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December’s Poll and Genre selection for the Future

Hello, readers!

 

I don’t know about you all, but this is my favorite time of year. The weather is finally cooler, the rain is coming far more often, and it’s the perfect time to curl up and read with a good book.

 

Except I was totally one of the only people who didn’t even finish the first half of the book for our last meeting. My bad!

 

Anyway, I don’t have much to say this time around. Please vote below for our December book. We’ve got a variety of options which span the sci-fi genre in a few directions. Since it’s such a vast genre, we can do two months (either in a row or split, depending on what you’d prefer) so that we can cover more.

 

Since it’s harder for us to pin down, I’ve I’ve also put up a poll for genres. You can vote for up to three of them, and we will go from there. You will find book summaries and both polls below.

 

Surface Detail (Culture #9) by Iain M. Banks

 

These don’t need to be read in order.

 

It begins in the realm of the Real, where matter still matters. It begins with a murder. It will not end until the Culture has gone to war with death itself. Lededje Y’breq is one of the Intagliated, her marked body bearing witness to a family shame, her life belonging to a man whose lust for power is without limit. Prepared to risk everything for her freedom, her release, when it comes, is at a price. To put things right she will need the help of the Culture. Benevolent, enlightened and almost infinitely resourceful though it may be, the Culture can only do so much for any individual.

 

With the assistance of one of its most powerful – and arguably deranged – warships, Lededje finds herself heading into a combat zone not even sure which side the Culture is really on.

 

A brutal, far-reaching war is already raging within the digital realms that store the souls of the dead and it’s about to erupt into reality. It started in the realm of the Real & that is where it will end. It will touch countless lives and affect entire civilizations, but at the center of it all is a young woman whose need for revenge masks another motive altogether.

 

A Fire Upon the Deep (Zones of Thought #1) by Vernor Vinge

 

Thousands of years hence, many races inhabit a universe where a mind’s potential is determined by its location in space, from superintelligent entities in the Transcend, to the limited minds of the Unthinking Depths, where only simple creatures and technology can function. Nobody knows what strange force partitioned space into these “regions of thought,” but when the warring Straumli realm use an ancient Transcendent artifact as a weapon, they unwittingly unleash an awesome power that destroys thousands of worlds and enslaves all natural and artificial intelligence.

 

Fleeing the threat, a family of scientists, including two children, are taken captive by the Tines, an alien race with a harsh medieval culture, and used as pawns in a ruthless power struggle. A rescue mission, not entirely composed of humans, must rescue the children-and a secret that may save the rest of interstellar civilization.

 

Red Rising (Red Rising Saga #1) by Pierce Brown

 

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

 

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

 

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

 

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

 

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

 

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

 

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

 

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet  by Becky Chambers

 

Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space-and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe-in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.

 

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

 

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

 

Book Poll

 

What book shall we read for December?

  • Surface Detail (Culture #9) by Iain M. Banks (31%, 5 Votes)
  • Red Rising (Red Rising Saga #1) by Pierce Brown (25%, 4 Votes)
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers (25%, 4 Votes)
  • A Fire Upon the Deep (Zones of Thought #1) by Vernor Vinge (19%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 16

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Genre Poll

 

What genres are you interested in reading over the next few months? (Choose 3)

  • Thriller (18%, 8 Votes)
  • Memoir/Biography/Autobiography (13%, 6 Votes)
  • Paranoid Fiction (13%, 6 Votes)
  • Contemporary Fiction (11%, 5 Votes)
  • Nonfiction (11%, 5 Votes)
  • Sci-Fi (11%, 5 Votes)
  • Romance (9%, 4 Votes)
  • Speculative Fiction (9%, 4 Votes)
  • Self Help (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Other Genre (Put it in the book submissions channel) (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Horror (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 15

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Updated Schedule and November Poll

Hi, readers!

 

Tonight, we met for our midway discussion of The Graveyard Book. It has been probably our lightest read yet, which I think has been refreshing for some of us. Short and sweet, this book was a first in terms of forays into Gaiman’s works for a couple of us, while many of you returned happily to his writing. I know that I speak for more than just myself when I say I have discovered an author from whom I want to read more.

