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Goon Book Challenge 2017 - Can we keep talking for more than a week?

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message 1: by Edward (last edited Jan 20, 2017 05:25AM) (new)

Edward (mollsmolyneux) | 27 comments Mod
Discussions of books we're reading in 2017.

TBB thread: https://forums.somethingawful.com/sho...

Reminder of the Booklord challenge for this year. Good luck everyone.

The 2017 Booklord Challenge

Or don't. This year I am the booklord and as is traditional this is my challenge to you, goons:

1) Read some books. Set a number and go hog wild.
2) Of the books you read this year, make sure at least 20% of them are written by women.
3) Of the books you read this year, make sure at least 20% of them are written by someone non-white.
4) Read at least one book by an LGBT author.
5) Read at least one TBB BoTM and post in the monthly thread about it.
6) Read a book someone else in the thread recommends (a wildcard!)
7) Read something that was recently published (anything from after 1st January 2016).
8) Read something which was published before you were born.
9) Read something in translation.
10) Read something from somewhere you want to travel.
11) Read something political.
12) Read something historical.
12a) Read something about the First World War.
13) Read something biographical.
14) Read some poetry.
15) Read a play.
16) Read a collection of short stories.
17) Read something long (500+ pages).
18) Read something which was banned or censored.
19) Read a satire.
20) Read something about honour.
21) Read something about fear.
22) Read something about one (or more!) of the seven sins.
23) Read something that you love.
24) Read something from a non-human perspective.

For categories 2 and 3, feel free to combine them with other stuff - so if you read some poetry by an Asian woman, it counts against both categories and against 14 as well. For everything else, I encourage you to try and read separate books for each - the point of the challenge is to encourage diversity, so while it might give you a nice feeling of robotic efficiency to tick off 5 categories in one go, it's missing the point a bit.


message 2: by Kaitlyn (new)

Kaitlyn (dienes) | 13 comments Someone throw me a wildcard, please.


message 3: by Edward (new)

Edward (mollsmolyneux) | 27 comments Mod
City of Stairs - Robert Jackson Bennett


message 4: by Arjen (new)

Arjen (grawl) Yea, why not. Give me a wildcard as well please.


message 5: by Franchescanado (new)

Franchescanado | 41 comments We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler


message 6: by Kyle (new)

Kyle | 15 comments I get the feeling I won't get to 20% POC for the year - I'm trying to read more books that I already own and haven't read, and a huge amount of them are by white people. Oops.

I did read Sula by Toni Morrison and it was really good, tho.


message 7: by Edward (new)

Edward (mollsmolyneux) | 27 comments Mod
Emery wrote: "We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler"

Handler wrote the Snicket books right? Is this a similar style?


message 8: by Franchescanado (new)

Franchescanado | 41 comments Handler did write the Snicket books.

It is and is not similar. Handler's one of those writers that does something new with each book. His adult books are very dark. Imagine if he didn't have to soften the blows or filter things for a children's book. He has no trouble with exploring the taboo.

That said, he still keeps the same sense of humor, a similar style of prose, word-play, wall-breaking, etc., and he also enjoys playing with format.

The adult book closest to Unfortunate Events is probably The Basic Eight, which is like his version of The Heathers, in the form of a diary and a textbook. It's good.


message 9: by Mike (new)

Mike (mycoats) | 35 comments Shoot, that's not my wildcard, but I think I'll wind up reading it anyways. Everyone loves pirates.

I think I'll be close on Authors of Color, especially if I count Latin American authors (spoiler alert: I'm going to). Even though the challenge last year was only for 1, I made a concerted effort to read more. Even given that, I think I only hit 16% on the year. I'm off to a good start, except for Vonnegut, everyone I've read so far this year is a woman, a POC, or both. Mostly, I rely on the library and just grab whatever looks good. I figure as long as 1 book each trip is one of those categories, I should make it easily.


message 10: by Edward (new)

Edward (mollsmolyneux) | 27 comments Mod
I think I've realised just how many women authors I read. Most of the thriller novels I like are written by women!


message 11: by Kaitlyn (new)

Kaitlyn (dienes) | 13 comments Edward wrote: "I think I've realised just how many women authors I read. Most of the thriller novels I like are written by women!"

