Reading the 20th Century discussion

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Archive > Group Reads -> October 2020 -> Nomination thread (A book by a Nobel Prize winning author won by Blindness by José Saramago)

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message 1: by Nigeyb (last edited Jul 22, 2020 06:40AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 9642 comments Mod
Our October 2020 theme will be Nobel Prize winning authors - so that's a 20th century book by a Nobel Prize winning author that you would like to read and discuss

Which authors have won a Nobel Prize in Literature?

Here's a list...

https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/lis...

Your nomination 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 Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9642 comments Mod
I have been mulling over a number of nominations over the last day or so and have decided to nominate...

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

The Pearl is a novella (a mere 96 pages), first published in 1947, and is one of John Steinbeck's most popular books.

I've read a lot of Steinbeck's work (but not The Pearl) and it's always reliably good, with plenty of interesting points to discuss. That this book is so short is another attraction. I hope its brevity would inspire plenty of you to join in with the discussion if it won.

The book is based upon a Mexican folk tale from La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico, which is another attractive feature.




message 3: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 5075 comments Mod
I shall nominate Blindness by José Saramago. It has an average of 4.13 on here from an astonishing 193,095 ratings!

Here's the blurb:
From Nobel Prize–winning author José Saramago, a magnificent, mesmerizing parable of loss

A city is hit by an epidemic of "white blindness" that spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations, and assaulting women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides her charges—among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears—through the barren streets, and their procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing. As Blindness reclaims the age-old story of a plague, it evokes the vivid and trembling horrors of the twentieth century, leaving readers with a powerful vision of the human spirit that's bound both by weakness and exhilarating strength.


309 pages, available in Kindle and Audible (currently an Audible deal where you get Kindle and audiobook for £7.50, less than the price of the paperback)

I haven't read it or any other Saramago but dipping into the first page I found it immediately draws me in.

And for those of us who are addicted to covers, these are lovely:

Blindness by José Saramago Blindness by José Saramago


message 4: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10006 comments Mod
I will nominate: My Name Is Red My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk by Orhan Pamuk

The Sultan secretly commissions a great book: a celebration of his life and the Ottoman Empire, to be illuminated by the best artists of the day - in the European manner. In Istanbul at a time of violent fundamentalism, however, this is a dangerous proposition. Even the illustrious circle of artists are not allowed to know for whom they are working. But when one of the miniaturists is murdered, their Master has to seek outside help. Did the dead painter fall victim to professional rivalry, romantic jealousy or religious terror?

With the Sultan demanding an answer within three days, perhaps the clue lies somewhere in the half-finished pictures . . .

From Turkey's winner of the Nobel Prize and author of Istanbul and The Museum of Innocence, this novel is a thrilling murder mystery set amid the splendour of Istanbul and the Ottoman Empire. Part fantasy and part philosophical puzzle, My Name is Red is also a stunning meditation on love, artistic devotion and the tensions between East and West.


message 5: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 5075 comments Mod
I loved My Name is Red, Susan.


message 6: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10006 comments Mod
Good to hear, RC. I have been meaning to try something by him for ages.


message 7: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9642 comments Mod
Who else is nominating?


NOMINATIONS....

Nigeyb: The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Roman Clodia: Blindness by José Saramago
Susan: My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk




Elizabeth (Alaska) I think I already have enough on my reading plate for October.


message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10006 comments Mod
Last time we only had 3 nominations was for our Nancy Mitford theme.


message 10: by Rosina (new)

Rosina (rosinarowantree) | 245 comments Just to broaden the pool, then, I nominate
Puck of Pook's Hill:

"Puck of Pook's Hill is a fantasy book by Rudyard Kipling, published in 1906, containing a series of short stories set in different periods of English history"


message 11: by Jill (new)

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 637 comments I loved Puck of Pook's Hill I thought it was such a good introduction for children


message 12: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1215 comments I read The Pearl years ago in school. Not sure if it was one of my favorites, but it was okay.


message 13: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10006 comments Mod
My son is a huge Rudyard Kipling fan. I haven't read Puck, so great suggestion, Rosina.


message 14: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9642 comments Mod
Rosina wrote:


"I nominate Puck of Pook's Hill"

I considered Puck of Pook's Hill as a nomination too Rosina. Thanks for adding it.

Anyone else nominating?


NOMINATIONS....