 

Important Info for Future Meetings

 

Since we have a few holidays upcoming, and given how short this book is, we will be meeting next Saturday (October 24) instead of our usual two weeks later. After this, our two week schedule will continue, with our first November meeting occurring on November 7th. This allows everyone to have Halloween and Thanksgiving weekends free.

 

I have posted our November poll below. We are doing LitRPG for November and Sci-Fi for December. Please submit any ideas you may have for the latter and submit your vote for next month!

 

Since we have more options than usual, you are able to vote for more than one book.

 

As always, below are the summaries and page counts of each book. Below them will be the poll. The books range in audio book length from 11.5 to 13.5 hours.

 

The Survival Quest (Way of the Shaman #1) by Vasily Mahanenko

 

Barliona: a virtual world jam-packed with monsters, battles-and, predictably, players. Millions of them come to Barliona, looking forward to the things they can’t get in real life: elves and magic, dragons and princesses, and unforgettable combat. The game has become so popular that players now choose to spend months online without returning home. In Barliona, anything goes: You can assault fellow players, level up, become a mythical hero, a wizard, or a legendary thief. The only rule that attempted to regulate the game demanded that no player be allowed to feel actual pain. But there’s an exception to every rule. For a certain bunch of players, Barliona has become their personal hell. They are criminals sent to Barliona to serve their time. They aren’t in it for the dragons’ gold or the abundant loot. All they want is to survive the virtual inferno. They face the ultimate survival quest.

 

Opening Moves (The Gam3 #1) by Cosimo Yap

 

The Earth is changing. The alien invasion brought social upheaval, advanced technology, and an armada of peacekeeping robots. But Alan, a college student pursuing a now-useless degree, cares little about all of this. He has only one thing on his mind: the Game.

 

A fully immersive virtual reality, the Game appears to be a major part of the invading civilization. Alan can’t wait to play, recklessly diving into the digital universe. Soon though, Alan realizes the Game is anything but simple, and the stakes are higher than he ever imagined.

 

Ritualist (The Completionist Chronicles #1) by Dakota Krout

 

A game that puts all others to shame. Magic that has been banned from the world. A man willing to learn no matter the cost.

 

The decision to start a new life is never an easy one, but for Joe the transition was far from figurative. Becoming a permanent addition to a game world, it doesn’t take long to learn that people with his abilities are actively hunted. In fact, if the wrong people gained knowledge of what he was capable of, assassins would appear in droves.

 

In his pursuit of power, Joe fights alongside his team, completes quests, and delves into the mysteries of his class, which he quickly discovers can only be practiced in secret. Ultimately, his goal is to complete every mission, master every ability, and learn all of the world’s secrets.

 

All he has to do is survive long enough to make that happen.

 

AlterWorld (Play to Live #1) by D. Rus

 

A new pandemic – the perma effect – has taken over Earth of the near future. Whenever you play your favorite online game, beware: your mind might merge with the virtual world and dump its comatose host. Woe be to those stuck forever in Tetris! And still they’re the lucky ones compared to those burning alive eternally within the scorched hulls of tank simulators.

 

But some unfortunates – the handicapped and the terminally ill, shell-shocked army vets, wronged crime victims and other society misfits – choose to flee real life willingly, escaping to the limitless world of online sword and sorcery MMORPGs.

 

Once a seasoned gamer and now a terminal cancer patient, Max grasps at this final chance to preserve his life and identity. So he goes for it – goes for the promise of immortality shared with a few trusty friends and the woman he loves. Together they roam the roads of AlterWorld and sample its agony and ecstasy born of absolute freedom.

 

Welcome to Ludus (Delvers LLC #1) byBlaise Corvin

 

Henry and Jason led normal lives in Seattle before they were abducted to another world. Their kidnapper, the vain, self-styled god Dolos refuses to send them back unless they can accomplish an impossible task. Oddly, Dolos doesn’t seem to care if they succeed or not.

