New Leaf Nominations for June 2019 • Into the Labyrinth: The Quest
#1  issybird 05-01-2019, 06:52 AM
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It's time for us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read in June 2019. The theme is Into the Labyrinth: The Quest.

Everyone is welcome to join the nomination process even if they'd rather lurk during the voting and discussion; if that is still a little too much commitment, please feel free to suggest titles without making a formal nomination. Also, don't sweat the links. It's helpful to check availability and prices before nominating in order to eliminate anything that's out of the question, but ultimately our global members with different gadgets and preferences will have to check for themselves.

The nominations will run through 7 AM EDT, May 7, 2019. Each nomination requires a second and a third to make it to the poll, which will remain open for three days. The discussion of the selection will start on June 15, 2019. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the May selection, The Graveyard Book, on May 15.

Any questions? See below, or just ask!

FAQs for the Nomination, Selection and Discussion process

General Guidelines for the New Leaf Book Club

Official choices with three nominations:

The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code by Margalit Fox. [issybird, CRussel, gmw]
Amazon US $14.49 | Kobo US $14.49 | Kobo CA $11.99 | Kobo AU $9.67 | Kobo UK £4.79
Spoiler Warning below

The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code tells one of the most intriguing stories in the history of language, masterfully blending history, linguistics, and cryptology with an elegantly wrought narrative.

When famed archaeologist Arthur Evans unearthed the ruins of a sophisticated Bronze Age civilization that flowered on Crete 1,000 years before Greece’s Classical Age, he discovered a cache of ancient tablets, Europe’s earliest written records. For half a century, the meaning of the inscriptions, and even the language in which they were written, would remain a mystery.

Award-winning New York Times journalist Margalit Fox's riveting real-life intellectual detective story travels from the Bronze Age Aegean—the era of Odysseus, Agamemnon, and Helen—to the turn of the 20th century and the work of charismatic English archeologist Arthur Evans, to the colorful personal stories of the decipherers. These include Michael Ventris, the brilliant amateur who deciphered the script but met with a sudden, mysterious death that may have been a direct consequence of the deipherment; and Alice Kober, the unsung heroine of the story whose painstaking work allowed Ventris to crack the code.
385 pp.

Around The World In Eighty Days by Michael Palin [Victoria, Bookpossum, bfisher]
Kobo: $6 US; $6 CA; £6 UK; $17 NZ; $14 AU
Kindle: $5 US; $6 CA; £6UK; $5 NZ; $15 AU
Spoiler Warning below

Following the route taken by Phileas Fogg 115 years earlier, Michael Palin set out from the Reform Club to circumnavigate the world. The rules were simple, but nothing else about the trip was straightforward...

From a tour of Venice on a rubbish barge to ship spotting at the Suez Canal and the bicycle rush hour and snake snacks in China, this is an unparalleled tribute to man's ability to make life difficult for himself.
217 pp.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson [CRussel, Victoria, Bookworm_Girl]
Amazon US $7.99 | Amazon CA $9.99 | Amazon UK £5.49 | Amazon AU $12.99
Spoiler Warning below

Quote Amazon
God only knows what possessed Bill Bryson, a reluctant adventurer if ever there was one, to undertake a gruelling hike along the world's longest continuous footpath—The Appalachian Trail.

The 2,000-plus-mile trail winds through 14 states, stretching along the east coast of the United States, from Georgia to Maine. It snakes through some of the wildest and most spectacular landscapes in North America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas.

With his offbeat sensibility, his eye for the absurd, and his laugh-out-loud sense of humour, Bryson recounts his confrontations with nature at its most uncompromising over his five-month journey.

An instant classic, riotously funny, A Walk in the Woods will add a whole new audience to the legions of Bill Bryson fans.
320 pp.

