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The Sirens of Titan
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PAST Group Reads 2018 > Sirens of Titan- August- NO Spoilers

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message 1: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Aug 03, 2018 07:22PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
This is our SHORT BOOK Bonus Group Read for August. We had a tie vote, so you can choose to read one. You can start early if you'd like to fit one in between longer reads. We'll open up a spoiler thread if needed after August 1. In the meantime, please use spoiler warnings if you'd like to discuss the ending.

Bruyere will be facilitating this discussion. Thank you!


Heather (bruyere) I so loved this book! I was actually sort-of surprised because I had a hard time getting through Slaughterhouse-Five.


message 3: by Joy, Your Obedient Servant (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
This is the only Vonnegut I've read and I enjoyed it.


message 4: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie I found it yesterday on the "available now" kindle borrows from my library so will need to read it early (next 2 weeks) before it returns.


message 5: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie Bonnie wrote: "I found it yesterday on the "available now" kindle borrows from my library so will need to read it early (next 2 weeks) before it returns."

Well I gave it a shot, but it's not a writing style that's working for me right now. I might try again at a different time.


message 6: by Zoe (new)

Zoe (mstrahanache) | 52 comments I’ll be reading the Sirens of Titan too. I have read Breakfast of Champions a long time ago and I realized his way of writing is an acquired taste. A couple of years ago I’ve read Slaughterhouse Five and I solidified my opinion on that. For me his style is easy to read but makes it hard to remember over the years the details of his stories. Not sure why.


message 7: by Codie (new)

Codie | 61 comments I have a copy of this from my local library. As I’m currently reading four other books, I plan to start as soon as I finish one of them.


message 8: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Jul 30, 2018 09:33PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
I will be reading this soon. Would someone like to volunteer to facilitate the discussion? J. is reading both books and will facilitate one of them Siddartha.


Jessica Although this is Vonnegut's highest rated book on Goodreads, I much preferred Slaughterhouse-Five.


Heather (bruyere) That's interesting. I had a hard time enjoying Slaughterhouse-Five. I think I tend to not, generally, like unreliable narrators. I tried to appreciate it from the standpoint of it being about war, but it was a tough one to get through.

Jessica, what did you like about that book more? I realize they are very different books.


message 11: by Heather (last edited Aug 01, 2018 01:58PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Heather (bruyere) Zoe wrote: "I’ll be reading the Sirens of Titan too. I have read Breakfast of Champions a long time ago and I realized his way of writing is an acquired taste. A couple of years ago I’ve read Slaughterhouse Fi..."

I haven't read Breakfast of Champions, but I consider Slaughter-house Five and Sirens of Titan as wildly different books. "Sirens" was very funny, I thought, but I found "Slaughter-house" somber.


message 12: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
I listened to the first half hour or so and it was very energetic. Who else is reading it for the first time?


message 13: by Zoe (new)

Zoe (mstrahanache) | 52 comments @Bruyere: well, I don't know anything about Sirens of Titan but Slaughterhouse Five is a quintessential antiwar book portraying the senselessness of war and it is so much linked with the predestination that Billy Pilgrim feels about the Dresden bombing massacre that while it has some elements of comical, it's basically just a huge depressing tragedy for me. Sort of: these deaths had to happen because- destiny, and I am just accepting everything because so it goes, but all of it is for no reason really... and Poo-tee-weet? Maybe?

Very different, in my opinion, than say Catch-22.

That being said, I'm looking forward to the Sirens of Titan read as you and others said that is a whole different animal.


Heather (bruyere) I think the difference between Slaughterhouse and Titan for me is that one felt important and the other felt enjoyable.


message 15: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Bruyere wrote: "I think the difference between Slaughterhouse and Titan for me is that one felt important and the other felt enjoyable."

That's a great distinction!


message 16: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Aug 12, 2018 03:02PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
OK. I'm farther into this now. I wanted to finish Lonesome Dove first, but I haven't had much time to read lately.

The audio version is a little too loud for me, kind of like an old fashioned radio announcer, though I put it on when my eyes were too tired to read. I somehow fell asleep, and now I need to reread it because I think it morphed into a dream.

First line: "Everyone now knows how to find the meaning of life within himself." I suspect that this line is the closest connection we'll find between Sirens of Titan and Siddartha.

I really liked the first little section of the book, about looking inward versus looking outward. He suggests our obsession with space (and looking outward) is not going to give us the answers we seek. That's kind of funny coming from a sci-fi writer when you think about it. There is one indication that more people are looking inward: Meditation seems to be a lot more popular now than it was when he wrote the book. It's becoming more mainstream, rather than new age. I don't think we're going to find "53 portals to the soul" anytime soon though.

Did anyone else think of Elon Musk (SpaceX, Tesla) when they read about these two rich guys going to Mars? He wants to be the first person to live and die on Mars. Malachi Constant owned a company that sounds a lot like Musk's SpaceX. Musk is a lot smarter though, and very hands-on in this business. If this book were more recent, I would suspect that the author's satire was directed at Musk.


message 17: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Zoe wrote: "I’ll be reading the Sirens of Titan too. ..For me his style is easy to read but makes it hard to remember over the years the details of his stories."

