 - 05:31 pm
    How do you define "readily available"? If you mean, stocked at the bookstore or in libraries (in the case of House of Day, House of Night), good luck because you're going to need it.

    If you mean, easily ordered from Barnes & Noble or, no problemo. I doubt there's a large-print HOUSE around (or a large HOUSE in Silesia, Poland, around either).

    The Kite Runner, on the other string, is much more mainstream. But I didn't think mainstream was key, so I voted for a tributary.

    Plus, in the category we're wading into with this book group (contemporary World Literature), we'd better become accustomed to not-so-mainstream. Meaning: participants will frequently have to order titles from on-line bookstores OR order them from bookstores and wait a week. They just ain't gonna be sitting on shelves like the Oprah-picks.

    Ginny, in your post you state that voting closes tonight (March 4th) at midnight, but in the colorful header it states that voting closes on March 5th (Sat. night) at midnight.

    My concept of when the vote closes is as dark as midnight, in other words.

    March 4, 2005 - 05:54 pm
    I wonder if the library would have it in regular print, Joan?

    Kevin you are correct, the heading is wrong, the polls close at midnight tonight, good point, I'll fix that now, thanks.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 4, 2005 - 06:20 pm
    What happens in the event of a tie? Do we wake kidsal and Ann up at 12:01 a.m. and court (OK, pay for) their votes with all kinds of lobbyist perks and gifts?

    Do we throw it to the Vice-President who sits as President of the Senate and fights sleep in the big chair behind the President during State of the Disunion speeches?

    Do we jump ball (I'm 6 feet)?

    Do we hold a Quiz Bowl contest on capitals of US states? (South Dakota... PIERRE! Vermont.... MONTPELIER!)

    Do we split the difference and read half of each book (House of Day and either The Kite or The Runner, depending on your mood)?

    Do we consider the tie a black-tie affair so we can dress up for the sake of dressing up?

    Do we take it to the Wizard of Oz?

    Sorry if I ask too many questions. Problem of mine. One of many.

    March 4, 2005 - 07:26 pm
    I say we toss a coin. But we have to vote on which country's coin to use (LOL)

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 4, 2005 - 07:42 pm
    In the past there has been a run off between the tied nominees ...

    Joan Grimes
    March 4, 2005 - 09:02 pm

    I always buy my books. It is not a case of my finding a book at the library. I never check books out of the library anymore. I prefer to own my books.

    Ginny, I could check to see if there is a hard back copy at the library iif it is voted the winner.

    Jackie, A Bend in the River ,as well as Kite Runner, is availabe in audio format. I wanted to read it because the country is Afghanistan. I have always been interested in Afghanistan. I am planning to buy it and read it even if this book club does not read it.

    Joan Grimes

    Kevin Freeman
    March 5, 2005 - 02:44 am
    Good. I just love running off. As a kid I was famous for it. Me and water. Run off all the time.

    But do we have time for these fancy runoffs? Time's a wasting! April First ain't foolin' around -- it's a comin'! Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for March (and Lord knows I'm no speed reader).

    Jackie Lynch
    March 5, 2005 - 06:23 am
    How does the run-off work? Seems as if people have made their choices; I'd like to order my book right away; there may be only a few and we will be fighting over them, ridiculous bidding wars, once the word gets out that SeniorNet Bookies are after a particular title.

    March 5, 2005 - 07:14 am
    Oh great suggestions, All. Yes we have done run offs in the past when we had lots of time but this is new and different, we're out of time, we're pawing a new path here collectively, and we want to remain open to new ideas as well as new voices.

    We're divided almost equally, and we might tie again, so since I have not voted at all, (I get a vote, too) as a tie breaker I'm just going to toss a coin, if that suits (An American coin) for my vote, and will take them alphabetically, heads for the House (H comes before K) and tails for the K.

    I will see to it that it spins first.

    Either way, half will be disappointed but again, maybe YOUR book (I have not thrown the coin yet) will win next time, that's the way a real F2F (face to face) book club discussion works…or is it?

    Let me seque here a minute. If you get the Wall Street Journal, you saw a huge article in their excellent weekend supplement yesterday on Book Clubs: the newest fad, and the most exclusive and haughty. It seems that in 2005 people desperately WANT to belong to a Book Club, the more exclusive the better. It is quite interesting reading, how exclusive they are, how snobbish, how arbitrary, the waiting lists, how some are "SERIOUS!" and if you suggested The Bridges of Madison County you'd be drummed out or never considered at all, shunned, and so on. What ridiculous blather.

    (Interesting that 3 of them were reading Kite Runner and one Disgrace, both nominated here).

    Also of interest in an alumni magazine I get was a strong endorsement for Reading Lolita in Teheran, I am wondering if we might get the author, now teaching in the US, but more on that later.

    Joan G, there is a super book out on women's book clubs in Afghanistan, I will have to find it again, it's the Sleeper of the Year, or so they say. It came out last spring, simply can't recall the title. Big in Europe, last year, tho.

    But what ridiculous sophistry the Wall Street Journal so accurately (as always) reveals with these pitiful exclusive book clubs.We here are open to everybody and anybody because we ARE the best, we love books and reading and some of our book discussions, because of the input of you, Loyal Reader, are more thorough than a college course. (And I just finished one in the Odyssey and I know what I'm talking about and IT was good).

    So let's realize we can't have OUR book every time. As long as it's "readily available" in B&N or Amazon or in paperback or in most libraries, that's the most we can hope for; it's very frustrating trying to find books in large print, how well I know and they aren't all on tapes, unfortunately.

    We HAVE read some books in the past that weren't readily available, too, and it's very frustrating for the participants. We don't want to get in that position again. (For instance, we SHOULD have read, long ago, in our regular book discussions, R.U.R. by the great Czech writer Karel Capek, but it's so hard to get it makes your eyes tear up). Capek, for those unfamiliar with him, coined the word ROBOT.

    So! Drum roll, please................................................

    We'll pick one for now and we'll automatically add the one which was not chosen to the top of our list for the next read which will be in June, we'll discuss throughout May which direction we would like to go next and have June 1 as our next starting point.

    Spinning an American quarter, our first selection IS…….

    Can't get the stupid thing to spin properly, going to another coin, hold on. Need a proper spin.

    Spinning a British pound, that seems more logical for this book club, it's thick, it should spin better…. Drum roll…………………………………….

    Won't spin either. Dadgum it!

    For Pete's SAKE!

    Threw quarter up in the air. It hit the ceiling, flew all over the place, finally stopped bouncing and is showing me what appears to be a beehive, says Missouri 1821, I take it that's the back of it, it's tails and it's KITE RUNNER!

    So our first book of choice will be Kite Runner. I have no idea what it's about but we'll now get up a Proposed discussion. In order for us to schedule a book discussion in our Books and Literature sections we have to put up a Proposed discussion to be sure we have a quorum, enough readers to proceed and justify offering it. Look for that in the morning.

    Thank you all for launching us on our first splendid new book club in many years. If YOUR selection did not win this time, it may next time, so stretch your mind a bit and read along, so that we can experience ALL, in their turns, the voices of the world!

    Joan Grimes
    March 5, 2005 - 08:39 am
    Off to order my book right now.

    Joan Grimes

    Kathy Hill
    March 5, 2005 - 08:52 am
    You have chosen an incredible book. Be prepared for exciting twists and turns.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 5, 2005 - 09:51 am
    so be it - ah so - wanted unique and we came up with best seller - well there you have it...Borders has it on their 3 for the price of 2 table and so it won't be hard to pickup -

    Currently we have 17900 troops in Afghanistan looking for the mujahideen "ghosts" [expression used since they are hiding and not fighting] - as I understand it this book is about life before the wars - either the Russian or the US war.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 5, 2005 - 10:41 am
    Is that coin from Florida? Because if it is, I'm challenging the results.

    Also, you should know (according to that the Polish consulate in Washington has filed a strongly-worded (and well-polished) protest with the U.S. State (of Florida?) Department. It ain't pretty.

    (Um, speaking for myself and as previously stated, I already own an unread paperback copy of The Kite Runner, whereas I would have had to order House of Day, House of Good Night Irene.)

    My worry about bestsellers is that they might make better "reads" than "discussions" because they often have great plots but the depth of, say, my opinions on Renaissance painting in 16th-Century Lichtenstein (for those of you not following, read: "not very deep").

    OK I'll give it a go and though I won't give away anything here, I might type peanut gallery-type comments as I go along.

    Afghanistan. Poppies. Poppies. Poppies (in the Wizard of Oz, this is where everyone falls asleep in their own field of dreams).

    March 5, 2005 - 11:24 am
    My own (not exclusive) face to face book club is reading "The Kite Runner" too, so I get a two-fer. We have been meeting for 7 or 8 years, accept anyone, come to consensus on books and didn't know we were trendy.

    March 5, 2005 - 12:44 pm
    Why do you have to have a proposal when the book is to be read by participants of THIS discussion, and the book has ALREADY been CHOSEN by a vote of the participants?

    March 5, 2005 - 06:14 pm
    The Proposed might attract someone else who doesn't read this discussion, but does check the Proposed and Coming books for discussion.

    March 5, 2005 - 07:54 pm
    Kevin you make my day with your posts as when I read them I am truly lol, Thank you for joining us.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 6, 2005 - 05:40 am
    Thank you, Ginger, that is most gracious of you. I have moved my copy of The Kite Runner up to the bedside table -- an important step in my reading process (which is, to say the least, both unorthodox and spotty).

    I like the title, anyway, because it reminds me of myself as a kid when March meant wind and kites and, for some reason, no snow (which I am now surrounded with and which doesn't seem to want to leave this year).

    Getting a kite up was an art, those days, because I had to work with the cheapest, drugstore models which was all I could afford. You'd have to let the string out and run like hellfire against the wind when trying to put a kite up and usually it would bounce madly against the street behind you or jab into a clump of field grass and hold on stubbornly until the string broke along with your heart.

    So you'd practice your knots learned in cub scouts and run like Dante's Inferno again until a tug or two feeling like fish on the line told you that the kite was actually airborne and your heart would leap as if IT wanted to be airborne, too, and, in your kid world, nothing was quite like the feeling of this success and this kite.

    As if to tease, the kite would dive left then dive right, careening madly across the March sky with its bedsheet tail stolen from Mother's dustrag closet and each time it dove your heart would catch in your throat and you'd feel your fortunes dive with it... especially when it came near trees and wires and teased you with its ups and downs and changes of mind.

    The battle was never won, however, and all my kites would wind up crippled in tree branches. Then they'd look down at me broken and lonely and sad -- as if I were the one who betrayed them and fed them to the trees.

    Sometimes I'd climb the tree to scary heights and peel them out delicately, plucking their ribs of wood from the gnarly fingers of branches, but it was never the same. The kites would never fly again.

    Anyway, it's fun to remember, even if the book turns out to be nothing like that.

    March 6, 2005 - 06:11 am
    Great, Joan G, and Everybody, and thank you for your supportive spirit, even IF your own book did not win this time, appreciate that, Barbara and Kevin.

    Barbara, "bestseller" and "unique" are not always in opposition, are they? Let's find out, and give our own summation when it's over, thank you for introducing that element here.

    Kathy thank you for that great quote, if YOU say it's incredible we'll have to strap ourselves into our seats, hope you can join us, too!

    Hhahah Kevin, I agree with Ginger (Welcome, Ginger!!) I do enjoy your posts and no, it was a Missouri hanging chad quarter, this time.

    Joan K, super, I have long wanted to get something going between a face to face book club and us, I am looking forward to some exchange between us, even if it consists of you reporting what they said. It seems that EVERYBODY is talking about this book, I am kind of glad to find out what all the shouting is about.

    Howzat, welcome to the discussion! Pat is correct, we do hope to open up the book club to a lot of others, and since not everybody here voted for Kite Runner, we need to be sure we actually DO have a quorum before we schedule it. I hope you will consider participating, welcome.

    Kevin it's so funny you should mention the old timey kites. Yesterday on my walk I nearly got blown off the path and for some reason started singing "Let's go fly a kite," and wanting to go up to the barn and get out our VERY old timey kite and give it a try. It's that steam engine run that might be beyond me, (not to mention the string is probably hopelessly snarled) but I believe that if I had spread out my own arms I'd have been aloft. I agree with you that the word "kite" has pleasant connotations. Except for my youngest. I will never forget him standing on a stage of 2nd graders, all of whom were enthusiastically singing Let's Go Fly a Kite while he scowled. To this day he hates that song. Hahahaa

    I guess we'll find out what kind of kite this is, I truly have no idea of the book OR Afghanistan, at all.

    Patwest has opened our Kite Runner Proposed Discussion, thank you, Pat.

    In order for our book to be scheduled, we'd appreciate it if you'd go by and post your intention to join in that discussion, should not take more than a day, hopefully.

    We'll keep this Home Discussion for other considerations, thank you all for successfully launching a new book and a new book club!!

    March 6, 2005 - 09:02 am
    It'll fly, Kevin. And even if it doesn't, it'll be a lot of fun watching you run with it.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 6, 2005 - 10:18 am
    Thanks, Jonathan. Running IS half the fun -- especially when you don't look back. (Later on we would call that sort of thing "hope.")

    OK. Now I have to search around and find that other thread ginny was talking about. Kind of like that labyrinth thingy with all those turns and drafty passages and look-alike corners and bad-breathed half-man, half-bulls going by the name of Minotaur.

    "Ariadne's" thread that time, wasn't it? A lifesaver (cherry, please).

    March 6, 2005 - 01:37 pm
    Right on, Kevin. Leave the hope thing for later for the autopsy. Go with the chutzpah. More reliable.

    You're right too about this place being like a labyrinth. Lately a lot of these forums have been running into each other. Haven't you notice the incoherent thread in some of them. People are simply not posting in the right places. Now can someone tell me how to get out of here. This happened once before and it took me three days to find the exit. It does leave one feeling distraught.

    March 7, 2005 - 05:07 am
    hahaha you guys are a hoot~

    The Kite Runner has definitely made a quorum, and has become a definite Coming Attraction so those who were wavering can now go ahead and get the book and plan definitely to participate, we're OFF!

    Jonathan and anyone who gets lost here in our Books Forest: there ARE breadcrumbs (literally, that's what they're called) and if, after YOU post and you hit Post My Message, you look directly below what you just posted (it's not under YOUR post any more, I'm the last to post now) but if you look directly below you will see a string of words and they are underlined?

    The words Books & Literature, underlined are a link to the entire Books Menu. I like to use IT.

    Those words are directly below the words < previous> at the bottom

    If you want to go somewhere else look up on the top of the page and you'll see a number of tabs, one of which is Books & Culture, another of which is Discussions and Chat, those will take you someplace else?

    Hope this helps!

    March 7, 2005 - 10:11 am
    It most certainly does help, Ginny. But why the exclamation? I'm turning it over and over in my mind, and the more I think about it the more meaning it takes on. But I'm glad I asked. One more question:

    Where's the bathroom?

    March 7, 2005 - 12:44 pm
    hahaha What exclamation?

    I truly don't believe I'd read anything into MY punctuation, no matter what it is, it's usually done in haste and without thought.

    Two doors down on the right. (no exclamation, just in case?) hahahaaa

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 7, 2005 - 06:13 pm
    How about the ! being a peice of directional art?!?

    March 8, 2005 - 05:47 am
    THERE you go~! A work of art! OR an emotional road sign! hahahahaa As I think most of you can see, punctuation means nothing to me? So please don't read anything into it. If the Romans could get away with none, I figure anything added is an artistic pleasure.

    March 8, 2005 - 10:19 am
    The same one, Ginny, with which you ended your post. The eclamation that came with 'Hope this helps!' I thought it was apt and very effective in pointing out the absurdity of my predicament. It deserved nothing less than an exclamation. I thought it was very funny. Nothing like being cheered up when one is lost.

    When you now say, 'Don't read anything into it', I would say, of course not, other than that it very definitely was a Freudian slip. You will appreciate that when I add that I am preparing to propose a book for discussion that will take us on a journey through the unconscious of psychoanlysis, my mind is boggling already at the audacity of attempting it. Talk about the blind leading the...!!!

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 8, 2005 - 02:57 pm
    Haa ha ha ha haha !

    March 8, 2005 - 05:02 pm
    Jonathan -- Ginny has always been well-known for her use of !!!! and ???? They seem to add emphasis to her enthusiasm and what she is posting.

    I agree with Ginny: "I figure anything added is an artistic pleasure."

    March 9, 2005 - 12:25 pm
    GINNY:The first time I met you, I had just joined Seniornet, and had made a post that caused some controversy. You posted "Joan, you are so right?"

    I looked and looked at that question mark: "What is she saying? Does she think I'm right or not?" I almost posted back and asked you. Now I love your question marks!

    March 9, 2005 - 01:13 pm
    I'm sure each one of us has a story to tell about some one of the many carefully nuanced exclamatory and/or questionable endings, additions and omissions, of Ginny's wonderful posts. I remember so well being greeted with an exclamation when I came on board. And I hope, by God, when I go, I'll be found worthy of another.

    Bless you, Ginny.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 9, 2005 - 01:46 pm
    Not sure whether to post this here or in the KITE RUNNER thread, but the IMPAC 2005 Long List has been reduced to a SHORT LIST. The Short List includes some savory books from foreign shores, including one of my favorites -- NORWAY (I'd go there more often but I can't a-fjord it).

    Check it out in this Guardian write-up:

    2005 IMPAC Short List Announced

    Can we while away the time here trying to come up with a name for this group, or are we going along with "Read Around the World Book Group"? I love parlour games. I just don't own a parlour.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 9, 2005 - 02:01 pm
    And here's a direct link with the lowdown on the shortbread books (jammin'!). I'm sure some will be on our nominations list for May.

    2005 IMPAC Short List Book Descriptions

    March 9, 2005 - 03:45 pm
    Thanks for the short list, Kevin. I'm rooting for Edward Jones (The Real World). I heard him read from the book at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. The place was packed, and he was wonderful.


    Fifi le Beau
    March 9, 2005 - 07:01 pm
    I would like to nominate "Istanbul" by Orhan Pamuk which will be published in June 2005 in the U.S. and is non fiction. I have read an excerpt from this new book and the translation is excellent.

    Orhan Pamuk is a Turkish writer who won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary award in 2003. He has published several books that have been translated into English, but "Istanbul" will be his first non fiction book, and I nominate it for discussion.

    Here is a review of his 2001 book "My name is red" by the New York Times Review of books.

    My name is red by Orhan Pamuk


    March 10, 2005 - 04:51 am
    hahahaa Jonathan, Joan and Pat What? What? hhaahaha, thanks for the nice comments? hahaahaa

    OOo well done, Kevin on the IMPAC, what a delicious range THAT is, South Africa, Norway, Morocco, Australia, and don't they look GOOD I may have to read them anyway and I did not know Lethem had a new one out.

    Deems, welcome to this discussion!! I have heard a lot about that book, it might make a super read here, lucky you to see him. I DID get the tape of the interview with Paul Rusesabagina (the real life hero of Hotel Rwanda) and he's stunningly impressive.

    Fifi, welcome to this discussion, and another great book nominated, thank you, have heard a lot about (and have but have not read) his My Name is Red.

    At present we already have our first selection in Kite Runner, so we'll hold these splendid nominations until May:

    Now is the Month of Maying: click and dance!
    Lyrics by Sir Thomas Morley

    Now is the month of Maying, when merry lads are playing! Fa la la la la!
    Each with his bonny lass, a-dancing on the grass, fa la la la la!

    The Spring, clad all in gladness, doth laugh at Winter's sadness! Fa la la la la!
    And to the bagpipes’ sound, the nymphs tread out the ground! Fa la la la la!

    Fie! Then why sit we musing, youth’s sweet delight refusing? Fa la la la la!
    Say, dainty nymphs and speak! Shall we play barley break? Fa la la la la!

    and make our June selection at that time.

    Thank you all for these wonderful ideas.

    Kevin on the name of this discussion, I'm game, go ahead and suggest. You can see the title has been shortened to Read Around the World, what's your fancy? We can vote on a list.

    I'm afraid the well has run dry over here, Global Greats? er.....

    March 10, 2005 - 06:09 am
    Why re-name it? It will just confuse those who are used to looking for Read Around the World

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 10, 2005 - 11:07 am
    hehehe - Pat I think you are probably from the school of "Use it up / wear it out / make it do / or do without." While some love wisps of fantasy that hopefully others can follow their breadcrumbs.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 10, 2005 - 01:59 pm
    patwest -- No need to rename it. I thought that was ginny's original intent.

    March 10, 2005 - 02:55 pm
    Whatever.. ha ha

    Suggestion withdrawn.

    March 10, 2005 - 03:27 pm
    haha Thanks, Pat. ALL suggestions here are valid, whether they are to change or not change, We want to hear all opinions, that's what we're about: different voices, the more different the better. We need ALL the voices here.

    Let's see what some of the creative minds here can come up with, Read Around the World is my title and it seems kind of awkward, to me, I am hoping for something else!

    If nothing seems better we can keep it, what do you all think would be a good title, let's give it a try? Global Gobbets? haahhaa Now you can see why Pat prefers Read Around the World!@ hahahaha

    Seriously, I truly canNOT think of a thing, what ideas do you all have?

    (Look at it this way, almost anything is better than Global Gobbets?)

    Joan Grimes
    March 10, 2005 - 05:15 pm
    I agree with Pat West. I like Read Around The World. I don't see any reason to confuse people by changing the name.

    Joan Grimes

    March 10, 2005 - 05:36 pm
    I, too, like Read Around the World. It says it all.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 10, 2005 - 06:22 pm
    For grins let's play - We could go with --

    International Reading Series

    A Festival of International Authors

    Harbor of Round the World Contemporary Reading

    Passport to the World of Contemporary International Authors

    Kevin Freeman
    March 10, 2005 - 07:09 pm
    Prepositions for $1,000:

  • Read Through the World
  • Read Into the World
  • Read Over the World
  • Read Under the World (move over, Atlas)
  • Read Across the World
  • Read As the World (Great Disguise!)
  • Read Between the World (Tricky, That)
  • Read Despite the World (That'll Show 'Em)
  • Read Off the World (Better Than Off the Wall)
  • Read Outside the World (Spaceshots Unite!)
  • Read Unlike the World (Cursed TVs!)
  • Read With the World (and the Whole World Reads With You)
  • Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 10, 2005 - 11:00 pm
    oohhh I like Read with the World...a lot...

    I found this and thought the concept fascinating - if these same questions were used without reference the Dahl and his books they would be terrific questions to use when we are each recommending a book and as a group, when we are making a choice. Roald Dahl

    Kevin Freeman
    March 11, 2005 - 03:47 am
    Read With the World would be especially cool, Dahling, if we could hook up with an organization or two in the country we're reading and get some participants from behind-the-lines (so to speak).

    Maybe take a page out of IMPAC's book and contact a library in the capital city? I'll bet if we read NORWAY's The Half-Brother, for instance, a little advance notice in cooperation with a librarian in Oslo's main library (via e-mail) would lead to some participation. Heck, all they'd have to do is put up a poster with our website URL near their library's main desk and/or add our discussion link in advance to THEIR main website.

    Ginny, of course, would be in charge of these international bookings (Booked Flights, shall we call them?). As ambassador at large (why are they never "at small"?), she'd put out electronic feelers (sounds vaguely dangerous) to libraries, universities, other sr. organizations, etc. Her pay, of course, would be zilch (the monetary unit of Switzerland). Hope you like chocolate, ginny, because 83 zilches buys a lot of the sweet stuff!).

    Question is, does Kabul have a main library that's functioning? Or is it still being reconstructed? The other possibility would be libraries at universities. I know all my kids looked at the University of Kabul, for instance, before opting for other foreign adventures (my son chose the University of Pago Pago where he is majoring in Beaches, Daydreaming, and Drinks-with-Tiny-Umbrellas-Sticking-Out-of-Them).

    March 11, 2005 - 07:51 am
    3 against 2 ( and I get my buddies to come vote.)

    We win.

    March 11, 2005 - 10:19 am
    "The Bookseller of Kabul" by Asne Seierstad, a Norwgian journalist who covered the fall of the Taliban (November 2001) moved in with an educated Afghan bookseller and his family and then wrote this book about what she saw and heard. Afghan culture and society is complicated, as are all societies. This book gives a unique peek into life in Kabul now. You might want to read it alongside "The Kite Runner".

    Kevin Freeman
    March 11, 2005 - 12:53 pm
    3 against 2 ( and I get my buddies to come vote.)

    We win.

    Alas, the voting remains open until April 1st.

    (And stop emphasizing the fact that I have no friends.)

    March 11, 2005 - 02:57 pm
    I'll be your friend, Kevin. I don't speak Norse, or Swiss, or Afghan, tho'. Do you allow friends of such limited communication? :>)


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 11, 2005 - 03:45 pm
    Holy Hannah - shoot, even 'naming' is a cuase to challange - hmmm do we now have an eye on the Empire - will there be a race for the roses or a preemptive attack on creativity? Who knew the 'dogs of hell' would be let loose --
    "Deny your God!" their spears are all agleam,
    And I can see their eyes with blood-lust shine;
    Their snarling voices shrill into a scream,
    And, mad to slay, they quiver for the sign.
    Deny my God! yes, I could do it well;
    Yet if I did, what of my race, my name?
    How they would spit on me, these dogs of hell!
    Of course said with all the drama of an actor on stage in a turn-of-the-century Melodrama. hehehe fun --

    Kevin Freeman
    March 11, 2005 - 05:32 pm
    Thank you, BaBi. Doesn't matter the country -- when you say you'll befriend the likes of me, you're speaking my language!

    Jackie Lynch
    March 11, 2005 - 05:42 pm
    Barbara, I like the Dahl site. And The Bookseller of Kabul sounds like a good companion piece. For a title, Reading Around The World: (Afghanistan) putting each country in turn after the colon. Some may be attracted by a particular country (Kevin, any nominations from Pago Pago?) without wanting to take on the reaponsibility of reading the entire world.

    March 12, 2005 - 08:59 am
    Love all the creative ideas here! Hahaha Kevin on the titles, do you remember when we had to memorize all the Prepositions in school? All I can remember of that famous sequence now is "between, beyond, but, by" in sequence, hahaha you missed a few!

    Thank you, Joan, Karmie, and Pat for those thoughts on our current title, and Barbara and Kevin for those suggestions for a new one, let's keep the floor open for a while. Thank you for the Dahl site, Barbara!

    I kind of like the concept, Barbara and Kevin, of Read With the World, it would be very interesting to get something set up with other book clubs around the globe! I wonder if any of you have time to look into that proposition? We might try something for the fall, (I assume it would take a while to set up but maybe if one of you contacts that woman who wrote about Reading Lolita in Teheran, she might know of a book club that we could talk to) or maybe we can find others, I think that's a super idea.

    Except for this part? Hahahaha "Ginny, of course, would be in charge of these international bookings…" hahaha er…NO, ginny's whole schtick is getting others involved, but I sure would like to see one of you pick up this ball for us? What say you?

    That's an excellent question, Kevin, DOES Kabul even have a library, can one of you find out?

    I think this conversation has taken an interesting turn!

    Horselover, the Bookseller of Kabul sounds wonderful!!!!!!!!!!! I can only personally read one at a time, but maybe somebody else here can read it and comment on IT as we go thru the discussion, it sounds wonderful! Thank you!

    And Jackie, that's a good point, and reading your post made me think that possibly we might want to move on from this part of the world for our next selection, I like the colon idea, but we need to have finished this one first, and see what the next nominations are during the month of May before we decide that, we don't know which way the discussion will go, and they are always living things.

    Oh and I saw a whole slew of great sounding books yesterday, will put them in the Café, come see later today when I get them up!

    March 12, 2005 - 09:47 am
    FYI: The University of Kabul Library suffered great losses during the war. I would guess any other Libraries there, if the concept of "public libraries" even exists, suffered the same fate.

    Before the wars this university library had over one million books, research papers and manuscripts. Rocket attacks and looting decimated the collection.

    continued at above link

    Various US University presses are donating books to attempt to begin the rebuilding of their academic collection.


    March 12, 2005 - 10:18 am
    Late in joining the renaming discussion. I think in honor of Ginny, it should be:

    Question Marks Around the World

    Kevin Freeman
    March 12, 2005 - 07:10 pm
    I can't believe it. Write a check in Ginny's name for 83 zilches, and she ducks the assignment via that old dog-ate-my-homework excuse -- delegating.

    I tell ya. A zilch just doesn't buy much anymore (sigh).

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 13, 2005 - 12:27 am
    OK - I am cool anyway this goes but I really would like to have the perimeters established -

    Are we considering another name for this discussion or not - do we put it to a vote or not

    As to the authors chosen - are we saying the book must be written in the last 10 years - 20 year - or 30 years -

    Are we saying the book must be written by a foreign author that includes with the Author's name the name of the translator, since the book was originally published in another country and in the language spoken within that country...

    Or are we saying, if the Author now lives in either England or the US and speaks and writes in English but, places his story out of the place they lived as a child or, as a young adult or, as a grown adult even thought they did not grow up there, but all these scenarios would be acceptable or if not all, which one or two of these scenarios will we use as the guideline to help us establish which authors will be considered.

    Or do we simply play all this by ear - and wait to see what is offered for consideration in the future as long as it has some connection with another area of the world.

    Then I have to wonder if some of our own authors would be included since they had lived for a time in the area they wrote about like, Michner and Barbara Kingsolver but excluding any author who is from Britain or Canada - does that also include if they are born or live in Canada or Britain now but lived and wrote about say Africa or China...

    Just looking to fence this in or is it open range land...

    March 13, 2005 - 03:33 am
    I'm with you fellers!

    Like the character of Delmar (pronounced "Del mer") in Oh Brother Where Art Thou, (have you seen that thing? It's a take on the Odyssey, a cult film) but anyway, this meek little guy called Delmar is chained to two escaped prisoners, who get in a debate about who the leader is. Who said YOU were the leader, the John Turturro character growls. I'm voting for me! The other character, George Clooney in an amazing role for him, jerks the chains back and says well I'm voting for ME! And then they both turn and look somewhat angrily down at little Delmar chained in the middle who looks up at both of them and smiles and says, cheerfully, "I'm with you fellers." hahahaa

    I'm with you fellers. I'm agreeing with everybody, and that's the joy of starting out something new, you're always in the process of creating, I love that best.

    Hahaha Kevin, don't look at that like an AFLAC commercial but rather an opportunity! Haha I think it's a wonderful idea, but unfortunately at the mo my plate is full, but I'd love to see others run with it.

    hahaha JoanK, THAT annoying huh? hhahaaha

    Barbara, good points, let's see what others think here:

    Are we considering another name for this discussion or not - do we put it to a vote or not

    Yes I think we can still be receiving names, and we can vote, sure, when we think we have enough.

    As to the authors chosen - are we saying the book must be written in the last 10 years - 20 year - or 30 years -

    Are we saying the book must be written by a foreign author that includes with the Author's name the name of the translator, since the book was originally published in another country and in the language spoken within that country...

    Or are we saying, if the Author now lives in either England or the US and speaks and writes in English but, places his story out of the place they lived as a child or, as a young adult or, as a grown adult even thought they did not grow up there, but all these scenarios would be acceptable or if not all, which one or two of these scenarios will we use as the guideline to help us establish which authors will be considered.

    I'm not? I hate to be limited, to set specific boundaries and parameters, because I’m afraid if we limit ourselves too tightly then we'll pass over and by something we might really want to read, but I would like to hear specifically what others think on each of these points. Two new books I was talking about in the Café yesterday, Out and The Shadow of the Wind both have translators and both seem fabulous, I'm going to be nominating both of them for May, one on Japan, and one on Bolivia, I think it is.

    Or do we simply play all this by ear - and wait to see what is offered for consideration in the future as long as it has some connection with another area of the world.

    I don't know, what do YOU all think?

    Then I have to wonder if some of our own authors would be included since they had lived for a time in the area they wrote about like, Michner and Barbara Kingsolver but excluding any author who is from Britain or Canada - does that also include if they are born or live in Canada or Britain now but lived and wrote about say Africa or China...

    Michener was born in the United States and writes in English and was an American, his travels, etc., I don't think, would qualify him for anything but an American traveling, albeit a very well researched one.

    And again we have seen the example of Pearl Buck who wrote in English, and whose books are taught in Chinese Universities now as about the only texts available for the time period of the Boxer Rebellion and what life was like.

    But what would we make of HER credentials?

    Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker was born on June 26, 1892, in Hillsboro, West Virginia. Her parents, Absalom and Caroline Sydenstricker, were Southern Presbyterian missionaries, stationed in China. Pearl was the fourth of seven children (and one of only three who would survive to adulthood). She was born when her parents were near the end of a furlough in the United States; when she was three months old, she was taken back to China, where she spent most of the first forty years of her life.

    You really do get a picture of China reading her books and she lived in Pennsylvania.

    Just looking to fence this in or is it open range land...

    I don't know. Which one do YOU all want? I'm with you fellers.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 13, 2005 - 03:49 am
    Barbara's wonderings sent me back to my own Post #80 (took me about 2 hours to find it, but...). It passed like a ship in the night at the time so I'll float it again if only for the reason that it gives us something to work with, to fine tune, to amend, to add to, to destroy, to laugh at, and so forth:

    1. Book must have been published in or after 1995.

    2. Author must either live in country of birth OR be an expatriate of no more than 10 years from country of birth (putting us back to 1995 again -- easier to remember).

    3. Countries may only be used once in any given year.

    4. All countries eligible except the United States and England.

    5. Book may be translated to English or written in English, as long as author meets above stipulations.

    Pearl Buck would be a definite no-no under such parameters. I know, I know. You may LOVE Pearl Buck. Or Charles Dickens. Or Sandra Cisneros. Or James "Encyclopedia" Michener. But instead of fretting about throwing them out the window in THIS group, let's remember that they are ALL fair game for one of the many OTHER book groups floating around at Sr. Net (I've seen 'em floating, I have!).

    I think we should recall the spirit of what gave birth to this group in the first place a month or so ago -- an IMPAC list followed by an aside about how important it is to understand other countries and other cultures as they exist NOW through the arts instead of through the news.

    Thinking of it that way gives us a guideline or a mission statement to hold onto as we fine tune parameters for choosing books. For instance, my proposal of limiting choices to books published in 1995 or after is arbitrary, but I like such a recent date because I think, again, that we should be looking for fresh voices reflecting the most recent developments in these countries, which is one reason I like working off of the IMPAC list or off of any other contemporary or fairly recent awards lists.

    Heck -- free range is for chickens, not book groups. And there's certainly no harm done in wrestling over these issues while The Kite Runner takes flight. April's a done deal and probably a great choice in that it's a bestseller and brings up issues about a largely unknown country which has recently taken a back seat in the news (if not in eating your tax dollars) to Iraq thanks to George Bush.

    What we should enter friendly discourse over is parameters for May. If we can have guidelines in place by the last week in March, we can probably nominate and vote on a May book by April 1 or so.

    Plus, there's no one saying our decisions will be cast in concrete (or bronze, or the ocean) once we make them. We can revisit them after a trial run of 6 mos. or a maybe year. I always loved revisiting. Especially Grandma's (on account of the cooking).

    As for the group's title, that's a lesser consideration compared to book criteria. Sure, let's have fun and bat around ideas. Pat and her formidable lobby (!) may laugh last once the vote comes around, but I'm all for a few chuckles seeing what gentlefolk come up with. Who knows. We might even find something we sort of, kind of, in a way LIKE!

    Well, it's off of my soap box and back to the coffee maker for another cuppa. This guy's not wired enough (yet) and has a full work day ahead.

    Good Sunday morning to you all! Ginny, giving up that big check tells me you'd definitely be a "dealer" were you on the old Let's Make a Deal show.

    "Take the box and the money, Monty, I want Door #3!" she says as the studio audience cheers wildly and her husband shakes his head, "NO-O-O-O-O!"

    March 13, 2005 - 06:14 am
    Early Birds, unite! hahaha

    Kevin you astound me with your highlighting! I have never seen that done before here in 9 years of doing this, thank you for that, I shall study it and learn.

    I am sorry you felt your post was overlooked, it wasn't, but it's quite specific, and, as a proponent of free range (especially in chickens, a particular pet peeve of mine) I thought maybe we weren't ready for that. It appears we ARE!

    (The Pearl Buck example was not meant to suggest Pearl Buck as an author here, but rather a life lived half in and half out of a particular country, sort of an example or metaphor for other authors) You are correct she would not be a modern voice. We may someday want to hear an older voice, too, for contrast, but let's all get these great suggestions, yours, Barbara's and everybody else's, point by point, up in the heading, I'll ask for Pat's help here in doing that, and we can decide, we have lots of time in March, and add more considerations or vote.

    I'm with you fellers, except on one thing that has apparently passed unnoticed also, so I'll revisit it again, too.

    Structurally, we want to first read our April selection and then see where we want to go? I would like to make this book club bi-monthly on a permanent set up, and after the first book has been read, then assess when it's over, in the next month (May in this instance), where we are as a group, and where we want to go then, what possible themes in the literature of any country we'd like to read next, etc., as a result of our April discussion.

    It's possible that something might arise out of our own discussion of The Kite Runner that we want to pursue in our next book. I'd like to keep that option open. I'd like the intervening months (May, July, September), to serve as a time for nominating/ discussing of choices, and selecting where we want to go next? It's true we now have this month of March, but if we don't provide for subsequent months in the future, we will be distracted by nominating and voting and discussing other books while trying to focus on the current selection: I'd like to slow the process down a bit so we can make leisurely choices, something different?

    Oh no, not giving up the check at all, rather writing somebody else's name on it, so we can all win.

    What do you all think now of these issues? Do you have any to add or that contrast? We'll get up a slate in the heading asap and discuss each one, thank you all for your great ideas!

    Kevin Freeman
    March 13, 2005 - 07:06 am
    Rest assured, fellow Early Bird (best time of the day! just in from lovely shoveling!), I did not think my earlier post was ignored, just that people weren't ready for it.

    People may STILL not be ready for it, who knows?

    And I understood your meaning in bringing up Pearl Buck (not for nomination, just for "for instances").

    And I'll put "with a grain of salt" under my name so everyone understands whatever I write is in a pleasant tone, lighthearted, sometimes serious in intent, but never overly so.

    Cool? Cool!

    Check for 83 zilches is now written to "Pay to the Order of CASH." (Weeeeeeeeee!)

    March 13, 2005 - 08:20 am
    Yeah, I'm with you fellas too, but just don't get hung up on rules and years. Did you know they're having this same discussion in Japan, but with maybe a different twist.

    This is what professor Hiraishi has to say ----
    Faulkner in Japan

    "Faulkner and his fiction may seem like ancient history to many Americans. But Hiraishi said the South of the 1940s and 1950s doesn't seem so ancient to the Japanese.

    "Passage of time is no problem in Japan," he said, adding that the Asian nation's literary history dates back a thousand years"

    March 13, 2005 - 08:38 am
    GINNY, I did see "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou", and loved it! More than anything else, for the incredibly beautiful old country music. I'm planning on finding the video and watching it again, just to hear those songs.

    Re. Kevin's note on "fresh voices" (how did you highlight those, Kevin?), That is exactly what I thought we most wanted in this new forum. I am so ignorant about contemporary foreign writers; I'd like to explore them.


    March 13, 2005 - 09:23 am
    I agree with Kevin in #189 on the criteria. We also need to be a little free ranging or we will box ourselves into a corner trying to find something too specific.

    Ginny: I agree that we should try to pick some books ahead of time or we will get bogged down in the middle of the discussion and not enjoy it so much. It would also give us enough time to find the books. Sometimes it's not so easy.

    Just my humble opinion.


    March 13, 2005 - 09:28 am
    Kite Runner, at my library, has a 2months waiting period unless 3 people ahead of me return it before it is due.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 13, 2005 - 11:02 am
    I think with this month's choice we landed on a title that is a best seller - and so the difficulties Pat you are having obtaining the book is probably a reflection of that best seller status.

    I too was only using Isabel Allende as an example - much of her work was published while she still lived in Chile but she has emigrated to the US and her more recent books have been written here in the US - we can all think of many authors who fall in this category like Amy Tan and John La Carré of England who as an adult lived all over Europe.

    I am thinking the intent was to find the new authors who were offering a fresh look at life in the nation from which they are writing - and yet, one of the latest books from France, about the French countryside [a Gothic tale about 4 teens who setup house in the trees of a French Forest] is authored by an English ex-Journalist who left the rat race and settled in southwest France with his three very young children and his French wife.

    I am wondering if maybe we are overlooking the obvious - rather than this being a discussion of broad possibilities because really the title of our discussion is leading us to broad possibilities - maybe this should be a discussion of international authors from the IMPAC list as well as any other list we can agree upon - in other words simply limit our selections for nominations to those authors and books on those lists. That way the intent of this discussion can be preserved and all these other wonderful authors can be considered in some of our other discussions.

    I like the idea of getting all the peripheral research done before the discussion of the book but I am also seeing in order to make that effective some of us will have had to read the book early so we can list the appropriate topics to be researched and chatted about.

    Now off the subject but is it!!!

    ahum... Anyone that thinks of chickens when open range is suggested must be having a death wish - chickens do not survive many nights in open range since there are no trees for them to roost. The miles of open range with no fences may have gone by the wayside over 100 years ago when this grandma was not around but there are still many a 10,000 or more acre ranch which is plenty of open range for all kinds of unfenced freedom for mayham - there are many chickens kept, traditionally without a pen, by ranchers around their house BUT around the house are safety nets called trees where the chickens roost at night.

    This difference in vision of what open range is and what can survive in open range reminds me of the old elephant story and...yes...this we attempt to structure a new Books & Lit ongoing discussion group.

    I am hoping for some trees because this chicken does not want to be caught out in open range and where it sounds like none of us wants to be penned up behind chicken wire I can hardly imagine that we want to be looking for a new set of trees at yet another ranchhouse every other month.

    March 13, 2005 - 04:33 pm
    I agree with Kevin's rules, except for the one limiting when the book was published. It would be fine to read only recent authors if we already knew a lot about these countries, but I don't want to arbitrarily exclude books like "Things Fall Apart" (which the New York Public Library chose as one of the most influential books of the last hundred years) because it is not recent. I imagine we will read mostly recent books, but let's not be too rigid.

    Jackie Lynch
    March 14, 2005 - 05:32 am
    Barbara, I'm with you on the source of our books. The IMPAC list and other international prize lists, these should be the cream of the crop and more readily available for having been nominated for awards. We need those trees!

    March 14, 2005 - 06:28 am
    Thank you all so much, I don't recall any other starting up book club that has had such great input.

    What we're doing WITH your input is constructing a poll where you can vote on each aspect and we can see where we all stand, the votes hopefully will be displayed immediately and you can only vote one time, we'll see, then, hopefully, where everybody stands, or where they don't stand. Stay tuned, Jane is working on it and Pat did the collation of the points raised here, thank you, Jane and Pat. If any of you want to raise more points or considerations for a vote, NOW is the time to do it so it can get on the ballot!

    Barbara, I am not sure of what you mean here? "I can hardly imagine that we want to be looking for a new set of trees at yet another ranchhouse every other month."

    I am hoping that you do NOT mean that while we are reading Kite Runner in April, we should also be reading, voting on, discussing and selecting a May selection which would begin to be discussed the day after Kite Runner ends?

    I think we need that month in-between? I'd like to concentrate on one book at a time, I really can't do more and I want to see how we feel as a group following the Kite Runner read, I want to see what direction the group wants to go in next? Maybe you mean two months or more should be in-between reads?

    On the subject of chickens, I do know something of that subject, since my house is totally cluttered with trophies with chickens on them, and bags of awards and ribbons, being the farm of the winners of the State FFA and SC 4H and County Chicken Projects for years. I'll say that I used the term Free Range, which means only that the birds have "access to the outside." That's what Free Range means. There is a current furor and controversy over whether in fact some producers are actually corrupting "outside" to mean "outside the original perimeter" and have built huge indoor chicken houses into which the chicken can walk, thus producing an "outside" effect: they never see a blade of grass.

    Outside, does not mean roosting in trees: our large breed chickens could barely get 2 feet off the ground, much less fly up in a tree.

    An interesting aside: in England they use traveling coops, they roll on wheels and you can position them every day in a new delicious location, chickens and all, it's amazing.

    I do remain opposed to the inhuman placing of a chicken or any animal such as a calf (veal) in a small cage in which it can't even turn around, for the duration of its entire life, which was the norm until the Free Range people came along, almost anything is better than that.

    Does anybody have any suggestions now so we can put them on our ballot, either on the structure of the discussion or on any point raised here? We'll take a vote shortly and find out where you would like to BEGIN and then after a bit we may want to consider other innovations or changes, these discussions are living things, and we need to be able to do what the participants want!

    THANK you for your splendid participation, any more ideas??

    March 14, 2005 - 07:46 am
    I personally am put off by the modern methods of meat and egg production, but I can't imagine folks would be happy with the huge increase in cost to the consumer if producers went back to the old ways. Even if we tighten the regulation screws on the "cruelty" factor, a price increase would be immediate. One thing we should not compromise on is the air and water pollution of hog farms.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 14, 2005 - 08:33 am
    Hehehe Ginny that was why I suggested our views on Free Range Chickens is like the Elephant story - you know - where 6 blind men describe the elephant based on the part they are washing - I used the words Open Range, thinking of what it means here in Texas and then Kevin brought up chickens, that have the kind of Free Range you are speaking about back east but, a chicken here would not survive in the open range - it was all a fun or pun on the use of words and what comes to our minds when they are used.

    As to not finding a new Ranch house with Trees I was using that as a metaphor that we did not have to re-invent the wheel for each book we read by establishing new guidelines in order for us to recommend a book - that I was more comfortable getting some guidelines in place for that very reason - so that we did not have to work so hard to come up with recommendations while we are reading the book selected.

    The suggestion to overcome having 60 different caveats [yes an exaggeration but you get the point] was to think of choosing from the book list on the award winning lists that are addressing current selections from other nations.

    Now using this every other month schedule [which is great] if we are going to skip May and read in June - as soon as April's selection [Kite Runner] is completed we would be selecting in order to give everyone the time to get their book - set up the new heading - get advanced PR going etc. - how much of that month the heading will be up determines the amount of time to get our chit chat advanced [information in areas of history, culture, cuisine, dress, religion, etc.]

    My thought was that if someone had read the book that ends up with the most votes, they would be in a position to suggest areas of interest that we may want to pursue for this extra chit chat time - and so a lot goes on it appears during the month that an actual discussion of a book is not taking place.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 14, 2005 - 09:03 am
    If the suggestion that Kevin made was followed through it would be a way to possibly snag a few more readers and possibly readers who live in the nation - but when you consider the current selection - yes, we could have contacted that group that had an online chat room but again some work - if we could take some time to find out which Universities in the US have a department dealing with the nations of choice we could have a ready e-mail to shoot off - but even if we were just limiting it to one e-mail to a library - any library located in the nation of interest -

    That takes effort and could be divided up into several small jobs that volunteers could take on - one could write the e-mail [wording] another find the Library on the internet - I am assuming someone has already brought to our attention the author's bio and where the author is living which would give us a heads up as to finding a Library - and then someone actually sends the e-mail off - this is where the Discussion leader comes in I think but not necessarily so - since we may have a return correspondence to deal with.

    So that is three individuals to make that suggestion less of a burden for anyone.

    But what I found interesting when I Googled discussion Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini there are 8,500 for discussion Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini - just looking at the firs page of found web sites by Google there are many many discussions [public library and university] of this book going on.

    March 14, 2005 - 01:57 pm is refusing email from me.

    I sent out a Book Bytes and it was returned with this message.

    " Reason: Rejection greeting returned by server"

    March 14, 2005 - 05:44 pm
    At the Kite Runner discussion site, Jackie referred us to an article about the popularity of Kite Runner. What interested me was that this book was first introduced by word of mouth from independent booksellers, then later picked up by chains and then eventually put on best seller lists such as that of the NYT. I would certainly recommend using such lists as the IMPAC award as guidelines, but I would hate to see us limited to those lists. We might just miss something that is slowly catching on by word of mouth.

    Jackie Lynch
    March 15, 2005 - 05:57 am
    The description of the selling style in the independent booksellers was very telling; the salesperson is a Reader(!) and puts the book physically into the customer's hands(!!) after asking the cusotmer what he/she likes to read(!!!).

    March 15, 2005 - 06:08 am
    Gosh, Pat. I dunno why my ISP, Juno, would return a Book Bytes. I have received them in the past. What is the email addy for Seniornet? If I put that in my address book, your emails should come through the "spam" filters--which Juno has, but that I don't really understand. I know one thing, their filters don't work all the time since I still get some "smut" offers.

    Jackie Lynch
    March 15, 2005 - 06:34 am
    Looking over the former IMPAC winners, and the short lists, there are so many books by English speaking authors! Also, are we limiting our choices to fiction only? I'm beginning to think we might be better to pick the country first, that would help narrow the choices. Kevin, your emphasis on 1995 coincides with the tenure of the IMPAC list. Is that why you chose that year? I'm impressed by the quality and breadth of the recommendations in Book Sense, the Independent Booksellers web site.

    Traude S
    March 15, 2005 - 08:41 am
    As PEDLN's said, The Kite Runner was initially a "sleeper", just like "The Curious Incident of the dog in the Nighttime". Both are excellent. So much for the acumen of the big publishing houses!

    There are several examples of books published with a flood of publicity and endlessly touted, some actually award winners, that did not fulfill the expected promise of wide readership and soon faded into the background.

    Traude S
    March 15, 2005 - 08:46 am
    Re our present endeavor, I am not sure I understand the full premise of our reading foreign authors.

    One criterion is, of course, their foreignness, but are there other criteria, the time element for instance? The provenance of an author, the relevance of special subject matter ?

    March 15, 2005 - 08:49 am
    3/14 Before 'The Kite Runner' Khaled Hosseini had never written a novel. But with word of mouth, book sales have taken off. When Khaled Hosseini sat down to write 'The Kite Runner', he had no credentials as a writer. An internist at Kaiser in Mountain View, the father of an infant son, he used to rise at 5 a.m. and write for a couple of hours before going to work. Today, the 40-year-old is a publishing phenomenon. His book has sold more than 70,000 in hard cover and more than 1.250,000 in paperback. Last week it hit No.l 1 on the New York Times paperback best-seller list. The New York Times list is compiled largely from chain bookstores and tends to reflect mainstream commercial tastes. "If TKR hadn't gotten its initial boost from independent booksellers, Hut Landon, executive director of Northern California Independent Booksellers Assoc. sad,"it might never have caught on. It would've gotten lost in the shuffle. TKR appeals to readers because it connects with them in a personal way, no matter what their own upbringing and background."Because its themes of friendship, betrayal, guilt, redemption and the uneasy love between fathers and sons are universal themes, and not specifically Afghan, Landon says, "the book has been able to reach across cultural, racial, religious and gender gaps to resonate with readers of varying backgrounds." The gracious, handsome Hosseini is a bit of a star on the book promotion circuit--especially with women who are the primary audience for fiction. Hosseini's wife Roya, is a lawyer with Intel. When they met, she was studying law. Unlike Hosseini, a diplomat's son who lived in Afghanistan and France and emigrated to America in 1980, Roya was born here. They had a "fairly traditional courtship," Hosseini says and married shortly after meeting. Their son, Haris, is 4, their daughter, Farah, is 2. Currently on a one-year leave from Kaiser, Hosseini is working on his second novel, 'Dreaming in Titanic City'. "It's also set in Afghanistan and deals with its recent history", he reveals. "And it deals in more depth with women's issues than 'TKR' did. "Too often stories about Afghanistan center around the various wars, the opium trade, the war on terrorism," he says. "Precious little is said about the Afghan people themselves---their culture, their traditions, how they lived in the country and how they manage abroad as exiles"

    Traude S
    March 15, 2005 - 08:55 am
    The name sounds fine to me. Clear and to the point.

    To read "with" the world we'd have to know what the world is reading, I believe. And from what I hear from Europe, they are all heavily into the DaVinci Code, and we have done that here.

    I'm not sure how we could link up with reading groups abroad, in Norway say, when their interest might be in our Grisham or Clancy rather than in their long-dead own Halldor Laxness - in other words, when we might be at cross-purposes ?

    March 15, 2005 - 07:54 pm
    Juno is rejecting my email.-- I guess they don't like SeniorNet does not provide me with an email for sending out Book Bytes.

    March 16, 2005 - 07:49 am
    Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions and links, and ideas!

    We've had so many wonderful ideas here my head is swirling so have asked Jane if she would put in here our Proposed Ballot and you can instantly see if the concern YOU had is covered, and you can say, now I think we need to decide on XXX and we'll add it. I think that's the most organized way to go about this.
    Does anybody want to help collect all the URLS as the discussion progresses? I really need some help with these?

    Pedln, what an interesting quote, I just took a class in Faulkner, it was interesting, to say the least. The Chinese culture also is quite timeless, or would you say so? I am looking forward to hearing all these new perspectives, thank you!

    Babi, I am now obsessed with that movie hahaahaha we do need to see if we can address the issue of Fresh Voices or Stale voices I guess. Haahaha Day Old voices.

    And remember, ALL, we can change the format in the blink of an eye! Next month a stale voice, this month a fresh one, let's begin with what we have and see what WE want the next time.

    Karmie I agree, and it will be a more leisurly process and more enjoyable, the way it should be, I want to enjoy this one, thank you.

    Good point, Pat on the popularity of the book, it must be something else!

    That's a good point, Jackie and Joan K, too, let's not be so rigid we box ourselves in. WE can do anything we like, actually.

    On the IMPAC, there again we will need a question on source, I don't mind at all having one month choosing only from IMPAC and one from another list, we've got 12 months, we can go for broke here!

    Good point, Barbara, on the time element, I am glad to agree. I like your ideas for organization of involving other readers (and you have a point, too, Traude, they might all be reading Tom Clancy! Hahahaha) but personally can't do that part myself, but would LOVE to see somebody here take that up! Any takers?

    March 16, 2005 - 07:50 am

    Pedln, yes that was a super link from Jackie, and I agree Jackie, that's something else on the selling style! I am not sure what I think about that one, reading tastes being so different.

    Good point Jackie on are we limiting ourselves to Fiction only? I hope not, we'll ask that also.

    Traude, I am thinking that we hope here to hear voices from countries other than our own and expand our horizons a bit. If we read about daily life in Japan for instance, in Out, then most of us who do not live in Japan will be enlightened. Those of us who DO live in Japan will enjoy the experience, too, I hope and can provide insight. Sort of a voices of the World thing.


    Vouzon, thank you for that WOW review, if I had not planned to read the book I would after that. Note all the themes, I think I'll; copy that over to the actual discussion, many thanks!

    While we're hearing these other voices it may be interesting to see what SIMILARITIES and universal themes we have in common, too.

    Sitting here smiling over Traude's so true remarks, you'll go to the MOST remote outpost or quaint little English fishing village, go in the pub and you'll hear American Country Music hahahaaa She does have a point about what it might be like reading WITH other countries, but there's only one way to find out!

    March 16, 2005 - 09:09 am
    Glad you liked the exerpts, I don't know how to provide a "link", but will be glad to send you the complete article.

    March 16, 2005 - 10:51 am
    Interrupting here for a brief moment...

    I've been trying to get the various suggestions/questions/items together for a poll, but I find my time is limited and I need your help in telling me again what you want included. I wasn't sure if some of these were said in jest or if they are all serious questions, etc.

    So...please...what have I missed/what needs to be added?

    Suggestions for changing Discussion's name:Select ONE

    Book must have been published in the original language Countries may be used only once in any given year: Author must live in country of birth or be an expatriate of no more than 10 years from country of birth: The book must come from a recognized awards list—ie, IMPAC, Pulitzer nominations/winner, Nobel lists/winner, Booker, etc. The book considered is to be fiction only.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 16, 2005 - 12:20 pm
    OK here is my input -
    A title for this discussion -- this I think says what we are trying to accomplish
    Contemporary International Authors

    Book must have been published in the original language

    Countries may be used only once in any given year:

    Author must live in country of birth or be an expatriate of no more than 10 years from country of birth:
    I am comfortable it the person has lived in the country of his birth for a significant number of years so that the book is simply not an memoir - I would say that if the person was not an expatriate for more years than the number of years the person lived in their country of birth.

    The book must come from a recognized awards list—ie, IMPAC, Pulitzer nominations/winner, Nobel lists/winner, Booker
    No -- but if no, there would have to be a good set of guidelines that we can use to judge if the book and author are appropriate for this particular discussion.

    The book considered is to be fiction only.
    Yes - History and Biography have their own place and can be considered as a suggestion for those who prefer to put that kind of discussion together as well as those readers who prefer to read books other than fiction.

    March 16, 2005 - 12:28 pm wasn't clear. This is NOT the survey time. That'll be done later. I'm still trying to get the questions that should be on it together.

    The actual DOING of the survey/poll will be later at a polling site where you can see how the results are, etc.

    I'm still trying to make sure everything wanted is included.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 16, 2005 - 12:31 pm
    Oh sorry Jane - Jane since I have an altered version of a title for this discussion would it be OK to include it in the survey.

    I also think we need some sort of question as to how we choose an expatriote - it is easy to say lets not be concerned and yet the idea of this discussion I think is to get a contemporary view of the nation through a current author's story telling.

    March 16, 2005 - 12:45 pm
    I will add Contemporary International Authors to the list of titles.

    Can you phrase the question you want me to include about expatriate authors?

    I have the one about : Author must live in country of birth or be an expatriate of no more than 10 years from country of birth:

    * Yes * No * No opinion

    and if people choose a date from which the book must be published originally, have we limited it sufficiently?

    Let me know what you have in mind and I can certainly add it.


    Kevin Freeman
    March 16, 2005 - 04:00 pm
    Many of the preposition titles were typed in j/k mode.

    Contemporary International Authors makes us the CIA. Spying out good books? Maybe.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 16, 2005 - 05:45 pm
    hahaha yep the CIA SeniorNet Books & Lit are at it again...!

    Kevin Freeman
    March 17, 2005 - 02:52 am
    Worldly Readers
    Worldly Reading Group
    Books Beyond Borders
    Brave New World of Books
    United Nations of Readers
    World-Wide Reads
    Fresh Voices, Foreign Voices
    Fresh and Foreign -- Books from Abroad
    Books Abroad
    Booked Passports -- New Voices from Abroad
    Contemporary World Lit. Readers
    Modern World Lit. Readers
    Reading Ambassadors
    Embassy Sweets: Books from around the World
    Transcontinental Readers
    The Accidental (Reading) Tourists
    Booked Flights -- World Lit. Reading Club
    Cosmopolitan Reading Group
    Roving Readers
    Book 'Em, Dan-O
    Reading Railroad (and Airlines)
    American Looks at Foreign Books
    Earth-Worth Reads
    Planet Books
    The What-on-Earth Readers
    Reading Nations
    With Six You Get Eggroll
    If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Senior-Net
    Qu'est-ce que c'est Readers
    The That's-Greek-to-Me Readers

    Jackie Lynch
    March 17, 2005 - 05:50 am
    Kevin, did you write advertising in a former life? Those are great, and fun. I'm thinking of wgat each one sounds like when I tell my family/friends that I'm reading a book in the Yada-yada Book CLub. Just off the top of my head, I like the What On Earth book club. Just the right touch of whimsy but literally descriptive, also.

    March 17, 2005 - 07:07 am
    I love Book-em, Dano hahahaaa

    Listen I like that Passport idea, too. Maybe we need to get a passport up in the heading here, and begin stamping it, I like that! Does anybody have an old passport with Afghanistan on it we can copy?

    March 17, 2005 - 12:46 pm
    What great ideas! I think I'm just going to lie back here and let you all work it out. Whatever is finally decided is fine with me.


    March 17, 2005 - 04:48 pm with most of the prepositions.

    Starting again....

    March 17, 2005 - 07:19 pm
    Great job, Jane on the survey, this item, is it two things?

    Book must have been published in the original language

    1975 +
    1985 +
    1995 +
    No certain time period

    Is that two different issues? The original language and the years?

    I think I would like to see something like...well I don't know how to say it actually.

    ?? on the language thing.

    Thank you Pat for filling in our passport in the heading here, first stop, Afghanistan!!

    March 17, 2005 - 07:23 pm
    I understood it as one item...that the book must have been published in whatever was its original language from that earliest date forward, ie., the choices of 1975 to present; 1985 to present, 1995 to present.

    I'll gladly change it to two questions if you will tell me how you want it worded.


    March 17, 2005 - 07:40 pm
    That language question kind of stymies me. It would eliminate Achebe whom I have just learned about in the Name That Book Contest and he doesn't sound like somebody we need to eliminate just because the people he writes about are not themselves writing in the original language, nor is his book in their language. He lives in America and is writing in English but he apparently from what I gather, not having read any of his books, writes for the purpose of showing the culture and viewpoint AND language of that part of Africa where he was born. I think we need to be careful here.

    I'm almost in favor of not having any sort of language requirement, so let's word that this way:

    OR?? Please suggest??

  • The book should be written in the original language ....? of the country it concerns.


    What are you going to do if you have a country that speaks in more than one language? There are several.


    I don't know how to ask in a poll like this if we do or do not want to requre that the book only be in translation or be in the language of the country we're reading about. I am not sure how we could even enforce that. Not too many of us read Hindi or Japanese, I don't anyway, not to mention which dialect of China you'd want.

    Maybe we should leave a fill in box (or will that void an instant response?)

    As for the dates, we need to just say Should books be limited to any time period?


    And then if yes: those dates that you mention?

  • Kevin Freeman
    March 17, 2005 - 07:47 pm
    I vote that we change Jackie's quote in the header so it ends with "Polish savories and French desserts" instead of "Polish savories and French deserts."

    Le Sahara? Not quite Provence. (I don't think there IS a desert in France. There is in Maine (USA), but La France? Mais non!)