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen [issybird, Bookpossum, CRussel]
Amazon US $13.99 | Kobo US $13.99 | Amazon CA $10.99 |Kobo CA $13.99 | Kobo UK £5.49 | Kobo AU $14.99 | OverDrive
Spoiler Warning below

In 1973, Peter Matthiessen and field biologist George Schaller traveled high into the remote mountains of Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and possibly glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard. Matthiessen, a student of Zen Buddhism, was also on a spiritual quest to find the Lama of Shey at the ancient shrine on Crystal Mountain. As the climb proceeds, Matthiessen charts his inner path as well as his outer one, with a deepening Buddhist understanding of reality, suffering, impermanence, and beauty.
352 pp.

The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [Bookworm_Girl, gmw, Victoria]
Public domain
Spoiler Warning below

It's London, 1907. Journalist Edward Malone, rejected by the woman he loves because he is too prosaic, decides to go in search of adventure and fame to prove himself worthy of her. Soon after, he meets Professor George Challenger, a scientist who claims to have discovered a 'lost world' populated by pterodactyls and other prehistoric monsters.
272 pp.

Human Game: The True Story of the 'Great Escape' Murders and the Hunt for the Gestapo Gunmen by Simon Read (Subtitle AKA: Hunting the Great Escape Murderers) [Catlady, issybird, Dazrin]
Amazon US, $12.99 | Kobo US $12.99 | Kobo CA $13.99 | Kobo AU $8.99 | Kobo NZ $9.99 | Kobo UK £3.99
Spoiler Warning below

In March and April of 1944, Gestapo gunmen killed fifty POWs—a brutal act in defiance of international law and the Geneva Convention.

This is the true story of the men who hunted them down.

The mass breakout of seventy-six Allied airmen from the infamous Stalag Luft III became one of the greatest tales of World War II, immortalized in the film The Great Escape. But where Hollywood’s depiction fades to black, another incredible story begins . . .

Not long after the escape, fifty of the recaptured airmen were taken to desolate killing fields throughout Germany and shot on the direct orders of Hitler. When the nature of these killings came to light, Churchill’s government swore to pursue justice at any cost. A revolving team of military police, led by squadron leader Francis P. McKenna, was dispatched to Germany seventeen months after the killings to pick up a trail long gone cold.

Amid the chaos of postwar Germany, divided between American, British, French, and Russian occupiers, McKenna and his men brought twenty-one Gestapo killers to justice in a hunt that spanned three years and took them into the darkest realms of Nazi fanaticism.

In Human Game, Simon Read tells this harrowing story as never before. Beginning inside Stalag Luft III and the Nazi High Command, through the grueling three-year manhunt, and into the final close of the case more than two decades later, Read delivers a clear-eyed and meticulously researched account of this often-overlooked saga of hard-won justice.
347 pp.

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann [Dazrin, Bookworm_Girl, Catlady]
Amazon US $11.99
Spoiler Warning below

A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon.

After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve "the greatest exploration mystery of the 20th century": What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett & his quest for the Lost City of Z?

In 1925, Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history. For centuries Europeans believed the world's largest jungle concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many scientists convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humans. But Fawcett, whose daring expeditions inspired Conan Doyle's The Lost World, had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions round the globe, Fawcett embarked with his 21-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilisation--which he dubbed Z--existed. Then his expedition vanished. Fawcett's fate, & the tantalizing clues he left behind about Z, became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness.

For decades scientists & adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcett's party & the lost City of Z. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes or gone mad. As Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcett's quest, & the greater mystery of what lies within the Amazon, he found himself, like the generations who preceded him, being irresistibly drawn into the jungle's green hell. His quest for the truth & discoveries about Fawcett's fate & Z form the heart of this complexly enthralling narrative. 352 pp.

#2  issybird 05-01-2019, 06:53 AM
Choices with one or two nominations:

**Silverlock by John Myers Myers [Ralph Sir Edward, bfisher]
Amazon US $2.51
Spoiler Warning below

A book that starts with "If I had wanted to live, I would have died. . . "

With enough references to write a concordance as long as the book, without ever being pedantic or stuffy. 384 pp.

