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New Leaf Nominations for March 2020 • As You Wish: Anything Goes
#11  Catlady 02-02-2020, 01:34 PM
I nominate The Dollmaker by Harriette Simpson Arnow (1954, 690 pp.). I first read this book more than 30 years ago; I reread it several times and it is one of my all-time favorites, though I haven't revisited it in many years.

I suspect I'm wasting a nomination and it won't get much support for quite valid reasons (expensive everywhere but the UK, with a jaw-dropping price in Canada; quite long; no audiobook), but it's a great book nevertheless.

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The Dollmaker was originally published in 1954 to immediate success and critical acclaim. In unadorned and powerful prose, Harriette Arnow tells the unforgettable and heartbreaking story of the Nevels family and their quest to preserve their deep-rooted values amidst the turmoil of war and industrialization. When Gertie Nevels, a strong and self-reliant matriarch, follows her husband to Detroit from their countryside home in Kentucky, she learns she will have to fight desperately to keep her family together. A sprawling book full of vividly drawn characters and masterful scenes, The Dollmaker is a passionate tribute to a woman's love for her children and the land.
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"The depth and power and stature of this enormous book are rare indeed in modern fiction." -- The New York Times

"The Dollmaker has vividness and terrific reality. It is a book to make one think...a story of the strength of the human heart against bitter odds....Deeply sincere and moving." -- Chicago Tribune

"A masterwork...A superb book of unforgettable strength and glowing richness." -- The New York Times

"The Dollmaker's depiction of family life -- the entangled bonds between parents and children, brothers and sisters -- is unparalleled in modern fiction." -- The Georgia Review
It is in Overdrive--and I just noticed that Scribd has it too.

Amazon U.S., $15.99
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#12  Bookworm_Girl 02-02-2020, 02:39 PM
I have no idea what kind of mood I am in today. The books I considered were all over the map in genre. I decided on an award-winning Young Adult novel, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. Amazon US $7.55.

From Goodreads:
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Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.

Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.

First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.
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#13  issybird 02-02-2020, 02:44 PM
Quote Catlady
I nominate The Dollmaker by Harriette Simpson Arnow (1954, 690 pp.). I first read this book more than 30 years ago; I reread it several times and it is one of my all-time favorites, though I haven't revisited it in many years.

I suspect I'm wasting a nomination and it won't get much support for quite valid reasons (expensive everywhere but the UK, with a jaw-dropping price Down Under; quite long; no audiobook), but it's a great book nevertheless.
I'm not sure if I'd second this, for all the reasons you mention, but I will echo that it's an excellent book and well worth bringing to people's attention - a cult classic that most don't know.

ETA: only $12.99 in Australia, though.
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#14  Catlady 02-02-2020, 03:28 PM
Quote issybird
I'm not sure if I'd second this, for all the reasons you mention, but I will echo that it's an excellent book and well worth bringing to people's attention - a cult classic that most don't know.

ETA: only $12.99 in Australia, though.
Oops. I mixed up my countries. It's Canada that has the jaw-dropping price: $33.99.

P.S. But it's only £2.99 in the UK.
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#15  CRussel 02-03-2020, 01:33 AM
Well, at £2.99 that isn't so bad. But $33.99? That's insane.
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#16  gmw 02-03-2020, 02:57 AM
The problem with "anything goes" is that I am awash with possibilities, and my DMD (Decision Making Disorder) has me floundering. What I finally settled on is...

I nominate Nation by Terry Pratchett

Description from Goodreads
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Alone on a desert island — everything and everyone he knows and loves has been washed away in a storm — Mau is the last surviving member of his nation. He’s completely alone — or so he thinks until he finds the ghost girl. She has no toes, wears strange lacy trousers like the grandfather bird, and gives him a stick that can make fire.

Daphne, sole survivor of the wreck of the Sweet Judy, almost immediately regrets trying to shoot the native boy. Thank goodness the powder was wet and the gun only produced a spark. She’s certain her father, distant cousin of the Royal family, will come and rescue her but it seems, for now, that all she has for company is the boy and the foul-mouthed ship’s parrot, until other survivors arrive to take refuge on the island. Together, Mau and Daphne discover some remarkable things (including how to milk a pig, and why spitting in beer is a good thing), and start to forge a new nation.

Encompassing themes of death and nationhood, Terry Pratchett’s new novel is, as can be expected, extremely funny, witty and wise. Mau’s ancestors have something to teach us all. Mau just wishes they would shut up about it and let him get on with saving everyone’s lives!
367 hardcover pages

Example prices from Kobo: USD $9.99, CAD $11.89, GBP £4.99, AUD $11.99

Written for younger readers but by no means childish, this is a more serious offering from Terry Pratchett. It certainly has moments of his trademark humour but his serious side is more obviously exposed. It is one of the books that, for me, highlights a similarity between Dickens and Pratchett: what might be described as: "your morals are showing". I know some don't like overtly moralistic tales, but I think that Dickens and Pratchett get away with it ... but then I'm prejudiced.
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#17  gmw 02-03-2020, 08:51 AM
I second: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. I had not heard of this before and it sounds intriguing.
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#18  issybird 02-03-2020, 10:54 AM
I had a hard time focusing this month, with nothing to narrow it down. I chased several rabbits that didn't work out (price or length), particularly Ireland or women for March, and settled on a book that is related to neither but is someplace that's different from our usual and a genre (travel) we usually don't pursue.

City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple. I haven't read this, but I loved his To the Holy Mountain about Mount Athos.

From Goodreads:

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Sparkling with irrepressible wit, City of Djinns peels back the layers of Delhi's centuries-old history, revealing an extraordinary array of characters along the way-from eunuchs to descendants of great Moguls. With refreshingly open-minded curiosity, William Dalrymple explores the seven "dead" cities of Delhi as well as the eighth city-today's Delhi. Underlying his quest is the legend of the djinns, fire-formed spirits that are said to assure the city's Phoenix-like regeneration no matter how many times it is destroyed. Entertaining, fascinating, and informative, City of Djinns is an irresistible blend of research and adventure.
US$4.99; AU$9.99; CA$11.99; UK£6.49
352 pp.
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#19  Catlady 02-03-2020, 01:36 PM
Quote CRussel
Well, at £2.99 that isn't so bad. But $33.99? That's insane.
I know. I don't believe I've ever seen a price that high for a non-textbook. And this is a book that's over 65 years old and has been available digitally for some 10 years--it was one of the first e-books I ever bought.


P.S. The Dollmaker isn't yet listed in the nominations.
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#20  issybird 02-03-2020, 02:34 PM
Quote Catlady
P.S. The Dollmaker isn't yet listed in the nominations.
Oops! My apologies. Fixed now.
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