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Archive > Group Read -> October 2018 -> Nomination thread (A book about the 1970s won by 'Instructions for a Heatwave')

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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
Every month we discuss a book on a specific era or a theme. This book will be the winner of a group poll. The approximate timings are...


Start of the month - request nominations
6th of the month - publish poll
11th of the month - announce winner

Our next book will be based on the 1970's and we will be reading and discussing the winning book in October 2018

If you feel inspired, please nominate a book set in, or published in, the 1970's that you would like to read and discuss.

It can be either fiction or non-fiction.

Please supply the title, author, a brief synopsis, and anything else you'd like to mention about the book, and why you think it might make a good book to discuss.

If your nomination wins then please be willing to fully participate in the subsequent discussion.

Happy nominating.


message 2: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
I think I am going to nominate The Siege of Krishnapur The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell

Although it is not set during our period, it was the 1973 Booker Prize Winner and has recently been released on Audible (currently only £1.99 on kindle too!).

In the Spring of 1857, with India on the brink of a violent and bloody mutiny, Krishnapur is a remote town on the vast North Indian plain. For the British there, life is orderly and genteel. Then the sepoys at the nearest military cantonment rise in revolt and the British community retreats with shock into the Residency. They prepare to fight for their lives with what weapons they can muster. As food and ammunition grow short, the Residency, its defences battered by shot and shell and eroded by the rains, becomes ever more vulnerable.

The Siege of Krishnapur is a modern classic of narrative excitement that also digs deep to explore some fundamental questions of civilisation and life.

'Suspense and subtlety, humour and horror, the near-neighbourliness of heroism and insanity: it is rare to find such divergent elements being controlled in one hand and being raced, as it were, in one yoke. But Farrell manages just this here: his imaginative insight and technical virtuosity combine to produce a novel of quite outstanding quality' The Times

'The magnificient passages of action in The Siege of Krishnapur, its gallery of characters, its unashamedly detailed and fascinating dissertations on cholera, gunnery, phrenology, the prodigal inventiveness of its no doubt also well-documented scenes should satisfy the most exacting and voracious reader. For a novel to be witty is one thing, to tell a good story is another, to be serious is yet another, but to be all three is surely enough to make it a masterpiece' John Spurling, New Statesman


message 3: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 706 comments Farrell is one of my favourite authors - he managed to be entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time, and his satire spared nobody. In some ways, the third book of the trilogy (The Singapore Grip) is even better.


message 4: by Pamela (new)

Pamela (bibliohound) | 465 comments I loved The Siege of Krishnapur, Susan. I must read the rest of the trilogy (especially given Hugh's view on the third book).


message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
Good to hear approval for Krishnapur. Still, everyone put their thinking caps on for other nominations. I know our wonderful members always come up with great suggestions :)


message 6: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 706 comments The trilogy is only very loosely linked - they can be read in any order (in fact The Siege of Krishnapur was the first Farrell I read).


message 7: by Pamela (last edited Jul 27, 2018 07:22AM) (new)

Pamela (bibliohound) | 465 comments I would like to nominate Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym

Here's the Goodreads blurb
In 1970s London Edwin, Norman, Letty and Marcia work in the same office and suffer the same problem - loneliness. Lovingly and with delightful humour, Pym conducts us through their day-to-day existence: their preoccupations, their irritations, their judgements, and - perhaps most keenly felt - their worries about having somehow missed out on life as post-war Britain shifted around them.
Deliciously, blackly funny and full of obstinate optimism, Quartet in Autumn shows Barbara Pym's sensitive artistry at its most sparkling. A classic from one of Britain's most loved and highly acclaimed novelists, its world is both extraordinary and familiar, revealing the eccentricities of everyday life.


It sounds like it has the right tone (and title) for an October read, and will follow on nicely from some of our London-based reads from previous decades. Also maybe interesting to contrast with our Muriel Spark 'blackly funny' reads.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Pamela wrote: "I loved The Siege of Krishnapur, Susan. I must read the rest of the trilogy (especially given Hugh's view on the third book)."

The Siege was my favorite of the series, and, for me, 2 stars better than Singapore.


message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
I wasn't aware that Siege was actually part of a trilogy. I am now wondering whether I should change my suggestion to Troubles, as it is the first in the trilogy? It was published 1970, so still fits our period...


message 10: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
Pamela, I have never read Barbara Pym, great suggestion.


message 11: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
Just realised that Troubles won the Booker in 1970. I am highly impressed.


message 12: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 706 comments Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "The Siege was my favorite of the series, and, for me, 2 stars better than Singapore. "
I enjoyed them all, but for me The Singapore Grip is the most complex and ambitious. The Siege of Krishnapur is tighter and perhaps funnier.

