New Leaf Nominations for August 2019 • First Things First: Debuts
#21  Catlady 07-03-2019, 10:11 AM
I find this a frustrating category; it's been difficult to find first books without having a specific author in mind, and often the first book turns out to be one that isn't anything special.

Going against the trend, I'm nominating a thoroughly American book by an American author: The Road Through the Wall (1948) by Shirley Jackson.

The compelling novel that began Shirley Jackson's legendary career

Pepper Street is a really nice, safe California neighborhood. The houses are tidy and the lawns are neatly mowed. Of course, the country club is close by, and lots of pleasant folks live there. The only problem is they knocked down the wall at the end of the street to make way for a road to a new housing development. Now, that’s not good—it’s just not good at all. Satirically exploring what happens when a smug suburban neighborhood is breached by awful, unavoidable truths, The Road Through the Wall is the tale that launched Shirley Jackson’s heralded career.
In Pepper Street, an attractive suburban neighbourhood filled with bullies and egotistical bigots, the feelings of the inhabitants are shallow and selfish: what can a neighbour gain from another neighbour, what may be won from a friend? One child stands alone in her goodness: little Caroline Desmond, kind, sweet and gentle, and the pride of her family. But the malice and self-absorption of the people of Pepper Street lead to a terrible event that will destroy the community of which they are so proud. Exposing the murderous cruelty of children, and the blindness and selfishness of adults, Shirley Jackson reveals the ugly truth behind a 'perfect' world.
Amazon US, $11.99

Kobo US, $11.99
Kobo Canada, CDN $13.99
Kobo Australia, AU $14.99
Kobo New Zealand, NZ $20.34
Kobo UK, £2.99

Can be borrowed through Overdrive. No audiobook.

#22  issybird 07-03-2019, 03:10 PM
I'll second The Road Through the Wall.

#23  Catlady 07-03-2019, 07:10 PM
My idea of diversity is nominating a British author's first book: Barbara Pym's Some Tame Gazelle (1950).

A novel of two sisters in postwar England that lets you “step into the Jane Austen–like lives of Harriet and Belinda Bede” (The Christian Science Monitor).

Belinda and Harriet Bede live together in a small English village. Shy, sensible Belinda has been secretly in love with Henry Hoccleve—the poetry-spouting, married archdeacon of their church—for thirty years. Belinda’s much more confident, forthright younger sister Harriet, meanwhile, is ardently pursued by Count Ricardo Bianco. Although she has turned down every marriageable man who proposes, Harriet still welcomes any new curate with dinner parties and flirtatious conversation. And one of the newest arrivals, the reverend Edgar Donne, has everyone talking.

A warm, affectionate depiction of a postwar English village, Some Tame Gazelle perfectly captures the quotidian details that make up everyday life. With its vibrant supporting cast, it’s also a poignant story of unrequited love.
It was odd that Harriet should always have been so fond of curates. They were so immature and always made the same kind of conversation. Now the Archdeacon was altogether different . . . '

Together yet alone, the Misses Bede occupy the central crossroads of parish life. Harriet, plump, elegant and jolly, likes nothing better than to make a fuss of new curates, secure in the knowledge that elderly Italian Count Ricardo Bianco will propose to her yet again this year. Belinda, meanwhile has harboured sober feelings of devotion towards Archdeacon Hochleve for thirty years.

Then into their quiet, comfortable lives comes a famous librarian, Nathaniel Mold, and a bishop from Africa, Theodore Grote - who each take to calling on the sisters for rather more unsettling reasons.
Amazon US, $9.99

Kobo US, $14.39
Kobo Australia, AU $12.99
Kobo New Zealand, NZ $16.99
Kobo UK, £3.99

Only the audiobook is available in Canada. No audiobook in U.S. Can be borrowed through Overdrive, Freading, and Scribd.

#24  Victoria 07-03-2019, 09:13 PM
Quote gmw
First, Wikipedia says ... well, I'll let you read it for yourself, see here under the "Online Activity" heading.......I must say that my enthusiasm for trying this author has waned considerably.
Wow - that’s startling.

Quote issybird
The allegations seem to be proved and that would be it for me, also. I think it's one of the issues of our times: is a work good enough to justify supporting a person of reprehensible character, ideas or actions? Certainly not in this case!
I agree.

#25  CRussel 07-04-2019, 12:52 AM
Yeah, I'll pass. I'm reasonably willing to make consideration for the time and context, but not for reprehensible authors.

#26  issybird 07-04-2019, 07:14 AM
I'd happily read a Barbara Pym, but I'm on the sidelines for the duration.

#27  Bookpossum 07-04-2019, 09:19 AM
I shall second Some Tame Gazelle, Barbara Pym is someone I haven't read and would like to do so.

#28  gmw 07-04-2019, 10:40 AM
I second A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

#29  gmw 07-04-2019, 10:41 AM
I will third The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin

#30  gmw 07-04-2019, 10:57 AM
In my current mood nothing else nominated so far really does it for me, so I'm going to nominate a recent read that I thought was both different (for me) and very good for a debut novel. And while it is written by a US author, she appears to be well qualified to have written this book set in medieval Russia using Russian mythology:

I nominate The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden.

Beware the evil in the woods. . .

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church.

But for the young, wild Vasya these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods. . .
323 Pages.

Ostensibly the first of a trilogy, this first book finishes well enough to be read on its own.


Kobo AU $12.99, Kobo US $11.99, Kobo CA $13.99, Kobo UK must be on special at the moment I think at only £1.99

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