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New Leaf Nominations for February 2019 • Let's Make a Deal: Trade Secrets
#1  issybird 01-01-2019, 08:11 AM
Happy New Year to all the New Leafers and to MobileReaders everywhere.

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Help us select the book that the New Leaf Book Club will read in February 2019. The theme is Let's Make a Deal: Trade Secrets

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 EST, January 7, 2019. Each nomination requires a second and a third to make it to the poll, which will remain open for four days. The discussion of the selection will start on February 15, 2019. Don't forget to show up for the discussion of the January selection, The Left Hand of Darkness, on January 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:

For All the Tea in China: Espionage, Empire and the Secret Formula for the World's Favourite Drink by Sarah Rose [Bookworm_Girl, Ralph Sir Edward, stuartjmz]
Available at etailers in all markets (US $12.99) plus OverDrive and Scribd (audio)
Spoiler Warning below






Quote
Robert Fortune was a Scottish gardener, botanist, plant hunter - and industrial spy. In 1848, the East India Company engaged him to make a clandestine trip into the interior of China - territory forbidden to foreigners - to steal the closely guarded secrets of tea. For centuries, China had been the world's sole tea manufacturer. Britain purchased this fuel for its Empire by trading opium to the Chinese - a poisonous relationship Britain fought two destructive wars to sustain. The East India Company had profited lavishly as the middleman, but now it was sinking, having lost its monopoly to trade tea. Its salvation, it thought, was to establish its own plantations in the Himalayas of British India. There were just two problems: India had no tea plants worth growing, and the company wouldn't have known what to do with them if it had. Hence Robert Fortune's daring trip. The Chinese interior was off-limits and virtually unknown to the West, but that's where the finest tea was grown - the richest oolongs, soochongs and pekoes. And the Emperor aimed to keep it that way.
272 pp.

The Last Grain Race by Eric Newby [issybird, Bookworm_Girl, Bookpossum]
US$9.99, CA$12.99, AU$10.99, UK£7.99, Scribd
Spoiler Warning below






Every year from 1921 to 1939, the vessels involved in the grain trade would strive to find the shortest, fastest passage home from Australia to Britain – "the grain race" – in the face of turbulent seas, atrocious weather conditions and hard graft.

In 1938 an eighteen-year-old boy signed on for the round trip from Europe to Australia in the last commercial sailing fleet to make that formidable journey. The Last Grain Race is Eric Newby's spell-binding account of his time spent on the Moshulu's last voyage in the Australian grain trade.

As always, Eric Newby's sharp eye for detail captures the hardships, danger, squabbles, companionship and sheer joy of shipboard life - bedbugs, ferocious storms, eccentric Finnish crew and all. By pure chance, Eric witnessed the passing of the era of sail, and his tale is all the more significant for being the last of its kind. 288 pp.

A Delicate Truth by John Le Carré [Bookpossum, CRussel, bfisher]
Kobo: $US5.99, $C11.99, $A12.99, $NZ16.32, £4.99
Spoiler Warning below






Quote
A counter-terror operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted in Britain's most precious colony, Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms-buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, and a private defence contractor who is also his close friend. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister's Private Secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it.

Suspecting a disastrous conspiracy, Toby attempts to forestall it, but is promptly posted overseas. Three years on, summoned by Sir Christopher Probyn, retired British diplomat, to his decaying Cornish manor house, and closely watched by Probyn's daughter Emily, Toby must choose between his conscience and his duty to the Service.

If the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, how can he keep silent?

'No other writer has charted - pitilessly for politicians but thrillingly for readers - the public and secret histories of his times, from the Second World War to the 'War on Terror'' Guardian

'The master of the modern spy novel returns . . . this is writing of such quality that - as Robert Harris put it - it will be read in one hundred years. John le Carré was never a spy-turned-writer, he was a writer who found his canvas in espionage, as Dickens did in other worlds. The two men deserve comparison' Daily Mail

'A brilliant climax, with sinister deaths, casual torture, wrecked lives and shameful compromises' Observer

'With A Delicate Truth, le Carré has in a sense come home. And it's a splendid homecoming . . . the novel is the most satisfying, subtle and compelling of his recent oeuvre' The Times
321 pp.

