21st Century Literature discussion

Book Chat > Our Group: Nomination Assistance

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message 1: by William (new)

William Mego (willmego) The past couple of months I've noticed some books that are considered rising titans of literature that many/most of use haven't read yet aren't being nominated, while books published in the past few months are, and I'm wondering if it's that our nomination process doesn't engender a great deal of thinking about it. I'm guilty of this myself, having nominated a book written in the past 6 months, and voted for another written in the past 12. There's nothing WRONG with that, of course, but when I did so, I personally wasn't taking into consideration books a few years older which are thought of as amazingly strong books, and authors I've yet to try. Sometimes a wine doesn't show it's strength until at least a couple of years have past. So, towards that end, lets assemble a list!

I've created a list at http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/17...

and stuck three acclaimed books I haven't read personally in there, and a couple which keep getting mentioned that others have nominated. Vote on what I've put, and ADD more books to vote on! Perhaps this will really push some books forward. We could even do a poll one month just of the top several books if we like. Of course, it's a public list, so people might go adding some silly ones, can't help that, and if the list gets too messed up that way, I can't do much about it.

message 2: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 983 comments I think this was a great thing to do. I'm hesitant to nominate things because I'm not always sure things are good just because I think they're good.

message 3: by William (new)

William Mego (willmego) good! Well everybody on this group should feel more than welcome to add books and to vote on books already on there as well. At least before the YA vampire crowd somehow find the list and make the top 10 very different...

message 4: by Mikela (last edited Feb 24, 2012 11:24PM) (new)

Mikela I'm not sure that any list we could put together would reflect the most important books of the 21st century. I know that I'm certainly not qualified. I can only give my opinion on books I've read during that time period which I feel are worth reading or those that I wish to read. This is a good idea though.

message 5: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments I think this is a good idea, too. I've added a couple that I think are worth reading - and voted too. But this is only my opinion!)

message 6: by William (last edited Feb 25, 2012 01:40PM) (new)

William Mego (willmego) hey, you (meaning everybody) have as much right to your opinion as anybody. It's getting hard to get anything done because everybody is too shy to contribute sometimes. And regarding the list's ability to reflect important books...why not? We do the best we can, it will at least improve the quality of the books we're considering for reading, otherwise we might fall into the habit of nominating whatever is the hot new book published in the past 6 months. I culled my picks which I started the list with from Pulitzer and man booker prize lists, etc, so even those ivory tower dwellers still get to help out. But otherwise I get private messages which read like "omg, why did people nominate/vote for THAT when we could read ____" and maybe it's just because nobody thought about ____ to begin with.

So I have faith in OUR ability to select many and most of the most important books of the 21st century, it might just take a while.

message 7: by Mikela (last edited Mar 01, 2012 08:14PM) (new)

Mikela I just checked out the list that was posted and noticed something that I found a little off. There is a book on the list that I think was posted by a non-member who also appears to be the writer. If I'm wrong I sincerely apologize to the poster. Other than that there are some very good books that I'm adding to my TBR list. What a great idea you had.

message 8: by William (new)

William Mego (willmego) yeah, I'll check, but I was afraid of that. People are scum sometimes, and listopia doesn't let you control the list at all.

message 9: by Mikela (new)

Mikela This is perhaps one of the stupidest questions you will ever get, and there is no one more qualified than I am to ask it, but is it possible to get two bookshelves, one which can be dedicated to nominations and the other for group reads. Just asking.

message 10: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments That would be interesting. I suspect it would be possible, but like you I'm qualified (!)

message 11: by William (new)

William Mego (willmego) bookshelves for the group? Sure. That's a pretty good idea, actually. I'll make one called..um.."Nominated Books"? Somebody come up with something better and I'll be happy to rename it, can't think of anything better.

message 12: by William (new)

William Mego (willmego) And, I looked into it, the lady isn't a group member (at the time of my checking) and DID nominate her book as the GREATEST book of the 21st century. Also, it was published last week. Yeah. I think I'll speak to her about that.

message 13: by Mikela (new)

Mikela Wow, I'm impressed! You sure don't waste any time.

message 14: by William (new)

William Mego (willmego) Here is the message I wrote to her just now:
From: Will Mego
To: Lara Johnson

Subject: Your voting on our group's listopia.