Susan wrote: "Just realised that Troubles won the Booker in 1970. I am highly impressed."

Technically it won the retrospective "Lost Booker" - the original 1970 Booker was won by The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens.
All of Farrell's empire books are worth reading. It is also arguably a quartet because the incomplete novel The Hill Station, which Farrell was working on when he died, would have formed part of the same series, but the books are all pretty much self-contained.


message 13: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
Do you think I should stick with Siege, Hugh, or change to Troubles?


message 14: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
Actually, as Troubles is more in our period and the first in the trilogy, I think I will choose Troubles as my nomination (if it is picked, IF, we could read on using Buddy Reads).

So, I change my nomination to: Troubles Troubles by J.G. Farrell

Winner of the 1970 lost Man Booker prize in 2010.

Major Brendan Archer travels to Ireland - to the Majestic Hotel and to the fiancée he acquired on a rash afternoon's leave three years ago. Despite her many letters, the lady herself proves elusive, and the Major's engagement is short-lived. But he is unable to detach himself from the alluring discomforts of the crumbling hotel. Ensconced in the dim and shabby splendour of the Palm Court, surrounded by gently decaying old ladies and proliferating cats, the Major passes the summer. So hypnotic are the faded charms of the Majestic, the Major is almost unaware of the gathering storm. But this is Ireland in 1919 - and the struggle for independence is about to explode with brutal force.


message 15: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
Nominations so far:

Troubles (Susan)
Quartet in Autumn (Pamela)


Elizabeth (Alaska) Susan wrote: "Do you think I should stick with Siege, Hugh, or change to Troubles?"

I read them in order, but that isn't necessary. They are all in different time periods, set in different locations, and have no characters in common. They are a trilogy because Farrell chose to write about the many tentacles of British Imperialism.


message 17: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
Oh well, I will nominate the first. Many readers prefer to read in order, so best to choose the first book, I think.


message 18: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 706 comments They do have some common characters - Major Archer from the Troubles is a minor character in TSG and the doctor in The Siege turned up again in The Hill Station but all of the books make sense without any knowledge of the others...


Elizabeth (Alaska) I'd like to nominate A Dry White Season by André Brink.

André Brink's classic novel, A Dry White Season, is an unflinching and unforgettable look at racial intolerance, the human condition, and the heavy price of morality.

Ben Du Toit is a white schoolteacher in suburban Johannesburg in a dark time of intolerance and state-sanctioned apartheid. A simple, apolitical man, he believes in the essential fairness of the South African government and its policies—until the sudden arrest and subsequent "suicide" of a black janitor from Du Toit's school. Haunted by new questions and desperate to believe that the man's death was a tragic accident, Du Toit undertakes an investigation into the terrible affair—a quest for the truth that will have devastating consequences for the teacher and his family, as it draws him into a lethal morass of lies, corruption, and murder.

There are many good reviews on the GR page, not the least of which is from Hugh, and I quote sparingly:

It is an impassioned and often brutal account of what happens when an ordinary man questions an authoritarian state, in this case the apartheid South Africa of the 70s.

...

Brink is very strong on the mechanisms and compromises that make ordinary people complicit with the excesses of the state, but like his hero Ben he never entirely loses hope that the questioning will eventually bring change, and in the light of what happened over the next decade in South Africa this seems very prescient.



message 20: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
We touched on South Africa with our Graham Greene read, so that's an interesting nomination, Elizabeth.

Nominations so far:
A Dry White Season (Elizabeth)
Quartet in Autumn (Pamela)
Troubles (Susan)


message 21: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 4370 comments Mod
I'll nominate Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (1979).

Sorry I'm on my phone so haven't attached blurb but you can link through the title. Brilliant writing, subversive retellings of classic fairytales, funny and menacing by turn. So original for the time.


message 22: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
Thanks, RC.

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter

From familiar fairy tales and legends - Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss in Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires and werewolves - Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.


message 24: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) Not nominating but I just saw this news about the Farrell trilogy:

http://www.willowandthatch.com/singap...


Elizabeth (Alaska) Susan wrote: "We touched on South Africa with our Graham Greene read, so that's an interesting nomination, Elizabeth."

