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Common reads > Group Read or reads for March, 2009?

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message 1: by Steven (new)

Steven Harbin (stevenharbin) | 86 comments Mod
Any suggestions for a group read for March, 2009? A novel or short story collection or anthology or a series character focus or the work of a particular author?


message 2: by Jim, Co-moderator (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 234 comments Mod
We're doing mystery/detective/thriller now. How about a different genre? Maybe we could vote on genre & then pick some books in that genre to vote on.

Here's some suggestions for others to expand upon. I doubt some will pass muster because of unavailability of their books.

Humor - Howard's Dennis Dorrigan or Breckenridge Elkins

Sword & Sorcery - Howard's Conan, Wagner's Kane, Fox's Kothar

SF - Smith's Lensmen




message 3: by Jim, Co-moderator (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 234 comments Mod
Lovecraftian horror short stories would work, wouldn't they?

Henrik S. Harksen's new anthology Eldritch Horrors Dark Tales is now available. It's a little pricey, but worth it. I'm maybe halfway through, just started the story that he wrote. Excellent read, so far.


message 4: by Werner (new)

Werner Jim, that collection is one I've thought would be a good read ever since I heard of it! Because it's so new, though, we'd run into the same problem I mentioned with a common read suggestion in another group: members who'd depend on interlibrary loan (as most probably would!) wouldn't be able to get it, since most libraries won't lend their really new books to other libraries. That policy is a pain (I'm glad the library where I work doesn't have it!) which makes it hard to choose new books as common reads, but it has to be reckoned with. That's just a thought!

I think of the Lovecraftian tradition as SF, but many readers would classify it as supernatural; I'd be up for a read in either genre. If we want to go with a short fiction anthology of Lovecraftian tales, what about The Best of H. P. Lovecraft or The Transition of H. P. Lovecraft, by the master himself?


message 5: by Jim, Co-moderator (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 234 comments Mod
One horror novel a quarter is plenty for me. I haven't read a space opera or an old S&S story in ages. I was just thinking about Kothar the other day. It's been years since I read any of those books.


message 6: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 13, 2009 06:07AM) (new)

Not sure if He's Pulp, however I'm a Fan of Joe R. Lansdale. And as of Late, my reading taste is in a Time Warp.... Wm. Peter Blatty(The Exorcist) Robert A. Heinlein(The Puppet Masters, Starship Troopers) David Seltzer(The Omen) Ira Levin(The Stepford Wives, Sliver,The Boys From Brazil, Rosemary's Baby) And 1 of my favorite few, female writers' Shirley Jackson(The Haunting of Hill House, The Lottery)


message 7: by Werner (new)

Werner Jim, since like me you're in the Supernatural Fiction Reader's group (which does a 3x-a-year common read), I can see why you wouldn't want this group to pick many horror novels on top of those. (Lovecraft's horror was mostly in the short fiction format, though.)

I don't know if Lansdale's work would be pulp (I haven't read any of it). However, Heinlein was definitely a mainstay of the Golden Age of pulp SF!

Either space opera or swords and sorcery would be fine with me. But truth to tell, I should probably sit this common read out (unless we happen to pick something I've already read, like last time). One of my Goodreads friends wants my opinion of Stephen Lawhead's Dream Thief, and I promised her a few months ago that I'd try to push it to the top of my to-read pile. :-) And since I'm the one who proposed the last title we read, it would probably be fairest for me to let someone else propose the next one!


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Is there any mainstream pulp out there these days, where we can all get a copy?


message 9: by Adam (new)

Adam | 70 comments I second Werner's motion for some sword & sorcery pulp, since I think it would be a nice counterpoint to the hard-boiled noir we read last time. Like him, however, I may have to sit this group read out due to other commitments.

If I had my druthers, though, I would pick one of Karl Edward Wagner's Kane novels (or collections) from the '70s. I've read Robert E. Howard's Conan stories, but have been meaning to read one of Wagner's Kane novels for awhile now.


message 10: by Jim, Co-moderator (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 234 comments Mod
Always, we do try to make sure a group read is readily available.

I'd love to re-read Karl Edward Wagner's Kane stories, but they can be hard to find & expensive to buy. $15 for Bloodstone is one of the least expensive & most available on Amazon. Not sure if most libraries have it.

There lots of Robert E. Howard around, but we'll need to make sure of the edition we're reading. His works have been edited, co-written & repackaged so many times, it can be confusing. Instead of Conan (I've read them all many times), I'd be interested in reading Sowers of the Thunder or something else. I've never cared for Solomon Kane, but I like Bran Mak Morn & love his humorous stories. His boxing stories were good, too.

Robert A. Heinlein's short stories are very available & enjoyable. It's been a while since I read many of them. The Menace From Earth or The Green Hills of Earth are probably two of my favorites.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

I would second Karl Edward Wagner, I have most of his books (somewhere) but have not read them yet. As Jim said though, they are difficult to get hold of if you don't already have them!

