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What to Read > February 2019 Open Pick Nominations

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message 1: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2717 comments Mod
Nominations are now open until December 22nd for the February 2019 Open Pick.

Nominating guidelines:
- Fiction (original & translation, if applicable) first published between January 1, 2000 and February 1, 2018. For translations the latter date must be an English edition.
- One nomination per person (please do not nominate or vote for a book unless you are certain you can read and discuss if it wins)
- A book this group has not yet read (see group bookshelf)
- A book that is not better suited to the wild card (genre) category

If you are nominating, please begin your post by stating "I nominate [name with hyperlink to book]"

Let the nominating begin!



message 2: by Lia (new)

Lia Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter.
Try again. Fail again. Fail better!

I nominate Ransom by David Malouf


Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 457 comments Lia wrote: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter.
Try again. Fail again. Fail better!

I nominate Ransom by David Malouf"


One of my all time favorites!


message 4: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2717 comments Mod
Woohooo!!!


message 5: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2353 comments I nominate Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr..

Currie is an interesting guy. I have read two of Currie's four books. This is the second book and his first novel. I happened upon it yesterday in a mostly children's bookstore in Waterville, ME, which is where Currie has always lived. I heard him speak at Longfellow's book store in Portland, ME two or three years ago. The store's owner had Currie's favorite beverage awaiting his arrival -- a PBR.


message 6: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2714 comments Mod
Thanks for starting this Marc.
I nominate The Woman Who Waited by Andreï Makine


message 7: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 452 comments I nominate Christodora by Tim Murphy.


Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 245 comments I nominate Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes


message 9: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2714 comments Mod
I am tempted to change my nomination because once again we have an all-male list so far...


message 10: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 2158 comments Mod
I had noticed that as well, but I likely won't get to this open pick so didn't chime in with a nomination. There's always the mod pick to help balance things out.


message 11: by David (new)

David | 242 comments I feel like I should preface my question by making it clear this is a genuine question and not a complaint disguised as a question, just to make sure I am not misunderstood.

I am curious about the concern of there being a gender balance. What I wonder is is whether or not you also keep track of things like nationality or ethnicity of the authors nominated and similarly try to make sure there is some sort of balance. The follow up question would be: If not, why not?

I don't ever find myself thinking I should read a book by an author who is a woman / black / from X part of the world, but at the same time I think I do pretty well when I look at what I do end up reading for its diversity. For example, right now I have three books on the go - one by a black male, one by a white male, and one by a white female. They are all American writers, although the books I most recently finished were written by Scottish and Italian authors and the book I will start reading in a few days is by a Brazilian woman.


Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 457 comments I think the purpose behind gender/nationality/ethnicity/identity, etc. balance is to get books with diverse perspectives, which leads to a more interesting list. It also helps steer us toward books from smaller publishers or other countries that don't have as much marketing push behind them. It sounds like you do this on your own already, and I think I do too, but it's always nice to have a reminder when we're thinking as a group.


message 13: by Navi (new)

Navi (nvsahota) | 15 comments I nominate Ladivine by Marie NDiaye


message 14: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2714 comments Mod
David wrote: "I feel like I should preface my question by making it clear this is a genuine question and not a complaint disguised as a question, just to make sure I am not misunderstood.

I am curious about the..."

My personal view (and I accept that most of you don't share it), is that I should try to read 50% books by female authors, because without this positive discrimination (and as I know by looking at what I read before I started doing it), my reading would be overwhelmingly dominated by male writers. (I was driven to do this after spending a very enjoyable couple of years reading the back catalogues of A.S. Byatt and Iris Murdoch).


message 15: by David (new)

David | 242 comments Hugh wrote: "My personal view (and I accept that most of you don't share it), is that I should try to read 50% books by female authors, because without this positive discrimination (and as I know by looking at what I read before I started doing it), my reading would be overwhelmingly dominated by male writers."

Yes, I thought that this was why you did that, but my question really was about whether or not you also have a policy like this about reading authors of diverse nationalities and races. If you read four books in a row by white authors do you make a point of reading a couple after that by non-white authors for the same reason? And if not, why is gender a line you observe more carefully than race or nationality (or sexual identity)?


message 16: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2714 comments Mod
David wrote: "Hugh wrote: "My personal view (and I accept that most of you don't share it), is that I should try to read 50% books by female authors, because without this positive discrimination (and as I know b..."
Fair point - the real reasons are (i) because apart from a tiny minority, it is clear-cut and (ii) because the notional target is easy to define. I am well aware that I fall short by other criteria, and I am still reading more pages by male authors because they tend to write longer books!


message 17: by Whitney (last edited Dec 20, 2018 07:42AM) (new)

Whitney | 2158 comments Mod
David, we do make an effort in the moderator picks to try and represent a broader range of authors. Interestingly, our Wild Card pick is frequently non-white and or female.

It feels to me like you are engaging in sealioning here. Someone simply saying we should make an effort to see that more female authors are represented shouldn't be controversial. If you think it is, you're probably part of the problem.


message 18: by Jess (new)

Jess Penhallow | 27 comments My reading actually skews naturally more female but only by a bit. I am tracking my reading this year for these factors but only out of curiosity I am not purposefully seeking out diversity just yet because I wanted a baseline first to recognise my imbalances.

This year I read 53% female authors, 46% male and 1 anthology with both genders represented. So I am fairly balanced in terms of gender.

Unfortunately, my stats are not nearly as equal when it comes to race was 82% of authors I read this year were white so I definitely need to work on my diversity in that regard.


message 19: by David (new)

David | 242 comments Whitney wrote: "It feels to me like you are engaging in sealioning here...."

