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Book Club: 1969 Book Club: Poll Update

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Photo: Bill Eppridge | Getty Images

Graham Greene leads the nominations. Margaret Atwood is running close.

With almost 150 votes cast, the line-up for the 1969 Book Club is shaping up to be a perfect gender balance with books by men, and five books by women. Iconic 1969 novels, Portnoy’s Complaint, Slaughterhouse Five, and The Left-Hand of Darkness are all polling well, as is Maya Angelou’s vivid memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Rounding out the list is Daphne DuMaurier’s gothic time-traveling novel, The House on the Strand, just pushing out John Cheever’s Bullet Park. It’s not too late to vote – the poll can be found here, but here’s the current state of play.

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Book Club: The 1969 Book Club is Here

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Vote for ten books you want to read (or reread) from the year of Woodstock, Stonewall and Nixon’s inauguration – and join us on a literary journey.

1969 Book Club
Man on the Moon: 1969 was a momentous year.

 

One Grand Books is launching its first book club, and we’re inviting you to join us—whether local or long-distance readers. In the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, Stonewall, and Neil Armstrong’s “small step for mankind,”  the 1969 Book Club will look at novels published in that momentous year – which began with the inauguration of Richard Nixon. What, if anything, do they reveal about the concerns of the age, and how do they speak to us today? In literary terms, it was an extraordinary year, with groundbreaking novels by Philip Roth, Ursula LeGuin, and Kurt Vonnegut, as well as some enduring bestsellers, among them Mario Puzzo’s The Godfather and Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain. It was also a year in which second wave feminism made its influence clear in novels by Margaret Atwood and Iris Murdoch, among others, and when the singular talent of Maya Angelou was announced with the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. What’s more, all of these titles have all had five decades to demonstrate their longevity and worth.

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Commentary: Talking to the Yellow Vests

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The acclaimed writer Abdella Taïa on the protests gripping France.

Yellow Vests Paris

We are in an emergency, that’s for certain. France is on edge at present, on fire. France is angry. Very angry. And nobody can say that this anger emanating from the lower middle class is unjustified. No. There is consensus on that, on its legitimacy. People really have had enough of paying even more tax, and of seeing their lives being reduced day after day. Opposing desires – the desire for purchasing power and the desire to regain one’s dignity.

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Cookbooks: Five Favorite Cookbooks That Make Perfect Holiday Gifts

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The Noma Guide to Fermentation

The Holidays are here, and what better time than now to crack open a new cookbook and learn some new tricks for the dinner table.

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Feature: Happy Holidays! Ten Great Reads About Dysfunctional Families

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Dysfunctional Families: A Primer

Dysfunctional Families: A Primer

Televisions and movies would have us believe that the time from late November to the new year is a run on love, togetherness, and eggnog sipped in front of an open fire, but real-life seldom plays out so nicely.  There are a multitude of reasons to dread the holidays, but whom amongst us hasn’t inwardly groaned about the family visit? Between the awkward conversations around the dinner table, or the long played out family feud, the holidays can invoke dread in the best of us.

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Conversations: One Grand Books Celebrates a Chicago pop-up with COS

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There are people who choose to take Jane Eyre or Great Expectations to their desert island, and then there are people who choose Machine Art, a 1933 catalog for an exhibition at New York’s MoMA featuring stark photographs of household and industrial objects. Toasters vs. Edward Rochester.

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Feature: Charles Dickens: Pop Star

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Dickens circa. 1960s

This Sunday marks the 152nd anniversary of Charles Dickens first visit to the United State, to read before a packed audience at Boston’s Tremont Temple. In a gushing story at the time, the New York Times reported that the hall was filled “by perhaps one of the most appreciative, fashionable, and brilliant audiences ever assembled in New England.” These days that kind of language is largely reserved for the peacock parade that is the annual Met Ball, or the Oscars red carpet. Try to imagine such a dandy crowd taking even a moment out of their self-absorption to listen, as they did in the Tremont Temple, to a recital of The Pickwick Papers (unless that person was Hugh Dancy, who chose the book for his bookshelf). Yet in 1867, such was the fervor for Dickens that police were drafted in to prevent, as the Times put it, “any confusion or disturbance attendant upon the grand rush into the hall.” Within three years the writer would be dead from a stroke, at the age of 58, brought on it was suggested, by an emotional reading he’d given of the death of Nancy in his novel, Oliver Twist. Even if apocryphal, it’s a fitting finale for one of the most enduring of all writers.

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Feature: Recalling Bernardo Bertolucci’s 2003 masterpiece, The Dreamers

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Scene from The Dreamers

By R. Kurt Osenlund

Roger Ebert called Bernardo Bertolucci one of the great painters of the screen. It’s a distinction the director—who has succumbed to cancer at 77—proved many times over, from his sprawling Oscar favorite The Last Emperor (1987) to the lush and undervalued Stealing Beauty (1996). In The Dreamers (2003), an audacious big screen adaptation of the novel by film critic Gilbert Adair, Bertolucci unleashes his painterly instincts right out of the gate with the graphic design of his opening credits. Scored to a guitar-rock soundtrack, the sequence sees the camera descend the Eiffel Tower, with arbitrary, architectural color blocking a la Mondrian. The names of cast and crew are alternately obscured and revealed amid the tower’s bolted beams, and the emergence of the title itself points to a definite ’60s Mod influence—the font suggesting it leapt from a Euro band’s vinyl album cover.

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Feature: Everyone’s Kind of Stupid About Love

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An exclusive excerpt from Mya Spalter’s new book, Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession.

EVERYONE’S KIND OF STUPID ABOUT LOVE, OR ATTRACTION MAGIC

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

—Rumi

Can you believe I just quoted Rumi? What nerve! Who am I, Oprah? What is this, yoga? I’ve finally gone too far. But just because I had the chutzpah to bust out the ancient Persian mystic poetry doesn’t mean you don’t have to reckon with the realness of my Rumi quote, because that’s what the love chapter of this book is all about. If you’re here for the secret to getting cute Jane or hot Johnny to be obsessed with you, you’re probably not going to like what I have to say: your idea is a bad idea, and your plan is a bad plan. It’s an eminently doable sort of magic but also some of the most fuck-up-able. I’ll outline some better ideas and plans so that you can get what you actually want, which, it turns out, is not just more attention from the person who chooses not to spend their attention on you. This is a hard truth that a lot of us end up banging our heads against again and again, like a locker door in a 1980s rom-com, but that’s okay. We’re all burdened with juvenile-flavored fantasy when it comes to love and romance; there have been a lot of movies, you guys! So much bullshit messaging coming through and gumming up the works.

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Shop: Get Your Plaid On

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We have collaborated with JCRT (Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra) to create a series of limited plaid shirts that reflect the jacket designs of five books curated for One Grand including Trevor Noah (The Little Prince), Michael Stipe (Just Kids), Tilda Swinton (Modern Nature), Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Great Gatsby) and James Franco (Blood Meridian). $90 (each shirt comes with a book and a $20 to Books Abroad, which promotes literacy, education and understanding).

Click below to purchase.

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