    Or maybe it means the French desert, as in "runnez like hell" when the going gets rough. Expect complaints from the French Embassy, though.

    What in the World Book Club? Yeah. I can see that. And you get to say, "What in the world?" all the time, to boot. "What in the world are you talking about?" "What in the world do you mean?" "What in the world is a man in the moon?"

    Stuff like that.

    March 17, 2005 - 07:52 pm
    hahaha I would LIKE to say I've been in some parts of France that were like deserts, but that's not true hahahaah Mea culpa, have never been able to spell dessert: just desserts, huh? hahahaa

    Jane let's add one Preposition Proposition: Read With the World, I liked that premise and I think it should be there too, even IF they are reading Dean Koonz.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 17, 2005 - 07:53 pm
    P.S. to Ginny: I don't think language is an issue so much as author being a native of the country or a fairly-recent expat (vs. an emigrant who has resided in the US or UK for 40 years).

    I think a time limit is essential, so the ballot SHOULD be choosing how many years. If there's no time limit, I guarantee we're in for future debates over "classics" or "modern classics" (e.g. The Stranger by Albert Ca-Moo). People will start to nominate them with wonderful reasons and one of our basic raison d'êtres (fresh voices reflecting modern-day cultures abroad) will be lost.

    In my humble opinion, that is.

    March 17, 2005 - 07:58 pm
    Yeah, we'll get the time thing on there, I just don't want those two categories combined, especially since it looks like the language thing is going to be a major quagmire.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 17, 2005 - 08:03 pm
    Wow, you cook up a quick dessert! Remember the old spelling mnemonic:


    (and pass the vanilla ice cream)

    March 17, 2005 - 10:50 pm
    "Book must have been published in the original language"

    I don't understand why it would be necessary to have that statement. My understanding is that we are NOT excluding books first written in English -- it's the official language of the Philippines and a few other places. If other elements are in place, what difference does it make what language it's published in?

    Although I hadn't thought so before, I do now think that Kevin makes a good case for some kind of time element, though I lean more towards 85 or 75.

    And that expatriate stipulation -- I think it should be extended from 10 years to 20 years. Living in this country for 20 years won't take the country out of the boy -- or girl.

    Jackie Lynch
    March 18, 2005 - 07:10 am
    Our mission is getting lost in the details. as long as we stick to the points in the basic premise we can muddle through. So what are those points? 1. World-wide pool of award winning authors 2. Fresh voices writing about their own milieu 3. All countries eligible except those read in this calendar year 4. Author must be native-born in the country written about

    What have I left out (other that the administrative details like choosing the book one month and discussing it the next and picking our name)?

    No, Ginny, you can't be class clown; Kevin is head and shoulders above you in the wit (?) department.

    March 18, 2005 - 08:58 am
    Ok...I've changed 10 years to 20 years; removed the language thing. Changed the time limit question to No/Yes..if yes, choose one; added Read with the World.

    We have one suggestion saying Author must be native-born in the country written about with no years since leaving that country. The question of having been an expatriate from country of birth and topic of book for X number of years runs into the same quagmire: the problem of someone born in Zululand but left there at age 4 and has lived in Shangrai-La for the last 60 years and writes about Shangrai-La...but he can't be considered since he's not writing about his "native-born" land. IE, anybody not born in the country he/she is writing about is automatically disqualified. We're wanting ONLY people who are writing about the country/area in which they were born. Right?


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 18, 2005 - 09:54 am
    how about a book that has been written within the past 20 years but only translated into English within the past 10 years - or is 20 years dating a book since a lot can happen in any nation after 20 years -

    20 years ago we were dealing with the bombing of Pan Am 247 -
    the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro -
    British scientist Joe Farman publishes discovery of ozone hole over Antarctica -
    Ronald Reagan entered the second term of his presidency -
    Mario Cuomo's biggest threat was businesses fleeing to the South from the north and "rust belt" states. -
    Mayor Marion S. Barry, Jr., and other city government figures were facing drug charges by the Feds. -
    where soccer had become a child's after school activity there was gloom over the lack of interest or knowledge of the sport within the US. -
    Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Cherry Coke, and Pop Secret microwave popcorn were the newest products on the shelves.
    Seems to me if we were reading a book written with this time frame as the backdrop that the author was construing his plot and characters, unless it was a period piece we would see it as a bit of nostalgia.

    March 18, 2005 - 10:21 am
    If an author has been living in an adopted country for over 20 years he/she must know something about where they are living. I don't see why it should be published in the country's native language first. Sometimes things get lost in the translation. The book should probably have been written fairly recently so that we can try to understand what is going on in that country today as well as some historical background.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 18, 2005 - 01:52 pm
    I agree. There's whitewater ahead (and a waterfall beyond that) if we wander too far in time from the present -- either in terms of when the book was written or in terms of how long it's been since the author left his/her native land.

    Originally I thought there'd be MORE than enough terrific books written in the last 10 years to choose from, and I still believe it. Heck, given the breadth of the world and the number of books published every year, we could EASILY come up with 12 terrific books a year, just working on the past 2 years alone. That's two short lists (or one long) at IMPAC, for example.

    I shall lobby hard (unless I'm in the parlour) for going reasonably close-to-the-vest on years (20 tops, I'd say, though I still like 10) since written and years since author's been away.

    March 18, 2005 - 06:55 pm
    My, we are getting tied up in knots here, aren't we. You know, we could just call for recommendations each time we're ready to choose a new book, and pick the one that the majority feels best fits what we're trying to do here. We don't have to draw up a detailed list of rules up front.

    ... Babi

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 18, 2005 - 07:09 pm
    Babi this phase seems harder doesn't it - the problem that I see is if we do not establish guidelines we all agree to then it will be the books suggested that will cause us the most trouble, not the final one chosen.

    The intent of this discussion group can become so large and all-encompassing, that it will simply be one more discussion group not too different than the discussion formats for a 'book of the month' or a fiction site of popular best sellers, regardless of author or publication date that just happen to take place in a foreign location.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 18, 2005 - 07:16 pm
    Yes, BaBi my friend (you did agree to be my friend, didn't you?), it seems like a lot of fuss, but once the pain of doing it's done, it'll be done for good. Kind of like birth (not that I'd know personally, but I've been a not-so-innocent bystander a few times).

    Traude S
    March 18, 2005 - 08:44 pm
    We seem to be getting mired in the details already. Couldn't we make this sound less complicated ? All the "musts" look so rigid.

    I thought it was understood that we would do fiction, not nonfiction.

    Secondly, doesn't it stand to reason that we wouldn't choose, say, three authors from the same country in the same year?

    Regarding "The book must come from a recognized awards list ...": Is that criterion absolute?

    If so, would that mean that, for example, we MUST read Elfriede Jellinek because she was awarded the Nobel in 2004, and NOT her Austrian compatriot Peter Handke who was heavily favored to win but lost to the consternation of the literati?

    Kevin Freeman
    March 19, 2005 - 04:36 am
    It's knot all that bad, Traude. But I agree that, in principle, we can do on our own a lot of what hard-and-fast rules might force us to do. For instance, during any nominating process, we could say, "Hey, we just read a Fijin author... let's cut back on the Fiji for awhile" instead of citing a Draconian rule which reads: Thou Shalt Not Read Any Book from Any Country More Than Once a Year.

    And yes -- literary award lists like IMPAC should be welcomed as solid and trustworthy advisors, not dictators. I'm all for giving a chance to guys who have not made any award lists (being a guy who's never made any award list myself).

    Using that same "who needs too many rules" logic, fiction need not be the only genre looked at, either. Yes, it sits to reason that fiction will take the tiger's share of nominations here, but the occasional non-fiction or play wouldn't be the end of the world (reading group), would it? Think of Into Thin Air, a terrific non-fiction book that fiction-types read and enjoyed in great numbers. Probably we'll see international authors who might now and again intrigue us with a title which reaches the heights that one does.

    Well, probably everyone who's going to mock the mock ballot has done so by now so when do we get to X the squares, hang the chads, and be done with it? The longer we discuss the shape of the table before we sit down to talk at it, the more suspicious good folk will be that we're navel-gazing (an OK pastime in Annapolis, but here?).

    Happy Saturday, everyone.

    Jackie Lynch
    March 19, 2005 - 07:22 am
    This is the stage in organizing where everybody wants to put thsir oar in. When we do vote we will all be adult and go with the majority. We've had most of March to prep for Kite Runner and it has already made the experience the richer, thanks to our treasured voices of authority fellow-members. I agree with Kevin. Let's vote and get this over. We have not only Kite Runner to read, but May is looming ever closer when we choose our second book. So we need to know where to look and what to look for.

    Joan Grimes
    March 19, 2005 - 08:31 am
    Well I happen to agree with Babi when she said:

    My, we are getting tied up in knots here, aren't we. You know, we could just call for recommendations each time we're ready to choose a new book, and pick the one that the majority feels best fits what we're trying to do here. We don't have to draw up a detailed list of rules up front.

    I believe Traude agreed with that too. It seems that all this debate is just making "a mountain out of a molehill". I feel that the result of all this will turn alot of people to other things. You know people can always go off and read alone. My grief counselor is afraid I will escape into reading and not get my grief out. I wish I could do that but my bad eyes do not allow that.

    All that be as it may, I really don't think all this is necessary here. But I will shut up and go another way I guess.

    Joan Grimes

    Kevin Freeman
    March 19, 2005 - 11:10 am
    Let your hearts be light, ladies. The Founding Fathers could have been accused of "making mountains out of molehills," too, when you consider all the time they spent at Independence Hall wrangling over their start-up.

    My humble advice (expendable as all advice is): if you think the planning and voting are too much, just turn your head, wait it out, and jump in for the important stuff (the books, the discussion, the camaraderie) once the decisions have all been made. By then everything will seem neat and tidy and much ado-less.

    It seems a bit rash (and as "mountaineering" as the offending poll is thought to be, no?) to walk away because you don't like the noise carpenters make while they build.

    We need you. We want you. Look the other way for awhile so we can yell, "Ta-Da-a-a-a!" once the building's complete with all the amenities (note word amen! in amenities).

    Si? Non?

    March 19, 2005 - 12:19 pm
    JoanG, Traude, and Babi -- I'm with you. Let's not get tied up in knots or rules.

    I can understand Kevin's wanting some kind of time limitation -- he doesn't want us debating Tolstoy or Goethe, Ibsen, etc. So be it. Let's do the survey, but have the results only be guidelines, not absolutes.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 19, 2005 - 01:54 pm
    Oh shoot - where is all this nay nay nay coming from all of a sudden - if it is too drawn out than why not take what we have agreed to already and put it in a sentence and then see if there are holes - if there are only a few who want to plug the holes than so be it - but at least we will have a working guideline for choosing books without future suggestions of authors from the 1970s and before or expatriots who have lived in the US or Britain more years than they had lived in the nation of their birth or at best had only visited for a few years the nation they are writing about -

    As to if we should suggest a book that is from the same nation more than two times in a 12 month period seems to me if we are on a trip around the world and want to try a buffet of authors representing various nations we wouldn't consider being stuck in a cul-de-sac with one nation.

    Ginny let's just get what has been decided together and see where that leaves us - I would think it could become an opening statement that simply further explains the goal of this discussion -

    Instead of voting on so many aspects let's just vote on the name - and since some do not care how the rules read, thinking we are getting our knickers in a twist over details - lets just put up the sentence that says what we have.

    March 19, 2005 - 02:53 pm
    So, according to the items above, an author can ONLY write about his country of birth, and not about someplace he may have lived for many years. Correct?

    OK..I'll go get the poll up and be back with the link when it's completed.


    March 19, 2005 - 03:26 pm
    To Pedln, JoanG, Traude, and Babi and anyone else I forgot,
    I agree that too many rules are a hazard here.
    I'm particularly worried about the "recognized awards list" rule.
    Are we smart, senior readers going to be held hostage to anyone else's list?
    Let's have the freedom to nominate ANY book which fits and date (time) rule and the "country" rule, whatever that turns out to be. I don't even think we need to be dogmatic about fiction, since some biography/autobiography can play pretty fast and free with facts.

    Let's have fun, not arguments!

    March 19, 2005 - 04:14 pm
    Thank you all for your insightful comments as we try to structure a new book club discusion which pertains to a certain interest in books.

    I think what we're doing here is quite extraordinary and it shows how far we've actually COME in our book discussions, in that our members and participants are actually structuring the actual parameters of a new book club, instead of just encountering it presented as a fait accomplis.

    In order to do that, we need all opinions, pro, con, and waffling, none of us are mind readers and none of us will know what any of you think unless you say. I love the creative process, and am enjoying the thought behind each submission.

    We appreciate everybody's expression of opinions, they're all good.

    What Jane is getting up is a SURVEY, in which people can express their opinion, on each specific item. That will allow us more order, perhaps, and we'll see which way, if at all, the wind seems to blow once we have taken the survey: it's NOT a cement coat we have to then wear, but it will help us see what parameters we should possibly start out with. We can change later on as we grow into it. (Are the metaphors mixed enough yet? hahaaha).

    I think, in answer to Jane's question above, that we need to think again about number 5, and the requirement that the author have been BORN in a particular country to write about it. If you are taken to Egypt, say, at age 3 and lived there till you were 60 and now you live in China can't you write about your original country, also?

    We might want to ease up on the born in the country written about idea, it might eliminate a lot of good authors and books.

    What do you think? Should we add THIS question, (should the author be born in the country he's writing about or not) to the survey, as well?

    Joan Grimes
    March 19, 2005 - 05:59 pm

    It is not the survey that bothers me. A survey is a survey. It is not making light of what someone else says.

    If I drop out I will drop out. I will not come back. Don't tell me about what the founding fathers did. I know and I really do know. I don't see that this discussion in anyway compares with what the founding fathers did.

    I can read alone. I live alone not by choice but I do and I will. So I can read alone too.

    Joan Grimes

    Jackie Lynch
    March 19, 2005 - 06:20 pm
    Oh, Joan...

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 19, 2005 - 09:47 pm
    Joan you sound like you are having a bad day - I am sorry.

    Éloïse De Pelteau
    March 20, 2005 - 02:50 am
    I have not posted much here but I read all the posts. I feel it is already hard enough to find and keep good participants and making too many rigid rules will not bring in many of them, myself included. I don't particularly like translations in any case, because good ones are not a dime a dozen. But if someone offers something that strikes my fancy, if I have time, I will join in. I prefer not so recently published authors and I notice the length of time it is on the Best Sellers list and even then it depends of what the book is about for me to read it.

    I think that our readers have a good judgment as to which book is worth while choosing for discussion and a poll can be taken about a book on fiction or non-fiction and anything in between that comes from a foreign country written in English or translated. The participants themselves can judge on the quality of the translation and if it really reflects the author's intentions.

    I like the idea of Reading Around the World, or Reading From Around the World, or Reading About the World. It expands our horizons to learn about other countries and learn other languages and how people belonging to other than English speaking countries think and behave. It induces tolerance too.

    March 20, 2005 - 02:23 pm
    The little poll to try and get a handle on people's thoughts about guidelines to lead us in our decisions about future book selections in this discussion is up.

    Please respond once, only. The site tracks the individual computers using it, and we will discard duplicate responses.

    There are just ten questions, and the poll is here:


    March 20, 2005 - 04:54 pm
    Thank you Jane for that beautiful Survey, and we've already had 7 people take it, I love the way it shows you immediately what the count is.

    Only one vote per customer, please, step up and make YOUR opinion heard today!

    March 20, 2005 - 04:58 pm
    Thank you Eloise, and welcome! We will soon find out what time frame our organizers here would like to see in this specialty book club, which may be dealing with subjects other than what we have dealt before, we have our new survey up and welcome everyone here to express their opinions in it.

    I agree with you about the judgment of our readers, well said, and I agree with you also about this will open our horizons, devoutly to be wished!

    I am so glad to see you here, and I hope that at least ONE of our upcoming selections will intrigue you and you will join us, welcome!

    March 20, 2005 - 05:14 pm
    I took the survey, and was pleasantly surprised to find that, with one small exception, the majority seem to agree with me!!!


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 20, 2005 - 05:17 pm
    Hehehe I love it we all agree with Babi ---

    Éloïse De Pelteau
    March 21, 2005 - 06:04 am
    Like Ginny I think that the most important issue in "Books Around the World" is the language because it would have to be well translated into English and then how appealing it is to Bookies and to the Discussion Leader.

    Bookies, who have been in this business for years, need more than raving reviews to join a book discussion. We need substance and need not only to learn about a foreign country while reading a foreign book but need to be excited about the literature of it. It need not have won awards, some excellent books never did, but the author writing a book about his country in his own language needs someone to translate it who understands thoroughly about the country and the language it is written in.

    We discussed recently "Waiting for Godot" by Samuel Beckett and the author himself translated the book. Both French and English versions had the same punch, the same message and it was pure joy to participate in it, it did not feel like a translation.

    I think that a foreign book needs to have been around for a while, to give it the time it takes to make its mark with the general public. I am sure many fairly new books are excellent and worthy of discriminate readers, it's just that seniors don't have much time on their hands to read something that they are not sure it will be a wonderful experience, they want to read the best of the best.

    So a foreign book translated in English has to be a winner to start with.

    March 21, 2005 - 09:07 am
    Jane and Ginny,
    How do we see the results of the survey? Apparently you can find it, Ginny, but I cannot.
    Since only about 8 or 10 people voted for the April book, which required a coin flip to resolve, it sounds like many of the readers have already chimed in.
    May we have a link to the results, whenever you have time?

    March 21, 2005 - 09:36 am
    The results are not visible to you, Mippy? Go in and hit the DONE button, you don't see them? What do you see when you hit Done, which is underlined?

    We're really pleased with the response here, we've had 17 people take the poll, when Jane gets in, I will ask her to figure out why it's not displaying and what we can do about it, thank you all for your input!

    I am very pleased to announce that our first Discussion Leader for our first selection of Read Around the World, The Kite Runner, will be Barbara St. Aubrey, and she's quite enthusiastic about taking on this task, thank you, Barbara, that is much appreciated!

    Our Ann Alden will conduct, on May 1, the voting for the next selection of our newest initiative here in the Books, our newest book club, Read Around the World, and thanks to all of you it's off to a roaring start! Very exciting!

    Jane has done a wonderful chart in the heading of our first book selection, the Kite Runner, everybody take a look at it there, of urls submitted by our readers, beautiful job, and Patwest has done a great job putting in some answers for some start up questions in that discussion for those who don't know Afghanistan from Atlanta, thank you, Pat. We'll all learn something in this one: can't wait!

    So that's 4 people being thanked already and we're still two weeks away from the opening bell and that leaves our thanks to YOU, Intelligent and Informed Readers, for your helping us get this one off the ground!

    Everybody is welcome! I look forward to a wonderful Journey Around the World through Literature!

    March 21, 2005 - 10:22 am
    Jane, if we've already taken the survey, but want to see later results, will we mess up results by clicking "done?"

    March 21, 2005 - 11:34 am
    I don't know. I wouldn't think so, since you've not again answered the questions.


    Traude S
    March 21, 2005 - 11:49 am
    I haven't done mine yet. There's one question that allows only "yes" or "no" where I would like to answer 'not necessarily', which is not an option.

    I will make a copy of the survey, read it carefully and then proceed, if that's all right.

    March 21, 2005 - 12:24 pm
    Sorry, Traude...I can't change the questions/answers now without destroying all the results. I guess if the question is a restrictive one, like...Should books be limited to any time period? and you think "not necessarily," then you'd want to say No to the restriction.

    That's about the best I can suggest, I guess.


    Traude S
    March 21, 2005 - 01:54 pm
    JANE, of course I realize that fully and would never ever have presumed to suggest any change in format. Dear God, this is hard enough!

    However, I have a reservation also about questions # 6, 7 and 8:

    First on the list of eight recent suggestions is "A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipul (India)" .
    Right there is a problem - because

    Naipul was born in Trinidad of Indian parents. He is not an expatriate of India, nor did he live in India for extended periods of time, to the best of my knowledge. He DID write about it and it is after all the land of his forefathers.

    Naipul went off to England to study in 1950 or thereabouts and has lived there ever since, except for his extensive travels, where he met his former friend, author Paul Theroux. In fact, they met in Africa , which is the locale of "A Bend in the River" (1979). Theroux's book "Sir Vidia's Shadow" is about that friendship and makes for fascinataing reading.

    So how and where would we fit Sir Naipul?

    True, guidelines are necessary-- but not so stringent that they could shackle us, for there may always be some imponderables.

    Regarding question 3.
    The length and the complexity of any given book also are factors that determine the length of a discussion. Nor should we be held to a predetermined time period IF readers are not responsive to a specific book.

    Using the example of "A Bend ...", here is an unasked question : what is the criterion for "country", the country of birth of the author, his permanent residence, or the country he writes about?

    Lastly, may I respectfully request that, before voting next time, we be given not only the title of a suggested book, the author's name and his/her "country", but a thumbnail description of what the book is about.

    Many thanks.

    March 21, 2005 - 03:20 pm
    I wrote to both Jane and Ginny, earlier, about removing the V.S. Naipal book, due to the details you listed,
    as well as the "age" of the book.
    They said they wanted to leave "Bend in the River" on the list until voting was completed.
    Perhaps Sir V. would be delighted to read about the confusion his complex background is able to cause!

    Éloïse De Pelteau
    March 21, 2005 - 03:37 pm
    In general I believe a survey is a good thing. There is less margin for error in the selection and it gives us an idea of its appeal. When I didn't know how to answer a question I ticked 'no opinion'. Perhaps we should do that more often.

    March 21, 2005 - 03:38 pm
    I guess I thought that's why there was the see how everyone felt about various limitations/restrictions/boundaries. Those who want no boundaries can just answer the first question with a No and will have voiced their view of having no guidelines. The same holds true, of course, for the other questions. If you don't want that guideline, then indicate that with your choice of response.

    If we don't ask, how would we know what people want...or don't want? I guess I thought that was the see if any guidelines/boundaries are wanted....and if so, which ones...or if it's to be an open discussion like any other here in Books with any book up for possible discussion.

    I'd put up the questions I had and asked for additions, etc., and thought I'd responded to those suggestions, additions. I'm sorry that I seem to have failed somehow to word this poll properly.


    March 21, 2005 - 04:35 pm
    Thanks for posting in the Kite Runner discussion about the survey. I liked the survey because folks strongly agreed with me on the only point(s) I felt strongly about!

    I don't know much about the book A Bend in the River. However, if the author doesn't fit the goals of this group, wasn't born in, didn't live for a long time in, and isn't from parents of the country he writes about, maybe the book could simply be read elsewhere? There are plenty of books about Africa by Africans. And there are fewer than usual clubs on SeniorNet right now.

    I did think the book was about an Indian living in Africa, though. How would this, and would it, fit into the goals of Reading Around the World (RAW, a fought-after acronym, if there ever was one, or RATW, using the pronunciation rules of RAW--try it)? Are you planning to read about foreign nationals living in various countries? British colonialists in the Indian subcontinent, written by British colonialists, French colonialists in Algiers writing about Algeria? It used to be a simpler world we lived in, I think. Today, who is to say what an African is? Indians have lived in Africa for millennia. However, I do note that the survey doesn't discuss ethnicity or nationality, simply being born there.

    So, is the author African writing about Africa? Or is he an Indian writing about an Indian living in a country he has never lived in? Surely he wrote the book because he lived there for some time?


    Traude S
    March 21, 2005 - 05:42 pm
    KLEO, excellent thoughts.

    In the case of "A Bend in the River", Nobel Prize winner Sir V. S. Naipul is an ethnic Indian, born in Trinidad of Indian parents,
    who went to England to study, graduated from Oxford,
    traveled the world and was forever melancholy and sitting on the ethnic fence, so to speak, wrote travel books, nonfiction, essays, novels and collected letters. He is presumably a British subject.

    In "A Bend in the River" he wrote about Africa. I have read "A Bend in the River" but would read it again if it were chosen.

    But would we choose it because of the country, Africa, or because the author is a Nobel Prize winner?

    And if it is Africa we want to read about, why not read a genuine AFRICAN author? Why read Naipul who is not African?

    What is our stated objective?

    Is it to read about a foreign country, its history and politics through the eyes and in the voice of a NATIVE author?
    A CONTEMPORARY native author?
    How contemporary ?
    From the last quarter century?

    I do not believe we must adhere, absolutely and categoricaly, to the recommendations given on a "recognized" awards list. Just my humble opinion.

    In any case we will necesarily have to take a dose of politics and history of the respective country too.

    I am still undecided about the time period and what we are really after here.

    Are we trying to find out how they live? In Poland, in Russia e.g. since the end of the Cold War or, in the case of Poland, about admittance to the European Communion?

    Nadine Gordimer is on the list. Would she be counted as Africanor as SOUTH African (which she is) ?

    March 21, 2005 - 06:06 pm

    From my personal experience, starting and being with an Internet book club with a very narrow focus for over a year and a half now, I will have to say that keeping a narrow focus has advanced my learning beyond anything I could have imagined. We read only authors who published between WWI and WWII (we stray on occasion, but only with solid justification).

    Never have I read before and gotten to a place where I could pick up a book from an era and transport myself instantly through time to where the author was writing from. This is not because of our focus being a time frame, we also read only certain types of books and authors from the era.

    I have read all my life, but never had the feeling that I did when I listened to Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, a book influencing many of the Lost Generation authors, and recognized all the nuances, all the constraints in life, all the hopes and dreams, and cars, and futures for the characters.

    This club can be whatever is decided and succeed. However, I would say, from personal experience, that narrowing the focus will only enhance the experience of reading all the books together, each one adding to the same long and wondrous journey, rather than starting many short journeys.


    Traude S
    March 21, 2005 - 07:25 pm
    Here's a thumbnail description of the books recently suggested.

    1. A Bend in the River, V.S. Naipul, 1979, takes place in a small village in Africa (briefly mentioned hereinbefore)

    2. Burger's Daughter, Nadine Gordimer, Life inSouth Africa, published in 1980

    3. House of Day, House of Night, Olga Tokarczuk, published 2003, takes place in a small town in Silesia, Poland, formerly German Schlesien. "Richly imagined, weaving in anecdote with recipes and gossip

    4. Kite Runner - current selection

    5. Murder on the Leviathan, Boris Akunin, author Russian, translator of Japanese. A detective novel taking place in 1878 Paris, France. Paperback published February 2005

    6. Soldiers of Salamis, Javier Cercas, paperback published February 2005. About the final moments of the Spanish Civil War (i which Hemingway participated)

    7. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe, Twenty(20) short stories written, in English, between 1980-1991, divided by region; 5 from Southern Africa, 2 from Central Africa, 5 from East Africa, 2 from Northern Africa, and six from West Africa.

    Will get to No. 8 later.

    Traude S
    March 21, 2005 - 08:01 pm
    Under the Glacier, Halldor Laxness (the author's last name is a pseudonym).
    A 1968 novel previously unavailable in the U.S.
    Published March 2005. The late Susan Sontag wrote an essay about it, recently mentioned in the NYT Book Review.
    Described (in BN) as
    "whimsical, overflows with comedy both wild and deadpan... Christian doctrine gets a riotous, increasingly cryptic comeuppance ... narrated by an 'unordained priestling' sent by the Bishop of Iceland to investigate a remote parish",
    which appears to be wayward. The emissary finds the church boarded up.

    "Is it an overextended anticlerical joke, a boisterous folk comedy, or both?", asks Circus Review

    Neither the Publisher nor Circus Review mention the time period, which is probably the Middle Ages. Apparently the book also contains Buddhist wisdom.

    And there you have it.

    March 21, 2005 - 11:19 pm
    Thank you, what interesting comments, that was beautiful, Kleo and quite interesting.

    Jane you did a wonderful job on the Survey, it's one of our best, yet.

    Clicking on Done will not affect the outcomes, but it's nice of you to be careful, Pedln.

    Traude, the original Ballot, now visible in the heading as a link saying April Ballot, contained links to descriptions of each book from Barnes & Noble. I agree with you it's good to have some understanding of the book before you vote.

    I think we're off to a super start, and A Bend in the River sounds just right for perhaps another of our many book groups here on SeniorNet to read. I've ordered it myself, I am a BIG fan of Naipaul, thank you Mippy for suggtesting it, if not here in this "book club," then we've got plenty more!

    March 22, 2005 - 06:39 am
    I am currently reading an Alex Cross mystery by James Patterson, and it occurred to me that this series is a good illustration of the reason we want the books in this new forum to be written by natives of the country.

    Patterson's books are very enjoyable and I like the Alex Cross series. Nevertheless, Afr./Amer. authors writing about Afr/Amer. characters present a far more realistic and believable personality, IMO. I'm thinking of writers like Walter Moseley and his Easy Rawlins series.

    No one can write about a place and a people with the bone deep knowledge of someone who was an integral part of it all. Non?


    March 22, 2005 - 06:51 am
    Good point, Babi and I think I do agree with you, somebody a while back suggested we read two books and compare, I think THAT might be good too, we could first read the book by the person who was not connected with the country and the next month follow it off by one who was native, I think THAT might be instructive!

    Good point!

    Mrs Sherlock
    March 22, 2005 - 12:05 pm
    Ginny, I like that idea. I always like to have something to measure by. But in thinking about my choices while voting, I reflected on the world of today compared to the world of September 10, 2001. Then I decided that what ever period we picked would have its tragedies and calamities, that these are part of the river of life, affecting some of us more than others. What is that Frency saying, La plus ca change... Jackie

    Éloïse De Pelteau
    March 22, 2005 - 12:17 pm
    Jackie, "Plus ça change, plus c'est pareil" The good things we want to stay the same though but they change too unfortunately.

    Ginny, it takes me a long time to absorb a new concept, in case I don't sound too enthusiastic, but I think you always have brilliant ideas, you must have a very exciting life. That is a privilege of youth.

    Traude S
    March 22, 2005 - 12:25 pm
    Ah yes, JACKIE, "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" - the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 22, 2005 - 12:40 pm
    Kevin if you are out there - Please rejoin us - I miss your posts...

    March 22, 2005 - 02:44 pm
    Is the Olga Tokarczuk written in Polish and translated to English? I would love to regain my Polish.

    The book about the last days of the Spanish Civil War sounds interesting to me, however my book club could not handle For Whom the Bell Tolls. Just too hard. I wonder if we'll lose people in here with this one? I am continuing to read about the Spanish Civil War, and look forward to this book on SeniorNet.

    Both of these choices, along with the rest, sound interesting.

    Traude, you've sold me on the Naipaul. Can't we get it going elsewhere on SeniorNet? Not that I have the time.


    PS Kevin--yes, loved to laugh with your posts.

    Traude S
    March 22, 2005 - 05:46 pm

    Olga Tokarczuk's House of Day, House of Night is the author's Engish-language debut in a translation by Antonia Lloyd-Jones. The book has remained a bestseller in Poland since its original publication in 1998.

    I order my foreign books in their origial language from Schoenhof's in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They have a wide variety of books in all major languages, a competent staff, prompt and reliable service by mail.

    Regarding Naipul.

    There is no reason why we cannot propose "A Bend in the River" for reading right here in B&L and follow the customary process.

    We could also discuss it HERE under the auspices of this new group, IF we could "fit" Naipul in.

    Alas, there's no room for the poor man under the proposed guidelines because he
    is not an expatriate of India (nor Africa, obviously),
    was not born in Africa, the country about which he writes in "A Bend ...", and
    has not lived in either Africa or India for an "extended" period of time.
    There is no doubt in my mind that the description of events and places in "A Bend on the River" is authentic.

    The conundrum could be solved easily enough by loosening those stringent limits we have set for ourselves in survey questions 6 yo 8. If we don't consider this now, we'll face the very same problem with suggested book # 5 : a book by a Russian author about France set in 1878 Paris.

    Traude S
    March 23, 2005 - 07:16 am
    Forgive me, I did not take the survey but have indicated my response to some of the questions.

    The other answers are: # 1 - yes
    # 2 - "Read Around the World"
    # 5 - no (many different voices are coming out of post-colonial Africa; e.g. Apartheid was a decades-long struggle only in SOUTH Africa)
    # 9 (recognized awards lists) - not entirely, and definitely not only one of them to the exclusion of all others
    # 10 - yes

    May I add to the list of suggested authors Israeli author Amos Oz.

    March 23, 2005 - 09:08 am

    Do you read Polish? We have a large Polish population in the Bay Area, and a Polish bookstore, plus plenty of the foreign language bookstores in the Russian district sell some Polish literature. Thanks for the information about the author. I do not know her or her works.

    As to fitting Naipul in here. Sure, we could fit any author in here we want. However, it is not like there is such a dearth of authors who fit the guidelines that they have to be bent to find books to read. Again, it is what people want, to read a certain set of books, or to not circumscribe the possibilities. I haven't caught the poll recently, so I don't know which way it is going. However, if folks want to narrow the focus, this club will still have more choices than are possible. If it doesn't narrow the focus than almost any book about another country will fit.

    However, my suggestion about reading the Naipul elsewhere on SeniorNet was to satisfy my desire to read it and discuss it NOW, because it sounds like an interesting book to discuss with others.

    I do like the suggestion of reading one book by a person of the country and one by an outsider to compare. Except for one thing, we must have a person in here of intimate knowledge to be able to do the comparison. I cannot believe how much I got out of the first two chapters of Kite Runner, all the myriad additional details because I am so familiar with Afghans. Would I see that if reading two books about a country I am not familiar with? I would like to find out.

    We read a Dutch book about father/son relationships in my on-line book club just last month, led by our and SeniorNet's favorite Dutch member, Margreet, Ferdinand Bordewijk's Character. It is written by a Dutch man, about life in Holland, and has been translated into English. I did not read it as I was busy taking classes that month.


    March 23, 2005 - 09:22 am
    I just looked at the survey results after 23 persons voted, and have a question about questions 6 and 8.

    #6 says the author must be born in the country written about-- yes or no

    #8 says the author does not need to be born in the country written about . . . . - yes or no

    If "yes" receives the most votes in both questions, which question counts? I have a feeling I'm missing something here, but no doubt someone will have an answer.

    March 23, 2005 - 10:19 am
    Pedln, I think 6 and the following 7 are related and then 8 stands alone and addresses a different idea, I'll let Jane answer that one, but 23 people!! Wowee!

    Thank you all for the new nominations, we're actually not taking any new ones now until April 1, lest they be lost here among the posts, but I can understand wanting to get them down early, so here's one that has the most incredible reviews, and is in translation, the buzz is incredible, it's Out, by Natsuo Kirino, Stephen Snyder (Translator)

    If you click ON that title you will see endless information about the book, as well as reader raves, and for those who like a short paragraph, here 'tis:

    The complex yet riveting narrative seamlessly combines a convincing glimpse into the grimy world of Japan's yakuza with a brilliant portrayal of the psychology of a violent crime and the ensuing game of cat-and-mouse between seasoned detectives and a group of determined but inexperienced criminals. Kirino has mastered a Thelma and Louise kind of graveyard humor that illuminates her stunning evocation of the pressures and prejudices that drive women to extreme deeds and the friendship that bolsters them in the aftermath.

    That's one that looks super, to me. Yes we've definitely said earlier that we will consider A Bend in the River elsewhere in the Books, it also looks fabulous. Lots of good suggestions here, love this new bookclub!

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 23, 2005 - 12:12 pm
    23 great but my concern was Kevin among the 23 - I miss him - he suggested this idea - does anyone have his e-mail - we need to apologize and ask him back...

    Mrs Sherlock
    March 23, 2005 - 01:12 pm
    I miss Kevin dreadfully, and I want him to come back. Why is he absenting himself? Did any of us do something at which he took offense, I don't remember it. When we come together in a joint endeavor, like this undertaking, we each have "druthers". If something doesn't go my way, I can always take my ball and go home. BUT, that is not why I've joined this discussion; I want new, different things, things I don't know, and to get here the group may go down paths I wouldn't ordinarily choose. Kevin, did we veer away from the path you chose too much? Are you ill? Whatever is the cause of Kevin's absence I hope we can learn and discuss it.

    Mrs Sherlock
    March 23, 2005 - 01:17 pm
    Ginny, that is really a stretch, a woman writing about the yakuza. It's got my vote already! May I suggest that we set up a discussion of the books on our short lists for those who want to read them on their own. I will be reading several, the Polich, the Spanish, etc,.Put the titles of the books up and we can click and go there to have sidebar discussions. I'm always reading several books at once anyway.

    March 23, 2005 - 02:36 pm
    I don't know what we'll all do if 6 & 8 are a tie. Maybe we'll need a run-off.

    Traude: I'm sorry you won't participate in the poll; there's no way I can enter your answers for you. It'd toss them out since they'd be coming from my computer and I've already done the poll for myself.


    Kevin Freeman
    March 24, 2005 - 07:41 pm
    Sorry, but I've been on the run this week -- harried as a chia pet. Offended? Me? Don't know why I would be, though I'll try harder next time (all my old coaches told me I was terrible at offense).

    Yes, I've checked in and yes, I've done my patriotic duty and voted, though I confess to speed reading most of this week's posts (the thread has matched me for busy-ness, I fear). I can't remember now: was someone confused about the "time of the book" question? The ballot had 1975, '85, '95 -- all meaning time of publication, not time of book's event's (in the plot).

    I'm thinking some people thought the question had to do with time and setting in the book. That wouldn't matter. If a foreign author writes a book published after '75, '85, or '95, that's all that counts (well, that and bank tellers). The time of the book's plot can be 1492, 1620, 1776, or 1984.

    Think I have that straight. And maybe everyone else does, too, making me redundant and superfluous (and redundant, which is superfluous).

    March 24, 2005 - 11:25 pm
    redundant, my favorite word ... and superfluous is no slouch either.

    Mrs Sherlock
    March 25, 2005 - 08:03 am
    Yeah, Kevin!

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 25, 2005 - 08:36 pm
    Thank the stars he is back - after all you got us rolling on this venture - and now that everyone has had a say we can feel like the usual SeniorNet Democracy is in action...

    I prayed for rain and just now we are having golf no baseball size hail - I am telling you - it was well in the 80s today and now this - but the blooming and leaf dropping (live Oak drop leaves in the spring as the new leaves form) and bees - and - and of early spring got my yesterday - an allergy attack like you wouldn't believe - chills the whole thing - well I have about 3 weeks than I can shut down again as the fires of Central America send thick black billowing smoke north till it bloats out our sun for a week and again my allergies take over my life. Ah Spring - ah the joys of Spring - sheesh - give me a hundred and 10 summer day - any day - all day long...

    Mrs Sherlock
    March 26, 2005 - 07:23 am
    Austin, the home of the McDonald Observatory which has such fascinating little bits of astronomy on NPR. My son is an astronomy fan, he told me about a teeshirt: Date an astronomer, the only one who can promise you the moon and stars and will deliver. LOL

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 26, 2005 - 10:06 am
    ahhhaayyy I think it isn't Austin - McDonald Observatory is high on a mountain top in West Texas about three quarters of the way between Austin and El Paso -

    There are lots of UT departments dealing with the info from the Observatory and even St. Ed's had a department that studies the skies - but they have a heck of a trip out - a good 9 hours with a very, very, heavy foot - nothing less than 85 miles per hour - to get to Observatory...

    And believe it - on I-10 west of Junction - even a State Trooper will literally turns his head the other way if you speed up on them...and you can drive 10 minutes without seeing another vehicle on the Interstate going in either direction - at night you drive 25 to 30 minutes all alone with nary a headlight in sight much less a porch light. So they do commute regularly from Austin to the Davis Mountains, 450 miles west of Austin. The last 90 miles or so on a narrow road through rough, dry country.

    March 26, 2005 - 03:19 pm
    The results of the survey are in the header. There were 26 valid responses. Two were disqualified since we had 3 responses from the same computer. I took the first one entered.


    March 26, 2005 - 03:37 pm
    Thank you so much, Jane, we will start out our reading in other cultures with these as "guidelines," and, along the way, if we feel the need to change, we will.

    Thank all of you for your input and welcome back, Kevin!

    Mrs Sherlock
    March 26, 2005 - 05:30 pm
    We have an observatory on Mount Hamilton, looking over Silicon Valley. It is only about 4500 feet, connected to UC Santa Cruz, It takes almost as long because the road is two-lane and in some places you are going only 20mph. Ginny, et al, what an experience this has been creating a new book discussion from the ground up. So much of what we started with has changed, but we still will be reading authors from around the world. My eye, now, is caught by any mention of a book which might suit, a novel which reflects the authors Maori heritage, etc. So it's not fiction only, it's not award winners only. Hmmmmm.


    Traude S
    March 26, 2005 - 06:39 pm
    Thank you for posting the results of the poll, JANE, and the tremendous job.

    There is a particular book I mentioned around the time we were voting on "The Jane Austin Book Club"; the latter was in fact discussed.

    I said then that "The Jane Austen Book Club" reminded me in form and substance somewhat of Reading Lolita in Tehran : A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi.

    As long as we are not limiting ourselves to fiction-only here, we might want to keep "Reading Lolita ..." on a back burner because it does meet all other requirements of the guidelines. Azar Nafisi, born into a prominent Iranian family, came to the U.S. in her teens to study and returned to Tehran after several years. By that time the mullahs had taken over. Nafisi taught at the university and caused some consternation, not only because of her liberal "western outlook" but because of her refusal to wear the abaya. She eventually left the job she loved.

    Starting in 1997 she met regularly (and clandestinely) with seven young women, former students, in her home to discuss western literature. The chapters bear the names of the respective authors - one of them Nabokov - and are at the same time a reflection in rich detail of the events in Tehran.

    She and her family finally left Iran, ostensibly for a lecture, but in fact never to return. She now teaches and lectures in this country. The book remains on the bestseller list. (I don't know if the book had been given IMPAC's seal of approval.)

    Whether or not we pick it for discussion here or elsewhere in B&L, I submit that it is very much worth while reading, especially in light of the current voluble political situation in the Middle East and for its trenchant insights into Iranian society and life.

    March 26, 2005 - 07:13 pm
    Thank you Traude. I believe we've....yes, I used the Search feature here....

    Looks like great minds run together, hahaha I mentioned Reading in Teheran briefly on February 26, March 5th and March 12th , in posts 32, 136, and 183.

    I agree it looks like a super read, glad to see somebody else thinks so, too. We probably do need to begin now putting the nominations in the heading here so they don't get lost.

    March 26, 2005 - 07:40 pm
    You're tracking my face-to-face book club again. They read "The Kite Runner" this month and chose "reading Lolita" for next month. I'm looking forward to reading it, but will also be glad if we choose a less well-known book that I would not otherwise read.

    March 27, 2005 - 03:30 pm
    This is NOT a nomination.

    Earlier, before the April selection had been made, I decided to get something else by Halldor Laxness (the book mentioned was not yet out in paperback), and bought Iceland's Bell, published in 1943, originally, and then brought out in English translation in 2003.

    I've gotten through less than 50 pages, and have put it aside. Somehow, it just doesn't tell me enough about anything. Has anyone else read it? This author is a Nobel prize winner, by the way.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 28, 2005 - 03:52 am
    Mippy, I had trouble with Iceland's Bell, too (it was the rope pulley thing, turns out). Think I gave up along about p. 60, though I did find a few things likable. It just was too much of an effort at a time in my life when effort was too precious a commodity (a running problem for me).

    I bought Under the Glacier and can tell you three things: it is much shorter (huzzah!), the print font much larger (huzzah 2, the sequel), and the tone of the first chapter is LIGHT (threepeat on that huzzahing stuff).

    I guess it's the same lesson I learned from James Joyce (Dubliners vs. Finnegans Wake): you can't judge a book by its author.

    Or something like that.

    March 28, 2005 - 08:01 am
    I guess it's the same lesson I learned from James Joyce (Dubliners vs. Finnegans Wake): you can't judge a book by its author.

    LOL!! Kevin, I love it!....Babi

    March 28, 2005 - 08:47 am
    Joan, amazing again, I look forward to hearing what your bookclub says about The Kite Runner. Am discussing your mention of Rembrandt's Eyes in the First Page Cafe, boy now THERE'S a book!!

    Mippy I have never been able to read Laxness, I thought it was me, I'm glad to hear that Under the Glacier is more readable, Kevin, keep us posted? hahaha on the judge a book by its author, so true.

    I don't know how anybody else feels or will feel after April when Ann will do our May Ballot and Jane will put it up for a vote, but I'm thinking we should do a completely different part of the world for our next reading, just to really swing wide the doors of understanding of world literature. We need a map with pins on it, our passports will all be stamped by the time we finish with this.

    I am fantastically interested in the Irish Potato Famine, I wonder if there is anything out there on that one! I have a super book in a new series on it, but it's not the type of thing we're reading here.

    March 28, 2005 - 09:27 am
    Thanks, both Kevin and Ginny, for the note on Laxness, and Iceland's Bell. I guess none of us suggest that anyone try that book, unless they have more perseverance than any of us do.

    Ginny, Yes, yes, I'd been thinking the same thing.
    Let's jump out of the Moslem countries for the next book, since there is so much of the world to explore.
    I still have not absorbed many of the details about Afghanistan, and we haven't even begun Kite Runner.

    What nominations would you suggest, then? We really don't have to stick to the list begun in February, right? And do our potential new book nominations have authors who meet the criteria in the survey?

    March 28, 2005 - 10:21 am
    Right, we'll start anew in May with an entirely new nominating list, so it really does not matter if what's on the April Ballot does not qualify for our new rules: we can all be looking for something new in another part of the world, I think. Each read will be a fresh new experience!

    March 28, 2005 - 10:22 am
    And I also meant to thank you, Jackie for those encouraging words, you are right: this has been a first, a brand new book series and club started out by us here, it's really been a fun thing to participate in, we need to do more of it! Thank you all for your excellent participation here and support!

    March 28, 2005 - 02:35 pm
    Rembrandt's Eyes: I forgot to mention when I brought up that book that it's a thousand pages long and weighs about two tons. It probably costs a million dollars, since it's full of absolutely gorgeous prints. I borrowed it from the library, begged them for extra time before it was due, and had trouble lugging it home.

    I really enjoyed it, but I allowed myself the luxury of skimming over parts I wasn't interested in. The history given was very confusing: he didn't include a readable map, and he assumes the reader knows things about the geography and history that I don't. I found parts of it unreadable.

    But when he discussed the painting, it's wonderful! It was recommended to me by a friend who said it made her look at light in a whole new way.

    I would recommend it for personal browsing, but probably not for a discussion.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 28, 2005 - 02:59 pm
    Yes, ginny, I think jumping around the globe will be advisable as we proceed from book to book. One book on my TBR list is War Trash by Ha Jin (think I heard one of you say you once were Waiting for his other book), which would take us to another troubled area, Korea.

    Then there's the renominate-title from Poland (House of Day, House of Night). Also from Europa is the Spanish title, Soldiers of Salamis. Oh, wait a minute. You said you wanted a clean slate.

    Which reminds me of a question we have not addressed (much to the USPS's chagrin): once we get going, do we only give a second chance to the 2nd-place book on any given ballot? And if so, are the other also-rans retired from consideration FOR GOOD? (Hope not.) Or do we just put them on a finite "wait period" before they dare speak their name again?

    March 28, 2005 - 03:05 pm
    Joan, see the First Page Cafe, people are ordering it and reading it, I love it, myself, it's like opening a page and sitting down in movie theater, as you say, it's not linear and there are no readable maps...and yet... and yet... it is confusing but I like challenging things, but we could not discuss it unless we took 8 years ahahahahah I can't even lift the thing but I do admit a joy in picking it up. We may have a new kind of book club with it, the Read a Page a Day Book Club. hahahaa Whyever not? hahahaa I am!

    But don't you feel that you... I feel swept up in it, I just love it. I know it's not for everybody, but I'm just beginning, have read 3 chapters and am not sure how I have read three, the rate I keep putting it down but by gum don't you have a feel for the times, tho.

    Kevin, no no, the question asked was what will we do with those on the Ballot (or so I thought) that did not fit the new parameters? We will begin again, Finnigan, and you can nominate any book on earth, whether or not it was an also ran the first time, as long as it fits the new criteria we just voted on.

    ANY book!

    We read Waiting here a while back, I absolutely loved it, I like the way he writes.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 28, 2005 - 03:17 pm
    I see. Good enough. As you know, I have the heavy-weight (700-plus page) Norwegian book, The Half-Brother (short-listed on IMPAC), but I won't get around to it until summer when I read more due to excessive exposure to the sun (the high Vitamin E levels increase my reading Effort).

    I do hope we read a book in both July and August, when everyone's beach-bumming with a book.

    You know, hit the ocean and wave the every-other-month rule.

    March 28, 2005 - 03:39 pm
    Well we'll do one in June definitely, not sure on July. Again we'd have the End -of-the-Month-Trying- to -Read and Discuss- one book- while reading, and voting on others- and trying to get- the first quarter of the new pick- read Blues.

    Maybe a two week break, possibly, we can see what we think, THIS break seems awfully long, but we're not in the middle of discussing a book, either? Let's see how it works out, we can always adjust!

    Thanks to Patwest who put the nice map of our first read in the heading here, when you click on it you can see we have a lot of space to put in pins!

    Mrs Sherlock
    March 28, 2005 - 04:54 pm
    I nominate 1985 Booker Priz winner The Bone People by Ken Hulme, about New Zealand and Maoris and whites, love and death, south seas.

    March 28, 2005 - 04:55 pm
    Ok thank you Jackie, can you be preparing a paragraph about it for when Ann starts discussing it in May, we'll get a link in the heading for all of the contenders which will lead as it did on the last ballot, to much more about it, I'll see if we can begin putting up the Nominees now!

    Kevin Freeman
    March 28, 2005 - 05:52 pm
    One nominee per poster, is it? I mean, if I'm not put in check, the ballot will be more titled than the royal heads of Europe.

    March 28, 2005 - 06:41 pm
    Oh nominate away, the more the merrier! You all may have to have a run off or the vote may be scattered, that's what that first week of discussion will be for, for people to discuss the various nominees before you all vote on the ballot.

    Maybe in the future we might want to see if we should limit the ballot, let's see how it plays out.

    Mrs Sherlock
    March 29, 2005 - 06:10 am
    Ginny, I like your style. Let's see how it plays out - words to live by.I'll get some info. I saw this advertised in Harper's, first novel wins the Booker, seemed as far removed from Afghanistan as could be yet New Zealand is both familiar and mysterious. Another place I've thought about moving to when I retire.

    March 29, 2005 - 01:33 pm
    As usual, all of the nominations sound excellent.

    There was a movie a few years ago about the Maori, Once Were Warriors, a very sad and powerful movie about culture. I love the New Zealand flora, and study its paleofloras for work. NZ is far removed from Afghanistan, also. Mrs. Sherlock, thank you for mentioning this book.

    The Japanese novel would be a nice change to a woman's voice and a culture facing different threats. I read some Japanese novels in translation and see Japanese movies as my husband and son (very little in the latter case) both speak Japanese.

    I would like to learn more about Korea as I have a Korean sister-in-law. I work with Koreans, also. Kevin, thanks for mentioning a Korean novel.

    Yet, many of these books are about the interface between traditional culture and the modern world and the people who struggle to live there. As Traude mentioned, the human condition is a compelling shared read. I wonder how much alike will be the bare struggles of the people in each of our books, as we try to move from different culture to different culture?

    I do like the idea of moving as far from Afghanistan as possible. Iceland is very far, and I know almost nothing about the literature. Maybe there is a more accessible Icelandish novel?


    Traude S
    March 29, 2005 - 04:06 pm
    As of this writing, there is no listing yet in BN of "The Bone People" by Ken Hulme - I just checked.

    Traude S
    March 29, 2005 - 04:12 pm
    We (the government and press) are casting a weary eye on this small volcanic island in the frigid Atlantic where former chess master Bobby Fisher, wanted in this country, has just been given asylum.

    March 29, 2005 - 04:42 pm
    Here you go, Traude The Bone People on B&N.

    March 29, 2005 - 04:46 pm
    As of this writing, there is no listing yet in BN of "The Bone People" by Ken Hulme - I just checked. Traude

    Traude --

    If you click on the link up on top it will take you to the BN page with The Bone People by Keri Hulme, not Ken. It does say "Ken" up on top, though. I had thought it was Ken.

    We (the government and press) are casting a weary eye on this small volcanic island in the frigid Atlantic where former chess master Bobby Fisher, wanted in this country, has just been given asylum. Traude

    Yes, Iceland is often in the news, also for its First Lady. What exactly do we want to do to Bobby Fisher? Try him for a crime that no longer exists and put him in jail? I just can't see any benefit in persecuting him. I think he has his own demons, without the US adding to them. I hope he loves Iceland as much as they want him. It sounds like a gorgeous country with wonderful people. Maybe this will bring some literary attention to Iceland via a NY Times book review of a great new Icelandic novel in translation that we have yet to hear of.


    Traude S
    March 29, 2005 - 06:58 pm
    Bobby Fisher, the "vitriolic chess legend" (TIME), 62, became a hero in Iceland after his 1972 victory over Russian Boris Spassky. But because Fisher violated U.S. sanctions against the former Yugoslavia by playing a rematch there against Spassky in 1992 , the U.S. sought his extradition.

    Upon his recent release from eight months' detention in Japan for an alleged passport violation, he flew to Reykjavik and publicly denounced the U.S. as "hypocritical and corrupt".

    Iceland, the largest island in the North Atlantic, encompasses 102,819 square kilometers and is of strategic importance. There are glaciers in the sparsely settled interior highlands; limited vegetation; hot springs, geysers, and active volcanoes (Õrefajekull, Hekla). The compact settlement is essentially in the coastal areas and river basins. Reykjavik's colorful little houses are huddled together as if to keep the inhabitants warm and safe from the storms. Beautiful and picturesque.

    In such close proximity to the Arctic, winters are long and arduous. I was there in summer one year for a few days on my way to Europe. In those days Icelandic Airlines, as they were then called, had the cheapest round-trip airfares, and I took advantage of a package deal.

    Iceland has become popular with Bostonians in the last decades, especially the younger crowds, but it is an expensive pleasure.

    Re The Bone People, thank you for setting me straight; I had the wrong spelling for the author's first name.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 29, 2005 - 07:19 pm
    If we were to do Iceland, Halldor Laxness would be our man, methinks. And the newly-released translation of Under the Glacier would probably be the best direction to go -- shorter, fonter, funnier than the other Laxness's (or so "they" say -- and you know how "they" are forever "saying").

    I think the nominating for our next book should run until April 24th with the voting from April 25 to 29. Being slow as corn syrup on a stubborn day, I think I'd need a full month to find and read a chosen book. Heck, look at the people having trouble library-reserving The Kite Runner! There's a moral to that kite tale, no? Those poor people will be unable to join us because they didn't have enough advance notice (this is not complaining -- something I gave up for Lent -- this is just stating the facts, ma'am).

    Also, in my humble opinion, every-other-month is forever. Seems waiting for April Fool's Day has been forever, at least. Over 200 posts of forever up in the "Pre-Discussion Thread."

    Are we starting a fresh thread for the discussion itself? Let's make like a bakery and say yes (even if ginny has to get up at 4 a.m. on Friday to mix the yeast and warm milk and get a rise out of us).

    Any thoughts? (Brickbats? Gag orders?)

    Mrs Sherlock
    March 29, 2005 - 07:31 pm
    Kevin, I'm laughing too hard to analyze your porposals, but on general principles, I vote yes.

    March 29, 2005 - 09:07 pm

    I would like to start a new thread for the Kite Runner discussion, because I prefer a finite on-target book discussion. Being one of the most, if not the leading, babbler about all things Afghan in the discussion this may sound, hmmm, well, I won't go there.

    I like the idea, Kevin. However, I think we already debated and decided against it? Bring it up again on the board, please, counting my vote for a new board.

    Every other month does seem, forever. However, I barely have time to read what I am reading. In fact, I don't!

    Thank you for the information about Laxness, Kevin, and the background on Iceland and Fisher, Traude. My background is in geology, so I already think Iceland is one of the more unique places settled by humans. I would love to see it some day.


    Kevin Freeman
    March 30, 2005 - 03:31 am
    Kleo, you've hardly been a "babbler" up there (trust me when I say I've cornered the market on babbling).
    In fact, you've contributed some solid stuff to the discussion. Let's all be clear on THAT one.

    And if we already tabled the motion to start a new thread, I missed it. Then, in all honesty, I miss a lot of things. Just yesterday someone told me Katherine Hepburn was dead and I said, "Really now?"

    Yes, you'll find me at the end of the information chain (a lot of fun when we play "whip" on the playground, but that's about all).

    March 30, 2005 - 06:19 am
    Thank you all for this great feedback and suggestions, much appreciated.

    Barbara is the Discussion Leader for The Kite Runner so she will make the determination of whether or not to open a new discussion. If she does, the previous information in the current discussion will be deleted, so we'll leave that up to her.

    Joan K, thank you for your bright idea in launching our newest and strangest book club with Rembrandt's Eyes!

    I think the heading is fixed now on the Hulme book thank you Kleo for that correction of the author's name. Reminding everyone that an underlined title means you can click on it and see more about the book.

    Thank you Jackie, I like your style, too!

    Kevin, I am not sure at this time we want to move up the nominating? We're set to go with that on May 1. I agree with you that it does seem like forever, I REALLY agree, but we're not currently in the process of trying to discuss a book at the same time, either.

    I would like to try it the way we originally set it out ONE month to see if we like that or not? Unless we try it, we will not know how it would seem. Then, if we want to change later, we can. Does that sound agreeable? It's not much longer to wait now.

    We are not now in the process of voting on anything else, we're set till June. We've gone to some trouble to get this thing set up and on the tracks, let's let it run for a few minutes before we decide it does not work, and then we will entertain most earnestly ideas on how to fix it. I reiterate, however, that I agree that at present, with no book to currently discuss, .the every other month seems too long. Let's see what the actuality is. Very few people can read one book and discuss it while reading and discussing a bunch of others.

    I am very excited about all the interest shown by participants in this book club, and I hope that The Kite Runner will be a super discussion of the book.

    Traude S
    March 30, 2005 - 07:40 am
    Kevin, I don't know how long you have been with us.

    Perhaps it will help to explain our customary procedure:
    after a book has been chosen and the opening day set (usually at the beginning of the month), a folder is opened for an introductory phase, and the length of what I irreverently call "warm-up period" is determined by the DL.

    That modus operandi was followed in the Kite Runner.

    But for what reason would we now throw out all prior contributions and posts and start afresh? As in "out with the old, in with the new"? I find that idea startling and, with respect, actually wasteful.

    March 30, 2005 - 08:56 am
    I agree with Traude. Why do we need a new thread? This one seems fine to me. It's a shame to toss away some of the really great posts here and we can always go back to see what someone has said on a particular subject. I, personally, find it very confusing going back and forth into different areas.

    March 30, 2005 - 09:01 am

    Karmie, the posts here will remain.

    This discussion is the Parent/ Generating Discussion: the main site of the Read Around the World Book Club?

    It will always be here? Nothing HERE will be thrown out? This is where we'll vote.

    But when we discuss a BOOK, each spin off like Kite Runner, each individual book we add month by month may add more than 1,000 posts? Nobody wants to come in NEW to begin a discussion and read more than 1,200 posts?

    SeniorNet has a policy to renew every discussion over 1,000 posts, you can see that in the many iterations of the Story of Civilization.

    If we keep all the individual book discussions HERE and the voting we would be way over 5,000 posts, as we progress, in direct violation of SN policies.

    Barbara is the Discussion Leader of The Kite Runner spin off first selection discussion and she will decide whether to continue with the current Kite Runner discussion, (now numbering somewhere around 245 posts, which is tiresome for new readers who we hope will join us ) , or to begin a completely new discussion on April 1.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 30, 2005 - 10:18 am
    OK we have all sorts of suggestions for this new endeavor including how we will actually carry out the pre discussion - I think it is fun - but let's review the traditional way we have carried out our reading here on SeniorNet -

    Now typically we do not get into anything serious during the pre discussion - folks are getting their books and there is a lot of - oh did you see this movie or that TV special or read this other book that mentioned this or that this is included in the book.

    This time and probably with other books that emanate from this discussion there is a lot of research about the place and setting of the book so there are many more posts than we typically see related to the book itself.

    Then we have some who actually read the entire book before we begin - where as others read the book using the discussion schedule as their reading schedule.

    The difficulty for those who read the entire book is to limit themselves to only discuss the part of the book scheduled for that week - so the twists and turns or points made in later chapters that are maybe even being set up in earlier chapters are not alluded to or discussed till we get there. This is the plan that has been used since I have been a part of Books & Lit on Seniornet which goes back to the days when we only offered one book a month and in addition a Great Book. I think it was early 1998 but I have lost track of dates - at any rate all to say this is the Seniornet plan for reading.

    Now as to a new thread - it has not ever happened before that I know about but if there is a good reason to consider this idea than please let's hear it - as y'all know by now I have never been stuck on anything except what I call manners - which simply means we are not blaming, criticizing, judging, trivializing each other's thoughts, values or beliefs - nor are we grandstanding or trying to convince others our views are the "right" views and therefore, the only view worth considering therefore, everyone in the discussion must agree with that one view.

    There are untold books and passages where it is explained that after an author writes and publishes the book it than goes through another creative phase where the reader brings to the book their experiences and values - where the reader makes connections and finds a message that was not consciously outlined by the author but is valid. That has been the wonder of our discussions since we share our various outlooks and takes on these books the story then becomes richer for us especially since we would never have noticed or thought that way ourselves.

    We have had authors join us here on SeniorNet who have been delighted with the connections some of us made and then they have shared the underlining meaning that they thought was important and we learned from them.

    All this to say - if change is suggested as to how we go about setting up the discussion and as long as there is no change in the "manners" expected - then lets look at what the change is attempting to accomplish because that is what is important - not change for change sake but because there is something that feels uncomfortable and in order to fix that, a change is often suggested.