I would like to read Sowers of Thunder, but would also suggest the Bran Mak Morn story Worms of the Earth by REH. It is generally regarded as one of REH's best non-Conan stories!


message 12: by Adam (new)

Adam | 70 comments I got my paperback copy of Karl E. Wagner's Darkness Weaves used online for less than $10. I remember there being a bunch of copies around that price. But it's true that the Kane novels aren't books you can just walk into your local chain bookstore and immediately locate.

Maybe there'll be a re-issue at some point and we could do a group read then...


message 13: by Jim, Co-moderator (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 234 comments Mod
Oh, PLEASE let there be a re-issue of Wagner's books! The prices they want for Kane omnibuses & some of his horror stories are just crazy!

I found Exorcisms and Ecstasies in a remnant store for about $5. It hadn't sold in the regular book store. I think there were a few copies. Wish I'd bought them all. Now it goes for close to $200.


message 14: by Tim (new)

Tim Byrd (timbyrd) | 48 comments Just a few ideas...

I'm good with a Kane book by Wagner, because I'm a fan, Karl was a friend, and I have the books. But they are tougher/more expensive to find.

In the sword & sorcery vein, I'd suggest Swords of Lankhmar, the one novel-length tale in Leiber's Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser canon, which is all sorts of smart fun.

In the swords and no sorcery vein, Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini springs to mind. Nobody swashbuckles like Sabatini swashbuckled.

For a segue from the P.I. genre to the more fantastical, we could do The Beasts of Valhalla by George C. Chesbro.

Tim
www.DocWilde.com, home of the Frogs of Doom


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Here's my last suggestion, since honestly, I've lived a sheltered reading life for many years... H.G. Wells.. B&N has recently come out w/ an H.G. Wells 7 complete novels in 1 binding.... The Sci-Fi novels are War of the Worlds (of course) The 1st Men in the Moon, The Invisible Man, In he Days of the Comet, The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau & The Food of the Gods. Even my Library has this book on the shelves.
Thank You for Your Time
:)


message 16: by Jim, Co-moderator (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 234 comments Mod
Did Philip José Farmer write any pulp. He just died. Might be nice to commemorate the author.

I could read an H.G. Wells novel. I've read "The Time Machine" & "War of the Worlds" more recently than any of the others, so I'm not particularly interested in those, though.

I'd be more interested in a Fritz Leiber book like The Swords of Lankhmar or Swords and ice magic, though. Which book had the intersection with Van Vogt's weapons shop? Anyway, two of my favorite heroes.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Actually, the more I think about it the more I think I would like to read The Swords of Lankhmar. I have never read any Leiber and I think I should correct that!


message 18: by Jim, Co-moderator (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 234 comments Mod
Steven, could we have a vote? Is there enough here for that?


message 19: by Steven (new)

Steven (stevenschend) | 8 comments I'm not sure I'll have the time to contribute much commentary, though I'll take along a book on a business trip next week and hope to scrape up time to read it.

I'll vote for Swords of Lankhmar, though I'll also throw out the idea of reading PJF's Doc Savage or Tarzan bios for some pulpish influence and a nod to a passing great.

Steven


message 20: by Steven (new)

Steven (stevenschend) | 8 comments Oh, one last thought--any interest in reading some of the Paizo PLANET STORIES reprints of older pulp stories? I'm hoping to snag a copy of Kuttner's The Dark World soon, but I'm also interested in finding a reason to work through REH's Almuric or Kline's Swordsman of Mars...


message 21: by Dan (new)

Dan (akagunslinger) I'd be down for some Planet Stories. Almuric seems to be one of the easier ones to find, although the Science Fiction Book Club has the C.L. Moore Northwest Smith one.


message 22: by Steven (new)

Steven (stevenschend) | 8 comments I've got the Northwest Smith book (and the Jirel book) as well, if folks'd rather read some Catherine Moore.


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

I am reading Northwest Smith at the moment, finding a bit of a struggle actually!



message 24: by Werner (new)

Werner If you all happen to pick either Jirel of Joiry or Northwest of Earth (I presume that's the Northwest Smith book you meant, Dan and Steven?), I'll join in the discussion. I've read the latter; and have wanted to read the former for a long time, so I guess my Goodreads friend won't skin me alive if I make her wait for my reaction to Dream Thief until I read that one! Yesterday, I finished the main book I was reading, so I'm ready to start another; but I'll hold off on starting one until we come to a decision. March is just about here, so we need to do that soon!