A good chunk of my speculative fiction is, too, so I'm doing surprisingly well there.

Any recommendations for non-white authors in sci-fi, horror, and fantasy that aren't Octavia Butler would be great. (Butler's good, but I've already read pretty much all her stuff.)


message 12: by William (new)

William (fellwenner) | 15 comments Walter Mosley?


message 13: by William (new)

William (fellwenner) | 15 comments Also, not doing Booklord this year, but I'll take a wildcard anyhow; those are always interesting.


message 14: by Julian (new)

Julian BLOWER Emery wrote: "Handler did write the Snicket books.

It is and is not similar. Handler's one of those writers that does something new with each book. His adult books are very dark. Imagine if he didn't have to so..."


We Are Pirates is probably the least similar book of his compared to ASOUE, most notably, it is very bad


message 15: by Edward (new)

Edward (mollsmolyneux) | 27 comments Mod
I'm reading the Three-Body Problem by a Chinese author Liu Cixin. I'm really enjoying it, plus it works for a book in transalation too.


message 16: by Gaelen (new)

Gaelen Strnat | 9 comments Yo, wild-card me, goon friends!


message 17: by Gaelen (new)

Gaelen Strnat | 9 comments Yo, wild-card me, goon friends!


message 18: by Franchescanado (new)

Franchescanado | 41 comments Julien, it's a pretty devisive, I've hear some love it, and others hate it, and that can make for good discussion. Most complaints have been "the character isn't nice" which is hilarious criticism or "it's too dark".


message 19: by Kaitlyn (new)

Kaitlyn (dienes) | 13 comments Most complaints have been "the character isn't nice" which is hilarious criticism ..."

Wait until they see Prince of Thorns.


message 20: by Joanna (new)

Joanna Pennyworth (catte) | 4 comments Somebody wildcard me please. Preferably a non-white author if you can.


message 21: by Mike (new)

Mike (mycoats) | 35 comments Kaitlynn wrote: "Any recommendations for non-white authors in sci-fi, horror, and fantasy that aren't Octavia Butler would be great."

Nnedi Okorafor - Binti, Who Fears Death
Helen Oyeyemi - White is for Witching, Icarus Girl
Kai Ashante Wilson - Sorcerer of the Wildeeps
Victor Lavalle - Black Tom (as a Lovecraft variation), possibly Devil in Silver


message 22: by Wash your hands. (new)

Wash your hands. (washyourhands) | 15 comments Mod
Gaelen wrote: "Yo, wild-card me, goon friends!"

I'm wild carding you because we are 82% matched on our rated books.

Time to finally read catch 22 my friend.


message 23: by Franchescanado (new)

Franchescanado | 41 comments Kaitlynn wrote: Any recommendations for non-white authors in sci-fi, horror, and fantasy that aren't Octavia Butler would be great

Time for you to read The Vegetarian by Han Kang. Definitely a horror story without overtly being a horror story.

Last Winter We Parted by Fuminori Nakamura is a horror detective novel. My sell: What if Blue Velvet-era David Lynch directed Oldboy with Hannibal Lecter as the bad guy.

I hear a lot of good things about Victor LaValle, though I haven't been able to read him yet. Maybe this year.

I also don't see that you've read any Shirley Jackson. She's white, but she's a great female author who really pushed psychological horror into literature.


message 24: by Wash your hands. (new)

Wash your hands. (washyourhands) | 15 comments Mod
William hasn't got a wild card yet and he does not like the things that I like.


message 25: by Gaelen (new)

Gaelen Strnat | 9 comments Wild card him anyway. Wild card is anarchy y'all


message 26: by Wash your hands. (new)

Wash your hands. (washyourhands) | 15 comments Mod
In that case I will wild card William a book that inspired a million copies and none of them as good.