    This new discussion just had to have happened during Spring - it is so prophetic - hehehe - I did Spring up in grand style this year - Last week some of the trees that I have a severe allergy to were blooming - well I ended up with an allergy attack that was unbelievable - chills, sick, headache - the expression "they shoot horses don't they" was apt - the pains of Spring.

    Then Easter weekend was a shock to the system - on Friday it was in the mid 80s and on Saturday a norther blew in here - temps down into the low 50s and overnight in the low 40s - not one but three hail storms, one of which the hail was not golf ball size but soft ball size - gray, cold, the wind blowing brrrr - children couldn't wear their new outfits, egg rolls were cancelled - ohh the sadness of it all - but then surprise I had bouquets delivered from two of my children, all of whom live hours if not a day away by car - and a phone call from each of my children along with chats with all the grands. Had personal fun picking up 6 white eggs [usually buy brown] and dying them with tea, coffee and raspberry jello - great fun.

    Than on Monday decided to finally do something about that spot where the wonderful old Redbud fell two years ago. Stopped at the nursery to get deer proof plants that included a St. Johns Wart bush, Rosemary, Thyme, Vinca, Texas Canyon and Mexican Sage along with three bags of potting soil to help fill the depression left by the removal of the tree stump. Came home and thought I was still 52 - dug it all up and planted everything in about 3 hours. Of course yesterday I could hardly move between my back and my leg muscles - ohhhh - of course today I'm back to my usual "out-of-shape" condition therefore no more pain.

    Then on top I had to spray some deer chase away after all - their footprints deep into the new soil and the Mexican Sage they did not know so you could see where they grabbed it out of the ground, shook the daylights out of each plant then of course let it go as they realized the taste was awful - so I had to replant this morning - I wish I saw them do that one - they are so funny to watch.

    Well I have been laughing as I see my personal journey through Spring not too unlike the ups and downs of creating this new discussion -

    Ann Alden
    March 30, 2005 - 11:55 am
    I would vote for starting up a whole new page or folder for Kite Runner on April 1st. Since we have talked about so many other things besides the book, it might be confusing for the new posters to arrive in the middle of the conversation. We could leave a link in the existing folder to the new one or just close or archive the existing posts and start over in the existing folder. I just received my book on Saturday and, due to having company until yesterday, have not had a chance to really get into it.

    March 30, 2005 - 02:11 pm
    Thank you Ginny and Barbara for explaining how these discussions work. This is my first one so I hope you will understand. I can see all the hard work that goes into this. I give you a lot of credit. I'm looking forward to April 1st.

    Traude S
    March 30, 2005 - 02:14 pm
    Would that there were a way of KEEPING the useful, valuable information that was assembled and posted in the prediscussion - in answer, may I add, to the original questions posed by GINNY, which are still in the header. It grieves me to think that all of this work can be deleted in a mere second. Was it all a waste of time, then? How sad.

    I don't recall that we have ever eliminated a prediscussion altogether before.

    Why can't we simply go on as we have done all along, beginning on April 1st with a set of new questions?

    We may be carrying a rather heavy load now because we have embarked on such detailed researches about the country, history, politics, ethnicity of the tribes, the education of girls, etc.

    I have said from the very outset, and with respect, that this is a very personal story, a human story, and IT should, I believe, be our focus; the politics, the ravages of wars and the senseless violence of the Taliban forming the ineradicable background.

    March 30, 2005 - 02:53 pm
    I don't recall that we have ever eliminated a prediscussion altogether before. Traude

    This had been my thought, also. That the old was kept, at least while the conversation was going. I had a discussion about this method with someone via e-mail, also. I still like it, even if Traude seems to be the only person besides me who remembers it.


    Kevin Freeman
    March 30, 2005 - 03:05 pm
    I agree that the PRE-Discussion should not be deleted. It will prove a valuable resource for participants to access as they read and discuss the book.

    I only thought a fresh thread would be preferable because some people may want to search for or refer to background on Afghanistan while others may want to search for or refer to a post about the book. Wouldn't it be a hassle if they had to bump into each other searching in the same thread? It'd be like sticking a fiction book in the Dewey Decimal section and a Dewey Decimal denizen in the Fiction section. A tad confusing (at least for the easily confused, among whom I count myself).

    A good compromise as we go forward (that is, if "pre-discussions" are the modus operandi here) would be to place all the non-fiction background stuff (pre-discussion "sister threads") in a non-fiction category, and put the actual book discussion (fiction) in its own thread and area. Or maybe put one atop the other for easy access. As for the argument that cultural stuff might come up in the book discussion itself, sure -- but it would be tied to the plot or characters in that respect.

    I just think of someone coming along, say, on April 7, stumbling on and having great interest in a "discussion" of The Kite Runner, and then, after reading the first 50 posts, giving up entirely because there's no Kite and no Runner -- just what looks to be a discussion about a country and a culture.

    But I agree with Traude. SAVE THE PRE-DISCUSSION THREAD!

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 30, 2005 - 03:07 pm
    OK folks hehehehe I have not yet taken medication for a split personality hahahaa - I think the issue of how we proceed with Kite Runner is a decision that affects Kite Runner and not how and what books we choose to become acquainted with as a current international author - so please - please put your comments about how you think we should proceed with Kite Runner in that conversation - pretty please...

    Kevin Freeman
    March 30, 2005 - 03:16 pm
    I have scissored and glued my above post into the KITE RUNNER PRE-DISCUSSION thread, per Dr. Barbara and Mr. St. Aubrey's request.

    </bad doppelganger joke, is all, in honor of Robert Louis Stevenson>

    March 30, 2005 - 03:33 pm
    Appreciate all the thoughts and kind words here. Yes in our long soon to be 9 year history in 2005 we have many times completely deleted the Pre Discussion area at the beginning of the new discussion, stating at the outset we would do so. I led the first book discussion of the Books & Lit on SeniorNet, Snow Falling on Cedars, in September of 1996, and can remember many occasions subsequently when this was done.

    Thank you Karmie, we are so glad to have you, you are an asset to our boards, and we hope you enjoy this one and stay with us a long time, there is LOTS of interest in this one!

    Kevin, explain that one?

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 30, 2005 - 03:36 pm
    Harlan indicates that he does not trust others, particularly at the helm, and Bova's indicates that he is unwilling to try new things.

    The Christa is en route to a planet that has a hyperwarpway, a way of traveling vast distances in a very short time. It will cut several years off their journey home, but the Ruzzlians who control it are very prim and proper, and will not permit the Christa to pass through unless she passes inspection.

    Meanwhile, a smelly green mist invades the ship and gets into the jump tubes. Rosie and Suzee get sucked into the jump tubes, and their evil twins come out, ready to take over the universe. The real Suzee and Rosie are trapped in the lounge, while the evil twins trick the others into going through the jump tubes to generate more evil twins.

    Goddard and Harlan are now in the command post with the evil twins, and the evil twins are arguing and misbehaving. The real crew begins to realize that something in the jump tubes has caused the transformation. Harlan is also replaced with an evil twin. The evil twins are determined to cause the Christa to fail the Ruzzlian inspection.

    Commander Goddard realizes that the crew has been replaced with evil twins. He enlists Thelma's aid in stopping them.

    The evil twins suck the air out of the lounge to kill the real crew, but the crew escapes. Goddard explains that a doppelganger is responsible for what's happening, an evil creature that makes evil twins. They have to destroy the doppelganger to stop the evil twins.

    The crew battle their evil twins. Harlan and Radu realize that they would rather work together than against one another. They set their evil twins to fighting each other.

    The crew find the doppelganger and follow it into the engine room. Suzee sucks it into the protomix to use for fuel. The evil twins promptly dissolve.

    The crew arrives at the Ruzzlian home world at high speed, not exactly proper decorum for inspection. However, the Ruzzlian official excuses their behavior when Commander Goddard explains that they were battling, and defeated, a doppelganger. They are given permission to use the hyperwarpway, but ultimately cannot use it because the Christa's organic components would be killed by the stress of the hyperwarpway...!

    Names were changed to protect the innocent...

    March 30, 2005 - 03:37 pm
    Barbara, explain that one? hahahahaa You guys are talking GREEK here!

    Oh well it fits, huh?

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 30, 2005 - 03:40 pm
    that was the idea - to become so outragious that is almost matches what this Spring has sprung...

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 30, 2005 - 03:43 pm
    sorta like my mother - no matter what we shared with her she would take either the kernel of the thought or the main issue and quote a line from a play or tell the story or sing the song that highlighted what was said - this was constant every day of our lives - her association was made and we remembered the association and so remembered the issue at hand or the ridiculousness of the issue at hand.

    March 30, 2005 - 03:43 pm
    hahaah AH! haahahah Well you succeeded! hahahahaa

    March 30, 2005 - 04:26 pm
    I swear it's Klingon.


    Mrs Sherlock
    March 30, 2005 - 04:58 pm
    Barbara, that is Too Much! I love it!

    Kevin Freeman
    March 30, 2005 - 05:17 pm
    Well, Barbara, you've out-Jekylled and beat the Hyde out of RL Stevenson. Yes, your doppel managed to ganger up in Greek (or so says ginny) -- not an easy task for a German word!

    Anyway, I think we all harbor a doppelganger. I got mine at the Pet Shop (Aisle 3).

    March 30, 2005 - 05:51 pm

    Kevin Freeman
    March 30, 2005 - 06:04 pm
    Dear ALF,

    Here's the play-by-play:

    I suggested a new, second thread for The Kite Runner beginning April 1st. Barbara then bemoaned the fact that she needed a split personality to keep up with the split opinions and split requests. I peeled the bananas.

    Then I called her Dr. Barbara and Mr. St. Aubrey. This was an allusion to Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which is about a man and his evil twin (or, double).

    This led me to the word doppelganger, which you can read about via this link.

    From there, Dr. St. Aubrey wrote a mini-sci-fi classic (abridged). Jackie split with laughter. Ginny started singing from the musical, Greece, and we all headed for the exits.

    Hope that helps,

    Kevin Freeman Kevin Freeman

    March 30, 2005 - 06:24 pm
    Mary Hartman Mary Hartman hahahaa

    Grease is the WORD!

    March 30, 2005 - 07:00 pm
    A most interesting read going on here.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    March 30, 2005 - 07:02 pm
    Greece greased Portugal 1-0 in the world soccer game...!

    March 30, 2005 - 08:00 pm
    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!! You guys lost me somewhere around Andromeda.

    March 30, 2005 - 09:46 pm
    The only thing to do, Joan, is just relax and enjoy the ride! I just read Kevin's post (#358) and decided that was close enough! lol,


    March 31, 2005 - 07:09 am
    (and that frightens me.)

    March 31, 2005 - 07:42 am
    I remember "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman"!

    Loved that show.

    Laughed and laughed.

    My name was so close to hers that I got teased at work.

    March 31, 2005 - 01:21 pm

    Let's see what the actuality is. Very few people can read one book and discuss it while reading and discussing a bunch of others. Ginny

    I noticed, though, that you have just added the page-a-day club, Ginny, or joined it, and others in here have joined, and/or added it. I have to ask, for those of us in here, is it too much to read and discuss more than one book at a time?

    I am usually reading more than one book at a time. Part of this is because I read fiction and nonfiction and part because whatever I am reading just seems to increase without bounds what I want to read. Sometimes it is too much to read AND discuss more than one book at once, but usually, only when everything else in my life is just too much, also. I have another book club that reads about 10 or 11 novels a year, on a monthly schedule, with Bible, short stories, essays and poetry tossed in when not on a novel.

    This is not about the idea of the timing of the vote on the next selection.


    March 31, 2005 - 02:53 pm
    Kleo, if you can read more than one book at a time and discuss more than one at a time, consider yourself one of the few that Ginny referred to.

    Page a Day will start in July, I would guess that Kite Runner will be concluded by May 1. And there will other books discussed in June and July before the Page a Day book starts.

    Mrs Sherlock
    March 31, 2005 - 05:19 pm
    We will vote in May for the next book after Kite Runner. That book will be June's discussion. By July there will be people going hither and thither, children and grandchildren visiting, etc., so a page a day seems doable and easier for people to drop out and drop back in.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 31, 2005 - 05:39 pm
    Hither's pretty cool. The weather in July is hot, but not so humid. And the bugs aren't bad, either. Thither? I can't say, but maybe someday.

    That page-a-day gimmick will take 768 days to finish. That's over two years of pagination. Pagi Nation. A nation of readers. But only at a page-a-day pace.

    I still like the idea of the dictionary for a page a day, then being restricted to words on that page when you post. Let's see. Day 413 would look like so:

    Idiomatical idiots idle idler pulleys. Ideal idealism's identity idealizes ideology.

    See (sic)? As interesting as Rembrandt's Eyes (or Rembrandt's pupils, who were as unruly as all get-out).

    Anyway, are we being blessed with a new thread tomorrow, or should gentlefolk fire away in the Big Kahuna Kite thread up above? Either way, I'll be away (no foolin') for a few days. I'm counting on all of you to come out of the gate roaring!

    March 31, 2005 - 05:46 pm
    Kevin, I think you might like to receive a monthly Book Bytes, an enewsletter. If you are interested send me your email address.

    Kevin Freeman
    March 31, 2005 - 06:48 pm
    Is it any different from the Book Bytes thread? I sometimes peruse that through the window while walking by the noise of the First Page Café. They're on the same block -- past the library, up from the park, across from the bakery.

    I may be new, but I'm not lost (...yet). E-mail away if it's got perks the thread doesn't! I'm all for perks.

    March 31, 2005 - 08:29 pm
    It is the same thing -- but some walk on by without peeking in the window.

    I could email you, but your email is not visible.

    March 31, 2005 - 08:34 pm
    Ah, Pat, I'm not looking for more to read. I always have too much, and my summers are already scheduled for hiking in the Rockies. But I am curious how many folks are multi-book readers, and how those handle it, and how many folks are strictly one-at-a-timers. Sadly, I'm the former, but a slow one. Somehow, I suffer through.

    Yes, Kevin, I counted the pages and figured it, too. It looks like a good book (couldn't resist). I'm for the dictionary--sounds fun.


    March 31, 2005 - 09:16 pm
    I have no idea how many books the avid reader has going, but I do know that I do well, if I can keep one good mystery and abook being discussed here going at the same time.

    Kevin Freeman
    April 1, 2005 - 04:50 am
    Re: Mr. Rembrandt's Pupils... can you discuss a sentence that starts on the bottom of p. 412 but ends on the top of p. 413? In the spirit of it all (in spiritus mirthus), it should be that you can start to comment on the line, but that your commentary must end mid-sentence. This would make posts look like one of those Agatha Christie murder victim's final letters where they...

    Uh. Um. You get the idea (whether you want to or -- more likely -- not).

    I just had a brain low pressure system regarding the doppelganger thread for The Kite Runner. If we are to keep the monster thread already begun, how about at least putting in the header a BIG LINK which says "first April 1st post, beginning of actual book discussion" (or something to that effect) so that newbies can simply click it and "beam me up, Scotty" to the first BOOK post? Well, it's an idea anyway. And the skies (if not the thoughts) are clearing in my brain now, thank you.

    Finally, before I hit the highway for a few days, I notice a few nominations for May in the Worldly header here. I would like to nominate War Trash by Ha Jin (Korea). Also, because I have enough Polish in me to be dangerous (mother's side, small but pushy streak), I'd like to see Olga Tokarczuk's House of Day, House of Night (Poland) again. Campaign motto: "Always bet on the House."

    Can we whip that up, oh Sysops on High?

    Thank you and good day, mates!

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 1, 2005 - 06:11 am
    Kevin, et al: I started to say "I don't mean to be nit-picky, but I am being nit picky, so I won't. Rembrandt is not 700 odd pages of text, there are pictures! Maybe one can get by with reading only the pictures? Let's make the dictionary a contest: the longest sentence created from the words on the page wins? The most coherent sentence? etc. Could be fun.

    April 1, 2005 - 08:02 am
    Thank you all.

    The Page a Day Book Club will not begin till July, and, like other new concepts, it will also be given a little breathing space grace period to see if we want to consider any changes.

    April 1, 2005 - 01:00 pm
    Reading: I go through phases -- sometimes I read one book at a time, sometimes I have 2, 3, or even more going. I'm always in more than one book discussion group however -- there are so many good ones, how can I say no. I admit to getting a little overwhelmed at times though.I've just spent two hours catching up with all the e-mails from being off the computer for a day -- and I haven't even started my Latin (You didn't hear that, Ginny).

    April 1, 2005 - 04:13 pm

    Ah, good point, Kevin, about the stopping in mid-sentence. Very proper. And what about picture pages? If it's worth a thousand words, surely it's worth one day?

    It's hard to defeat the Poles, Kevin.


    April 2, 2005 - 06:48 am
    Uh, Kevin, how did the 'pulleys' wind up in that sentence from the 'id' page? (I'm not nit-picky...I'm just a compulsive proofreader.) Actually, the dictionary sentence challenge sounds like it might be fun.


    April 2, 2005 - 07:48 am
    I love the heading in this discussion. We even have our own passport. Great job Pat.

    Kevin Freeman
    April 2, 2005 - 07:45 pm
    Kleo, BaBi, Mrs. Holmes,

    Thank you for your interest in the page-a-day dictionary challenge. This, of course, is just a lark, only it doesn't have wings and has yet to sing. Lest Ginny peg me as Peck's bad boy, let me stress that the idea was not intended to usurp or compete with the 2-year reverie on Rembrandt (though that's what brought it to mind). Rather, if it ever came to be, it might best be placed in a whole different category, like the "Games & Contest" section -- or whatever you call that area where Mr. Wizard writes silly poetry while everyone throws book titles around with no regard for lamps and other fragile items.

    BaBi -- "idler pulley" is on p. 413 of my Webster's and is defined like so: "noun - a guide or tightening pulley for a belt or chain." The ole compound-word trick would allow page-a-day dictionary folk to "cheat" a bit by using second words not beginning with the same letter as the others on the page. A wrinkle, no? (Not that I want to discuss wrinkles, given the number of times crows have done the Savoy Stomp around my eyes!)

    I see the party's begun without me up in the High Flyer thread. I have to read a few pages yet to reach 109. New to all this book club stuff, I am. Maybe I'm just too slow (having never been a "bluebird" in the reading circles of grade school so many years ago... *sob*).

    April 3, 2005 - 09:02 am
    I hadn't thought of that, Kevin. The compound words would broaden the possibilities, wouldn't they. You're right, of course, that this would be a game and belong in a different category, but if you ever have time to take it up, I'll join you. Hopi hopping dick hopes.


    Kevin Freeman
    April 3, 2005 - 11:11 am
    Great! Greetings!


    Green Mountain Boy

    Kevin Freeman
    April 4, 2005 - 04:55 pm
    Are we supposed to be beating the drum for possible books to be voted on in May? If I'm clueless and this has been addressed, please type: "Kevin, you're clueless and this has been addressed."

    I just thought, if we're voting May 1st for a June 1st start, we should be populating the ballot throughout April.

    April 4, 2005 - 05:07 pm
    I love the Page a Day Dictionary Game idea!! I will take it up with our Books Coordinators and then our Books Discussion Leaders asap, sorry not to have responded before. As some of you know I have been without a phone line, we all have out here in the country since Thursday when lightning fried half the county.

    I love word or literary games, so I would love to see a new one, how clever, Kevin and thank you for that suggestion! Sounds educational, too.

    On the voting thing, we had set the following proposal to Ann, who has left on a trip and who is going to be conducting May balloting here: Jane can correct me if my memory is foggy.

    We had said the week of May 1-7 for suggestions and nominations and then Jane has agreed to do a voting ballot and that will go throughout the second week of May, , leaving the next two weeks to acquire a quorum which may be done in a day and get the book.

    That's the way we now have it set up, I imagine any nominations now will be lost in the shuffle but we can certainly try to keep track of them and put them in the heading here as they come in.

    I sort of forsaw the first week as a time for people to talk about their nominations, etc?

    We need at least 2 weeks to try to get the book.

    How does that sound? Thanks to Jane and Ann for their help with this exciting new discussion.

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 4, 2005 - 06:13 pm
    Well, two weeks may not be long enough to both obtain the book and then read it. I've had my Kite Flyer two weeks and we are almost through the first week of the discussion. I've almost finished it, but this isn't like reading a mystery, it needs thought, reflection, to be absorbed. (I was really peeved to go into B&N over the weekend, they had stacks of Kite Runner!) Buying online does take a while. I guess what I'm saying is that I would like more time than two weeks between the decision and the start of the discussion.

    April 4, 2005 - 06:43 pm
    Well we don't have to do it every other month, we can do what was initially suggested and finish Kite Runner, talk about a new book, not toe to a schedule and then, when we've decided on the ballot and voted, we can take our time? So we could begin June 15 or so on the next one, that would give a month?

    I'm game for anything that does not speed UP any of the processes here, what do the rest of you think?

    I agree that our book discussions need time, reflection, and more, and I'm really thrilled at how well Kite has started out!

    Kevin Freeman
    April 4, 2005 - 07:43 pm
    I see no harm and much benefit to nominating books the last week of April, then voting the first week of May. The quorum will be a done deal around May 7th in that scenario.

    I'm no Watson and nothing's elementary, but I agree with Mrs. Sherlock -- the good people who have signed on to this fledgling effort deserve more than two weeks to track down and read the first installment of the June book. I also don't see what's alarming about moving a vote (not a discussion, just a vote) up one week.

    Being prepared's a good thing! C'mon, now. Let's read and discuss "The Ant and the Grasshopper" again. (I will be discussion leader and the thread shall last one post. Moral of the story? Don't fiddle when the air smells of snow.)

    April 5, 2005 - 02:52 am
    I am glad to see the Books area looks so effortless, that's quite a compliment, thank you. Our Books & Lit effort is actually quite complicated, and requires the collaboration and hard work of quite a few volunteers, some of whom you're not aware of, to put on what you see here. It's definitely an ant hill of major proportions. We, I hope, are all good people here, and work best in collaboration.

    I agree that being prepared is a good thing: we were. In order to accommodate these new requests, I'll notify Ann that we'll be nominating the last week of April, she, of course, as stated, is on vacation, hopefully this will not interfere with her plans. Just in case, till I hear from her, I will plan to do these nominations in April myself, despite my prior commitments. I'll ask Pat to write everybody in this discussion this change, before she leaves, and I'll tell Jane that we need the poll a week early, and hope she can do it then, not sure of her schedule: if she can't, she can't. I'll try to get help here in putting those nominations in the heading, and fixing the current heading, so as to not fall behind.

    This change may cause us some delay in putting up the various nominations into the heading, from time to time, if so, I will need to ask you all to be patient.

    So we'll nominate then the last week of April, starting April 24, and vote the first week of May, and that will give us all 3 weeks to obtain the book. I really did want, personally, as I stated quite early on, my personal desire, was to finish with the Kite experience before nominating again, but am anxious to accommodate the wishes of our participants, if we possibly can.

    Does that sound agreeable? Thank you for your continuing interest!

    Oh, I agree, Andrea (ALF) and failed to say so earlier, Pat has done a super job with the heading here, thank you.

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 5, 2005 - 05:08 am
    Gee, Ginny, I had no idea. It does seem pushy of us to be suggesting that the entire SN Bookie volunteer org drop everything to cater to some spoiled, petulant readers. I withdraw my suggestion. Thank you for the clarification.

    April 5, 2005 - 08:18 am
    So, Ginnny, you're thinking it will be more like 1 1/2 months from the end of one book to the start of discussion on the next? This is about what we have found over a couple of years is necessary in my other on-line book club. That is why we vote for book ahead of time, otherwise we cannot read one a month.

    I have to say, Mrs. Sherlock, most folks who are enthusiastic about something are petulant when denied. I'm willing to settle for whatever is decided. That doesn't mean I wouldn't rather the whole thing be done on my schedule. Who wouldn't want the convenience? It's like the horror expressed by the one boy during the hatchery tour of having to wait a few weeks to have a girl he wanted in Brave New World.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    April 5, 2005 - 11:20 am
    This is an area of the world I have never read any literature about - there are two books with the Phillipins as the location - it was hard finding a book without the backdrop of WWII but these are books I have not read but sound wonderful.

    Dream Jungle by Jessica Hagedorn Bio third novel by Hagedorn, [review] she has received enormous critical acclaim for her edgy, high-energy novels chronicling the clash and embrace of American and Filipino cultures. With Dream Jungle, she breaks through to a new level of narrative daring and has written her most complex and accomplished novel to date.

    Dream Jungle takes off from two seemingly unrelated events-the discovery of a lost Stone Age tribe in a remote mountainous area of the Philippines and the filming of an epic Vietnam War movie in the rain forest. But the "lost tribe" just might be a clever hoax masterminded by a brooding wealthy iconoclast-and the Hollywood movie seems doomed as the cast and crew continue to self-destruct in a cloud of drugs and egos.

    At once a sensual and razor-sharp indictment of colonialism, Dream Jungle evokes the desperate beauty and rank corruption of the Philippines from the height of the Marcos era in the mid-1970s to the end of the twentieth century."


    Magdalena by Bio of Cecilia Manguerra Brainard [review] tells the love story of three generations of women, and how their choices have affected succeeding generations. It seems like an easy read but the story is actually complex; it reminds me of Faulkner. When you read it, it's like peeling layers open, as the truth unfolds. Oh yes, the book is not only about love, but involves family secrets. It's a fascinating read and highly recommend it.

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 5, 2005 - 01:32 pm
    Ouch, Kleo, that pinches!

    April 5, 2005 - 02:18 pm
    Book nominations will begin April 24. Be sure and remember to re-post titles you want considered.

    April 5, 2005 - 04:53 pm

    Lol, sorry, Mrs. Sherlock, I couldn't resist.


    I'm all for a book about the Phillipines, as I've always had plenty of Phillipino neighbors to raise my son on lumpia. However, from past experience I hesitate to read books that no one has read in a book club. How do you know what you are getting into? In my own book club, out of 20 reads, the only bombs were the couple of books selected without anyone having read them. Every other book had been read by at least one person--it turned out to be, also, a sure fire way to get hooked on an author, because we always had someone who knew where to take us from the beginning.

    In here, lack of knowledge has had its drawbacks. For example, Kite Runner is turning out to be interesting, but folks in here apparently didn't realize it was written by an Afghan American in English, in spite of the fact that it is advertised as the first major novel by an Afghan in English! I got the impression from one post that many folks thought we were reading a book translated into English from Pashto.

    Another point, you offer two novels for/about the Phillipines. If you put up both and people just vote by country, the offerings may split the vote. If you put up only one, having read neither, how do you choose?

    Obviously others may not feel the same as I do. And I get the impression that some of the books mentioned so far may not have been read by their nominators. Still, something to consider--how well do we know anything about the book we are nominating?


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    April 5, 2005 - 05:46 pm
    I did not understand that we could only recommend a book for consideration based on if we had read the book or not - Ginny is this a pre-requisite for recommending a book for future discussion?

    Kevin Freeman
    April 5, 2005 - 06:11 pm
    Gosh, I suddenly feel a little... petulant. It's furry and squirms a lot, as you might have guessed. What you might not have guessed is that I've never felt a little petulant before. Probably because it's not the type of thing I do.

    Anyway, as petulants are illegal when shipped without a permit (who knew!), I respectfully withdraw my move-up-the-ballot request and safe-deposit it beside Mrs. Sherlock's.

    Just say no, Ginny! Trust me when I say, I'm used to hearing it, and from many quarters, too (OK, most of them occupied by my wife).

    As Plan A is easier, let's go back to it, then. I'm the last guy who's going to interrupt vacations or pile on already busy schedules (paint me in a corner if you will, but please -- not that one).

    Pat, you're a saint. I appreciate your offer, but we can go back to the May plan, honest. Thanks.

    Over and out and end of subject.

    April 5, 2005 - 08:20 pm

    Barbara: "I did not understand that we could only recommend a book for consideration based on if we had read the book or not..."

    Barbara, I did not say this. In fact, I clearly state that it seems obvious that this is the case with Kite Runner, that it had not been read before it was nominated because a number were surprised that it was written in English.

    What I commented on was my personal experience, in book clubs, with reading books that no one has read before, some of the drawbacks of doing so. Out of some 20 reads, 2 selections were the worst, both books that no one in the club read before.

    I for one, would love people to nominate books they have read. This guarantees one person knowing where the journey will take us, before we start the trek. It's a nice plus, in my opinion.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    April 5, 2005 - 08:22 pm
    Just checking - we have been discussing the requirements of a choice that I need to be sure I have them all down --

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 6, 2005 - 05:21 am
    Kleo, good points you raise. It does make a difference. As I have been researching Bone People online, I find that there are discussions about the religious themes, about the leading character's being asexual (never though about that for a theme) so I will read it first. What qualities do I look for? Kite Runner has lived up to its promise, made the richer by the complexities which we have shared here. One comment, "stone-age culture" has opened so many avenues in my mind. I would never, on my own, have felt the frisson reading it gave me. I could see the same stick "charge account" being scorned by a Roman Centurion, and the whole world-wide conflict with the Muslim culture has become something more profound than a religious war.

    April 6, 2005 - 05:46 am
    I'm so glad to see this lively, intelligent, literary debate, something that the heart longs for. I'm so delighted we can offer this on SeniorNet.

    Not to worry, certainly nobody thinks of anybody as petulant or anything else negative, express your opinions, that's why we're here, we'll all learn from each other.

    I'm not sure, Kleo, on the month and a half thing, at present we finish April 30 with Kite and begin June 1, so in actuality it looks like one month, not counting, of course, all the voting and reading different ones in between, or I may not understand the reality of the question? I do like a period between books, tho.

    I do think it makes a difference if the person nominating has read the book, but I don't think we can require that here for several reasons, and I bet you can help me think of more. Right off the bat, I'd say this is a new and largely unknown genre, to me, and to most of us, that's why we wanted to do it: I know nothing about it so have to try to vote on what your comments and our discussions here and reviews seem to indicate. Flying blind here and I like that feeling too: learn new things, experience new worlds thru new voices! Love it!

    Bring them on!

    Traude S
    April 6, 2005 - 07:06 pm
    GINNY, as I've said before- and more than once-, it is my personal preference NOT to recommend a book - nor to lead a discussion about a book unless I have read it. That is strictly my prerogative and not the norm.

    Our new venture here (which is beginning to sound a bit complicated, if I may say) will lead us literally on to new territory and, again speaking for myself only, I believe it would be a good idea to learn more about a suggested book than its title and the name of the author, of whom we may not have heard, before we vote.

    I am all for being adventurous, but when the subject matter, the plot and/or the protagonists involve a foreign culture radically different from Western thought and life, or are complex - as is true for The Kite Runner - we could become overburdened with a massive volume of researched material and might run the risk of losing sight of the core, the essence of a story, or its (possible) message.

    Isn't the pre-discussion warm-up the time to talk about a book in general terms and to contribute ancillary material, if we so choose?

    Lastly, might it be simpler to draw up a new list with several suggested/projected titles, countries, authors for the coming months so that we don't have to go through this agonizing period every single time?

    P.S. Have you heard about the brand new book Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (made in Japan, raised in Britain and famous for The Remains of the Day?) You led a memorable discussion of that one.

    April 6, 2005 - 07:29 pm

    Traude: "I am all for being adventurous, but when the subject matter, the plot and/or the protagonists involve a foreign culture radically different from Western thought and life, or are complex - as is true for The Kite Runner - we could become over burdened with a massive volume of researched material and might run the risk of losing sight of the core, the essence of a story, or its (possible) message."

    I think the background for The Kite Runner was overwhelming, in spite of how much I contributed to it. I know, while reading later chapters there is so much more I could add, literally volumes, for every sentence the author writes. It's not necessary though, and the writer omitted all of this because it would distract from "the essence of [the] story." Yes, folks can pick and choose, not just what to read, but whether to participate in the prediscussion. However, ultimately, this is a "predictable," as Marnie called it, coming of age story. I know some folks are reading to learn about Afghanistan. This is obviously different for me. I may see other stories from less familiar places around the world in a different light, with regards to background.

    Yes, I won't seriously nominate anything I haven't read. On the other hand, I like the choices in here, SeniorNet in general, that its members come up with, and may opt not to nominate even books I have read.

    I see now, for example, while reading later into Kite Runner how little of the background was necessary for discussing the book, and that certain other types of background were more necessary in greater detail. For example, Amir talks about being a Pashtun and the Pashtun way, but, in fact, this book is culturally Afghan, not Pashtun. Given the opportunity to elaborate on the Pashtun aspects of Afghan culture, Hosseini declines. The details about the different ethnicities in Afghanistan were not really necessary--it is like any country with a caste-based society. If I had read the book before the discussion I would have seen this. Only after reading the middle section do I see this. This is about book selecting with knowledge, not about Kite Runner.


    Mrs Sherlock
    April 7, 2005 - 05:18 am
    I agree that knowledge, however slight, is better. As I learn more about Bone People I suspect that it, also, is a coming-of-age (COA) story, and at first I was turned off. However, COA stories are about coming to terms with the roles society expects us to fill as adults, and the passage is always torturous and twisted, for the expectations of children about the role of adults rarely has much dimension beyond being in charge of our destinies. So I expect that we will be seeing COAs nominated often.

    April 7, 2005 - 11:56 am
    Like Traude, I prefer to recommend a book I've read. How embarassed I would be if I recommended a book on hearsay, and it turned out to be a full-gauge bore! Just a personal preference, as Traude says.


    April 7, 2005 - 02:38 pm

    I suspect you are right, Mrs. Sherlock, that there will be a lot of COA stories offered. It is a popular genre for book clubs, lately, and on the best seller lists. It's a good way to hook beginners, also, into book clubs, as they are easy to diagnose and dissect. I think, however, it is a mistake to stay too much in any one genre, but especially in COA stories, for such a sophisticated and diverse group of readers as SeniorNet.

    Today, I got a book that I had ordered many months ago, Islands by Dan Sleigh, just recently translated into English from Afrikaans by Andre Brink. It does not pull so obviously on my heartstrings the way Kite Runner, a book I am enjoying, does. It makes me think of hundreds and thousands of years of human existence. It makes me want to seek the roots of civilization in archaeological digs in the Fertile Crescent while questioning its meaning. All this while reading the first few pages in the bookstore.

    I've already come of age. I want adult protagonists, themes, plots. I want to learn about the expectations of adults for society and culture, how and why we shape the world we live in. I'm not seeking my inner child. I want to feed my adult soul, my intellect.


    Islands by Dan Sleigh

    April 7, 2005 - 02:40 pm

    Ah, Babi, if you offer a book you have not read and it turns out to be a bore, that's life.

    I think the dreadful books we read in my other club were possibly both my selections. On the other hand, my favorite book that we read was something I had never read. Win some, lose some.


    Mrs Sherlock
    April 7, 2005 - 03:08 pm
    I agree that we want variety. I was merely musing that COAs are likely to be encountered frequently in this "genre". Islands sound like something I would like to read. Afrikaans, hmmmmm.

    Traude S
    April 7, 2005 - 04:19 pm
    Since I may have missed prior information I did some checking of the two suggestions of to be voted on. The Bone People received the Booker Prize in 1985, I found. It would interest me. "Out" is a mystery published in 2003.

    Traude S
    April 7, 2005 - 04:29 pm
    Mr. SHERLOCK, Africaans is one of the eleven official languages spoken in South Africa, originally settled by the Dutch, later a Dominion of the British Empire.

    The book KLEO mentioned is availabale in an English translation.

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 8, 2005 - 04:51 am
    Because of the political situation which prevailed for so long in South Africa, I know little about the country and its people. I was not commenting on the language but the culture.

    Traude S
    April 8, 2005 - 08:48 am
    Mrs. SHERLOCK,

    In September 03 we read and discussed Disgrace by South African author J.M. Coetze here. The discussion is in our Archives, in case you want to take a look.

    The author was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature that year. He has since left South Africa and lives in Australia.

    The book is about post-Apartheid South Africa, ongoing racial strife in the midst of chaos and violence; not an easy read. We were privileged to have a South African woman as a contributing respondent.

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 8, 2005 - 10:28 am
    I am so sorry that I was on hiatus from SeniorNet then. Thanks for the info, I'll check it out.

    April 8, 2005 - 01:10 pm

    Yes, Traude, thanks for mentioning the Coetze novel. It sounds like it is about something that has arisen sideways in the Kite Runner discussion, the man who feels out of place in the modern world.

    Yes, Mrs. Sherlock, I caught you were just commenting on the language, not asking about it. I am reading it in translation, by the way. A Dutch woman told me about the author and the book. It is about the Dutch settling of South Africa in the late 18th century, something I know nothing about.


    Mrs Sherlock
    April 8, 2005 - 03:30 pm
    That's one for my list. I was interested in when I first heard about it, but these things get lost in my brain if I don't write them down, I hope it is in paperback.

    Traude S
    April 9, 2005 - 06:17 pm
    KLEO, "... a man out of place in the modern world..." is not exactly how I would summarize Disgrace by Nobel Prize Winner Coetze.

    Above all the book about the personal disgrace (hence the title) of one man approximately ten years after Apartheid ended in South Africa, about suffering, penance, atonement and about that man's life thereafter. In fact, a man much like the author himself, who no longer lives there, as I've already said.

    Our live book group had already read the book and I took the liberty of cautioning LORRIE. But she was intent on doing the discussion, so I volunteered to co-lead.

    As we went along with the assigned chapters, LORRIE became increasingly disconcerted by the violence and graphic description. By then she was gravely ill but had hidden the severity of her condition from all of us in the Books. We lost her not long afterward.

    On the other hand, Islands by Dan Sleigh, to which you have referred, appears to go back several centuries in history, to the arrival of the Dutch settlers.

    April 9, 2005 - 06:42 pm

    Ah, Traude, I got this from the Barnes and Noble review, it made it sound interesting to me:

    "As with all of Coetzee's work, the new South Africa is a looming presence, both literally, as the story's setting, and thematically, as its characters struggle to adapt to a culture that has been remade, often violently, from the bottom up. And while Disgrace offers a lot on the larger themes of power, redistribution, reformation, forgiveness, and more, it is at heart a finely tuned and often bleak portrayal of one man who realizes that he has become outmoded and outdated."

    You would say this is inaccurate? This is what intrigued me about the book.

    The violence, when done for reason, does not dissuade me from reading, as I read personal journals of Africa from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century and some African histories, not systematically, but routinely enough for for almost 40 years.

    When my book club read Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls the violence was generally too much for most of the members. After this experience I can see the reason in attempting to dissuade someone from reading a book of this nature.


    Traude S
    April 9, 2005 - 07:50 pm
    KLEO, I said that I would not have put it precisely the way BN did. That was my opinion, my impression.

    It emphatically does not mean anyone who interprets any book differently from me is "inaccurate". Thank you.

    April 10, 2005 - 11:43 am

    Egads, Traude! I never said anything about anyone interpreting a book differently from you being inaccurate. I don't see how you can possibly get that from what I posted: "You would say this is inaccurate?"

    I was asking your opinion of the accuracy of the review from which I had gotten my original post.

    I know nothing about the BN reviewers. It is clear sometimes that the reviewer has not read the book or is not a good reader. I know that you read well and have read the book from my experience with you in here. It is quite reasonable to ask you to comment on a review that led me to think one thing about the book which you put as not quite how you would summarize it. I was very disappointed that the book was not really about a big man out of place in the world as the review so strongly suggested--what made me, after reading your post, want to jump up and buy and read the book right now, in fact.


    Mrs Sherlock
    April 11, 2005 - 06:46 am
    There is an interview with Ha Jin in the magazine secrtion of Sunday's NY Times. His novel, War Trash, has been mentioned here for conideration. It recently won the PEN-Faulkner award. The theme, how Chinese POWs were treated by Americans in the Korean War, is certainly provacative and timely in light of Abu Graib.

    Traude S
    April 11, 2005 - 08:04 pm
    Mrs. SHERLOCK, I saw the interview with Ha Jin in the NYT Sunday magazine. Deborah Solomon is a very good interviewer always, and the author gave good answers.

    I was deeply moved by his novel Waiting but the local live book group was not quite as sensitive to the plight of the man and the two women during the eternity of waiting.

    The reviews of War Trash were very good, but I would rather not read about wars anywhere at this time.

    I do have the highest admiration for the author and his mastery of the English language.

    April 12, 2005 - 02:55 pm
    were you the one who suggested the selection process that was used at a Yahoo book discussion? Anyway, someone said that first they chose the country and then considered books from that country.

    Why not go with that easy way of choosing?

    Posters could take turns selecting a country and then everyone make book suggestions, with a reason why the book is worthy, instead of the current complex maze of choosing.

    Way too many rules otherwise, quite discouraging, and aren't we sick of rules by our stage in life? It takes the fun out of things and becomes tedious work rather than the play it ought to be.


    Traude S
    April 12, 2005 - 06:43 pm
    MARVELLE, I couldn't agree more with your post.

    While I'm here I'd like to say that I emphatically agree with what you said about Saturday in the Café and will mention it there also when I visit tomorrow.

    Thank you.

    April 12, 2005 - 07:51 pm
    Oh, no, Marvelle, I don't think I said that. But, I love the idea, start with where we want to go, then go there and find a book. Especially if we are nominating books we have not read it sounds like a fun way to do it without the worry of a poor selection--we still learn about the country. Someone suggested, for example, getting as far from Afghanistan culturally as possible. I think picking the country might be the easy way to do it.


    Kevin Freeman
    April 13, 2005 - 02:57 am
    Good morning, all. I dislike the country first idea as it will restrict us, tie us in knots, and throw us in fits.

    Let's say we choose Latvia. Gentlemen (and ladies), start your engines -- and Godspeed to the one who finds quality NEW writers from Latvia (no, not dime-novel Latvians bringing home the bacon and vodka, but contemporary Latvians writing quality, literary fiction).

    How many countries in the world would be eliminated (for lack of books and writers) by this move? The vast majority. And then this club looks like the UN Security Council -- pretty much reading the big boys only. At least if we had no restrictions by country and I saw a Latvian book on, say, the IMPAC long list, I could nominate it and folks here might take a shining to it. Score one for the little guy in Latvia, then! Otherwise, forget it's even on the map.

    It'd be one thing to go by continent. At least then nominators would have a fighting chance to promote books from little-known countries with a small pool of authors-in-translation. But even then, you'd have some weird eliminations. Is Afghanistan part of Asia? Then that would eliminate Korea and Japan from the next month's pick... and yet they seem, both culturally and geographically, to be as different as asparagus and pineapple, as rugby and button-collecting, as Bud Lite and Guinness.

    The world is our candy store. Why close it and be forced to choose from a few hawkers on the sidewalk?

    Or so I'm humbly thinking.

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 13, 2005 - 05:10 am
    Kevin, I agree that book should come first. Didn't we vote on this? Reading the long lists of the IMPAC nominees I find so many I want to read, and that's not counting the authors whose names look like English speakers. There used to be a Pegasus Prize for Literature, sponsored by Mobil Oil. The Bone People won in 1984 and that is how I learned of it. It seems to have gone away. The way Bone People was chosen was: the Maori culture was chosen, then a panel of New Zealand professors, etc., was appointed, and they reviewed all the Maori literature before they chose this first novel. I've been trying to research other winners, but the links are few.

    April 13, 2005 - 06:58 am
    Jackie: Yes, those who were interested did vote on the guidelines to be used, at least here in the beginning, for selection of the next book.

    Here is a link to those results; I'll put it in the header again, too, for those who wish to check from time to time.

    Read around the World Guidelines Survey Results


    Mrs Sherlock
    April 13, 2005 - 10:24 am
    Thanks, Jane. Our first book has been so successful that it will not be easy to choose a second book of equal merit. Bone People has arrived and I will report more later as I read it. It promises to be provocative.

    Traude S
    April 13, 2005 - 02:17 pm
    KEVIN, I know you mentioned Latvia only as an example. But there IS a fairly recent book about Latvia by a Latvian author:

    Woman in Amber: Healing the Trauma of War and Exile by Agate Nesaule, 1995.

    I believe it is out of print, and that ought to tell us something about reader interest in the subject matter, or the lack thereof. But might that not apply to other small countries we haven't heard of?

    How much more complicated are we going to make this?
    What is stopping us from compiling a new list?
    Is it a question of who is going to prevail?
    Heaven help us!

    April 13, 2005 - 02:29 pm
    Since we went to the trouble here to take a vote and to allow all our participants to have their say, and you can see the results of that vote in the heading, we're all systems go for our June book, and will, as the heading states, begin taking nominations on April 24.

    That's easy?

    Traude, it will BE a new list? We have said that several times here.

    If anybody needs to refresh their memories about what we did decide Jane has put the link in the heading to our results.

    I expect we'll discuss the candidates for about a week from April 24, so the floor is about to open for those nominees.

    April 13, 2005 - 03:10 pm
    Please, people, keep some notes on what you want to nominate. Come April 24, I'll be glad to start adding them to the header. I'll continue to do that through the end of the day on April 30. I'll ask you do it by midnight PDT. I have a house full of company that weekend, but I'll do my best to get the poll up on Sunday May 1. It may be afternoon before I can do it, but you'll then have until May 7 midnight PDT to vote. On May 8 I will announce the results. We'll then get a proposed out if there's a definite winner. That will be out until the discussion begins on June 1. If there's a tie, we'll do a run-off and then whatever wins will have a proposed put out and that discussion will begin on June 1.

    I know you're very enthusiastic and anxious to get a new book chosen, but please understand we all here are volunteers and have lives outside SeniorNet too, and do the best we can with the time available online.


    April 13, 2005 - 04:40 pm
    Oh well. I hoped for something simple without the many rules and I apologize because I hadn't realized the rules were so firmly set and insisted upon.

    One country would be more direct when searching for a good book and, despite what Kevin or others may think, every country has fine authors and are easy to find. I know for I've lived in many countries over the years.

    I'll bow out as others have done. This doesn't mean that there won't be some nice discussions here but it just isn't for us.


    Mrs Sherlock
    April 13, 2005 - 05:18 pm
    What a shame! I wonder what we and they will be missing.

    Kevin Freeman
    April 14, 2005 - 02:58 am
    Birthing pains, I guess they're called. It's not easy getting something off the ground (ask the Wright brothers, who some called Wrong.) You look for all the support and positive vibes you can get, but you understand that it's not easy and that everyone can't agree -- especially at the start of something -- so you focus on the support where it exists and make the best of things as you can. (Hope you took a deep breath before starting that sentence!)

    April 15, 2005 - 12:18 pm
    I agree with you. I'm also happy to find you, and all others, since I lost track of this board. Ah ha, you were posting all along, but I was the one lost in cyber-space.
    I'm glad to see someone besides myself wanting to choose author first, and country second. I read omnivorously, and I seldom worry about the author's country of origin.

    Do I understand that we are not supposed to nominate yet?
    But I'd like to post a suggestion to see if others like this author.
    May I do that without putting anyone out?
    Here goes: Colleen McCullough's marvelous book on early settlers of Australia: Morgan's Run.
    Does anyone have an opinion on this?

    Kevin Freeman
    April 15, 2005 - 12:31 pm
    Hi Mippy. Glad the lost is found. (I've been to Lost more than a few times myself. It's in Boston somewhere on a one-way street.)

    Anyway, I, too, have made a couple of nominations. I think Jane/Pat/Ginny are just asking that we mark our posts in memory (or, in my case, on paper where it's safer) and reiterate them come 24 April when vacationing volunteers are around to build the ballot.

    No problemo, as they say in Naples.

    The March 27 New York Times Book Review wrote up a feature on six outstanding new books in translation. The link is here.

    Speaking of the NY TIMES BOOK REVIEW, Christopher Booker wrote this article arguing there are only SEVEN plots in all of literature (I've provided the link so you don't have to arche-type it down).

    7's a magic number, but do you buy this? Hmn. Groceries for thought, isn't it?

    April 15, 2005 - 01:05 pm
    Well, I kept track of the vote, but did never see the final guidelines post. So, it's majority rules, I assume? That means we decided:

    1. We want guidelines.

    2. We'll call ourselves read around the world.

    3. Books don't have to be limited to a certain time period.

    4. (moot by 3)

    5. Countries may be used only once a year.

    6. We don't care if the author was born in that country,

    7. (moot by 6)

    8. but he/she should have lived there for an extended period or be a recent expatriate.

    9. Awards (IMPAC) don't matter.

    10. It doesn't have to be fiction.

    Someone asked about picking a country first, or just by authors, but this doesn't seem to be covered by the guidelines, if these, indeed, are the guidelines. I think it was just a discussion point, anyway. And, in fact, while birthing pains are going on is a nice time to find all sorts of ways to get through them, rather than just grit and bear it.

    I can't agree, particularly as nonfiction is part of the list, that picking a country first would lead to a scramble for authors, though--there are plenty of anthologies on literature, or histories, or biographies about famous folks. Certainly, if we wanted to go to a particular country we could find a book.

    And, I think moving from continent to continent would not either be a hindrance, as it is only one book at a time being picked, moving from Asia to Africa would be more different than otherwise. The Hazara, by the way, as descendents of Genghis Khan are related to the Koreans. So, Afghanistan has a big chunk of Asia in it.

    It's still fun, to me, to debate the possibilities when starting a new venture.


    PS Women in Amber is on the shelf at my local BN.

    Kevin Freeman
    April 15, 2005 - 04:46 pm
    Certainly, if we wanted to go to a particular country we could find a book.

    True. But unless we stick with populated or highly literate countries, it might be the equivalent of The Bridges of Madison County, Senegal or something.

    And, I think moving from continent to continent would not either be a hindrance, as it is only one book at a time being picked, moving from Asia to Africa would be more different than otherwise.

    Yes, the continent-to-continent idea is interesting and has merits and drawbacks. The chief merit is variety while retaining a wide array of quality choices (think Europe, Asia, South America, Africa!). The chief drawback is the low number of choice in continents harboring few countries.

    The continent of North America, for instance, would leave us with a choice of Canada only, as the US is off the list (this being a World Lit. Reading Group). Does anyone know if Central America is considered South America or Norte?

    And the continent of Australia would leave us with a choice of only Australia (and New Zealand?). Actually, don't we have a New Zealand poster here? I'm not sure if "Oceania" and New Zealand are considered a part of the Australian "continent."

    Is there a geographer in the house? (Heck with the doctors!)

    Count me in as an avid watcher when Antarctica's turn comes up! Don't give me the cold shoulder, now. Pony up with the long list, the long as a frozen stalagtite (stalagmite?) list! I'm sure it'd be real nICE. (Kidding, kidding.)

    Working six continents would give you two choices per continent per reading year. And when the odd Ice Station Zebra wins an IMPAC award out of Antarctica, we'd have a baker's dozen (a reader's dozen?).

    Being realistic, what's going to happen will probably please the countryphile posters as much as the bibliophile posters. By that I mean a consensus will build (or shall we say, an advantage will build) for a country far away geographically and culturally from the one just read and discussed anyway. This means, each ballot (which is unlimited in number of choices) will feature books from all over the world, but ones in certain areas of the world -- even ones from certain countries at times -- will look more attractive due to the timing and the predecessor.

    It's similar to presidential candidates in their choosing of veeps. There's a natural tendency to "balance" the ticket (think Massachusetts/JFK plus Texas/LBJ), just as here there will be an inclination to explore other continents right after we've finished a book from overseas (or hill, or dale, or head).

    Still, exceptions may happen, I suppose. To me as a lone-wolf voter, the bottom line would be subject matter, reviews, awards, and writer reputation in his or her own country. This is what made Olga Tokarczuk of Poland such an attractive choice to me on Ballot #1 (and maybe on #2 she'll have the Pole position as well). She's highly regarded by your average lover of literature in Krakow, while she's Greek to Americans (yes, even with a name like Olga).

    I guess what I'm saying is I think there's much ado here and, over time, posters are going to get their passports punched by customs officers speaking just the language they'd hoped ANYway.

    Optimism, thy name is Kevin.

    P.S. I checked out Traude's find on (yes, I pulled it out of my Baltic hat!) Latvia's Women in Amber. It appears to share similarities with The Kite Runner in that it begins in the author's native country, then follows its hero(ine) to America, providing the immigrant angle. The author teaches at the University of Wisconsin (in Madison -- where they make bridges, they say).

    April 15, 2005 - 05:45 pm
    Lol, Kevin, always fun to read your messages.

    What if any country would you consider lowly literate?! The Baltics have high tradition of 20th century women's literature, just in case you want to visit one of Latvia's neighbors. Just because it ain't translated into English don't mean it ain't literature!

    Geography depends upon what you're discussing, physical, political, historical geography? Most geographers (I work with 'em) consider North America to begin where it geologically begins, just one foot north of the Isthmus of Panama.

    South American geographers, by the way, don't differentiate North and South America, but often refer to it as one continent. If they group Central America, they group it with Mexico and South America in Latin America. Not all hard and fast, just generalities in my experience.

    Antarctica will require a stretch. But I'm willing to stretch it to Shackleton. South is one heck of a good read. And if ever there were a man who was a resident of that continent...

    Only one of the islands of New Zealand is continentally Australia, by the way.

    Some of Oceania is continental, other parts are not.


    Kevin Freeman
    April 15, 2005 - 06:12 pm
    Yeah, yeah. All my islands are in a stream, all right. "Come in with your palm trees up!" the water's always yelling at them.

    Do you like the Hemingway book of that title? I always loved the first section of it especially.

    Thanks for the geography lesson. It's true that Americanos are horrendous at the topic, though I work hard at it (every other Leap Year, anyway). In any event, this club can only raise all of our geographic IQs, right? It'll be the first raise I've had in years.

    Just because it ain't translated into English don't mean it ain't literature!

    I couldn't agree more! Well, I could, but not tonight. Anyway, I wasn't picking on Latvia, I was thinking more of third-world countries where poverty levels force people to think more of living day-to-day than of writing that novel they always wanted to write. I suppose if I did a Google search on impoverished countries, I could list some of the countries I had in mind (which is not to say that an out-of-the-blue title from these same countries can't suddenly surface on an IMPAC list or something... one reason why I favor the "Olde Candy Store" approach to nominating).

    Another example might be countries where the oral tradition is still bigger than the written one (you know, countries like Congress).

    I've read Endurance by Alfred Lansing (about Shackleton), but not... South. OK. Though I've listened hard enough, I've never even heard of South -- unless you mean where my parents up and moved, or you mean
    "... Will rise again!"

    Kathy Hill
    April 16, 2005 - 12:45 am
    Kevin - give _Shackleton's Forgotten Men_ a try. It is even more of a heart stopper than _Endurance_.


    Kevin Freeman
    April 16, 2005 - 03:23 am
    Thanks for the rec, Kathy. It's funny how Shackleton has become quite the cult hero over time. Or maybe we should say he's more appreciated. My college roommate was always very big on two men I had never heard of -- Shackleton and John Muir. In time I would come to know and appreciate both.

    And as you've probably deduced, my roommate was big on the outdoors -- hiking in particular. Still is. And now his kids are. To his credit he has walked the entire Appalachian Trail (multiple times), the Continental Divide, and the Pacific Crest. I think he hit the Andes in So. America (Continents for $500, Alex) as well, but I don't know if he went from top to bottom (or bottom to top). Machu Picchu, but that'd be quite a hike!

    April 16, 2005 - 08:39 am

    South, of course, is Shackleton's book. My Grandfather was an Arctic explorer, so I read all the books in the house about Arctic and Antarctic exploration at a very young age--we had dozens of them. I got my first John Muir book as a present when I was about 8. Shackleton is my mother's favorite book so we all wanted to read about him, after reading my Grandfather's book. These were Big Men--although generally from another century, as my Grandfather died long before I was born. Oh, unlike Shackleton and some of the better known Antarctic explorers my Grandfather could drive a dog sled, a reindeer sled, a horse sled, and ski--it made his trek much easier.

    When I was taking a botany course we visited the Jepson Herbarium during one of our lab sessions. The lab was at night, we could not have been more bored at looking at herbarium sheets when the TA got rather irritated at us, pulled one more herbarium sheet out of the files and stood a few feet away taunting us. "Well, you all look so tired you probably don't have time to look at this Aster collected by John Muir." This brought us back to her world, instantly.

    Kevin--Afghanistan is a desperately poor, largely illiterate Third World nation. It is one of the poorest nations on the planets, with one of the highest death-in-childbirth rates in the world through all of the practice of demographics.


    Kevin Freeman
    April 16, 2005 - 03:48 pm

    That's quite impressive about your grandfather. Talk about giants in the cast of Shackleton, Hillary, and Muir! It reminds you how only some are lucky enough to become famous. Fortune's fortunates, they are, while so many others (like your grandfather) worked as hard or harder at their vocation (avocation?).

    Around three summer's ago, we boated out to Eagle Island (scroll down for many photos from a site I found through Google) and saw Admiral Peary's home. I could live on an island (or be a lightkeeper) ANY day of the week. I do "alone" very well (though I don't like being lonely, I do like being alone).

    Kevin--Afghanistan is a desperately poor, largely illiterate Third World nation. It is one of the poorest nations on the planets, with one of the highest death-in-childbirth rates in the world through all of the practice of demographics.

    Sadly true. And just when it looked like that country might benefit from American "re-building" funds, most of it was suddenly diverted to Iraq for the more-important (in someone-whose-name-shall-not-be-mentioned's eyes) "war" funds.

    I don't know how many books in the category of literary fiction you could get on an Afghani-author-only ballot for this club (say, if it deliberately chose Afghanistan on the Risk board). Hosseini, of course, is Afghani-American, and had the benefit of writing in an American culture as an American.

    Still, notice how often writers and literature of the past are mentioned by Hosseini in The Kite Flyer! Hassan names his son after a literary character (whose name I have forgotten). And Rumi is alluded to (though Rumi, I don't think, was Afghani... Persian, maybe?). But many countries that are today impoverished were in olden days rich and prosperous.

    April 16, 2005 - 04:45 pm
    Interesting conversation here!

    Mippy, thank you, Colleen McCullough is quite a scholar, I don't think people realize that, I hope we will want to talk about the books nominated, starting April 24. I am seeing a lot of interesting books, I think this will be a super election, and I'm looking forward as much to the various debates and descriptions of the candidates as I am to reading the actual winner.

    Kathy, I had not heard of that book and unfortunately I have not read South, tho my BIL gave it to my husband for Christmas a few years ago, all this talk about the subject is making me want to read further. Is that a new book?

    Kevin thank you for that link to the NY Times article on the new books in translation, I printed it out and want to read it, and it's the Sunday Times Book Review!! We get the NY Times on Sunday, but I missed that one and have enjoyed the article a lot.

    I think the 7 plots idea is quite interesting, I'd like to discuss it sometime, and compare books. I've printed it out also, reminds me of that How to Read Literature Like a Professor which says essentially the same thing, I'd like to, it might be fun to fool with that. Thank you.

    Kleo how fascinating, your grandfather was an Arctic explorer! I have not read a lot about the Antarctic. I have Elspeth Huxley's book on Scott and how he did not make the Pole, actually, which when she wrote it was close to heresy, but have not read it; and now I believe there is recent scholarship or research that says the same thing, not sure.

    One year while traveling in England we went out to Greenwich and the Naval Observatory, and they had this huge display of the clothing and artifacts and equipment of the early arctic explorers. Just an entire room full, it was just fascinating.

    I think it was just after Mallory's body was found on Mt. Everest which I also found fascinating. The photos were unreal. I don't see how any of them ever went one foot in the cold! They were dressed in wool and hounds tooth jackets, had the real clothes there, and knickers (and had photos shown of this) and socks standing out in the ice and I don't see how any of them survived. When Mallory was found he had only had on a thin coat it's amazing, just a mind blowing exhibibt.

    There apparently is a new book out about finding Mallory called The Lost Explorer : Finding Mallory On Mount Everest by Conrad Anker, and David Roberts. I'd like to read that.

    We read Jon Krakauer's account of the climb up Mt. Everest, which of course is not Antarctica but it's cold anyway, and then Boukreev's account of the same trip, what a disaster that was. It's a fascinating topic. In our city one of the veterinarians here is always a contender in the Iditarod, I have no understanding of how anybody can stand that COLD!

    The books listed in Kevin's article are quite interesting in the countries they represent: China: The Noodle Maker which looks absolutely fabulous; Cuba, in Tropical Animal, which is part of a series; Chile, in A Distant Star; Budapest in The Swimmer; the Ukraine in The Year is '42; and I'm not sure what country The Bride of Odessa is about, from the description. Wow we can really stamp our passports with those, this is getting kind of exciting, actually! I'm going to see if I can find the Noodle Maker on Monday, just for the heck of it, I have heard a lot about it.

    April 16, 2005 - 04:57 pm
    Oh and look at this! I read down to the bottom of that article and found this, apparently I'm not the only one who wonders how they did it:

    From the article above:

    Haute (or at least warm) couture for Everest

    What is remarkable about Mallory is the clothes he wore, and what was top of the line mountaineering gear in 1924. Certainly it was Mallory’s clothes that tipped the Chinese mountaineer off to the fact that he had found a very old body indeed. All the fabrics used for Mallory’s clothes were natural - mostly wool. The jackets were canvas with wax rubbed in for waterproofing and the coats underneath were tweed. The boots were leather, with nails driven through the soles to serve as crampons.

    Compare that with what Mountain Equipment Co-op in Toronto recommends for those wishing to tackle Everest today. According to one of their customer service department reps, prospective mountaineers today start with three or four layers of long underwear, made of polyester or fleece. The snowsuit is a one-piece, down-filled Gortex number, available in bright colours such as red or yellow. While these colours are certainly chic, they are also useful in case you are swept away in an avalanche. That said, it must also be added that white is not a good colour for a snowsuit. The boots are plastic doubleboots with crampons, and two to three pairs of wool socks are recommended to go with them. When the temperature on Everest gets to be around –100 degrees Celcius, climbers don balaclavas and goggles to prevent frostbite marring their visage. This ensemble is available for around $2000.

