Literary Weaving Time in a Tapestry • January 2021
#1  sun surfer 01-01-2021, 11:33 PM
Here's to a great 2021; help select what we'll read and discuss next!

The topic is Weaving Time in a Tapestry.

This could be a book that is set in multiple time periods, or a book that jumps back and forth in time to tell a story in a non-linear way, or a book about time travel, or a book that has to do with weaving or sewing, or tapestries or blankets, or a book with a time element in its title such as seconds, minutes, days, years, millennia, etc., or a book otherwise about time in some fashion.

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

#2  sun surfer 01-05-2021, 04:50 PM
I nominate The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. 'Neverending' sounds like it fits the topic really well, and there's the story within a story aspect with two very different time periods/worlds (one the normal real world, the other a fantasy world in a book). This was one of my absolute favourite films growing up, no, you know what, actually my absolute favourite. I loved it so much and I've never read the book though I've meant to forever.

Goodreads . Preview . 396 Pages . 1979 . Germany

The story begins with a lonely boy named Bastian and the strange book that draws him into the beautiful but doomed world of Fantastica. Only a human can save this enchanted place by giving its ruler, the Childlike Empress, a new name. But the journey to her tower leads through lands of dragons, giants, monsters, and magic and once Bastian begins his quest, he may never return. As he is drawn deeper into Fantastica, he must find the courage to face unspeakable foes and the mysteries of his own heart.

Readers, too, can travel to the wondrous, unforgettable world of Fantastica if they will just turn the page...

#3  sun surfer 01-05-2021, 05:29 PM
Next I'll go with The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. The concept 'immortalists' seems to really fit the topic nicely, and so does the book being about prophecies and possibly knowing when you might die, and being set in multiple decades spanning over half a century.

Goodreads . Preview . 346 Pages . 2018 . U.S.

If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?

It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.

#4  Bookworm_Girl 01-05-2021, 09:48 PM
My first nomination is Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively. 1987 Booker Prize winner. Time is experienced in a nonlinear fashion.

From Goodreads:
The elderly Claudia Hampton, a best-selling author of popular history; lies alone in a London hospital bed. Memories of her life still glow in her fading consciousness, but she imagines writing a history of the world. Instead, Moon Tiger is her own history, the life of a strong, independent woman, with its often contentious relations with family and friends. At its center — forever frozen in time, the still point of her turning world — is the cruelly truncated affair with Tom, a British tank commander whom Claudia knew as a reporter in Egypt during World War II.

#5  Bookworm_Girl 01-05-2021, 10:03 PM
My second nomination is A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.

From Amazon:
A brilliant, unforgettable novel from bestselling author Ruth Ozeki—shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award

“A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be.”

In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.

Full of Ozeki’s signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.

#6  Bookworm_Girl 01-05-2021, 11:11 PM
My third nomination is Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. 2013 Costa Book Award winner.

From Goodreads:
What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

Does Ursula's apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can - will she?

#7  sun surfer 01-06-2021, 07:11 AM
Very tempting nominations as usual, Bookworm_Girl. I had actually been considering Penelope Lively as well! I was thinking of A Stitch in Time, which not only is about nonlinear time and visions of and experiencing the past, but also has to do with sewing/stitching and samplers which relates to weaving and tapestries, probably the happenstance best fit of a book that I found for the topic. I didn't know about Moon Tiger, which sounds really alluring.

#8  sun surfer 01-06-2021, 07:25 AM
Lastly I'll put forward Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. It spans over half a century, multiple countries and many characters (including the 'beautiful ruin' of Richard Burton), and the story 'begins' twice- once in 1962, and again today. The preview really pulled me in.

Goodreads . Preview . 338 Pages . 2012 . U.S.

The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot—searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion—along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.

Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.