 

Luckily, Henry and Jason studied Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) on Earth. Unfortunately, a Japanese American EMT and a geeky IT programmer don’t have many other useful skills on a sword and sorcery world like Ludus.

 

Stranded in the middle of nowhere on an alien world, the friends have no real direction and only a few possessions including magic-granting orbs from an apathetic god. Undaunted, the two begin their insane adventure to return home, but basic survival and eventually paying rent will have to take priority.

 

Vote Here

 

You may vote for 2 books.

 

What shall we read for November?

  • The Survival Quest (Way of the Shaman #1) by Vasily Mahanenko (36%, 10 Votes)
  • Ritualist (The Completionist Chronicles #1) byDakota Krout (25%, 7 Votes)
  • AlterWorld (Play to Live #1) byD. Rus (18%, 5 Votes)
  • Opening Moves (The Gam3 #1) byCosimo Yap (14%, 4 Votes)
  • Welcome to Ludus (Delvers LLC #1) byBlaise Corvin (7%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 15

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October Read Choices

Hi, readers!

Welcome to fall! Is it time to wake Greenday up?
Ha ha I’m so funny.

Anyway, it is just about time for our October book! I have gotten a few suggestions from you and grabbed a couple of my own that looked interesting, so hopefully we have a good selection from which to choose.

I like to chronicle how our books and conversations turn out, but if you are uninterested in reading my thoughts and summations, feel free to skip down a few headings to where you will find summaries and the poll itself.

Sinister Magic

This book, despite it’s surprisingly positive reviews, did not meet a single one of our expectations or hopes.

Following a middle aged(ish) mom who fights supernatural crimes and apprehends magical criminals, I think there was a lot of room for some great plot and characters. I think we conclusively decided that it fell short in just about every single aspect.

There are quite a few books which follow it up, and there was only vague interest in potentially checking them out. The book had high potential and still has plenty of room to grow and expand to fill in the gaps of our disappointment, but we will have to see if that potential is enough to keep anyone’s interest.

The Rook

We are going to be meeting for our final discussion on this book this Saturday at 10:00 EDT.
So far, the consensus has been positive, interested, and hopeful for a good ending. With good prose, interesting characters, subtle but bright humor, it has been a pretty solid read in a lot of ways.

I already know of a couple of you who have finished it and intend on reading the sequel. I hope it meets your expectations!

Summaries for Our October Choices

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

307 pages
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a perfectly normal boy. Well, he would be perfectly normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the world of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard: the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer; a gravestone entrance to a desert that leads to the city of ghouls; friendship with a witch, and so much more.

But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks, for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod’s family.

A deliciously dark masterwork by bestselling author Neil Gaiman, with illustrations by award-winning Dave McKean

The Best of H.P. Lovecraft, by H.P. Lovecraft

406 pages
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”—H.P. Lovecraft

This is the collection that true fans of horror fiction must have: sixteen of H.P. Lovecraft’s most horrifying visions, including:

The Call of Cthulu: The first story in the infamous Cthulhu mythos—a creature spawned in the stars brings a menace of unimaginable evil to threaten all mankind.

The Dunwich Horror: An evil man’s desire to perform an unspeakable ritual leads him in search of the fabled text of The Necronomicon.

The Colour Out of Space: A horror from the skies—far worse than any nuclear fallout—transforms a man into a monster.

The Shadow Over Innsmouth: Rising from the depths of the sea, an unspeakable horror engulfs a quiet New England town.

Plus twelve more terrifying tales!