    Kathy Hill
    April 16, 2005 - 06:02 pm
    No, Ginny, the book is not a new one, but has taken a back seat to _Endurance_ and yet the story is every bit as incredible. This was the team of men who sailed forth on another boat sans Shackleton. Their job was to make port on the other side of the Antarctic continent and then go across the icepack caching food for Shackleton up to the South Pole. Shackleton was then to strike out for the South Pole from the other side. As history tells, that fateful voyage went awry. However the tale of this other group of men is something else bound together with following their captain's orders, be it Shackleton. Bickel is the author. He, also, wrote another great cold history, _Manson's Will_.

    I really like the writings from Antartic. These were hearty, hearty men. A number of young people from my community have or are working on that continent. One has visited Shackleton's "shack" a number of times. It is just like he left it, she has told me.


    April 17, 2005 - 11:45 am

    My grandfather wasn't primarily an explorer like Shackleton and Perry and Amundsen. He is still quoted as the 20th century's leading expert in his field in everything written about it to this day. While not exactly famous, he hasn't been overlooked at all.

    Love the photos of Eagle Island and Perry's home! I came across this photo while looking for a picture of Antarctica a while ago on the Internet. I knew instantly from the thumbnail, without a caption, that it could only be the grave of one man. It is a picture worth a moment of silence:

    Shackleton's Grave on South Georgia Island

    Yes, the clothes they wore were amazing! I have read all the books on Everest, Ginny, and follow the climbing season every May.

    Afghanistan is still today a place where Afghans in America can safely go to visit family when they could only have sneaked across borders under the Taliban. War is terrible. So is terror. Rebuilding Afghanistan is not so costly as the War in Iraq--the latter cannot possibly be funded by the costs of the former. The differential is far too great. Afghanistan is still a Third World nation. You can't storm a castle by transferring funds from rebuilding a shack.

    Afghanis are the monetary unit of Afghanistan--it would be like calling American dollars. Afghans are Afghans.

    Rumi is a Persian who was born in what today is Afghanistan. He's a Sufi mystic. Sufi is Muslim Kabalah, sorta. Afghans consider Rumi and Afghan, Iranians consider him a Persian. Except, I suppose, Afghans and Iranians who don't agree with Sufiism--those Afghans consider Rumi a Persian, and those Iranians probably consider him an Afghan.

    Bride of Odessa would be about the Ukraine, wouldn't it?


    April 17, 2005 - 11:55 am

    South also contains the story of both rescue missions.

    One of my all time favorite quotes of the 20th century is this, the first question Shackleton puts after he arrives at the whaling station on South Georgia Island:

    “Tell me, when was the war over?” [Shackleton] asked.

    “The war is not over,” [Mr. Sorlle] answered. “Millions are being killed. Europe is mad. The world is mad.”

    Never was there a better connection between the name of a ship and a man onboard.


    April 17, 2005 - 01:40 pm
    KEVIN, you forgot Mexico as a North American country. Lots of books available from there. But derned if I have any idea how to classify the countries of Central America. It's not a separate continent, obviusly, but it is a distinct entity. Anybody know of authors from Honduras, Guatemala, etc.?

    Just waiting for the 24th. I'm nominating a Spaniard with a book someone recommended here before. I read it, and I agree its well worth our interest. Won't mention the title until the big day!


    Kevin Freeman
    April 17, 2005 - 05:07 pm
    GINNY - Let us know about those Noodles you sample (or their Maker, who must've made pasta on the Fourth Day, Wednesday being Prince Spaghetti Day). Short stories that are linked with common characters and themes puts in mind Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. Remember that? And I can't think of a better purpose for this book group than to seek out the everyday men and women in their small little "Winesburgs" the world over. Winesburg, the World. Yeah. That's it. Write down the zip code.

    KLEO -- Mea culpa on the Afghan/Afghani thing. In fact, I had it right the first time. I referred to people living in Afghanistan as "Afghans" but second guessed myself because, early on, I saw someone up in the Kite Runner thread correcting a poster on this very mistake. Maybe it was you doing the correcting then, too (do you own any red pens, by any chance?). Anyway, I "self-corrected myself" the wrong way, so thanks for the reminder. And I really like the idea of replacing the word "Americans" with "dollars." We'd be a richer nation for it, no?

    Glad to hear your grandfather is not only on the map but in the books! That makes you famous by blood!

    BaBi -- Oops. Mexico is North of the Border in continental divide talk? Well then. Canada vs. Mexico. Like the World Cup. Which runneth overtime too much (is there anything longer than a televised soccer football match in the World Cup???).

    Thanks for keeping us guessing on the Spanish title. I'll have to stow away any "war novels" I'd like to read because, post-Kite, everyone's about had it, apparently. I haven't finished the KITE, so I don't know about supposed excessive violence (I'm way behind and in lurk mode in the regular discussion), but there you have it.

    KATHY -- Antarctic stuff is cooler than Arctic stuff (or so the scientists tell us), but have you ever read Voyage of the Narwhal? A North Pole exploration potboiler, she is! Written by Andrea Barrett, I believe.

    Kathy Hill
    April 17, 2005 - 06:08 pm
    Kevin - yes, I have read _Voyage..._ Would love to see a narwhal someday. It is amazing the body of literature coming out of these 2 polar areas.


    April 17, 2005 - 07:27 pm

    I'm a bit confused as to the nominations starting on the 24th anew but there are already two books listed up on top? So, it's not starting anew? Or this is for something else? Or it's books in addition to these two already selected for the ballot?


    April 17, 2005 - 07:31 pm
    Kleo...I'll take the two titles out of the header and we'll start new and fresh on the 24th. I can better keep track of things if we do it that way. Anyone who wishes to add the two that were up can certainly do so.


    Kevin Freeman
    April 17, 2005 - 07:38 pm
    Kathy -- What I most remember about Narwhal was the near-starving men in the boat plucking and eating some kind of disgusting larvae growing inside on the ship's wood. I've never seen an episode of Survivor, you see, so am not used to humans eating bugs in their every state (including, if you can believe it, New Jersey).

    You have narwhals off the coast of Alaska, do you? Here, off of New England, I think not. Great whites deep in the summer. Sand sharks to tickle the toes. Jelly fish a go-go on certain tides. Fluke, flounder, haddock, cod, blacks, blues, stripers, et al. Sand dollars (or Sand Americans, to some). Ugly seagulls and cute sandpipers and plovers. Whales, but no nars. Not sure what kind of whales pass us by. You don't see them unless you go out on a boat OR they beach, and a beached whale is a sad sight.

    Kleo I have no clue-o what those two books are doing up there. I remember Jackie (a.k.a. "Sherlock comma Mrs.") saying something about BONE PEOPLE but that's the extent of my memory bank (banking not being my forté and all). Maybe she knows something that's elementary, my dear Watson? Jackie? Are you still there? (Clicks receiver repeatedly like they do in the movies but no place else.)

    Kevin Freeman
    April 17, 2005 - 07:41 pm
    Oh. Jane to the rescue. Thanks, Jane. We'll remember the two titles. The Bone People was one and the other was... was....


    Mrs Sherlock
    April 18, 2005 - 06:58 am
    Kevin, I'm here, I'm here. Been going through computer woes. Old MAC died, went to MAC Hospital for diagnosis. Used MAC substitute for a while, but, good news, Old MAC recovered, better news, got New MAC! All kinds of bells and whistles to learn, but its a MAC so learning is easy. Bottom line, couldn't remember sign-in names / passwords for some of my accounts, including this one. But I'm back! Bone People is one of those page-turners I can't put down. Nothing predictible about this first novel. It is deeply into Maori culture as it lives cheek-by-jowl with "white" NZ. Protagonist is Maori "octoroon" artist who has lost her muse. Plot complication is child-and-father dyad. Not girl meets boy, etc. plot. There is a handy Maori/English glossary in the back, keyed to page reference. What are the standards for a good discussion book as opposed to a good read? This is a great read.

    Kevin Freeman
    April 19, 2005 - 02:22 am
    What are the standards for a good discussion book as opposed to a good read?

    Good question. Books that lead to great discussions are difficult to gauge in advance. It's like asking what book written in the past 20 years will become a classic in the future. Contemporary readers have been wrong on that prediction many, many times in the past.

    I guess the best shot I can take on what makes great discussion fodder is the need for controversy. The Kite Runner has provided that because some of us liked it very much and some of us were disappointed by it (my jury -- the slackers -- is still out because they have 100 pages to go).

    When I discuss a book or read a discussion of a book, I prefer divergent views. It's especially fun when you mix one part people who passionately love the book with two parts people who passionately despise it. The caveat to all this, of course, is the absolute need for respectful tone while views are presented. It can be ruined the minute people begin to take (groan) umbrage. Take my watch, take my wallet, even take my first-born (with all her college bills) -- but please, don't ever take umbrage. Touchy, quick-to-become-indignant people are better at soliloquys than discussion. Thankfully, there don't seem to be many of this genus in our general (or even specific) vicinity.

    In any event, sometimes while listening to a polar (hey, Kathy, our word!) opposite view being expressed, a light comes on for me (you know, in the dark recesses of my mind). It may be that I still disagree, but I at least begin to see a logic that never would have occurred to me.

    Listening to people agree each other to death on a book they all love, on the other hand, is snore-worthy. At least it is to me.

    So sometimes I think the discussion book leaders should be MOST wary of "good reads" that are a little too good for their own good (enough "goods" for ya?). Everyone turns the pages so fast that no one stops to consider the roses' petals (good), texture (fine), cloying scent (bad), dew drops (pretty), thorns (painful), inclinations toward the sun (predictable), and so on and so forth. "Zoom, but that was a good read!" everyone winds up saying. "Now where's the cream-cheese frostinged spice cake and coffee?" (I take mine black.)

    That type deal.

    I like a book that walks a tightrope over greatness. It's compelling plot-wise, but has ambitions (or, some would argue, pretensions) much higher. Books that are audacious enough to flirt with posterity come out with all their defenses down. They're automatically inviting comparisons to the big boys (the Wars, the And Peaces) and thus scorn, but, to them, it's worth it -- as is the inevitable debate as to their "worth" that follows from all their readers.

    Well, that's my 2 cents (with inflation and bombast, 22 cents) on the topic.

    What's really important is that you're back, MAC. Good to see your name and your vapor-print again,
    Mrs. 221b Baker Street!

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    April 19, 2005 - 03:36 am
    Oh Lordy Kevin you would have to use a word with shades of meaning that I just could not pinpoint to an exact meaning -- And so here is what I found

    umbrage -- noun

    1. Anoyance; offence.

    Thesaurus: offence, indignation, anger, displeasure, resentment, grudge, disgruntlement.
    Form: give umbrage (especially)
    Form: take umbrage
    2a. archaic, literary The shadow cast or shade provided by trees, etc;
    2b. archaic, literary The foliage of trees, as something that provides shade.
    Etymology: 15c: from French ombrage, from Latin umbra shade or shadow.

    Well I won't take your shade if you won't take mind

    Now this sounds like it was originally a word used by someone living in southern climes since I could care less if you took my shade if I lived in say London or northern France much less in Scandinavian countries. But you dare take a bit of my sunshine and La malicia va más allá de la realidad - [Malice leaves reality behind]

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 19, 2005 - 04:20 am
    I ask a simple question...

    Kevin Freeman
    April 19, 2005 - 04:39 am
    ... you mean that wasn't a simple answer? God knows I'm a simple man! ("Simple Man, Simple Dreams" -- or so the lady sings.)

    Barbara, I obviously made light of shade in forgetting its inequal value "Around the World"! Thanks for refreshing my gnomon!

    Have any of you keeping-up-with-the-kids-and-grandkids-Harry Potter readers noticed that one of JK Rowling's characters is named (da-da-dunhhhhh!) Professor Umbrage???

    Of course she's a "Dark Arts" teacher (I tell ya, shady characters... they're EVERYwhere).

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 19, 2005 - 06:48 am

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 19, 2005 - 08:23 am
    Good precis, Kevin. Much to think about. Controversy is good, agreement is boring. Much to disagree about in Bone People. It is much deeper into the Maori culture, in a peripheral way, than Kite Runner is into Afghan culture. I'm nearing the end, and still on tenterhooks. I shall be nominating this one. Has anyone read the book from Poland that was on the list last time?

    Kevin Freeman
    April 19, 2005 - 09:16 am
    Not that controversy is the ONLY cannon fodder for discussion, it's just a good one. Remember that show, Macgyver? Lots of different things can lead to the same result -- for lack of a better name, boom (if the dynamic "boom" symbolizes discussion).

    I'm nearing the end, and still on tenterhooks.

    Ouch. (Back at ya.)

    I will order the Polish book and give it a look-see if no one else has looked at it or has any inclination to look at it. I don't think you have to necessarily finish a book to know it'll be good discussion material, but a good headwind to page 100 is helpful.

    April 19, 2005 - 09:57 am
    I like Jackie's reference to a giant buffet table -- or perhaps a menu -- if it looks good or sounds good, try it. That's the fun of buffets, and also of choosing books for discussion. You just never know until you bite into it. So, selfishly, wanting to join in the fun, I most likely won't have read any book I recommend, but will have looked and listened to what others have written or said along the way, and then picked a morsel or two for the plate. Sometimes they're delicious, and sometimes like the entree I chose at the Thai restaurant the other night, better suited to a side dish.

    April 19, 2005 - 12:01 pm
    Yes, in general, I agree Kevin.

    In addition to not taking umbrage, I think the other important thing is that people focus on the book, not try to draw broad sweeping conclusions about the people discussing the book based on what they say about the author or the book. This is trickier and requires more experience, more determination to be professional. I give more leeway in this area.

    I used to think a good discussion needed more folks disliking the book, but when reading and discussing Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises followed by Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night, the former with more haters than lovers, the latter vice versa, I realized the quality and diversity of loathing versus loving mattered more than the sheer numbers.


    April 19, 2005 - 03:18 pm
    minute of your time, apologies to the Bard.
    I just spent a long time in the B&N/Amazon world and cannot find the right book to send by daughter
    for her birthday

    She's turning 40, which is a gulp, and is at home taking care of two adorable toddlers, and recently isn't reading much at all. I almost choose Rembrandt's Eyes, (expensive is ok) but she may have issues with art appreciation, left from days in college. (Do look at that July 1 proposed book discussion, if you haven't yet)

    Can anyone drop a note here? Is it ok to use this board for book suggestions off-subject? If not, sorry.

    Kevin Freeman
    April 19, 2005 - 05:51 pm
    In addition to not taking umbrage, I think the other important thing is that people focus on the book, not try to draw broad sweeping conclusions about the people discussing the book based on what they say about the author or the book. This is trickier and requires more experience, more determination to be professional. I give more leeway in this area.

    Agreed, Kleo. I've been swept early and often by artists drawing conclusions. And about the umbrage thing -- have you ever wondered where people take it to? I've only been here a few weeks and I've already had a few umbrages gone missing.

    Can anyone drop a note here? Is it ok to use this board for book suggestions off-subject?

    Heck, yes, mippy. We like notes (B sharp especially) and off-subject is our specialty (unless we have business to take care of, in which case we stay on top of our subjects until they say, "Uncle").

    Bottom line: you can interrupt for ANY reason, far as I'm concerned. Trouble is, I have no clue what kind of books your daughter has enjoyed in the past. Do you have any genres for us? authors for us? book titles for us? From there, it's easier to come up with similar-type books to recommend. You know, the old "if your daughter liked x, then she might also like y" bit.

    Kevin Freeman
    April 19, 2005 - 07:07 pm
    And pedln, welcome back from your travels!

    Traude S
    April 19, 2005 - 08:05 pm
    Actually, KEVIN, the term is "take umbrage AT", as in to take umbrage at someone's rudeness".
    The verb "resent" conveys the same meaning.

    Traude S
    April 19, 2005 - 08:20 pm

    there's no harm in asking the question here. So here we go:

    you say, your daughter is about to turn 40, has two toddlers to keep her busy, hence hardly the time to read.

    Would she WANT another book? (I can think of other possibilities.)
    Might she fall asleep over a heavy tome ?
    If the gift MUST be a book, what genre would interest her ?
    What would please her?
    Only you know her taste and preference.

    April 19, 2005 - 09:03 pm
    Mippy, if you're not sure of a book title for your daughter, why not a gift certificate for Barnes & Noble or Amazon. Or, if not a novel, what about some kind of reference type book about something she's interested in -- something to fit in the family library. Like wildflowers in her area, or birds, exercising and stretching, chocolate cookbook. "French Women Don't Get Fat" -- my DIL almost got that, and my son did get the New Yorker Cartoon Collection. You know best what she would want.

    April 19, 2005 - 10:05 pm
    Oh, no, it must be a book. I would rather someone get me the wrong book, than a gift certificate. It always says something about the giver, the book that was given. Oh, the books I got as a child, you went not believe. My first book ever was The Owl and the Pussycat illustrated by Edward Lear, then Beautiful Joe by Marshall Sanders, a children's book on the African slave trade, Our Vanishing Wilderness, a John Muir pamphlet, William Blake poems, then some Romantic poets. South!

    Do tell us enough about your daughter that we can pick something. In fact, couldn't we make it seem like we are seeking the perfect RAW book for her?

    Mippy, when I read when I had not a moment alone because I had three little ones underfoot I read poetry and drama because I could read it aloud to the kids. I read them Dylan Thomas, Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot, Blake, of course. Maybe something she could read with the kids but more for her?


    Traude S
    April 20, 2005 - 05:06 am

    now let's read the preceding posts carefully.

    In # 468 MIPPY already told us that
    her daughter is turning 40 - which can be quite a shock (and was to my own DIL) );

    has two toddlers (is probably often exhausted, and who can blame her?);

    hardly has any time to read NOW.
    KEVIN has inquired about a preferred genre. That was one of my questions too.

    In my #472 I asked MIPPY also whether her daughter may even WANT another book NOW since she clearly has hardly any time.

    The ideal gift, I believe, is one the recipient will LOVE, EXCLAIM over, TREASURE - and anxious to USE immediately.

    Just MHO.

    Kevin Freeman
    April 20, 2005 - 05:08 am
    Right you are, Traude. I just called the local lexicographer (1-800-WORDMAN) and discovered that umbrage's tag-along little brother is, in fact, the preposition "at." Here's the last word on umbrage. Note how the word "umbrella" is Italian for "little shade." How cute is that? (Ah, those Italians! You know what they say -- Latin roots are better than gray roots!)

    Yes, there's something to be said (and Kleo's said it) for a book and there's something to be said (and pedln's said it) for a gift certificate. My daughter loves gc's and, of course $$$. I prefer, old-school style, the gift itself (book, in this case).

    A great book for a 40-year-old woman with kids is the winningly romantic and funny I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. And I hear good things about (or at least have read no stinging reviews about) Bee Season by Myla Goldberg. Does she have an off-beat sense of humor? There's always Dave Barry Turns 40. And I hear that Kite Runner's a fly-away bestseller, too! (Um. Kidding on that one. Too much of a downer.)

    Speaking of bestsellers, Barnes & Noble usually has hardcover bestsellers marked down 30%. You could browse them over and buy the one that sounds most like your daughter. Nice book, nice price, nice Mom --
    all is well with the world!

    Traude S
    April 20, 2005 - 05:39 am
    KEVIN, we posted within minutes of each other - with essentially the same thoughts and advice.

    For my part, and speaking as a recipient, I prefer gift cards from BN and Borders for Christmas and other occasions.

    Knowing my passion for books, members of my DIL's family went to great lengths, several Christmases ago, trying to please me with actual books. Sad to say, none were ever my style.

    April 20, 2005 - 07:47 am
    I much prefer to give and receive gift cards. I'm very frugal (read CHEAP), and I hate to see money, and now in buying books, upwards of $25.00-30.00, wasted on something I would not read. I prefer that people show they know I love to read, but allow me the pleasure of picking out what I will read. It's, to me, like giving art to someone. My preference is to let that person pick out his own art, and I pick up the tab.

    In fact, I don't even like people thrusting their copy of this or that book at me and telling me "You must read this.", I mustn't. I haven't HAD to read a book since I left school. I guess I've gotten more independent and valuing of my time in my retirement or else I've developed an outspoken backbone.

    Off to read what I picked out for me at the Library yesterday.

    Happy Reading to all...and get those lists ready of titles and authors and links, if you have them, to info about the books to be nominated come Sunday.


    Kathy Hill
    April 20, 2005 - 08:35 am
    Mippy - an idea..._The Best Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis_ by Caroline Kennedy. These poems were read to the Kennedy children and now Caroline is reading them to hers.


    April 20, 2005 - 09:52 am
    Well, I was caught by the question (Kevin's) as to what people do with the umbrage they take. It answer, naturally, is that they use it to cast a pall (shadow) over the proceedings.

    Pedlin, I was reading and nodding over your list of possible gift books, until you suggested the one on diet and exercise. I has been my observation that most people given a book on that subject see it as an implied criticism. Oh, you think I should go on a diet? You think I'm too fat? You think I don't get enough exercise running after these kids and....." (You get the idea.)

    I am reading a older book by a Swedish author, "The Emigrants", by Vilhelm Moberg. It was published in 1951 and apparently made into a "brilliant" motion picture starring Max von Syhdow and Liv Ullmann. I won't be recommending it only because I suspect it might be hard to find. I came across it as an old paperback at the local Senior Center.


    Mrs Sherlock
    April 20, 2005 - 10:40 am
    BaBi: I loved that book; I believe that there are four books altogether. What a thrilling saga, I felt as if I understood the whole immigration and resettlement picture more completely. As someone said to me, we're all immigrants, we just came over on different ships!

    April 20, 2005 - 01:15 pm
    You are all such good friends and good readers,
    I'm really grateful to everyone who answered.
    I will think over all those good suggestions, and make some decision. ... soon ...
    Unhappily, gift certificates do not work any of my three kids; they just stick them is a drawer and don't use them (long years of seeing this when they were still teenagers).
    The nice thing about Amazon is that she can very easily return anything she doesn't want, so I'll probably go that direction.

    Traude S
    April 20, 2005 - 02:56 pm
    MIPPY, glad we were of some help. We had fun lending it.

    Oh yes, The Emigrants .

    Does anyone remember Kristin Lavransdatter by Nobel Prize winner Sigrid Undset? Or The Gøsta Berling Saga by Selma Lagerløf? Anything by Knut Hamsun or other Scandinavians?

    Nota bene, they are not suggestions.

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 20, 2005 - 03:31 pm
    Finished Bone People and I can't get interested in any of my light reading; funny how you can get spoiled by just one book. I will be reading it again, too much to take in the first time.

    Kevin Freeman
    April 20, 2005 - 05:32 pm
    <bad pun ahead> Go ahead, Jackie. Bone up on it. </bad pun behind>

    Traude, I've read and enjoyed Hunger, Pan, Growth of the Soil, Mysteries, and Victoria. This was back when I was a lad (Rutherford B. Hayes Administration).

    Mippy: let us know what you order when you venture into the amazon. Now you've got our curiosity up!

    April 20, 2005 - 09:18 pm
    Sure, Traude, let's read the preceding posts carefully, without neglecting any part of them. Mippy said she couldn't find a book for her daughter. Others mentioned gift certificates. I stated my opinion about how much more delightful I find books as gifts than gift certificates--and it would be fun to try to come up with a great gift book. I don't think it needed a whole lot more care than that--but if it did, care the whole way, indeed.

    In fact, it was rather a fun sideways. Thanks for the post, Mippy. It does seem some folks do gift certificates and others don't. They are easier to buy, though, I'll admit. But I'd rather shop for a gift, and I'd rather get a gift than money. Personal preferences.

    I love Sigrid Undset, but only the first book. I just hated the second book and have yet to get through it. I'be been trying for ten years, now. But the first book of the trilogy is one of my all time favorites.


    April 20, 2005 - 10:56 pm
    Mippy: my sister and I have an agreement: when an occasion comes for gift giving, we give each other books. We give something that we have loved. If we can't think of one, we don't give anything. And we never ask afterwords if the person liked it -- no pressure to like (or even read) it. That's important to keep the spirit of giving in it.

    I've gotten some duzies -- things I'd never think of reading. And also some things I'd never think of that I loved. One of those was Kristin Lavransdatter, the first volume. Like Truede, I liked it, but was never able to get through the second one.

    I read "The Bone People" some time ago. I don't remember it too clearly -- I guess I wasn't as impressed a you. I remember it as a technically flawed book -- she refused to have it edited, and it really needed it. But one that was well worth while because of the interest of the setting, and some very fine writing.

    April 20, 2005 - 10:58 pm
    MRS. SHERLOCK: by the way, I understand you are another Sociologist. I thought I was the only one here.

    Kevin Freeman
    April 21, 2005 - 03:14 am
    Uh-oh. There's sociologists about? The only thing scarier (for me) would be psychologists. (The last thing I need is to have my "problem" identified... might be frightening!)

    April 21, 2005 - 03:18 am
    Don't worry -- we sociologists don't have enough social sense to identify your problem!!

    Kevin Freeman
    April 21, 2005 - 03:20 am
    Phew! Saved again (for now)!

    P.S. I'm beginning to understand now why my mother used to always arch an eyebrow and ask (rhetorically, I think), "What is your problem, Kevin?"

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 21, 2005 - 04:58 am
    Hi, JoanK. And Emile Durkheim and Max Weber to you!

    April 21, 2005 - 05:21 am
    WEll I just finished Kafka on the Shore and I am just as confused as I was while reading the novel. Has anyone read this yet? If so - please email me. I sure would hate to ruin the ending for anyone who has not yet read it. Someone on the boards here suggested a few things while reading a story and I followed her suggestions. I think it was either Barb or Maryal- I've forgotten who it was but anyway the suggestions were to imagine yourself in the story; to make notes and to ask questions. It was advised to pay attention to the author's message, deliberating each word, trying to reveal where that fits into the plot. Well I'm at a loss on this one. It's nearly as confusing as old Kafka and his existenalism was to me years ago. Please let me know if anyone else is out here in his metaphysical world after reading this story.

    April 21, 2005 - 09:25 am
    Oh Babi, I saw that movie with Liv Ullman years ago and loved it, though it was heartbreaking in parts. I can still see that scene where . . . . .

    JoanK, what a neat agreement with your sister -- to give a book you've loved. I love to get books as gifts (and book cards, as well.) The family usually give books they've read or have read about and thought good. And when we're not giving books, we scavenge each other's book shelves. I just brought home Undaunted Courage from my son's.

    My coup from a recent visit to Charlottesville's used books stores, in addition to Wheelock's Latin, is a 4-volume paperback set of Paul Scott's Raj Quartet. Sheesh, it's almost sinful, the number of unread books around this house.

    Right now I'm looking at The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka, that I received from my Seattle kids, but haven't read yet. Manicka was born and educated in Malaysia, lives in England. This is her first novel and received a 2003 Commonwealth Writers Prize. Have any of you read it or heard anything about it?

    Kevin Freeman
    April 21, 2005 - 10:15 am
    Sorry, ALF, that I can't help you in your Kafka studies. He perplexes me inland, never mind on the shore. Is it non-fiction?

    Pedln -- Nope. Rice Mother doesn't ring any bells in this belfry.

    I have begun a scouting foray into my copy of Halldor Laxness' Under the Glacier. If I don't return, equip your search party with plenty of Gore-Tex and a St. Bernard that doesn't drool on the booze.

    April 21, 2005 - 12:20 pm
    Kevin, I was not very adventurous.
    Alas, I just went back the same genre as previous gifts, not a new and bold idea.
    After reading all your remarks, friends, I decided genre was the key.
    So I remained in the land of cooking and food, a current interest and doubtless a good one, and ordered:
    Best Food Writing of 2004 by Holly Hughes, and
    Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl (N.Y. Times restaurant reviewer)

    Well, not literature, but fun, which is, I hope, what a young, 40 year old Mom needs after a long day, eh?

    April 21, 2005 - 12:46 pm
    Thank you Kevin for your response. No, this is a work of fiction. The 15 year old precocious runaway, choses Kafka as his name. It's irrelevent and has caused me too much aggravation anyway.

    April 21, 2005 - 01:57 pm
    I'm sorry I have not read that book, Andrea, or I would try to help, it sounds super tho, you always seem to know the interesting ones!

    I think a lot of the books mentioned or suggested here look fabulous, and I love the conversation here, I'm looking forward to seeing what you all nominate and hearing you talk about each book, on the 24th, this is fun.

    And I think we're off, thanks to you all, to a roaring start.

    I think Kevin hit the nail on the head in our current Read Around the World Discussion of The Kite Runner, and I'm going to put this in the heading here, too:

    Ah, but now we're getting to the crux of matters, the gist, the raison d'être for this club's debut in the first place. How are we alike? How are we different? Why are we alike? Why are we different? Why can't we all just get along? How does nationalism and/or religion trump humanism and/or feelings and sensibilities common to all of us?

    That's IT exactly, and when we begin our second selection we might use that as a springboard for discussion. That's one of the more excellent quotes I have seen in some time, out of the field of dazzling contenders which we normally have in our Books.

    I am looking forward to our next experience, whatever it may be, in June.

    April 21, 2005 - 03:27 pm
    Oh, they sound rather fun, Mippy, especially the one by the food critic. I'll have to take a look. I collect cookbooks, there's always room for one more.


    Kevin Freeman
    April 21, 2005 - 04:02 pm
    Hmn. Never been quoted by the press before. In good company, anyway (he says to Jackie, who's still off boning up on her Maori novel).

    Ruth Reichl's new book has received great press, Mippy. Good choice (and food for thought, too)!

    I cook at everyone else's risk, it so happens. In fact, I've invented a few dishes of my own (well, when the kiln still worked, I did).

    April 22, 2005 - 05:46 am
    Well shoot! I guess I will be forever in the dark about Kafka. Boy was that a wierd -- and I do mean weird novel. I can't even say that it was sci-fi, honestly, more metaphysical! Very strange, indeedy!

    April 22, 2005 - 06:37 am
    I like strange novels. The one by Saramago about seeing his double on the movie screen and then becoming that double has intrigued me since I heard it, what would THAT do to the "only 7 plots" theory? I'd like to discuss those 7 plots too.

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 22, 2005 - 07:14 am
    Didn't Woody Allen do that plot in one of his movies? I had Mia Farrow, something about purple?

    April 22, 2005 - 07:19 am
    Yes I think you're right, which one came first? I think you're right!

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    April 22, 2005 - 08:13 am
    Alf you have my curiosity ticked - I had the Kafka whatever on my list and now I must find it and give it a whirl - nothing on TV on Friday so I often spend the evening at Borders reading and sipping coffee while listening to the band that comes in on Friday night - I think I will get into the book tonight and see what is what and then get back to you...

    Kathy Hill
    April 22, 2005 - 08:24 am
    Ginny - you mentioned elesewhere that you liked Hindi movies. I am presently reading _A Suitable Boy_, Vikram Seth, about 1400 pages! It reads just like a soap opera. You might like it!

    Have a great trip. Enjoy spring in Europe. Kathy

    April 22, 2005 - 08:30 am
    Barbara, it DOES sound appealing, doesn't it? I like things that I don't understand.

    Kathy, Rosalyn Stempel, who used to do some classes for us here in the Books on literature, said that was the finest book she ever read! I have it somewhere and had not read it, 1400 pages!!!

    Thank you, I am really looking foward to the trip, even IF they have closed off the house of Caecilius in Pompeii for repairs~ (I can find a way) hahaah You may never see me again, as I languish in an Italian jail!


    Kevin Freeman
    April 22, 2005 - 08:38 am
    Isn't Saramago's gimmick yet another instance of the DOUBLE, or the doppelganger in literature? It's just his Hyde is up on the screen showing off (a modern tweaking of RL Stevenson's test tube in the mad professor's laboratory, then).

    Then we have the quirky twists on the SEARCH plots like, say, Luigo Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author. Sometimes I feel like I'm in search of an author, too (well, since my mother's royalties on me expired -- as if they were worth anything anyway).

    Ginny, if you see Pirandello's ghost searching Italy, send him our way. We'll come up with an author somewhere or other.

    (I like all the allusions to foreign authors here... Kafka, Seth, Pirandello, Et Cetera. I've read all of them except Et Cetera. Well, and Seth. And Kafka. OK, none of them.)

    April 22, 2005 - 12:12 pm
    I'll take Saramago any day. I was so confused that i've been researching Kafka himself. His name was just chosen as an alias for this 15 yr. old runaway. Me?? Heck I'm game for anything, read anything, love most things. This book--- whew, not to my liking. When I start dissecting a book for its "short comings" rather than for the plot line, the fun of it or the characters, I should put it down. I stumbled thru the whole danged book and I'm still shrugging my shoulders.

    Ann Alden
    April 22, 2005 - 12:36 pm
    The Purple Rose of Cairo

    One of my favorite movies, very humorous!

    I have a book about China being held by the library. We are having traffic jams right down from our home where there is major road widening happening. I should get the Suitable Boy for when I am stuck in traffic at that crossroad. Its going to be two years in the making so surely I could finish the book by then.

    Kathy Hill
    April 22, 2005 - 01:01 pm
    Ann - good idea. You should get the book just for those circumstances. There is a whole lot of road work starting up in my area too. Must remember to bring a book!


    Kevin Freeman
    April 22, 2005 - 01:34 pm
    We need fewer roads and more railroad tracks. What worries me is that the President has a plan for Amtrak, or so I heard him railing a few weeks back (as if Amtrak isn't in fine enough a mess as it is).

    Anyway, what I meant to say (Kathy and Ann), is that trains are much better than cars for reading. Everytime I try to read in the car, the suspension of disbelief gets suspended by someone else's horn blaring. It's not a problem when the book's lousy, it's when I become Suitably engrossed the problem starts.

    April 22, 2005 - 02:23 pm
    No, nooo, Ginny, don't do it ...
    Don't break into the roped off areas in Pompeii ...
    (the food is bad in jail, too)
    and we need you here ...

    Thanks to everyone, all of you, who wrote replies on my
    gift-books search! I hope my daughter likes the books.

    April 22, 2005 - 02:59 pm
    haahha Mippy, not going all that way and not see it, hahaha

    I keep meaning to say here that The Noodle Maker is coming out in paperback in June, and they told me here at Barnes & Noble that they were out of the hardbacks and the warehouse was out also. So here's a book I can't even see and I think I'm going to nominate it anyway.

    I also have that Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon I think it is, will clear that up later, but it does seem awfully good so far, it's about Spain and books!

    Kevin Freeman
    April 22, 2005 - 05:50 pm
    Oh, heck. Have fun. Re-rope all you want in Pompeii. The Pompeiins won't act up. Look what happened LAST time they did!

    Good to hear Noodle Maker will go into nomination. Pasta never hurt anyone, and carbo-overloading may be a good thing for our long term, aerobic postings.

    I am 50 pp into my exploratory of Halldor Laxness' Under the Glacier. Much more accessible and light-hearted than his Iceland's Bell. And, unlike The Kite Runner, no torrid plot. In fact, you might do well to re-read the introduction Mark Twain wrote to The Adventuress of Huckleberry Finn before reading this one!

    Characterization's the thing here. Quirky ain't the word for it. No normal folks like me. Country savants. Bumpkins who play dumb and are as sharp as a scythe post-whetstone. Heh-heh. Lots of icy subtleties and religion in the mix. Plus, some commentary on writing (or perhaps I'm picking it up as metaphorically-wry commentary on writing because I write and I used to be a catcher in the wry).

    Don't know yet whether I'll renominated His Laxness or not. Need another 50 to see, maybe. Stand by, roger.

    Kevin Freeman
    April 23, 2005 - 03:42 am
    Is it possible for the May ballot be kept hidden as votes come in, then revealed only on May 8th? I say this because obviously the vote can be affected if our studio audience can see who's in the lead and by how much.

    It's the old problem of the West Coast being shown final results in Presidential voting in the East while their polls are still open. Does it change some people's plans? Does it make some voters say, "Why bother?" If someone was planning to vote third-party, but sees a dead heat between Dem and Rep (with third party a DISTANT third), does that someone swallow his convictions, choose the lesser of two neck-and-neck evils, and switch his vote to one of the front runners?

    Well, just a thought. If see-through voting has always been the way here, kindly ignore this and (please keep it kindly, now) me. It's not that big a deal... just a thought.

    </Looks over shoulder for usual morning shadow-post from Ginny. >

    April 23, 2005 - 04:28 am
    Jaws Music fade left:

    domp...dompa....dompa..dompa...dompa dompa dompa... hahaahaha

    (THIS is a book discussion? ) haahhaa

    I don't think the way our survey stuff works that you will be able to see it in progress but we'll let our Survey Meister/ Vote Meister Jane take control and answer that one and I agree totally with you on the elections. Now that Dan Rather (I'm sorry but that was ridiculous) at least stopped calling the races at 7:30 pm on the East Coast (why vote on the West?) and is gone (I'm going to miss his Princess of Whales tho) the situation seems more exciting.

    And tomorrow's the big DAY!

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 23, 2005 - 07:11 am
    I am struck (almost) dumb! You parochial Easterners expressing sympathy for we other coasters? I'm locking up my valuables, my kids, my cat, because who knows what you're after? Altruism is not your name!

    April 23, 2005 - 09:15 am
    I'll do my best to keep the election a secret until after the door is locked and nobody additional can vote.

    There may be a problem with the different time zones, however. I love SeniorNet, but I'm not so devoted as to stay up until 2:00 am my time to close a voting for a book. I will toss out any duplicate votes that the site indicates came from the same computer, etc.


    Kevin Freeman
    April 23, 2005 - 12:51 pm
    Luckily I have three different computers in my Mission Control room here. (Kidding, Jane, kidding!)

    And Jackie, please. In New England we are known for our warmth and friendliness. Haven't you heard of "Northeastern Hospitality"?

    April 23, 2005 - 12:54 pm
    Kevin...ah...ha...the Man with a Thousand IP Addresses Awaits the Voting Process...


    April 23, 2005 - 01:13 pm
    Well, it will be fun to see what else besides the Icelandic and the Polish novels will be nominated this coming week. Not knowing very many current, contemporary, non-Great works of foreign distinction, I find it necessary to do a little research. But my methodology is improving and I think I've found a couple titles where I can make my case.

    Kevin Freeman
    April 23, 2005 - 01:17 pm
    IMPAC 2005 Short List is one resource (at least half -- maybe more -- written by furriners).

    There's also the amazon World Literature category where, in the box on the left, you can browse by country or geographic area (I get lost here).

    Same deal, a World Lit. List only from Barnes & Noble.

    A Maryland Library Assoc. List of Contemporary World Lit. in Translation.

    Barney Google's list.

    Some on these lists will of course contain only SOME CONTEMPORARY but it'll still be fun separating the fat-free Wheat Thins from the chaff.

    Kevin Freeman
    April 24, 2005 - 03:01 am
    Silence in October by Jens Christian Grondahl (Denmark)

    Phantom Pain by Arnon Grunberg (Netherlands)

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 24, 2005 - 05:18 am
    Kevin, can you tell us something about your nominees?

    Kevin Freeman
    April 24, 2005 - 05:57 am
    Nada. The links are meant to tell you something. I just think each looks interesting in its own way and both have won plaudits from serious readers (unlike me). Although previewing books is nice (except for the fact that they're not *fresh* in your mind when they come up for discussion), I agree with pedln that it's not de rigueur for nominating.

    As for Under the Glacier, which I AM reading and which I DID nominate last go around, I suppose it might not be the best choice with a group as young as this one. Not much plot, quite quixotic and philosophical, somewhat slow-going. My fear would be that too many might give up on it and pack their dogsleds early for the next country.

    April 24, 2005 - 08:56 am
    Kevin, interesting that you should pick the Grondahl. I was drawn to his "Virginia," but then thought that perhaps we would not want to deal again so soon with youthful angst over perceived guilt. And I don't know that it is available yet in the US.

    Please tell me that your two nominations are about more than failed marriages. I'll admit to scanning only briefly, but spending a month on that topic has little appeal. Actually, Grondahl's "Lucca" would be more to my liking.

    Now, back to down under and elsewhere.

    April 24, 2005 - 09:18 am
    Colleen McCullough's novel: Morgan's Run (2000, Simon & Schuster)

    is my nomination for June.

    Her country of birth and residence is Australia.
    To quote, Publisher's Weekly said: ... it is an intricately researched, passionate epic [of the] eighteenth-century colonization of Australia ... blending local color, extraordinary characters [and] ethnic tensions.

    I read it a few years ago, thoroughly enjoyed it, and reread the beginning last night.
    I think we ought to give Australia a go.
    Is it required to put up a link?

    Kevin Freeman
    April 24, 2005 - 09:22 am
    Actually I've just been wanting to read a Grondahl because he's so well-respected in Europa. The plot in October seemed more appealing than in Lucca. I was also considering his most recent, An Altered Light. Can't say I know about Virginia. Is there a link to it? I searched but was unable to track it down.

    As for "spending a month on something," I hold with the book, not the subject matter. I could be forced to read 11 straight bildungsromans until I think I'm sick to death of them, then come upon a particular coming-of-age story by a particular author that makes me forget the other 11 like so many Edsels. Suddenly, blidungsroman is German for "masterpiece," for "can't miss," for "heavenly sauerkraut." Could the same hold for a dissolving-marriage story? Hope so!

    Translation: I personally am game for all topics because I believe (optimist that I am) that there are books out there and authors out there who can -- if we're lucky enough to first, find them and second, choose them -- give us all we bargained for and more in 30 days.

    A good book forces its readers to leave preconceived prejudices and notions behind. A tall order, I know, and a rare find when you get one, too, I know -- but when it happens, it's magic. Thus, the neverending quest.

    That said (or, in this case, oversaid), sometimes a book's description at amazon or barnes & noble just looks lousy.

    "So much to read, so little time to read it."

    Kevin Freeman
    April 24, 2005 - 09:23 am
    Morgan's Run by Colleen McCullough

    April 24, 2005 - 10:06 am
    And here's to Grondahl's Virginia, Kevin -- the last blurb at the bottom of the page.

    April 24, 2005 - 10:30 am
    Pedln: Are you nominating that book for the ballot?

    April 24, 2005 - 11:04 am

    Are we debating the nominations offered?

    It doesn't seem that either Silence in October or Phantom Pain are actually about failed marriage, pedln. Grondahl does look interesting, in general.

    Are we checking for general availability prior to nomination? Of course the Mccullough's are all available. But are all the others readily available?

    It says above, "Join us in our newest venture and help us hear voices from around the world in translation!" I would like a little clarity, I guess, about whether we are including primary English language books--I can see the stretch to Hosseini because English is a second language for him. McCullough is close to being part of the Western Literary Canon, though. Are we travelling around the world or around the non-English speaking world or around the non-Englishing speak world and maybe the English-speaking non-West or just the non-American world? Or just around the world? Maybe a header to better reflect would be in order! I'm still not sure I missed anything else about rules we have or goals we have.

    Traude, are you going to nominate a great modern German novel?

    Kevin, everything you say seems to tell me that Under the Glacier is the next book for me to read. Thanks for mentioning it.

    Kevin Freeman
    April 24, 2005 - 11:20 am
    Thanks, pedln. When I enter "Virginia Grondahl" in both amazon and b&n I get ixnay. Perhaps it is not translated in English (or out of print)? I see your review from the Guardian was dated 2003. The book looks pretty interesting -- especially the reviewer's parting shot about Grondahl making Chekhov seem "effusive." Oh, Lordy, how I love The Cherry Orchard! Chekhov's non sequiturs speak my language (even when I'm not Russian).

    The worm turns and Kleo enters, stage right. Actually I don't know if this was on the ballot (looking more carefully than is my wont, I see it was not), but earlier in our discussions we seemed to have a consensus that chiefly-English speaking countries like Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, etc., were "OK" because, unlike the U.S. and England, they did not monopolize high school and college reading lists. So until I read differently, and to avoid opening a can of slugs, Mippy's nomination looks good by me. I read The Hunter by Julia Leigh (Australia) and it was about as culturally-enlightening as World Lit. gets. That is, I don't think the kinship between the US and AUSTRALIA is quite as close as the US and UK (considering geography and history and all).

    As for the Laxness book I'm now reading, I'd be interested in your take. Unlike a "safer" choice like The Kite Runner, Under the Glacier would either be a huge disaster or the best darn discussion these boards have ever seen. Who knows? It might even evoke interest from the Civilized types in the Durant thread (might... might not). A real crap shoot, it'd be, but you know what they say: after black jack, craps offers the best odds.

    P.S. Jane -- Should House of Day, House of Night, as runner-up in our last vote, automatically be on this ballot? Dziekuje!

    April 24, 2005 - 11:59 am
    I nominate The Hamilton Case by Michelle de Kretser

    Set in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) from the turn of the century (20th) through its independence in 1948. While the Hamilton case is about a murder, the novel itself is about Ceylonese lawyer Sam Obeysekere, a member of the Sinhalese elite. When he tries to remove suspicion of murder from two coolies to an Englishman, his life begins to dissemble

    While Amazon shows that the paperback version of this novel is available in this country, B&N does not.
    Michelle de Kretser was raised in what is now Sri Lanka, and moved to Australia when a teenager.

    Reviews of The Hamilton Case

    and it's listing on the IMPAC 2005 list

    I have not read this, but it has been well-received and well reviewed. Sounds good to me.

    April 24, 2005 - 12:18 pm

    Ah, so the debate was about whether or not the countries dominate high school and college reading lists? Well, Colleen McCullough certainly dominates them! So, if the goal is to get books not on high school and college reading lists, McCullough doesn't fit. But if the rule is to get countries not on high school and college reading lists... Are you sure I'm a worm and not a monkey-wrench?


    The Hamilton Case sounds fascinating by your blurb. Just a note, though, 'coolie' is a racist term. It would probably be better to use day laborer or native laborer when introducing the book. I do understand that the book may use racist terms, however the book should not be described using those terms.

    Lots of folks in here quote the IMPAC list. Why? Have you found it to be a good source of books for you personally, anyone who has used it?


    April 24, 2005 - 12:18 pm
    this has been a busy place in the last hour, and on the field -- Cardinals 5, Astros 1.

    Jane, I am not nominating Virginia; some say she's slim, and I'm not sure she's available.

    Kevin, thanks for restating the English/non-English info. I seem to remember that the way you do. There are a lot of places out there where English is the official lanuage.

    And I do seem to remember somethng about automatically putting April's runner up on the ballot.

    As for the big gamble, I've never bought a lottery ticket, but I love my 10-yr-old granddaughter's version of 5-card draw -- with one-eyed jacks and the suicide king wild.

    April 24, 2005 - 01:15 pm
    Kevin...I will put up whatever is nominated here. If you or someone else wishes to nominate House of Day, House of Night I'll be glad to add it to the listing.

    I don't see anything in the Guidelines that says anything from any previous list must be on a new list.

    If people will just post, as has been done by those nominated already, the title, author and a link to info about the book and perhaps the country, if that's of interest, I'll be glad to add them to the list to be voted on.

    jane the list maker

    Kevin Freeman
    April 24, 2005 - 01:34 pm
    Pedln -- The Suicide King? Which one is it? My father (e-mail passer-onner extraordianire) sent me an e-mail detailing what real-life King each king in a deck of cards represents. Of course I've promptly forgotten most of them. Let's see... King David (Spades)? Charlemagne (Clubs)? King Arthur (Diamonds)? Elvis Presley (Broken Hearts)? Eh. Maybe I'll have to find that again.

    As for me, I like the title "One-Eyed Jacks & Blushing Queens," though my poker buddies tell me it's bogus to have any face-card wild (they also call "Indian Poker" bogus, which is why I call it on my deal at least once a night). No doubt, your granddaughter is more reasonable than my poker buddies.

    Are you a Cards fan? Surely you've seen that chick flick/baseball flick, Fever Pitch, then? St. Louis is featured for about 12.8 seconds at the end. Geesh.

    Kleo, the turning worm reference was playing off your salted slug reference. You know, the way slugs do the watusi when you put a little spice in their life? Certainly I would never refer to a lady as a worm (much less a monkey wrench)! Where I come from, that's not done. And my mother would about blush six ways to Sunday if she ever heard it out of me (of course, she's not looking and...). Wait a minute. No. What I said, and just so you know.

    Ah, so the debate was about whether or not the countries dominate high school and college reading lists?

    It wasn't much of a debate. So many other debates were raging that agreeing for once looked pretty good
    by contrast.

    But if the rule is to get countries not on high school and college reading lists...

    That's the ticket. I was never assigned a single Australian book or author in all my years (more than most, given my "slowness") of high school and college. Ditto my daughter (should you think it's a generational quirk).

    Granted, I majored in English and not Australian, but nonetheless, you get the point.

    (As to whether IMPAC has undue IMPACt, I can't say. Speaking for myself, it's just one place I look. Librarians make the call there, so it makes sense to at least consider it. Break an arm, see a doctor. Need a book rec, see a librarian.)

    P.S. to Jane the Amazing List Maker -- Dzien Dobry! And here ya go -- the tie-breaker bad luck loser from our April Sweepstakes!

    House of Day, House of Night by Olga Tokarczuk (Poland)

    April 24, 2005 - 02:06 pm
    "It wasn't much of a debate. So many other debates were raging that agreeing for once looked pretty good by contrast. " Kevin

    Ah, yes, I know and respect this rule making method which lends a touch of of the arbitrary to any set.

    Yes, one-eyed jacks and suicide-kings are fun calls for wild cards in children's pokers. The suicide king is the one with the knife behind his head, sorta, diamonds, maybe?

    Bardzo dzeikuje dla ksianzki polskiej. Hmmm, genetive singular feminine? Egads it's rusty.


    April 24, 2005 - 02:32 pm
    I feel debated upon? What's going on?

    There were no comments in the earlier vote about reading any nominated authors -- or not --
    in high school or college!

    Is it fun to debate everything?

    Jane, thanks for not disqualifying an Australian author!

    April 24, 2005 - 02:55 pm
    I'm not a qualifier or a disqualifier...I'm just the collector and lister of titles nominated, the putter-upper of the titles to be voted on and the counter of said votes and announcer of results.

    Nominate away is my motto!

    April 24, 2005 - 03:08 pm
    "There were no comments in the earlier vote about reading any nominated authors -- or not -- in high school or college!" Mippy

    That's not what Kevin and I were discussing, whether the books had been read in high school or college, but rather whether the author was commonly found on an American high school or college reading list (as McCullough is in my time and area, if not in Kevin's). I had thought the goal was to seek the unfamiliar.

    The advantage to the familiar, though, is that McCullough is stocked brand new at the local Walmart, for less than mainstream bookstores, and readily available used as she is so well-known and popular, at least in my area. There's no real disadvantage, unless the goal is to stretch into someone new. Hence, the question.


    April 24, 2005 - 03:31 pm
    Is there some reason this discussion is CENTERED? Or is it just me?

    I've looked at some of the other book sites and they appear normal. All right -- who done the dirty deed?

    is very
    And I don't like

    April 24, 2005 - 03:45 pm

    You didn't close your center tag! Please remember to close format tags!

    This should take care of it, pedln. No, it's not your prescription


    April 24, 2005 - 03:57 pm
    I'm going to nominate two books, one the afore mentioned The Noodle Maker by Ma Jian, Flora Drew (Translator).

    Here is a description from Barnes & Noble from the Publisher, it has rave reviews and as noted however will be out in paperback in JUNE, we might want to wait on this one:


    "From Ma Jian comes a satirical novel about the absurdities and cruelties of life in a post-Tiananmen China." "Two men, one a writer of political propaganda and the other a professional blood donor, meet for dinner each week. Over the course of one drunken evening, the writer recounts the stories he would create, had he the courage: a young man buys an old kiln from an art school, opens a private crematorium, and is overwhelmed by demand; a heartbroken actress performs a public suicide by stepping into the jaws of a wild tiger, watched nonchalantly by her ex-lover; an illegal migrant scrapes together a living by writing love letters for the illiterate but can't help falling in love himself. Extraordinary characters inspire the writer, their lives pulled and pummeled by fate and politics as if they were balls of dough in the hands of an all-powerful noodle maker." Ma Jian allows us a humorous yet profound glimpse of those struggling to survive under a system that dictates their every move.

    My second nomination is a book I have, but have only begun, it has pages and pages of rave reviews, and Stephen King said it is "one gorgeous read." It's The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Lucia Graves (Translator). Carlos Zafon lives in Barcelona, Spain and it's about Spain and BOOKS and a mystery, too. He's being called a combination of Umberto Eco, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and A.S. Byatt. The Washington Post said RUSH right out and buy this book. Really.

    Here's some stuff on it: FROM THE PUBLISHER

    Barcelona, 1945-A great world city lies shrouded in secrets after the war, and a boy mourningthe loss of his mother finds solace in his love for an extraordinary book called The Shadow of the Wind, by an author named Julian Carax. When the boy searches for Carax's other books, it begins to dawn on him, to his horror, that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book the man has ever written. Soon the boy realizes that The Shadow of the Wind is as dangerous to own as it is impossible to forget, for the mystery of its author's identity holds the key to an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love that someone will go to any lengths to keep secret. Author Biography: Carlos Ruiz Zafón lives in Barcelona with this wife. Lucia Graves is the author and translator of many works and has overseen Spanish-language editions of the poetry of her father, Robert Graves.


    El Pais

    The publishing phenomenon of the last year and a half.

    La Vanguardia

    Zafonmania... A thriller, a historical novel and a comedy of manners, but above all, the story of a tragic love...with great narrative skill, the author interweaves his plots and enigmas, like a set of Russian dolls in an unforgettable story about the secrets of the heart and the enchantment of books, maintaining the suspense right to the very last page.

    La Razon

    As magnetic as The Dumas Club, as unsettling as The Mystery of the Haunted Crypt and with a plot as complex and well rounded as The Name of The Rose-to be recommended one hundred percent.

    Suddeutsche Zeitung

    I was enthralled by Zafon's book and it gave me many hours of great delight. Not only because the story is set in a book shop, not only because it is about the search and the hunt for books and there is a library of forgotten books to be discovered, but because The Shadow of the Wind is suspenseful like a thriller, poetic like a love story, sometimes mysterious like its title, and because it describes the characters and the storyline so wonderfully that the reader wants to be a part of it. A paean to reading and to the love of books.

    That last one stopped me: a PAEAN to READING and to the LOVE OF BOOKS.

    Looks like we are getting up a heck of a slate, let's DISCUSS!

    Kevin Freeman
    April 24, 2005 - 04:00 pm
    It's centered? Jane's having a tag sale? Looks the same as the other threads to me. Just spooled through a few other threads. In any event, if something's wrong, Jane, cry innocent. I don't even know what you'd be innocent of, but that's OK. The other guy done it. Always. Remember that from kindergarten.

    John Howard just e-mailed his thanks to you, Mippy. I guess you're a good thing for Australia, or so it would seem from Howard's end.

    Colleen McCullough is not taught in these parts, but then few "bestseller" type authors are. Most schools like their fare three ways: dead, white, and male. She may qualify on 1 or even 2 counts (I've no clue if her subscription's up), but she'll have quite a struggle on the last.

    I wonder how many high schools in America do American Lit. junior year and British Lit. senior year? That's the routine, quite often, though multicultural stuff is s-l-o-w-l-y creeping in (The House on Mango Street, The Color Purple, Black Boy). My daughter read Tuesdays With Morrie in high school. Why Tuesdays only I can't say. Took forever to finish, too.

    P.S. There's that Ginny character again -- simulposting on my heels (she'll say vice versa, but it's just she clicks faster from watching reruns of Jeopardy!)

    April 24, 2005 - 04:08 pm
    Thanks, Pedln...not centered for me either, so I wouldn't have known something has gone askew. I'll have to get my other browsers opened up and see if the problem is still here.

    Pedln or Others: Is this discussion still centered? It's not for me with either Firefox, IE, or Netscape, so I need to know if you're seeing it centered and what browser you're using.



    Kevin Freeman
    April 24, 2005 - 04:28 pm
    Jane -- This page looks normal from where I sit.

    April 24, 2005 - 04:33 pm


    April 24, 2005 - 04:40 pm
    Not anymore it doesn't -- look normal. Someone's playing games, ha ha.

    Jane, your post at 4:08 looked fine, as did Ginny's post.

    But now posts #549 and #550 -- approx. 4:28 and 4:33 are centered again.

    April 24, 2005 - 04:41 pm
    Yes it's centering again.

    April 24, 2005 - 04:44 pm
    I believe I'll take just a second here and explain that our new software on SeniorNet (the same new software which forces you to use a end italics if you want to blockquote) is extremely sensitive, it's not just a matter of the good ol HTML which we have done here for years, it's something new.

    Nested tables often cause the entire discussion to suddenly have a 3 1/2 inch brown bar to the left. We have one of our Volunteers now slaving over that heading in our work area, having tried a million fixes.

    Now this discussion is centered, for some browsers only including mine, and it probably will take some time to figure out what's wrong, so everybody please be patient.

    Jane KNOWS headings.

    April 24, 2005 - 05:38 pm
    How are we doing now? Has the centering stopped? I wish the problem had been as simple as an open center tag.

    April 24, 2005 - 06:56 pm
    Perfect! All fixed, good for you! What was it?

    Traude S
    April 24, 2005 - 06:58 pm
    No centering problem for me HERE.

    April 24, 2005 - 07:01 pm
    A nested table tag problem, apparently caused when the comment tags were opened to add the nominations. Why that caused centering is a mystery!


    April 24, 2005 - 07:19 pm
    Actually, I simply viewed the source and there was an open 'center' tag on a post, so I closed it--it wasn't a guess or anything. I've never even used a 'center' tag in HTML, but apparently it exists. This was the first time. I don't know why after I closed it, and my browser then showed the posts not left justified as usual, it showed for others.


    April 24, 2005 - 07:41 pm
    uh...don't think so, Kleo. When you hit View Source you get the coding on your own computer on a note pad or other type of application which you can then edit to your heart's content, it's only on your computer, it won't affect the heading or any post here.

    But don't take my word for it: add some words to your own "view source document" and see if they show up here?

    There's a little more to it than that.

    April 24, 2005 - 07:43 pm
    how long must the story be? can we do short stories too? could we read them on the web? I am sorry I did not join you for Kite Runner:( it was hard to find it here in this town:( Kleo did your grandfather write books? where did he go?

    April 24, 2005 - 08:05 pm
    Bluebird, sure we can read a book of short stories. I'm not sure we can find them on the internet, tho. I think one of the nominations we have already is a book of short stories: The Noodle Maker.

    I like books of short stories, myself. Did you have any others you would like to nominate?

    April 25, 2005 - 06:29 am
    No, Ginny, I didn't alter the source code. I posted a close tag to SeniorNet and it altered it for me. I did read the source code, though, and find an open 'close' tag that I had not put there, as it was not in my post, and I've never used them before. They're not even listed on WebMonkey's cheatsheet. So, maybe Jane's post, for some reason, added an open 'center' tag. Maybe my source code is completely different from everyone else's. I can't see why it would be completely different, the only differences should be my format preferences. But I got the result from posting, not from adding words to my view source document in a notepad. But I will try that for fun, as I've never done it before. I had no idea one could change source code just by writing in it, without actually uploading it, or updating the browser window at least when practicing.

    However, it is easier to debug something if you check source code in the first place....


    April 25, 2005 - 06:33 am
    Nope, Ginny, changed the source code, saved the changes, rebooted the browser and there's no change on SeniorNet.

    Yes, my Grandfather wrote a book, a monograph, and scientific papers. Where did he go, as in explore? Siberia.


    April 25, 2005 - 06:36 am
    Found, while browsing in Paul Collins' (Sixpence House, Not Even Wrong) blog Weekend Stubble, in a little blurb about Gregory Rabassa's Translation and Its Discontents. Since we are looking at translations, it seemed appropriate to mention.

    "One thing it convinced me of was the danger of relying on "close reading" in interpreting any novel in translation: your assertions about an author can't pivot on any one word or phrase, because they are not the words they originally used -- in fact, depending on how loose the translation is, the source text might not have anything like it at all."

    Weekend Stubble

    The other stuff on the page is good too. If you haven't laughed yet today, this is the place to go.

    April 25, 2005 - 06:43 am
    Kleo, I'm curious.

    How - where do you post a close tag to SeniorNet?

    April 25, 2005 - 06:51 am
    Kleo has put an end center tag in her own post, that has nothing to do with the entire discussion being centered, Kleo.

    To prove it I just inserted an unclosed center tag in my own post 553, please view on View Source. It has not affected the following posts and won't. It's still there, an unclosed center tag.

    I think what DID stop it at the same time you put something in your own post was the 6 stop center commands I put in the heading till Jane could figure out what WAS wrong.

    April 25, 2005 - 06:55 am
    Pedln! What an interesting article, I think we ought to consider that, too. I wonder, now, about the role of the translator?

    Thank you for bringing in that interesting additional focus, I'll put it in the heading here, to see what everybody thinks. Food for thought.

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 25, 2005 - 07:05 am
    How do I create the link to the site for the book I want to nominate?

    April 25, 2005 - 07:10 am
    Jackie, you type this exactly, inserting bewteen the quotation marks the entire URL. Be sure to put a space between the a and the href and watch the spaces throughout?

    <a href="http://www.URLHERE"> Title of URL here </a>

    Marcie Schwarz
    April 25, 2005 - 08:20 am
    or if you just copy and paste or type the url, including the http part, you will create a link--for example here is a link to SeniorNet's home page:

    If the url is a long one, it would be best to use the html coding that Ginny described, since a long link in a post will cause our discussion page to scroll right to left for some people.

    April 25, 2005 - 03:24 pm
    Thank you Marcie, and WOW, look at the great range of countries already nominated!

    Sri Lanka/Ceylon

    We're not choosing by country but I do have to say that ANY of those would be wonderful and I bet there are more to come!

    Now how do you want to handle talking about these? For instance did we learn anything in our first foray of Kite Runner? I see some of you saying perhaps this time we might not do a coming of age story (not that that one was) and all of these books nominated so far are from different areas of the world.

    I tell you what also might be fun to do? After we do about 3 of these let's do some...what they used to call Slam Book stuff about them, do you remember them? We might be able to see what we have distilled by some fun methods, but first we need a few more under our belts so we can compare and contrast and draw our own conclusions about the voices: how they are similar, how they are different, which one comes closer to our own experience, oh there are tons of things we can ask and probably some you can think of I can't.