Hi, clearly you're an author trying VERY hard to self-promote. I have no issue with that. However, you recently voted that you think YOUR book is the MOST IMPORTANT book of the 21st century in our groups list, a group I might add you aren't even a member of. Certainly there are no rules or mechanisms to prevent you from doing so, and certainly it's possible that your book is just that much better than the books your lonely vote caused your book to leap ahead of, books which were nominated for the Man Booker, Orange prize, PEN translation prize in the much lauded Murakami, or even Paul Harding's Pulitzer winner, "Tinkers". Certainly these are all possible.

However, considering I can also see you posted votes for your book essentially proclaiming yourself the best female author ever, as well as single votes for yourself as the greatest in an additional 58 lists, I somehow wonder whether your supreme statement of confidence is more an attempt at misguided self-promotion.

If you had wanted to JOIN our group, and make your case, provide somebody with a copy, or an excerpt, or to otherwise create some kind of event, I'm sure we would have been flattered, and considering the amazingly kind-hearted people in the group (I of course fail to include myself amongst the august ranks of the sweetly tempered) they would have been all too happy to make an effort on your behalf.

But clearly just messing with our list was less work. Clearly, it's within your rights to do that, and nobody can stop you. Just as it's clearly within mine to write terrible reviews and ratings for your book, as well as any future works, even though I haven't read a single word of it, it's clearly within my rights and powers to do so.

But I wouldn't, and I won't.

Just as I will never do anything such change your name as any goodreads librarian could, giving you humorous middle names, or a mustache on your picture.

I would consider it a violation of trust, and against the code I hold myself to, just as I don't even review or rate books by published authors I know personally, even knowing one my entire life, as I consider it a conflict of interest, even though nobody would care.

But I would care.

Maybe I'm sweeter than I thought.

I hope you re-think your promotion strategy, and perhaps in the future you'll work at making contact with readers, making a personal connection, and allowing US, the readers to help promote you. Many hands make light work.

message 15: by William (new)

William Mego (willmego) then as a P.S. message I sent: "P.S. If you find a mistake or anomaly with any details of your books or author record, please feel free to contact me or any GR librarian and we'll fix it ASAP. Also, rest assured that there is always a complete record of any changes, as well as who made them. "

message 16: by William (new)

William Mego (willmego) her reply:
from: 7399567 Lara Johnson
to: 7101513 Will Mego
subject: re: Your voting on our group's listopia.
message: Hi Will,

Thank you for your note. If I think that my book is worthy of adding it to the lists where I think it's suitable, am I not to do so?

Not to pick on Tinkers, but I've read it and honestly I liked my book better. Pulitzer or not. I'm sorry if you disagree.

If nobody else votes for my book, does it really matter if one lone person (me) added it to the list? I didn't realize that I was suppossed to join the lists in order to recommend a book.

Regarding all of your possibilites of things that you could do my page, etc., this appears to me to be a bit extreme.

I'd be happy to hear your additional thoughts.

Best regards,


message 17: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 983 comments Soup came out of my nose!

message 18: by Mikela (new)

Mikela Ouch but very telling. This may indeed be the next award winning book but half the battle with new readers is to get them to read the book, not to alienate readers before they crack it open or even lay out their money to do so. I may have given this book a try but I don't wish to support attitude. I apologize Will for putting you into this uncomfortable position although your message was truly well done.

message 19: by Thing Two (last edited Mar 02, 2012 10:52AM) (new)

Thing Two (thingtwo) Librarians can give authors mustaches? Coooooool!!!!

message 20: by William (new)

William Mego (willmego) This was my final reply to her, I won't be continuing any debate:
As I noted in several ways, you clearly CAN do those things.
As I noted as well, just because you can doesn't mean you SHOULD.

