Literary Stranded • September 2019
#1  sun surfer 09-01-2019, 04:47 PM
Help select what we'll read and discuss next!

By the way, this will be the lit club's 100th selection!

The topic is Stranded.

Stranded in some life activity or relationship, on an island, someplace, some job, transported, etc.

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 complete. Voting is complete. Final results-

#2  AnotherCat 09-01-2019, 09:30 PM
Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe (*)
The Stranded on an Island classic novel. Too obvious a choice? but have read this several times and due for another go for me.

For the Term of His Natural Life - Marcus Clarke (*)
Stranded in Australia through transportation, an (the?) Australian classic novel. Available in the Patricia Clark Memorial Library. Have read this several times and due for another go for me

Angle of Repose - Wallace Stegner
A loose take on Stranded, narrator is stranded, isolated in a wheelchair and has lost wife and all contact with his family, escape is through writing. An American (and world literary) classic and Pulitzer Prize winner. Has been on my list to read for a while.

(*) these two I felt sure I had seen used in the groups here before but I could not find them in the check list. Maybe my memory is playing tricks

#3  Bookworm_Girl 09-02-2019, 08:07 PM
I think this is a great theme! I haven't decided what to nominate yet. All 3 are great selections, AnotherCat.

Robinson Crusoe is on my TBR. I can't believe I've never read this book. I am not familiar with Clarke. Stegner recently was recommended to me and is an author on my TBR List.

#4  gmw 09-04-2019, 08:36 AM
The following is not a nomination (I don't expect to be able to participate at the moment), just some thoughts I had when I saw the topic:

I had recently noticed some books by Australian author Ion L. Idriess had been appearing as ebooks. At least three of his works would fit this topic quite well, but only one has made it into ebook so far. I mention all three books because they are based on true incidents that (I think) are interesting in their own right.

* Isles Of Despair is about Barbara Thompson being shipwrecked in the Torres Strait in 1844.

* Drums of Mer is about two young boys that survived the wreck of the Charles Eaton off the coast of Northern Queensland in 1834.

* Head-Hunters of the Coral Sea is the same story as Drums of Mer but retold in a manner suitable for younger readers (by 1940 standards, anyway).

Drums of Mer is the only one that has made it into ebook on Kobo that I have seen so far. It's also the only one I haven't actually read. Idriess's comments, noted on Wikipedia, about the book are amusing.

#5  astrangerhere 09-04-2019, 10:49 AM
Based on the prior nominations, I am going to take the opportunity to nominate a tome of emotional stranding:

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion - This powerful book is Didion's attempt to make sense of the "weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had about death, about illness . . . about marriage and children and memory . . . about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself."

It won the 2005 National Book Award for Nonfiction and was a finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Biography/Autobiography.

#6  Bookworm_Girl 09-04-2019, 11:31 PM
My first nomination is The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell. A young clerk is stranded on the island of Dejima when war breaks out between the Dutch and English.

From Goodreads:
The year is 1799, the place Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, the “high-walled, fan-shaped artificial island” that is the Japanese Empire’s single port and sole window onto the world, designed to keep the West at bay; the farthest outpost of the war-ravaged Dutch East Indies Company; and a de facto prison for the dozen foreigners permitted to live and work there. To this place of devious merchants, deceitful interpreters, costly courtesans, earthquakes, and typhoons comes Jacob de Zoet, a devout and resourceful young clerk who has five years in the East to earn a fortune of sufficient size to win the hand of his wealthy fiancée back in Holland.

But Jacob’s original intentions are eclipsed after a chance encounter with Orito Aibagawa, the disfigured daughter of a samurai doctor and midwife to the city’s powerful magistrate. The borders between propriety, profit, and pleasure blur until Jacob finds his vision clouded, one rash promise made and then fatefully broken. The consequences will extend beyond Jacob’s worst imaginings. As one cynical colleague asks, “Who ain’t a gambler in the glorious Orient, with his very life?”

#7  Bookworm_Girl 09-04-2019, 11:52 PM
My second nomination is Two Old Women by Velma Wallis.

From Goodreads:
Based on an Athabascan Indian legend passed along for many generations from mothers to daughters of the upper Yukon River Valley in Alaska, this is the suspenseful, shocking, ultimately inspirational tale of two old women abandoned by their tribe during a brutal winter famine.

Though these women have been known to complain more than contribute, they now must either survive on their own or die trying. In simple but vivid detail, Velma Wallis depicts a landscape and way of life that are at once merciless and starkly beautiful. In her old women, she has created two heroines of steely determination whose story of betrayal, friendship, community and forgiveness "speaks straight to the heart with clarity, sweetness and wisdom" (Ursula K. Le Guin).

#8  Bookworm_Girl 09-05-2019, 12:03 AM
My third nomination is Silas Marner by George Eliot. A twist on the concept of stranded about how an exile and an orphan help each other.

From Goodreads:
Wrongly accused of theft and exiled from a religious community many years before, the embittered weaver Silas Marner lives alone in Raveloe, living only for work and his precious hoard of money. But when his money is stolen and an orphaned child finds her way into his house, Silas is given the chance to transform his life. His fate, and that of Eppie, the little girl he adopts, is entwined with Godfrey Cass, son of the village Squire, who, like Silas, is trapped by his past. Silas Marner, George Eliot's favourite of her novels, combines humour, rich symbolism and pointed social criticism to create an unsentimental but affectionate portrait of rural life.

#9  sun surfer 09-05-2019, 02:28 PM
Some great book options put forth so far. There's a few hours left for nominations. As usual I'm having trouble narrowing mine down, though it's especially hard this time because I especially love this topic. Bookworm_Girl, you helped me out though, as I also had The Thousand Autumns on my shortlist.

#10  sun surfer 09-05-2019, 02:48 PM
First I'll nominate Concrete Island by J.G. Ballard. It's the first thing that popped into my mind when I heard about this topic. It's sort of a modern-day psychological take on Robinson Crusoe. Goodreads 178 pages, 1974, England

On a day in April, just after three o'clock in the afternoon, Robert Maitland's car crashes over the concrete parapet of a high-speed highway onto the island below, where he is injured and, finally, trapped. What begins as an almost ludicrous predicament in Concrete Island soon turns into horror as Maitland - a wickedly modern Robinson Crusoe - realizes that, despite evidence of other inhabitants, this doomed terrain has become a mirror of his own mind. Seeking the dark outer rim of the everyday, Ballard weaves private catastrophe into an intensely specular allegory.

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