    What fun, we need the flag of the country we pick next too when Pat puts it on our passports and our map!

    April 25, 2005 - 06:42 pm
    Actually, Ginny, your 553 does have a close center tag in it. Maybe the board provides it, but it's there. It's found simply by doing a search for it. Just like I found there was not close center tag in Jane's. Whatever the reason, it happened on my end just like I described it. Maybe it happened on your end just like you described it. But I think you'll find a close center tag on your source if you look for one. If you want to discuss HTML please e-mail me.


    Ann Alden
    April 25, 2005 - 06:47 pm
    From Nigeria comes "Purple Hibiscus" by Chinmamanda Njozi Adichie. And I will provide a link momentarily. Purple Hibiscus

    April 25, 2005 - 06:51 pm
    Wow, Ann, the cover alone is worth reading this book for--how luscious. Nice color-coding.


    April 26, 2005 - 06:04 am
    I don't use open and closed tags in my posts in this discussion. There is much coding which is part of the website software that anyone can see by using View/Page Source (or whatever your browser's terms are). The problem with the centering of messages here came from a heading where there were nested tables and the one was missing a close table tag.

    Do we have any more nominations? It looks like this will be an interesting list to choose from.


    Traude S
    April 26, 2005 - 07:24 am
    PEDLN, I am so sorry I was unable to read the link in your # 564, "Weekend Stubble". Everything about translating is of professional interest to me.

    The link came up, but everything after "Robots" was in illegible code. I scrolled down in mounting surprise and then the Mac froze. I had to reboot. So I'd rather not attempt it again.

    I'm totally mystified by tags, what they do, where they are, how they can create havoc in a given setup etc. A bit frightening to imagine for me, who was weaned on the utter simplicity of AOL's word processing system; it's child's play compared to the intricacies of codes, symbols, numbers, dots etc. in precise order within chevron brackets, that determine fonts, sizes, underlining and myriad other things : a science I can't hope to ever master.

    So I'm humbly grateful for the presence of patient, competent experts who lend a helping hand whenever needed. Thank you.

    April 26, 2005 - 07:45 am
    Traude, I just sent you an email. Try the links there. I don't think you'll have any trouble. Robots??????

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 26, 2005 - 10:03 am
    I am nominating Bone People. The author's first novel won the Booker and the Pegasus Prize. It is an intimate look at the life of contemporary Maoris living on the beaches of southern New Zealand. I shall be reading it again and again. The Bone People

    April 26, 2005 - 03:02 pm

    There is a great HTML-teaching website, which I've posted for others, called webmonkey. Go to the first folder on the right hand side, called "Authoring." Then click on HTML basics and you can start learning. It will only take a few hours to run through everything. It's designed for beginners, and it's interactive, so you can practice until you get comfortable with doing it.

    I think this is the best way to go about it, just learn what HTML is, instead of all the fun of it going to an elite few--the Internet really is for everyone. You'll not only be able to do everything, you'll understand what you're doing.


    HTML Tag Basics

    Yes, Jane, it could be from the bulletin board program inserting a nested table or something, not necessarily from posted coding--easy to check from the server end.


    April 26, 2005 - 05:35 pm
    Gee, I don't know about the "Elite," Kleo, one of the purposes OF SeniorNet is to teach seniors about the internet and HTML. You don't need to direct people off site or to other places, SeniorNet has here some of the best teachers you'd ever find, in several areas, check out the Index on the top right of the page, classes and everything, they are just waiting to help anybody learn.

    I am sorry I don't have time to teach HTML in email.

    Wouldn't it really BE a crazy world if every poster to every website were able to control what appeared ON that website, just by what he posted in his own post? Wow, I don't know of too many websites which could exist if that happened: lawsuits a plenty. In fact I have never heard of a website the posters controlled the appearance of. It certainly does not happen on SeniorNet.

    Thank you Ann for that wonderful nomination! Nigeria!!! Wow we are really spreading out, how shall we ever choose? We have more days to nominate, do you want to discuss any of these or say why you'd like to see us read them???

    Jackie, thank you for your nomination of The Bone People. I have found your descriptions intriquing, how shall we debate these? I need to go get my Japanese one again and nominate it formally.

    Now this is the 26th, and the nominations end in 4 days, how should we go about trying to see what we want to discuss? Should we try to lump them in categories (if lumpable?) I think the people who nominated them should each have a say, on their own book.

    Could YOU if called upon to do a one sentence statement of what the book is about that you nominated, could you do that? Maybe we could have your own summaries, Ok maybe two sentences, in the heading or something?

    Let me go find my Japanese book, that I thought looked so good.

    Do you want to limit the nominations to any special number or just let it rip??

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 26, 2005 - 07:46 pm
    Ginny, what could I say in two sentences that I couldn't say in one? Why close the nominations? BTW, everyone who is not an English major, raise your hands.


    April 26, 2005 - 07:51 pm
    Such a tempting delicious array of titles to choose from up in the heading. It's going to be hard to decide. Maybe everyone could vote for two, then have a runoff of the top five. (Please forgive me, Jane.)

    Well, I've already spoken on behalf of my nominee, and the accompanying link in the heading offers additional prose and praise about this much-awarded novel, but . . . .

    If Nancy Pearl, former executive director of the Seattle Public Library's Washington Center for the Book, and author of Book Lust says it's wonderful, then it must be wonderful. In an article about her pending retirement, the Seattle Times states, "And she's discovered what she calls a wonderful novel, "The Hamilton Case," by Michelle deKretser, set in Ceylon."

    For those who might be interested, and for those who collect bobble-heads Pearl's bio .

    April 26, 2005 - 07:58 pm
    It doesn't matter to me how many votes you each want to have. I do have to know before I set up the ballot, however, since once that's done, I can't change the questions, the number of items each person can vote for, etc.

    So, is each person to have one vote or two?

    If two votes, then you want a run-off the following week between the top two finishers--May 8-15? Then there would be two weeks to get a quorum to see if there is a viable discussion and the start date would be June 1. Do I have this correct or ????

    April 26, 2005 - 08:01 pm
    "Gee, I don't know about the "Elite," Kleo, one of the purposes OF SeniorNet is to teach seniors about the Internet and HTML."

    I wasn't calling SeniorNet the 'Elite,' although, if I thought about it I would say it's a fairly elite place. It's mostly dedicated, dynamic individuals devoted to creating a viable web community. However, what I was talking about was not SeniorNet, but the underlying purpose of the WWW and the Internet, that HTML was designed to be used by everyone, unlike Pascal or Java, which are designed to be used by programmers. This is the elite I was referring to, or the lack of an elite, HTML is designed so that anyone who can turn on a computer and learn how to use a web bulletin board has all the skills necessary to learn it.

    "You don't need to direct people off site or to other places, SeniorNet has here some of the best teachers you'd ever find, in several areas, check out the Index on the top right of the page, classes and everything, they are just waiting to help anybody learn."

    No one has mentioned or pointed me to the SeniorNet class before. In fact, people in SeniorNet are generally just told how to post URLs. The WebMonkey site is something different, it includes pretty much everything. I think a link to the HTML tags introduction page on SeniorNet, instead of explaining the URLs out of context each time, would be great. It would be much nicer to direct people to one of the user-friendly SeniorNet introductions to the basics of a lot of things. Thanks for pointing this option out.

    "In fact I have never heard of a website the posters controlled the appearance of. It certainly does not happen on SeniorNet. "

    Really? You didn't mean your font to be green?


    PS I'm not asking you to teach me HTML, Ginny, in e-mail, or in any other way. I suggest that if you want to discuss my use of HTML or the code with me or what HTML can or can't do, that via e-mail might be a more appropriate place than the Read Around the World discussion. I'd be glad to continue discussing it with you there.

    April 27, 2005 - 07:16 am
    I'm going to add Japan to our growing list of countries in the form of Out, which is now OUT in paperback, Out : A Novel -- by NATSUO KIRINO; translated by Stephen Snyder, and here's a blurb on it:

    Editorial Reviews

    From Publishers Weekly

    Four women who work the night shift in a Tokyo factory that produces boxed lunches find their lives twisted beyond repair in this grimly compelling crime novel, which won Japan's top mystery award, the Grand Prix, for its already heralded author, now making her first appearance in English. Despite the female bonding, this dark, violent novel is more evocative of Gogol or Dostoyevsky than Thelma and Louise. When Yayoi, the youngest and prettiest of the women, strangles her philandering gambler husband with his own belt in an explosion of rage, she turns instinctively for help to her co-worker Masako, an older and wiser woman whose own family life has fallen apart in less dramatic fashion. To help her cut up and get rid of the dead body, Masako recruits Yoshie and Kuniko, two fellow factory workers caught up in other kinds of domestic traps. In Snyder's smoothly unobtrusive translation, all of Kirino's characters are touching and believable. And even when the action stretches to include a slick loan shark from Masako's previous life and a pathetically lost and lonely man of mixed Japanese and Brazilian parentage, the gritty realism of everyday existence in the underbelly of Japan's consumer society comes across with pungent force. FYI: This novel has been made into a Japanese motion picture. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

    I think that looks wonderful! In addition I noted on a lot of these sites that they call for reader's reviews, wouldn't it be fun to submit a composite review to B&N or Amazon!!?? From us? We've done that in the past but these are new books and I think our composite review would be fun!

    Ann Alden
    April 27, 2005 - 07:25 am
    Chronicle of a Blood Merchant by Yu HuaHere's conversation with the author who now has 2 of his five books translated into English. Author-Yu Hua

    About the book Chronicle of a Blood Merchant

    This is a novel about a poor man living in China, trying to raise his family well. To keep up with his expenses of family, he sells his blood for emergencies. It takes place in the modern times of China, under Communist rule.

    April 27, 2005 - 07:28 am
    Thank you Ann! Another new author, to me! And I love your comment quote by CS Lewis, too, love that, do you all think it's true? We read to know we are not alone? I love CS Lewis, we should try the Screwtape Letters sometime.

    Ann Alden
    April 27, 2005 - 07:37 am
    When reading the editorial reviews of this book, I realized how many books we never hear about. One of the quoted authors says:

    “A wrenching and blackly humorous tale. Long after I closed the book, the character Xu Sanguan has remained stubbornly impressed upon my heart.” –Dai Sijie, author of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

    Has anyone here ever heard of this author or the title. Another example:

    “Chronicle of a Blood Merchant takes us straight to the heartland of China–the towns, streets, courtyards, kitchens, and bedrooms where ordinary Chinese live. They may not be great warriors or politicians, but their courageous efforts in living a life with hope and dignity make them true heroes. This book is a gem.” –Wang Ping, author of Aching for Beauty and Foreign Devil

    These are not authors or titles that I have ever seen and now am curious enough to want to read this book plus others of Chinese authors.

    April 27, 2005 - 07:45 am
    Oh I do SO agree, Ann, and am so glad we started this discussion, I'd never have heard of half of these and I LOVE this:

    Chronicle of a Blood Merchant takes us straight to the heartland of China–the towns, streets, courtyards, kitchens, and bedrooms where ordinary Chinese live. They may not be great warriors or politicians, but their courageous efforts in living a life with hope and dignity make them true heroes. This book is a gem.” –Wang Ping, author of Aching for Beauty and Foreign Devil

    These are not authors or titles that I have ever seen and now am curious enough to want to read this book plus others of Chinese authors.

    They are not great warriors, they are not great figures but they have innate dignity, and their courageous efforts at living a life with dignity and hope.....WOW!!

    I think that is something we all need more of, I think I may have decided on my next vote, that's a universal quality we could follow thru all of the reads.

    Thank you!

    love this!

    Ann Alden
    April 27, 2005 - 07:54 am
    Balzac and the Chinese Seamstress

    There's an excerpt and mucho cudos by editors about this book also. Another strong possibility!

    One editorial review strongly recommends this book about reading books! Whoa! The power of knowing how to read. Another book added to my list!

    Ann Alden
    April 27, 2005 - 08:04 am
    Has this book and I have reserved it. Will take it on vacation!

    April 27, 2005 - 08:11 am
    Whoa! And here I am looking for a book for the trip! I'll see if they have it in the local B&N, that sounds divine and is a subject dear to all our hearts!

    April 27, 2005 - 08:43 am
    Ann: Is Balzac and the Chinese Seamstress a nomination or is it something you're exploring personally?

    Sorry to be dense on what is being nominated and what is conversation about interesting titles, but I don't want to overlook a nomination.


    April 27, 2005 - 08:55 am
    Yeah let's include it, too, Jane if you will, it looks fabulous also, like all the rest, boy what a group to pick from!

    Thank you for that instant ballot up there, I've been watching it, it's like magic!

    Let's all discuss the whys and wherefores of YOUR nominations!

    April 27, 2005 - 11:47 am
    "Shadow of the Wind", by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, was the book I intended to he already has at least two votes!

    The story is very complex, but Zafon handles it so smoothly it's not a problem. When a yound man becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to an author who apparently dropped out of sight..along with most of his books...history seems to begin repeating itself. A very memorable book.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    April 27, 2005 - 11:56 am
    There are so many great books that the list could go on and on - it will be hard to make a choice - a couple on the above list I have in my pile that I still had not gotten to yet...!

    Traude S
    April 27, 2005 - 02:46 pm
    Our live local book group discussed "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" several years ago.
    A touching love story.

    Its author, Dai Sijie, wrote the book in French.
    He, like Ha Jin, author of "Waiting" and "War Trash", lived through Mao's "cultural revolution" when education stopped and any existing books became hidden treasures (e.g. Balzac)
    Both authors emigrated as soon as they could:

    Dai Sijie to France, and Ha Jin (who writes his books in English) to the U.S.

    We have twelve nominations, all excellent books of varying length. It is conceivable that some may hold a reader's attention longer, or be more complex than others.

    However, the more books we ADD to the list, the more difficult the selection for June will become. I thought too late of my own suggestion and won't make it now (don't fancy being # 13).

    I hope we KEEP the list for future consideration and re-consideration.

    Weren't we going to have a two-sentence thumbnail description of the respective books? Some reviews can be wordy, full praise and still lack specifics.

    Ann Alden
    April 28, 2005 - 05:00 am
    So far, I haven't had any trouble reading the editoriall reviews for each novel. I find that I want more info than two sentences about each suggested title.

    This is quite a list of what promise to be good reads. My to-read list is getting lengthier and longer! I am considering making one using the links to each of the titles that we have proposed.

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 28, 2005 - 06:04 am
    However the vote comes out, I shall read, perhaps, several of the books listed above.

    April 28, 2005 - 06:15 am
    Ann: "These are not authors or titles that I have ever seen and now am curious enough to want to read this book plus others of Chinese authors. "

    Ginny "Oh I do SO agree, Ann, and am so glad we started this discussion, I'd never have heard of half of these ..."

    I've only heard of two of these authors, McCullough and Ruiz Zafon, although I recently read a Japanese murder mystery that sounds similar to Out. Yes, this is an awesome introduction into world novels. There are a few I will certainly read.


    Traude S
    April 28, 2005 - 08:03 am
    ANN, I tried to edit my response to your # 598 but AOL disconnected me - argggg. I deleted, then reformulated it and hope it is clear:

    In my # 597 I merely referred to the GINNY's suggestion in her # 580, third paragraph from the bottom, and her question whether those who had nominated a book COULD summarize its content in one sentence, or in two sentences, for the header.

    I wanted to make clear that the idea was not mine. GINNY is the leader and I had no intention of second-guessing her or offending anyone. Thank you.

    April 28, 2005 - 12:17 pm
    By all means let us keep the present list for future reference. I'm sure there is more than one book up there we all would enjoy reading, and possibly discussing.


    April 28, 2005 - 01:37 pm
    Right, thanks, Traude, not to worry, that's quite a slate up there. I'm going out tomorrow, having discovered that I can copy and print all of the nominees, to B&N and see how many I can find and read a page or two. It's HARD to summarize a book in a couple of sentences, but I'll try for mine tomorrow, we're almost out of TIME!! Yes, voting commences on the 1st of May, so if any of you have last minute pitches for any of the books, or persuasive summaries or comments, NOW is the time!!

    I'll be back in tomorrow, I desperately need some good reading for the trip. Other than Disney Wars which is gigantic, but which I love.

    April 30, 2005 - 05:51 am
    Well I had a lovely time at the local B&N yesterday and they did not have ONE of these books! Not one. The only thing they had was Kite Runner.

    SO I can't say one way or the other, and I hate to try to summarize something I have not even looked at, so I will have to not be able to do my own request of a couple of sentences, but it's obvious in this little book club we're really breaking ground, sticking our own necks out, and reading things that perhaps we would not have otherwise. I can't wait to see which way you vote and what culture we'll be immersed in, next and the voting starts…..drum roll…TOMORROW!

    Good luck, I can't wait to see what wins!!! See you in June, with our surprise winner!

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 30, 2005 - 06:52 am
    Ginny, I wish you bon voyage as you set off to walk in Rembrandt's footsteps.

    April 30, 2005 - 09:08 am
    There are 12 nominees (nominations). How many voters? Just to muddy the waters, in my opinion, I think we should vote for two candidates. I think that would give a more clear picture of what's at the top of everyone's reading list. With 12 titles and one vote each, we'll probably end up needing a run-off anyway. I think 2 votes each and then a run-off of top 3 or 4. The time limits could be shortened to 6 days for first vote and 5 for second vote. Just a thought.

    My other thought for the day is availability -- seeing Ginny's comment above about her B&N. All the titles are available at either B&N or Amazon. Not to pick on any titles, but Phantom Pain is only available in hardback, and the same for Noodle Maker, although it is priced more like some of the trade paperbacks we're looking at. I just checked my local library and also the regional one where I pay an annual fee, and was pleasantly surprised at the number of titles available.

    April 30, 2005 - 09:20 am
    My suggestion is to keep things easy, with one vote each.

    This worked when we choose Kite Runner, and I think if
    it "ain't broke, don't fix it."

    What do others think?

    April 30, 2005 - 10:15 am
    Mippy, I just like to play with numbers. The last vote (the first one), I believe we had 27 voters and 8 titles, or close to that, with the title that won being one that many had heard of and wanted to read regardless.

    Now we have 12 titles, and with the exception of the one from the previous ballot, most of them unfamiliar, at least to me, anyway. Hopefully we will have more than 27 voters this time, but if we don't it will be hard to get a clear-cut majority.

    April 30, 2005 - 02:23 pm
    I agree, it will be hard to get a clear winner.
    However, after the well-attended month on Kite Runner, there may be more voters than before.
    Also, a run-off vote may be done (the header says so, already.)

    If there is still a tie, two books could be set up for the next two months, or, alternatively,
    just put one of the two back in nomination for the following month.
    Anyone think that would work?

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    April 30, 2005 - 02:47 pm
    hehehe here we are worrying about what could happen before the vote is even taken

    Mrs Sherlock
    April 30, 2005 - 06:00 pm
    Tomorrow is the day!

    April 30, 2005 - 09:55 pm
    tomorrow is the day:)

    Kevin Freeman
    May 1, 2005 - 11:34 am
    Well The Kite Runner has crossed the finish line and runs no more so, frozen out, I have to come here to let Barbara know what a good job she did and hope she sees it. Do you see it, Barbara? Good job.

    May Day! May Day! May Day! Emergency! I don't know how to vote! Will there be a special ballot, or do we just let it all hang out and vote right here, exhibitionist-style (not my style at all, being the shy sort).

    May 1, 2005 - 11:45 am
    The Nominations are closed; I will be getting a ballot up shortly. Since only two people have expressed interest in allowing more than one vote, I will design the ballot to allow one vote per computer.

    The one person/one vote method can be addressed when we do the next ballot. The voting will do done in the same location as the survey for the guidelines was. I need a few minutes to get the ballot up. I will post here when the voting is ready to commence.


    May 1, 2005 - 12:22 pm
    Click here to vote.

    Mrs Sherlock
    May 3, 2005 - 07:04 am
    How is the voting going? Are people voting? Since we are voting for only one, I anticipate run-off situation arising. I'm eager to get started, but I can't buy all the books. I will get at least two more on the list.

    May 3, 2005 - 07:35 am
    Yes, Jackie,we have 16 votes to date. I haven't gone into the analysis part yet to make sure there are no duplicates from the same computer, but we still have lots of time to vote and I'll check that come the end of the day on May 7.

    If anyone hasn't voted and is interested in choosing the next selection here, come on down and vote:

    Book Choice Vote

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    May 3, 2005 - 07:38 am
    Mrs. Sherlock I already have on my 'Too Read Pile' two on the list - but wouldn't you know when push came to shove there was another that captured my attention and so I voted for one I must buy...ah so...I am my own worst enemy trying to read all that I want to read much less all that I have purchased to read...the pile gets higher and higher...

    May 3, 2005 - 08:00 am
    You are doing a great job, as always, I'm sure, but ...
    could there be a more prominent, or larger, announcement of voting on
    the "Books & Lit." header page.

    Just a suggestion... I'm sure you are busy!

    May 3, 2005 - 08:19 am
    Yes, Mippy, I can do that. I just put an announcement in the Discussions You Should Know About, and I can add it to the B&L main page as well.



    Ann Alden
    May 3, 2005 - 10:10 am
    Well, I am back from NY and already planning the next foray out into the world which begins next Monday, May 9th and lasts 'til May 24th. I have voted and hopefully I will know the results on Sunday, before I leave.

    May 3, 2005 - 12:22 pm
    Well, Barbara, who voted for one she doesn't own, I carefully read all about the half dozen I was most interested in, comparing protagonists, plots, authors, development of story lines, then voted for a book I had not really thought much about at all. So much for my thinking that having read the book would make great background for recommending it....

    Ahhggg! I can't wait to find out what the winner is!


    Kevin Freeman
    May 3, 2005 - 05:11 pm
    Since we are voting for only one, I anticipate run-off situation arising.

    Well, Mz. Sherlock, I'm thinking with so many choices that the voting will be spread out, reducing the odds of a run-off. Of course math was never my forté, so maybe having 12 choices statistically increases odds of a tie. Who knows. I am statistically-challenged.

    I do agree that I'd just as soon get on with reading the book (but then, it depends on the book, doesn't it).

    May 3, 2005 - 06:41 pm
    My vote is in.

    Barbara, the only solution may be to 'just say no' to book shops!


    May 3, 2005 - 09:10 pm
    Well, I picked up two of our nominees at the library the other day and am halfway through one of them. So far, so good.

    The other day I found some reviews I'd pulled out of Time Magazine some time ago and was surprised to see one of our nominees there. The two other titles in the review were also from places other than North America. Makes you think about how small the world has become, when we can find contemporary books from other countries on our library shelves, in the paperback sections of our bookstores, and read the reviews in local print media. A literary melting pot.

    May 3, 2005 - 09:16 pm
    5 -- Number of RATW titles that are IMPAC nominees

    9 out of 12 -- Number of RATW titles that are translations

    20% -- Number of 2005 IMPAC nominees that are translations

    2 -- Number of RATW titles that have been on the IMPAC SHORT LIST

    Kevin Freeman
    May 4, 2005 - 02:39 am
    Love that acronym -- RATW. As in, "I smell a RATW."

    Eliminating the article "the" gives you RAW. As in, "No two ways about it -- that group is just RAW."

    At Barnes & Noble this weekend I saw quite a few of our nominees. The last one has been on the shelf forever with its too-pretty cover. Book covers mean a lot to me despite the old adage about not choosing one because of same. Some books I just won't be seen in public (or even in front of the dog) with, the covers are so silly or just plain bad.

    The crying (and sometimes laughing) shame is that authors seldom get a voice in the selection of book cover art for their own books. It falls into the bailiwick of the marketing department of the publishing company.

    I think vanity publishers like iUniverse DO allow you to select your own art. Not 100 % sure as I can't even afford vanity at this time, but I think it's the case.

    Signed, your RAW caseworker,


    May 4, 2005 - 02:50 am
    "The crying (and sometimes laughing) shame is that authors seldom get a voice in the selection of book cover art for their own books. It falls into the bailiwick of the marketing department of the publishing company".

    I have a funny story about that. Some years ago, my sister went to Canada, and took with her a paperback copy of Simone de Beauvoir's "The Second Sex" -- a classic feminist book that discusses women's rights. The publisher had evidently not read the book, and put on the cover a picture of a provocative nude.

    Coming back into this country, my straight-laced sister was stopped at the border, because she was bringing a pornagraphic book into the country. She finally persuaded the customs man to read the book. She said it was hilarious watching him wade through de Beauvoir's turgid prose, looking for the "dirty" bits. He finally gave up, and let her bring the book in.

    Mrs Sherlock
    May 4, 2005 - 04:52 am
    Silly me, I was assuming that we would vote until one book got a majority of the votes! So we're voting and the winner has a plurality? I can't wait.

    May 4, 2005 - 10:08 am


    I've read de Beauvoir's The Second Sex and just can't imagine putting a nude on the cover. One would think the coverers or turgid academic prose would not be the same as the coverers of lusty light fluff.

    Babi, have you really learned to say no to bookshops? All that happens is when I then go in one, I remind myself I have been good and can therefore indulge.


    May 4, 2005 - 12:24 pm
    I remind myself I have been good and can therefore indulge.

    Actually Kleo, that's the excuse I use when faced with chocolate! <bg>


    Kevin Freeman
    May 5, 2005 - 02:38 am
    For a real treat (and the fun of double dipping), dip your books in chocolate. Then, when you crack the books open, you will be showered with shattered chocolate shards. Clean up was never so much fun.

    I admit to ice cream, not chocolate, for a weakness. Did you know that, counter-intuitively, New England is the #1 ice cream sales region in the country? One would think the South or Southwest (to combat the heat).

    (Is this what's known as "idle chat" while awaiting the verdict in court, the curtain rise at theater, or the first pitch at a baseball game?)

    Jane, dear, how many votes do you have NOW? 17? (12 when you take out all of my overly enthusiastic votes?)

    May 5, 2005 - 06:28 am
    Our exit polls, here at Election Central, indicate that 27 votes have been cast to date. Election Officials have not verified, and cannot until the polls close, if any of those are duplicates. Stay tuned for the latest in election results.

    This is jane at Election Central.

    May 5, 2005 - 07:59 am
    Hmmm, 12 titles and 27 votes. If they were divided evenly, which no doubt they won't be, that would mean three titles would have as many as 3 votes. Maybe 10 titles will have 2 votes each, 1 title 3 votes, and 1 title 4 votes. Definitely not a majority, barely a plurality. If a title had to have 25% of the votes, that would be 6.75 votes. 30% would require 8.1 votes. Reminds me of some past aldermanic elections.

    May 5, 2005 - 11:01 am
    "I remind myself I have been good and can therefore indulge.

    Actually Kleo, that's the excuse I use when faced with chocolate! <bg>

    I'm doomed. I use that excuse for both chocolate and books. That's why I'm broke and overweight.

    I'll have to try Kevin's suggestion. Hmmm. The nearest I've come is reading a book my son-in-law wrote called "Chocolate on the Brain".

    May 5, 2005 - 11:52 am
    Joan, perhaps you'd be interested in a humorous, but insightful little book called, "Just Hand Over the Chocolate and No One Will Get Hurt!" Fun, but had me thinking, too.


    Kevin Freeman
    May 5, 2005 - 12:34 pm
    What is it with women and chocolate? Eyes are the windows to a woman's soul, and chocolate is the window to a woman's heart. Heart by way of the stomach that is (all one-way streets).

    Thanks, Jane, for the updates and the graphics and the colorful states, complete with untrustworthy exit polls. Eh. Entrance polls are no better.

    Pedln, you are a statistical wunderkind. But you forget voting blocs which could drive up a plurality and skew your study -- you know, the smoky e-mail rooms, the backroom alliances, the "I'll scratch your June nominee if you scratch my July one." All that cool, cloak and dagger stuff (for you Agatha Christie fans, this post is what's known as a "red herring," so take it or leave it).

    Almost drum roll time!

    Mrs Sherlock
    May 5, 2005 - 04:23 pm
    Speaking of elections, Britain has a system for cancelling votes; something like, if you are going to vote Labor and I am going to vote Home Rule (or something equally off-the-wall) We can agree officially to cancel one another's vote when Labor is getting diddly in your district and Home Rule is getting the same in mine. Something like that, eh Kevin?

    Kevin Freeman
    May 5, 2005 - 04:35 pm
    Yeah. My wife and I canceled each other's votes for years and years and years -- yet we trudged dutifully to the polls (the operative question being: WHY?).

    Now we vote the same more often than not, lending credence to the old saw that married folk begin to become more and more alike with time. (Or is it our dogs we tend to become more and more like? Eh. It's Labor one, Home Rule another, I guess.)

    Ann Alden
    May 5, 2005 - 06:17 pm

    Its "the longer you live together the more alike you become" but if you each had a dog, you would like your particular pet. Oh dear, once again, idle chatter!!

    Kevin Freeman
    May 6, 2005 - 02:49 am
    Ann, Ann, Ann. This is not idle chatter. It is hard-working chatter. Muscular, sweaty chatter. Working-for-its-daily-bread chatter.

    About the dogs: I've seen paired pics (and I'll bet you have, too) of folks who look frighteningly like their dogs. My wife's OK with that because we own a retriever. "Honey, could you pick up the paper for me?" "Honey, can you grab a gallon of milk on your back from the track?" "Honey, can you pick up the dry cleaning if you're going down Main Street anyway?" That sort of thing.

    More idle chat: I'm reading the first of a series called TALES OF THE OTORI and the lead-off book is
    Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn. Fun stuff from feudal Japan (or a place like it) and very addicting as well. I have the second book, too, in the wings. Hope it doesn't get catchy as a cold because series can really sidetrack a lad when it comes to attacking the TBR (To Be Read) pile which leans on the bedside table like a Tower in Pisa.

    Mrs Sherlock
    May 6, 2005 - 04:56 am
    Kevin, I really didn't need another book for my list. But I can't resist feudal Japan. Hope I can do you the same favor sometime...

    May 6, 2005 - 05:26 am
    "Kennedy Marshall (Seabiscuit) has signed on for the film version of Across the Nightingale Floor, and the script is due to be delivered in months."


    May 6, 2005 - 12:40 pm
    What a coincidence, KEVIN. Checking in books at the library just this morning I saw Lian Hearn's "Across the Nightingale Floor" for the first time. I am interested, but it says it is the first of three. I hesitate to start a trilogy, when it may be years before vol. 2 and 3 show up. But the 'Nightingale Floor' did look intriquing.


    Kevin Freeman
    May 6, 2005 - 01:02 pm
    No, Jackie, No! No recommendations, please! If I read 'em, I tend to buy 'em, and I am on a strict Atkins-like book diet (carbs = book purchases).

    And thanks, pat, for that site. Reading Across the Nightingale Floor, you say to yourself, "This has Hollywood (with a fuedal, Japanese accent) written all over it."

    BaBi -- Good news (or maybe bad). All three books of Hearn's trilogy are already out. The second is Grass for his Pillow, and the third is Brilliance of the Moon.

    May 7, 2005 - 07:18 am
    Ah, so! Unfortunately, my library only has the first book. I'll ask them if/when they plan on getting the next two. If the grass pillow and the brilliant moon are on order, I'll read about the Nightingale Floor. (Or should I wait for Hollywood to make the movie? ..Nah.)


    May 7, 2005 - 08:18 am
    "my library only has the first book" Same here. I have requested the next 2 from the state library

    May 7, 2005 - 09:10 am
    This is jane from Election Central.

    Today is the LAST day to vote for the June discussion selection. If you've not yet voted and wish to do so, today's your day.

    The polls will close at midnight and results will be announced tomorrow.

    That choice will then be put out as a proposed and when we have a quorum who post that they wish to participate, the discussion of the chosen title will be moved to "coming" and will begin on June 1.


    Kevin Freeman
    May 7, 2005 - 04:28 pm
    Why wait until (our or your) tomorrow when, as of this posting, the world's tomorrow is about to begin. That's right -- midnight is but a half hour or so away!

    As you'll all recall, in the spirit of this group's original premise and goals (among other things -- to get over ourselves and our provincial and oh-so-American little time zones), we vowed to go by the Ground Zero of International Time -- Greenwich Mean Time.

    Get it? International books... international time?

    Last chance to vote! Volunteers, work those telephones! Jane, (wo)man your battle station. The results will look 8 p.m. Eastern and 5 p.m. Pacific, but they will, in fact, be MIDNIGHT Greenwich. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for the June winner.

    (Never knew Greenwich, England, could be so exciting on a Saturday night, did you?)

    May 7, 2005 - 04:30 pm
    We should all meet at Greenwich at Midnight and have a party. Or have we already missed it?

    Kevin Freeman
    May 7, 2005 - 04:31 pm
    Click the link, Joan, click the link! We've yet 30 minutes to Concorde away! (Or have Scotty beam us up!)

    May 7, 2005 - 04:45 pm
    Oh, no -- only 15 minutes. Have to get on my magic carpet!! See you there.

    May 7, 2005 - 04:49 pm
    If it's the Concord I just might do it, but otherwise I prefer the open road.

    It's beginning to feel like election night. We definitely need a party to keep us going until the results are in. Isn't that what the real pols do? No speeches though.

    So, now what are the odds. Is anyone making book here -- on the favorites, the long shots?

    Kevin Freeman
    May 7, 2005 - 05:05 pm
    I just went back to my Post #649 and clicked the Greenwich Mean Time link. It is, indeed, MAY 8TH!!!!!!!!!!

    Our winner can now be revealed!!!!!!!!!!

    Our mothers (uh, mother in the singular, one would hope) can be kissed on their day (I'll send mine via the Open Road pedln mentioned to the Carolinas).

    What's keeping them? Must be Tom Brokaw trying to spit it out of his mouth. No doubt, the June winner is a tough pronunciation for ole Tom!

    Jane? Jane? Has anyone seen Jane? Is she the one with the lampshade on her head?

    Kevin Freeman
    May 7, 2005 - 05:18 pm
    Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress: 2-1 odds.
    The Bone People: 3-1 odds.

    (And now, yet another commercial message so we don't have to stare at the big map of blue books and red books for awhile.)

    May 7, 2005 - 05:25 pm
    Well, I'm here. Where is everyone? Where's the party?

    May 7, 2005 - 05:33 pm
    I thought we went by San Francisco time? -- since that is the time displayed in the posts?

    Kevin Freeman
    May 7, 2005 - 05:43 pm
    Joan. I am HERE. Isn't that party enough? (Never mind that I don't drink... alcohol does not equal party, right?)

    pat, pat, pat. That San Francisco treat is so... old school. Good enough for most book groups, I'm sure, but the "Read Around the (and I BOLD TYPE) World" Book Group? Surely not.

    We are all Greenwich, all the time. International Date Line. Ready, set, go. Where it all begins. Leaders. Vanguardians. In the forefront. Blazing international trails. In BaBi's case, eating chocolate. English toffee, maybe.

    Yeah, yeah, it's a gimmick, but it's a NICE gimmick and one whose time (sic) has come, no? Plus it's so, as they say in the Dead Language, apropos, don't you think?

    (White rabbit checks watch... almost 1 a.m. now, May 8th... we're late!)

    May 7, 2005 - 07:12 pm
    where can I find greenwich time? Happy Mother's Day! Giacomo won:) surprise:)

    May 7, 2005 - 07:19 pm
    I agree, Kevin, the odds seem to favor the little Chinese seamstress, though Poland, always a perennial favorite, is just about running neck and neck.

    The Kirino, not as well-known, not heavily reviewed, would offer a big payout if it came in first.

    Then, the trio from down under, a fighting chance, with the Maoris having a slight edge.

    It's anyone's guess folks, until the polls close it's a toss-up. Signing off until tomorrow AM. It's time now to check on Jane -- Marple, that is, that favorite British detective, appearing on local PBS

    Kevin Freeman
    May 8, 2005 - 03:32 am
    Oh, man, what a mess. Long time no Greenwich Mean Party. Empty bottles all over the floor. Pizza slices stuck to the wall. Lampshades missing (Jane???). Upset and mostly empty (except for ones bitten into to "test" what's inside) Whitman's Sampler chocolates (BaBi???). Funny little hats. Noisemakers (that'd be me). Somebody's pantyhose on the chandelier (very Gatsby-like). Some Brokaw guy passed out in the shrubbery out back.

    Well, you have to start picking up somewhere, but this has got to stop. It's one thing to party, but to party without reason? I mean, Chinese favorites be damned -- wanton partying like this? Inexcusable.

    And the guest of honor -- some June Nominee lady -- never even showing up! Clean missed her cue. Turned into a pumpkin at the stroke of Midnight in Greenwich. It came upon a midnight clearly, but the star of wonder never appeared.

    Whew. Just plug in the vacuum and break out the Windex and 409, would you? Pedln, grab the mop. Joan, pass over the paper towels. Pat, it's OK if you're still on San Francisco time, be a pal and corral that overboiled pot of Rice-a-Roni, would you?

    We are now only an hour and a half from High Noon, Greenwich Mean Time, and trust me when I say we've got our work cut out for us if this place is gonna look spiffy for the much-anticipated and now incredibly-late announcement.

    Whistle while you work and pass the elbow grease, then.

    May 8, 2005 - 06:44 am
    Sorry, I missed your party. I was out to the cinema.

    May 8, 2005 - 06:56 am
    The proposed discussion for June is The Bone People

    Please come indicate if you're going to join the Read around the World group come June 1.


    Mrs Sherlock
    May 8, 2005 - 07:02 am
    Is this a New England type of party? Rice-a-roni? Is that an attempt to get on the good side of the San Francisco contingent? Where is the Brie? The pot stickers? The Dungeness Crab? So, not every body drinks alcohol (for some of us it is a drug) where is the bottled waters? The sourdough? I"ll help clean up, but sheesh, some party.

    May 8, 2005 - 07:09 am
    NOT GUILTY, KEVIN! I never leave a 'bitten into' piece of chocolate! So rude! (But I sure would like to know who did. What a waste!)

    Meanwhile, where are the large garbage bags? I can gather up most of this trash in five minutes. The pizza on the walls, now, that's going to be a problem!

    Please don't hassle the announcement person. In her part of the world, she's probably still asleep. Making her get up in the middle of the night (there) would only make her grumpy. Patience!


    May 8, 2005 - 07:15 am
    Several of you seem to have a bit of a hang-over this morning? Hmm...

    The results have posted. The results are in the header...

    Hmmm....the announcement was back in post #663

    Election Central "---Read Around the World Book Club" Announcement

    Mrs Sherlock
    May 8, 2005 - 07:20 am
    I'm off to order my copies of Balzac, Shadow and House.

    Kevin Freeman
    May 8, 2005 - 07:45 am
    Thank you, Jane, for your election results and your hangover cures ("hair of the dog" seems to be going over especially well this morning).

    Thank you, BaBi, for summoning up those large garbage bags. Would you hoist my wife's grandmother's ottoman in there while you're at it? When she's not looking, of course.

    Thank you, Mrs. Sherlock, for not bringing crab bisque and other sea-for-yourself food. I like oysters, shrimp, and scallop, but not lobster or fish. Don't tell my fellow New Englanders, would you?

    Thank you, Pat, for choosing the cinema paradisio over Round-the-World pandemonio.

    Thank you, Mayor of Greenwich, for giving us your time.

    Thank you, my aunt in Schenectady, for teaching me how to spell "Schenectady."

    And thank you, useless skeleton keys still on our key hooks, for still being on our key hooks. Just in time to unlock The Bone People.

    The streak continues! I have not voted for a winner since FDR!!!

    May 8, 2005 - 07:46 am
    Congratulations to the winner, and bless you, Jane. How early did you have to get up to announce the winner and put up a proposal page? Well done.

    Here's a link to info about author Hulme, from the New Zealand Book Council.

    Keri Hulme

    Traude S
    May 8, 2005 - 08:00 am
    Congratulations are in order.

    JANE, thank you for your equanimity. A bit disappointing though, isn't it, trying to sneak in more than one vote per capita? hhmmmmm

    Count me in, I will be here June 1st.

    Joan Pearson
    May 8, 2005 - 08:09 am
    Traudee, will you click the link in the header and register your intention to participate in the Bone People discussion site so you will be counted "IN".

    To all of you mothers' children, a day of happy remembrance and thanks!

    May 8, 2005 - 08:09 am
    I've added a link to the header to indicate your interest in joining The Bone People discussion

    Kevin Freeman
    May 8, 2005 - 08:25 am
    Thanks, Jane. You're the best darned tally counter west of the International Date Line (where I arranged my first date with my wife, it so happens).

    To all you mothers out there, have a great day.

    May 9, 2005 - 11:31 am
    Hey, I still have my Whitman Sampler box. Want pieces everyone. See you at the other site.

    May 9, 2005 - 02:26 pm
    DIBS on the carmels....or turtles...or both!!

    May 9, 2005 - 03:16 pm
    Anything chocolate -- light or dark sounds really good. I received a lovely orchid plant, but there is no substitute for chocolate candies.

    May 9, 2005 - 06:52 pm
    I have a chocolate hangover. My husband gave me chocolate for mother's day, and then my son gave me more. I couldn't hurt either of their feelings by not eating theirs, could I? Lucky my daughter gave me that certificate for books.

    Kevin Freeman
    May 10, 2005 - 02:45 am
    Nobody got pizza for Mother's Day? Lampshades? Full bottles?

    In any event, the party's over, the polls are closed, and the book has been writ. Still, politics was fun again for one, brief shining moment.

    May 10, 2005 - 03:44 am
    Bonjour and congratulations on your choice of our June selection!

    I must tell you, I lack only about 50 pages of The Shadow of the Wind, (because I keep putting it down to prolong the experience), and it's one of the best books I have read in a LONNNG time, and one I recommend unreservedly.

    We must read this book, what a wonderful bunch of new authors await us, mentioned in this discussion. What good taste you have! Shadow of the Wind is all over the news here in Paris, has been on the bestseller lists of Spain and there's nothing like it. I absolutely love it. Forget the coming of age business, forget every preconception, this book we MUST read, if not in this discussion, somewhere else.

    Super story and full of great repeating metaphors and philosophy, it's out of this world.

    When I saw your choice of The Bone People here in Paris I bought the last copy from the window of the store and also got a copy of The Noodle Maker, here in paperback.

    I read the first chapter of the Noodle Maker in the Tuileries, it's excellent very short and very very good. Excellent book.

    I read the first 4 chapters of the Bone People and all I can say is hahaha it's going to be a challenge and I'm glad we have you all to explain it to me because I sure don't understand a word of it. hahaaha

    And it's in English. ahhaaha

    THIS one will be "one for the Books," don't despair if you pick it up and can't make heads or tails of it, just show up on June 1 and let's see which of you can explain it to the rest of us. hahaahah

    Also in Paris another Maiori author is quite the rage, last name starts with I, I wrote it down but don't have it with me, he's quite sensitive and very intelligent so I'm glad we have a potential of more than one, because obviously we can't get THIS author in here (and you'll see why when you begin the Bone People) but we have, I see, Carolyn from New Zealand in the discussion for June, which will be wonderful. The joys of an international discussion.

    I was so impressed with this other Maiori author on television I want his book as well, he was quite interesting on the Maiori situation. I think we will all benefit from hearing all these different voices, just like walking down a Paris street and hearing a million languages.

    Run, don't walk, as Michael Dirda of the Washington Post said, and get a copy of The Shadow of the Wind, you will NOT regret it.

    Already I am comparing it to the Kite Runner, how the author did this or that, how he introduced this or that of the culture, and I think we should do that too in our series, not just for these two but for all of them, this is a series, after all.

    And if you did not read The Kite Runner, it makes no difference, we can look at how each author, as we come to him or her, makes his or her point.

    A bientot, am off to Rome!

    (RUN get Shadow of the Wind!!)

    May 10, 2005 - 08:41 am
    Ginny, it's great to see your post and to hear what's "in" in Paris and other places. Am glad you can find books in English. It's been 10 years since I was in Europe, and it was hard to find them then and all we could do was take pot luck from our travel companions.

    I just checked my library and they do have "Shadow of the Wind," but unfortunately not "Bone People." But that is available at the local U. They used to check out to us townies, so will have to check on that. The real problem with checking books out there is finding a place to park within reasonable walking distance.

    Am just finishing up "Hamilton Case" and it would fit in well, I think, with the upcoming Curious Minds on Mothers and Sons. Very well written, raises a lot of questions and then leaves you pondering. Uplifting it is not. Also have "Balzac and the little Chinese Seamstress" from the library.

    And for you chocolate lovers, Bookmarks Magazine gives 3 1/2 stars to Mort Rosenblum's "Chocolate:A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light" -- cacao lore from around the world. He thinks French chocolate is the best. And if that is not enough, try Steve Almond's "Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America." (4 stars)

    May 11, 2005 - 05:38 pm
    If you want to read more about Ginny in France, look here:


    Kevin Freeman
    May 13, 2005 - 05:49 pm
    In my most recent book order, I finally received a copy of Olga Tokarczuk's House of Day, House of Night.
    I've only sampled the beginning pages, but like the "voice" and had a flashback to an old friend of mine
    (Leo Tolstoy) while reading it.

    War & Peace in Poland, you say? Anna Karenina, actually. Something tells me it's a favorite of Olga's (as it was of mine when I read it so very long ago).

    Here's an excerpt from p. 3 of House...; it's about her neighbor, Marta:

    "[Marta] is small, her hair is white as snow, and some of her teeth are missing. Her skin is wrinkled, dry and warm. I know this, because we have sometimes greeted each other with a kiss or an awkward hug, and I have caught her smell -- of damp forced to dry out quickly. This smell lingers forever, it can't be got rid of... The smell of damp is usually unpleasant, but on Marta's clothes and skin it smells nice and familiar. If Marta's around, everything's in its place and in perfect order.

    She came by on our second evening. First we drank tea, then last year's rosehip wine, thick and dark, so sweet it makes you feel dizzy at the first gulp. I was unpacking books. Marta held her glass in both hands and watched without curiosity. It occurred to me at the time that perhaps she didn't know how to read. It was possible, as she was old enough to have missed out on state education. I have noticed since that letters simply don't hold her attention, but I have never asked her about it.

    The dogs were excited and kept coming in and out of the house, bringing the scent of winter and wind on their fur. As soon as they had warmed up in front of the kitchen fire, they felt the lure of the garden again. Marta stroked their backs with her long, bony fingers, telling them how beautiful they were. She spoke only to the dogs all evening. I watched her out of the corner of my eye as I arranged the books on the wooden shelves. A lamp lit up the crown of her head, from which fell a tuft of thin white hair, tied at the nape of her neck into a little pigtail."

    I loved the bit about the dogs, but I had seen its like before. It was in Tolstoy's book, and I always remembered it because I love olfactory writers especially, and Tolstoy is one of the best.

    In Anna Karenina, Chapter 27, Levin returns to his country estate and is greeted by his old dog, Laska. It goes like this, in the Constance Garnett translation:

    "... Old Laska, who had not yet fully digested her delight at his return and had run out into the yard to bark, came back wagging her tail and crept up to him, bringing in the scent of the fresh air, put her head under his hand, and whined plaintively, asking to be petted.

    'There, who'd have thought it' said Agafya Milhailovna. 'The dog now... why, she understands that her master's come home and that he's depressed.'"

    It's the little details that do ya as a reader. Or maybe I'm just too much the dog man and like the whole concept of dogs bringing "weather" inside.

    Kevin Freeman
    May 14, 2005 - 10:13 am
    Given the high quality of so many nominees in the two previous ballots, I wonder if the July choice should just be chosen from the two runner-ups (runners-up?) combined (or at least from the "best of" the two lists).

    A number of us have dabbled in the early pages of many candidates and found gold in them thar international hills.

    Well, a consideration anyway.

    May 16, 2005 - 07:10 am
    That's a good idea, but the others will probably revolt. Not that this is a revolting group. Your "humor" is contageous. Good thing I have a virus barrier on this machine!
    I officially withdraw Morgan's Run, however. I've just reread it and it is long. Probably too long for a one month discussion. And I don't think I could stand rereading it for the 3rd time so soon. But anyone looking for summer reading could still pick it up. It's about Australia and has nothing at all in common with Bone People.

    May 16, 2005 - 07:58 am
    Witi Ihimaera, the author of Whale Rider, is possibly the best known of the Maori writers in the Western World.


    Kevin Freeman
    May 16, 2005 - 03:14 pm
    Well, Mippy, maybe it is a revolting idea. I don't know. Should be you can repeat nominate as often as you want, if you wish. But then, how many days and nights can House of Day, House of Night repeat?

    About all it has going for it after two defeats is, There is nothing new under the sun. Vanity of vanities; all is vanity. The book also ariseth, and the book goeth down, and hasteth to its place where it arose.

    And all that Ecclesiastes kind of stuff that I know and love in an Old Testament kind of way.

    May 16, 2005 - 05:21 pm
    I see nothing wrong with the idea of reading choices #2 and #3 on down the road. We already know there are people interested in those books. We could at least include them in the next list of choices.

    I pick up my copy of 'Bone People' tomorrow. I hope to have it well absorbed by June 1.


    Kevin Freeman
    May 16, 2005 - 05:44 pm
    All right, BaBi! Look forward to you being in the mix.

    Mrs Sherlock
    May 18, 2005 - 04:55 am
    Rec'd my order with House and Wind; Kevin's description of House was enough for me to put it on the TBR (to be read) pile, but I dived into Wind and Ginny didn't praise it enough. First, it is about book lovers. Second, the prose is so entrancing, it is hard to believe that it is a translation. I'll post a couple of sentences later, just to show how the words are spun together (not in the perjorative sense!).

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    May 18, 2005 - 09:29 am
    Mrs Sherlock your decription makes me want to stop what I am reading and get into my copy - it had been on the bottom of my coffee table pile for weeks now - at least it is on the coffee table pile and not in the spare room pile...

    May 18, 2005 - 09:57 am
    Could we put the list of past suggestions back in the heading? I didn't copy it, and I'd like to get some of the books.

    I suggest that next month, we start with all the books that got at least one vote, add new suggestions, and vote. We don't need to reinvent the wheel each time.

    Kevin Freeman
    May 18, 2005 - 12:17 pm
    Didn't every book get at least one vote last time? Can't say about the first vote. And yeah, it'd be great to have a database of titles previously nominated. Maybe a single link to a page where they are all located, so it doesn't clutter up the thread head (akin to "bed head" when it gets messy).

    I've been nicking a page here, a page (of all places) there, with House of Day, House of Night. It goes from character to character and thus is episodic in nature -- at least in the early going. Similar, then, to maybe Winesburg, Ohio. The writing is good stuff. Rich as cheesecake.

    And shazam if Tokarczuk doesn't mention Anna Karenina a few pages after the dog quote. Sometimes suspects return to the scene of the crime sooner rather than later.

    I will buy a WIND book at some point, but neglected to when making my latest big purchase on-line. Maybe it's a breezy read for July (beach read). You know. Books. Sand. Green flies. Salt sticking to your skin. Suspense. Smell of tanning lotion. Antagonists. Foils. Sunglasses. Denouement. Someone's beach umbrella impaling your left foot to the ground.

    Hey, don't laugh. It happened to Daniel one Day-Lewis and they made a movie (My Left Foot) out of it.

    May 18, 2005 - 12:44 pm
    As requested, there are links in the header to the April and May ballots.

    April 2005 ballot

    May 2005 ballot

    I've added the votes each book got after the listing on the May ballot.


    Mrs Sherlock
    May 18, 2005 - 01:22 pm
    Jane, you are an angel. Thanks.

    May 18, 2005 - 03:13 pm
    Sad to say, beach reading is not in my future at all, at all. Beach to me translates to sunburn/windburn, twisting of arthritic feet in soft sand, and falling in the surf when said sand departs from under said feet. On my last foray to the beach, I had to literally crawl back onto the firmer section. One of my more embarassing moments. (*~*(


    Mrs Sherlock
    May 18, 2005 - 05:54 pm
    Babi, not much fun. I have to cover up, hat, long sleeves, etc. My favorite times at the beach is when it is blowing and the surf is high, waves crashing, gulls crying and wheeling. This is where Kevin's dog comes in, there is nothing like wet, sandy dog!

    Kevin Freeman
    May 18, 2005 - 06:22 pm
    Thanks, Jane, for moving in mysterious(-ly quick) ways. Talk about keeping an eye on the joint. The shadow knows!

    BaBi, I suggest you give the beach another go. When you fall in the surf, you float like Ivory Soap (especially before the sunburn). Like Jackie, I like the surf high and the waves crashing and the salt-foam churning all washing machine-like. I like to stay in until my fingertips and the palms of my hands prune all purplish-blue, too. Then come out. But the sun's a must, of course, to make you toasty again by warming the blue out of you.

    Well you could swim out beyond where the waves crash and float on your back and just rise and fall with the swells and swear the ocean's breathing beneath you. Watery inhales. Watery exhales. And you watch the blue sky and it gets crisscrossed with gulls and terns and eiders and sandpipers and the occasional plane pulling a long-tailed advertisement to some pizza joint up at the pier.

    You could pull up and tread water, then feel how much colder the water is down by your feet and look in at the beach all mottled with humanity. Then you notice how cheerful the blue and yellow awnings are on the weather-beaten cottages lining the shore. The voices and the children screaming and laughing from shore seem distant and bottled and it makes you feel lonely out there and you can't think of Jaws because it steals the moment and the ocean will no longer be your friend but rather like a conspirator forcing you in out of fear and guilt for feeling fearful. Afterall, this is not Australia, home of the Great White. But imaginations can be both Great and White as well.

    So you swim in, and you catch a wave by body surfing, and the rush makes you 16 again, the way the water races under your belly and legs and the way you hold your breath with your back arched and your hands pointing out like the prow of a ship.

    When you catch the wave right, you're scraping sand in no time because your body torpedoes toward shore, perhaps decking a slow-moving wader or bowling over a clueless little kid. Salt up your nose, sand down your suit, and apologies all around. Sometimes you duck your head underwater and it sounds like the insides of many shells and like some siren call from the deep is meant just for you, but that's always been there and you've known to distrust it since you were a child. Listening is fine -- it's following that can get you in trouble.

    Just get up, get out, and make yourself presentable for the sand and the blanket or chair. I prefer the chair because you can read and look up at passing scenery with minimal effort. A little Stendahl, a little passing humanity who act like you're not even there -- people whose only role in life seems to be walking on and off your stage in a cameo once and only once. Each of these people has a story and a history and a future, but you don't follow that, either, you just keep them as bit players on your own personal stage and then say goodbye forever without attachments, opinions, or concern.

    I have always enjoyed going to the beach alone with a book. I don't know if this makes me a Romantic or a selfish person. Or maybe Romantics are selfish people. But it's always poignant there because you need only close your eyes and it could be any year and any beach from your past no matter how old you are. Time travel with salt itching your back, call it. And it's so lovely, it's scary sometimes.

    Yes, a beach book'll work for me fine.

    May 18, 2005 - 07:29 pm
    Thanks, Kevin.

    Speaking of green flies, have you seen Werner Herzog's Wo die grünen Ameisen träumen? It is sad, but beautiful, and less intense, in a way, than when Herzog visits South America, which he mostly recently visited at the SF International Film Festival, without me.


    Mrs Sherlock
    May 19, 2005 - 05:03 am
    Ah, Kevin, you've got Beachology 101 aced. My beach does have Great Whites occassionally, but to make up for it you can gaze at the sea and imagine that feudal Japan is just over the horizon. I was there in March, watching the surfers, and the air was full of mist that didn't make you cold or wet, just seemed a natural extension of the landscape.

    May 19, 2005 - 07:35 am
    Babi, I'm with you about beaches, although I love to look at the water. Just can't take the sun. Puerto Rico, where I lived for 10 years, had great beaches, with palm trees and SHADE.

    Kevin, you do make a good case for beaches. Yesterday I was with a group that was talking about a young mother who had just given birth. The main point of interest was that the proud parents had named the baby after a beach -- Makena (?) in Hawaii (?)

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    May 19, 2005 - 09:41 am
    Our trips to the Gulf are magical Sunrise over the fishing pier on Arnasas My favorite time is after a day of jumping waves and going out further till your feet hit the sandbar again - waving the grands in as they are unknowingly being swept down the beach by the current - building sand castles - being ready with fresh water to stop the stinging of the salt water in someone's eyes and then rushing with the meat tenderizer to the one who swam into a jelly fish and setting the patient up under the sun shelter till they can cry it out [Golly do they hurt] ~~ than in an hour or so later, back into the water, this time with a raft or surf board ~ all the while the sandbirds are scrambling after what each wave brings on shore and a mass of gulls and terns are descending for the crumbs that some little one eating trails behind them and the pelicans are swooping low grabbing a fish, that reminds you of what is really in the water we are playing in. wheee what a day...Typical day on the beaches of Aransas

    But to me the best is at night after this full day followed by dinner spread out on newspaper of boiled shrimp, crab, potatoes and corn and large dipping bowls of melted butter - hammers pounding and fingers getting out every last bit of crab - followed by a trip to the ice cream store - with everyone piled in two cars singing loud and raucous on the way.

    Then the magic time - sitting on the bulkheads and watching the night - like a huge bowl with no horizon - the stars are thick and the wind blows so hard you cannot even hear the waves crashing into the jetty - if you could ride the wind and follow the distant lights twinkling on the oil platforms that create a path into the stars, for a minute, you feel like Aeolus, Custodian of the Winds or Amphitrite in a chariot riding out to see Tethys, goddess of the seas as we wheel around with Nyx the goddess of the night.

    Beach Books?? naw - like TV - no way...!

    May 19, 2005 - 10:08 am
    Kevin, Barbara: thank you both for bringing my days at the beach back so vividly. Those of you who love the ocean and beach, do you all know a book "The Outermost House" by Henry Beston? In the 1920s (if I remember correctly) he built a house on the beach on Cape Cod when nothing was there but the lighthouse, and writes about the year he spent there, mostly alone. Whenever I'm feeling down, I reread it.

    I'm among those who can't go on the beach anymore in my wheelchair. But whenever I visit my daughter in California, I make her take me and the grandkids to Redondo beach, and push me along the boardwalk, eating choros, looking at the ocean, the seals, and the pelicans diving for food. And teaching my grandkids how to tell the baby gulls from the adults, and how the different kinds of sandpipers find their food in different ways.

    Mrs Sherlock
    May 19, 2005 - 10:25 am
    San Francisco has a beach along its western edge, lined with parking and four lanes of traffic. There is a walkway, also. Nothing but beach, sea and sky. No pesky vendors, only surfers changing into/out of wetsuits behind their cars, people with their kids, dogs, significant others, bicycles, kites, etc.

    May 19, 2005 - 12:05 pm
    KEVIN, I had to laugh at the idea of me floating in two inches of water! The little waves curling around my feet are sufficient to pull away the sand and dump me. Maybe I can just sit on the pier with Barbara in the evening and enjoy the water from there.


    Kevin Freeman
    May 20, 2005 - 02:52 am
    Wow. Lots of Left Coasters here. Sunsets over the water. Here it's sunrises over the water. Although, out on the Cape, you can watch the sunset OVER the water (a la West Coast) quite nicely, too. In fact, you can catch an oceanic sunrise and an oceanic sunset all in the same day. Cheating, but so what.

    Joan, I loved "The Outermost House," but then I'm a sucker for all those live-alone-in-the-woods (or beach, or plains, or lakeside) books because my goal in life has always been to be a "gentleman farmer" (code words for "socially-accepted do-nothing").

    Thus, my affinity for Norwegian author Knut Hamsun (beloved of the "Lost Generation" in the 20s), who wrote books like Pan, about a lone (well, with his trusty and faithful dog) hunter who lives on the wild Norwegian coast (back when one could a-fjord it). Too bad Hamsun, like Ezra Pound, was a political fascist of sorts. Read the book, hold your nose while walking by the bio, I always say.

    P.S. BaBi -- have you ever considered the old plant-your-beach-chair-at-the-edge-of-the-water trick? Stable seating, with all the watery amenities (seaweed free of charge). The boardwalk is OK, but it a-piers you haven't heard of splinters.

    Mrs Sherlock
    May 20, 2005 - 04:23 am
    Kevin, you brighten each day that you post. I know its a vulgar habit, but I love puns. Thank you.

    May 20, 2005 - 10:02 am
    Well, Mrs. Sherlock, we have something in common, then.


    Mrs Sherlock
    May 20, 2005 - 12:18 pm
    My (too) early assessment of the Spanish book with Wind in the title has not held up. I'll have to reread that first section, maybe I was reading something else entirely! The tale is predictable and the prose is very ordinary; in fact, it is slow going, slow.

    May 20, 2005 - 03:11 pm
    Mrs. Sherlock--

    This book did not at all grab me, either, although I did not read more than a few pages. It sounded like it would remind me of Jose Maria Gironella's now out-of-print The Cypresses Believe in God, so I was rather excited to read it. Maybe I was expecting too much--anyone in here who has read and loved Cypresses should feel free to laugh at me now, but part of my reason for joining this Reading adventure Around the World is the fear that there is another Jose Maria Gironella out there whom I have never heard of or read.

    Let me know how your second look resolves itself, Mrs. Sherlock.


    Mrs Sherlock
    May 20, 2005 - 05:23 pm
    Kleo, will do. Life is too short to waste on books which do not enthrall, right? The mail brought a book Kevin praised, Across the Nightingale Floor, by Lian Hearn. He mentioned feudal Japan; now I read Shogun four times! And every Clavell book since. I'm at page 26 and its holding up well.

    May 20, 2005 - 05:42 pm
    I have just finished "Across the Nightingale Floor." And have ordered "Grass for His Pillow", which is the 2nd book of the triolgy. My regional library has it, but it takes 3 days for it to come

    Kevin Freeman
    May 20, 2005 - 05:50 pm
    Whoa, seeing double up in the Bone People Bone People thread(s). I guess we get a shiny new one on the First of June, beautiful June.

