You didn’t realize that when I joined a book club, so did you, in an off-handed way. I can’t believe the books I am reading that I never would have picked up without the requirement to read these for the club. Oh, the places I’ve gone. Really. I suggest you find a local book club and join up and even if you can’t get to the meetings, read the books! We have one over-achiever in the club who reads all the books nominated!
Seriously, reading is a great necessary part of being a writer. Ideas flow off the page, bits of character resonate with you, whatever world you land in calls to you to create your own places. It’s magic, really. So I read a lot but have pretty much stuck to Romances and favorite sci-fi authors.
I joined in July which meant I missed the June selection, The Atrocity Files by Charles Stross. Not really a problem, I am up to date with that series, but I regret that the club didn’t enjoy it. How could they not? Have I joined the right group? July’s book, Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee was an enjoyable read, full of suspense and great action. The club was divided on this one.
August showcased Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand, a fantasy, rock era, almost-real-life story with unexplained stuff all over it. Frankly, I liked the alternate read, Borderline by Mishell Baker better. And that seemed to be the consensus. September, we finally had a book that hooked me quickly so it was an easy read. All Systems Red by Martha Wells pulled up the old Pinocchio question of when a thing becomes a person.
October, of course, we wanted to read something scary, and by we, I mean they. I am not a fan of horror
fiction. Still, I soldiered on through The Passage by Justin Cronin. I did not enjoy much of it, but the horror fans certainly did and that’s fine. Some went on to read the rest of the series so I could find out what happened to the characters without having to live in that world again. November, we wanted to read about the chaos and sense of loneliness that is family time at Thanksgiving. Maybe. Anyway, Greg Bear’s Hull Zero Three started out with a wonderful scene, moved on to the death of just about everything, and then climbed around through monster dens and repetitious encounters. It all made sense in the end, but getting there was not fun to me. And it was better without the last bit that says what you read in the one part was all a lie. We were split on this one.
December and the flu season seemed the perfect time to read A Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier. You know, a pandemic plague with no cure because it hits too fast, a person who could have survived but chooses to cross an inhospitable landscape instead, and a subtle implication that drinking soda pop was the vector that spread “The Blinks”. Happy Holidays! I hated it, but it was a very well written book. I kept hoping for a happily ever after ending. Most of the club liked it.
January, we started the New Year off well with a mostly fun book with an edge, Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi. If you expected that to say H. Beam Piper, you are in the class of people who read the originals and maybe who don’t understand why the story had to be rewritten. It didn’t have to be, but for one, I’m glad it was. I loved the updated corporation and the love interest history. It received a pretty favorable response from us.
February spotlight pulled up The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North, a book I would never have touched but that I ended up loving. The ending satisfied me in so many ways. This was also a great book to discuss with the group because in the back there were questions for discussion by a book club. I wish more authors would include that. Overall, we gave the book all thumbs up.
We are set to read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. It’s a repeat for the group but a first time for me. The blurb appeals to me, so I think I will like this one. While the goal of the book club isn’t just to make me happy, I appreciate when that happens. The goal, by the way, is to expose us all to books beyond our usual grasp and genres. Way to go, Cyborg Knights!
I found this book club through Meet-up, sort of. I actually found a writing group, and the leader of that bunch of crazies invited me to join the book club. Anyway, find a meet-up group in your area and go for it. This group alternates monthly between fantasy and science fiction and meets at breweries and restaurants where we won’t bother too many people if we are loud and laughing. Joining this is one of my best decisions ever, and the fact my husband shares it with me is all bonus. Find your group today!
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.