Nigeyb: The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Roman Clodia: Blindness by José Saramago
Susan: My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk
Rosina: Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling




message 15: by Val (last edited Jul 23, 2020 11:08PM) (new)

Val | 1710 comments I'm happy to read or reread any of those, but there were a lot of suggestions in the general thread which have not been carried over to here, so I will nominate:
Group Portrait with Lady by Heinrich Böll
Group Portrait with Lady by Heinrich Böll
I haven't read it, but the description here makes it sound worth giving a go:
From Nobel Prize winner Heinrich Boll, an inventive & sardonic portrayal of the effects of the Nazi period on a group of ordinary people. Weaving together the stories of a diverse array of characters, Boll explores the often bizarre & always very human courses chosen by people attempting to survive in a world marked by political madness, absurdity & destruction. At the center of his tale is Leni Pfeiffer, a German woman whose secret romance with a Soviet prisoner of war both sustains & threatens her life. As the narrator interviews those who knew Pfeiffer, their stories come together in a dazzling mosaic, rich in satire, yet hinting at the promise of a saner world.


message 16: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9642 comments Mod
Val wrote:


"I'm happy to read or reread any of those, but there were a lot of suggestions in the general thread which have not been carried over to here, so I will nominate:

Group Portrait with Lady by Heinrich Böll"



Thanks Val

I thought it was curious there were so many good suggestions but relatively few nominations, so thanks for adding Group Portrait with Lady


NOMINATIONS....

Nigeyb: The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Roman Clodia: Blindness by José Saramago
Susan: My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk
Rosina: Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling
Val: Group Portrait with Lady by Heinrich Böll




message 17: by Susan (last edited Jul 23, 2020 11:18PM) (new)

Susan | 10006 comments Mod
Great suggestion too, Val. Not sure about the US, but it is not on kindle in the UK, I just checked. Second hand copies available though.


message 18: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4589 comments Mod
That's great that you have nominated a Heinrich Böll title, Val - I was hesitating over nominating him because of availability, but I would like to read more by him. This title is new to me and the description sounds intriguing.

I'm also tempted by the other nominations though and have had My Name Is Red on my TBR for a long time. I won't nominate as I am already going to find it hard to decide what to vote for!


message 19: by Val (new)

Val | 1710 comments Susan wrote: "Great suggestion too, Val. Not sure about the US, but it is not on kindle in the UK, I just checked. Second hand copies available though."
There are second-hand copies and several libraries have it (according to WorldCat), so I hope it is not too difficult to find. Perhaps a reprint is due.


message 20: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4589 comments Mod
I've just realised there is a paperback edition of Group Portrait with Lady in print too - for some reason Amazon hasn't linked the different editions together:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Group-Portra...


message 21: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10006 comments Mod
It looks great, Val. I would think a reprint is definitely due.


message 22: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4589 comments Mod
We've just crossed over, Susan - it has been reprinted but just in paperback, not as an ebook.


message 23: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 5075 comments Mod
It's good too that the nominations span the twentieth century.


message 24: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10006 comments Mod
Thanks for posting the link, Judy.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Very interested in the Heinrich Böll. My library has a copy and I would find a way to fit it into my plan should it be a selection for the group.


message 26: by Christopher (last edited Jul 24, 2020 08:47AM) (new)

Christopher Wise (christopherwise) | 7 comments Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future by Svetlana Alexievich would be my nomination. I understand this is quite a niche topic but It's honestly one of the most powerful accounts I've ever read.

edit: *ooops my bad. It wasn't released in the 20th century, even though the accounts in the book are from the 20th century. Ignore me. xD


message 27: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9642 comments Mod
Christopher wrote: "Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future by Svetlana Alexievich would be my nomination"

Actually that's fine Christopher - as the content is about the twentieth century.

By the way there's no twentieth century stipulation for buddy reads.

I'll add Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future to the nominations


message 29: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10006 comments Mod
I gave Chernobyl Prayer five stars - brilliant read.


message 30: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9642 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "I gave Chernobyl Prayer five stars - brilliant read."


I watched the TV series about Chernobyl and it was powerful and distressing stuff. Brilliantly done.


I'll get the poll up very soon as we seem to have all the nominations we are going to get.

If you do want to nominate there's still a few hours, so please let post to say. We can also hold the poll if you need a bit of time to think of a nomination.

NOMINATIONS....

Nigeyb: The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Roman Clodia: Blindness by José Saramago
Susan: My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk
Rosina: Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling
Val: Group Portrait with Lady by Heinrich Böll
Christopher: Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future by Svetlana Alexievich





Elizabeth (Alaska) I note the 4 mods have voted for 4 different titles. No likemindedness here!


message 33: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 5075 comments Mod
:)) I've read Chernobyl (5 stars) and My Name is Red (4 stars) so we might be closer than it appears! Some great choices anyway.


message 34: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9642 comments Mod
Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "I note the 4 mods have voted for 4 different titles. No likemindedness here!"


"Yes. We are all individuals" ;-)

Vote vote vote....

https://www.goodreads.com/poll/show/2...


NOMINATIONS....

Nigeyb: The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Roman Clodia: Blindness by José Saramago
Susan: My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk
Rosina: Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling
Val: Group Portrait with Lady by Heinrich Böll
Christopher: Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future by Svetlana Alexievich





message 35: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10006 comments Mod
As Group Portrait with Lady Group Portrait with Lady by Heinrich Böll is currently winning the vote, I thought I would mention that the paperback version, which Judy kindly posted a link for, has currently dropped in price from £9.99 to £8.19 on Prime - which is cheaper than a second hand copy, if you count postage and worthwhile if your library doesn't have it.


message 36: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4589 comments Mod
Thank you for posting the price reduction, Susan.


message 37: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9642 comments Mod
Thanks Susan


Group Portrait with Lady by Heinrich Böll had a narrow lead however, in the last few minutes, Blindness by José Saramago has overtaken it

The poll is still open for you to vote for your preferred nomination and influence the outcome....

https://www.goodreads.com/poll/show/2...