    Jackie, I have Books #2 and #3 of the TALES OF THE OTORI waiting to be savored after I finish boning up on Hulme's TALES OF THE MAORI for this here Global Reading Group. Only on p. 60 with the Bones. It's a big book page-wise, and the print is small to boot. But it's onward and it's Christian Soldiers (which we wish was an oxymoron but isn't).

    Sorry to hear you all are getting Winded by that Shadow of the Wind book. Perhaps I should be glad I didn't order it afterall? It sounds a bit like Arturo-Perez Reverte's The Club Dumas, another international bestseller with whiffs of Espanol and books.

    Thanks for the kind words, Jackie. Most people are chary with them. You share. A nice trait, that.

    P.S. Pat! We have a little OTORI-ON-THE-SIDE Club forming! I would pass the Sue Shi, but I went to school with her and know she doesn't like it.

    May 21, 2005 - 09:54 am
    I was surprised to see that some of you didn't like Zafon's "Shadow of the Wind". I found it a fascinating story.

    I've started "The Bone People", barely past the prologues. I'm glad I got it early; I'm going to need the time.


    May 21, 2005 - 12:17 pm

    I'm never surprised when someone likes something I don't care for or vice-versa. That's why there are billions of books out there I've never read and never will, some of which you love. On my list of favorite international authors are I. B. Singer and Par Lagerkvist, both Nobel Laureates. However, I've learned not to recommend them to folks as they are not stylistically well-loved. I also love Werner Herzog movies and Wagnerian opera. Try to get someone who isn't German to go with me? Hah!


    Traude S
    May 21, 2005 - 12:54 pm
    Kleo, do you mean that anyone German, past or present, loves Wagner and Werner Herzog movies?

    Seriously, my mother LOVED Wagner, especially "The Ring of the Nibelung" (and saddled me with the names of two Valkyries). I can barely suffer him but will make a small grudging exception for the "Pilgerchor" from "Tannhäuser" and "The Flying Dutchman" = Der fliegende Holländer . I frankly find him too bombastic. And "Die Meistersinger" is insufferable to me.

    Pår Lagerkvist is probably best known for "Barabbas". Whose style are you referring to ? Is there a stylistic parallel between Singer and Lagerkvist?

    Oops, almost forgot, I have never seen a Werner Herzog movie, not here nor during one of my visits back. I know of him, of course. He was a post-WW II phenomenon. Didn't he die of his own hand ?

    May 21, 2005 - 12:55 pm
    ... I have Shadow of the Wind shipping in my Amazon order ...
    Was it a mistake? Didn't some of you enjoy it?

    And off-subject, as usual, does anyone want to see a picture of my garden, taken last year, to see what I do all summer: garden for the butterflies and birds, as well as vegetables for people?
    The photo is post #845 in Photos, Then and Now. (cannot figure out how to link within the seniornet boards, yet)
    When the weather clears up, here at Cape Cod, my time in these groups will be mostly after dark, as daylight hours will be mostly in the soil, tilling away ... and in Latin class, where the work is still going strong, even though Ginny is away.

    May 21, 2005 - 01:15 pm

    Lol, Traude. No, I meant the only people I've ever gone to Herzog movies with who love them are Germans. Everyone in my family loves Wagner, though, as we grew up listening to him--"Ride of the Valkeries" being an obvious kiddie favorite even before Star Wars. But amongst my friends who love opera, only Germans (and I don't mean German-Americans) seem to like Wagner. Your exceptions don't include Tristan und Isolde?

    There's no parallel between the writing styles of Singer and Lagerkvist that I was thinking of, it's just their works are both distinctively styled, they're both mid-twentieth century, wrote in languages other than English (Yiddish for Singer, Swedish for Lagerkvist), are Nobel Laureates, and two of my favorite authors that other folks often don't care for. However, come to think of it, Lagerkvist's short story The Hangman and his novel The Dwarf, a far better novel than the more popular Barabbas in my opinion, remind me a bit of some of Singer's more accessible works (by which I mean, Shosha versus Satan in Goray),


    May 21, 2005 - 01:18 pm

    Unlike many of our other books, I think Shadow of the Wind was nominated by someone who had actually read and loved the book. This is why I picked it up first, of the list, because someone had read it. So, it seems two liked it, and two didn't care for it (one of whom, moi, didn't read it).


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    May 21, 2005 - 02:01 pm
    Jeder für sich und Gott gegen nurturing God here...

    and then - AGUIRRE, das heroische Irre alleine auf seinem Floß überlaufen durch Affen...are we all alone overrun by monkeys on our raft through life?

    May 21, 2005 - 02:31 pm
    Here's Mippy's link:

    Photo of part of Mippy's garden

    May 21, 2005 - 02:42 pm
    Barbara, I'm lost -- What does post #719 have to do with Read Around the World?

    May 21, 2005 - 03:53 pm

    I brought up a couple of artists in other areas, film and opera, who are more familiar examples than the Around-the-World authors I mentioned to show two people who have a devoted fan base, but are not like by everyone in response to Babi's surprise that some of us didn't like Shadow of the Wind. There is a lot of literature, music, film, that is considered great by many, but not all of us will be devotees.

    Traude mentioned she dosen't like Wagner in spite of being German, a light jab at my comment about needing Germans for viewing companions.

    Then Barbara's mentioned a famous scene from Herzog's 1972 movie, Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes, meaning I should have invited Barbara to SF International Film Festival to watch the premier of Herzog's latest!!! Barbara, is your translation of "Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle" overly polite? Lol. Now I have to find my Aguirre!

    It's simply exposure to more artistic expression around the world.


    Traude S
    May 21, 2005 - 05:03 pm
    MIPPY, thanks to JANE we could enjoy the picture of your beautiful garden on the Cape; what a truly magnificent sight for sore eyes today, a very cold May day on the South Shore. The present temperature is 46° as of this writing. Am I correct in assuing the picture is from last spring or summer ?

    Thank you again for sharing.

    Traude S
    May 21, 2005 - 05:46 pm
    KLEO, it just has occurred to me that I mistook WERNER HERZOG for Rainer WERNER FASSBINDER.

    Fassbinder also was a film maker, he too was born in Bavaria, but three years after Herzog (in 1945).

    Fassbinder was a known "enfant terrible" and lived his private life very openly on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Herzog married, Fassbinder was not.

    It was Fassbinder who died in 1982 (of an overdose, it was said). I believe Herzog is still very much alive.

    I am sorry I confused the names of these two cinematic greats.

    May 21, 2005 - 06:05 pm

    Yes, Werner Herzog is still very much alive. The raft scene, though, is from Herzog's Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes. I don't recall the other quote, but it is, in it's less polite form, something Herzog might say.

    Fassbinder is known in the US for Die Ehe der Maria Braun.

    At least you know their names to confuse the two.


    Kevin Freeman
    May 21, 2005 - 08:16 pm
    Mippy, vous avez une jardin belle sur la Cape de Cod (une Poisson que je can mange parce qu'il ne tastez pas comme poisson parce que je n'aime pas le taste des poissons as une rule unlessez ils ont beaucoup de ketchup dans it. Aussitot, vous etes trés lucky avoir une maison sur la Cape. Ooh la la, comme ils disent.

    As pour le cinéma, j'adore les filmes de directeur fameux Jerry de Lewis, et vous? Ils sont joli (mais na pas St. Nicholas).

    Je pense c'est Ginny qui adoré le livre, LE SHADOWE DE VENT, non? Elle parle c'est le meilleur chose since pain de sliced.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    May 21, 2005 - 11:53 pm
    Kavin - Fischer Wieser has a terrific sauce - Mango Habaňero - just mix it half and half with tarter sauce and le bon appitite - vos poissons sera scrumptious...

    And the shadow grows - which way it goes no one knows...

    Mippy the photo of your garden is pretty enough to be a postcard - can't tell - is the red flower either red Sage or Salvia?

    May 22, 2005 - 12:11 am
    Ketchup on fish? Malt vinegar and ketchup on deep-fried oysters maybe.


    May 22, 2005 - 03:19 am
    Sage is a Salvia, Barbara. Is there only one picture? I can't really tell anything from the picture what the flower is. Mippy, more photos? A close-up? Carolyn, how about the NZ flora? Some home photos? I could should our research plants, but in-situ would be nicer.


    Kevin Freeman
    May 22, 2005 - 05:31 am
    I only say ketchup (or catsup) due to Mom's old trick of sticking fish sticks in the oven on Friday nights. Those practically BEGGED for ketchup or something, ANYthing, to disguise the taste.

    Tartar sauce was outlawed by the Geneva Convention (one would hope).

    Mrs Sherlock
    May 22, 2005 - 07:57 am
    Mippy, I want to put in butterfly plants but fear they will attract bees. We have severe allergies in the family and I hesitate to take the chance of increased bee traffic. Do you have recommendations? I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, inland which means not fog but sun.

    May 22, 2005 - 08:09 am
    for you nice comments! Yes, that is a photo from July 2004. And Kleo is correct (as always!) about that being salvia, which is red sage. There are 122 species of salvia-type plants in the U.S., and most do attract butterflies, which is why I love them.

    Yes, butterfly plants will attract bees, which I also love, but it's obvious that anyone with allergies would have to make a hard decision.

    Kevin, je ne sai pas what catsup has to do with Cape Cod (cannot remember past tense in French, only doing Latin this year
    until you wrote about fish sticks and catsup on Friday nights.
    My darling son-in-law, when I first met him 5 years ago, didn't eat seafood due to that menu served by his own mother for years.
    Now, including last evening, he and daughter tuck into lobsters! and sea scallops for a starter.
    We sure have a tough life here on Cape Cod.

    Traude S
    May 22, 2005 - 09:42 am
    Aaaah, KEVIN ! Volà une surprise ce matin - en Franglais !

    = And there was a surprise this morning, in Franglais.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    May 22, 2005 - 10:53 am
    ah lobster - haven't had any in years - prefered it in a salad though - and scollops fixed with a cream sauce was a favorite. However, the Soup Peddler had a fish stew this year with baby scallops floating around - interesting - sounds like many have eaten breaded componants of fish - almost like fishcakes with a heavy breading - not the greatest food they developed was it...ah so...and the industry of feeding the millions carries on...

    Here we call what grows wild and transplanted into our gardens - Red Sage - and the nursery bought plant, which is more compact and a brighter red, we call it just that Red Salvia.

    Since we have such a prolific deer population in order to attract butterflies our choices are limited - but I notice ever since I planted the St. John's Wort in the front a few months ago I am seeing more butterflies in the front of the house. I also put in some Rosemary but it is not blooming and some Texas Canyon Daisies which have been blooming - and so I am not sure what is attracting the Butterflies. We only had a good discussion about butterfly gardening in Curious Minds last month that included links to various nurseries and a place in Florida that would give out milkweed seeds - since we are on the Monarch flight pattern planting milkweed is a must to replace the feeding areas that are disappearing as land use is changed with the construction of new housing.

    I never thought - I wonder if Monarchs are a butterfly active in other parts of the world as well as in North America - does anyone know?

    May 22, 2005 - 02:33 pm
    This is fun!
    Eating around the world to go along with reading around the world!

    Barbara: don't you get wonderful fresh gulf shrimp in your location?Ran out of time -- will research monarch butterflies later ...

    Sorry for all the typos in the earlier post. House full of company and posting on line
    are apparently too much for moi.

    Fractured Franglais, Kevin. Et tu?

    May 22, 2005 - 03:10 pm

    My, we have a few things in common, other than a delight in Englench. I loathe fish sticks. On summer Fridays my brother and I were allowed to take the bus to the Public Market (Seattle's Pike Place) to buy fish. The fish mongers thought we were cute and gave us clams or oysters or squid or octopus as a treat.

    I have eaten possibly 6 bites of fish sticks in my life--not even ketchup could do it for me. I learned to love french fries and cole slaw and go hungry on Fridays.

    Tartar sauce should be shot into outer space or buried in an oceanic trench.

    Barbara guessed that it was red sage, I just pointed out that red sage is a Salvia. I study restoration of native floras in mediterranean shrublands, specializing in woody plants (trees and shrubs, including California native salvias, whether woody or not), the reason I knew all the plants being discussed. New Zealand, however, is not a mediterranean climate--these I know just from the Australian ones.

    Yes, the deer/butterfly/bee issue is a big problem in the Bay Area. The sages grow so splendidly in our drier climates.

    I would love to head to the Mediterranean for a read sometime soon.


    Kevin Freeman
    May 22, 2005 - 04:19 pm
    Love to read the Mediterranean as in a book authored in one of those countries by that sea? Or love to read a book, ANY book (even "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish") at that location? Fishsticks are not a native genus of the Mediterranean, you'll be happy to know.

    What WERE those Betty-Crocker mom's of old thinking? I haven't even been able to face a meatloaf since the Eisenhower Administration. I like Ike, but not onions and tomatoes and ketchup in a loafy, overcooked burger conglomeration (thank god Mom doesn't know about this site... are her ears ringing, I wonder?).

    Mippy, my wife once handed me a design of a colonial herb garden and said, "Can you dig it?" It was the Age of Aquarius so I had no choice but to (dig it). Anyway, it sounded simple at the time. Wasn't once it got underway, though.

    We've since moved and it's hard to move gardens with you so we had to say goodbye (sob). Lots of different stuff in that garden. Alecost, for instance. It went in the ale, as I recall. Made a great bookmark, too. Still have dry ones in various books on the shelves. Think they were used in Bibles back in the late 1700s.

    Also in that plot (see? bookish talk afterall!): Summer savory, winter savory, but no fall or spring savory. Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (no Simon, no Garfunkel). Bee balm and lemon balm (used the lemon balm to rub wooden furniture). Southernwood (breath deep). Comfrey. Fennel (regular and golden). Marigolds. Soapwort. Catnip. Mints. Purple basil, green basil. Boring borage. And I can't remember what (forget-me-nots might help but we didn't have any).

    Gardening and Eating Around the World, we are. Also good to hear so many of you practice Franglais. My former French teachers would NOT be pleased. If there's one thing they loved, it was correctez-vousing moi tout les temps.

    May 23, 2005 - 08:27 am
    around the world.

    At least we don't need to vote on fish sticks. A plurality would say yuck!

    Thanks for the reminder to purchase bee balm, if they have it, at the garden center tomorrow. Also
    forget-me-nots. I need them.
    The garden shop had senior discount day on Tuesdays last year, so I'm planning to run out there tomorrow, if it's not pouring again. We're having such a cold, wet month!

    I agree it would be good to try to find a book from gorgeous southern European climes for this group's next round of nominations. Anyone who finds a candidate, do post here!

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    May 23, 2005 - 10:00 am
    For Southern Europe we could consider Jeff Shapiro author of Renato's Luck, new book - SECRETS OF SANT'ANGELO - He had e-mailed me earlier and would love to join us if we choose this new book - he was a very gracious author posting every week when we did his book "Renato's Luck" - Although Jeff is from the Boston area he has been living in Tuscany since 1991 and teaches at the University in Florance if I remember correctly - when seniornet changed over the format over a year ago unfortunately we lost all the graphics and pages linked to that discussion which included his and his wife's photos that he sent to us and a bio that he wrote for us.

    The new story is a story that celebrates the beauty of faith, the nature of luck, and the extraordinary ways in which love can change lives, in which the residents of a small Italian village seek a miracle to overcome their misfortunes.

    The book has been close to the top of my coffee table pile but one thing after the other and I still have not read it - Marvelle read it and she was enchanted... we will probably get this going late in the summer or dates that work best for Jeff's Schedule.

    May 23, 2005 - 10:18 am
    Jeff Shapiro, however, is an American author who writes books about Italy--not a 'voice around the world in translation.'

    Why not just start a board for his latest book? Such enthusiasm for participating in a SeniorNet discussion should not be made to wait on a vote!


    Kevin Freeman
    May 25, 2005 - 02:42 am
    Part of the desire to read a Mediterranean author may stem from our weather -- you know, from the cold, clammy, and windy springs desire for warm, luxurious, and calm summer. One of those Greek islands where the little white houses hug the hillside as it dives toward a turquoise sea.

    I tend to like to read with the weather and season rather than against it. A seafaring tale would be easy in this nor'easterly week in New England where rain has regularly lashed the clapboards of the house and the temperature has sulked stubbornly in the 40s.

    I always read Tolstoy in the winter and Hemingway in the summer. Your Thoreaus and Bestons and nature writers are great in the spring, though obviously they span the seasons because they write all of them.

    That said, many books are seasonless or at least don't care when you read them. I would place our first book in this group in that category. Also, the best season for reading my posts is salt. But you knew that.

    May 25, 2005 - 07:58 am
    Let's let the reading notes roll, and stay off-subject,
    unless the subject is reading in general.

    My favorite time to read Hemingway was always when I should have been doing something else,
    for example, in college I read Hemingway the night before an exam in Psychology
    (admittedly I knew the stuff cold) and A-ced the course.
    I also remember reading him when I was home all day with tiny children, and should have been
    doing laundry or housework ...

    Do any of you have favorite (old or new) authors that you've used for pure escape like that?

    post scriptum (Latin creeps in everything I write) I also love Thoreau in any season!

    May 25, 2005 - 10:36 am


    I live in California so I live in a mediterranean climate, so pining for something different means I ache for four seasons spa treatments.

    I read just about anyone for escape, when I should be doing something else. In school I tend to read poetry and drama before tests--I do like Shakespeare as an escape, a favorite scene from one of his plays.


    May 25, 2005 - 12:32 pm
    Can anyone in here tell me how one goes about suggesting a new read, not on this board, but in general, to see if others are interested?

    I e-mailed Jane, however, since I apparently had her yahoo address as a blocked-sender (her domain, a hotmail necessity I continue to forget that I have) she may or may not have e-mailed me back, but probably didn't bother trying to resend!


    May 25, 2005 - 01:10 pm
    Kleo: Since you sent your request to me at yahoo, that's indeed where I replied from. I didn't get it back, so had no way to know you block yahoo addresses. I went to yahoo to get a copy of what I sent to you, and I now see two more emails from you, one of which indicates you're now talking about a fiction selection. I'll put below what I emailed to you when you were asking about another "reading venture," which I didn't understand to be a book you were suggesting for a discussion, necessarily.

    I would suggest that you explain your proposed reading venture to the Hosts of the Books and Literature folder, Ginny Anderson and Joan Pearson. I'll cc them on this so that they're aware of your interest.

    If it's a book that you're considering proposing for a discussion, then there has to be an official Books and Literature Discussion Leader who is willing to lead such a discussion, etc.

    If you email Ginny and Joan with your idea, they will be glad to consider it, I'm sure.


    From one of your emails today to my yahoo address, I gather you're talking about suggesting a specific book for discussion. The place to do that is the First Page Café. It is listed at the top of the main Books and Literature page under the Welcome to Books header. Lots of people go there to talk about something they've read and to suggest that perhaps one of the Books Discussion Leaders would be willing to consider it for discussion. To save you the trouble of going to the main Books page, I'll put the url here for you: "---First Page Café - Everyone is Welcome"

    If I still am not understanding the question you're asking, please click on my name here at the top of this post and get my personal email and email me there where I can respond to you without having my emails to you blocked.

    Happy reading,


    May 25, 2005 - 01:25 pm
    To set up a book group with Ginny as DL, I'd suggest sending her an email in June, not now, when she returns from her European trip.

    If anyone knows of a recent email from Ginny, all of us in her Latin class would love to hear how she's doing. The last we heard, she was in Rome, and, fortunately, had not gotten arrested in Pompeii for
    trespassing in order to see the house of the character in the Latin textbook.

    Ginny is the DL for Rembrandt's Eyes, which begins in July.

    May 25, 2005 - 02:44 pm
    Kleo -- at the bottom of just about every heading in Books is a line --

    B&N Bookstore | Books Main Page | Suggest a Book for Discussion

    Click on the last link "Suggest a Book for Discussion "

    Mippy, Ginny is the DL for The Bone People by Keri Hulme that starts June 1st. So she will be back at least by then.

    May 25, 2005 - 03:26 pm
    Mippy, what was your secret? How did you manage to read much of anything with tiny children in the house. My reading speed and concentration dropped noticeably during that period of my life, as I don't think I could read more than 30 minutes w/o an interruption, and that was only when they were down for a nap.

    On books and weather, I cannot read about snow and ice during cold weather. I feel chilled to the point of depression. But that's the only situation in which I've noticed an relationship between reading matter and climate. ...(such interesting sidelines crop up here. It's Kevin's fault; I didn't do it. Aw, Mom...)


    Kevin Freeman
    May 25, 2005 - 06:17 pm
    Wait a minute, BaBi... aren't sidelines, asides, and sotto voces allowed here? Of course they are! In between book nominations and actual book discussions (in their own threads), what ELSE is there to do here? Right. Talk about food, seasons, travel -- the important and bookish things in life.

    Also, if you're hot on discussing a book, Kleo, why not offer yourself up to be DL? Makes sense to me. Only question is that quorum thingy. You need a following, same as politicians and musicians. So sing or make promises you can't keep and see what you draw (oh wait... that'd be artists).

    P.S. Mippy. What was your favorite Hemingway book? Also, who else did you read while the kiddies napped? I had a kid who DIDN'T nap. I specifically ordered one who would nap 3-4 hours at a clip, and got THIS! It was an outrage. Every stork was on the carpet and sweating bullets, but, you know how it is with returns and babies...

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    May 25, 2005 - 09:13 pm
    cigarette that bares a lipstick's traces
    An airline ticket to romantic places
    Still my heart has wings
    These foolish things remind me of you.
    A tinkling piano in the next apartment
    Those stumblin'words
    That told you what my heart meant
    A fair ground painted swings
    These foolish things remind me of you.

    You came, you saw, you conquered me
    When you did that to me
    I knew somehow this had to be
    The winds of march that made my heart a dancer
    A telephone that rings but who's to answer
    Oh, how the ghost of you clings
    These foolish things remind me of you

    Jukebox of old with Ella singing Foolish Things...

    Mrs Sherlock
    May 26, 2005 - 07:08 am
    Kevin, not only is there a no return policy on kids, but the market for used kids is nada. I had one that quit napping at 19 months and I was not ready for that. All that I had learned about the first one's stages went out the window when the second one came along. Too bad parenting is on-the-job-training.

    May 26, 2005 - 07:20 am
    Morning, All...

    I guess, Kevin, you may have missed the part of my email in post "---Read Around the World Book Club" #745, 25 May 2005 1:10 pm

    where I explained that Discussion Leaders are people who have been officially appointed by the Director of Education, Marcie Schwarz. This applies to all 600+ discussions at SeniorNet, regardless of the folder in which the discussion occurs. [Books and Literature is one of many folders containing discussions here at SeniorNet.]

    For those who are new to SeniorNet and its organization and procedures, this is all explained here: Volunteer Hosts & Community Leaders where the duties and the appointment process are detailed.


    May 26, 2005 - 07:54 am
    Hey, I never, ever thought about asking for a refund on kids
    but the oldest sure did not nap, once she was 1 1/2.

    When she was at her worst terrible twos, however, we lived in Jerusalem, where baby sitters were readily available, and our dear, sweet Lydia took her to the playground for 3 hours every morning, giving me some time for adult so-called life. That year my reading time was taken up with trying to learn modern Hebrew (not well).

    When my numbers 2 and 3 were tiny, I read Dickens, Thackery, and other authors, who I knew I'd read again some day. I never read anything like detective yarns, but books I could put down anytime, anywhere, and pick up again later. Rembrandt's Eyes is like that! Highly recommended! (DL Ginny starts that group in July).

    Kevin: cannot remember which Hemingway. Need some forget-me-nots!

    As far as eating around the world, we're still on our seafood binge here on Cape Cod. Fried seafood and onion rings today at our favorite clam shack. Yummmmm

    May 26, 2005 - 10:49 am
    Mippy: when were you in Israel? I lived in Be'er Sheva from 1963 to 1966. I missed studying Hebrew at the "Ulpan" with our Seniornet Bubble by only a few months.

    May 26, 2005 - 11:11 am
    Oh, my, Joan,
    What a small world. We lived in Israel for one year, the academic year 1966-67. Yes, we were there during the war. All the other Americans at Hebrew University bailed out, but we chose to stay. I was asked to drive supplies in Jerusalem, such as milk, but I was too scared, since I had a tiny daughter to stay with, so I stayed in the shelter with friends.

    I also missed the chance to do Ulpan. I worked a few hours per week with a private instructor, not very successfully.

    Do you want to email, this is so off-subject? I am

    Wow, my copy of Shadow of the Wind just came, UPS. Read a couple
    of pages while signing on again, and it looks exciting!

    Mrs Sherlock
    May 26, 2005 - 11:22 am
    Mippy, I am past the 50 page mark and I just put it down. If you tell us it gets better later, I'll go back to it but there are too many books in my pile right now.

    Kevin Freeman
    May 26, 2005 - 03:19 pm
    Jackie, did you ever finish Across the Nightingale Floor?

    Thanks, jane, for the lowdown on s-net's rules of order. Kleo, someone has to nominate you to be a DL, and then you receive your paperwork. If you want to be a DL, please say so. I'm happy to e-mail my second (he's approaching college-age and a particular liability at this point in his life).

    Whoa -- Joan and Mippy in Israel. Small world indeed! If it's e-mail you're going to, be sure to let us know if there's any revelations (like you lived in the same compound without knowing it, etc., etc... or as Mippy would Latinize, et cetera, et cetera).

    Mrs Sherlock
    May 26, 2005 - 03:28 pm
    Kevin, I barely put it down. Can't wait for books 2 & 3. What a great tale. Thanks for recommending it.

    May 26, 2005 - 05:21 pm
    Babi, re reading with little kids. I got hooked on mysteries, mainly Agatha Christie when mine were babies, and I was nursing. Nothing like a good mystery to get you through that 2 am feeding. But during daylight hours I had this big guilt thing about reading in the morning. That was a no no. Mornings were for housework and other practical stuff. Even now, I have this block about just settling in with a good book in the morning. Newspapers, yes. Computer, absolutely. Good book? Hmmmm.

    May 26, 2005 - 05:26 pm
    Got a question and RATW seems like the best place to ask. Some friends of mine are going a tour this summer of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia. I asked one of them, who are the authors, the artists, the musicians, etc. They did not know, Neither do I. I looked at the library list at IMPAC and they do list libraries from Riga and Vilnius, but none of them recommended any books in 2004 or 2005.

    Do any of you know. This is an area that I know little about culturally.

    Traude S
    May 26, 2005 - 07:59 pm
    PEDLN, is it possible that few, if any, books from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have been translated into English in 2004 and 2005?
    The translation of a book can take a long time, depending on length and subject matter. But how many qualified English or American translators speak the languages of these countries fluently enough to render them into English? Not many, I fear.
    Conversely, how many natives of those countries speak English well enough to undertake a translation of one of their books into English?

    (Fluency in Russian is much more likely because Russian was taught, beginning in elementary schools, in all countries occupied by the former Soviet Union.)

    These countries were invaded and taken over by the Russians during WW II and did not truly come into their own, politically and in other respects, until the end of the Cold War. Thousands of Russians still live in now autonomous Latvia, apparently not prepared to leave, which has led to friction and open hostility.

    That was manifest during the President's recent visit, first to Latvia and then to Russia, commemorating the end of the second World War. It was reported here, briefly, on the evening news.
    Foreign occupation, physical want and general instability are known to stifle creativity.

    If memory serves, the first elected president of Estonia was an Estonian American supported by the U.S. His name escapes me.

    Kevin Freeman
    May 27, 2005 - 02:45 am
    Hi Pedln,

    Earlier in this thread, to make a point that finding translated books from small countries wasn't as easy as one thinks, I pulled out of my hat Latvia. At the time, Traude mentioned a Latvian-American author who had written a Halocaust-related memoir situated in that country. You should double-check amazon, but I think it's still in print.

    The post is here.

    May 27, 2005 - 11:30 am
    PEDLIN, If you want to find more on Latvian culture, try this site.


    Kevin Freeman
    May 28, 2005 - 04:26 am
    The sun came out this morning.

    That's right. Not your first-born or the one who still can't balance a checkbook, keep a room decent, or cook a Pop Tart -- but the SUN as in STAR as in GIVER OF HEAT AND LIGHT.

    I knew, somewhere around this reading world (obligatory on-topic reference), the sun was shining all this past week, but not here. No. In New England it has been a week of wind and fallen limbs and soggy grass and fat-raindrop pattered leaves and mudlusciousness all around.

    Similar to The Wizard of Oz, you could often look out your window and see flying by branches and flowers and soggy newspapers and pizza deliverymen. When it wasn't raining it was pouring, when it wasn't pouring it was drizzling, when it wasn't drizzling it was misting, but it was always wet.

    Toadstool wet. Moss wet. Skeeter wet. COLD, work-my-way-into-your-bones wet. The kind of cold wet that sends you to the fiery hearth, hands palmed out in supplication. The kind of cold wet that drives you to the bottle of brandy that had remained untouched since Christmas's fruitcakes, or to the tins of tea that had remain untapped since Aunt Mae's last visit (when teatime was all the time and where the devil's those homemade scones you bake so well)?

    Of course, there's all manner of indoor work to do today, like watch a 4-hour movie (homework) for my film class, but do I want to do it? No.

    I want to check out this sun thing. To sit out on the porch lounge like a lizard on a rock soaking in sunlight with every green-skinned breath. To blink but once every hour so I'm up to my eyeballs in glary warmth. To sing silent salutations to the sun god as he rides roughshod his chariot where clouds once held sway and glowered day after day.

    You get the idea, then -- to goof off giddily, like a schoolchild breaking out at the final bell and greeting the heady airs of summer. Maybe I'll take my copy of The Bone People at least so I'm accomplishing SOMEthing. Will THAT make indolence more respectable, at least?

    Cia for niao, amigos and amigas,

    "Sunny" Freeman

    May 28, 2005 - 04:32 am
    Yeah, sun. Ours disappeared for days,too. and I've spent the last two days just staring at the sun on the leaves. I wish I could bottle it.

    Mrs Sherlock
    May 28, 2005 - 05:27 am
    I'm with you two. Sun, birds singing, fowers blooming, wonderful wonderful Life.

    May 28, 2005 - 08:59 am
    Babi, Traude, and Kevin -- thanks for your input on the Baltic countries, particularly Latvia. I had forgotten about the earlier comments about Latvia, but a good point, about we're limited to what's been translated. Out of curiosity I searched MOBIAS, a Missouri library consortium to see what it had about Latvia. There was a fair amount of material, but nothing related (that I could tell) to Literature. Folklore, yes.

    Babi, I enjoyed looking at some of the art available at your link. Most of it pretty modern.

    May 28, 2005 - 10:45 am
    Can't help you much as to literature, but whoever is going will have an interesting time. My late husband spent summer vacations often as a boy in Wilno( Lithuania) with part of his family, the family considered themselves Polish, but the extended parts were in Lithuania and Russia. My grandson went on a pilgrimage from Gdansk to Wilno some time back with Scouts (There are Polish & Lithuanian Scouts in Chicago) My children often travelled in Poland when they were young, one was alsoan exchange student at KUL Lublin. My last visit to Poland was with my late husband, we finally went together as the children were out of the house and we could afford to. I fell in love with Poland in 1978 as a student in summer school at the Catholic University in day I'll go back...Colkot

    May 28, 2005 - 10:49 am
    Hi, Kevin
    Wow, we can all sit in the sun and read today. Once I get finished playing in the garden, and weeding, and fertilizing and then cooking out lunch, I'll pick up a book. Or nap.
    Hi, JoanK,
    Glad to hear its sunny in the D.C. area, also; did you say you're in VA, near D.C.; cannot remember, sorry.
    Anyway, enjoy the weekend.
    On-topic-sort-of: I've read 3/4 of Shadow ... and I don't like it.
    It seems to me to be a novelette, padded out to be a full length book,
    by an author who listened to his editor who said, make it longer. Apparently concise was not in the author's field of comprehension. I may not finish it right away. Who said she read 50 pages and stopped. I'm more stubborn, but I suggest we do not read it as group choice.

    Kevin Freeman
    May 28, 2005 - 12:21 pm
    Speaking of napping, I just did. On the back porch. In the sun. Shirtless. Which scares the wildlife. Anyway, my brother phoned and my wife came looking for me and said, "Sleeping again!"

    Hey. The price must be paid when you keep milkman's hours as I do, up between 4 and 5 every morn. Sometimes I get wild and stay up 'til 10 at night, too. Yee-hah!

    Thanks for the review of that Shadowy Wind book, Mippy. I think Ginny will have a counterargument ready (wrapped with care in Italy where she purchased it along with the China). She should be home any day now because I think she is the DL (sounds like "Dial") for The Bone People starting Wednesday (or, "Hump Day" as we call it in the workaday world).

    May 28, 2005 - 12:34 pm
    I don't know how to tell you dear defrosting Yanks this, but down here we are turning on the a/c for part of the day. The temperature gets up into the eighties, and we need to cool the place down between about 10 or 11 until it begins to cool off a bit at night. (All the way down to 74 or 75 at night!) The fans are in daily use, too.

    Sweatin' in Texas


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    May 28, 2005 - 03:23 pm
    Babi did Donner and Blitzen wake you this morning - the rain was hard and welcome - and the over-cast yesterday and today is wonderful after the 90s we had early in the week - my AC has had a good workout now for nearly two weeks - last week it had finally hit 99 - now if it will just scoot past the 99 into the 100s I will be at peace - in the 90s there is just too much humidity and I am dripping where as, in the 100s with that constant breeze, for me it is so much easier.

    Kevin here you are up at 4: and I am usually only tumbling into bed between 3: and 4: - sounds like Charlie Rose is not on your "must" TV schedule unless PBS in your area airs his program he is on either at 11:30 or at 12:30 according to the night of the week.

    Well Powell books from Portland can come to Austin any time they want - they pay very well for used books - cleaned out and sold books that they pay 25% of list price and I earned $284 - than took the ones they didn't want to Half Price books that give you between fifty cents to a couple of dollars per book and earned another $22.15 - at least the books are not shoved in on top of each other on the shelves and I cleared out half the shelf in the one closet so that I can fit some shoes up there now - but already I have 6 more books arriving from Amazon that were ordered last week.

    Noticed that the "wind" in not only out in paper back but Borders had it on the shelf of 3 books for the price of 2.

    Alf turned me onto Kafka on the Shore - dynamite book that has stayed with me - need to get back to Alf about it - but it is a book that takes a bit of time to digest AND before you read it or while reading you MUST have read Kafka - In The Penal Colony, The Castle, The Trial and The Metamorphosis - you must be familiar with the concepts in The Tale of the Ginji - you need to know about the writings of Natsume Soseki for starters.

    Just about all of Kafka's stuff in online and I had to re-read In the Penal Colony it had been so long since I read it and I found a copy of Soseki's Botchan but what I really needed and only had reviews to use was I Am A Cat. Thank goodness I read the Ginji a couple of years ago - there was no way you could get through that in a hurry...but not only are these books mentioned and a part of the story but other artists are also mentioned that if you do not look them up you do not understand what he is addressing -

    Like a peice of music by Beethoven, The Archduke Trio, is mentioned over and over - until you look it up and learn that, the Archduke was an amateur pianist who Beethoven composed music for and, the Archduke had set up an annuity for Beethoven however, more important, the Archduke was the liberal Crown Prince Rudolf, who made the suicide pact at Mayerling - only after putting all that together do you get the connection between two of the characters in the story as well a better picture of the one character and what will become of him.

    The whole story is one analogy and simile after the other - but a wonderfully constructed story that grabs your attention so much so that you cannot put the book down. Evidently he has quite a following. When I purchased the book several in the store commented on my choice and one young man behind me as I was checking out went as far to tell me Murakami is the best living author...I do not know about that but I agree he writes a mean story.

    May 28, 2005 - 05:50 pm
    Happy that you enjoyed Kafka, Barb.

    Kevin Freeman
    May 28, 2005 - 06:25 pm
    Charlie Rose? Qui est-ce que?

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    May 28, 2005 - 09:23 pm
    Charlie Rose la meilleure chose depuis la compote de pommes...!

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    May 28, 2005 - 11:43 pm
    Alf - I have been pondering on the book - first of all your question about why the mother left is toward the end of the book where she says she became scared because it was too good - sounds simple but if you remember how in love she had been with the young man who was senselessly killed therefore it is easy to understand how she would feel panicked when life is good...

    However Alf I do not think the young girl was his sister and I am thinking Miss Saeki wasn't his mother either - early in the first chapter in the dark lettering there is a single line that says "A dark, omnipresent pool of water." then it continues, "It was probably always there, hidden away somewhere. But when the time come it silently rushes out, chilling every cell in your body..."

    The literary symbolism for water is the source of all potentialities in existence - the source and grave of all things in the universe - the undifferentiated, the unmanifest. Crossing water, which is what he does when he runs away, is symbolic of changing from one stage of existence to another state or plane - the symbol of crossing a water for a Buddhist is passing through the world of illusion to attain enlightenment - and wells or deep pools are associated with the abode of supernatural beings and closely connected with the Great Mother -

    Before Christianity, the fish symbol was known as "the Great Mother," and we have fish falling from the sky.

    The references to the Genji and to Ugetsu Monogatari author of ATales of Moonlight and Rain complete translation of the famous tales of the supernatural - all this suggests to me this was a coming of age story that all happens in his mind - the whole thing is supernatural - his reading of the Arabian Nights another clue that it is one story after the other to hold onto the night...

    Natsume Soseki wrote a book of cats that talk to each other and have human qualities - I Am A Cat and the story he reads The Miners by this same author while in the Library - the story is about a rich kid who runs away and works the mines "underground going through experiences he never could have imagined."

    In real life there is a film actor in Japan called Hideo Nakata who acts in a horror film, only available in Japan called Ghost Actress which is part of a series called the Ring films. Evidently the films have in them very evil devilish characters where the main character is only seen by an eye and hair.

    The letter to the Professor in Yamanashi Prefecture is a real place Yamanashi Prefecture

    And the Koumura Library actually exists Images of Koumura Library scroll the page to see the outside of the building and other interior photos - Koumura was a diplomat and statesmen - Foreign Minister Koumura concluded treaties with China in 1905 over the Russo-Japanese war. And so the soldiers in the forest etc. are all part of that history.

    Schubert never did complete his 3rd and 4th Movements of the Sonata in D Major that Oshima says he loves and plays in the car - Schubert made acquaintance with the poet Johann Mayrhofer which became a warm and intimate friendship. They were unalike: Schubert frank, open and sunny, with brief fits of depression, and sudden outbursts of boisterous high spirits; Mayrhofer grim, a silent man who regarded life chiefly as a test of endurance. The friendship was of service to Schubert's career as well as, they were a couple. Schubert battled syphilis and dies at the age of 31 where Oshima has AIDS, is gay and the frank, open one, the opposite of Kafka although they do not have a sexual relationship.

    On page 189 when he say she doesn't want to kill his father or be with his mother or sister he says not even in a dream and Oshima say or in a metaphor or in an allegory - which again says to me the whole story is one big metaphor or allegory or dream.

    The one character that confused me was Johnny Walker - which by the way I found the description of his killing the cats to be so awful I had to stop reading for awhile. What got me is when I re-read In The Penal Colony as gruesome a death as is describe and with people I did not feel as revolted as I did when Murakami writes about the cats death. But back to Johnny Walker with his red coat - the only thing I can think of is, he represents evil and Murakami is suggesting maybe that whiskey is evil??

    Also research shows there was a John Anthony Walker Jr. who was arrested by the FBI for espionage. He had provided the KGB with very important U.S. cryptographic secrets that had enabled Russian agents to decipher coded military messages. He was considered the “most important” spy ever recruited by Russia.

    Than in the Bridge on the River Kwai, Saito offers a nearly-starving Nicholson a late supper of English corned beef and Johnny Walker Scotch whiskey ("fruit juice of Scotland...I prefer it to sake"). Carrying on a conversation during the gourmet meal Nicholson delirious, adamantly refuses to eat and drink, although he is just trembling with hunger.

    And so I am not sure what is the metaphor to Johnny Walker -

    As to Beethoven's Archduke trio - if you remember Rudolph is in the hunting lodge during mid-winter when he and Maria [was that her name?] commit suicide and so of course Nakata, upon his death had to be kept in the cold, cold room with the AC turned way down.

    And the very end Crow says ""When you wake up, you'll be part of a brand-new world." You finally fall asleep, and when you wake up, it's true. You are part of a brand-new-world." which says to me the whole story was a dream.

    It is said that a good author writes the whole story in the first chapter but a better author in the first paragraph - and again we have Crow asking in his "typical sluggish voice" if he is set for money but goes on to describe the voice as "heavy and dull" that he is pretending but he is totally awake - "As always. I nod. "How much?" So that the numbers and his being fully, or not, awake are all mixed up.

    In most traditions numbers are a fundamental principle from which the whole objective world and all harmony is symbolized.

    And then one more in Buddhism and Taoism one of the thoughts is:
    Emptiness is form.
    Form is Emptiness.
    Emptiness is none other than form.
    Form is none other than emptiness.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    May 29, 2005 - 12:51 am
    mis-typed the link to the Library - here it is Komura or Koumura Library I ran the symbols through Bable Fish and this is the translation

    The old big Japanese house to be old like quiet town two these plum no wooden pines and the wooden lotus and the globeflower before the gate gate which is done grandly, &#12484;&#12484;&#12472;, big the old light basket small pond, in the counter data room where the entryway youth sits down eventually card type index and this shell village house where the computer poet haiku poet for search is old: The book room and the perusal room where the bench ceiling is high in the making liquor store book dissipated garden which continues from the Edo era, the thick beam the window which is thrown open, in corner of the white curtain room making the carpet private house wind and the countryside wind where the sofa grape pattern where the cover of upright piano cream color was applied is old the handrail of the transom ebony wood which becomes elegant in the window of the stairway landing which has the high well between the ocean of the stained glass 2 floor from the window of back of the big writing thing desk and the swivel chair desk Namiki of the pine the horizon which just is visible a little ' Kafka of seashore ' (Shinchosha Company) from excerpt In the town of everyone the place like the shell village library is there a &#12387; &#12390;? And is there favorite a library? Recently, I decreased the fact that among other things the library is utilized completely, but in the past also it has been passing well. And the library where the woodwork is old is not almost seen now anymore, don't you think? Reading "Kafka of the seashore," it tried reflecting upon thinking to such a library. First, private From library in memory

    In case that one does not work here is the link to the link Komura Library

    May 29, 2005 - 10:07 am
    Mercy, Barbara! I am in mental shutdown just from reading your posts. I can't imagine reading all that, even if I liked Kafka, which I don't. I do, however, greatly admire your scholarship. Fanfare and roses to you.


    Kevin Freeman
    May 29, 2005 - 04:01 pm
    Mental shutdown can be a good place to be, BaBi, so never you worry. Kafka can take care of himself (and has for years). I've only read one of his short stories -- "The Hunger Artist," and that was enough to trigger my fight or flight syndrome (I fled).

    I've looked at his novels, too, but in the same way I look at snakes -- from a safe distance. On a snake scale of 1 to 10, they're a 10. Intimidating. I opted for another German when reading World Literature Classics -- Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks. Now I'm told I should have read The Magic Mountain but hindsight and should'ves are 20-20, as they say.

    Has any thought been given to when the RAW Group is doing its next book? Are we doing it in July, or sticking to the every-other formula? I'm hoping more than God only knows. I personally think we should do both a July and an August, but I've been personally thinking too long for my own good, I understand, so there you have it.

    I still have miles to go before I can call Keri Hulme's tome history. Whew.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    May 29, 2005 - 04:29 pm
    Kevin - we did Magic Mountain here a few years ago - here is a link to the archieved discussion of Magaic Mountain

    May 30, 2005 - 07:47 am
    Well hello again, happy Read Around the Worlders! Thank you ALL for the super discussion here, I love it, you've kept this going despite spring break, well done!

    De gustibus…. Wow, I sure am sorry some of you disliked The Shadow of the Wind so much! I personally think it would be perfect for this group, but I'll reread it in January and possibly offer it to another group then. It's a perfect travel book, the airport, airplane, train station, and everything around you disappears as you sink into it, sort of like she says in the Bone People about Gormenghast, escapist, loved it. I thought it had a LOT to say.

    …non disputandum est.

    In contrast, since we're speaking freely, I actually threw The Bone People across the hotel room in Rome. That's not normal for me (I dislike picking things up off hotel room floors) but pick it up I did, and shipped it in a box home with 2 weeks left to go on the trip.

    HOWEVER, mindful of our covenant here, and Dr. Mickey Pearlman (remember her?) whose book on leading book clubs we occasionally quote, something like "Avoid at all costs whether or not you liked the book. We learn something from every book we read…"

    (As you know so many book clubs are about "I liked it…I hated it," and nothing more, that's not what we try for here). So, mindful of that, AND the fact that I am leading that discussion, I dug it out again and by jingo, I'm enjoying it. I've only read up to the first two chapters, our discussion segment, and I'm going to stick to that, but I'm enjoying it.

    Yes it's derivative, obvious and heavy handed, (I mean, really, the foreshadowing), but I'm still enjoying it. I have emails of revulsion so I know some of you are not, it sounds a great book for us to read (or skip pages in, depending on your particular style). So I'm starting our discussion of it tomorrow night (see The Bone People), one day early, and I'll see you all tomorrow and we'll discuss it, you can help me think of focus questions. I'll have more to say on it in the discussion.

    This one, I hope, will be "one for the Books."

    Kevin, as far as a new reading in July, I would prefer to stick to the bi-monthly thing for a bit, if you can bear it.

    Thank you Jane for doing such a great job with the voting!!

    Kevin Freeman
    May 30, 2005 - 08:43 am
    I can bear anything, except for reruns of Murder, She Wrote, Virginia Woolf books, olives and Brussels sprouts, MTV, William Faulkner books, cotton candy, reality TV shows, Henry James books, liver and onions, Fox "News," romance novels, anchovies on pizza, talking heads from Washington DC, Theodore Dreiser books, fish chowder w/ eyeballs, Adam Sandler movies, Anthony Trollope novels, meatloaf, Friends reruns, John Irving novels, pecan pie, and rainy vacations.

    How's that for open-minded?

    And welcome back! The home fires are burning and ready to warm you, boil you some tea, cook you some homegrown sustenance, and mesmerize the tired, traveler's eye.

    I hold the middle ground on The Bone People, and probably won't budge one way or t'other as the discussion begins. You know what Confucius said: "He who walks middle ground gets hit from both directions."

    May 30, 2005 - 12:01 pm
    Thank you, Kevin, I do appreciate that welcome home, "traveler's eye" is definitely the symptom du jour.

    You and I have similar tastes, I find. ahahaha You'd LOVE Rome with its Italian reruns of Murder, She Wrote. I'm with you on Woolf and Faulkner, actually. Liver is good for you! hahahaa Tell me you have not seen fish eyes in chowder, bleeeah. Delta showed Friends reruns on the way back, the escape information read really well at that point.

    Now what have you got against Fox "News," you don't like the trio in the morning trying to be "hip?"

    May 30, 2005 - 02:08 pm
    Geeze, Kevin, you don't like Kafka? Well, I loathed The Magic Mountain, tried my darndest to get through it, and never made it past the first five thousand billion trillion tubercled pages on the mountain before I choked to death on the phlegm of angst. On the other hand, I could read Kafka over and over again. His novels are better than his short stories because they're longer, IMO. A few months ago we read Kay Boyle's Death of a Man in my on-line club and I started thinking about rereading, or retrying, The Magic Mountain.

    As to whether or not one liked a book as part of a book club discussion? Well, in my own on-line club we do mention whether or not we like the book, however, this is generally only in the last week. It's not a rule, though. As most of the books we have read have not really been liked by anyone reading them, it can be difficult to keep this out. It's not, though, what we discuss about the book. This month we read one of our few books liked by numerous members, Booth Tarkington's The Magnificent Ambersons. I enjoyed hearing that so many people liked the book.

    There really is not much one can say in a discussion about someone else's taste, though.

    Oh, good grief, Kevin, you don't read Faulkner is one thing, but Henry James? How could that be?

    Anchovies on pizza are a whole 'nother matter, though. It used to be that anchovies in pizza parlors were good ones, now they're usually packed in canola oil rather than olive oil. I can see why you'd prefer not to eat them. I generally bring my own can these days, or pass on pizza joints that don't pack their anchovies properly.

    I did attend a book club that seriously sat down and went around in a circle and everyone said, "I really liked this book," or "I didn't like this book." I started saying why I didn't like the book when it was my turn, but was politely stopped and scolded and told that wasn't done.

    I learn something from every book I read, but some are more worth my while than others.


    May 30, 2005 - 02:11 pm
    Personally, I have found "The Bone People" fascinating and empathic on many levels. Hulme's writing style is admittedly unusual, but for the most part I think it works.

    KEVIN, you don't like pecan pie!!! Nobody doesn't like pecan pie!!! Somebody must not have made it right when you were introduced to it. And of course you know those little pies in the store are nothing like the real thing.

    Babi, from the land of pecan trees...TEXAS

    May 30, 2005 - 02:15 pm
    Thanks everyone for all of the information on posting suggestions. I was hoping there was a more appropriate place than this board, as I am looking for SeniorNet members interested in reading Shakespeare, hardly a "[voice] from around the world in translation."

    Pamela and I want to read Shakespeare from beginning to end, an act a week (the plays, not anything else, chronology according to one source that Pamela has) and want to find out if there are enough folks on SeniorNet interested in joining us in this venture?

    I am not looking for a discussion leader, as we are willing to do this, or trade duties with others.

    However, our idea was that we would like every one who joins us to contribute a question for discussion from each act, meaning you would have to read the act the week before it's up for discussion! We probably want to watch the development of the writer in a number of themes, his use of psychology, for example, from The Comedy of Errors to King Lear might come up.

    I'm still a bit unclear about things, like do SeniorNet members as a whole decide what is on the board for potential discussions or is this something that Ginny and Joan do? I keep thinking that the future discussions board will be something where people just make suggestions and others respond if interested.

    There is also the possibility this has already been done on SeniorNet!

    So, anyone interested in reading through Shakespeare, an act a week, in one known chronological order?


    Traude S
    May 30, 2005 - 02:39 pm
    KEVIN, for what it is worth, I'm with you all the way regarding your "unbearables" and could add a few ... (vbg)

    Kevin Freeman
    May 30, 2005 - 03:43 pm
    Traude, please DO (add a few, I mean). Sometimes stating what you don't like is as revealing as stating what you do like. I think it is a critical thinking skill (if it isn't, I'll make it one), like comparing and contrasting, protagonisting and foiling, comme ci-ing and comme ca-ing.

    BaBi, I will withold judgment on pecan pie until I have tasted homemade Texan pecan pie. I'm just judging by the boxed variety that shows up as one of 10 selections on my most favorite of holidays, Thanksgiving. It's the Un-Christmas! Give thanks, not gifts. So much easier. Plus you eat too much and it's expected instead of commented upon. Shazam, but it don't get better'n that!

    As for pies, I am strictly a mincemeat with vanilla ice cream melting all over it man.

    Kleo, I am as new as a newbie can be here at SNET so I couldn't tell you whether Shakespeare's been "done." I have to believe at least SOME plays have been played, though. The "act a week" thing sounds like the "page a day" thing Rembrandt dreamed up. No one here will have a life, what with all this reading going on (and is it true that reading deteriorates the eyes?). Anyway, I think it's a terrifically ambitious idea that should only take 7 years, 10 months, 5 days, 4 hours, and 23 minutes to complete.

    Begin at the beginning and take a deep breath!

    P.S. I am amazed anyone still reads Booth Tarkington (of Penrod fame). Almost as amazed as I am that anyone would name their kid "Booth."

    Mrs Sherlock
    May 31, 2005 - 05:29 am
    Kleo, reading Shakespeare all the way through is my retirement project, but I don't retire until August 2006. I have been collecting Shakespeare commentaries and will start collecting the plays this summer. I had planned to read S then all the commentaries (four); act-by-act sounds good. I still have the Bloom and Azimov commentaries to collect. I'm on board for this, just crowding my "free" time since I still have the 40/week to pay my employer. One queston per act ought to be doable.

    Joan Pearson
    May 31, 2005 - 09:11 am
    Kleo, the Complete Shakespeare project is both interesting and ambitious! We have enjoyed discussions of several of Shakespeare's plays here in the Books - Othello and Julius Caesar come to mind. These discussions were quite popular, the participants enthusiastic. It would be interesting to see if there would be interest in a long-term project such as you describe.

    Before a Proposal is prepared to see if there is a quorum, we would need one (or more) of our Books DLs willing to commit to such an undertaking. All of our Book & Lit. discussions, without exception, are led by SN Books Discussion Leaders who have been invited by SN's Director of Online Services after having been nominated and reviewed by the Books Coordinators.
    See: SeniorNet Discussion and Community Leaders

    May 31, 2005 - 07:26 pm
    So, Joan, essentially I have to have you or Ginny to lead the discussion?

    "Before a Proposal is prepared to see if there is a quorum, we would need one (or more) of our Books DLs willing to commit to such an undertaking."


    Joan Pearson
    May 31, 2005 - 08:49 pm
    Well, not necessarily, Ginny or myself. But we both have an interest in this area, Kleo.. I've led "Othello" years ago - I work at the Folger Shakespeare Library in D.C. Ginny led "Julius Caesar" recently. I think Maryal has led one - both Ginny and Maryal are college level instructors.

    Whenever a participant makes a suggestion for a Book Discussion, one (or more) of our SeniorNet Books Discussion Leaders is required to lead the discussion. In this case, it would probably require more than one DL as it would be a big time committment.

    Kevin Freeman
    June 1, 2005 - 02:55 am
    Folgers? I thought they were the coffee people. Cup of Joe, Folio of Will.

    Joan, I think Kleo (though I hate to speak for her even as I gleefully speak for her) is interested in how one becomes a Knight of the Round Table.

    That is, many a poster in this realm has the coveted DL in bold print beneath her name. What is the ritual, the gauntlet, the procedure, the labors of Hercules, the vision quest, the journey, the quest, that must be taken to gain this title and this trust, to step from the muddied area of the groundlings to the wooden stage of the Globe, and so forth?

    Kleo, if I'm off-base just do as my wife does and say, "Kevin, will you shut up already and let me speak for myself?"

    Exeunt behind the arras.

    June 1, 2005 - 06:47 am
    Kevin et al: Geez, I'm beginning to think I'm invisible. Maybe this third time will be the charm.

    Is this link not working or something? If your computer is unable to reach that link, please let us know so we can try to determine why your browser isn't able to get to it.

    The whole thing including what the Hosts and DLs do and the Selection and Appointment Process are explained here. I've given this link in a previous post, but maybe there's a reason you're not clicking and able to get to it? [Everybody does know to click the underlined words to get to the material linked, right?]

    The spells out the Selection and appointment process

    It's been given previously in the posts below.

    I gave it here: , "---Read Around the World Book Club" #752, 26 May 2005 7:20 am

    Joan P gave the link again here: "---Read Around the World Book Club" #790, 31 May 2005 9:11 am

    The duties, the process for applying, the selection and appointment process are all explained there by the head of this website, Marcie Schwarz, the Director of Online Services.


    June 1, 2005 - 04:01 pm
    No, Kevin, I was not looking to be discussion leader. Pamela and I have discussed the project and thought about how to go about it. One thing about a project this big is the huge commitment that anyone who was the DL would have to put into the project. It's too much.

    On the other hand, we have both found on our Oprah board, that sharing the leadership DOES work. We were looking more for a journey of mutual discovery than a class taught by one person leading the journey for everyone else. With a single leader there is a great tendency to head in the direction most interesting to the leader, whether that direction has any relevancy to the rest of the group or not. I would be very hesitant to enlist upon a journey of exploration without the foreknowledge that some of what I was about to see would be according to my tastes. And, hence, I wouldn't ask anyone else to embark upon a journey I was unwilling to take. I haven't met many people on SeniorNet that I think are not capable of leading a literary discussion, certainly everyone would be sure to point out something to me I had not noticed. A single leader would also allow folks to take a back seat to the direction of the discussion. We were hoping for a certain type of active participation.

    My Oprah board is a big reason for me to not commit to being a discussion leader here at SeniorNet, the other being my general feeling that I'd rather share the road with most people I meet here than lead them along my road--the former guarantees a chance to see what they see. I do like the discussions in here and generally appreciate the great effort that discussion leaders put into making sure the discussion goes well.

    Kevin, you're far too entertaining with your dreadful puns for me to ever tell you to shut up. Thanks, as always, for the feedback.

    Joan, I went to school with one of the Folgers. I generally buy the Folger Shakespeares. Thanks for all of the information. I will discuss everything with my potential partner-in-crime and consider how we wish to proceed.


    Kevin Freeman
    June 1, 2005 - 06:15 pm
    Jane, you're right -- I've seen that link but didn't really follow the Yellow Brick Road (OK, BLUE Brick Road in this case) because I didn't have much of an interest myself in ever becoming a DL (everytime I lead, I look over my shoulder and no one's there anymore). So forgive me. And my ADD. Or ADHD. Or whatever the Alphabet Soup of the Moment might be (used to be plain ole inattentiveness).

    Anyway, thanks for the repeat link and for your infinite patience with me. (The only person with more patients would be my doctor.)

    Kleo, I'm shocked and appalled that you would type "dreadful puns" and at the same time profess a devotion to Shakespeare. Take away Shakespeare's puns and 20% of his plays would be gone! Va-mooseth!

    Now that would be dreadful!

    Joan Pearson
    June 1, 2005 - 06:21 pm
    Kevin, the Folger of coffee fame was actually a distant cousin of the Henry Folger of Standard Oil/Shakespeare Museum fame. The coffee Folger (James?) made his name during the California gold rush - the prospectors had to eat, he had a canteen and fed them - they loved his coffee. The rest is history.

    Oh goodness, Kleo, were we to embark on a Shakespearean read, we would certainly have to share the leadership among our DLs. Our discussions - I'm thinking about our Great Books discussions in particular, are not classes, led by "experts, but rather group efforts enjoyed by fellow adventurers. All contribute. It helps when someone has knowledge of certain areas to share, of course. We all benefit from that, BUT no one person leads the others in any one direction. No one "teaches." We learn from one another. When you have been around SN for any length of time, you will see that, I am certain.

    Kevin Freeman
    June 3, 2005 - 06:28 pm
    What, so close to 800 and so quiet? Surely there's SOMEthing to talk about. Coffee, for instance. As Joan's Folger reference proves, it's always grounds for talking. I take mine black, apparently a dying practice. When folks at work take orders (in this day of lattes and ice coffees with vanilla and cocoanut flavors and ice, etc.) and I say, "Black," they say, "BLACK? That's IT?"

    My daughter, she's addicted to these new, flavored ice-coffees they're marketing. And she ain't alone!

    Surely there's been books written about coffee. Or characters who cherish it. Must be. Look how many authors LIVE on it while writing their books.

    Maybe some day a Columbian book here, eh? Coffee and cartels. Wake up calls and the Big Sleep.

    June 3, 2005 - 08:46 pm
    Yes, Kevin, there are books written about coffee. This also is my field, ethnobotany, the human use of plants.

    I started drinking mine black just a few days ago. One thing is that when the coffee is good, black is the best. However, when it's not good coffee, black is not tolerable. I drink mine, please forgive me, as soy lattes, usually, although I also like Turkish coffee.

    Why so silent? I just had some wonderful book discussions with a woman who loves to read biographies of scientists, today. She is much fun to talk to because she has heard of everyone and name drops people I greatly admire, like Brahe, Copernicus, Linneas (excuse lack of spelling). Today we talked about pack rat middens.


    Kevin Freeman
    June 4, 2005 - 04:22 am
    Pack rat I know (in fact, married), but middens? Don't know her. Fair to middling, yes. Mizzen (on a ship's mast), yes. Middens, no.

    So, coffee aficianado, what easily found and purchased brand of bean do you recommend for café noir quaffers like me?

    June 4, 2005 - 04:55 am
    Good morning, I'm off early to dazzle them on the golf course today but spent half the night reading The Shadow of the Wind. What a terrific book. This book is a love story about literature and I'm always game for a good love story especially when it is surrounded with a cloak of "mystery". It is a terrific read and I highly reccommend it to our bibliophiles here at SNet. I hope that this is one that we can vote on and as the author states in this story, "There is an opinion to match every taste." I give it a 10. I love the translation. It is about the Cemetery of forgotten books and he points out that noone really owns a book.
    A book has a soul and each time it is picked up and enjoyed, it's soul and its spirit grows. I love that, I love that. (A redundancy-redundancy.)

    Kevin Freeman
    June 4, 2005 - 07:16 am
    Wow! Beyond a SHADOW of a doubt, the WIND book is blowing RAW READERS every which way (North-South-East-West) but loose.

    Cool. (As most winds are.)

    June 4, 2005 - 08:09 am
    Do tell more about why you like Shadow of the Wind

    Agreed, the books-don't-belong-to-one-person conceit is very,very clever, but it's a short story ... not a novel.

    I cannot finish it -- something about it doesn't go down, like medicine that doesn't taste good ... stopped about 80% through the book, and ought to finish ...

    Do tell!

    June 4, 2005 - 08:59 am
    I loved it! hahahaa Let's let Andrea say what she likes about it, maybe it would make a good discussion, you know, yin and yang? (I loved it, I hated it and aren't all books conceits?) hahahaa

    Sounds like a good discussion already a blowing here as Kevin says.

    June 4, 2005 - 09:10 am
    I like Sumatra coffee for just black, in general. I like Peets coffee for black coffee in particular. I don't know where all it's available, although I have seen it in supermarkets. I don't do coffee that has been pooped out by animals and generally recommend against it. I'm doing research on coffee growing, after which, like diamonds, I will probably wind up protesting the exploitation of native laborers to no good effect except for limiting my choices of coffee.

