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Club Business > Themes and books for the rest of 2018

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message 1: by Eric (last edited Jul 20, 2018 09:09AM) (new)

Eric Li | 200 comments Mod
It has not been settled, but this is what I'm thinking:

*September: I, Robot
Because of ... labor day?
Since we will probably end up with a fantasy book in August, I just want to tilt our ship a bit towards sci-fi for a change.

*October: Stephen King is Missing
Basically, I'm trying to find a horror book to read for Halloween month. But we recently read a King (The Eyes of the Dragon) already so we need to search for a horror book that is NOT by him. It's harder than you would think.

*November: Thankfully, 2018 Gave Us This
For Thanksgiving month, we are looking for a new book that's published this year. Any book, as long as it's an awesome one. It's a way to force people to read something new.

*December/January: Hibernate Read
We are not having a book meeting in December, so it's a perfect time to read a longer book that doesn't fit in a monthly read. I'm thinking something that's between 500 pages and The Stand.

What do you guys think?


message 2: by Robert (new)

Robert (rahenley) | 84 comments October:
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury is ideal (and short); although I also have From the Dust Returned on my to-read pile.

Another funnier option would be A Night in the Lonesome October.


message 3: by Eric (new)

Eric Li | 200 comments Mod
Robert wrote: "October:
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury is ideal (and short); although I also have From the Dust Returned on my to-read pile.

Another funnier option wo..."


Nice, I was thinking the 14 you recommended previously would also fit in this category.


message 4: by Robert (new)

Robert (rahenley) | 84 comments September:
The best first person "robot" story I've read recently is Ancillary Justice. It's mildly challenging read because of shifts in perspective and a truly wild galactic political situation, but it was very rewarding for the effort.

An alternative is Excession by the late Iain M. Banks. A story from Banks' "The Culture" universe, this book involves a group of starship "Minds" (AIs which are way smarter than we are!) dealing with something even they don't understand.

In the classics, the original mystery/robot cross-over The Caves of Steel is dated, but still a good read.

But the book I think might work best is the 2018 Hugo nominated novella, All Systems Red. A security robot has subverted its programming, but really just want to be left alone. So far, what I've read has incredibly dry humor and the start of an interesting plot.


message 5: by Eric (new)

Eric Li | 200 comments Mod
Robert wrote: "September:
The best first person "robot" story I've read recently is Ancillary Justice. It's mildly challenging read because of shifts in perspective and a truly wild galactic polit..."


Cool, do let me know how that one turns out.
For robot I have Sea of Rust recently added to To-read list. Will try that one first thing next month.


message 6: by Robert (new)

Robert (rahenley) | 84 comments All Systems Red rocked! (See my review here.)

The only drawback is that it's not a full novel, just the first installment -- and Tor Books is charging premium prices for the other three pieces. Although, this first ebook is priced very reasonably.

It's short, easy reading, reasonably self-contained (no cliffhanger ending, and it stops at a logical breaking point), and the story is wonderful. It makes you think about what is human.

I still think it would be a good pick for September.


message 7: by Eric (new)

Eric Li | 200 comments Mod
Robert wrote: "All Systems Red rocked! (See my review here.)

The only drawback is that it's not a full novel, just the first installment -- and Tor Books is charging premium prices for the other ..."

Interesting. A short book may help to bring more people on board, that's one benefit for sure.


message 8: by Eric (new)

Eric Li | 200 comments Mod
All Systems Red is awesome.
I also got Artificial Condition from my library. It's a hardcover, seems the publisher grew more confidence after the first one. Maybe we can do a two-book set for this one.


message 9: by Eric (last edited Aug 17, 2018 04:56AM) (new)

Eric Li | 200 comments Mod
For October, lonesome night in October seems interesting, weird there is no ebook for it in my libraries.

We can also go with more available choice. Red Dragon, this one is available on hoopla, and in a handful of paperback versions.

