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Book club vote September 2019

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:44 pm
by Mista
It's time to decide what we will be reading in September. The poll will be open for 5 days (until Saturday), and you may vote for up to 2 books.

BEFORE YOU SUBMIT YOUR VOTE: Check that the book is available in the language and format you want!

AFTER YOU SUBMIT YOUR VOTE: Please leave a comment below about what you want to read. That way, you will get a notification when the results are in.

Further information about the book club and how it works can be found in the main book club thread here: ... 23&t=10009

Here is some information about the nominated books:

Jón Kalman Stefánsson: Himnaríki og helvíti (Heaven and Hell)

215 pages, Icelandic, has 63 different versions on Goodreads in a wide range of languages, including the big European languages, Scandinavian, Russian, Arabic, among others.

Note that this is the first book of a trilogy, and that the first book and the trilogy both have the same name.

Amazon wrote:In a remote part of Iceland, a boy and his friend Barður join a boat to fish for cod. A winter storm surprises them out at sea and Barður, who has forgotten his waterproof as he was too absorbed in 'Paradise Lost', succumbs to the ferocious cold and dies. Appalled by the death and by the fishermen's callous ability to set about gutting the fatal catch, the boy leaves the village, intending to return the book to its owner. The extreme hardship and danger of the journey is of little consequence to him - he has already resolved to join his friend in death. But once in the town he immerses himself in the stories and lives of its inhabitants, and decides that he cannot be with his friend just yet.

Set at the turn of the twentieth century, Heaven and Hell is a perfectly formed, vivid and timeless story, lyrical in style, and as intense a reading experience as the forces of the Icelandic landscape themselves. An outstandingly moving novel.

Sjón: Mánasteinn: Drengurinn sem aldrei var til (Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was)

142 pages, Icelandic, 28 different versions on Goodreads, mostly European languages

Goodreads wrote:The mind-bending miniature historical epic is Sjón's specialty, and Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was is no exception. But it is also Sjón's most realistic, accessible, and heartfelt work yet. It is the story of a young man on the fringes of a society that is itself at the fringes of the world--at what seems like history's most tumultuous, perhaps ultimate moment.

Máni Steinn is queer in a society in which the idea of homosexuality is beyond the furthest extreme. His city, Reykjavik in 1918, is homogeneous and isolated and seems entirely defenseless against the Spanish flu, which has already torn through Europe, Asia, and North America and is now lapping up on Iceland's shores. And if the flu doesn't do it, there's always the threat that war will spread all the way north. And yet the outside world has also brought Icelanders cinema! And there's nothing like a dark, silent room with a film from Europe flickering on the screen to help you escape from the overwhelming threats--and adventures--of the night, to transport you, to make you feel like everything is going to be all right. For Máni Steinn, the question is whether, at Reykjavik's darkest hour, he should retreat all the way into this imaginary world, or if he should engage with the society that has so soundly rejected him.

Knut Hamsun: Pan

134 pages, Norwegian, 162 different editions on Goodreads

Goodreads wrote:Lieutenant Thomas Glahn, a hunter and ex-military man, lives alone in a hut in the forest with his faithful dog Aesop. Upon meeting Edvarda, the daughter of a merchant in a nearby town, they are both strongly attracted to each other, but neither understands the other's love.

Gustave Flaubert: Trois Contes (Three tales)

120 pages (three different short stories), French, 254 different editions on Goodreads

Goodreads wrote:Twenty years after Madame Bovary, Flaubert wrote Three Tales, each of which reveals a different aspect of his creative genius and fine craftsmanship.

In A Simple Heart, a story set in his native Normandy, in which every chapter, every place, every emotion corresponds to some person, some scene, some feeling in the author's past, he recounts the life of a pious and devoted servant girl. 'I want to move tender hearts to pity and tears,' he wrote, 'for I am tender-hearted myself.'

A stained-glass window in Rouen cathedral inspired him to write The legend of St Julian Hospitator with its insight into the violence and mysticism of the medieval mind. Herodias, the last of the three, is a masterly and powerful reconstruction of the events leading up to the martyrdom of St John the Baptist

Gaël Faye: Petit pays (Small country)

219 pages, French, 58 versions on Goodreads, including languages like Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Arabic and Hebrew

Amazon wrote:Burundi, 1992. For ten-year-old Gabriel, life in his comfortable expat neighbourhood of Bujumbura with his French father, Rwandan mother and little sister, Ana, is something close to paradise. These are happy, carefree days spent with his friends sneaking cigarettes and stealing mangoes, swimming in the river and riding bikes in the streets they have turned into their kingdom. But dark clouds are gathering over this small country, and soon their peaceful idyll will shatter when Burundi and neighbouring Rwanda are brutally hit by war and genocide.

A haunting and luminous novel of extraordinary power, Small Country describes a devastating end of innocence as seen through the eyes of a young child caught in the maelstrom of history. It is a stirring tribute not only to a time of tragedy, but also to the bright days that came before it

Re: Book club vote September 2019

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:59 pm
by kanewai
Mista wrote:AFTER YOU SUBMIT YOUR VOTE: Please leave a comment below about what you want to read. That way, you will get a notification when the results are in.
I voted for the three short-stories by Flaubert.

I've read his longer work, Madame Bovary and A Sentimental Education. Both were great, but long. I would like to read more of his work, without having to commit to months of reading. In addition, I just started a huge Spanish novel, so only have the time to work in short stories for any other language.

Also, I've already downloaded the oeuvres complètes for Flaubert. It's been waiting for me on my kindle. These collections are great; they have them for lots of French authors, usually for under 3 USD.

Re: Book club vote September 2019

Posted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:26 am
by MamaPata
I voted for Flaubert and Faye because it will be easier for me to get hold of them in French (and faster to read, which is good given that I’m like three months behind) than getting the others in translation. September is going to be a bit hectic so we’ll see how it goes.

Re: Book club vote September 2019

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:51 pm
by Mista
Looks like we have a clear winner: Petit Pays by Gaël Faye, with 5 votes. If you are one of the people who voted for the book and is planning to read it, we'd love to hear about it. That also goes for those who didn't vote for it, but want to read it anyway (in a way, I belong to this category myself - since all the nominations were mine, I found it difficult to choose between them and ended up not voting. But I will of course read the book).

The discussion thread can be found here: ... 23&t=10009