*Duncton Wood by William Horwood [gmw]
Amazon US $2.51 | Amazon UK £1.99 | Amazon CA $2.99 | Amazon AU $3.69 | Kobo US $2.99 | Kobo UK £1.99 | Kobo CA $2.99 | Kobo AU $4.99 | Kobo NZ $4.99
Spoiler Warning below

Enter the magical, colourful, poignant world of Bracken and Rebecca, Mandrake the tyrant, Boswell the scribe, Hulver, Comfrey... and all the other moles of Duncton Wood. Set deep in the English countryside, this enchanting story tells of an ancient community losing its soul - but saved by courage and love.
730 pp.

*Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys [Catlady]
Amazon US $12.99 | Kobo US $12.99 | Kobo CA $13.99 | Kobo AU $12.99 | Kobo NZ $12.99 | Kobo UK £4.99
Spoiler Warning below

'An exquisite story of love, murder, adventure and dark secrets, Rachel Rhys brings this dangerous crossing brilliantly and beautifully alive' LISA JEWELL

'Thrilling, seductive, utterly absorbing' PAULA HAWKINS

England, September 1939
Lily Shepherd boards a cruise liner for a new life in Australia and is plunged into a world of cocktails, jazz and glamorous friends.

But as the sun beats down, poisonous secrets begin to surface. Suddenly Lily finds herself trapped with nowhere to go ...

Australia, six weeks later
The world is at war, the cruise liner docks, and a beautiful young woman is escorted onto dry land in handcuffs.

What has she done?

'Thrilling, captivating. Simply stunning' Daily Express

'It is written so beautifully it seems to glide by way too quickly, transporting you on a journey you won't want to end' Sunday Mirror

'Rhys creates such a powerful sense of foreboding that you may well gulp down the entire book in a single day' The Irish Times
410 pp.

**The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho [Dazrin, drofgnal]
Amazon US $11.99
Spoiler Warning below

Paulo Coelho's masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams. 197 pp.

*Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson [drofgnal]

#3  issybird 05-01-2019, 06:59 AM
I'm finding this theme challenging, which is rather meta! I've got some ideas, but I haven't settled. I'm focusing mostly on the notion of a quest or a puzzle and not a labyrinth per se.

#4  Bookpossum 05-01-2019, 07:54 AM
I am in much the same situation, issybird. Still thinking, and on top of that, away from home on a short holiday for a few days. So I shall see how things are going and hope I can come up with a nomination of my own before close of business.

#5  gmw 05-01-2019, 09:28 AM
The first thing that sprang into my mind for labyrinth was Neverwhere, another Neil Gaiman book; it's almost tailor-made for this theme. But I figure that's out. Every second fantasy book (possibly more) is a quest of some sort, but there must be something more ...

#6  issybird 05-01-2019, 09:57 AM
I interpret "quest" as meaning any hero's (or heroine's) journey, whether actual or mythical, so I'm considering The Aeneid. Similarly, I think any travel narrative, so long as it had a purpose, could qualify.

I'm also broadening "labyrinth" to include any kind of puzzle-solving process. Obviously, MMV on these interpretations.

#7  gmw 05-01-2019, 10:12 AM
As long as you don't expect me to read The Aeneid in Latin. No can do!

Mythical, and Neverwhere (which is includes a mix of mythology), had me thinking about the Minotaur, which led me to House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski - but that doesn't appear to have made it to ebook.

#8  issybird 05-01-2019, 10:25 AM
If it's the Minotaur you want, there's always The King Must Die, which is available in digital at least here.

#9  gmw 05-01-2019, 10:35 AM
Quote issybird
If it's the Minotaur you want, there's always The King Must Die, which is available in digital at least here.
Whether or not I decide to nominate it, that does look interesting. Thanks!

#10  BenG 05-01-2019, 10:48 AM
There's Borges' The Garden of Forking Paths and The Library of Babel but those are short stories.

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