Balance of Trade by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller [CRussel, bfisher, gmw]
Amazon: $5.38 | AmazonCA: $8.56 | Baen Ebooks: $6.99 | AmazonUK: £4.67 | Audible (WS) $1.99
Spoiler Warning below






Quote BaenEbooks.com
Assistant Trader Jethri Gobelyn is an honest, hardworking young Terran who knows a lot about living onboard his family's space going trade ship 'Gobelyn's Market', something about trade, finance, and risk taking and a little bit about Liadens.

Oddly enough, it's the little bit he knows about Liadens that seems likely to make his family's fortune—and his own. In short order, however, Jethri Gobelyn is about to learn a lot more about Liadens . . . like how far they might go to protect their name and reputation. Like the myriad of things one might say—intentionally or not—with a single bow. Like how hard it is to say "I'm sorry!" in Liaden. Like how difficult it is to deal with a beguiling set of Liaden twins who may very well know exactly what he's thinking . . . . Soon it became clear that as little as he knew about Liadens, he knew far less about himself. With his very existence a threat to the balance of trade, Jethri needs to learn fast, or become a pawn in a game that will destroy all he has come to hold dear.

Quote
Lee and Miller's award-winning Liaden Universe® series has garnered high praise for master level world building, deft characterization, and action-packed plots. These are not characters. They are real people, whose lives we have been privileged to share.
—Jennifer Dunne, SFRomance
464 pp.

Emma by Jane Austen [issybird, astrangerhere, Catlady]
Public domain
Spoiler Warning below






According to Wikipedia, Emma "is a novel about youthful hubris and the perils of misconstrued romance." and:

Quote
Austen explores the concerns and difficulties of genteel women living in Georgian–Regency England; she also creates a lively comedy of manners among her characters and depicts issues of marriage, gender, age, and social status.

<snip> Emma is spoiled, headstrong, and self-satisfied; she greatly overestimates her own matchmaking abilities; she is blind to the dangers of meddling in other people's lives; and her imagination and perceptions often lead her astray.
The Guardian says:

Quote
In January 1814, Jane Austen sat down to write a revolutionary novel. Emma, the book she composed over the next year, was to change the shape of what is possible in fiction.
350 pp.

The Seventh Cross by Anna Seghers [astrangerhere, Bookpossum, issybird]
AmazonUS | Kobo $13.99
Spoiler Warning below






Quote
Set in Germany in the course of a week in October, 1936, “The Seventh Cross” follows the heart-pounding escape of seven political prisoners from the fictional concentration camp Westhofen, not far from Mainz and Frankfurt... The escapees might seek out their families and friends, but they risk being turned in by unknown Gestapo informers, or, worse, having their loved ones arrested and sent to camps themselves. George Heisler, the novel’s protagonist, finds that all the people in his former life have “been turned into a network of living traps.”
416 pp.

The Winner by David Baldacci [gmw, CRussel, Dazrin]
Amazon US $7.99 | Amazon UK £4.74 | Amazon CA $7.49 | Amazon AU $9.99 | Kobo US $7.99 | Kobo UK £6.47 | Kobo CA $7.49 | Kobo AU $9.99
Spoiler Warning below






QUOTE]The Dream

She is twenty, beautiful, dirt-poor, and hoping for a better life for her infant daughter when LuAnn Tyler is offered the gift of a lifetime, a $100 million lottery jackpot. All she has to do is change her identity and leave the U.S. forever.

The Killer

It's an offer she dares to refuse...until violence forces her hand and thrusts her into a harrowing game of high-stakes, big-money subterfuge. It's a price she won't fully pay...until she does the unthinkable and breaks the promise that made her rich.

