Houston Montrose Great Books
a Non-Profit Educational Organization
Houston Montrose Great Books - book candidates - ballot for December 6, 2012
Anyone attending will each have 6 votes to choose from this list. Voters can use all 6 of their votes on one title or one vote on each one of six titles or some combination as long as the voter doesn't use more than 6 votes. Note: no more than one book in "Long Book" category can win.
Suggested by Alice
- THE DESTRUCTORS (short story) by Graham Greene (publ 1954) 10 pages
Available online HERE
Despite its setting in post-World War II England, the story is universal in its reflection of human nature...includes many hallmarks of the author, most importantly that of placing people who have the capacity for good and evil in situations where they must make a choice between the two.
- NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishuguru [pub 2012] 288 pages
Book was shortlisted for Booker Prize. The Times ranked Ishiguro 32nd on their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945."
Story is dystopian science fiction. All children should believe they are special. But the students of Hailsham, an elite school in the English countryside, are so special that visitors shun them, Book covers a controversial topic.
Suggested by Nicole
- BELOVED by Toni Morrison - [publ 1987] 352 pages
Author is winner of Nobel Prize in literature in 1993. Pulitzer Prize winner in 1988 for BELOVED which was also selected as single best work of American fiction in past 25 years as determined by a New York Times poll of 200 prominent writers, critics and editors.
Book examines both the mental and physical trauma caused by brutal effects of slavery. Sethe struggles to survive in the aftermath of slavery, haunted by her dead daughter. The author has said "Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another."
- CLOUD ATLAS by David Mitchell [pub 2012] 528 pages
Author won British Book Award and short listed for Booker Prize.
Story is made up of half-a-dozen disparate but artfully interwoven narratives that propel the reader forwards through time and genre, from the distant nineteenth to the not-so-far-off twenty-second century, from giddy picaresque to cool thriller to chilling sci-fi.
[LONG BOOK CATEGORY]
Suggested by Charles
- SATURDAY by Ian McEwan [pub 2006] 304 pages
James Tait Black Memorial Prize winner in 2005. Author has been nominated for the Man Booker prize six times to date, winning the Prize for Amsterdam in 1998.
The Times featured the author on their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
Story is set in London during a large demonstration against the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The reader follows Perowne, a London neurosurgeon, mainly via an interior monologue, through his day which is disrupted by an encounter with a violent, troubled man.
Suggested by David
- THE FINKLER QUESTION by Howard Jacobson (publ 2010) 320 pages
Man Booker Prize winner in 2010
A riotous morass of jokes and worries about Jewish identity, though it is by no means too myopic to be enjoyed by the wider world. It helps that the author's comic sensibility suggests humor of Woody Allen, that his powers of cultural observation are so keen, and that influences as surprising as Lewis Carroll shape this book.
- THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner (publ 1929) 350 pages
Notoriously "difficult," this novel is actually one of Faulkner's more accessible works once you get past the abrupt, unannounced time shifts--and certainly the most powerful emotionally according to one Amazon review.
This story of the fall of the Compson family, an aristocratic Southern family, mirrors the fall of the Old South after the Civil War.
[LONG BOOK CATEGORY]
Suggested by Will
- A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA by Richard Hughes (publ 1929) 279 pages
Included as number 71 in the Modern Library's 100 Best English-language novels of the 20th century.
Story is a reckoning with the secret reasons and otherworldly realities of childhood. Action begins among the decayed plantation houses of late nineteenth-century Jamaica, before moving out onto the high seas, as Hughes tells the story of a group of children thrown upon the mercy of a crew of down-at-the-heel pirates
- THE TRIAL by Franz Kafka (publ 1925) 300 pages
(Breon Mitchell translation recommended and available HERE on Amazon)
The terrifying tale of Josef K., a respectable bank officer who is suddenly and inexplicably arrested and must defend himself against a charge about which he can get no information. Whether read as an existential tale, a parable, or a prophecy of the excesses of modern bureaucracy wedded to the madness of totalitarianism, Kafka's nightmare has resonated with chilling truth for generations of readers.