Murder at the vicarage by Agatha Christie.


message 27: by Mike (new)

Mike (mycoats) | 35 comments Emery wrote: "I hear a lot of good things about Victor LaValle, though I haven't been able to read him yet. Maybe this year."

I wound up reading Black Tom and Devil in Silver last year. The first is pretty much a rewrite of Lovecraft's Horror at Red Hook except the protagonist is a street musician from Harlem. Devil in Silver is billed as "literary thriller." I enjoyed it and there were some tense moments, but I think the literary aspects detracted somewhat from the thriller side, so folks hoping for a straight thriller were left a little wanting. LaValle clearly has a bone to pick with mental health institutions and that really comes through and is interesting. I'm probably going to grab Slapboxing with Jesus this year to see how he does with short stories.


message 28: by Franchescanado (new)

Franchescanado | 41 comments Mike wrote: Devil in Silver is billed as "literary thriller." I enjoyed it and there were some tense moments, but I think the literary aspects detracted somewhat from the thriller side, so folks hoping for a straight thriller were left a little wanting.

I'm okay with this. My problem lately with Literary Thrillers is that they don't really earn the "Literary" part, they're just Thrillers with decent writing. First that comes to mind is The Boy Who Drew Monsters. It's a literary horror/thriller, without the literary.


message 29: by Mike (last edited Jan 24, 2017 07:22AM) (new)

Mike (mycoats) | 35 comments You know, I'm not actually 100% sure what literary means in context there. It's always sort of an "I'll know it when I see it" type thing. And I'm not sure I always know it when I see it.


message 30: by Wash your hands. (new)

Wash your hands. (washyourhands) | 15 comments Mod
Plot, characterisation, and pace?


message 31: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Garrison (kgarrison343) | 6 comments Can I get a wildcard?


message 32: by Franchescanado (new)

Franchescanado | 41 comments Mike wrote: "You know, I'm not actually 100% sure what literary means in context there. It's always sort of an "I'll know it when I see it" type thing. And I'm not sure I always know it when I see it."

It's a marketing term to assure that the writing will be of a certain quality, that it arguably has "literary themes", depth, etc. "Literary" means "Not Pulp!"

Really, it's just bullshit to trick me into paying money because I want horror stories but I don't want pulp trash.


message 33: by Wash your hands. (new)

Wash your hands. (washyourhands) | 15 comments Mod
Kyle wrote: "Can I get a wildcard?"

Not a wildcard but if you enjoy The professor and the madman then try Newton and the counterfeiter :) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6...


message 34: by William (new)

William (fellwenner) | 15 comments Learnin Curve wrote: "In that case I will wild card William a book that inspired a million copies and none of them as good.

Murder at the vicarage by Agatha Christie."


Thank you for not making it poetry! This should be fun, I haven't read a mystery in a while.


message 35: by Mike (new)

Mike (mycoats) | 35 comments If y'all are struggling for a play or poetry, I'd strongly recommend For colored girls who have considered suicide/When the rainbow is enuf. It's a series of poems meant to be performed together with music and dance (so if you're fussing with number, I think it could go fairly for play or poetry). It was recommended at the end of the 2016 thread, and it's a pretty amazing book.


message 36: by Kaitlyn (new)

Kaitlyn (dienes) | 13 comments (I'm probably going to substitute another wildcard for the play.)


message 37: by Aaron (new)

Aaron (flaggy) | 12 comments I changed the other thread to the shit posting one if anyone wants to keep this one pure.


message 38: by Edward (last edited Jan 26, 2017 07:14AM) (new)

Edward (mollsmolyneux) | 27 comments Mod
Coming to the end of my first book now, Fool Moon I hear the series improves a lot now.

Will I notice that, as I enjoyed the first two very much. Helped by James Marsters beautiful reading voice most likely.

Edit: realise I wrote the wrong book, I'm reading Fool Moon.


message 39: by Edward (new)

Edward (mollsmolyneux) | 27 comments Mod
Aaron wrote: "I changed the other thread to the shit posting one if anyone wants to keep this one pure."