The Winner

For if LuAnn Tyler comes home, she will be pitted against the deadliest contestant of all: the chameleonlike financial mastermind who changed her life. And who can take it away at will...[/QUOTE] 526 pp.

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain [Catlady, gmw, Dazrin]
Public domain
Spoiler Warning below






Quote
Mark Twain’s satiric novel about two boys who trade places in Tudor England—written “for young people of all ages”—was his first foray into historical fiction.

Set in 1547, The Prince and the Pauper brings together Tom Canty, an impoverished urchin who lives with his abusive father in London’s filthiest streets, and pampered Prince Edward, the son of King Henry VIII. Noticing their uncanny resemblance, the two boys trade clothes on a whim. While Tom lives in the lap of luxury and finds he has a knack for rendering wise judgments, the ragged Prince Edward roams the city and discovers firsthand the misery of his poorest subjects’ lives. But when the king dies and Edward tries to claim his throne, he finds that changing places will be difficult to undo. In this rollicking tale, Twain’s scathing indictment of injustice comes richly clothed in his trademark humor and wit.
240 pp.

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith [Catlady, astrangerhere, Dazrin]
Amazon US $8.48
Spoiler Warning below






Quote
One of the great crime novels of the 20th century, Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley is a blend of the narrative subtlety of Henry James and the self-reflexive irony of Vladimir Nabokov. Like the best modernist fiction, Ripley works on two levels. First, it is the story of a young man, Tom Ripley, whose nihilistic tendencies lead him on a deadly passage across Europe. On another level, the novel is a commentary on fictionmaking and techniques of narrative persuasion. Like Humbert Humbert, Tom Ripley seduces readers into empathizing with him even as his actions defy all moral standards.

The novel begins with a play on James's The Ambassadors. Tom Ripley is chosen by the wealthy Herbert Greenleaf to retrieve Greenleaf's son, Dickie, from his overlong sojourn in Italy. Dickie, it seems, is held captive both by the Mediterranean climate and the attractions of his female companion, but Mr. Greenleaf needs him back in New York to help with the family business. With an allowance and a new purpose, Tom leaves behind his dismal city apartment to begin his career as a return escort. But Tom, too, is captivated by Italy. He is also taken with the life and looks of Dickie Greenleaf. He insinuates himself into Dickie's world and soon finds that his passion for a lifestyle of wealth and sophistication transcends moral compunction. Tom will become Dickie Greenleaf--at all costs.

Unlike many modernist experiments, The Talented Mr. Ripley is eminently readable and is driven by a gripping chase narrative that chronicles each of Tom's calculated maneuvers of self-preservation. Highsmith was in peak form with this novel, and her ability to enter the mind of a sociopath and view the world through his disturbingly amoral eyes is a model that has spawned such latter-day serial killers as Hannibal Lecter. --Patrick O'Kelley
320 pp.
Reply 

#2  issybird 01-01-2019, 08:12 AM
Choices with one or two nominations:

*Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre [Ralph Sir Edward]
Public Domain: Patricia Clark Memorial Library and elsewhere
Spoiler Warning below






The ultimate book about stock wheeling and dealing, before the Great Depression. A lightly fictionalised biography of Jesse Livermore, one the biggest traders in the history of the stock market. 200 pp.
Reply 

#3  issybird 01-01-2019, 02:47 PM
It seems to me that there are lots of ways to go with this topic, as the story of anything of an essentially transactional nature would seem to quality. Even Jane Austen's matchmaking novels are about deals. I took a look and while Mansfield Park and Persuasion are former choices, they're now eligible. My own favorite Austen is Emma. P&P has become too much of a chestnut to be worth discussing, I'd be afraid.

