Literary Distancing • July 2020
#1  sun surfer 07-01-2020, 12:06 AM
Help select what we'll read and discuss next!

The topic is Distancing.

Maybe a tongue in cheek reference the current world, but this could refer to something about people or a person being apart from each other or another for whatever reason, or perhaps people slowly drifting apart, or whatever take on the word you may come up with.

Detailed nominating and voting guidelines can be found here. Basically, nominations are open for about four days and each person may nominate up to three literary selections which will go automatically to the vote. Voting by post then opens for four days, and a voter may give each nomination either one or two votes but only has a limited number of votes to use which is equal to the number of nominations minus one. Any questions, feel free to ask.

We hope that you will read the selection with us and join in the discussion.


Nominations are now complete. Voting is complete. Final results-

#2  sun surfer 07-04-2020, 01:39 PM
I’m working on mine. There’s about a half day left for nominations, or maybe a little longer depending on when I get the voting list updated and ready.

#3  Bookworm_Girl 07-04-2020, 01:47 PM
Oh! Thanks for the reminder. I was thinking I had until tomorrow morning. I will work on mine today.

#4  sun surfer 07-04-2020, 03:17 PM
No worries; with the 4th holiday and everything you can wait until tomorrow if you'd prefer then. I often start the initial thread a little later so the four days period usually ends a little later. We can leave it open longer this time so it finishes closer to the same time as other months.

#5  AnotherCat 07-04-2020, 06:34 PM
My nominations are:

Papillon - Henry Charrier

Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe

All the King’s Men - Robert Penn Warren

Papillon and Robinson Crusoe are geographic distancing, Papillon (non fiction) I read an embarrassing number of years ago and is very high on my reread list, it has lasted to have a place as popular literature. Robinson Crusoe is also high on my reread list and I feel, selfishly, sure I have nominated it before.

All the Kings Men, which I have not read and only recently come across, has a theme of distancing of the mind and nihilism, it was the 1947 Pulitzer winner.

#6  Bookworm_Girl 07-04-2020, 09:19 PM
My first nomination is Pan: From Lieutenant Thomas Glahn's Papers by Knut Hamsun.

From Amazon US:
The Nobel Prize winner’s lyrical and disturbing portrait of love and the dark recesses of the human psyche.
A lone hunter accompanied only by his faithful dog, Aesop, Thomas Glahn roams Norway’s northernmost wilds. Living out of a rude hut at the edge of a vast forest, Glahn pursues his solitary existence, hunting and fishing, until the strange girl Edvarda comes into his life.

#7  Bookworm_Girl 07-04-2020, 09:33 PM
My second nomination is The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano.

From Goodreads:
A bestselling international literary sensation about whether a "prime number" can ever truly connect with someone else.

A prime number can only be divided by itself or by one—it never truly fits with another. Alice and Mattia, both "primes," are misfits who seem destined to be alone. Haunted by childhood tragedies that mark their lives, they cannot reach out to anyone else. When Alice and Mattia meet as teenagers, they recognize in each other a kindred, damaged spirit.

But the mathematically gifted Mattia accepts a research position that takes him thousands of miles away, and the two are forced to separate. Then a chance occurrence reunites them and forces a lifetime of concealed emotion to the surface.

Like Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, this is a stunning meditation on loneliness, love, and the weight of childhood experience that is set to become a universal classic.

#8  Bookworm_Girl 07-04-2020, 09:50 PM
My last nomination is To the Lighthouse by Virgina Woolf.

From Goodreads:
The serene and maternal Mrs. Ramsay, the tragic yet absurd Mr. Ramsay, and their children and assorted guests are on holiday on the Isle of Skye. From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse, Woolf constructs a remarkable, moving examination of the complex tensions and allegiances of family life and the conflict between men and women.

As time winds its way through their lives, the Ramsays face, alone and simultaneously, the greatest of human challenges and its greatest triumph—the human capacity for change.

#9  sun surfer 07-05-2020, 04:28 PM
My first nomination is Coasting: A Private Voyage by Jonathan Raban. This one is geographic distancing similar to how AnotherCat mentioned, centred on sailing around Britain.

Goodreads, Preview, 248 pages, 1987, England

Put Jonathan Raban on a boat and the results will be fascinating, and never more so than when he’s sailing around the serpentine, 2,000-mile coast of his native England. In this acutely perceived and beautifully written book, the bestselling author of Bad Land turns that voyage–which coincided with the Falklands war of 1982-into an occasion for meditations on his country, his childhood, and the elusive notion of home.

Whether he’s chatting with bored tax exiles on the Isle of Man, wrestling down a mainsail during a titanic gale, or crashing a Scottish house party where the kilted guests turn out to be Americans, Raban is alert to the slightest nuance of meaning. One can read Coasting for his precise naturalistic descriptions or his mordant comments on the new England, where the principal industry seems to be the marketing of Englishness. But one always reads it with pleasure.

#10  sun surfer 07-05-2020, 04:53 PM
Next, for something a little different, I'll nominate Dracula by Bram Stoker. It's distancing in that the narrator travels to a foreign country, as well as how certain characters need to keep their distance from others. I've seen the '90s film and others like it but have never read the book.

Goodreads, Preview, 488 pages, 1897, Ireland & England

When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries in his client's castle. Soon afterwards, disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman's neck; and a lunatic asylum inmate raves about the imminent arrival of his 'Master'. In the ensuing battle of wits between the sinister Count and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing into questions of identity, sanity and the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.

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