I find that true of sci-fi books in general. He has a lot of funny details, but there are so many of them, I don't know what will be important to remember later in the story. Also, they are so far from reality, they're not relevant to my life. I seem to like sci-fi movies more than sci-fi books. I like reading about internal thoughts more than external action.


Heather (bruyere) Yes, I did indeed think of Musk! I just re-read the book and definitely Malachi reminds me of him. I guess I do have a hard time understanding the correlation between Malachi in the first part of the book and the last part. But definitely "early Malachi" is Musk-like.


message 19: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Aug 14, 2018 12:38AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Bruyere wrote: "Yes, I did indeed think of Musk! I just re-read the book and definitely Malachi reminds me of him. I guess I do have a hard time understanding the correlation between Malachi in the first part of t..."

At the beginning, Malachi reminds me even more of Donald Trump when he was younger.. He was arrogant, running a business funded by his parents, sleeping with beautiful women, calling them bimbos, etc.

Rent a tent tent... it's sort of catchy.

Chapter 4 and later

(view spoiler)


message 20: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
I'm enjoying the book a lot more now. It's a lot funnier when I read rather than listen to the audiobook. I'm also in a lighter, sillier mood, which helps with this book. I loved the harmoniums on the planet Mercury.


Heather (bruyere) I can't say that much is clear to me about the questions you asked. I'm going to troll the internet for explanations!

Yeah I quite enjoyed re-reading it. I was in the mood for something silly and profound in that nothing really does make sense in the universe.


message 22: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
I posted a quote on Twitter re this book. I don't have it handy, but it was basically the idea of - love the one you're with.

I'm still trying to figure out Rumsfoord. Maybe I should take it at face value, or there is something more. I have a really hard time thinking that anything is predetermined, so I think he has a lot more control over everything that has happened. Right now he's looking a lot like a jealous husband.


message 23: by Joy, Your Obedient Servant (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
I didn't like many characters in this book, but maybe that was the point? They were all mostly terrible and you weren't rooting for any of them?

Rumsfoord was the worst for me though.


message 24: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Aug 19, 2018 12:39AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
J. wrote: "I didn't like many characters in this book, but maybe that was the point? They were all mostly terrible and you weren't rooting for any of them?

Rumsfoord was the worst for me though."


There were a lot of creative ideas and delightful moments in the book, but I agree those moments would be much better if we cared more about the characters.

I was rooting for Malachi at the end. He was easy to dislike at the beginning (he was a rich, lucky, sexist jerk) but the hard times outweighed the lucky ones, and they gave him more humility. He was whipped around so much, he deserved some peace.

I felt a teeny bit sorry for Rumsfoord at the end too, but his situation didn't warrant the bad things he did. (view spoiler)

I was worried that the ending would be just as random as some of the changes in the story, but overall I found it satisfying. I liked a lot of the interesting references to religion, philosophy, purpose and free will. It made me think a lot about our individual beliefs about how much control we have in our lives (locus of control). If someone has a belief in a just world, this world would be sheer torture, because it sure seems random and unjust to most of the characters.


message 25: by Heather (last edited Aug 24, 2018 08:31AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Heather (bruyere) (view spoiler)

I think a lot of the theme of this book was how random life is. The lack of control in all aspects. Of course we aren't sure whether it is random or just randomly pre-determiend?


message 26: by Pam (new) - added it

Pam (bluegrasspam) My hold from the library came in today. I’ll see if I can read it soon! I had a bunch of holds come in at the same time.


message 27: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Pam wrote: "My hold from the library came in today. I’ll see if I can read it soon! I had a bunch of holds come in at the same time."

I hate when that happens, especially with a short borrowing period. What are the other books?


message 28: by Atl (new) - rated it 2 stars

Atl (dark_leo) I had the ebook checked out but didn’t have time to read it before it was due. Meanwhile I’m still looking for a print copy.


message 29: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Atlanta wrote: "I had the ebook checked out but didn’t have time to read it before it was due. Meanwhile I’m still looking for a print copy."

My library has a lot of new copies of the print copy. This one didn't make the top 40, if that makes a difference to how you prioritize your list.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) I am enjoying the book. First time I’ve read this one.


message 31: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
aPriL does feral sometimes wrote: "I am enjoying the book. First time I’ve read this one."

Hi April!


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) NancyJ wrote: "aPriL does feral sometimes wrote: "I am enjoying the book. First time I’ve read this one."

Hi April!"


: )


message 33: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
This thread is moving to the "Past Group Reads" folder, and you can continue to discuss it there.


message 34: by Atl (new) - rated it 2 stars

Atl (dark_leo) I'm in chapter 5 now and I find it both shocking and funny at times. I enjoyed the Malachi Constant storyline more then the one with Jenk on Mars. Chapter 5 with the whole story with Jenk and Boaz and the soldiers on Mars is depressing. It reminds me of a lot of other science fiction on the list: dune, 1984 and foundation. I wouldn't listen to this if it wasn't for a goal.


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