Brian the Elder has issued a plea to the group: “to formulate a reading list designed to impart a literacy of the various archetypical natures of witches, fairies, elves, dragons, et al.
I‘m sorry this is late — I’ve been out of the library for a few days, and I’ve been playing catch-up. Here are the extra books mentioned from our May discussion, along with some extra info about one of the books, that Theresa was kind enough to provide.
Zom-B, Zom-B City and Zom-B Underground by Darren Shan
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe **
The Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch (Midnight Riot, Moon Over Soho and Whispers Under Ground)
Poppet by Mo Hayder
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Cold Days by Jim Butcher
** Theresa provided me with a PDF list of the books mentioned in this book — and I found a link to the page, as well — which you can access HERE
We’ll be discussing John Scalzi’s book, Fuzzy Nation, in June —- and since this book is a reboot of an older book, I wanted to provide everyone with that information.
Little Fuzzy was written in 1962 by H. Beam Piper, and luckily for all of us, is now in the public domain (so anyone can read it without having to find a paper copy). Project Gutenberg has the book available HERE. There’s a nice Wikipedia article about Little Fuzzy, if you’d like to read more about it.
We’ll be meeting on Wednesday, June 26th at 7:00 pm to discuss Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn’t care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp’s headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation’s headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, that’s not up for discussion.
Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.
But there’s another wrinkle to ZaraCorp’s relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.
Then a small furry biped—trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute—shows up at Jack’s outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp’s claim to a planet’s worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed…and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the “fuzzys” before their existence becomes more widely known. (summary courtesy of Goodreads)
Science Fiction/Fantasy book group members always have good representation during Summer Read ….. so I expect that again this summer, too.
Adult Summer Read officially begins June 1st with our Kick-off Party – Everyone is welcome! Sign up online via the library website (and you can sign up at 7:00 am on June 1st), or come in to register for the Adult program. Logging three books/audiobooks entitles you to a beautiful, monogrammed flowerpot mug, AND each book/audiobook you log also counts as a virtual ticket to win one of our grand prizes at the end of the program. We’ll also have a special drawing halfway through Summer Read for two lucky winners to win a “One Day Family Admission” to the Naper Settlement.
Prize baskets include: local gift certificates, books, audiobooks, DVDs, and more!
Everyone is welcome to attend the Adult/Teen Summer Read Wrap-up Party on Monday, July 29th. Complete details will be in the July/August newsletter, but be assured, we’ll have plenty of food and fun, a special door prize, and will announce all Summer Read winners!!!
please note —- there is also a separate Teen program, which has different prizes …. so if you know a teen who might be interested, please pass along the info — and visit our home page for the full info.
Last night, we met to discuss Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds. As always, we had a really good discussion. Here’s some of what people had to say (aliases included for those who want them):
- ANon mentioned he was the person who had suggested the book, and although he didn’t have a chance to re-read it before we met, he remembered that he liked the 3 different plot lines running through the book, and also found the science aspects of the book to be really interesting.
- Theresa (who joined us for the first time tonight — yay!) found the book “delightful,” and said that even though she started to figure out some of what was happening, kept finding surprises in the book, which she liked. She enjoyed the author’s descriptive writing style, and how thoroughly he created all of the different places
- Menolly, on the other hand, felt like she slogged through the book. She found the mixed identities plot lines to be confusing, and found the author’s overly descriptive writing style to be frustrating at times. For example, the description of the ship, inside and out, “felt like narrating a Star Trek pan of the outside of the ship.”
- Mike was another reader who couldn’t really get into the book. He found the science interesting, but the characters boring. He got partway into the book, but couldn’t figure out where the author was going …. and just went on to read another book. He did mention, though, that he found the fleet to be an interesting concept (and more engaging than the relationship of Sky to his father).
- Like Menolly, Kathleen found the book to be hard-going at times. She almost didn’t make it past her “40-page rule,” but as soon as the space elevator got blown up, she was more interested. However, she said that her interest waxed and waned She found the description of the slug ship to be really cool, and found the character of Sky to be scary (appropriately so, since he’s a sociopath). However, she said that the end of the book seems to ask, “Can people redeem themselves for their behavior?” — and she felt that no, this wasn’t possible here.