    I tried Shadow of the Wind again, after reading Ginny's post, and just don't find it readable, like Mippy. The subject matter is captivating, but it's not written in a style, IMO, that is as sophisticated as dealing with the subject matter could be. It's overwritten. I don't imagine that it would be worth a month of conversation, this especially since I can't seem to get through more than a few pages without going 'gleck.' We all love books, but that doesn't mean any book written about the love of books contains much to talk about. Those who love this book, please tell me what we would discuss if we read this.

    In the case of Kite Runner, which is also overwritten, I was captured by the human drama in the midst of the glecks each time I picked up the book.

    This may also be due to my failure to not be able to stop comparing it to the brilliantly written The Cypresses Believe in God every time I pick Shadow up. This because when I first heard of the book I thought of it as a continuation of the former.

    Kevin, get yourself a copy of José María Gironella's The Cypresses Believe in God from a library (it's out of print) and the taste of the noir won't matter.


    Kevin Freeman
    June 4, 2005 - 10:10 am
    Thanks for the rec, Kleo. I'll see if I can hunt down a copy to add to my Kerewin-like Tower of TBR Books.

    I've been paying more money for the free-trade coffee (or whatever the heck... am I allowed to say "hell" here?) that benefits the actual farmers from Americas point south of here.

    I've also been paying more money for organic milk (no bovine growth hormones or antibiotics involved). I'm beginning to think I should spend more money for ALL my veggies and fruits by buying them in organic-only stores, but in the summer, I can support local Maine farmers by buying from their stands (have to take their word that it's organic).

    The side discussion which has bloomed in THE BONE PEOPLE is one of my pet topics -- the politics of food and grass (I cannot fathom Chemlawn America and the fascination with the color GREEN -- both in the wallet and on the front lawn).

    Does SNet have a discussion somewhere on all this? Frankly (Delano Roosevelty, too), I haven't looked beyond the Books area in this Discussion jungle because I don't want to get involved in too much time's-a-wasting yacking here (you'll note I'm all-too-good at it).

    June 4, 2005 - 10:37 am
    Does the tomato farmer search each plant for the horned tomato worm? Does the cabbage farmer chase the cabbage moths to keep them away ftrom the celery, kale, and cabbage plants. My, how labor intensive.

    On the other hand the production of food stuffs for the world would be further behind than now, if it weren't for the herbicides and pesticides used for the productions of grains (if used correctly).

    Preservatives in food? At my age I need all the preservatives I can get.

    June 4, 2005 - 11:35 am
    Mippy, I'm another who loved 'Shadow of the Wind'. There's much more to the plot than the book theme. You have a tragic romance seeming to repeat itself in the life of the protagonist. There is a good deal of trouble and tragedy in the lives of the characters, which I believe is a characteristic of the Spanish mystique. Aren't cruelty and tragedy frequent hallmarks in Spanish history and art?

    KleoP, you have me interested in The Cypresses Believe in God now. I'll be hunting for it also.


    June 4, 2005 - 11:54 am
    Kevin- I don't know know what you mean by RAW readers. 'splain it to me (Lucy.)

    Oh Mippy - I can't believe that someone can not see this as a novel. It fits all of the criteria for me. It's full of prose, romance (for the arts) and tells a tale of love and intrigue. It's a best seller on the New York Times, which surprises me, because I don't usually like the choices that are made for the "best seller lists."

    The writing captured me in the first chapter as the author walked me right along with this sad, young man who was being introduced into the world and society of books and bibliophiles- where "somethings can only be seen in the shadows." As time progresses, various characters emerge and the mystery unfolds. It's funny that you said that "something about it doesn't ring true to you and that it's like bitter medicine." Me! I love it, for I feel just the opposite. The story rings very true to me, in an abtrusive way as I play the sleuth throughout the chapters. Perhaps I read too many Koontz novels.
    The author writes smoothly and sweetly and this story has acted as just the proper medicine for what has been ailing me. I love to get a book that I hate to put aside. Tonight I am having dinner guests and it annoys me that I can not finish this book NOW! That defines a good story for me. I know we all feel differently about novels, but to me they are like friends. Most of them are good- there's just some that are better than others! Different strokes....

    Kleo- this is my style and any more exaggerated, over embellished writing about this subject would ruin the plot line, IMO. It is NOT just about books, it's about a young man growing up who has a mission. It's about life, full of different types of characters - some with an an air of diabolical madness, others, friends, confidantes. How is this story any diffferent to you than The Kite Runner? I could find many things to discuss in this robust novel. It's loaded with abusive behaviors, various attitudes, cerebral and simple, and it's full of passion.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    June 4, 2005 - 12:20 pm
    Hmmm organic farming is more labor intensive but it is not all left to the winds and tides - Lady bugs are important [feed on aphids, chinch bugs, whiteflies, and mites] as are earthworms, honeybees, wasps, [which prey on the eggs worms, like borers, webworms, and many types of moth caterpillars] butterflies, green lacewings, [eat spider mites, thrips, leafhoppers, whiteflies and caterpillar eggs] praying mantises, [feed on aphids, flies, and beetles]

    Plant various flowers among the veggies that chase certain bugs away - or provide a place to feed and create larvae which feeds on the bugs - plant around the fields a row of - Nasturtiums,Wild carrot, Yarrow and or course Marigolds.

    Also, there is natural pesticides - chrysanthemum flower and nicotine from crushed tobacco. Getting a bundle of tobacco stalks and laying them in the field as well as planting, a row of Marigolds between the Tomato plants - Cultivate more often which is labor intensive and if you can swing the cost set up huge fans around the field.

    Another trick is to drape loosely over plants, light-weight Polypropylene fabric specially made for crop cover. As the plants grow this lightweight fabric lifts gently by the crops. Water and sunlight penetrates easily, but insects can't get through.

    The apple farmers use a mating disruption with a scent that confuses the males - and of course no use of sewage slush - which I learned was used when a few years back I purchased a head of loose leaf lettuce that was filled with hair - strand and clumps - and what do you know - no refund...

    Pesticide use breeds resistant insects. Since 1960 the number of crop damaging insects has risen from 160 to 450! Never mind what pesticide has done to our rivers and ground water.

    Home owners can take out much of their grass and plant ground cover or buffalo grass which takes no mowing but more important no fertilizer.

    I've learned a lot by testing monthly a local creek and sending my test findings to the LCRA [lower colorado river authority] who not only is in the business of using our rivers for electric power but is very concerned with the state of our rivers and flood plain areas.

    It is not hard to test - why not look up who is wanting testing in your area - a monthly walk to a creek not now being tested is a lovely excuse to tramp through fields or creek beds.

    Hehehe and of course I must take with me my thermos of COFFEE - and as gauche as it is - flavored coffee - I love hazelnut, georgia pecan, l'orange, and rasberry chocolate in the winter.

    Kevin Freeman
    June 4, 2005 - 12:37 pm
    ALF -- Why, you're a RAW Reader, as am I (kind of like the old Dr Pepper ad: "I'm a Pepper, you're a Pepper, wouldn't you like to be a Pepper, too?")

    RAW = "Read-Around the World" Reader.

    It's our pet sobriquet for ourselves -- all natural and in the RAW as we tour the world literarily (as opposed to literally).

    As for preservatives, HEAVEN PRESERVE US, Pat! I just read about a link between pesticides and Parkinson's, only the government is only warning farmers about this newly-discovered risk, telling them to take care when applying said pesticides. Now I'm not very good at math, but something tells me...

    + food

    What cracks me up (thus, the wrinkles on my face) is how the government insists -- INSISTS! -- that genetically-altered foods are safe yet refuses -- REFUSES! -- to identify them as such in our markets. Hmn. If there's nothing to fear, then why hide it? Yeah. I'm doing the math again (and it doesn't add up).

    Barbara -- nice dissertation there! You know a thing or three about farming, I see. Get Mippy in here. She's a gardener (maybe even a Pepper, too), only we don't eat many flowers and I think that's the type of garden she grows.

    Ah well. Marigolds, then.

    June 4, 2005 - 12:43 pm
    Just FYI, Pat has farmed all her life, big time farming? REAL farming, and this discussion of farming and organic versus pesticides is great but really needs to be moved to another of SeniorNet's general chat areas, of which there are many.

    This area is about Books.

    Thank you Andrea for that beautiful post! And you, too, Babi? I am so glad to find somebody else, great thoughts. I also think it might make a super discussion, there is SUCH variance in opinion about it.

    June 4, 2005 - 01:00 pm
    "There is a good deal of trouble and tragedy in the lives of the characters, which I believe is a characteristic of the Spanish mystique. Aren't cruelty and tragedy frequent hallmarks in Spanish history and art? " Babi

    Yes, there is a lot of this in Spanish literature. Spain has some unique things about it that are a function of its geography, including the people and the plants and the farming, all tied into one.

    "How is this story any different to you than The Kite Runner?" Alf

    I don't know. It seems very much like Kite Runner, except that I could get into KR, but not into SOW.

    I suspect that part of the reason I got into KR, the largest part of the reason, was simply that I was reading, for the first time, about a culture that I grew up in and have lived around all my life. I'm used to reading about American culture, Russian American culture, Asian culture, Irish culture, Roman Catholic culture, Greek culture. But there's not much out there about Afghan American culture.

    Spanish culture? I've not read a lot, but I have, lately, read some outstanding books written by Spaniards, but mostly non-Spaniards, about Spanish culture of this particular era. I might like it if it were the first book I had read about the culture, especially of this very traumatic time.

    Yes, a variance of opinion, splitting the group into like/don't like. But, if we're not discussing on the boards whether or not we like the book, this won't take us far.


    June 4, 2005 - 01:38 pm
    I think the backyard gardeners here are not expected to feed the world as are the agriculturists (farmers) of this country.

    Kevin Freeman
    June 4, 2005 - 04:10 pm

    Traude S
    June 4, 2005 - 09:01 pm

    the book is available used, I saw in BN. There are apparently two volumes. Have you read it/them?

    If so, would you mind giving us an idea of
    what the book (and its sequel, if applicable) is about
    , what genre (romance, mystery, historical fiction, contemporary fiction, faith-related, other),
    when it was written,
    something about the author.
    Is he a Spaniard or a Latin American?

    The determining factor for me is interest in the subject matter of a book.
    For me liking is secondary and won't be decided until I've digested the entire book.

    Kevin Freeman
    June 5, 2005 - 03:08 am
    It is also available used from various sellers at amazon. A whopping 1,000-page tome, she is, though the reviews (all three of them) are most positive indeed.

    With what I have on my plate this summer, I'll have to put the CYPRESS idea on hold for now, but at least it's on my radar (an important first step). Thanks, Kleo.

    June 5, 2005 - 07:23 pm
    Traude, I'll post something in response in a couple of days, as I'm rather busy for the next two. However, this book, for me, was more about reading it, than digesting its message. Cypresses for me was about the journey, like reading poetry. The book, however, is very interesting on top of that, and this reason, not mine, is why it has received high praise from many people. I've read the first half of the book. I checked it out of the library originally, then purchased an all-in-one copy.

    Kevin, with your Icelandish taste in literature don't let this one languish. Well, okay, I want to know your opinion because I can't quite figure out your tastes in books. Not that I can really figure out anyone else's in here....


    June 8, 2005 - 03:46 pm
    Carlos Ruiz Zafón accompanied by one of the Barnes and Noble book club discussion leaders will be leading a discussion on a book of his that I think you might be interested in, called, hmmm, what was the name, The Shadow of the Wind. Get thee over there and sign up to meet the author, Ginny and all who loved this book. Stay thee away from there, and don't meet the author, Kleo and all who couldn't read the book!

    The discussions, of course, aren't as good as the SeniorNet ones. However, their author-led discussions are a lot of fun for folks who like author-led discussions, and they have an interesting assortment of offerings, very diverse. SeniorNet members, I'm certain, are capable of getting everything they want out of the BN format.


    June 9, 2005 - 03:59 am
    Thank you, Kleo, for that news, it's very thoughtful of you to mention it, I appreciate it.

    I've been disappointed in the B&N book discussions (and their "university") so I doubt that I will want to participate but your news is important, because if he IS willing to do author interviews (and a lot of authors don't want to) then I am encouraged to hope as EF Benson liked to say that he'd consider coming with us, sometime.

    Our roster of big name authors sitting down with our SeniorNet readers over a long period of time apparently is quite compelling and inviting to authors, or so I am told. They usually respond immediately and very favorably. I think authors understand a reader's love for their book even when the effort is volunteer and the author receives no compensation for the appearance.

    We have Publishers, Publicists and Authors themselves approach us all the time, so I am thrilled to see that Zafon does do intereviews with book clubs!

    Thank you!

    June 9, 2005 - 05:43 am
    Ok just a note here, I've confabbed with our Jane the Pollster and here is our schedule for our next Nominations and voting for our 3rd outing, in August.

  • Nominations for August selection will be July 5-10.

  • Voting will take place July 11-15.

    She Who Moves Faster Than Light (Jane) has already got this in the heading! What country will we choose next?

    I think the current Bone discussion is going VERY well, and it's a very viable series, thanks to you all.
  • Éloïse De Pelteau
    June 9, 2005 - 04:40 pm
    Novelist Henri Troyat was born in Russia, a BIOGRAPHY but settled in Paris and won the Prix Goncourt at a very young age.

    He writes in French, but several of his books are translated. He remains one of my favorite authors. Among others, he wrote The Terrible Tsarinas: 5 Russian Women in Power. Tolstoy that I absolutely loved, Alexander of Russia; Napoleon's Conqueror.

    I would like to submit a book by Henri Troyat and you will see a list of historical novels by this author HERE>


    Kevin Freeman
    June 12, 2005 - 06:18 pm
    I read Troyat's Tolstoy back in my Tolstoy phase. Well, I shouldn't say "phase." I still love Tolstoy best of all the Russians. Still remember finding his "Diary" in the stacks at my university. It was an old copy and I got a kick out of how Tolstoy, the young man, did the Franklin Journal thing to try to improve himself physically and mostly morally (he drank, gambled, wenched, lazed about, soldiered in the Caucasus -- where they still soldier, sadly -- and all that good stuff).

    Interesting guy. Dostoevsky is the seer of the mind, Tolstoy the seer of the flesh. Only weeks before his death, Tolstoy was doing gymnastics (and chiding himself as an "old fool" for doing so). This was the born-again Tolstoyan-Christian who had forsworn the body. Yeah, right. The gymnastics spoke volumes. Tolstoy still loved his body long after he'd sworn fidelity to his soul.

    Well I've been dabbling in The Half-Brother ("Norway's the Only Way!") to see if it's going to be worthy of nomination this summer. The sacrifices a guy makes!

    June 14, 2005 - 04:34 am
    Thank you Eloise, and Kevin.

    Eloise, like you, I have been thinking of earlier authors, particularly from Africa, for some reason this morning I keep thinking of works describing Africa, old ones: Elspeth Huxley, Karen Blixen (1885-1962), etc. Out of Africa, also a movie, is apparently online as well, gorgeous photos: Out of Africa online . Blixen, of course, was Danish, writing in English about her time in Africa in 1938.

    Elspeth Huxley's remarks, of the same time period, are quite interesting as regards Baroness Blixen, tho Huxley was only a child at the time.

    From the site above:

    Karen Blixen is the best known, and possibly the greatest, Danish writer of the twentieth century. Her reputation as an author rests on several books written in English under the pseudonym Isak Dinesen, including: Seven Gothic Tales (1934), Winter's Tales (1942), and Out of Africa (1938). The movie Out of Africa (1985) celebrates her life as a pioneer coffee farmer in Kenya from 1914 to 1931.

    I thought these authors were not recent enough, till I read the results of our survey here.

    At any rate the survey seems to indicate we want to try to keep within, what, our guidelines shown in the survey (in my case, authors indigenous to the country , that gets rid of Blixen and Huxley) and books printed in the last 20 years or so, is that the consensus you all get when you read the results of the survey in the heading? I did not check on the publication of some of Henri Troyat's books, but the Rasputin sure looks good, Eloise! Thank you! I would like to read more about Rasputin, who I think just recently they proved was much unjustly maligned, it might be interesting.

    Kevin, thank you for reading with the possibility of nominating! Much appreciated, I don't think I have read a book by a Norwegian, sounds intriguing. Glad to see you again, I do know busy summer schedules, too.

    I was reading some in The Noodle Maker yesterday and came across some passages I wish I had not read, so I'll can that nomination. I'm always in hope of the next great novel and voice, and am enjoying our passport forays into the different lands, no matter what they are saying in the books. This concept is exciting. That one I'm not going to be nominating, tho anybody else can, and if it wins, I'll be there.

    I'd like to ask that those of you who place a book in nomination here in July please be sure you plan to or are able to partcipate in the result, should your book be chosen. That's the way book clubs operate: in for a penny, in for a pound. We can't always read the book YOU nominated, so it's good to throw your own hand in with every book, if possible.

    Kathy Hill
    June 14, 2005 - 09:25 am
    Hi Ginny - an outstanding book on Africa is Land of a Thousand Hills by Carr. It tells of her life in Rwanda. It seems that this massive and wonderful continent has quite a body of literature, including a female Nobel prize winner from South Africa, Natalie Gordimer.


    Kevin Freeman
    June 14, 2005 - 06:55 pm
    I first picked up (but didn't finish) Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa because Holden Caulfield was reading it in The Catcher in the Rye, a book dear to my heart (and pancreas, etc.) when I was a teen. Holden also mentioned Thomas Hardy's Return of the Native, a book I DID finish, thanks to Holden. You've done it, too -- admit it. Picked up a book either read by a character or read by an author you admire.

    Yeah, I think the survey said within 20 years for our choices in this group, although I prefer even MORE recent, as a rule. Some readers have even found The Bone People to be "dated" in certain ways. Not that all books "date" (some are strict loners), but some do. Heck, I think this here RAW group could find fresh meat by cutting its teeth on 3 years or younger books, even. Plenty to go around, too! Ring on deli!

    I'll keep you posted on The Half-Brother. So far, it is most accessible and quite modern, leavening the dough of its fiction, as it does, with many a character from real life such as Lauren Bacall and Cliff Richards (not to mention Knut Hamsun).

    Who the devil is Cliff Richards, BTW?

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    June 14, 2005 - 07:25 pm
    O god how I was riveted to "The Catcher in the Rye" and followed it up with "Franny and Zooey" - for years I had a Zooey door - I remember cutting out of class one day with an excuse to use the girls room and sat on a seat reading till the bell rang for the next class. Then I had to sneak back in and pick up my books for my next class - on the bus ride home we could have been riding through a tornado for all I knew of the real world - I was simply riveted with a late 40s and early 50s form of rebellion between the covers of those two books. Thanks for the memory...

    June 14, 2005 - 07:26 pm
    Our survey showed we didn't have a preference for a time frame, The way the question is worded is difficult to understand, time frame as in setting? or when the author wrote the book?

    1/3, 1/3, 1/3 and a number of nonresponders does not indicate a preference. If I'm reading this wrong, let me know.


    June 14, 2005 - 07:36 pm
    If you go back to the discussion at the time of the survey, the time period had to do with how recent the book's publication was...but the majority of people voted to NOT have a time limit so the next question on the survey is moot.

    The majority - 53% or whatever said they wanted no time constraints on when the book was published.

    That discussion continued in a number of posts after the one below that gives a starting point for refreshing the memory on this question: Kevin Freeman, "---Read Around the World Book Club" #189, 13 Mar 2005 3:49 am

    Kevin Freeman
    June 15, 2005 - 02:47 am
    Wow. I've been linked! Thanks, Jane. It's 5:47 a.m. on the right coast and it's the first time I've been linked today (probably it'll happen again during afternoon break, but you never know).

    Speaking of today, have a good (day). Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, and all that 9 to 5 jazz.

    June 18, 2005 - 08:13 pm
    Well, I'm going to get on my soapbox again and plead for a "vote for two" ballot for the upcoming election in July. I really think it would give a more clear picture of what people want to read.

    The last ballot had 12 nominees, 26 votes and the winning title was selected by 6. Most folks will vote for a title they've nominated. Allowing two votes will give everyone a little more input into the selection. Granted, there's not much difference between 6/26 and 12/52 except that you have more people saying, "this is a book I want to read."

    Kevin Freeman
    June 19, 2005 - 04:19 am
    You could count the "first choice" as TWO POINTS and the "second choice" as ONE POINT. This might help a book that picks up a mixture of first and second-choice votes to leap frog over a book that gets only one or t'other.

    For the record (CD, mp3, what have you), I did not vote for my nominee last go-round. Nor did my choice in voting win. Nor did my nominee. So far, in fact, I am 0-for-RAW Group when it comes to book selections. Not to worry, I'm surely used to losing, as my candidate has in most every political contest I have ever voted in (right down up to dog catcher).

    Many readers in The Bone People are behind in their reading (or so they've posted in that thread). I hate to get on MY soap box again (scootch over, pedln, will you?), but I really think the nomination week and the voting week should both be over by the first of the month preceding the month the book will be discussed. This gives people time to a) find the book at a store or b) find the book at the library, and c) get a headstart on reading the thing.

    If this policy were adopted, say, for our August selection, the process might be timed like so:

    August Nominations Taken: JUNE 19-24.
    August Voting Takes Place: JUNE 25-JUNE 30.
    Reading of August Book Takes Place: JULY 1-JULY 31
    Discussion Begins: August 1.

    Just as Ginny beats the constructive-criticism drum about how any criticism of The Bone People is a reflection of the BOOK ONLY and not of the COUNTRY or the CULTURE or the MAORI (etc., etc.), let me reiterate that this suggestion is just my opinion offered in a spirit of helpfulness and subjectiveness. Some people read ideas like this and seem to take it personally, as if it's a form of "complaining and griping." It is not.

    While we're in the mood, then, I will also milk this sacred cow: I like the idea of discussing a book only after EVERYbody has read the ENTIRE book. I know this idea has been long ago rejected here, but really, as an author (using the author's perspective), I'd rather see readers typing stuff about my book AFTER they have the full picture, because the piecemeal approach is often similar to political debates waged by speakers not holding all the facts.

    OK. That felt good. As long as you all promise to remember that I can NOT CRITICIZING the country (S-Net) or the culture (S-Net's Books Discussion Area) or even the tribe (S-Net's posters, whom I've come to appreciate mightily). I am constructively criticizing the BOOK (the policy) only. And that is the prerogative of every reader. (End of analogy.)

    Hey. Happy Father's Day. Neither of my kids is home. (Is that the gift, then?).

    Kidding, is all.

    June 19, 2005 - 06:41 am
    I think we're open to all kinds of suggestions here, we're a Work in Progress, thank you Pedln and Kevin.

    I'll ask Jane about your suggestion Pedln and yours, Kevin, on the schedule. Your suggestion that we read the book in its entirety (and discuss it that way?) we need to talk about.

    Every single time we've tried that here in our Books it has failed. People tend to drop their wad in the first week and shut it. ("Well that's how I feel about the book, take it or leave it, I've shot my wad.") Maybe that would be a good thing, it would leave lots of room for the next selection? Short book discussions?

    I'm saying it has never worked before but I suppose we could try again, if it were a short book. I'm willing, this time several people actually DID talk about things not in our scheduled parameters, couldn't help it.

    On the drum beat in my posts, I do hope everybody even SEES that point. I hate to post it in every post but it's a real concern here in this book club and one we must get over once and for all. A book is a book.

    On the schedule, will you, Kevin, prepare a suggested one starting July 5? We are ALL out of pocket until July here, we will have a serious staff problem with vacations until July 5. Will you restructure one starting on the 5th that you think we can follow?

    I don't think a little break would be taken amiss, by anybody?

    For my part, I'm enjoying believe it or not, what snatches of culture I'm getting from our two choices. I am not sure until the last section of Bone, however, that my passport has been stamped, but now I feel like I at least got out of the airport, and am seeing a bit of the country. You can travel from airport to airport in different countries and never see the country or the people, and at least we're seeing some culture in this last part. Of course people who KNOW the country have seen it all along, but that bit about the universal experience in the heading has been true for me up till now.

    I've enjoyed the comments of our perspicacious readers, always the best thing about any book discussion, I'm frankly amazed at how astute the participants ARE. But I should not be.

    On July 24 PBS will present a production of behind the scenes and interviews of The Whale Rider, and we'll offer it here on SeniorNet, we are the online site for the PBS Program Clubs discussions. I am going to be sure not to miss this if I have to rent the movie, people in other countries can participate thru the PBS website and talk to the various figures responsible for the production. I want a bit more on my passport from New Zealand before I leave, hope you all will join us, should be fabulous.

    June 19, 2005 - 07:28 am
    I think the two votes can be accommodated easily and the point system can be done manually after the tally is in.

    The problem for me is the time line of June 30. If you can move that up so the voting is done by June 28, it's great for me. I'll be traveling on June 30-July 8 and not on the internet most likely.

    Kevin Freeman
    June 19, 2005 - 10:43 am
    Well, to accomodate your schedule, Jane, we'd have to shorten the nominating days and start nominating today. If we nominated starting today until June 22nd, then voted from June 23rd to June 28th at midnight, Greenwich Mean Time (8 p.m. EDT), Jane could either post the winner on Tuesday night the 28th or Wednesday morning the 29th. Then everyone would have all of July to find and read the book.

    Ginny, you mention 5 July. Do you mean you'd prefer to move the schedule back? If the process is expedited and starts today, then everyone's Fourth of July vacation becomes moot. By the "out of pocket" days of early summer, the book is picked and we're off to the barbecues, beaches, and bookstores with business taken
    care of.

    I agree that it's hard to sustain a discussion for 30 days if everyone's read the whole thing by the Opening Day of Discussion, but what's sacred about talking for 30 days? If the discussion peters out after 14 days, then that's its lifespan. Leave the thread up for 30 (the door is open and you never know WHAT comment by WHAT poster might spark things anew), but don't worry about filling a full month of time with talk.

    Sometimes archived book discussions I've found and read on the web look like the Bataan Death March... everyone's struggling on and forcing themselves to say SOMEthing, ANYthing, even if there's not much left to say (or, in certain books' cases, not much to say in the first place). Admittedly, this is especially true in situations where most readers are unhappy with the book, yet the discussion host (god pity her or him) feels obliged to bang the drum slowly each day (sure as reveille at sunrise, taps at night) because that's his or her job and he or she, by gum (or mint) is going to do it.

    I figure, if it's there, the discussion will grow and spread organically. And if it's not, then why try to plant grapefruit trees in Vermont and run an extension cord to a space heater outside?

    OK, OK. I need to shop for new metaphors or something.

    Anyway, it looks like we either should accelerate the August vote, or delay the whole thing until after July 8th (Jane's vacation) and seriously shorten the voting process (2 days to nominate, 2 days to vote, or something to that effect).

    I prefer Plan A:

  • AUGUST NOMINATIONS from today (JUNE 19) to Wednesday (JUNE 22).
  • AUGUST VOTES from Thurs. (JUNE 23) to Midnight (Greenwich Mean Time), Tuesday (JUNE 28).
  • AUGUST WINNER announced Tuesday night or Wednesday morning (JUNE 29).

    This scenario would have everyone off to the races in late June/ early July with book (or book title) in hand, leaving all of July to read for an Aug. 1 start. I don't think that's too big a rush as most of us already have a nominee in mind (come on, admit it). Plus, if you're a fast reader and think it's too MUCH time for reading, gauge your schedule accordingly and don't start reading until the Ides of July. Self-customize, in other words, so that you're in the best shape possible for Opening Day.

    But I defer to the brass running the show here, as always (and as I was always taught, being a Northern Gentleman of sorts).
  • Ginny
    June 19, 2005 - 10:55 am
    I don't have any problem with the 14 day discussion, or the one which grows organically but I do have a problem with doing a half assed job. I think I would rather struggle and beat the drum (and in the process maybe discover something about the book I did not know, like I just did last night) than maybe write it off or blow it off in a week or so because the subject matter is repugnant to me, that's my own philosophy and, as always, one can take it or not with a bucket of salt.


    I enjoy talking frankly about what we're doing, thank you.

    What do you think, Jane when you get back in, about this new schedule? The June 19 one?

    Kevin yes I was saying I'm essentially Person Not Appearing in This Film till July 5th or so, and all of our Tech Team people but one are also going to be gone. While we have 30 Books Discussion leaders in all, we'll not be unattended, but it's the technical putting up of stuff and readying headings etc., we're talking about here: we're really short handed in that area till about July 7th this summer, but let's see what Jane says about the June 19th plan, suits me.

    How does the June 19 nominate idea suit you all??

    Kevin Freeman
    June 19, 2005 - 11:05 am
    I agree 300% (or 100% cubed would be even more impressive... pass the pi, please) about doing half-assed jobs (that'd just be cheeky, wouldn't it?).

    But a half-assed job can be done in any time frame -- 14 days, 28 days, whatever. And most RL Book Groups do their entire discussions -- some of them purportedly quite good -- in one, winey night (in some cases, whiney, too).

    No, no. I'm not advocating a lowering of standards. And believe it or not, I actually have quite high standards (the salt is what throws people... that and the buckets). I'm just saying cutting all books in four and forcing posters to follow a schedule is no guarantee or grantor of quality (or inferiority, for that matter).

    As you said, there's nothing wrong with experimenting on occasion, either. A Read-It-All-in-Advance Book Discussion led by an able and determined host would probably fill a month with good discussion ANYway (wouldn't it?). The biggest change would be the tenor and timbre of the discussion. Hindsight is 20-20, after all.

    Yes, let's hear from the PEOPLE about bombs-awaying on nominations! (People, are you out there mowing the lawn for Dad and pouring his beer or something?)

    June 19, 2005 - 11:10 am
    Well all I can say is in almost 9 years and hundreds of books it has never worked once to take the whole book at one time, but I'm game?

    I'm game. Experience has shown otherwise but then again, this is a new day?

    Yes some book clubs take care of an 800 page book in one night, some face to face book clubs do it in one hour, we are different and we are who we are, but I'm open to experiment?

    I expect you're correct and Those Who Are Going to Do a Half Assed Effort can do one in an hour, much less a month, I have a feeling you are correct. We were trying/are trying /definitely have tried for something more. If we don't succeed, it's not because we haven't given it our best, and nobody needs to apologize for their best.

    Kevin Freeman
    June 19, 2005 - 11:17 am
    Well all I can say is in almost 9 years and hundreds of books it has never worked once to take the whole book at one time...

    Wow. That surprises me (to say the least -- which is not my specialty). In any event, if a majority of posters prefer the partition method, then the partition method will always work best. Without a positive attitude and a little Moxie (invented in Maine, still on the grocery shelves, too), the idea of considering it an advantage to read all in advance would be doomed from the start here.

    So I would say, if no one (or very few ones) is game for such an experiment, you can stick a fork in it, because it's not only done but well-done right out of the grate (barbecue season is here, so why not clean those grates?).

    OK. It's been great real-time discussing with you, Ginny (the kids will be jealous about our IM-ing, as it's their specialties). I'll be back after Father's Day dinner and all.

    June 19, 2005 - 11:38 am
    Happy Father's Day, we've had a great one here as well.

    Not done RIGHT out of the grate? Again, we do every discussion the best we can with the most hopeful attitudes, I'm not sure what you mean? The fact that it has not worked, despite the most enthusiastic try in the past does not mean it won't, this time?

    If we decided to try this of course we'd try it with all our might, I may not understand what you're saying, what's the "right" attitude? If you'll outline it we can see if it's what we want to try??

    June 19, 2005 - 12:01 pm
    1) I like the idea of voting for two books on the iniital round. As Pedlin said, it gives an opportunity to vote for another book as well as the one oneself has recommended. (I don't know if that is readable English or not.)

    2) I nearly always read a library book for these discussions, so I don't have it for the latter part of the discussion. I rely on my notes, and try not to get ahead of the others. It does get a little weird, discussing a twist of the plot I first read it...when I know what's coming up. I feel as though i'm posting under false pretenses sometimes. Still, a lot of ideas and thoughts would never be posted at all, if everyone already knew they were not correct. Which may be why there is more activity and participation when the book is taken a section at a time.


    Ann Alden
    June 19, 2005 - 01:48 pm
    Here something that I received in the Authors' Corner which really interests me but it can't be suggested since the author is now residing in NYC.

    Pomegranate Soup A Novel by Marsha Mehran, New Irish/Persian Novelist Random House On sale date: August 2, 2005 Publication date: August 2, 2005 ISBN: 1-4000-6241-1

    A funny and heart-warming debut about three sisters and an old box of recipes and a new, exotic café in a small Irish town -- with rights already sold in twelve countries.

    Beneath the holy mountain Croagh Patrick, in damp and lovely County Mayo, sits the small, sheltered village of Ballinacroagh. To the exotic Aminpour sisters, Ireland seems like a much-needed safe haven. It has been seven years since Marjan Aminpour fled Iran with her younger sisters, Bahar and Layla, and she hopes that in Ballinacroagh, a land of “crazed sheep and dizzying roads,” they might finally find a home.

    From the kitchen of an old pastry shop on Main Mall, the sisters set about creating a Persian oasis. Soon sensuous wafts of cardamom, cinnamon and saffron float through the streets – and exotic aroma that announces the opening of the Babylon Café, and a shock to a town that generally subsists on boiled cabbage and Guinness served at the local tavern. And it is an affront to the senses of Ballinacroagh’s uncrowned king, Thomas McGuire. After trying to buy the old pastry shop for years and failing, Thomas is enraged to find it occupied – and by foreigners, no less.

    But the mysterious, spicy fragrances work their magic on the townsfolk, and soon, business is booming. Marjan is thrilled with the demand for her red lentil soup, abgusht stew and rosewater baklava – and with the transformation in her sisters. Young Layla finds first love, and even tense, haunted Bahar seems to be less nervous.

    And in the stand-up-comedian-turned-priest Father Fergal Mahoney, the gentle, lonely widow Estelle Delmonico, and the headstrong hairdresser Fiona Athey, the sisters find a merry band of supporters against the close-minded opposition of less welcoming villagers stuck in their ways. But the idyll is soon broken when the past rushes back to threaten the Amnipours once more, and the lives they left back in revolution-era Iran bleed into the present.

    Ann Alden
    June 19, 2005 - 01:59 pm
    Born in Tehran on the eve of the Iranian Revolution, Marsha Mehran escaped the upheaval with her family for Buenos Aires, Argentina. There her parents set up a Middle Eastern café while she attended a Scottish private academy, where the self-assured tones of bagpipes and rudimentary school kilts instilled in her a life-long love of all things Celtic. Marsha Mehran has also lived in the US and Australia. She now resides in Brooklyn, NY with her husband Christopher, who is constantly called upon to taste her experimental cooking.

    So, does this author qualify for RATW or not? I really like what I have read about the book so far but hesitate to suggest it until I find out if it qualifies for a read by us.

    June 19, 2005 - 02:43 pm
    What is the hurry to nominate book right now? This week?
    I've been reading reviews on Amazon, but don't have choice for a nomination yet
    However I noted a brand new book (out in hardback) by Isabel Allende, reviewed in today's newspaper;
    has anyone read a good one of hers that's old enough to be available in paperback?
    These past two weeks, I read 2 long, wonderful books that don't qualify for this group, (American and British)
    so I guess I'll just coast into this next ballot as a voter, not a nominator.

    June 19, 2005 - 03:10 pm
    "Well all I can say is in almost 9 years and hundreds of books it has never worked once to take the whole book at one time..."

    But, I have to ask, how many times was it tried to "take the whole book at one time?" Hundreds of times? Once? Fifty times or twelve times or six times and it failed each time?

    I don't really think it will work, but I have never seen it tried here. So, with what books was it tried with?


    June 19, 2005 - 03:27 pm
    Ann, That sounds like a good book. Your description reminded me of Chocolate by ???? -- Barbara would know. It's also an example of how we sometimes hem ourselves in with rules. I guess you'd have to ask yourself questions like "has the author lived in the country she's writing about?" I can't answer that, but it sounds like she's writing about something she's very familiar with -- Middle Eastern food and the effects of the Iranian upheaval.

    From the survey . . . .
    8. The author does not need to have been born in the country he/she is writing about, but must have lived there for an extended period of time and be an "expatriate of no more than 20 years"?

    Yes...................52%....................13 responses
    No....................24%.....................6 responses
    No opinion............24%.....................6 responses

    Total Respondents............................25 responses
    (skipped this question)......................1 response

    June 19, 2005 - 03:41 pm
    For my part, I've been very happy with discussions of 4 weeks/1 month, especially since I'm a slow reader, and am usually reading more than one book at a time anyway. We have done a few shorter discussions, most recently Grisham's King of Torts which lasted two weeks. In retrospect, the Alexander McCall Smith title that Traude and I led last summer would probably have been a good candidate for "read it all" and discuss for two weeks. It was that type of book.

    But when I think of titles like The Dante Club (my favorite)The Jane Austen Book Club, DaVinci Code (ha-never that one in less than a month), the Drabble, and many others -- the discussion is so much richer when we spend time and take the book in sections.

    I'm not against experiments, but I really enjoy the status quo.

    Kevin Freeman
    June 19, 2005 - 04:37 pm
    Ginny -- I used "right" as part of the expression "right out of the gate" and changed "gate" to "grate" for a barbecue joke (whose numbers are legion, just like Polish jokes, which I can say because I am somewhat Polish if not well-polished).

    So, no, not "right" vs. "wrong," if that's what you're thinking. I'll try to rephrase: I think reading the whole book in advance of a discussion reveals a book's structure and the author's blueprints better. Then, as a discussor/detective, posters can go back and trace the clues they saw and missed. It would require patience, I know, but it could work, I think.

    My last post to you was simply saying that such an experiment would be fine, but only if enough posters enlisted in the concept as something both "doable" and "worthwhile." If a majority of posters are outright against it, or suspicious of it, or partial to the status quo (as pedln is, for instance), then I think such an experiment would be ill-advised because it would be dead on delivery, finished at the starting gate, over before it's begun.

    To hit it from another angle and a popular children's book, we'd need a lot of "I Think I Can!" locomotives chugging up the hill. If it's not popular here, it's not popular here, and I'm OK with that. I'm just sort of throwing it out in hopes that more people weigh in like pedln did (so as to get a "feel" for the water, so to speak).

    BaBi, you make good points (per usual) both "for" and "against" reading books in advance of a discussion. Such open-mindedness needs to be bottled, labeled, and mailed to Congress in bulk!

    Mippy -- Well, I guess the nomination process would be rushed whether we start today or wait until July 8th. If we start today, it's rushed because people are clicking this thread and seeing that it's started more than two weeks ahead of time. (BUT, they'd have four days to research titles if they haven't already). If, on the other hand, we wait until Jane's back on the 8th of July, then we'll be rushed by days to nominate, followed by days to vote, followed by few days to find and read the book (and God help us if it's over 500 pages!).

    Pedln says: But when I think of titles like The Dante Club (my favorite)The Jane Austen Book Club, DaVinci Code (ha-never that one in less than a month), the Drabble, and many others -- the discussion is so much richer when we spend time and take the book in sections.

    Actually, this could still be done, even if everyone had the book read by Opening Day of Discussion. You simply ask posters to, to the best of their abilities or when possible, comment and discuss chronologically, staying closer to the first third of the book on Week #1, the second third on Week #2, and the last third on Week #3.

    Admittedly, some points from Week #1 might become all the more brilliant when tied in to events from Week #3 (this is where I see an advantage in discussion dynamics and content). In that case, you could either use the warning flag SPOILER AHEAD! or assure posters that the book should be read before discussion or they're proceeding at their own risk.

    Ann, thanks for that interesting Kite-related update!

    Kleo -- Whew! Have you seen the archives of past discussions here? You're surely testing Ginny's memory banks. Test mine and you'd find too many withdrawals and not enough interest.

    You're involved in discussions elsewhere, aren't you, Kleo? I forget where now. Do they do the partition method or the whole magilla method? How does it work out? If "read all in advance," do the posters tend to "pace" their weekly posts in a general sense to match the book's chronology, or do they rush to post their every thought in a week?

    I guess the best strategy might be to take notes or mark pages with comments, then go back to the beginning as the discussion begins -- reserving the right to pull a jewel from deep in the book if it makes your early-on post an incredible insight.

    Whatever. Right now the bigger issue is the NOMINATION issue. What say you, pedln and Kleo and Ann and others checking in tonight or tomorrow... would you like to have an August book nominated and voted on before June 29th (Jane's departure) or after July 8th (her return)?

    I vote giddy-up (June 19 to 22 for nominations, 23rd to 28th for votes). But I am slow to buy/borrow books, and usually a deliberate reader, too. Cursed by Evelyn Woods, am I. Thus I wear my weakness on my sleeve even as I vote.

    June 19, 2005 - 05:19 pm
    I've caught up on the posts and will await the consensus on what dates you want to do the nominating and voting.

    Would you like to have an August book nominated and voted on by June 28th or after July 8th?


    June 19, 2005 - 05:24 pm
    The earlier nominations and votes will give folks a little longer to get their books. (I like it because I'll be on the road all of July, with a little computer access in Seattle.) Main question -- how does it fit in with the tech people's schedules.

    Right now I'm searching for a soothing, funny, non-dysfunctional international book. 'Course I don't know how good a judge I am. When my youngest was working in Guatemala I frequently sent her reading material. Not too long ago she said, "Mom, why'd you send all those dysfunctional family books, like the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," which I thought was a hoot. Guess you never know.

    June 19, 2005 - 05:57 pm
    Jane, I have no preference, I'm one foot on the tarmac now and need to cut and run.

    Kevin, I apparently am not communicating well, sorry. Yes we've tried, it, the concept of not dividing the book and taking it as a whole, several times, with enthusiasm and gusto.

    You'll have to forgive me if I can't recall the specific titles in the last 500 or so books read, sorry again.

    But as I think I said, we can try any approach, it's not inventing the wheel to do the entire book at one time, and it might be a great experiement, the group discussing in this Read Around the World is a great one, and I believe could discuss a phone book which we used to say we could, again with gusto and pizzaz.

    I am certainly willing to try again (I can't say try "something new," because it's not?) but maybe this time will be the charm, it's worth trying?

    To rephrase? It's not that it's not popular HERE, it has not worked in the past? Period. I don't know why it has not and am willing to try again, I am not sure how else to phrase this?

    I'm up for anything, so long as we all agree we'll give it our best shot.

    Kevin Freeman
    June 19, 2005 - 06:04 pm
    Thanks, Ginny.

    (What's with the tarmac? Are you flying yet again? You get around!)

    And pedln, thanks for weighing in. It's tough to avoid dysfunction, for sure. It's so pervasive in one form or another that FUNCTIONAL families seem dysfunctional.

    June 19, 2005 - 06:08 pm
    So, Kevin, my basic question then would be, has it been done a lot here at SeniorNet? It appears from your answer that is has often been the case where the entire book was discussed at once. Is this correct? See, I've never done this in any type of book club other than a face-to-face. It's interesting, to me, that this was a choice here at SeniorNet. I might see how my club is about this idea. We read parts of the book for the first 3 weeks, then open the board to discussing the entire book. We run into problems with this, also. For example, we read two books of Dos Passos' USA Trilogy, but many of our members read all 3 books at once, instead of waiting to read the second two after reading and discussing the first one. I don't know how to solve this.

    Yes, I'd rather vote now, to know what we will be reading. However, I'm not ready to nominate anything as I was debating Dan Sleigh's Islands, which might have too much in common with The Bone People.

    I'm also still behind on the Hulme, which makes it hard for me to take the time to review books for consideration. I like The Bone People a lot more than Kite Runner because the former is much more literary book, as in richness of language, variety etc., etc., etc. However, this makes me wonder how much of this is the reading in the familiar English-language tradition versus reading a book translated from another language. I've picked up and glanced through Islands, translated from the Afrikaans by Andre Brink (author of A Dry White Season) This adds more translation questions--Afghanistan is an illiterate Third World country, New Zealand is not, neither is South Africa. Does this play into it?

    I really want to read a book which is all about the world of adults, though. I was rereading one of my favorite children's books, Ann Holm's North to Freedom and I have to say that I like children as the lead or a primary character when the book is written for children, but not when the book is written for adults. I don't find this issue as problematic in Bone People as in Kite Runner, but would still rather read a book written about adults for adults. Well written.


    Kevin Freeman
    June 19, 2005 - 06:30 pm
    Kleo, you ask:

    So, Kevin, my basic question then would be, has it been done a lot here at SeniorNet? It appears from your answer that is has often been the case where the entire book was discussed at once. Is this correct?

    But I've no clue because you've been a Senior Netter longer than I have. Most everyone has. I've got Newbie written all over me. Can't you tell?

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    June 20, 2005 - 02:49 am
    We will be reading in August - it is hot in August - I just do not want another tear jerker - dig deep into the psyche - be plummeted around by forces greater than, like war or, boogie men of any sort - I want adventure - pure and simple - adventure where you can feel the thrill of accomplishing some exciting or great - hands on the earth - not the inner soul or someone elses soul -

    Now I would have preferred this adventure take place in someplace like Tibet or Nepal or Mont Blanc or even the Fiords where it is cold - but this one sounds too good to let go - it is adventure in the hot and steamy parts of the world but at least we are not worrying here if he is living out a dream world or being victimized by his childhood or war lords that are stoning folks to death - this guy is hoping across waters as he escapes from prison into the reality of a Lord Jim...

    Shantaram : A Novel by an Australian with his own web page that includes extracts from the book Gregory David Roberts

    The only other sort of tale I want to read in August, when we have daily 100+ degree temps is something that takes place in ice and snow - not one of these Japanese snow things where you have to dream into oblivion to figure out what they are saying - but something like getting lost in a blizzard and coming onto Shangra La or, Tales of the Himalaya before the Chinese invaded or even climbing the Eiger, of course there is always Nanook.

    Pedln are you thinking of Chocolat by Joanne Harris

    Ann the Irish book sounds good - can we include Ireland?? or is that part of the British Isles...?

    Kevin Freeman
    June 20, 2005 - 03:00 am
    Yes, Ireland is allowed. To make it easy, we only said no to USA and England.

    I am up to p. 100 and enjoying Norway's The Half-Brother.

    As expected, I throw it in the hopper for August.

    Good nominee, Barbara!

    June 20, 2005 - 05:41 am
    Kevin, I'm leaving on Wednesday to represent our SeniorNet Classics Project at the ACL National Convention (Latin and Greek teachers) and won't be back full time until July 5, tho will be looking in to The Bone People as noted in that discussion, from the road starting the 27th by laptop. The 5 Books Discussion Leaders in that discussion will be taking over in my absence, as noted there.

    Thank you ALL for all the perspectives, pro and con on the idea of taking the book as a whole, much appreciated. There are pros and cons of both taking it in sections and as a whole. In fact, speaking of Newbies, I now recall our very first book ever discussed here on SeniorNet, Snow Fallling on Cedars, was taken as a whole, and that was in September of 1996, we can give it our best shot and then vote on how we would like to take the next one, there are a lot of creative things we could do and try, thank you for trying to think of new ones.

    June 20, 2005 - 06:59 am
    I think we said NO to U.S. of A. and to Great Britain, the whole thing, not making Ireland a special case! Kevin, are you pro-Ireland today?

    As far as discussing a whole book at one time, I vote No, also.
    Ginny has the background since 1996 in the SeniorNet universe, with many of us being relatively newbies.
    Let's not try such a change in August, when, as Barbara says above, its hot,hot,hot.

    Let's find a nice book with lots of plot (although maybe Aussie authors are a little too close in proximity to N.Z.).
    Could we find a book that the nominator has read and can tell us a little about, above and beyond what Amazon/B&N reviews say. Is that possible?

    June 20, 2005 - 07:19 am
    Great Britain, 'the whole thing,' does not include the country of Ireland. Geographically speaking Great Britain is the largest island in the British Isles, politically including England, Scotland and Wales. Perhaps you were thinking of the United Kingdom, Mippy, when you referred to, "Great Britain, the whole thing, not making Ireland a special case," and of the Irish part of the UK, Northern Ireland--the United Kingdom being properly known in its entirety as "the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland."

    Ireland is NOT a special case of the Island of Great Britain and NEVER has been. If we said Great Britain, this does not exclude Ireland from a reading choice in here. If we said the United Kingdom, this excludes Northern Ireland only from a reading possibility. If we said England, this excludes neither Ireland nor Northern Ireland as a reading choice in here. If we said the British Isles (I doubt that) we excluded Great Britain and Ireland from possibilities, along with the Hebrides, the Isle of Wight, the Isle of Man and a number of others.

    I had read earlier Great Britain and the USA. This leaves Ireland and Northern Ireland. Am I wrong on this? I have said this a number of times, but it bears repeating, it would be useful, instead of the poll, to simply have a link to a page that outlines the rules, instead of requiring everyone remember all the discussion and the outcomes. I don't remember all these details, and would rather spend my time reading than searching for posts or remembering what we decided. I'm just not that detail oriented. Bully for everyone who is.


    June 20, 2005 - 08:22 am

    I totally agree with you here:

    "Could we find a book that the nominator has read and can tell us a little about, above and beyond what Amazon/B&N reviews say. Is that possible? "

    I would have NOT recommended Bone People to a book club had I read it, although I love the book, especially the author's style of writing. I might have recommended Kite Runner, but I would have been able to tell folks, look, this isn't literature, but you'll learn a lot about Afghans, people who live amongst you.

    I don't trust the Amazon/BN reviewers simply because I don't know them. Someone asked me before, why SeniorNet members would make better reviewers than people on Amazon as both are relative strangers. Not true. I know that everyone in here is someone I am willing to read and discuss books with. That carries a lot of weight in a recommendation.


    June 20, 2005 - 08:42 am
    Hearing no objections and seeing the discussion here going back to nominations...I, the Resident Bean Counter, say the following is the new schedule for deciding the August book:

    June 20 to 23 for nominations, 24th to 27th for votes

    The FLOOR IS NOW OPEN FOR NOMINATIONS! I need the 28th to do the tally for the one point/two point thing.

    Each person can vote for a first and a second choice. First choice will get 2 points; second choice 1 point.

    jane, the bean counter

    June 20, 2005 - 01:49 pm
    " simply have a link to a page that outlines the rules, instead of requiring everyone remember all the discussion and the outcomes. " KleoP, "---Read Around the World Book Club -Nominations June 20-23" #859, 20 Jun 2005 7:19 am

    To the best of my knowledge there are no rules for this discussion series. There are the Guidelines that were voted upon by those who were interested. Some didn't want even Guidelines; they wanted to be free to nominate anything, including USA, GB, etc. I'm not understanding what is so hard about nominating a book that seems to meet the general guidelines and that you think is well written and would be a good book for a discussion.

    ANYBODY have a nomination now that they're open? I've put up the runner up from the last vote.


    June 20, 2005 - 01:54 pm
    I give up on the Ireland inclusion/exclusion. Does someone else feel strongly about nominating an Irish author? Let us know, and please say why, and who, and tell us about the book.

    Thanks for backing me up on the "tell about the book" part, Kleo.
    Reviews on line are iffy, aren't they, and yet I keep reading them.
    I'm absolutely blank on finding a nomination in time, because I do not want to nominate a book based on a review. The book I did order and read, about Paraguay, was not suitable.

    to Jane,
    I still don't know what the rush was, to nominate this week; was it a decision by Ginny? If yes, then fine.
    If 10 or 12 people have a new book to nominate, great, we're in business!
    If that doesn't happen, however, and if there are too few nominations, I would suggest waiting until after July 4th.

    to everyone,
    I still think "Shadow of the Wind" is awful; I could not finish it.

    June 20, 2005 - 02:07 pm
    Mippy...I believe that moving up the nominations from what had been planned was Kevin's idea, but I'll have to go back and look. We had originally scheduled it for after July 4...but he and perhaps others seem to feel that that doesn't give people enough time to get the book and get it read since there seems to be some who also want to discuss it as a whole.

    Here are some of the posts about the timing of the nomination and vote and the reason for voting for two choices...a first and second:

    Kevin Freeman, "---Read Around the World Book Club

    Kevin Freeman, "---Read Around the World Book Club

    pedln, "---Read Around the World Book Club

    I'm not sure what the consensus is, but if you all want this before I leave on June 29 or so and I do not return until July 8 or so, then it's got to be now.

    It makes absolutely NO DIFFERENCE to me or to Ginny. She's away to give a big presentation at the American Classical League conference in New Mexico and has been working on that presentation.

    We're trying to be flexible and accommodate what people want.


    Ann Alden
    June 20, 2005 - 04:32 pm
    I am going to nominate the book that I have already spoken about. It sounds light and luscious. As Pedl'n says, "Like Chocolate" has a similar premise.

    Pomegranate Soup A Novel by Marsha Mehran, New Irish/Persian Novelist Random House On sale date: August 2, 2005 Publication date: August 2, 2005 ISBN: 1-4000-6241-1

    A funny and heart-warming debut about three sisters and an old box of recipes and a new, exotic café in a small Irish town -- with rights already sold in twelve countries.

    Beneath the holy mountain Croagh Patrick, in damp and lovely County Mayo, sits the small, sheltered village of Ballinacroagh. To the exotic Aminpour sisters, Ireland seems like a much-needed safe haven. It has been seven years since Marjan Aminpour fled Iran with her younger sisters, Bahar and Layla, and she hopes that in Ballinacroagh, a land of “crazed sheep and dizzying roads,” they might finally find a home.

    From the kitchen of an old pastry shop on Main Mall, the sisters set about creating a Persian oasis. Soon sensuous wafts of cardamom, cinnamon and saffron float through the streets – and exotic aroma that announces the opening of the Babylon Café, and a shock to a town that generally subsists on boiled cabbage and Guinness served at the local tavern. And it is an affront to the senses of Ballinacroagh’s uncrowned king, Thomas McGuire. After trying to buy the old pastry shop for years and failing, Thomas is enraged to find it occupied – and by foreigners, no less.

    But the mysterious, spicy fragrances work their magic on the townsfolk, and soon, business is booming. Marjan is thrilled with the demand for her red lentil soup, abgusht stew and rosewater baklava – and with the transformation in her sisters. Young Layla finds first love, and even tense, haunted Bahar seems to be less nervous.

    And in the stand-up-comedian-turned-priest Father Fergal Mahoney, the gentle, lonely widow Estelle Delmonico, and the headstrong hairdresser Fiona Athey, the sisters find a merry band of supporters against the close-minded opposition of less welcoming villagers stuck in their ways. But the idyll is soon broken when the past rushes back to threaten the Amnipours once more, and the lives they left back in revolution-era Iran bleed into the present.

    And about the author: Born in Tehran on the eve of the Iranian Revolution, Marsha Mehran escaped the upheaval with her family for Buenos Aires, Argentina. There her parents set up a Middle Eastern café while she attended a Scottish private academy, where the self-assured tones of bagpipes and rudimentary school kilts instilled in her a life-long love of all things Celtic. Marsha Mehran has also lived in the US and Australia. She now resides in Brooklyn, NY with her husband Christopher, who is constantly called upon to taste her experimental cooking.

    June 20, 2005 - 04:51 pm
    Ann: I'll be glad to put it up, but it's not available until Aug. 2, 2005? I'm not sure how people could get it and get it read to begin a discussion on Aug. 1, but I must be missing something here.


    Kevin Freeman
    June 20, 2005 - 04:53 pm
    I certainly think Ireland's appropriate for this group. They'd be shocked and APPALLED to be considered part of Great Britain. Remember, England has attacked and occupied Ireland more than once in its history.

    I empathize with your request, Kleo, but think the Guidelines work as well as any Rules might. True, though, that we each think different things when we hear something. My "Great Britain" interpretation is proven wrong by the facts provided by Kleo. That is, I thought Scotland would be OK, too. I guess I have it in for George's the USofA's ally in war, England.

    Jane, to help you out, there are so far nominations in Barbara's Post #855, my Post #856, and Ann's Post #865. Probably you have a handle on it and don't need my help.

    Thanks, Ginny, for the update on your travel plans. Quite an honor! And you've crossed more than one Rubicon in your day with that travel schedule!

    I will try to describe what I've read of my nominee on the last day of nominations, but no way I'll have it done (it's quite large). Sorry.

    Ann Alden
    June 20, 2005 - 05:05 pm
    of "Pomegranate Soup" MarshaMehran

    Jane, you are probably right about us not being able to get the book earlier than Aug 2. Shoot! I thought it would make good summer reading.

    Traude S
    June 20, 2005 - 05:49 pm
    I was off-line for a few days and had to catch up with many posts.

    (I) Regarding nominations, I see why we have to rush.
    But I do not understand why we have to start all over again -for the third time. Have we discarded the non-selected entries of nominations # 1 and # 2 after all?

    (II) Scheduled reading or not. Some books can, and should, be discussed in toto, especially when they are not "meaty" enough to warrant meticulous scrutiny of every word for a period of four weeks.

    It is my personal preference to discuss a book in its entirety (and there are many ways and aspects of doing that, interestingly and well), and I am on record for having said so before.

    Both methods have merit. But it depends on the book, I believe.

    (III) I believe it is ESSENTIAL to know what any given book is about BEFORE we decide to choose it sight unseen. For my part, I would never recommend a book I have not held in my hand and at least leafed through.

    KEVIN, "The Half Brother" is a bestseller in Europe, I read. Based on what you said here and the info I gleaned at BN, I was reminded of Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks . "The Half Brother" is a family saga, apparently; is that family in decline like "Buddenbrooks" ?

    June 20, 2005 - 06:02 pm
    I've read "Shadow of the Wind"; nominated it last time round. And now "Pomegranate Soup" also sounds great. Unfortunately, it's not in my library, but I imagine I could find it interlibrary.

    There's so many good books I would never have heard of if someone here in SN hadn't told me about them.


    Kevin Freeman
    June 20, 2005 - 06:22 pm
    BaBi -- You're telling me. Hearing about so many books can get overwhelming, especially when you buy them so often as I do, despite vows to reform and enforce financial sanity.

    Traude -- I agree and think it's legitimate for ANYone here to nominate one or two or three PREVIOUS nominees. Afterall, they liked them enough to nominate ONCE, so why not again for August? This would also solve the problem of having to find a new nominee, if a given poster is pressed for time.

    Yes, I read Mann's Buddenbrooks long ago and there are parallels. Except for the prologue, the "bad boy" (Cain figure?) Half-Brother has not figured much. I am in the early section called "The Women" which explains how this child was conceived just as WWII was ending and Norway was beginning to celebrate. What I think the group would like about this book is its strong, quirky woman characters. They are a force to be reckoned with, and interesting, if a tad eccentric.

    The narrator ("good" brother) is a screenwriter. That gives the book quite a contemporary twist, though it has an old-world "feel" to it, too, as it starts with the stories of the mother and the grandmother in the mid-40's. The grandmother is tossing all of her beloved Hamsun books in anger (you know the story, if you know Norwegian history).

    As for reading books in toto (must be dark in such a little dog), no one's saying we should change tradition. I just wondered if people here would be game for a one-shot deal as an experiment. I'm game for August, but it can be later. This is not proposing change. It's proposing an experiment with willing subjects. If there's not enough interest, OK and well-a-day.

    Too bad, Ann, about the book's newness. Think OCTOBER!

    June 20, 2005 - 06:28 pm
    Well, Jane, it's not proving as easy as all that, in my opinion:

    "I'm not understanding what is so hard about nominating a book that seems to meet the general guidelines and that you think is well written and would be a good book for a discussion."

    I was all for the prior two books, but the first was not well written, and the second is not so good for discussion in my opinion. For my own club someone must READ the book in its entirety, first (usually). This is a lot of work, reading the books, thinking about their place in the scheme of things, what time of the year, what else we're reading, what we just read, what else we've read by the author. I would like a book that is WELL WRITTEN and good for discussion AND by an author and country I don't know well. Why settle for the moon instead of shooting for the stars?

    It also turns out that there are ADDITIONAL guidelines, or so I found out recently, that were from the discussion before the guidelines were voted on. If I can just ignore all these, why did anyone bring them up to begin with? Nothing wrong with trying to accommodate people's expressed wishes after they bothered to express them and hang in for the ride in my opinion!

    But, heck, I'd be glad to just throw some books out:

    1. Islands by Dan Sleigh


    "FROM THE PUBLISHER This novel of epic proportions from South Africa, set between 1650 and 1710, covers the first fifty years of the Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope. Beautifully rendered, this is a world and a time never before dealt with in fiction-a period when powerful colonizers took over the lands of Hottentot tribes, exposing aborigines for the first time to Western eyes and Western ways. Through the life stories of seven men-all involved with and defined in one way or another by Pieternella, the beautiful daughter of the first mixed marriage of the new colony-we gain an understanding of the vast historical forces at work.

    Teeming with characters, rich with lived experience, gripping in its unexpected turns, Islands is a story of greed, power, war, courage, and international intrigue, at once a meticulously researched portrait of the age and a great adventure story."

    It looks well-written, and I already own it, and I'm going to read it this summer whether we do or not.

    and 2. Gunter Grass's Crabwalk. I can't stand him, but I hear SeniorNet has had some success with discussing German authors, he's modern, the book is new, and timely, there should be PLENTY to discuss, it AIN'T his first novel, and the man can write quite well whether I like him or not:

    "FROM THE PUBLISHER "A German cruise ship turned refugee carrier, it was attacked by a Soviet submarine in January 1945. Some 9,000 people went down in the Baltic Sea, making it the deadliest maritime disaster of all time." Born to an unwed mother on a lifeboat the night of the attack, Paul Pokriefke is a middle-aged journalist trying to piece together the tragic events. While his mother sees her whole existence in terms of that calamitous moment, Paul wishes their life could have been less touched by the past. For his teenage son, who dabbles in the dark, far-right corners of the Internet, the Gustloff embodies the denial of Germany's wartime suffering. FROM THE CRITICS The New York Times In Crabwalk, Mr. Grass addresses two other long-buried wartime memories, that of Germans who were expelled from or fled territories once under Nazi occupation and, more specifically, the sinking by a Soviet submarine of a German ship carrying thousands of German refugees. As always, though, he is most interested in the impact of a distant memory on attitudes today. And he warns here of the dangers posed by repressed memory. — Alan Riding"

    Germany is a change from Persians and New Zealand, also. I try to read a German book every couple of years or so, and this will be my one whether we read it in here or not.