Don't know when that was - and I was even looking at a Graham Greene for this month!


message 26: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "Susan wrote: "We touched on South Africa with our Graham Greene read, so that's an interesting nomination, Elizabeth."

Don't know when that was - and I was even looking at a Graham Greene for this..."


We read The Human Factor as a buddy read in March, Elizabeth.


message 27: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
Thanks for posting the link, Storyheart. I would like to read the whole trilogy - I have only read the second book and that was years ago.


message 28: by Susan (last edited Jul 29, 2018 08:49AM) (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
Don't forget, you have all next week to think of a book you would like to nominate. It can be set in, or published during, the 1970's.

Nominations so far:

Quartet in Autumn (Pamela) Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym

Troubles(Susan) Troubles by J.G. Farrell

A Dry White Season (Elizabeth) A Dry White Season by André Brink

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (Roman Clodia) The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter


message 29: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8721 comments Mod
Inspired by Susan, I nominate....


1971 - Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year by David Hepworth

The Sixties ended a year late – on New Year's Eve 1970, when Paul McCartney initiated proceedings to wind up The Beatles. Music would never be the same again.

The next day would see the dawning of a new era. 1971 saw the release of more monumental albums than any year before or since and the establishment of a pantheon of stars to dominate the next forty years – Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Marvin Gaye, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Rod Stewart, the solo Beatles and more.

January that year fired the gun on an unrepeatable surge of creativity, technological innovation, blissful ignorance, naked ambition and outrageous good fortune. By December rock had exploded into the mainstream.

How did it happen? This book tells you how. It's the story of 1971, rock’s golden year.




message 30: by Val (new)

Val | 1710 comments I am not nominating anything this month, as I would be happy to read or reread any of those.


message 31: by Susan (last edited Jul 30, 2018 10:53PM) (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
Ooh, good nomination, Nigeyb!
Val, good to hear you like the nominations so far. For some reason, Goodreads won't let me add book/author... So, nominations so far:

1971 (Nigeyb)
Troubles (Susan)
Quartet in Autumn (Pamela)
The Bloody Chamber (Roman Clodia)
A Dry White Season (Elizabeth)

I have to go to an appointment this morning, but will try to sort out links on my return...


message 33: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8721 comments Mod
The current five nominations all look very enticing.


The 1970s is one of my favourite decades. I was eight at the start of it and poised to turn 18 by the end.

Anyone else thinking of nominating?

Or actively thinking about a possible nomination?


message 34: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
My preference would be for 1971 (possible Buddy Read, if it doesn't win???).

I have never read Angela Carter, but am not crazy about short stories. I have never read Barbara Pym and would really like to try her - I like the look of Quartet in Autumn very much. A Dry White Season looks very interesting and I nominated Troubles, so, obviously, I would like to read it :)

I was four at the start of the 1970's and remember it fondly.


message 35: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Aug 01, 2018 08:06AM) (new)

Elizabeth (Alaska) I remember the 70s as a time of upheaval. There were continued protests about Vietnam until that seemingly unending war ended. At the end of the decade there was the overthrow of the Shah and the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism. There was another Women's Revolution (which I always thought of as an Evolution). Following a war there is the usual horrific rise in inflation, and the 70s was no exception, most notably a huge increase in gas (your petrol?) prices, gas shortages, long lines at the pumps. The Cold War was still the cold war. In 1969, the US had landed man on the moon, and the exploration of space was in full swing. IBM had dominated the then existing computer industry, but in the mid-70s Apple and Microsoft came into being.

And that's what I can think of in a few short moments. My 2 daughters are just about your age, Susan - one on either side of you, age-wise.


message 36: by Lynaia (new)

Lynaia | 468 comments Susan wrote: "My preference would be for 1971 (possible Buddy Read, if it doesn't win???).

I have never read Angela Carter, but am not crazy about short stories. I have never read Barbara Pym and would really l..."


I've read a few Barbara Pym and found them enjoyable but somewhat light reading. I read Quartet in Autumn a long time ago and enjoyed it. It seemed to have a little more meat to it than some of her other novels.


message 37: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4369 comments Mod
I’m not sure whether to nominate as we have some great choices already. Still pondering.


message 38: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8721 comments Mod
Judy wrote: "I’m not sure whether to nominate as we have some great choices already. Still pondering."


Oooh. Intriguing, Keep us posted Judy.


message 39: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
Any more nominations?


message 40: by Judy (last edited Aug 04, 2018 12:44AM) (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4369 comments Mod
Yes, I'll nominate Instructions for a Heatwave Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell by Maggie O'Farrell. This is set during the famous summer of 1976, which I remember as I was a teenager at the time - the current summer in the UK is seeming rather similar!

