1book140's January Read: The Luminaries

Join our Twitter book club to read Eleanor Catton's astrological murder mystery.
Little, Brown, and Company

Eleanor Catton calls her Man Booker Prize-winning novel an "astrological dance" within a "straightforward murder mystery." Full of blackmail, séances, shipwrecks, and smuggled treasure, set in an 1860s New Zealand gold rush, The Luminaries has befuddled some critics for its opacity and delighted others for its page-turning cliffhangers. Chris Bohjalian puts it best in the Washington Post, calling it "a finely wrought fun house of a novel."

Join us this month to find out for yourself and share your impressions with us on Twitter at @1book140.

The Luminaries is a technically brilliant story hoarded with mystical significances. I love the hand-lettered zodiacs that illustrate each chapter and made an anigif to combine them all:


Little, Brown, and Company

After receiving the Man Booker Prize, Catton has done a series of fascinating interviews. I especially like this wonderful conversation with Catton in Lumiére that cuts past the obvious questions. In an interview with Charlotte Higgins at The Guardian, Catton spoke about sexism faced by women novelists in their 20s. Here at The AtlanticJake Flanagin looked at the history of the Booker Prize and asks if The Luminaries will be the last hidden-gem winner

Catton can be found on Twitter at @eleanorcatton. I enjoyed her recent article on elitism in the vocabulary of novels. And you've gotta love this tweet:

Join the Conversation at #1book140

Share favorite quotes, share links, ask questions, and read along at @1book140, our Twitter book club. We're just finishing up The Spy Who Came In from The Cold by John Le Carré, and some of us are still completing the last few chapters of In The First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Our hashtag#1book140 is also a great place to share about what else you're reading.
It's easy to join the conversation. Find a copy of The Luminaries, follow us at @1book140, and tweet to join the conversation so we know that you're reading along. To avoid spoilers, we spread the conversation across one hashtag per week. Click on each hashtag to see the conversation at that point in the book.
  • Week One: up to Sun in Capricorn, using #1b140_1 as a hashtag for your tweets
  • Week Two: up to Sun in Aquarius, using #1b140_2
  • Week Three: up to Paenga-wha-wha, using #1b140_3
  • Week Four: through the end of the book, using #1b140_4
Presented by

J. Nathan Matias develops technologies for civic participation, media analytics, and creative learning at the MIT Media Lab and Center for Civic Media. He also helps run @1book140, The Atlantic's Twitter book club.

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