I'm spinning wheels; I haven't decided which way to go for my own nomination and it's unlikely to be Austen.
Reply 

#4  astrangerhere 01-01-2019, 04:45 PM
I am going to nominate Anna Segher's novel The Seventh Cross. The novel was originally published in German in 1942. It was made into a film in the 40s and MGM pulled quite a few large publicity stunts for its release. From the New Yorker Recommends column:

Quote
Set in Germany in the course of a week in October, 1936, “The Seventh Cross” follows the heart-pounding escape of seven political prisoners from the fictional concentration camp Westhofen, not far from Mainz and Frankfurt... The escapees might seek out their families and friends, but they risk being turned in by unknown Gestapo informers, or, worse, having their loved ones arrested and sent to camps themselves. George Heisler, the novel’s protagonist, finds that all the people in his former life have “been turned into a network of living traps.”
I don't know if this will get any traction or not as it is a little pricey, but maybe it will interest others as much as it does me.

AmazonUS: $13.99
Kobo: $13.99
Reply 

#5  CRussel 01-01-2019, 08:10 PM
I'm going to nominate Balance of Trade, a standalone book in the Liaden Universe® of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

Quote BaenEbooks.com
Assistant Trader Jethri Gobelyn is an honest, hardworking young Terran who knows a lot about living onboard his family's space going trade ship 'Gobelyn's Market', something about trade, finance, and risk taking and a little bit about Liadens.

Oddly enough, it's the little bit he knows about Liadens that seems likely to make his family's fortune—and his own. In short order, however, Jethri Gobelyn is about to learn a lot more about Liadens . . . like how far they might go to protect their name and reputation. Like the myriad of things one might say—intentionally or not—with a single bow. Like how hard it is to say "I'm sorry!" in Liaden. Like how difficult it is to deal with a beguiling set of Liaden twins who may very well know exactly what he's thinking . . . . Soon it became clear that as little as he knew about Liadens, he knew far less about himself. With his very existence a threat to the balance of trade, Jethri needs to learn fast, or become a pawn in a game that will destroy all he has come to hold dear.

Quote
Lee and Miller's award-winning Liaden Universe® series has garnered high praise for master level world building, deft characterization, and action-packed plots. These are not characters. They are real people, whose lives we have been privileged to share.
—Jennifer Dunne, SFRomance
This is a favourite book in a favourite series and the book I had in mind when I suggested this theme. Even if we opt to read a different book next month, I highly commend this book to you. It's of reasonable length (~400 pages), and reasonable cost ($5.38 or $6.28 at Amazon, depending on how I log in), has a killer WhisperSync price of $1.99 for the Audible book, and is an excellent way to "taste" the Liaden Universe without committing to a lengthy story arc.

Amazon: $5.38
AmazonCA: $8.56 (CAD)
Baen Ebooks: $6.99
AmazonUK: £4.67
Audible: 1 credit, or $1.99 WhisperSync

Goodreads

Note: This book is sold DRM-Free on Amazon in Kindle format, and on Baen Ebooks site in all formats. It does not appear to currently be available from Kobo, but Baen has it in ePub without DRM so that's not an issue.
Reply 

#6  gmw 01-02-2019, 12:19 AM
I nominate The Winner by David Baldacci.

Amazon US - USD$7.99 | Amazon UK - £4.74 | Amazon CA - CDN$7.49 | Amazon AU - AUD$9.99 | Kobo US - USD$7.99 | Kobo UK - £6.47 | Kobo CA - CAD$7.49 | Kobo AU AUD$9.99

Description from Goodreads:
Quote
The Dream

She is twenty, beautiful, dirt-poor, and hoping for a better life for her infant daughter when LuAnn Tyler is offered the gift of a lifetime, a $100 million lottery jackpot. All she has to do is change her identity and leave the U.S. forever.

The Killer

It's an offer she dares to refuse...until violence forces her hand and thrusts her into a harrowing game of high-stakes, big-money subterfuge. It's a price she won't fully pay...until she does the unthinkable and breaks the promise that made her rich.