Here's part of the blurb:

Instructions for a Heatwave is a novel about a family crisis set during the legendary British heatwave of 1976.

Gretta Riordan wakes on a stultifying July morning to find that her husband of forty years has gone to get the paper and vanished, cleaning out his bank account along the way. Gretta's three grown children converge on their parents' home for the first time in years.


I've been a bit spoilt for choice which is why it's taken me a while to decide on a nomination! After deciding to think of something to do with 1976, I was also tempted by a novel actually called Summer of '76 by Isabel Ashdown, who is a new author to me, and by A Fatal Inversion, one of the crime novels by Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine, which was written in the 1980s but is set during 76.


message 41: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
I loved Instructions for a Heatwave, Judy and would be happy to re-read.

That makes the nomination list (so far):

Instructions for a Heatwave (Judy) Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (Roman Clodia) The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter

A Dry White Season (Elizabeth) A Dry White Season by André Brink

Troubles by J.G. Farrell Troubles (Susan)

Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym (Pamela) Quartet in Autumn

1971 - Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year (Nigeyb) 1971 - Never a Dull Moment Rock's Golden Year by David Hepworth


message 42: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4369 comments Mod
Your 5-star review for Instructions for a Heatwave helped to tempt me, Susan. Especially your comment:

"As well as being an enjoyable personal read, it would have much to offer reading groups, with lots to discuss, and I enjoyed it immensely."

Another book I kept wondering whether to nominate was The History Man by Malcolm Bradbury, because it is such a quintessentially 70s book, but then the summer weather sent me in a different direction. :)


message 43: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
Some great books to choose from. I did consider nominating Heatwave, but selfishly chose something I hadn't already read :)


message 44: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4369 comments Mod
Yes, a great choice - I'd be very happy to read any of them.


message 45: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8721 comments Mod
I think we have all the nominations now.

I'll get the polls up soon.

So it's last chance to nominate.


message 46: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1073 comments Judy wrote: "Yes, I'll nominate Instructions for a Heatwave Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell by Maggie O'Farrell. This is set during the famous summer of 1976, whi..."

Summer of '76 here is famous for the being the summer of Son of Sam in New York City.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Jan C wrote: "Summer of '76 here is famous for the being the summer of Son of Sam in New York City."

Probably more famous for being the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence.


message 48: by Haaze (last edited Aug 04, 2018 03:55PM) (new)

Haaze | 146 comments Hmm, not sure if I'm allowed to nominate (?), but if I am I would like to put forward The Periodic Table by Primo Levi
The Periodic Table by Primo Levi

A short story collection published in 1975 in Italy. [233 pgs]

I have always wanted to read it! Last night I was reading a biography focusing on Primo Levi. A fascinating life. The book seems to fuse the realms of fiction and nonfiction, while simultaneously bringing forward the powerful changes that occurred across Europe during the 20th century. It seems like a good fit for the group's theme. :)

A synopsis from Wiki:
"The stories are autobiographical episodes of the author's experiences as a Jewish-Italian doctoral-level chemist under the Fascist regime and afterwards. They include various themes that follow a chronological sequence: his ancestry, his study of chemistry and practicing the profession in wartime Italy, a pair of imaginative tales he wrote at that time, and his subsequent experiences as an anti-Fascist partisan, his arrest and imprisonment, interrogation, and internment in the Fossoli di Carpi and Auschwitz camps, and postwar life as an industrial chemist. Every story, 21 in total, has the name of a chemical element and is connected to it in some way."




message 49: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9268 comments Mod
All members are allowed to nominate, Haaze, and, indeed, encouraged to do so :)

That makes it:

The Periodic Table (Haaze) The Periodic Table by Primo Levi

Quartet in Autumn (Pamela) Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym

Troubles (Susan) Troubles by J.G. Farrell

1971 - Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year (Nigeyb) 1971 - Never a Dull Moment Rock's Golden Year by David Hepworth

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (Roman Clodia)

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell (Judy) Instructions for a Heatwave

A Dry White Season (Elizabeth) A Dry White Season by André Brink


message 50: by Nigeyb (last edited Aug 05, 2018 07:30AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 8721 comments Mod
Haaze - you're back. Hurrah!


Thanks for your 11th hour nomination

The poll is live.

Vote, vote, vote....

https://www.goodreads.com/poll/show/1...




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