This kind of decision process benefits from the guiding hand of a moderator. Since ours, Steven H., has a lot on his plate right now, you recall that he asked recently if there were any volunteers to serve as a co-moderator. That question was posed in a message rather than a thread; but so that we can all get an idea of the responses, I thought it might be worthwhile to broach it here. (I'd be a terrible choice; I've got a lot of irons in the fire myself, and already moderate another group.) Would anyone else be interested?


message 25: by Jim, Co-moderator (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 234 comments Mod
I doubt I'd be a good choice to help moderate since I'm on dial-up over the weekends & have never moderated a group here, but if no one else volunteers, I'll give it a shot.


message 26: by Tim (new)

Tim Byrd (timbyrd) | 48 comments I'd step up to moderate, but realistically I'm just too swamped. Trying to promote my book, trying to write the next one, getting a divorce...ack.

Tim
www.DocWilde.com, home of the Frogs of Doom


message 27: by Steven (new)

Steven Harbin (stevenharbin) | 86 comments Mod
My life is going a little better right now, but I'm basically a believer that a group should be as democratic as possible, with more than one moderator if allowable. Basically anyone who is interested in being a co-moderator please let me know. If I've made you a co-moderator already, but you'd prefer that not be the case for the time being, please let me know that too, and I'll change your status.
Regardless, I really appreciate everyone in this group, especially those of you who find time to comment and send the occassional message, but as I say thanks to everyone of you who is a member! Little connections like this help one (well, me at least) cope with everyday life. :)


message 28: by Garrett Cook (new)

Garrett Cook | 11 comments Always wrote: "Not sure if He's Pulp, however I'm a Fan of Joe R. Lansdale. And as of Late, my reading taste is in a Time Warp.... Wm. Peter Blatty(The Exorcist) Robert A. Heinlein(The Puppet Masters, Starship Tr..."

Joe Lansdale has very firm pulp roots and brings them out without being phony or obnoxiously postmodern. I´d say if he can´t be classified as outright pulp, he´s as close as we can get from genuine contemporary fiction. There´s a lot of added grit and violence, but it kind of shows what pulp fiction would be like if it continued to have prominence and be a viable option for authors to this day.


message 29: by Steven (new)

Steven (stevenschend) | 8 comments Garrett wrote: "Always wrote: "Not sure if He's Pulp, however I'm a Fan of Joe R. Lansdale. And as of Late, my reading taste is in a Time Warp.... Wm. Peter Blatty(The Exorcist) Robert A. Heinlein(The Puppet Maste..."

Joe Lansdale edited a collection of pulp stories for Subterranean Press a few years back and I think he's due to do another one soon. Check out subterraneanpress.com for more info (and they're a great publisher, regardless).


message 30: by Steven (new)

Steven Harbin (stevenharbin) | 86 comments Mod
Any suggestions regarding how to finalize group read selections when we have a large number of books receiving votes, as is the case right now. At present one book has 4 votes out of 22 cast if the poll were to end right now. Should we have a type of "run-off" system whereby the the top 2 or 3 (or 4 whatever) vote getters duke it out for the main prize, so to speak? Or should we just let the top vote getter be the one chosen?
Also, should there be a cut-off limit on nominations per month or should we continue to allow as many as possible?
Any other suggestions or ideas ?



message 31: by Steven (new)

Steven Harbin (stevenharbin) | 86 comments Mod
David wrote: "I am reading Northwest Smith at the moment, finding a bit of a struggle actually!
"


You know, I hate to admit it, but I had the same problem when I tried to read the stories a few weeks back. I kept putting the book aside for other things. I have good memories of the stories but I think I kept wanting them to be more in the vein of Leigh Brackett's stories, and despite the similarities Moore is a very different writer. Having said that I'm planning on going back and trying to read the book again though.


message 32: by Steven (last edited Mar 05, 2009 11:12PM) (new)

Steven Harbin (stevenharbin) | 86 comments Mod
Dan wrote: "I'd be down for some Planet Stories. Almuric seems to be one of the easier ones to find, although the Science Fiction Book Club has the C.L. Moore Northwest Smith one."


The Planet Stories reprints are really great, I have several on my to be read shelf, and they basically cover my wish list for the next few months. I think these reprints are one of the best things to happen in a good while as regards making some of the older genre greats available. Right now I'm reading
The Secret Of Sinharat and really enjoying it. I'd forgotten what a great writer Leigh Brackett was.


message 33: by Steven (new)

Steven Harbin (stevenharbin) | 86 comments Mod
Steven wrote: "Oh, one last thought--any interest in reading some of the Paizo PLANET STORIES reprints of older pulp stories? I'm hoping to snag a copy of Kuttner's The Dark World soon, but I'm also interested in..."

Steven, these all sound interesting to me also. I have both the Planet Stories Almuric and The Swordsman Of Mars on hand, not sure how many other members have copies or access to a copy.


message 34: by Steven (new)

Steven Harbin (stevenharbin) | 86 comments Mod
Jim wrote: "Lovecraftian horror short stories would work, wouldn't they?