- We did have some general discussion of the author’s writing style; some readers felt it was overly descriptive, some felt it was just right, and some people felt the author spent a lot of time describing things they didn’t care about, and not enough time on elements they were curious about. One person said she would be curious to read a book that was set in the time of the Plague, for example. We talked about the author seemed to have a lot of ideas he was bouncing around in the book. For some readers, this was a little frustrating, or distracting, although many people felt that the fact that Reynolds left so many open threads was okay (especially as these threads may be picked up in his other books). Burt Macklin, FBI, said he found the book to be a good mix of hard science fiction and space opera, which he enjoyed.
- Glenn (another person who was brave enough to join us for the first time this evening — yay!) said he liked the religious components of the story, and how they evolved and de-evolved over time. However, he wasn’t sold on the ending of the book, and didn’t like the odd “Team Tanner” thing, which didn’t feel realistic. He felt the ending was a bit stuffed together, which was something a few other readers agreed with. Burt Macklin, FBI, said he was reminded of Dr. Who episodes, where there is “the voice of command.”
- Hola had some memorable comments about the book. Generally, she liked the book, and liked the different times/places and found the religious subplots to be interesting. However, she said, on the subject of Tanner and Zebra, “If you’re attracted to a woman who looks like a zebra and who used to be a man, you have more issues than I want to know about.”
- We had some general discussion about elements that readers particularly liked in the book. For example, Burt Macklin, FBI said he thought the cable car idea was pretty cool (and sounded like something from Studio Ghibli). Glenn echoed this comment, and said it reminded him of something from Samurai Jack. Menolly found the hamadryads to be an interesting concept, as well as the slugs, and a few people mentioned the use of snakes and snake motifs throughout the book as things they liked. Theresa and Naberius both liked the pigs (and frankly, felt the author could have spent more time with them). Theresa also said she would have liked to know more about some of the different religious groups that the author mentioned, but never really developed.
- The plot line of Tanner Mirabel chasing a man through the universe, because of a grudge, seemed far-fetched to some readers. We had some discussion, generally, about his character(s) and his motivations. Burt Macklin, FBI stated that there are several hints early on in the book to indicate that Tanner realized that he has become somewhat reformed. Burt also made a point that he thought it was really interesting that because Tanner has the three perspectives in the book, that these come together and change him for the better — and this was something he really liked about the story. Tanner’s development, rather than lapsing into his old behaviors/way of doing things, was something several readers commented on.
- We had some general discussion about the concept of immortality in the book. As Reynolds lays it out, some readers felt that there seemed to be a link between being immortal and being evil. Menolly mentioned, in particular, how Reynolds has these characters finding thrills in particularly gruesome ways. Glenn made the point, though, in contrast, that perhaps the view of immortals as being bad might come from a “sour grapes” feeling from those who have regular lives.
- Naberius said that for her, the book was interesting because she felt that Reynolds doesn’t make things easy in the book for a reader. You never feel like you can trust what you think you know, and things are constantly changing. She felt there was a consistent unpleasant undertone to the book, although she didn’t mind that. A few other people agreed with her point on not being able to trust anything, whether it’s Tanner, or everyone in general.
- A few people mentioned that the setting of Chasm City reminded them of other places, such as the setting in Blade Runner, or Smoketown (which the group read recently).
- And on the subject of the space elevator: ANon said, “why is it that every space elevator fails?” and cited examples of this in other books by other authors. We came to the conclusion that “The space elevator is the red shirt of a book.”
We gave this book the codes: HDS, SPJ (Space Jungle), IMM, POL, REL, SOP, UTP, ETH and NARC — and the averaged-out rating was a 3.
We welcome comments and more discussion, so if you’ve read the book and would like to add your thoughts, please do!
One of our book group members forwarded me this article about Monsanto, which has been in the news lately regarding biotech crops, genetically modified seeds, etc. She thought it was especially interesting, considering our discussion of The Windup Girl, where seed modification and large corporations was a major theme in the story.
The Reuters article begins with “A review of 926 diplomatic cables of correspondence to and from the U.S. State Department and embassies in more than 100 countries found that State Department officials actively promoted the commercialization of specific biotech seeds, according to the report issued by Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer protection group.” — so if this sounds interesting to you, click on the link to read the whole thing.