NOMINATIONS....

Nigeyb: The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Roman Clodia: Blindness by José Saramago
Susan: My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk
Rosina: Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling
Val: Group Portrait with Lady by Heinrich Böll
Christopher: Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future by Svetlana Alexievich





message 38: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4589 comments Mod
Nigeyb wrote: "Thanks Susan


Group Portrait with Lady by Heinrich Böll had a narrow lead however, in the last few minutes, Blindness by José Saramago has overtaken it ..."


Exciting times! Looking forward to reading whichever one wins.


message 39: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10006 comments Mod
Yes, close this month.


message 40: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 5075 comments Mod
Exciting!


Elizabeth (Alaska) Goodreads polls are different than elections. You can change your vote. If you see your favorite selection isn't going to win, you can change your vote to your second favorite.


message 42: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9642 comments Mod
We have a winner. We will be reading...


Blindness by José Saramago

Thanks to everyone who discussed, nominated and voted.

Our accompanying Moderators choice title is...

When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

See you in October 2020

NOMINATIONS....

Nigeyb: The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Roman Clodia: Blindness by José Saramago
Susan: My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk
Rosina: Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling
Val: Group Portrait with Lady by Heinrich Böll
Christopher: Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future by Svetlana Alexievich





message 43: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9642 comments Mod
Coincidentally I am currently reading a book by a Nobel Prize winning author, albeit not a 20th century winner, and one that many of you will have come across...

Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) by Daniel Kahneman

I'm very impressed so far.

Why is there more chance we'll believe something if it's in a bold type face? Why are judges more likely to deny parole before lunch? Why do we assume a good-looking person will be more competent? The answer lies in the two ways we make choices: fast, intuitive thinking, and slow, rational thinking. This book reveals how our minds are tripped up by error and prejudice (even when we think we are being logical), and gives you practical techniques for slower, smarter thinking. It will enable to you make better decisions at work, at home, and in everything you do.

Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Thinking, Fast and Slow will transform the way you think about thinking.





Elizabeth (Alaska) Nigeyb wrote: "Coincidentally I am currently reading a book by a Nobel Prize winning author, albeit not a 20th century winner, and one that many of you will have come across...

"


And not a winner of the Literature Prize.


message 45: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9642 comments Mod
Correct Elizabeth


He won it for his work in Economic Sciences

But, nonetheless, he's still a Nobel Prize winning author having published six books

In 2011, he was named by Foreign Policy magazine in its list of top global thinkers. In the same year, the book I am reading, Thinking, Fast and Slow, was published. It summarises much of his research and became a best seller.

Has anyone read it?

I am engrossed. It's fascinating.


message 46: by Val (new)

Val | 1710 comments It has been recommended a few times, but the 'blurb' examples tended to put me off it.
Why is there more chance we'll believe something if it's in a bold type face? I'm not.
Why are judges more likely to deny parole before lunch? Rephrase that as judges are more likely to grant parole after lunch and it simply depends on how good the lunch is.
Why do we assume a good-looking person will be more competent? I don't.
That makes it seem rather less insightful than it claims.


message 47: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9642 comments Mod
I know what you mean Val. I'm only about a quarter of the way through but one of the things it has convinced me about is that we are hardwired to be overconfident in a lot of scenarios.

Like you, I would have made similar assertions, and made similar points. The research in the book is giving me serious pause for thought. It's a painstaking look at how our brains work, and why, all backed up by indepth studies.

The blurb examples are a bit misleading. Whilst all those items are in the book it suggests it might be a bit glib which is certainly not my experience so far.


message 48: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Jul 31, 2020 08:47AM) (new)

Elizabeth (Alaska) Val wrote: "Why is there more chance we'll believe something if it's in a bold type face? I'm not."

Neither am I. In fact, when they bold face it, to me that means it is less likely to be true, that they don't even completely believe it and are just trying to sell me something.


message 49: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Jul 31, 2020 08:57AM) (new)

Elizabeth (Alaska) Nigeyb wrote: "But, nonetheless, he's still a Nobel Prize winning author having published six books"

I didn't think the Prizes in other disciplines had to do with being an author, which was my point. Yes, they might have published something for general audience, but the Prize is for more specific and work of "new" thinking, not routine.

EDIT: and it's interesting that his Prize was for Economics. Do you think this book has anything to do with economics? The description doesn't sound as if it does, but I have not read why he was awarded in Economics, so maybe the lines are blurred.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Ah, I see. It's behavioral economics. Not what I would think of as economics. Would most people think so? Anyway, his work is in the area of psychology. I suppose they do intersect.

I'm glad you're finding it interesting.


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