The Winner

For if LuAnn Tyler comes home, she will be pitted against the deadliest contestant of all: the chameleonlike financial mastermind who changed her life. And who can take it away at will...
A fun little thriller well told.
Reply 

#7  Bookpossum 01-02-2019, 12:51 AM
Business is brisk despite the holiday season!

I would like to nominate A Delicate Truth by John Le Carré. From Kobo:

Quote
A counter-terror operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted in Britain's most precious colony, Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms-buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, and a private defence contractor who is also his close friend. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister's Private Secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it.

Suspecting a disastrous conspiracy, Toby attempts to forestall it, but is promptly posted overseas. Three years on, summoned by Sir Christopher Probyn, retired British diplomat, to his decaying Cornish manor house, and closely watched by Probyn's daughter Emily, Toby must choose between his conscience and his duty to the Service.

If the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, how can he keep silent?

'No other writer has charted - pitilessly for politicians but thrillingly for readers - the public and secret histories of his times, from the Second World War to the 'War on Terror'' Guardian

'The master of the modern spy novel returns . . . this is writing of such quality that - as Robert Harris put it - it will be read in one hundred years. John le Carré was never a spy-turned-writer, he was a writer who found his canvas in espionage, as Dickens did in other worlds. The two men deserve comparison' Daily Mail

'A brilliant climax, with sinister deaths, casual torture, wrecked lives and shameful compromises' Observer

'With A Delicate Truth, le Carré has in a sense come home. And it's a splendid homecoming . . . the novel is the most satisfying, subtle and compelling of his recent oeuvre' The Times
Prices at Kobo: $US5.99, $C11.99, $A12.99, $NZ16.32, £4.99.
Number of pages: 321.
Reply 

#8  issybird 01-02-2019, 09:55 AM
I was going to nominate The Masters by C. P. Snow (of Two Cultures fame) from his Strangers and Brothers sequence, but was appalled to discover that not only is it not available as an ebook in the US, it's not even in print! It can be acquired elsewhere, but I'm taking that as a dealbreaker. Back to the drawing board.

ETA: Only £3.47 in the UK! Oh, and I looked again and it's in print in papberback in the US in a three-title volume for $20.

Quote astrangerhere
I am going to nominate Anna Segher's novel The Seventh Cross. The novel was originally published in German in 1942. <SNIP>

I don't know if this will get any traction or not as it is a little pricey, but maybe it will interest others as much as it does me.
This sounds intriguing to me. I checked the local university and while it has it, it's in the original translation which also seems to be abridged. The first wouldn't matter; the second does. So I shall have to think about it.
Reply 

#9  Ralph Sir Edward 01-02-2019, 11:35 AM
I will make a nomination.

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre (died 1943 - book was published March 1923).

It is readily available at all sources. There used to be a copy in MobileRead library before the "Great Purge". I hope it could be restored.

It is PD in Life +50, Life + 70, and now (as of Jan 1st, 2019) PD in the US!

The ultimate book about stock wheeling and dealing, before the Great Depression. A lightly fictionalised biography of Jesse Livermore, one the biggest traders in the history of the stock market.

It seems to fit the topic, perfectly. . .
Reply 

#10  issybird 01-02-2019, 02:30 PM
Quote Ralph Sir Edward
I will make a nomination.

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre (died 1943 - book was published March 1923).

It is readily available at all sources. There used to be a copy in MobileRead library before the "Great Purge". I hope it could be restored.

It is PD in Life +50, Life + 70, and now (as of Jan 1st, 2019) PD in the US!
Just as an FYI, the Patricia Clark Memorial Library was updated early yesterday to add all newly public domain books for 2019 (based on Life+70). The library was up-to-date for 2018 until yesterday. Reminiscences was restored earlier, but now can be legally downloaded by Americans as well.

I'll update the nominations shortly.
Reply 

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