Go back and look at my original post on this. I mentioned very specifically that I felt the need to preface my comment because I was worried PRECISELY that someone might reach this false conclusion based on my question. I guess you take offense at the very idea of even asking the question. No criticism was made by me nor should be inferred. I don't know any other way to have asked a genuine question, but I do know that if you are not capable of good faith in reading my posts when I made a point of trying to say very clearly what I was and was not doing then there is no point even trying to have a conversation with you.

"Someone simply saying we should make an effort to see that more female authors are represented shouldn't be controversial."

I never said it was controversial. I do not think it is controversial.

"If you think it is, you're probably part of the problem."

This is BEYOND insulting. If you cannot read my question without being so defensive, maybe you should look in the mirror and ask why it is so unreasonable to ask whether someone seeks balance in race or nationality, which is all I asked.


message 20: by David (new)

David | 242 comments Hugh wrote: "Fair point - the real reasons are (i) because apart from a tiny minority, it is clear-cut and (ii) because the notional target is easy to define."

That actually fits in with something I was thinking about when I asked the question. Since the male/female population is roughly equal, then reading roughly 50% male and 50% female authors seems to make sense. But how would one even come up with a percentage of non-white authors to read? Based on global populations? Based on how prevalent the racial group is wherever you happen to live? It seems odd to even try to come up with a number in the case of race and nationality as well.


message 21: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 2158 comments Mod
David, you start your post with "I am curious about the concern of there being a gender balance." Not with "I think gender balance is a good idea, and I think trying to have some balance with race and nationality is also a good idea". Are you really curious about the concern for (some) gender balance? If not, your statement was unnecessarily provocative.

I think we all want to see more representation from women, different races, and different nationalities. The way to do that isn't to question the inclusion of one at the expense of others. Make more nominations of and vote for more diverse authors if that's your concern.


message 22: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 452 comments May I ask that we restore this thread to being the Open Pick nominating thread and perhaps take the topic of diverse reading elsewhere? I find that a very engaging and interest topic, but the nominations and original purpose of the thread are getting lost. IMO.


message 23: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 2158 comments Mod
Fair point. Diverse reading already came up in one of Marc's Questions of the Week. Interested parties can take it over there. Apologies for my part in the derailing.
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 24: by David (last edited Dec 20, 2018 09:12PM) (new)

David | 242 comments Whitney wrote: "David, you start your post with "I am curious about the concern of there being a gender balance." Not with "I think gender balance is a good idea, and I think trying to have some balance with race ..."

No. I started my post with an entire paragraph before I got to the sentence you quote out of context. You also ignore the very next sentence where I explain that my curiosity is about why other sorts of balance issues do not also seem to come up. If you want to read me out of context and in the most un-generous way possible, then yes, you might conclude that I don't think gender balance matters. But you have to TRY to get to that conclusion to get there.

"I think we all want to see more representation from women, different races, and different nationalities. The way to do that isn't to question the inclusion of one at the expense of others."

Good thing I didn't do the very thing you keep saying I did, the thing I have also specifically denied doing and you now ignore. I find it funny that I tried to take great care to avoid people misunderstanding and thinking I was saying "gender balance is good, but aren't you being racist by not worrying about that too?" only to be accused of dismissing the gender worry. Unreal.


message 25: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 2158 comments Mod
David, okay, sorry I misunderstood your intent. Now let's please take it to the other discussion thread if you want to carry on. As Carol said, let's get back on point here.


message 26: by Marc (last edited Dec 21, 2018 01:37AM) (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2717 comments Mod
I nominate Miranda July's The First Bad Man--truly one of the oddest and delightful books I've read in the last few years.

Nominations will close tomorrow night and the poll will go up on Sunday [insert dramatic music here].


message 27: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2714 comments Mod
Thanks Marc (and sorry for stirring up the hornets' nest!)


message 28: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2717 comments Mod
Sure thing, Hugh. It's no big deal. Members should know that although the group has no stated quotas or formulas toward diverse selections, each of the moderators is interested in making the reading diverse and discovering new gems.

I'm always delighted by the range and surprised by the nominations threads.


message 30: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2714 comments Mod
This poll is too close to call! 5 books within 1 vote. Last day to vote today...


message 31: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 2158 comments Mod
Now is the chance to change your vote if your first choice isn't in the running anymore!


message 32: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2717 comments Mod
Happy New Year!
The The First Bad Man has won the poll!
Discussion starts Feb. 1st.

Be there or be a plane figure with four equal straight sides and four right angles.


message 33: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 2158 comments Mod
I highly recommend the audiobook of this one!


message 34: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 220 comments Whitney wrote: "I highly recommend the audiobook of this one!"

Me too! Deadpan-hilarious.


message 35: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Izaguirre (sweetji) | 122 comments Lark wrote: "Whitney wrote: "I highly recommend the audiobook of this one!"

Me too! Deadpan-hilarious."


Thanks so much for the audiobook recommendation, I didn't think I was going to have time to read this one on time for discussion, but I was able to get the audiobook from my library and so far it's great!


Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 457 comments Jessica wrote: "Lark wrote: "Whitney wrote: "I highly recommend the audiobook of this one!"

Me too! Deadpan-hilarious."

Thanks so much for the audiobook recommendation, I didn't think I was going to have time to..."


Now I'm extra looking forward to it and happy to see that the narrator is the author too!


message 37: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2353 comments I'm in with the audio edition!


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