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Books Nominated for the Last Book Group Read of 2012

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RESTORED THREAD January 2013

 

#1

tagesmann 23rd November 2012, 01:03 PM

 

Dear All

 

Those of you who were with us back in 2010 will recall that we decided on the themes for the Book Group Online book group for 2011 and 2012. For those of you who weren't with us then, the thread is here.

 

There isn't a theme of this, the last read of 2012 and there won't be any nominations. Instead the books up for voting are the runners up in each of the votes for the previous group reads of 2011-12.

 

There were two occasions where there was a tie for first place. These votes therefore didn't have a runner up. On those times when there was a tie for second place, both books are included.

 

For those members who have not joined in with our book group reads before; please vote and then join in the discussion of the winning book. There is an introduction to the group here. It hasn't been updated for a while so if something is not clear, please ask.

 

 

And so the candidates are...

 

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

Touching the Void is the heart-stopping account of Joe Simpson's terrifying adventure in the Peruvian Andes. He and his climbing partner, Simon, reached the the summit of the remote Siula Grande in June 1995. A few days later, Simon staggered into Base Camp, exhausted and frost-bitten, with news that that Joe was dead. What happened to Joe, and how the pair dealt with the psychological traumas that resulted when Simon was forced into the appalling decision to cut the rope, makes not only an epic of survival but a compelling testament of friendship.

 

Christine Falls by Benjamin Black

Quirke’s pathology department, set deep beneath the city, is his own gloomy realm: always quiet, always night, and always under his control. Until late one evening after a party he stumbles across a body that should not be there – and his brother-in-law falsifying the corpse’s cause of death.

This is the first time Quirke has encountered Christine Falls, but the investigation he decides to lead into the way she lived and died uncovers a dark secret at the heart of Dublin’s high Catholic network; one with the power to shake his own family and everything he holds dear.

 

Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr

Professor Charles Grimaud was explaining to some friends the natural causes behind an ancient superstition about men leaving their coffins when a stranger entered and challenged Grimaud's scepticism. The stranger asserted that he had risen from his own coffin and that four walls meant nothing to him. He added, 'My brother can do more... he wants your life and will call on you!' The brother came during a snowstorm, walked through the locked front door, shot Grimaud and vanished. The tragedy brought Dr Gideon Fell into the bizarre mystery of a killer who left no footprints.

This book is not currently in print but can be found. If this wins and readers can't get hold of it, another Dr Gideon Fell Book by Carr would be an option.

 

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

The Godfather is the Mafia leader Vito Corleone, a benevolent despot who stops at nothing to gain and hold power. Set in Long Island, Hollywood and Sicily, this is a story of a feudal society within society, which does not hesitate to consolidate its power. The Godfather is a searing portrayal of the 1940s criminal underworld. It is also the intimate story of the Corleone family, at once drawn together and ripped apart by its unique position at the core of the American Mafia. Still shocking forty years after it was first published, this compelling tale of blackmail, murder and family values is a true classic.

 

Life and Fate by Vassily Grossman

At the centre of this epic novel, overshadowing the lives of its huge cast of Russian and German characters, looms the battle of Stalingrad. Within a world torn apart by ideological tyranny and war, Grossman's characters must work out their destinies.

Completed in 1960 but confiscated by the KGB, this sweeping panorama of Soviet Society rejected the compromises of a lifetime and earned its author denunciation and disgrace. It remained unpublished until it was smuggled into the West in 1980, where it was hailed as a masterpiece.

 

The Unlikely Voyage of Jack de Crow by AJ Mackinnon

A couple of quiet weeks sailing on the river Severn was the intention, 'Somehow things got out of hand...' Writes A J Mackinnon. 'A year later I had reached Romania and was still going.' Equipped with his cheerful optimism and a pith helmet, this Odysseus in a Mirror dinghy takes you with him from the borders of North Wales to the Black Sea-4900 kilometres over salt and fresh water, under sail, at the oars or at the end of a two rope-through twelve countries, 282 locks and numerous trials and adventures including an encounter with Balkan pirates. An epic voyage undertaken with courage and recounted with flair and humour.

 

Under the Dragon by Rory MacLean

It is just over ten years ago since Burmese people rose up against their military government. The unarmed demonstrators were cut down, leaving more than five thousand people dead. ' Under the Dragon', is a brilliant evocation of contemporary Burma in which Rory Maclean travels from a decaying Rangoon to the heart of the golden triangle, seeking out the victims and perpetrators of the uprising. He rides with a hill-tribe warlord, shares tea with a government censor and is trapped into a karaoke evening with a group of singing Chinese businessmen. He meets the most courageous and principled woman of our age, Aung San Suu Kyi, imprisoned leader of the democratic opposition party. And on his journey, he unravels a paradox of selfless generosity and sinister greed in a country stitched together by love and fear.

 

Around the World in 80 Days by Michael Palin

The pace of this kind of travel has not much changed since Fogg set out in 1872. Trains may be a little faster, but there are certainly no high-speed rail links yet across India, China or the USA. Passenger services have practically disappeared from the world's shipping lanes ... Recourse to air travel, even as a convenient means of escape, was not allowed.' Following the route taken by Phileas Fogg 115 years earlier, Michael Palin set out from the Reform Club to circumnavigate the world. The rules were simple, but nothing else about the trip was straightforward... From a tour of Venice on a rubbish barge to ship spotting at the Suez Canal and the bicycle rush hour and snake snacks in China, this is an unparalleled tribute to man's ability to make life difficult for himself.

 

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

Carson McCullers' prodigious first novel was published to instant acclaim when she was just twenty-three. Set in a small town in the middle of the deep South, it is the story of John Singer, a lonely deaf-mute, and a disparate group of people who are drawn towards his kind, sympathetic nature. The owner of the café where Singer eats every day, a young girl desperate to grow up, an angry socialist drunkard, a frustrated black doctor: each pours their heart out to Singer, their silent confidant, and he in turn changes their disenchanted lives in ways the could never imagine. Moving, sensitive and deeply humane, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter explores loneliness, the human need for understanding and the search for love.

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Thhe only cached page I could find for the poll showed The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter as the winner, although that may have been overtaken before the poll actually closed.

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