Literary Moonlighting • July 2019
#1  sun surfer 07-01-2019, 11:46 AM
Help select what we'll read and discuss next!

The topic is Moonlighting.

This could be anything to do with nighttime, the night sky, the moon, moonlight, etc. This could also relate to the alternate definition of moonlighting as a second or separate job or occupation aside from any main employment, where one 'moonlights'. Or, however else you may interpret the topic!

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. Initial voting is complete. Run-off voting is complete. Final results-

#2  Spinnenmonat 07-02-2019, 04:06 PM
The first book I would like to nominate is A True Story written by Lucian of Samosata

#3  Spinnenmonat 07-02-2019, 04:09 PM
The second Book ist Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto

#4  sun surfer 07-04-2019, 03:37 AM
Intriguing nominations so far, Spinnenmonat.

When I suggested this category, I didn't even think about the full title of our current selection having a night-ish word in it, but I realised it once I found this nomination that included the same word, heh:

The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

Goodreads, 350 pages, 2011, Malaysia

I thought of it for this topic because of the title evoking the night. It won the Man Asian Literary Prize and the Walter Scott Prize, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the International Dublin Literary Award.

It's Malaya, 1949. After studying law at Cambridge and time spent helping to prosecute Japanese war criminals, Yun Ling Teoh, herself the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed plantations of Northern Malaya where she grew up as a child. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the Emperor of Japan.

Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden in Kuala Lumpur, in memory of her sister who died in the camp. Aritomo refuses, but agrees to accept Yun Ling as his apprentice 'until the monsoon comes'. Then she can design a garden for herself.

As the months pass, Yun Ling finds herself intimately drawn to her sensei and his art while, outside the garden, the threat of murder and kidnapping from the guerrillas of the jungle hinterland increases with each passing day. But the Garden of Evening Mists is also a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? Why is it that Yun Ling's friend and host, Magnus Praetorius, seems almost immune from the depredations of the Communists? What is the legend of 'Yamashita's Gold' and does it have any basis in fact? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?

#5  Spinnenmonat 07-04-2019, 07:43 AM
My third nomination is Endymion by John Keats.

#6  sun surfer 07-04-2019, 01:31 PM
You beat me to Keats! I was seriously considering nominating Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne. Its relation to the topic was 'bright star'. There's also a wonderful film about John Keats and Fanny Brawne called Bright Star.

I had narrowed my possible nominations down to four including the one already nominated, so with you nominating a Keats I'll leave the Keats I was considering off and that makes finalising my nominations so much easier. But since I'm not nominating the book, I will leave Keats' Bright Star here:

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art-
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors-
No- yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever- or else swoon to death.

#7  sun surfer 07-04-2019, 01:46 PM
For my second nomination I'll put forth:

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf.

Goodreads, 188 pages, 2015, U.S.

I thought of this as it relates to the night. Haruf's books are all about the same town in Colorado, and this was the final one as the author knew he was dying. I really enjoyed the sample I read.

A spare yet eloquent, bittersweet yet inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the imminent future.

In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf's inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis's wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with.

Their brave adventures - their pleasures and their difficulties - are hugely involving and truly resonant, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer's enduring contribution to American literature.

#8  sun surfer 07-04-2019, 02:06 PM
My final nomination is:

Tales of Moonlight and Rain by Ueda Akinari

Goodreads, 235 pages, 1776, Japan

This book is also sometimes known in English by its untranslated Japanese title, Ugetsu Monogatari. It's a collection of nine short, gentle ghost/supernatural stories, sometimes considered 'Japanese gothic'. I first found out about it from the wonderful 1953 Japanese film Ugetsu, which was an adaptation of two of the stories. The book is considered a classic and 'work of great significance'.

First published in 1776, the nine gothic tales in this collection are Japan's finest and most celebrated examples of the literature of the occult. They subtly merge the world of reason with the realm of the uncanny and exemplify the period's fascination with the strange and the grotesque. They were also the inspiration for Mizoguchi Kenji's brilliant 1953 film Ugetsu.

The title Ugetsu monogatari (literally "rain-moon tales") alludes to the belief that mysterious beings appear on cloudy, rainy nights and in mornings with a lingering moon. In "Shiramine," the vengeful ghost of the former emperor Sutoku reassumes the role of king; in "The Chrysanthemum Vow," a faithful revenant fulfills a promise; "The Kibitsu Cauldron" tells a tale of spirit possession; and in "The Carp of My Dreams," a man straddles the boundaries between human and animal and between the waking world and the world of dreams. The remaining stories feature demons, fiends, goblins, strange dreams, and other manifestations beyond all logic and common sense.

The eerie beauty of this masterpiece owes to Akinari's masterful combination of words and phrases from Japanese classics with creatures from Chinese and Japanese fiction and lore. Along with The Tale of Genji and The Tales of the Heike, Tales of Moonlight and Rain has become a timeless work of great significance.

#9  Bookworm_Girl 07-04-2019, 02:21 PM
Some very interesting nominations! I was super busy at work getting ready for the holiday weekend. I will be working on my nominations today.

#10  sun surfer 07-04-2019, 02:37 PM
Note that A True Story by Lucian of Samosata is also known by various other names, including 'True History', 'Lucian's True History', 'Lucian's True Story', and, most divergently, 'Trips to the Moon'.

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