Henrik S. Harksen's new anthology [b:Eldrit..."


I can't seem to find this book on Amazon, any one know of another place to purchase it? I definitely want to purchase a copy and support Henrik, I also agree that it sounds like a good choice for group read, if not this period then perhaps next.



message 35: by Steven (new)

Steven Harbin (stevenharbin) | 86 comments Mod
Jim wrote: "Did Philip José Farmer write any pulp. He just died. Might be nice to commemorate the author.

I could read ..."


Jim,
I'm pretty sure that the Lankhmar story you're referring to is
Bazaar of the Bizarre which is probably most easily found in Swords Against Death (Lankhmar, Volume 2) or Ill Met in Lankhmar. There is also a graphic novel version in Fafhrd And The Gray Mouser. According to the wikipedia entry on Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, "Bazaar.." was one of Leiber's favorite F & GM stories, along with "The Cloud of Hate", and "Lean Times in Lankhmar". I know that my two all time favorite Leiber stories are indeed "Bazaar..." and "Lean Times..."


message 36: by Steven (new)

Steven Harbin (stevenharbin) | 86 comments Mod
Steven wrote: "Jim wrote: "Did Philip José Farmer write any pulp. He just died. Might be nice to commemorate the author.

..."



Sorry, I can't seem to get my replies to the right post, I was responding to the post asking if there was a Lankhmar story related to
The Weapon Shops of Isher.


message 37: by Jim, Co-moderator (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 234 comments Mod
Henrik S. Harksen's Eldritch Horrors Dark Tales is available here:
http://www.lulu.com/content/5460936
His website on the book is here:
http://hplmythos.com/

It's well worth buying. I'm over halfway through & so far, I think I like his story the best.


message 38: by Jim, Co-moderator (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 234 comments Mod
Thanks for the correct book, Steven. I can see your posts just fine. Lots of them! ;-)

On the voting, I changed my vote so we now have 5 for Swords of L... which is 2 above the next closest. Why doesn't everyone take another look & see if they can't get behind one or another of the leaders?


message 39: by Werner (new)

Werner I'll echo Jim's suggestion! As to the method of identifying a winner in these polls, my suggestion is to pick the top vote getter each time, unless anyone asks for a run-off. That's a simple system, but it allows for some flexibility if anyone really wants to try to change a result.

My experience with common reads in other groups is limited (I've only been on Goodreads a little over a year!), but this is the first one where I've seen 14 nominations! However, I think this is actually a good sign that people are interested, and I'm not really inclined to want to impose a forced limit on the number of nominations. Maybe we could try, if we set up polls in the future, to first check with each person who's suggested a title, and see if he/she still wants it in the poll after getting a sense of the group discussion --that might make for a shorter ballot. (I tried to delete my Lovecraft suggestion, but apparently once a title goes on the poll, you can't do that! :-))


message 40: by Tim (new)

Tim Byrd (timbyrd) | 48 comments I'm for the actual vote winner getting the win, too, with a runoff only if there's an actual tie.

Tim
www.DocWilde.com, home of the Frogs of Doom


message 41: by Steven (last edited Mar 07, 2009 08:04PM) (new)

Steven Harbin (stevenharbin) | 86 comments Mod
Sounds good, if no one has any objections then, let's proclaim The Swords of Lankhmar our choice. I'm going to start on my copy either later tonight or tomorrow!


message 42: by Jim, Co-moderator (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 234 comments Mod
I just pulled my copy out & stuck it on top of my to-read pile. It says it is the 5th in the series.


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

Looks like I will be scouring Ebay for a copy of Swords of Lankhmar then!


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

OK my copy of Swords is wingng it's way from Ebay as I write this!


message 45: by Jim, Co-moderator (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 234 comments Mod
I started reading it during lunch. Wonderful!


message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

I just got my copy of Swords through the post! 24hour via Ebay, great service! It is a 1970 UK Mayflower edition and in reasonably good condition too!


message 47: by Tim (new)

Tim Byrd (timbyrd) | 48 comments I dove back in to my copy and am loving it just as much as I did the first time or three I read it (it has been a long time, though). I also posted an entry on my blog (http://tim-byrd.com/2009/03/10/pulp-r...) about the book and this group, inviting people to come play.

I'm lucky enough to have the full set of clothbound, Mignola-illustrated Lankhmar books put out by White Wolf when I worked there years ago. One caveat about them: the hardback of book 4 (FAREWELL TO LANKHMAR) is missing the last seven chapters of the story "The Curse of the Smalls and the Stars." This was done out of editorial stupidity, and corrected in the paperback (so I have a copy of the paperback to supplement my otherwise wonderful cloth set).

Tim
www.DocWilde.com


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