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Vote for June 2014


  • Nick Harkaway: Angelmaker

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Lindsey Davis: Shadows in Bronze

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Ellis Peter: A Morbid Taste for Bronze

    Votes: 1 16.7%
  • Rosamund Lupton: Sister

    Votes: 1 16.7%
  • Vladimir Nabokov: The Real Life of Sebastian Knight

    Votes: 3 50.0%
  • Paco Ignacio Taibo II: The Shadow of the Shadow

    Votes: 1 16.7%
  • Henning Mankell: The Return of the Dancing Master

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .
Not open for further replies.

Polly Parrot

Staff member
Sorry about the delay in getting the poll up.

Poll will be open for seven days.

Nick Harkaway: Angelmaker
Angelmaker flits between old-fashioned villains in London's East End and covert action in 1940s south Asia, arranging its whistlestop plot around the modern-day discovery of a weapon of mass destruction in the unlikely form of a skepful of clockwork bees. It's an ambitious, crowded, restless caper, cleverly told and utterly immune to précis.

The novel's rather disheveled hero is Joshua Joseph Spork, son and reluctant heir of the late Matthew Spork, formerly the dandified king of the London underworld. In search of a quieter life, Joe has left his father's gangster circles behind to take up his grandfather's trade, crafting and repairing clocks and automata in a dilapidated warehouse on the Thames. Now, though, Joe has run into the usual dissatisfactions of a single Londoner in his mid-30s, and––through a mixture of genetic predisposition and sheer bad luck––has unwittingly entangled himself in the quest for an apian super-weapon.

Lindsey Davis: Shadows in Bronze
The story begins in Rome during late spring, AD 71. Marcus Didius falco and a group of the Praetorian Guard under the captaincy of Julius Frontinus are disposing of a decomposing corpse. Secrecy is paramount decause he was the victim of a discreet execution, having been guilty of treason against the Emperor.

Ellis Peter: A Morbid Taste for Bones
The monks of Shrewsbury Abbey seek the relics of a saint for their chapel, in Wales. The locals object to this translation of the relics, and a local leader is found murdered. Brother Cadfael is challenged to bring right endings to all parties, in Wales and in the Abbey.

Rosamund Lupton: Sister
Summary from back of the book:
"When Beatrice gets a frantic call in the middle of Sunday lunch to say that her younger sister Tess is missing, she boards the first flight home to London. but as she learns about the circumstances surrounding Tess's disappearance, she is stunned to discover how little she actually knows of her sister's life - and unprepared for the terrifying truths she must now face.

The police, Beatrice's fiancé and even their mother accept that they have lost Tess, but Beatrice refuses to give upon her. So she embarks on a dangerous journey to discover the truth, no matter the cost."

Quote from Daily Mail:
"Written with the power and panache of a young Daphne du Maurier, it's devastatingly good, and announces the arrival of a truly original talent."

Vladimir Nabokov: The Real Life of Sebastian Knight
"Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically." -- John Updike

"The Real Life of Sebastian Knight is a perversely magical literary detective story -- subtle, intricate, leading to a tantalizing climax -- about the mysterious life of a famous writer. Many people knew things about Sebastian Knight as a distinguished novelist, but probably fewer than a dozen knew of the two love affairs that so profoundly influenced his career, the second one in such a disastrous way. After Knight's death, his half brother sets out to penetrate the enigma of his life, starting with a few scanty clues in the novelist's private papers. His search proves to be a story as intriguing as any of his subject's own novels, as baffling, and, in the end, as uniquely rewarding." - Amazon

Paco Ignacio Taibo II: The Shadow of the Shadow
This is a terrific book. It is a very different mystery set in Mexico in 1922, during the Obregon regime, after ten years of chaos and revolution.

The protagonists are four friends who meet nightly at a bar in the Majestic Hotel in Mexico City to play dominoes. At the outset, two of the friends are separately witnesses to murders.

The first witness was the poet, Fermin Valencia, who was "just over thirty and just under five feet tall", and who rode as a cavalryman with General Villa in the charge at Zacatecas. He was idly watching a free concert given by a military band in a park, when a man climbed up from the back onto the bandstand, put a pistol to the temple of the trombonist, fired, then escaped.