As I said in my example, I would never rate your book poorly (or at all) because I haven't read it, nor would I mess with your GR records. Just because there aren't rules against it doesn't mean it's a terribly nice thing to do. You voted for yourself, and yourself alone on 59 different lists, not even bothering to suggest that there are any other books or authors who even come in 2nd to you.

On another list, this places you above Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, and Margret Atwood.

Ok, so you think you're better than all these people, Paul Harding, Murakami, etc. Good for you. But clearly, your only motivation was to vote for yourself on every list you felt you could. It's like digital littering.

As I said, you're free to do whatever you like, I won't stop you, but I'd be lying if I didn't also say that your attitude doesn't sort of sum up a lot of what I and a lot of other people find so unpleasant today. I would never fight that fire with fire. But I won't fail to point out my distaste for the behavior.

So brava, continue doing whatever you care to do within the letter (if so clearly not the spirit) of the rules. I won't darken your digital doorstep again, nor reply to any future pointless self-aggrandizement.

After all, You embody much of the spirit of your times. And isn't that what an author is supposed to do?

message 21: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments That was an excellent message you sent, Will. I'm not sure where Lara is coming from. I've met other authors who self promote, but not like this. The bare-faced lack of humility is staggering…

message 22: by Thing Two (new)

Thing Two (thingtwo) Of course, now we'll all have to read it just to see if it's worth the many lists ...

message 23: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments And to think I may have done...

message 24: by Thing Two (new)

Thing Two (thingtwo) I've got so many books on my list already, but the time I actually reach hers it'll probably be out of print. Kind of a blessing in disguise, this list-making-habit of mine.

message 25: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments

message 26: by Mikela (new)

Mikela I'm with KJ, feel free to draw a mustache on my avatar and rid yourself of some of the negative vibes that came your way. Hey, I might look good with one.

message 27: by William (new)

William Mego (willmego) Thanks for the words of support, that goes a ways towards settling my stomach, which is now a bit unsettled.

I agree that authors alienating readers sort of goes counter to the idea...but I'm related to one with whom I argue should behave entirely differently, but authors are also a thorny and stubborn lot.

And yes, I don't review or rate books written by personal friends or relatives, no matter if I'm the only one who would care. It's my code, not anybody elses.

KJ: yes, librarians can do almost anything to an author record or book record. Fortunately there are some controls to at least make sure they can't get away with it. I've heard of rogue librarians (omg, that must be the only time I'll EVER get to write "Rogue Librarians") but EVERY GR librarian I've been in contact with is a pretty sterling example of a book lover. Almost gives one faith in humanity (until you encounter some people, that is). But even if this lady did awful things to me somehow, were she to find something wrong with her records, and required fixing, I'd still fix it to the best of my ability, that's just how it works.

My thoughts today are fairly dark, as I've had almost no sleep, so I had some wonderful lines I edited out of my emails to her, my personal favorite

****warning, tasteless! I wouldn't never send this to somebody! It's in poor taste, and please forgive me for mentioning it!*****

which I did NOT send her was:
"Having seen that you're now a higher rated author than she, Virginia Woolf came back to life just to kill herself again in order to not live in such a world."

..I'd be lying if I didn't make me giggle a little like a guilty schoolboy though.

message 28: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments But, oh so what this lady needed to hear!!!!

message 29: by Thing Two (last edited Mar 02, 2012 11:03AM) (new)

Thing Two (thingtwo) Tell me what you're looking for from these votes. I voted for highly ranked books which I have not yet read assuming you are looking for future monthly suggestions, but I see some people are voting for books they've already read.

Off to practice drawing mustaches ...

message 30: by William (new)

William Mego (willmego) @KJ: either one. I voted as you did, but if a book I already have read I thought would suit the group, I'd love for people to read it and discover the same wealth I had enjoyed. It's really just a way to remind ourselves of books we might otherwise overlook. You could even vote books the group has already read!