For more recent works, I’m 1/3 done with The Girl With All The Gifts. Zombie story with interesting premise, but kinda slow so far.


message 10: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 3 comments I don't know how far back we'd wanna go but for October I've had Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House on my to-read pile for ages.


message 11: by Eric (new)

Eric Li | 200 comments Mod
Daniel wrote: "I don't know how far back we'd wanna go but for October I've had Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House on my to-read pile for ages."
Thanks. That one appears on many horror lists. I will check it out.


message 12: by Eric (new)

Eric Li | 200 comments Mod
For November (the "new book" month), I'm currently looking at two books:
On the Sci-fi side, The Calculating Stars is really interesting, I'm 95% done and it's clearly a solid 4~4.5 star for me.
On the fantasy side, I got Spinning Silver on deck.

Any other suggestion?


message 13: by Eric (new)

Eric Li | 200 comments Mod
Eric wrote: "For November (the "new book" month), I'm currently looking at two books:
On the Sci-fi side, The Calculating Stars is really interesting, I'm 95% done and it's clearly a solid 4~4.5..."


And by coincidence, both are written by a female author and featuring female characters.


message 14: by Eric (new)

Eric Li | 200 comments Mod
Daniel wrote: "I don't know how far back we'd wanna go but for October I've had Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House on my to-read pile for ages."

Well, I tried, but seems that one is not my cup of tea. 1/3 in and there isn’t much to look at. The dialogues are interesting at first but that wore out fast. I saw some reviews saying that climax won’t come until the last 10 pages... not sure if I will go on.


message 15: by Eric (new)

Eric Li | 200 comments Mod
As for 2018 new books, Circe is a pleasant surprise for me so far. It's a retelling of Greek mythology, started kind of slow, but turning really intriguing at 20%.


message 16: by Robert (new)

Robert (rahenley) | 84 comments For 2018 reading: I finished The Tea Master and the Detective -- if you like Sherlock Holmes pastiches, it's quite good. (Not as good as Neil Gaiman's A Study in Emerald, but way better than most.) Thanks for pushing me to get that off the pile!

I'm going on to this year's Becky Chambers: Record of a Spaceborn Few. It's a character-driven story and I have no expectation of much plot, but Chambers does character-driven stories really well. Although this book refers to the events of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet -- which I loved -- it stands alone (as far as I've read).


message 17: by Eric (new)

Eric Li | 200 comments Mod
Interesting. The long way to an angry planet seems like a book I could pack up together with Collapsing Empire and We Are Bob for a light hearted space opera month next year.


message 18: by Robert (last edited Oct 28, 2018 04:11PM) (new)

Robert (rahenley) | 84 comments Eric wrote: "Interesting. The long way to an angry planet seems like a book I could pack up together with Collapsing Empire and We Are Bob for a light hearted space opera month next year."

Not sure I'd call The Collapsing Empire light-hearted -- although it certainly has it's humor and a deep snarkiness -- but it is lighter-weight than most new space opera.

Other options in that vein:
- With the Lightnings, Second Edition, the first of David Drake's RCN series, which is The Age of Sail... in space.
- The Warrior's Apprentice, a good starting point in Lois McMaster Bujold's (multi-Hugo award-winning) Vorkosigan Saga.
- The Terran Privateer: Book One in the Duchy of Terra by Glynn Stewart.
These are all fun.

Mid-weight would be Walter Jon William's Dread Empire's Fall trilogy, starting with The Praxis.

But the space operas I admire most tend to be heavier:
- Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep
- Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga: Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained
- Ian M. Banks' Culture novels: e.g., The Player of Games or Look to Windward.
And, of course, the classics: The Mote in God's Eye and Dune.

Update: How could I forget The Expanse, starting with Leviathan Wakes?


message 19: by Eric (last edited Nov 08, 2018 04:22AM) (new)

Eric Li | 200 comments Mod
For the long book in December, here is my not-so-short-list so far:
Skyward
The Way of Kings
- Two books from Brandon Sanderson, bonus for being prolific
Dune
-Everybody has read it except me
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
-Slow but easy read
Pandora's Star
-Hard sci-fi
Fire & Blood
-Book will be out on Nov.20, timing is just too good to miss
Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000
-Literally cult classic


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