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Archive for June, 2013

Our July book selection is The Rook by Daniel O’Malley.  We’ll be meeting on Wednesday, July 31st @ 7:00 pm in Meeting Room B.

“The body you are wearing used to be mine.” So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.

(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

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People who come to our book discussions always have an opportunity to mention what other books they’ve been reading — and these are the ones from our June meeting:June discussion extra books

Redshirts by John Scalzi

The 5th Wave by Richard Yancey

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

The #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – books #1 and #2 by Alexander McCall Smith

World War Z by Max Brooks

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Eighth Court by Mike Shevdon

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Protector by C.J. Cherryh

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Poppet by Mo Hayder

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

Inferno by Dan Brown

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We met on Wednesday evening to discuss Fuzzy Nation, John Scalzi’s reboot of Little Fuzzy (by H. Beam Piper).   As always, we had a great discussion — and here is some of what people had to say:

  • One of the first comments was about how much of the book was set in the courtroom.  Kathleen mentioned it made her reflect on a past idea to go to law school, and said she wished she could argue as well as the characters did in the book.   Menolly stated she thought it was refreshing to have the issues in the book solved in a courtroom, rather than on a battlefield.
  • A lot of us had things to say about the character of Holloway.  Glenn stated that he really liked him and liked that he was a smart-ass.  aNON said he feels this type of character is typical for the author, and something that he enjoys.   Mike said he thought Holloway was “a professional irritant,” but he understood the character.  We talked about how he might be ambivalent at times, but consistently does the right thing.  Burt Macklin, FBI said he saw Holloway as a kind of Han Solo, scoundrel character, who looks out for himself, but does the right thing in the end.   Hola said she liked the complexity of the characters, and how he was very three-dimensional – “greedy, manipulative, caring, self-serving… a whole mix of stuff that makes a real human being.”  However, not everyone felt he was a character to be trusted; Brian the Elder said that he didn’t trust him, and thought he had ulterior motives, although he liked that about Holloway.   Mike agreed, and said it’s hard to figure out what Holloway’s true motives are, and also that as a reader, you aren’t sure if he’s telling the truth about other things, like his disbarment.   Readers agreed that Holloway is a good manipulator, and it works out well for him (and for the fuzzies).
  • Speaking of characters, many readers mentioned how much they liked Carl the dog.   Naberius said she liked how Carl is written in a very realistic way, and that he’s the kind of dog that most of us know or have known.   We talked about how, because Carl is written very realistically, that the fuzzies also come off as being very realistic.   Burt Macklin, FBI did say that he wished the fuzzies hadn’t been able to speak English – understanding is fine, but it may have been better to have them translated, to keep with the idea that they speak at a frequency that humans can’t hear.
  • The realistic writing also carried over into other characters, for many readers.  Theresa mentioned elements such as Holloway’s apology to his ex-girlfriend, and how her response to it is also realistic.    She said she liked how this book is science fiction, but then is still very real and very human.  Ed said that for him, what made the book realistic was the actions and interactions of, and between, the various characters.   Something that a few readers mentioned was how Scalzi never really gives us descriptions of what the people in the book look like.  Naberius said she really liked this, and that it was refreshing to have a story where the physical appearance of a character has nothing to do with what happens in the story, or how they relate to another character.
  • Theresa said that she had read Little Fuzzy, as well and that it made her think of Robert Heinlein’s story, Jerry was a Man, because it’s another story about proving the sentience of a creature in a courtroom.
  • Mike, who had originally suggested this book, said he did so because he was a big fan of Little Fuzzy.  He said he felt the fuzzies in the original story were like “Precious Moments tribbles,” but that both books reflect the time period they were written in.  In the original story, the female character gets married off, and there’s an attitude of “let’s adopt the fuzzies,” but most of the story still happens in the courtroom.   Mike stated he feels the Scalzi book is a very “today” novel, and has appropriate modifications.
  • And speaking of the fact that this book is a “reboot” of Little Fuzzy, there were some comments about that.  Theresa mentioned that she liked Scalzi’s note about this at the beginning of the book.    Many readers liked that this book was fairly consistent with the older one, but liked some of the updates.   For example, Theresa wanted more female characters in the original story, but felt satisfied with Scalzi’s book.  Glenn said he was pleased that the main female character in the story didn’t fall for Holloway, and remained her own person throughout the book.   Nicole stated she enjoyed the book, even though she got a little choked up at a few parts, and liked how the story was a mix of science fiction with some fantasy elements.  She liked that this was a lighter book than some of our recent selections, and felt it was a breath of fresh air.
  • Brian the Elder mentioned that he did have two “nits” with the book: first, that the fact that the fuzzies learned to speak English from a tablet program for children was believable, but that the amount of set-up for this to happen was a bit of a stretch, and second, that it was difficult for him to believe that Holloway had just learned about the ultrasonic tones, and just happened to know how to make this happen in his skimmer, which just so happened to have an incredible sound system, etc.   Glenn said he felt it was too coincidental that the xenolinguist just happened to be there, as well.  Menolly said it’s a little too much serendipity, which sounded about right to Brian the Elder.
  • We had some general discussion about the theme of this book, and how there have been other authors who have written about this idea of the discovery of sentient life on other planets.  David Brin was mentioned, as well as the book Redliners by David Drake.  Menolly said she thought there was enough fresh material here that it made it an enjoyable story.
  • We also had some general discussion about the fuzzies.  Menolly said she wondered what the response would have been if the fuzzies had not been cute and furry, and instead, had been ugly.   We talked about how appearance can generate response, and how different the story might have been if the creatures Holloway discovered had been really hideous.
  • Burt Macklin,FBI, listened to the audiobook and said it was great.  It’s read by Wil Wheaton, and according to Burt, read quite well.   He also said it was fun to listen to Wil read his own name so many times (since Scalzi named Wheaton Aubrey for him).
  • John Scalzi is an author that many readers enjoy (as evidenced by how many times this group has selected his books for discussions).  Furry said this book was incredibly entertaining.  For her, you know what you’re going to get with a Scalzi book, and you know it’s going to be good.  And I think Theresa may have had one of the best quotes of the evening, which we all modified very slightly, to say, “John Scalzi is a tiny bundle of goodness.  And so are his books.”

The codes we gave this book were ECO, HRO, ETH, XEN, HAA, and also the new codes of LGL (legal) and BACON (which we now expect to appear in future books), and the averaged-out rating was a 5.

We welcome more discussion, so please add a comment here if you’d like!

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I saw this and wanted to share it —- The Waukegan Public Library is inheiriting Ray Bradbury’s personal collection of books.   You can read the full article about it HERE —   and here’s a bit from the article:

” The collection contains some books that could be valuable, such as first editions of noted works or autographed books, Morrow said. The library also stands to receive copies of books Bradbury wrote, including some in foreign languages. The collection’s value is being appraised. The library may receive some of Bradbury’s personal belongings, too. “We’d like to get one of his typewriters,” library Executive Director Richard Lee said. “He had four.” ”

 

 

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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.

Please consider some caveats:
·         Part of the challenge is to decide which archetypes are relevant for fundamental literacy.
·         The quality of the manuscript is not as important as how well it articulates the creatures’ nature.
·         For this purpose, short stories and novelettes are perhaps among the more appropriate  “
I’m sure our collective brain can come up with some great ideas here — whether it’s authors, or books!    Please leave suggestions in our comment section here on this post, or email them to me at ohzourkj@lislelibrary.org.      Thanks!!

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IExtra books-May discussion‘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

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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.

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