Also, I made the nominated books shelf, but I currently lack the energy to populate it with allllll the books nominated in the past 3 months right now, so I just stuck The Master in it for now (damn, just occured to me, should have done Blankets instead!) but I will add them as we go.

message 31: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 983 comments I soooo want to write to her and ask, if it's not the most important book of the 21st Century how long will it take to get my money back?

message 32: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 983 comments I'm sorry that your exchange with this person left you feeling out of sorts. I can relate to that. I thought you were classy and and stern in your brilliant response to her inappropriate behavior.

I even read part of the exchange to my boss (who came out of his office to see why I was choking on my lunch.) He told me this story about when he lived in Russia:
There was a writer on news (when the news came on, it came on on both channels, so you could watch the news or turn off your TV.) A writer was being interviewed. Apparently, he was being promoted because he distinguished himself by being from so far north that there was nothing but reindeer, snow, and this author.
A reporter asked him what his favorite book was. And the man said, "No. You misunderstand. I'm a writer not a reader."

Then he went back in his office, leaving me to enjoy my soup and your message.

message 33: by Mikela (new)

Mikela That was hilarious Deborah and it made my day. I hesitate to make any other observations or suggestions as poor Will always seems to bear the brunt of them, but I did come up with an idea, one that hopefully will make life easier and not more difficult. Is it possible that the group reads bookshelf require a moderator to add to, but the nomination bookshelf could be added to by any member. This might make life a little easier for our moderators. My feelings will not be hurt if you veto this suggestion as long as I'm not deleted from the group and sent packing with my books (in which case I would have to take it personally). Please remember that I don't know how the website really works and whether or not this is feasible or even desired. Or, we could just leave the list up and see what other books are added. That's it for my 2 cents worth...now I'll behave and go finish my book.

message 34: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments The idea of a moderator sounds quite sensible. But as we're not a closed group I wonder what the implications are. Ergo what - if any - message we may be conveying if we impose ‘controls.

message 35: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 983 comments Mikela, it was a good catch. I'm sad that Will had to deal with this, but I think it's excellent that someone did deal with it, and that it was dealt with so well. But I don't think anyone except Lara (is that her name?) has anything to apologize for.

As for behaving, if I was tasked with better behavior than you've exhibited, I think I'd need a prescription for Thorazine.

message 36: by William (new)

William Mego (willmego) First off, nobody has anything to feel bad about, it was a good catch, and I knew going in that at some point, despite my overlabeling the listopia that some outsider would start sticking books of shall we say less virtue than we'd care for...I was just expecting an 11-year old girl nominating every YA vampire book known to man, not a clueless author slapping their book on every list they could find.

Also, I had a touch of food poisoning yesterday, as it turned out, not just literary angst. I'm fine now, and anyway, I've been moderating various online and RL groups for a very long time, none of this was a big deal. In fact, the level of supportive comments warmed my cold little heart.

As for the bookshelves, I'm completely confuzzled. Are we talking about:
#1: The discussion thread in this group nominating books for April?

#2: The listopia of such recent Ms. Lara Drama? (I hereby rename the "Dramallama" to "Larallamadrama" and if you dont' get that, it's ok, it's stupid anyway)

#3: The bookshelves for the group, in this case the to-read and nomination shelves?

If #1, anybody can already add to it, if #2, once you make a listopia, nobody can control, stop, modify, or otherwise effect it (GR needs to change that, IMO) and if #3, I'm not sure how to do that, I think it might have to be set so either anybody can add to ANY shelf, or nobody can except moderators. Again, GR could build a little more flexibility there. I'll investigate #3 some more, I've got my "Classical Self-Education" group I own I can experiment with the settings on.

Also, in case it wasn't clear, the listopia is just to both remind ourselves of what books we might individually forget about, as well as find some opinions from others on the relative importance of said books. It's not a poll, or in anyway binding for any group activity.

message 37: by William (new)

William Mego (willmego) I managed to figure out how to remove the aforementioned book from our list, so it's back on track. I encourage everybody to vote for existing books, and add new books you feel are important books for the 21st century, either in your opinion, or because they win awards or show up on a lot of lists.

message 38: by Mikela (new)

Mikela That's fantastic!!

message 39: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Roberts | 1324 comments Yahoo!!! Well done.

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