#9  sun surfer 01-06-2021, 06:05 PM
If anyone's curious here are the others I had considered-
Spoiler Warning below

-In Pale Battalions by Robert Goddard
Six months after her husband's sudden death, Leonora Galloway sets off for a holiday in Paris with her daughter Penelope. At last the time has come when secrets can be shared and explanations begin...

Their journey starts with an unscheduled stop at the imposing Thiepval Memorial to the dead of the Battle of the Somme near Amiens. Amongst those commemorated is Leonora's father. The date of his death is recorded and 30th April, 1916. But Leonora wasn't born until 14th March 1917.

Penelope at once supposes a simple wartime illegitimacy as the clue to her mother's unhappy childhood and the family's sundered connections with her aristocratic heritage, about which she has always known so little.

But nothing could have prepared her, or the reader, for the extraordinary story that is about to unfold.
-A Stitch in Time by Penelope Lively
Always, since she was quite small, Maria had been extremely confused between what she had imagined and what was real, so much so that she had learned to keep quiet about a good many things in case they turned out... to be part of the imaginings... Perhaps this is why she doesn't tell anyone about the mysterious noises she hears in the old, rented holiday house, the shrill barking of an invisible dog, the non-existent swing which creaks in the garden. But then she discovers a sampler, stitched by a girl who lived in the house over a hundred years ago, and Maria finds herself increasingly drawn into the life of the Victorian girl as past and present merge in a dramatic climax.
-The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
In 1950, a young doctor called Norton Perina signs on with the anthropologist Paul Tallent for an expedition to the remote Micronesian island of Ivu'ivu in search of a rumored lost tribe. They succeed, finding not only that tribe but also a group of forest dwellers they dub "The Dreamers," who turn out to be fantastically long-lived but progressively more senile. Perina suspects the source of their longevity is a hard-to-find turtle; unable to resist the possibility of eternal life, he kills one and smuggles some meat back to the States. He scientifically proves his thesis, earning worldwide fame and the Nobel Prize, but he soon discovers that its miraculous property comes at a terrible price. As things quickly spiral out of his control, his own demons take hold, with devastating personal consequences.
-Dreams of My Russian Summers by Andreï Makine
Dreams of My Russian Summers, tells the poignant story of a boy growing up amid the harsh realities of Soviet life in the 1960s and '70s, and of his extraordinary love for an elegant Frenchwoman, Charlotte Lemonnier, who is his grandmother.

Every summer he visits his grandmother in a dusty village overlooking the vast steppes. Here, during the warm evenings, they sit on Charlotte's narrow, flower-covered bacony and listen to tales from another time, another place: Paris at the turn of the century. She who used to see Proust playing tennis in Neuilly captivates the children with stories of Tsar Nicholas's visit to Paris in 1896, of the great Paris flood of 1910, of the death of French president Felix Faure in the arms of his mistress.

But from Charlotte the boy also learns of a Russia he has never known, of famine and misery, of brutal injustice, of the hopeless chaos of war. He follows her as she travels by foot from Moscow half the way to Siberia; suffers with her as she tells of her husband - his grandfather - a victim of Stalin's purges; shudders as she describes her own capture by bandits, who brutalize her and left her for dead. Could all this pain and suffering really have happened to his gentle, beloved Charlotte? Mesmerized, the boy weaves Charlotte's stories into his own secret universe of memory and dream. Yet, despite all the deprivations and injustices of the Soviet world, he like many Russians still feels a strong affinity with and "an indestructible love" for his homeland.
-House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
-The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
-Many Dimensions by Charles Williams
-The Story of San Michele by Axel Munthe
-An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks
-Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer
-The Waiting Years by Fumiko Enchi
-Lost in Translation by Nicole Mones
-Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana Jr.
-Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves
-A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam
-Tenth of December by George Saunders
-A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
-A Moment in Time by H.E. Bates
-Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
-The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

#10  sun surfer 01-06-2021, 10:35 PM
Nominations are complete and voting is now open!

Voting will close exactly four days from this post.

Each person has FIVE votes to use.

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