What emerged when we talked about the book club earlier this month was a split between those who want to use the book club to motivate them to read a hard book (as we did with Moby-Dick) and those who want to use the book club to motivate them to read a popular/zeitgeist-y book (as we did with Twilight). There are lots of ways to go, so I'm going to offer you five choices, and we'll see where we wind up. (Please, seriously — even if you get around the arrangement and discover you can vote more than once, don't do it. Stuffing the ballot box in this particular context would not be anything to be proud of.)
Here are your choices.
Jaimy Gordon, Lord Of Misrule. This is a late addition, because it won the National Book Award for fiction last night, and it was a serious dark horse. Our own Rachel Syme describes it as a "weird, magical tale about a dusty West Virginia town and its downtrodden racetrack [that] follows the lives of jockeys, loan sharks, metal smiths and other outcasts over the course of a year and four horse races."
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit. Hey, you know what this is. Want to read it? Want to read it again? Then this is the one that should get your vote. As you know if you listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour, I stopped at the dwarf tea-party on my first attempt and then the copy of the book I was reading got pinched, but I will absolutely make another try.
James Joyce, Ulysses. You're supposed to, but maybe you haven't. Or else you have, but you want to do so socially.
Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code. Vastly popular! Has a dodgy reputation! Sparkly vampires! No, wait, that was the other one!
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love In The Time Of Cholera. I am convinced this may be the book owned and not read by the largest number of people, after A Brief History Of Time.
A graphic novel chosen in consultation with NPR comics guru Glen Weldon. We didn't really settle on a specific proposal, but some folks were definitely into it. Very different from some of the other suggestions, and something that lots of folks have genuinely never tried before. Don't worry; we're going to give you enough time to track it down if you're not used to finding these for yourself.
So here's your poll. I know we didn't take every suggestion, and please remember that if you don't get your way this time, you might get your way next time — for instance, if there's strong interest in more than one, we'll try to file that away for future rounds.