    Both quotes are from the Barnes and Noble site.


    June 20, 2005 - 06:41 pm
    How about Umberto Eco's The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana? Written in Italian, translated into English. Eco lives in Milan and teaches at the University of Bologna. His best known prior novel is The Name of the Rose.

    It's available only in hardcover, but it is out. And this is Eco we're talking about. It's about a man who suffers a stroke and loses part of his memory, the part that knows his name, and that he has two daughters, and where he went to school, and everything else that is personal. He retains all the other knowledge he has accumulated and since he is an antiquarian bookseller, that learning is extensive. He is about sixty (and clearly Eco has used many of his own memories).

    There are ILLUSTRATIONS, in color and in black and white.

    I have personally read the first twenty or so pages and find it delightful.

    It doesn't look like there's anything dysfunctional in it.


    Kevin Freeman
    June 20, 2005 - 06:43 pm
    Now we're rolling... (thankee, Kleo and Deems).

    June 20, 2005 - 07:31 pm
    Well, heck if I knew Eco was Italian! I love book clubs, learn something new every day.


    June 20, 2005 - 08:46 pm
    A real interesting mix here. Ann, the Pomegranate Soup sounds terrific, but we should probably wait on it a bit, at least give the libraries a chance to get it on the shelf. And the Eco -- definitely not dysfunctional? That would be good too.

    But, I cannot ignore my Norwegian heritage - the E'sons, and T'sons, and the J'sons who were once called Nygaard. Changed their name because someone else bought the farm and started calling themselves Nygaard. When I was a teenager and my mother and aunts wanted to really get on my case they would get in sync and go

    Lutefisk and lefse, Rah Rah Rah
    Scandinavia High School, Ya, Ya, Ya
    And I would die of mortification.

    June 20, 2005 - 08:51 pm
    But here is my nomination. Something funny, and a Latin American novel that is NOT Magical Realism, spiritual, mystical, or what have you.

    How about Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa.(pub. 1977) Just a semi-autobiographical novel where an 18-year-old radio station editor falls in love with an older woman, the divorced sister-in-law of his uncle. The setting is Peru in the 1950s. The scriptwriter is a Bolivian who has come to Lima to write soap opera scripts, and to direct and act in them. His work is soon the hit of Lima, but much of it gets him into trouble with his co-workers, except for the young "Varguitas," who in this book is paying homage to two people who influenced his writing.

    Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter

    Peruvian Soap Opera

    "The book's principal achievement is the rendering of a vast comic landscape, with its heroes, victims and villains -all populating a world that grows increasingly complex as the novel progresses but that never ceases to entertain. " (William Kennedy, NYT, 1982)

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    June 20, 2005 - 09:31 pm
    Maryal I agree 100% talk about a master - I too read the first chapter and started the second while sitting in Borders - it reminded me how well a master can take a current plot and them that all of sudden is popular - the concept of all these books that have been published about literature and libraries and towns filled with second hand books where snitches and snatches of literature are sprinkled between the scenes - well Umberto Eco does it so smoothly with such sophistication - the premise is the memory of an older gentleman who sells books lost the part of his memory where feelings are located - it is superb - he cannot remember his wife and kids because that comes from the part of his memory that is lost to him but he can remember nearly every plot and character of every book or piece of art he has ever seen - Umberto Eco's creates a story using the same black spots on paper that all these other authors use but like a symphony conducted by one of our finest conductors - he creates a divine masterpiece.

    The voting choices are about full so I will not formally suggest this one - however I picked up a copy of A short History of Tractors in Ukrainian - what a delight - funny - both broad and dry humor - just a crazy wonderful romp...father 86 excited about marrying a 37 year old women with a son whose visa is up in 3 weeks - she is married to an educated man back in the Ukraine and it is obvious to all but the father they are using him to get into England - full of color and description of the deceased mothers preserves etc. The father is picturing making a baby and the daughter is trying not to go there in her head - I wish I had more time I would have stayed another two hours and read more of this combination Greek Wedding and the Brit Com. Days of Summer Wine.

    I've too many not read now or I would have purchased the book tonight - need to finish up a few on the table first...

    June 21, 2005 - 09:06 am
    but these nominations are great! No need to wait, obviously.
    I'm sorry I posted those sentiments, yesterday.

    Umberto Eco is usually quite a challenge! Has anyone read that whole book yet?
    I've read 3 of his other books, and did like them!

    To ditto one of the above notes, how can we have an August discussion
    using a book that has a publication release of August?

    June 21, 2005 - 12:09 pm
    We must be on the same track (or in the same rut.) I was recently reading about Mario LLosa who wrote Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter along with The Feast of the Goat. This author studied literature, as well as law, worked as a journalist and joined an underground Communist movement. In 1955 he married and had a tumultltuous relationship with "Julia" Urdiquidi, his uncle's sister-in -law , 13 years his senior. He had many opportunities not usually available to writers in Latin America and became entangled in Peruvian politics. He sounds like quite an interesting study so I would personally enjoy reading something that he wrote. The Feast of the Goat written in 2000 is a historical novel that investigates So. America's recent history and Trujillo, the dictator -- and the novel's central character.

    So, anywhoooo, my vote this time will be for either of these stories by someone who has studied literature and is from Peru. AMEN

    Ann Alden
    June 21, 2005 - 01:48 pm
    Please remove "Pomegranite Soup" as its not going to be available until Aug 2 and I will get a copy then and read it and see if I want to suggest is for October. Thanks!

    June 21, 2005 - 02:53 pm
    Sounds good, Ann. I"ll remove Pomegranate Soup and put up Andy's nomination.


    June 21, 2005 - 07:22 pm
    The Mario Vargas Llosa books sound interesting, and I'm pretty sure I've never read fiction by a Peruvian. But if books are being selected with just a few votes, putting up two of his books might just guarantee he doesn't get enough for either choice to be read in here!

    Ann--I look forward to hearing what you have to say about Pomegranate. At this rate I may learn how to spell pomegranate.

    Wow, Shadow of the Wind got some font and location privileges! Can we add something to the others in caps, also, and like NOBEL PRIZE WINNER for Grass?


    June 21, 2005 - 08:59 pm
    Andy, it's thanks to you that I nominated "Aunt Julia." I have the back copy of "Bookmarks," which you introduced me to,(with the article about Vargas Llosa) in my swim bag, so I'll have something to read if I stop some place for lunch after swimming.

    "Feast of the Goat" sounds good too, but I am trying to stay away from bullies for a while. That Trujillo regime was pretty cruel. I remember reading about a car bombing in this country that killed a Trujillo foe. And my FIL, who lived in the Caribbean many years, told of a Dominican politico who had disappeared and the consensus was that he had been taken aboard a ship and later disposed of.

    June 22, 2005 - 05:17 am
    Bless your heart you wouldn't know a bully if one crossed your path. You are too filled with kindness. OK Kleo I will withdraw my nomination for Feast of the Goat in lieu of "Julia" if you feel that another nomination by him would prove ill advised.

    June 22, 2005 - 12:42 pm
    Lol, Peru just sounded like such a great choice as soon as it was mentioned. They both sound good, but, yes, I like the odds on one or the other. Thanks.


    June 22, 2005 - 01:53 pm
    Wow, Shadow of the Wind got some font and location privileges! Can we add something to the others in caps

    It's the same font and the same font size as any other nominees. I put the RUNNER-UP ON MAY BALLOT because some here complained the last time that the runner-up hadn't been added to the list in the timely fashion they wanted. So, I put it up before the other nominations began...and indicated WHY it was there with the Runner-up in May ballot. If people click on the other links as well as that one they should learn all they need to know about the book, I'd think...or their research will find whatever else is needed.

    I've shortened the link and hope that is more agreeable.

    I'll remove Feast of the Goat for this ballot.


    June 22, 2005 - 02:27 pm
    The nominations look clear and unbiased to me! As usual, you are doing fine!

    However, I count only about 10 people posting in this discussion since the day before
    the nominations began. Are we missing lots of folks?

    Would a reminder somewhere at the top of Books & Literature be appropriate? And perhaps (or maybe not) new readers joining in here would benefit from a note that the vote will be for 1st and 2nd choice.
    Hope this does not make any extra work for you, Jane!

    June 22, 2005 - 02:31 pm
    Yes, Mippy, I can do that.

    Let's see if we can get some more nominations and then get ready for the big vote. I have the information about the first and second choices in red in the header here...and it'll be on the voting page, too, of course.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    June 22, 2005 - 08:08 pm
    Mippy I find it discouraging to have a dozen people choose a book that only 5 end up reading - it is as if folks just like to vote - and then those of us who really intend to read the book are stuck with the choice made by all those who vote for the heck of voting - and so I am personally not too bent out of shape with the low interest - maybe those who read will be able to influence the choice of book.

    Kevin Freeman
    June 23, 2005 - 03:10 am
    Also, some who participate in the reading and discussion just don't care to vote. They wait and see and read. Veni, vici, readi. I don't think I've ever seen marni in this thread, for instance, but she's been a prominent reader/discussor up in the RAW book thread. Way to go, Marni.

    As if now stands, we have 7 books on the ballot -- quite manageable. The Magnificent Seven. The Seven Samurai. The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Seven Cities of Cibola. The Seven Deadly Sins.

    Seven (like 3 and 9) is one of those magic numbers. Luck, be a lady tonight.

    June 23, 2005 - 06:18 am
    Barbara, I understand what you're saying about voters and readers. however, I think in any discussion you have a lot more readers than you have discussers. As long as the voted winners get its quorum of those who choose to discuss it I'm happy. There have been times when I've voted (not necessarily here) for a title and have read the book but not joined the quorum or participated in the discussion.

    June 23, 2005 - 06:45 am
    Those who have any nominations they still wish to make, please do so today, so I can work on the ballot tonight and have it ready to go for you tomorrow.



    Barbara St. Aubrey
    June 23, 2005 - 07:32 am
    oohhh found this site which includes the first chapter of Umberto Eco's new book - Umberto Eco online

    Here is a site where we can learn how to say Shantaram since it is the author speaking George David Roberts online

    Oh lookie - News of Norway has a photo of Lars Saabye Christensen

    Can only find reviews of the other books on the list...

    June 23, 2005 - 02:11 pm
    ... for the links above, and especially on the incomparable author Umberto Eco.
    These are NOT nominations (Jane, please do not grab these )
    but I recommend very highly these other novels of his:
    The Name of the Rose (1983)
    Foucault's Pendulum (1990)
    Baudolino (2002)

    My order for his Flame of Queen Loana has shipped, so I'm looking
    forward to reading it regardless of how the vote comes out.

    June 23, 2005 - 02:33 pm
    Thanks, Mippy...

    Not grabbing...

    jane, the bean counter

    Kevin Freeman
    June 24, 2005 - 02:47 am
    The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, 2-1 (Eco has built-in followers)

    The Shadow of the Wind, 3-1 (Influential backing bolsters odds)

    Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, 5-2 (Only South of the Border on Ballot adds Lustre)

    The Half-Brother, 5-1 (Voters worry about getting only half the story)

    Islands, 6-1 (Geographically-challenged unsure South Africa HAS islands)

    Shantaram, 10-1 (Difficult to pronounce titles always trip voters up)

    Crabwalk, 12-1 (Too many voters failed gym class due to its difficulty)

    P.S. Thanks for the ballot work, jane. We bean appreciating your work all along.

    June 24, 2005 - 06:04 am
    Click here to vote for your selection for the August book discussion

    June 24, 2005 - 02:08 pm
    Er, the odds man, I meant.

    Nicely done, Kevin, in my opinion.


    Traude S
    June 24, 2005 - 06:04 pm
    Perhaps I was too early, but I put my votes in this morning.

    June 25, 2005 - 06:27 am
    Traude: Not sure what you mean by voting "too early." I posted the link at 6:04 AM this morning. That's the only way you can vote...and the link isn't put up here until after the voting site is opened by me.


    Ann Alden
    June 25, 2005 - 07:16 am
    When I started to vote on my second choice, I pushed the wrong button for "Islands". I don't intend to read this book and am, at this point, (where we were looking for light read for the summer), not knowing what would be my second choice. Please remove my vote for "Islands" but keep my first choice for sure!

    I did search for Grass's title and found it at my library but have no idea what its about since the link for that book and Eco's do not work.

    June 25, 2005 - 07:41 am
    Ann: I'll deduct one vote for Islands as a second choice. I have no way to know who votes for what since none of your names are on the ballot...only IP numbers.

    Ann...the links take you back to posts HERE in this discussion where people talked about those books or cited reviews. They did not give me links to reviews elsewhere, so that's all I had to put up.

    The Crabwalk is in Kleo's post: KleoP, "---Read Around the World Book Club -Voting June 24-27" #872, 20 Jun 2005 6:28 pm

    and the Eco is in Maryal/Deems' post: Deems, "---Read Around the World Book Club -Voting June 24-27" #873, 20 Jun 2005 6:41 pm


    Traude S
    June 25, 2005 - 08:15 am
    JANE, nominations closed on the 23rd, the link to voting was already up on the 24th, and that's when I voted = Friday morning.

    In case my vote does NOT appear on your records, I'll vote again. Please let me know.

    I understand the reasons for the haste but regret we were so rushed.

    June 25, 2005 - 08:21 am
    I think we're saying the same thing, Traude. You couldn't have voted until I put the link here and I didn't put the link here until I'd opened the voting, so if you used the link here (and there's no way you could have found the voting otherwise or voted), you're fine.

    Perhaps the next vote and nomination can be done differently or on a different time schedule.

    Please note that none of you put your names or emails in the voting. The way the site knows if one person votes more than once is by the IP address of your computer. That's how we throw out the duplicates.

    I don't know how any of you voted, so I can't tell you if you've voted or what you voted for or whatever. What I do know is if someone votes from the same IP address more than once. Those duplicates are thrown out.


    Traude S
    June 25, 2005 - 08:37 am
    Many thanks, Jane. I am confident my vote was duly recorded.

    June 25, 2005 - 03:33 pm
    I'm not even sure I could find a copy of "Islands", but I remember someone describing what the book was about and finding it interesting. I made it my second choice based on that post, actually. Well, we'll see what happens.


    June 27, 2005 - 06:32 pm

    June 27, 2005 - 06:41 pm
    Yep...the clock is ticking...if you're going to vote, better do it in the next few hours...

    jane the bean counter

    Kevin Freeman
    June 27, 2005 - 06:47 pm
    I just love Election Night. The Poles close early (except in Krakow), the Pundits stay up late, and the anticipation builds.

    Bluebird, where have you BEEN? Long time no see (I know, I know -- probably my fault for not cruising enough of the threads. I'm on a time budget lately.)

    Anyway, I don't know about the rest of you, but I am plum exhausted (or is it "plumb" exhausted?) from internet-café hopping and voting, voting, voting.

    It's a great country we live in, isn't it? (One need only look as far as the leader for inspiration!)

    June 28, 2005 - 06:17 am
    Based on two points for every first choice and one point for a second choice, the results of the voting are given below:

    The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana [(3x2)+(8x1)= 14 points]

    The Shadow of the Wind [(5x2)+(2x1) = 12 points]

    Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter [(4x2) + (1x1) = 9 points]

    Shantarama [(2x2) + (3x1) = 7 points]

    Half Brother [(2x2) + (1x1)= 5 points]

    Islands [(1x2)+ (1x1)= 3 points]

    Crabwalk [(1x2) + (1x1) = 3 points]

    There were 18 valid votes and Ann Alden asked that her second choice be deleted. That's why there are 18 votes for first place; 17 for second.

    There is now a proposed up for the winner; please indicate your participation in that discussion by posting there. The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

    Kevin Freeman
    June 28, 2005 - 07:55 am
    Thanks, Jane, for your yeoman work as usual. One small note: the link provided to the "upcoming discussion thread" has Umberto Eco's name spelled "Humberto" Eco twice (well, that I saw). Vanna White be damned, I'd keep the vowel and sell the consonant (unless it's an alternate spelling I just don't know about).

    In any event, your ballot and your bean counting pulled off the "first choice, second choice" strategy seamlessly. I tip my hat to you and wish you a wonderful vacation!

    Joan Pearson
    June 28, 2005 - 08:14 am
    Kevin, you sound happy with the outcome. You know how to pick them! I'm taking you to the track with me!

    Will you please go up to the discussion following the link Jane provided and let your intentions to participate be known? As soon as quorum is met, we can move the title to the Coming Attractions and begin to advertise.

    June 28, 2005 - 08:27 am
    Thanks,'s been corrected.


    Traude S
    June 28, 2005 - 08:42 am
    JOAN, it was Maryal/DEEMS who picked Eco's book (# 873). KEVIN had nominated The Half Brother.

    Frankly, I would have been happier with Aunt Julia .

    Kevin Freeman
    June 28, 2005 - 09:06 am
    Yes, my "Post the Odds" entry was not a reflection of my wishes, but of my hunches. I did great with the "Win-Place-Show" picks, but then my prognosticating went ka-flooey from #4 on down. For the first time, I voted for my own choice (The Half-Brother) but, alas, I am 0-for-RAW in three attempts now. Beginning to feel like William Jennings Bryan or something!


    OK, Joan, I will post in the thread itself. There's beans to be counted still, I guess. After this loss, I thought there were only "has-beans" to worry about. Business as usual, though, and life goes on! I'm sure Umberto's book will prove rich and satisfying!

    June 28, 2005 - 09:07 am
    I did nominate Eco's novel, but I didn't vote--at all.

    So, some people must have voted for it.


    Kevin Freeman
    June 28, 2005 - 09:16 am
    I feel better already! She nominates a book and doesn't even have to help it out with a vote! And here I was, traipsing across the county voting from every Half-Computer I could...!

    Sigh. (Again.)

    June 28, 2005 - 09:21 am
    Instant relief. Good.

    Kevin Freeman
    June 28, 2005 - 09:28 am
    Vote? What vote?

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    June 28, 2005 - 10:47 am
    Keven we will get to the northern climes yet - maybe something by Boon would set the magic - I'm blown away as I read Chapel Road - try it you'll like it and it would be perfect this fall or winter...

    June 28, 2005 - 02:17 pm
    Okay, a quick online check of my local library fails to produce the winner. I'll check further with the neighboring library. Participation, of course, will be contingent on finding the book. (duh!)


    Ann Alden
    June 28, 2005 - 04:07 pm
    My library has 22 copies and I am 32nd on the reserve list so good luck Babi! I figure I might get it by next year so will have to look at my one other library. We have three or four systems around here but Columbus is the largest so I looked there first.

    Not sure that I want to read this as I am not an Umberto fan after reading and watching "The Name of the Rose". Just didn't care for either! But Rose is much older!

    Hey, I can pull a Kevin and Barbara and go to B&N and just sneak read some of the book there and see if I want to read it.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    June 28, 2005 - 04:39 pm
    Ann one of the links I found earlier actually has the first chapter of this book to read online...

    By the Way "The Name of the Rose" is considered one of the more difficult books to read so I would not use it as a judge on this one...

    June 28, 2005 - 06:55 pm
    I like the idea of sneaking a read at B & N, but am afraid the lattes would bankrupt me. But today I requested Pomegrante Soup at our public library, after mentioning that Gahanna PL had ordered five copies. I also told them a little bit of what we were doing here with Read ARound the World (they already know about SeniorNet), and received a lovely response from the Adult Services Coordinator.

    "I have added your request for Pomegranate Soup to our next order as well as Bone People and The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. . . . . . . I have bookmarked the SeniorNet Read Around the World discussion page and will check it periodically. I appreciate your interest in helping to improve on the library's collection. . . . . . and always welcome input from those who love to read."

    June 28, 2005 - 07:49 pm

    You might find it used. Eco is commonly available in Costco and Walmart for cheap also. He's not exactly an unfamiliar face to American bookstores and libraries. I didn't even know he wasn't American.

    Yes, Traude, I would have rather gone someplace a bit more unfamiliar than an author I've known and read for decades--Peru sounded so exotic!

    On the other hand, at least Eco's protagonists tend to be adults.


    Kevin Freeman
    June 29, 2005 - 05:24 am
    Sounds like a great librarian, pedln. Accomodating, too.

    BaBi, you can try the Costco's and the BJ's and the Wal-Mart's in your area. They do cut prices by as much as 30%. Not bad. Or you can go to B&N like Ann does, find a cushy chair, and enjoy a cuppa java as you read a chapter a day in the lovely a.c. before wishing the salesclerk a good day then having one yourself.

    Kleo, yes, yes. Peru is lovely in the summer (only it may be winter down there... not that winter scares anyone in that neck of the jungle) and sounds wonderfully exotic as only the word "Peruvian" can. Our selections have been a tad conservative (bestseller, Booker prize winner, internationally-acclaimed author) and not proven as exotic or as foreign as I'd originally expected when dreaming up this club, I guess, and you may be right that Umberto is too well-known to prove exotic or foreign himSELF, but we'll wait and see, we'll wait and see. Things come in threes. But I'm going to read it and see what happens. And I'll read my big little Norwegian book on my lonesome and get back to you with a report. Maybe it's a bill of goods, anyway. A phony. A Quisling. A Hamsun gone mad. And thank you for the Dutch rec, barbara. It, too, looks tempting, though I can't find the original publication date (it's a reprint). Finding a book that resonates for you is like the old U2 song: "But I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." Or maybe that's not so old, afterall (like me... accent on "afterall"!).

    In any event: Happy Fourth. Hope y'all get a bang out of it and sip your fill of lemonade to chase the cherry cobbler.

    June 29, 2005 - 09:38 am
    Ann, if your library has 22 copies, you're only #10 on the waiting list. As soon as at least 11 of the first takers finish the book, you're in! Should have a copy within two weeks. <bg>

    There's a Walmart close by. Won't hurt to check it out. Thanks to Kleo & Kevin.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    June 29, 2005 - 11:16 am
    what is the Bj's???

    June 29, 2005 - 12:54 pm
    Barbara: BJ's is apparently a warehouse-type all-purpose store like Sam's Club or Costco or that type of store. We don't have them here, either, but I hear people on the east coast speak of them.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    June 29, 2005 - 01:07 pm
    ahhh...thanks Jane

    Ann Alden
    June 30, 2005 - 06:35 am
    I am 32nd on the list so will get it maybe by September in my math calculations. That means I am still 32nd behind the 22 already out. Can't change those numbers fast enough. And, isn't this a new book?? Well, I will look at Alibris and other used book places, like Powell's and see what's available.

    June 30, 2005 - 08:12 am
    Just tried to do a comparative shopping on Mysterious Queen --- $27

    Walmart -- 16.75 and
    BooksAMillion (mainly Southern) 15 and change.

    Couldn't come up with a Costco price. Alibris has it, didn't give a price, add 3.49 for shipping.

    Didn't check out B&N and Amazon. Probably close to above or less, if you can avoid shipping costs.

    June 30, 2005 - 08:50 am
    The price at Amazon was $17.82.
    I bought other books, so it was free shipping.

    Joan Grimes
    June 30, 2005 - 09:02 am
    Here are the Barnes and Nobles prices

    List Price: $27.00 B&N Price: $18.90 (Save 30%) Member Price: $17.01 Become a B&N Member Save 10% off the B&N price

    B& N also has it on compact disc, unabridged for $ 32.39 member price. I have not bought my book yet but will probably buy the compact disc version since I have trouble with my eyes. Will order it at the end of next week.

    Joan Grimes

    June 30, 2005 - 07:28 pm
    "Our selections have been a tad conservative (bestseller, Booker prize winner, internationally-acclaimed author) and not proven as exotic or as foreign as I'd originally expected when dreaming up this club, I guess, and you may be right that Umberto is too well-known to prove exotic or foreign himSELF, but we'll wait and see, we'll wait and see. "

    Yes, a bit weird to me, as I was thinking when I joined we would be seeking the exotic and unknown, or at least encountering it by now. However, that said, I love Hulme, was not familiar with her work, and really want to thank whoever put The Bone People up for a vote--this is exactly what I wanted through this experience. However, my month is just overbooked to the extreme, and I have been ill off and on, and I have not finished it, or my other book club selection. I think this weekend will be devoted to escaping the heat and finishing some reads.

    Kevin--we might encounter some quislings in our next read. I have been delving into WWII Italian history lately, also, and it seems this book contains some of that. However, with Eco his reviews aren't the best clues to his works.


    July 1, 2005 - 07:08 am
    Kleo, with most of us coming from different backgrounds it stands to reason that we will receive different benefits from our various encounters at RATW. I have found it living up to my expectations of being exposed to authors from around the world -- some that I had heard of, and some not. It does not matter to me whether they are conservative or exotic, award winners or first-time novelists. Had it not been for the discussion here at RATW I probably would not have read Michelle de Kretzer's Hamilton Case, nor would I have put Shadow of the Wind, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, and Pomegranate Soup on my "to read" list. And now I'm also actively seeking writers from other countries, which I hadn't done before.

    Ann Alden
    July 2, 2005 - 05:45 am
    I just finished a book by a Norwegian lady author who is well known over there and has written many mysteries using the same detective. It was not exotic nor did it reveal much about the country, just a good old fashion murder mystery. The title is "Don't Look Back" by Karen Fossum. She's a decent writer and this opens up more mysteries for me.

    I have finished "Pomegranate Soup" and really enjoyed its writing. Am now into another fiction by Barbara Kingsolver which I had not read, "Pigs in Heaven" and find it delicious to read. I did like the first book that I read of hers about the minister and his family but this one is fun.

    July 3, 2005 - 01:50 pm
    Ann, do read the prequel to Pigs in Heaven, and I believe Kingsolver's first novel -- Bean Trees. You learn how Turtle came into the family.

    Will have to check out the Karen Fossum book.

    Ann Alden
    July 3, 2005 - 03:13 pm
    I chose the wrong one to read first??? Phooey! I have them both out from the library. Laying right here on the coffee table in the great room. Nuts!!!

    July 4, 2005 - 03:49 am
    hahhaa well it looks like The Shadow of the Wind won, but didn't win, a fine conundrum to begin our next selection, many thanks to Jane for all that record keeping, and conducting the vote, and to all 18 of you for those votes. I think next time we need to eliminate the Second Choice vote, and do a run off if things are close. It also appears a healthy quorum has assembled in the Flame which I think looks marvelous, but then again, it's hard to beat Eco, and such a new and exciting looking book, so off we go to a new experience.

    While I was in Albuquerque, USA Today on June 30 had quite a large article on Shadow, saying that US booksellers have just discovered his book tho it's been published in 45 countries, Borders has given it their 2004 Original Voices Award for Fiction, B&N chose it for its Discover Great New Writers award, and the Independent Booksellers picked it for a 2005 Book Sense Book of the Year Honor Book. So as more and more people discover it, we here knew all along about it (!!!) always on the cutting edge, thanks to our great readers, and even tho 2 of you quite heartily dislike it, several of us love it, so I think it will make a suitable discussion in another venue of our quite large and prosperous Books & Literature discussions in the future. Wasn't it you, Pedln, who first nominated it? Many thanks, it's really one of the best I've read in a long time.

    We'll see if we can get the author for a new year's read. We have several exciting venues coming up author wise first for our fall offerings.

    But meanwhile we have the incomparable Eco, a writer rich and full, a delight, and, should no other Discussion Leader step forward and demand to lead it, I'm afraid we really can't take Eco all at once, so we'll be taking that one in sections, too, in August.

    Using red, white and blue here, hahahaa, for another country in my own passport. I love the concept of this book club and all the new voices you have each brought here. When Pat gets back from her vacation she'll stamp our passport above with Italy, can't wait. Our next vote will be in September for an October read, I think things have gone really well here, thanks to you all.

    Happy Fourth!

    July 4, 2005 - 06:36 am
    Kathy, I meant to say way back there thank you for that recommendation, it LOOKS fabulous, even tho she doesn't seem to meet the parameters of THIS book club, not having been born there, (but she lived, what 50+ years there)?!? The book, and this confused me, was published in 1999, but it's about 50 years earlier? We may have to start an Ex Pat's book club, because that DOES look fabulous, we could compare three books: this one, the Huxley, the Blixen... or even 4 as Hats has also suggested one on Africa, all by Ex Pats, someday? It might be interesting when we run out of native voices or we, as indicated, could open up a new type of club to run along side this one, just food for thought.

    July 4, 2005 - 08:16 am
    by G.D. Roberts was one of the non-winners on our ballot,
    but the book is nice and unusual. I rarely read just one book at a time, so I'm 200 pages into it.
    However, I don't think it qualifies. The "voice" of the main character is not an Indian, but the book is about India. So far, he mainly is an outsider, trying to get into a culture which is strange and exotic to him.
    I do hope someone else finds time to read this,
    (Kleo, do you have it on your stack?), so we can compare notes.

    It may be outside our group's parameters.

    July 4, 2005 - 11:33 am
    No, Mippy, it's not on my pile, yet. Keep me informed. The author has had an amazing life--does the book reflect this to any degree?

    I just added a book I meant to read a while ago, then decided against. Now someone who reads a lot like me (all over the place fiction and non) recommended it, Julian Barnes' Flaubert's Parrot. I'm reading a few books right now, also.

    I want to finish the Eco before we start, but want to finish my books on Fascist Italy before I start on the Eco. I am interested in the history of totalitarian movements of the 20th century, so it will prove interesting, this next read of ours, at least in that way.

    You know, Mippy, there is too little time and too many books.

    Ginny, I could find In the Shadows of the Sun on the BN site for the Discover Great New Writers Award, but not Shadow of the Wind. Some other intriguing books there, though. Is there a page which lists all of them including Wind?


    July 4, 2005 - 12:00 pm
    Yes we've talked quite a bit about Flaubert's Parrot, Kleo, let us know how you like it? I think a lot of our SeniorNet readers are very eclectic in their reading habits, good, enriching thing for us all!

    I looked up the Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers Seasonal Awards link, and it looks like the article is correct: Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers Seasonal Awards Overview Kind of an interesting read about how they pick the winners, also.

    The article mentioning this in the first place is also online, or so they say. The original was in the newsprint copy of USA Today, Thursday, June 30, of this year, their feature article on their books page, page 40D.

    To check out that article, (author Jacqueline Blais) it says they on USA Today have a searchable archive and to visit them on the web at

    July 4, 2005 - 12:14 pm
    Thanks, Ginny. This is not at all what shows up when I go to BN and search for Discover Great New Writers, but rather a selection of only about 20 books.

    You haven't already read Flaubert's Parrot in here? I did have tons of fun with his 10 1/2 Week history, whatever the correct title.


    July 4, 2005 - 12:22 pm
    Kleo--In order to find The Shadow of the Wind, you have to scroll down aways. I think it's on the third or fourth grouping of twenty books.


    July 4, 2005 - 12:24 pm
    It's the last book on the second group, for which you have to scroll down. Or you can just click here to read about the book:

    July 4, 2005 - 01:45 pm
    No, I did a search on BN on Discover Great New Writers. This returns about 20 books on two pages, none of which is Shadow of the Wind--the page Ginny posted is completely different from the one which comes up with the search. I can find the book on BN just fine by searching for the title. I was merely looking for the list that Ginny mentioned, obviously more comprehensive than the one I cam across as it did not have this book.

    Deems--I already got a copy of the book. I am one of the ones who couldn't stand it.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    July 4, 2005 - 02:11 pm
    read Flaubert's Parrot last year when I was gobbling up so many authors of magical realism - good small book...

    July 6, 2005 - 11:26 am
    Oh, Barbara, that's a good recommendation right now. I've lately gotten into small books, things I can get through in one or two sittings. I feel so accomplished getting through more books. Now, this may seem awful, as I should be reading for quality, not quantity, but lately brevity adds to the enjoyment in my estimation.


    July 7, 2005 - 12:02 pm
    B&N described the new selection as a 'psychological' work. I find that a bit off-putting, since so many books of that type tend to be dreary and tiresome. Who's read it already, and what do you have to say about that description, hmm?


    July 7, 2005 - 12:07 pm
    OOPS! Correction: that was the description in the Pasadena Library cataog,...not B&N.


    Barbara St. Aubrey
    July 7, 2005 - 12:20 pm
    Babi you'll like - you'll like it - if this is psychology than give me more - the character is an older guy and the early chapters are a hoot - even the hospital pooh poohs the idea they can 'fix' him - he simply lost part of his memory and the book is about discovering the part he lost which is the part that connects of with reality - our family, houses, vehicles, how to drive, how to drink hot coffee, our grandchildren as part of us and not some stranger's kids, what do we do after we shower and eat - all done lightly with humor - you'll like it - really...

    July 8, 2005 - 12:34 pm
    That's what I needed to know, BARBARA. Thanks for telling me more about the book.


    July 9, 2005 - 06:10 am
    Looks great to me, I'm excited about this selection!

    It's new, it's hot and it's an author everybody talks about but not everybody has read, love it.

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    July 9, 2005 - 07:50 am
    Where is Kevin - has he given up on us because our choices are not as unique or cutting edge representative of international authors...?

    July 9, 2005 - 11:24 am
    Ah, Barbara, Kevin won't give up just because we aren't avant-garde enough. I didn't. And, I think I've whined louder about it than Kevin, in spite of getting one book that was uniquely culturally familiar to me (Kite Runner) and one that fit that bill perfectly for me (Bone People) and now an author whom I know and love (Eco).

    Speaking of Kite Runner, Hosseini is leading a discussion of his book in August at BN.

    Yes, Babi--I value one hyphenated-to-heck-and-back sentence from Barbara far more than anything BN or the library has to say about a book.


    Kevin Freeman
    July 11, 2005 - 06:17 pm
    I am here. I mean, I wasn't here, but I am here. I was on vacation for the Fourth of July. Tried to stretch it to the French Independence Day (July 14th), but non.

    I think I weighed in as a participant up in the Queen Loana thread, did I not? I did. It looks like I'm talking to myself, does it not? It does. My, but this place is Deadsville and Barb would do well to question whether many, many people have given up on us but, no doubt, they, too, are vacationing, and probably they have the keys to the Bastille as well and are stretching it to Quatorze Juillet (hope I didn't just say "The Fortieth of July").

    Anyway, I will be more prepared than ever before because, like a good little Do-Bee, I am only 80 pp away from the end of The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. Bearing down on p. 400, am I not? (Uh, I'll stop that.)

    So yes, here and accounted for. Anyone else? Raise your hand if you're here.

    BTW, I read a pack of posts here and I must say I'd like to go on record as LIKING the "first place, second place" voting method. It's a sort of "checks and balances" method of avoiding backdoor politicking and undue influence of the large states. Ask James Madison. I always was a House of Representative and small state guy.

    Now you know I'm back! Opinions R Us! Hope everyone's summer is going swell. I'll probably have umpteen books read between Queen Loana and August First but, eh bien as they say across the pond and over the channel.

    July 11, 2005 - 06:30 pm
    Backdoor POLITICKING? good grief, welcome back Kevin, as always outré and with something interesting to say. hahahaha A breath of fresh air.

    We don't need to do anything by the back door here and I think I would prefer myself to see the winner win, but as always, we can be Democratic, Egalite and all that and vote on THAT, too.

    Votes R Us, that's us. Welcome back, I personally thought the Mysterious Flame had a great deal of conversation, maybe I'm reading the wrong one.

    Have you ever been in France on Bastille Day? It's quite interesting, at any rate, welcome back.

    Kevin Freeman
    July 11, 2005 - 06:41 pm
    Thanks, ginny. The salt! Don't forget the salt! There's no shame in a little politicking. I politicked for my book from No-way but I only swung one vote so I took the swing down.

    No, no. Don't need to vote on voting. That's too much like the old Vietnam Peace Talks in Paris where they spent months arguing over the shape of the table that they'd use. Not sure if it was put up for a vote.

    You're right. One book, one vote is more pure. The second place vote is more Electoral College. Voting by degrees (which you get at college and also as you travel further south, especially come summertide).

    I've only been to France une temp en aout quand tout le monde sont a la plage et Paris sont tres empty. I thought it was something I said, maybe. Something outre.

    And yes, the Loana thread looks pretty healthy. This thread's been a little lazy Sunday morning-ish of late, I meant.

    Welcome back from New Mexico, by the way. I've no clue if I ever welcomed you back, but there's never anything wrong with repeat courtesies, my momma always said, so there you have it.

    July 11, 2005 - 07:50 pm
    Perhaps that Sunday morning lapse is partly my fault. Lately, I've been coming in here on Sundays, thinking about checking in, and deciding, 'Nah. I'll take the day off.' It's no doubt a hangover from the days when I was actually working, and had something to take the day off from. (I hope that was clear.)I

    It is now Monday evening, and since the last time I checked with my local library, 'The Mysterious Flame...etc.' has appeared! Hopefully, I will be able to lay hands on it in time for the Grand Opening Aug. 1.


    Kevin Freeman
    July 12, 2005 - 06:01 am
    Plenty of time, BaBi, plenty of time! Good to hear (see) your voice again.

    July 13, 2005 - 05:58 am
    Thank you Kevin for the welcome home, I tremendously enjoyed every minute of the experience. I love New Mexico and Albuquerque, the architecture, the deserts, the dryness, just like being in a Western movie, the friendliness of the people and above all, the wonderful national conference. Very exhilarating!

    Babi, I hope you can get the book in time, we need your insightful thoughts!

    I see Pat has our Passport stamped and so we need to start packing, I can see she's put our destination on the map, too, thank you Pat, and so we need to be counting our Euros and packing up our bags! Can't wait!!

    All aboard, Everyone is welcome!!

    Kevin Freeman
    July 13, 2005 - 03:32 pm
    I finished in one gulp (two days' gulping) Brendan O'Carroll's The Mammy. He's an Irish playwright and stand-up comedian who obviously has a talent for writing. I can't remember the last time I laughed out loud at a book and not many people actually do (thus my amazement at the ubiquitousness of the acronym "LOL"), but three or four times it happened. Maybe it's an Irish thing. Or maybe it's just damn funny.

    The Mammy is a Dublin mother of 7 who is left a widow in the opening chapter. She has a best friend with a habit for malapropisms and kids who say the darnedest things (with a brogue, natch). It's all there -- the nuns, the pubs, the family battles and bonding, you name it.

    At 174 pp, this is a great lark if you're in the mood for something quick and uplifting (even if a few downlifting things happen in the book).

    Plus, it has "Cliff Richards" (or, as I call him, "Who-the-Heck-Is-Cliff Richards?") who also appears as a cameo in the beginning of The Half-Brother. Must be a Europa thing. Anyway, speaking of half-brothers, now that I'm fresh off a short but refreshing fun read, I might tackle the Norwegian Giant OR I might just have some more fun with two more lights.

    Less filling. Tastes great.

    July 14, 2005 - 11:25 am
    Intervals of light reading are a must. Too much heavy stuff and one begins to feel dull and overburdened. I am a firm believer in balance in all things. (Libra, natch.)


    Kevin Freeman
    July 14, 2005 - 08:24 pm
    Libra. A scale, then. So glad I don't have to say, "So, what's your sign?"

    Kevin Freeman
    July 18, 2005 - 06:48 pm
    Hey let's make some NOISE here -- isn't anyone reading one of the titles nominated but not chosen from the past three elections? If so, what word do you have on it?

    I am about 100 pp into both House of Day, House of Night and The Half-Brother. I'm going to have to start focusing more on ONE so as to finish, however.

    Sometimes I hit stretches where I "graze" from book to book. It may be a bad habit but it sure is fun.

    July 18, 2005 - 06:52 pm
    KEVIN: I think I read somewhere that all good readers "graze" sometimes. I know I go through stages where I'm reading 3 or 4 books at once, and others where I stick to one book till I finish it.

    What do you think of "House of Day"?

    Kevin Freeman
    July 18, 2005 - 07:10 pm
    HOUSE OF DAY reminds me of Sandra Cisneros' House on Mango Street in a way. Cisneros uses vignettes, many of them shorter than her Polish counterpart's, but it's the same -- they're loosely connected, sometimes little stories, sometimes more a description, sometimes ruminative and sometimes focused on a person. The constant, of course, is the narrator. And unlike in MANGO ST., HOUSE OF DAY features an adult narrator and not a kid.

    Still, it is reminiscent. Are you familiar with Cisneros?

    July 18, 2005 - 07:15 pm
    No, I'm not.

    Kevin Freeman
    July 19, 2005 - 02:48 am
    OK, then. Let's just say they are a collection of short, well-written fictional pictures of a small town and its denizens. Certain characters reappear frequently. Many of the "sketches" could appear in a writer's text (because this is a writer's writer, as they're called). But it is not a standard novel, by any means.

    Hope that helps.

    July 19, 2005 - 02:10 pm
    Too quiet? Ok, two cents from Cape Cod, here:
    Why would you say reading several books at once is a bad habit, Kevin?
    It's like taking several different courses is college at once,
    or like eating in different types of restaurants in one week,
    or like life!

    What do others think?

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    July 19, 2005 - 03:55 pm
    shoot I have a bad habit then developed since I was a kid - always had one book over the sink while I did dishes, another in the bathroom of course, another hiding on my desk where I was supposed to be doing homework, another next to my bed, usually on the floor, in winter one near the furnace so I could read while I waited for the fire to restart so I could put a shovel of coal on and one on the back porch to grab as I left the house on the way to shop or swim or visit friends - yep, I read walking down the street...later in High School had one that I would grab as I left for school which was an hour and half on the bus - knitted a lot of sox on that bus ride as well - today I have at least 7 books going at one time...and a few that I have stopped but will pick up later...

    Going I have: Obabakoak - Atxaga
    What Painting Is - James Elkins
    Value-Based Fees - Alan Weiss
    Giants of Japan - Weston
    Long distance Hiking on the Appalacian Trail for the older Adventurer
    The Sound and the Fury - Faulkner
    Blink - Gladwell
    Simplicity The Freedom of Letting Go - Rohr
    War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning - Hedges
    Sexual Politics - Millett
    and of course - Break Blow Burn and Rembrandt's Eyes.

    On hold is Eco - An Agatha Raisin [the case of the curious curate] and Susan Griffin's the Eros of Everyday hold means I started and I'm in by 50 or more pages but set the book aside for later.

    Kevin Freeman
    July 19, 2005 - 05:13 pm
    Let me amend (thank god for amendments -- except those proposed for the Constitution, which are usually BAD amendments)!

    Reading many books at once is a bad habit, I think, if it prevents you from finishing any of the books. I hit stretches where that's the case with me. I'm in the middle of everything (Barbara's list makes me dizzy to look at!) and become a permanent member of the Reading equivalent to Middle Earth. Purgatory. En Media Res Ad Infinitum.

    Not a finish line in sight, nor a checkered flag, nor a yellow tape to run through, nor (thank goodness for small favors) an afterword.

    Afterwords. Don't get me going on afterwords. Complaining about them is a bad habit of mine. Another bad habit! It would seem I've cornered the market.

    Anyway, hot enough on the Cape, Mip? Hope you're squarely situated in a sea breeze (or a bay breeze, depending on which side of the arm you live on).

    Barbara St. Aubrey
    July 19, 2005 - 06:29 pm
    all sorts of reasons to have several books going Kevin - some you are so curious about the thesis that you just need to gobble up several books ion and around the topic - one after the other - than some, a friend gives you the book and you want to be able to chat about the topic and some, the sentences are so beautiful that you must take it in small doses to let it sink in - and some are like a long explanation from a resource, like an encyclopedia, so you read it at the rate of about a chapter a day - and some you read while sitting at the computer because the book is up for discussion and other books because something that was posted needs research.

    Now how could you read more than a chapter a day of stuff like this - "It takes a long time for us to allow God to be who God really is. Our natural egocentricity wants to make God- and all other people, for that matter- into who we want them or need them to be...God created human beings after God's own image, and we've returned the compliment . so to speak, creating God after our image. Thus God or the gods were, as a rule, turned into a mirror image and projection of our own selves...We always seem to find a way to keep things firmly in our grasp. And so we've created "God" to go on playing our game: a God who fits into our system...We've required a domineering God, because we ourselves like to dominate. And since we're so fixated on this, we've almost completely forgotten and ignored what Jesus told us about the nature of God..."

    Or reading others reaction to a poem and knowing sentence exists that it takes re-reading to find it and then you realize how much you forgot and so you must re-read the entire book - sentence of importance ~~ "Poetry itself has nearly always been identified with the ruling class, its view, values, and interests. Only in the novel did the real world openly intrude...Most Victorian poetry is deliberately escapist, resolutely shunning the contemporary world as the verse of probably no other period before had dared to do..."

    Or in another book how about "To those who swallow the nationalist myth, life is transformed. the collective glorification permits people to abandon their usual preoccupation with petty concerns of daily life. they can abandon even self-preservation in the desire to see themselves as players in a momentous historical drama."

    But then you committed to two other books, so you have to brake off and read what you committed yourself to read - and since one of the books you committed yourself to read is about Art, you must read a bit more in a thin, but penetrating book, how alchemy was thought of in the mixing of paint and how the very paint was symbolic for the Trinity when Church sponsored art was the main art collected.

    Then you have a run of folks who want to pay you less for your services and so I needed some good words why and how to ensure I get paid what I am worth - be able to identify specifically the value of each service I offer.

    Then reading a book by a contemporary Japanese author I became aware how little I know of the important figures in Japanese history and so one a night is the plan - and I have had a dream of a long distance hike that I have begun to wonder if it is a dream no longer possible so I had to read how others have handled long distance hiking. Having read "The Tipping Point" when I saw "blink" I had to grab it - in the blink of an eye we make the most important decisions with thin slices of knowledge we make life affecting choices...

    Faulkner is a joy and a commitment, having stopped at Roan two years ago I have been reading lots about Faulkner in addition to his books - also Welty has been on my high interest list.

    However, the language of Obabakoak is a wonderment...thoughts that weave in and out of past, present, lake mists and memories, understood with the benefit of time while trying to capture feelings at their moment in history - like a Canto in prose - private, like tiptoeing in an exotic house because the door was left opened - captivating in its melancholy - a book you almost which you could read in Braille to slow down the process.

    And so my reading goes forth...

    July 19, 2005 - 08:20 pm

    One thing I've done to avoid the feeling of being in the middle of too many books at once is I always try to either start or end my day with one book until it's finished. For example, of the half dozen I am reading now, I finished Crichton's Fear a few days ago. While reading it I picked up various other pieces of fiction and non-fiction all day long, but ended every day with the Crichton, until I finished it. Now that I have finished that I continue with my other books and devote my 'finish' reading to Octavia Butler's Kindred.

    I really love this method. I've got it down pat so that I am able to apply it about 2 or 3 times a year for at least a week or two at a time. The rest of the time I simple flounder, often losing my place in books and not returning. Although different books in different places like Barbara does sounds ideal, I actually wind up with multiple books in various places. I'm reading a history of Mexico and War of the Worlds in the downstairs sitting room, and a history of Soviet Science and a book on the Solanaceae in the upstairs sitting room.

    Kevin--these books, the small-town vignettes sound like Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. I read and fell in love with this book on tape earlier this year.


    Kevin Freeman
    July 20, 2005 - 04:14 am
    Wow, Barbara, the free tour of books and quotes that you have going (or had going) is quite Eco-esque. I can see how multiple books, your habit, Kleo's, Mippy's, et al's, is not so much a "bad habit" as a mirror of our restless (hungry?) minds.

    Kleo, that's a good strategy there. You read a ton of books but keep one as the touchstone, the anchor, the main attraction, that you start and/or finish the day with, so at least THAT one gets finished. I can see you're further along on the "let's solve this problem" scale than I am. Good to see, however, that I do not walk alone as far as this dilemma goes.

    And yes, The House on Mango Street, House of Day, House of Night, and Winesburg, Ohio all share similarities in their approach. Sherwood Anderson's book is more a set of traditional short stories with reappearing characters as well as new ones, all built around the coming-of-age story of... George, was it?... I forget, but it was a kid based on (guess who?) young Sherwood himself.

    Tokarczuk and Cisneros tend more toward the vignette, the sketch, than the chapter-that-stands-alone-as-a-traditional-short story.

    Anderson is an interesting writer who suffered an interesting death (not that I have any interest in dying that way) and, given his "second-tier status" these days, had "first-tier influence" on a lot of other writers (Hemingway, Fitzgerald) in his day. His novels were literary flops, but he could write a short story and, with his "grotesques," he certainly knew and had compassion for the human heart.

    It's this empathy that I like best about him.

    July 20, 2005 - 04:10 pm
    WOW! My broadband reading doesn't come close to KEVIN and BARBARA's. When I am reading one book that's somewhat heavy and requires thoughtful reading, I take a break from time to time with something lighter. The pause that refreshes, so to speak. Then, I may have at my bedside something soothing to help me get drowsy. But that's about my limit.


    July 20, 2005 - 07:05 pm
    Well, Kevin, it is just a strategy. Try not to remind me of it next time I swear I can only read one book at a time and can't abide by folks who claim to be able to multi-dip.

    Babi--I also read what I call fluff in addition to literature and nonfiction. I generally have about 2-3 classics going, a well-written modern mystery novel and one piece of fluff at a time in the fiction department. Sometimes I would rather NOT think while reading. Crichton does this for me. Robin Cook. Jerry Pournelle. The authors of Relic. I read a lot of literature and rather heavy nonfiction because it's what we had in the house growing up--I like the familiar feel of the writing in Frankenstein and Poe and other books of the era, popular with both my parents.


    Ann Alden
    July 21, 2005 - 02:14 am
    Which was brought up in the Book Nook today and I researched to find it on Google for the poster. Thought ya'al might want to read about it. The Swallows of Kabul by Yasmina Khadra

    Traude S
    July 21, 2005 - 05:37 am
    BARBARA, your reading list is wonderfully eclectic and I commend you for your lively interest in so many fields. More power to you.

    I have a copy of Kate Millet's Sexual Politics downstairs, right next to Elizabeth Janeway's A Man's World and a Woman's Place and Betty Friedan's seminal The Feminine Mystique , among several other works that raised women's consciousness in the heady seventies.

    They were our inspiration in the fight for ERA, the Equal Rights Amendment. In the forefront of that fight was AAUW, the American Association of University Women; I was one of its proud members, still am.

    Sadly, after those heady years Millet, a PhD and autor of several scholarly books, fell into adversity, found herself unemployable and on the fringes of poverty. "Sexual Politics" was finally reissued in 2000 for a new generation of women who know of the "glass ceiling" but have no idea of what it took to aspire to such a thing, much less make it an obtainable reality.

    July 21, 2005 - 09:09 am
    Traude: I bet you're not happy that a man was nominated for justice of the US Supreme Court. I know I'm disappointed.

    July 21, 2005 - 03:12 pm
    ANN, I clicked on The Swallows of Kabul and read an excerpt. It plunked me right in the middle of a crowded, smelly marketplace surrounded by importunate beggars, in the persona of a character trying to beat his way through the crowd with some kind of whip or riders crop. My immediate reaction was "GET ME OUT OF HERE!!"


    Kevin Freeman
    July 21, 2005 - 07:43 pm
    I once flew a kite in Kabul. Then I sold it for 50 cents in a tag sale a month later. Then I discovered it was required summer reading for my son. Then I kicked myself. Then I said, "I will not pay full price for this book again, no sirree and no madamee."

    I will library-loan the book on tape, and sonny boy shall listen to the wind and the whirring of the kite tail and the bustle of Kabul's markets.

    I hope.

    Kevin Freeman
    July 23, 2005 - 04:02 am
    Well THIS is a fine Saturday, in't it? Last night thunderboomers were rolling around the State O' Maine and we sat on the screened porch and watched the bolts followed by the rolls and decided it would be safer if God made the rolls followed by the bolts. Hear it and take cover, it'd amount to, instead of get struck by lightning, then hear the warning (taunting, by that time).

    Whatever. After a night like that, you wake up and the skies are scraped blue and there's a wind air-mailed from Canada at your back and the thermometer is Fahrenheit-to-middling 60s and the birds are singing like it's the first morning they've ever witnessed. Birds are just that way. Hopelessly optimistic. Always seeing the bright side of matters. There's a lesson in that, I suppose.

    I wonder if the swallows of Kabul (or Capistrano) know it? I'm almost sure it's instinctual. Hardwired, as we say in this techno-age.

    The summer's all but half over and it ain't funny, I heard the warbler sing. Have you ever tried to identify warblers? No less an expert than Roger Tory Peterson had a special section in his bird book called "Confusing Warblers" -- I think, because warblers specialize in confusion. You should see them in the trees trying to figure out who lights on what branch, who sings a capello and who harmonizes with the lazy summer cicadas, lawn mower engines, and distant chainsaws which have sung back-up to our endless summers since time immemorial.

    Back then you'd grab a book and eat it raw all in a day, half the time. By the time you were 16, what you'd read and what you'd experienced or dreamed got thoroughly confused. The warblers of Memory, these books became.

    Which segues nicely with the Eco book. Memory. Mnemonic devices. Mnemones (was it?), the little Greek girl who sat next to me in 3rd grade (or so I remember it).

    I finished another book yesterday, Kleo will be happy to know, because I made it the standard-bearer. Bears, standard or not, are much more organized than warblers. You hardly ever see a confused bear. He's sure of everything from the trash can he's mauling to the fish he plucks midstream.

    But I digress. Or maybe I was never on track. Bear with me while I tie it all together somehow. Fish eaten by bears are RAW and so are Readers Around the World. Only I doubt salmon can read around the world. That would be a leap. Upstream. Against all odds. While the warblers trill in trees overhead.

    July 23, 2005 - 09:57 am
    My, Kevin, you are in fine fettle this morning. I'm not sure what a fettle is, but I never hear it mentioned exept as fine. (Now you've got me doing it!)

    I'm grateful summer is half over. Summer, to me, is heat, humidity and heartbreaking electric bills. Heartbreaking, mindnumbing, breathtaking...which is no doubt why I'm gasping when I read one. (That and the heat.)

    Enuf. ..Babi

    July 23, 2005 - 10:48 am
    " Have you ever tried to identify warblers? No less an expert than Roger Tory Peterson had a special section in his bird book called "Confusing Warblers" -- I think, because warblers specialize in confusion. "

    HA! I have the secret for identifying warblers!! My house is on a hill, so when I sit on my deck, and look at the warblers in the trees out back, I'm looking DOWN at them. All the identifying marks can be seen from above, but when you stand below, and look up, they all look alike. Furthermore, you get the dreaded "birder's neck"!

    I should say "I did look down on them". the trees are still there, but the community around has become so built up, the warblers don't come here anymore. I miss them terribly.

    July 23, 2005 - 05:10 pm
    I am sorry that for a while I didn't read the "Read around the world". Thank you, Barbara, for your encouragement.

    Here are some books I would like to propose for the simple reason that I like them very much. Two basically new are by Andre Makine: "My Russian Summers" and "Once upon the river Love". Not so new but from the 20th century are two plays: "State of Siege" by Camus, and one by Anouilh; unfortunately I don't know the title of the English translation, but the French title is "Ardele ou la Marguerite". One more novel would be "Point Counter Point" by Huxley. Here is one from the 19th century by poor mad Gogol, "Taras Bulba".

    I think that really great books never age. Perhaps they don't talk about actualities in the strict sense, but some human and historical problems never change. At least, IMHO.

    And perhaps I would risk to mention one of my great favories by Giorgio Bassani, the author of "The Garden of the Finzi- Continis": "The Heron". I think the latter is his greatest book.

    Or perhaps I should have proposed them in another thread? If yes, tell me, please.

    Ann Alden
    July 23, 2005 - 06:04 pm
    I think that the RATW posters are trying to stick with new authors, from 1980, maybe?? So, your first two by Andre Makine certainly fill the bill and both sound different. I don't think we have had a Russian author brought here before this time. That's an assumption on my part as I don't know if Makine is Russian. Hmmm, will go research that.

    Well, yes he is Russian, having been born in Siberia. He left there in 1987, at the age of 30, and fled to France where several years later, he became a French citizen. But, by the rules, I believe he qualifies here for a suggestion author and book.

    Ann Alden
    July 23, 2005 - 06:16 pm
    Dumb me! We have already read a book, "The Kite Runner" about Kabul?? Right! And, even it, though well written, was slightly violent. Sorry about that!

    Traude S
    July 23, 2005 - 08:18 pm
    Hegeso, excellent suggestions. The first book by Andrei Makine translated into English was "Dreams of my Russian Summers" (1998). Our local live book group read it and found it moving. Makine has published several others since, about one a year, it seems.

    Perhaps we could keep a list of suggestions to use when we have finished Eco's "Mysterious Flame ...".

    July 23, 2005 - 10:25 pm
    I see there are a flock of bird lovers out there. Me, too. Far from being any sort of expert, I love to watch them and listen to them in my yard. One of my very favorite things to do on gorgeous days like today in CT (finally the humidity is gone!!) is just lounge on the chaise on my deck and watch my two bird feeders. A whole town of wee goldfinches visit my thistle feeder and they are just so sweet that I keep smiling and smiling. I just discovered I have a catbird. I had to check my bird book to make sure. I understand they actually make a sound like "meow" but I don't know if I've heard that. (We have so many darn cats skulking around because of the birds that I'd just assume it's a cat.) I was all geared up for a discussion of the new Audobon book this summer that I went ahead and read it when it was available in my library. (LOVED it!) Then that was put off til later reading.

    Hegeso: Interesting to see you mention The Garden of the Finzi- Continis. Did you see the movie? It's an oldie - 1971, I saw on the web. What a beautiful beautiful but terribly sad movie.

    Kevin Freeman
    July 24, 2005 - 03:06 am
    Thank you, BaBi, for the kind words about my fettle. My mother just borrowed it yesterday as she is having company and expecting to boil a bunch of lobster. I, myself, am wasted in Maine because I do not like lobster and really hate to be an innocent bystander when they take the final plunge. I could swear I once heard one squeak, "Bubble, bubble, boil and trou--."

    You get the picture (and it's better left undeveloped). Let it just be said that anything that ugly which can quote Shakespeare does not deserve to die.

    As for wishing summer over and bills away, I think moving north is your solution (uh, until winter, that is). I do not have any need of air conditioning (funny, the thought of air doing sit-ups and crunches, isn't it?) and just flick the ole ceiling fan switch to mix it up sometimes. It is, this solemn Sabbath, 59 degrees as I type. There's something to be said (this must be it) for wearing a long-sleeve shirt and sipping a big cuppa Joe early in the morning.

    JoanK, your solution to my warbler woes (identifying them from above or, as it's called, the "bird's eye view solu") involves my building a tree house, something I have not done since I was a kid fresh off seeing The Swiss Family Robinson at the Saturday matinee. I can't tell you what I would've done to live in that tree house as a kid. I also liked the fact that the Robinson boys had no school other than Nature's Classroom. I kept looking for ships to wreck on, but did not live close enough to the shore in those days.

    Anyway, until I can afford the wood (and pick out a tree), I will attempt to whistle those warblers to the ground for identification purposes. OR I could use marni's trick and stick with the goldfinch who are much more cooperative when it comes to identifying, what with their gaudy yellow plumage and their little thistle addiction problems. If you can't identify a goldfinch than you audu (be) bonned from your local bird society, I always say.

    Hello hegeso (whose name now brings to mind a certain woman receiving a certain gift in a certain grove in a certain Greece)! Always good to have titles to look up, says-a-me. Time spans between nominations, votes, and reads are so lengthy here at RAW that I forget who tracks nominees and how. Jane, I think, is our (wo-)man in Havana. Only I'm not sure she keeps a file on possible book titles until we approach voting time, which is determined by Ginny, I think -- our woman in Carolina.

    Anyway, as was pointed out, the more recent titles from abroad (post 1980-ish) are considered here and the oldies but goodies from abroad are considered in the Great Books thread. Is the Great Books thread dormant? If so, it should definitely wake up and someday read a classic from Russia or elsewhere around the globe.

    Eh. Out of water for a second coffee which means I must go out to the pumphouse. The dog needs to be aired, anyway. Earth (outside), wind (doggy needs), and water (fire's on holiday).

    This promises to be a day with plenty of sun in its Sunday. Praise the Man in Charge and step forth for another day (hey nonny nonny).

    Later, then?

    Ann Alden
    July 24, 2005 - 05:09 am
    I looked up your author and he is Russian born but now a French citizen. I hope that he qualifies so I can read another Russian title and compare it to the other Russian authors. They seem like such a solemn group.

    July 24, 2005 - 05:55 am
    Hello all of you who were in The Bone People, today's the DAY!

    Yes, today's the day or starting today all around the country when PBS stations all around the country will show The Whale Rider? I've never seen it, have you?

    It will be shown sometime on PBS this week, it's tonight at 9 pm Eastern here in South Carolina, and we invite you starting tomorrow, Monday the 25th to come discuss it with us. We had such a rich background in our recent discussion of The Bone People, provided by Carolyn and we'd love to have you and your thoughts, do come by, to Whale Rider and talk to us about it, we'll begin in the morning. Here's the link to the discussion: The Whale Rider

    I know nothing of New Zealand save what I learned from Carolyn, and what she said really piqued my curiosity, so I'm really ready to hear more, and am looking forward to SEEING it (it's supposed to be gorgeous), and learning more and actually seeing the Maori, AND we have people from New Zealand here on SeniorNet also who have already started to come in to the discussion: it ought to be a rich international feast!

    Do come and see on the screen what we've been reading about! It's the perfect coda to the discussion!

    Hope to see you there!

    July 24, 2005 - 07:22 am
    Books are welcome to be nominated during that time slot when we're looking for candidates for the next vote here. That will be sometime in late August or September, I assume. If something(s) strike your fancy, please keep note and nominate it/them then.

    The Great Books is currently taking nominations for their next read. Nominations are open until August 1 the discussion listed right below this one on the Books main page:

    "---Great Books Upcoming! Nominations - now until 8/1"


    July 24, 2005 - 09:55 am
    We are nearing the 1000 post mark,so a new discussion to continue this one has been opened. This one is now Read Only will be moved to the archives in a few days.

    "---Read Around the World Book Club ~ New" click here