Literary Celebrate Good Times • October 2019
#1  sun surfer 10-01-2019, 11:14 PM
Help select what we'll read and discuss next!

By the way, this will be the lit club's 101st selection!

The topic is Celebrate Good Times.

We have reached the milestone of 100 selections, and so to tie into that, we're celebrating with a topic about celebrations. A nomination can be related to anniversaries, milestones, celebrations, or anything along those lines.

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  Bookworm_Girl 10-02-2019, 11:21 PM
I’m looking forward to researching this topic. That’s a big milestone! Let’s party!

#3  sun surfer 10-03-2019, 11:02 AM

#4  sun surfer 10-03-2019, 11:45 AM
I'll start with There There by Tommy Orange. It is about various people travelling to the Big Oakland Powwow which I think counts as a type of celebration. Goodreads 294 pages, 2018, U.S.

There There is a relentlessly paced multigenerational story about violence and recovery, memory and identity, and the beauty and despair woven into the history of a nation and its people. It tells the story of twelve characters, each of whom have private reasons for traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life back together after his uncle’s death and has come to work at the powwow to honor his uncle’s memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and has come to the powwow to dance in public for the very first time. There will be glorious communion, and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and unspeakable loss.

#5  sun surfer 10-05-2019, 06:32 AM
I've found this topic enjoyably challenging, and while I've found some others that more obviously fit I'm going more outside the box to nominate A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes. It features the biblical milestone of the great flood and Noah's Ark as well as the historical milestone of the Titanic journey (with being first voyage of the largest ship and one of the deadliest marine disasters), among possibly others. Goodreads 311 pages, 1989, England

Beginning with an unlikely stowaway's account of life on board Noah's Ark, A History of the World in 10½ Chapters presents a surprising, subversive, fictional history of earth told from several kaleidoscopic perspectives. Noah disembarks from his ark but he and his Voyage are not forgotten: they are revisited in on other centuries and other climes - by a Victorian spinster mourning her father, by an American astronaut on an obsessive personal mission. We journey to the Titanic, to the Amazon, to the raft of the Medusa, and to an ecclesiastical court in medieval France where a bizarre case is about to begin...

This is no ordinary history, but something stranger, a challenge and a delight for the reader's imagination. Ambitious yet accessible, witty and playfully serious, this is the work of a brilliant novelist.

#6  sun surfer 10-05-2019, 06:47 AM
Now that I've done a celebration and a milestone I'll finish by tackling an anniversary, though like the prior nomination it's a somewhat creative take- The Keep by Jennifer Egan. It's about two cousins who reunite 20 years after an irreversibly damaging childhood prank (thus the unconventional anniversary) to renovate a medieval castle. This might be antipodean to celebrating 'good times' but anniversaries come in many shapes and sizes. Goodreads 247 pages, 2006, U.S.

Two cousins, irreversibly damaged by a childhood prank, reunite twenty years later to renovate a medieval castle in Eastern Europe. In an environment of extreme paranoia, cut off from the outside world, the men reenact the signal event of their youth, with even more catastrophic results. And as the full horror of their predicament unfolds, a prisoner, in jail for an unnamed crime, recounts an unforgettable story that seamlessly brings the crimes of the past and present into piercing relation.

#7  Bookworm_Girl 10-05-2019, 01:21 PM
I’ve been out of town this week and just got home. I am going to research my nominations today and post something later.

#8  sun surfer 10-05-2019, 03:35 PM
Looking forward to it!

#9  Bookworm_Girl 10-05-2019, 04:31 PM
My first nomination is a contemporary literary psychological novel, The Party by Elizabeth Day. I was intrigued by the descriptions which call it Brideshead Revisited meets The Talented Mr. Ripley.

EDIT: I meant to add that this nomination is also a nod back to two authors (Evelyn Waugh and Patricia Highsmith) that the Literary Club has read. And, specifically, Brideshead Revisited was a selection in June 2015.

From Amazon:
A taut psychological tale of obsession and betrayal set over the course of a dinner party.

Ben, who hails from old money, and Martin, who grew up poor but is slowly carving out a successful career as an art critic, have been inseparable since childhood. Ben's wife Serena likes to jokingly refer to Martin as Ben's dutiful Little Shadow.

Lucy is a devoted wife to Martin, even as she knows she'll always be second best to his sacred friendship. When Ben throws a lavish 40th birthday party as his new palatial country home, Martin and Lucy attend, mixing with the very upper echelons of London society.

But why, the next morning, is Martin in a police station being interviewed about the events of last night? Why is Lucy being forced to answer questions about her husband and his past? What exactly happened at the party? And what has bound these two very different men together for so many years?

A cleverly built tour of intrigue, THE PARTY reads like a novelistic board game of Clue, taking us through the various half-truths and lies its characters weave, as the past and present collide in a way that its protagonists could never have anticipated.

#10  Bookworm_Girl 10-05-2019, 04:49 PM
My second nomination is Invitation to the Waltz by Rosamund Lehmann published in 1932, a classic coming of age story centered around a party.

From Amazon:
Today is Olivia Curtis’s seventeenth birthday. In exactly one week, she will attend her first dance. She is thrilled. . . and terrified. Will Tony Heriot ask her to dance? Will he even remember that they once attended the same costume party? What will she wear? Something bright and beautiful—red silk? In the handsome diary she receives as a gift, Olivia shares her innermost doubts and fears—about her pretty, confident older sister, Kate, her precocious baby brother, James, her eccentric country neighbors, and of course, the upcoming party, which she is sure will be the crowning event of her young life.

Divided into three parts—Olivia’s birthday, the day leading up to the party, and the breathtaking event itself—Invitation to the Waltz masterfully captures the conflicting emotions of a teenager on the threshold of womanhood. Will this be the night when all of Olivia’s dreams come true?

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