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

421 pages
Hannibal Lecter. The ultimate villain of modern fiction. Read the five-million-copy bestseller that scared the world silent. The Silence of the Lambs. A young FBI trainee. An evil genius locked away for unspeakable crimes. A plunge into the darkest chambers of a psychopath’s mind–in the deadly search for a serial killer. – back cover

Intensity by Dean Koontz

436 pages
Past midnight, Chyna Shepard, twenty-six, gazes out a moonlit window, unable to sleep on her first night in the Napa Valley home of her best friend’s family. Instinct proves reliable. A murderous sociopath, Edgler Foreman Vess, has entered the house, intent on killing everyone inside. A self-proclaimed “homicidal adventurer,” Vess lives only to satisfy all appetites as they arise, to immerse himself in sensation, to live without fear, remorse or limits, to live with “intensity.” Chyna is trapped in his deadly orbit.

Chyna is a survivor, toughened by a lifelong struggle for safety and self-respect. Now she will be tested as never before. At first her sole aim is to get out alive–until, by chance, she learns the identity of Vess’s next intended victim, a faraway innocent only she can save. Driven by a newly discovered thirst for meaning beyond mere self-preservation, Chyna musters every inner resource she has to save an endangered girl…as moment by moment, the terrifying threat of Edgler Foreman Vess intensifies.

 

Vote Here!

 

What Shall We Read for October?

  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. (54%, 7 Votes)
  • The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (31%, 4 Votes)
  • The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre by H.P. Lovecraft (8%, 1 Votes)
  • Intensity by Dean Koontz (8%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 13

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Reflections and Updates

Hi, readers!

Another successful meeting! Thank you for attending and bringing your thoughtful and respectful discussion.

This past Friday, we discussed the ending to The Fifth Season. A group’s ability to talk about a single book for well over an hour is incredible to me, and I am so grateful to all of you for participating.

Overall, the consensus was positive, if a bit confused. We were left with many questions (some of which appear to be answered early on in the second book, according to the members who started it). I know I’m going to continue with the series and, while we won’t be meeting to discuss them, I hope that some of you join me in finishing it!

My favorite part of these discussions is one that I didn’t consider existing before starting them. I thought that I would branch out of my usual genres, be given more inspiration to read, and share my thoughts and feelings with people at the same stage of reading as myself. All of these have been fulfilled over and over again, but what I didn’t expect was how much of a better reader you inspire me to be. I’m not very critical in my reading. I am easily satisfied, and I don’t ask many questions. You guys do. You dig deeper into the plot and the characters than I have before, and you dredge up curiosity, confusion, interest, and disappointment where I didn’t even think to look for any. Your questioning the book makes me question my own perceptions, and I have thoroughly enjoyed rethinking the way I read with and because of you!

Next Up

We’re diving into Sinister Magic! Since this book is quite short, we’re tentatively aiming to meet a single time to discuss its entirety on September 4th, instead of splitting it up over two meetings across a full month. If this is not workable for you, please reach out!

This means that the next book we read (after Sinister Magic) will have meetings on September 18th and October 2nd.

Since we have limited time to decide on a genre and pick a book between now and September 4th, and considering it nearly tied with Sinister Magic this round, our next book will be The Rook! You can see the voting breakdown as well as details about the book in the previous post here.

I will add all of this info to the calendar for a more scheduled display of info.

Finally, it’s a ways off yet, but start thinking about what you’d like to read for October! We’ve decided to do a Halloween theme, and I’ll leave it as open to interpretation as you’d like it to be. As always, I will go seek out some books if I don’t get enough submissions.

Happy reading!

Breakdown of Upcoming Events

(All meeting times are at 10:00 pm EDT)

09/04: Entirety of Sinister Magic

09/18: First half of The Rook.

10/02: Ending of The Rook.

10/16: First half of whatever horror/Halloween themed book is chosen.

10/30: Ending of the horror/Halloween themed book.

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Our first book!

As is pretty evident by the choices, I’m going with a more sci-fi theme for our first book. It’s a genre I’m unfamiliar with beyond one or two books, so I’m excited to try something new!
Since many of you have delved into this genre a lot already, feel free to let me know if you have already read all the options. Don’t select an option you’ve already read unless you truly don’t mind re-reading it with us.

I’m opening up next sections submissions now, so feel free to throw some titles at me. I’m thinking urban fantasy?

Just do us all a favor and pick the first book in a series, if you can.

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