Thanks very much for doing that!


message 40: by Kaitlyn (new)

Kaitlyn (dienes) | 13 comments Edward wrote: "Coming to the end of my first book now, Storm Front. I hear the series improves a lot now.

Will I notice that, as I enjoyed the first two very much. Helped by James Marsters beautiful..."


Book 2 is considered pretty bad. You can skip it and go straight to book 3 without much of an issue.


message 41: by Edward (last edited Jan 26, 2017 07:15AM) (new)

Edward (mollsmolyneux) | 27 comments Mod
I've nearly finished it. It's not brilliant, but not terrible either. Although certainly not as good as book 1.

I rarely find I dislike books though. Apart from Plot against America by Philip Roth, don't read that.

Edit: I realise I wrote the wrong book in the above post, I'm reading Fool Moon.


message 42: by Franchescanado (new)

Franchescanado | 41 comments What are thoughts on Dave Eggers's The Circle? Might be for my book club book this month


message 43: by Wash your hands. (new)

Wash your hands. (washyourhands) | 15 comments Mod
Saw this list of top women sci-fi writers and thought of goons. :)

https://www.theguardian.com/books/200...


message 44: by Aaron (new)

Aaron (flaggy) | 12 comments Emery wrote: "What are thoughts on Dave Eggers's The Circle? Might be for my book club book this month"

its really good, and the movie is coming out soon.


message 45: by Edward (new)

Edward (mollsmolyneux) | 27 comments Mod
Just finished Three Body Problem as my second book and book in translation. Very good, but probably a little heavy towards the end. Became very technical in the last few chapters.


message 46: by Mike (new)

Mike (mycoats) | 35 comments Emery wrote: "Julien, it's a pretty devisive, I've hear some love it, and others hate it, and that can make for good discussion. Most complaints have been "the character isn't nice" which is hilarious criticism ..."

Having just finished this, it is certainly not the light hearted pirate romp I was expecting.


message 47: by Franchescanado (new)

Franchescanado | 41 comments Mike wrote: "Having just finished this, it is certainly not the light hearted pirate romp I was expecting. "

Jokes on you for thinking the author of "A Series of Unfortunate Events" would make a light-hearted adult novel.

What did you think?


message 48: by Mike (new)

Mike (mycoats) | 35 comments It's the first thing I'd read by Handler, so wasn't really sure what to expect.

I'm still kind of mulling it over, but I think on the whole I liked it. I'm a little surprised the reviews on here are so negative. I can't really see hating this book, even if it's not quite to someone's taste, there's enough positives to make it worth reading.


message 49: by Franchescanado (new)

Franchescanado | 41 comments Read the reviews. They're insane.

I wasn't joking when people gave it bad reviews because the characters are unlikable, it's not light-hearted, or that it's dark. There are even some reviews that dislike it because its depiction of San Francisco weather wasn't realistic.

They wanted ASoUE for adults, or something like his other big book for YA, Why We Broke Up, but Handler makes a point to make the books as different as possible.

I'd say give The Basic Eight a try, if you want to read something else by him. I personally enjoyed Watch Your Mouth the most, but it's an pornographic incest Jewish mystery opera & 12-Step Program, and that's a difficult book to recommend without looking like a weirdo.


message 50: by Mike (new)

Mike (mycoats) | 35 comments Yeah. Like "I’m not sure what Daniel Handler was going for in We Are Pirates and he probably didn’t either. " That wasn't really unclear. It seemed straightforward. And many of the bad reviews seemed confused by the dad's role, which wasn't unclear. I sort of expect that you're right and it's a betrayal of expectations. Fun YA-ish pirate romp is to some degree expected and that's not really delivered. It's pretty clear that's not what you're getting the first time it gets into Phil's worklife and efforts to produce a radio program and run an office.

I'm really curious about thoughts on the "we are pirates" message mentioned throughout and then given the last page or so, but that may ought to wait until the guy whose wildcard it is reads it.


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