The second witness was Pioquinto Manterola, ace crime reporter for the daily newspaper, El Democrata. He looked down from a third floor office window of the paper and saw a beautiful woman getting out of a car. He eye-balled her as she crossed the street. Not long after, he was startled when a window shattered on the third floor of the building directly across the street, and a screaming man plummeted to the sidewalk. Manterola was perhaps even more startled to see the woman he had been admiring looking at him out of the broken window.

After that, bad things started happening to the friends. The "shadow of the shadow" is the description the poet gave of the friends as they began to track the unknown forces attacking them.

This book is more than a mystery. It is also a meditation on the hijacking of the Mexican revolution, governmental corruption, oil politics, and international intrigue, all fueled by good old-fashioned greed.

Taibo has supplied a several page end note which differentiates between the fictional and historical characters and events, and recounts the changes since 1922: the loss of El Democrata and some of the restaurants and dives patronized by the friends, the nationalization of the Mexican oil fields, etc.
At the end he summarized:

"Times pass and things change. The authoritarianism of the Obregon regime at the start of Mexico’s stolen revolution gradually turned itself into the shamelessness and corrupt arrogance of the PRI, the political party that controls the country to this day (1990).
"Fortunately, dominoes continues to be the great national pastime, and somehow, miraculously, it has yet to fall into the claws of the mass media."

Henning Mankell: The Return of the Dancing Master
When retired policeman Herbert Molin is found brutally slaughtered on his remote farm in the northern forests of Sweden, police find strange tracks in the snow as if someone had been practicing the tango. Stefan Lindman, a young police officer recently diagnosed with mouth cancer, decides to investigate the murder of his former colleague, but is soon enmeshed in a mystifying case with no witnesses and no apparent motives. Terrified of the disease that could take his life, Lindman becomes more and more reckless as he unearths the chilling links between Molin’s death and an underground neo-Nazi network that runs further and deeper than he could ever have imagined.

Conscious Bob

Well-Known Member
Looking at the voting here it appears that three people voted for Vladimir Nabakov's 'The Real Life of Sebastian Knight' yet when I look at the relevant discussion thread there isn't any discussion.

If you vote for a book to be discussed in future and your choice is successful, why don't you try (and this is only a suggestion) participating.

If you don't want to participate, don't vote, simple.


Well-Known Member
Looking at the voting here it appears that three people voted for Vladimir Nabakov's 'The Real Life of Sebastian Knight' yet when I look at the relevant discussion thread there isn't any discussion.

If you vote for a book to be discussed in future and your choice is successful, why don't you try (and this is only a suggestion) participating.

If you don't want to participate, don't vote, simple.

6 votes total............wow

Might want to shelve the summer BOTM and try again with a classic novel in August. More people at home during that time and a book that most members have at least heard of wouldn't hurt.


Well-Known Member
They're still votes, there's no argument for non-participation after voting on the basis of not obtaining a critical mass.

Looks like you are correct in regards to voting versus actual participation. Both March and January defied voting predictions.

May 2014- 8 votes, 4 actual participants
Votes- http://www.bookandreader.com/threads/may-2014-vote.26735/
participation- http://www.bookandreader.com/threads/may-2014-edmund-cooper-all-fools-day.26794/

April 2014-, 8 votes 2 actual participants
Participation- http://www.bookandreader.com/thread...lvino-if-on-a-winters-night-a-traveler.26700/

March 2014- 0 votes due to moderator selection, 6 participants

February 2014-6 votes, votes, 5 participants

January 2014-2 votes, 7 participants
Participation- http://www.bookandreader.com/threads/january-2014-fahrenheit-451-ray-bradbury.26433/page-2

Polly Parrot

Staff member
BOTM is there for those who want to join, it is not an obligation. Please try and contribute to the threads in a meaningful manner rather than commenting on participation levels or lack thereof.

Any feedback on how things are run can be directed to forum staff via PM.
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