In for Snow Crash, if for no other reason to keep Merkin from yelling at me.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
The Light Between Oceans: A Novel by M.L. Stedman
Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae by Steven Pressfield
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
NEW THIS MONTH: MULTIPLE CHOICE POLL
Rules from the book club thread:
Archangel criteria:1. Make thread, 1 week notice ahead of time when the reading will officially start.
2. Poster creates poll, 5 book options. Highest vote is the book to be read. The 2nd and 3rd most popular voted books may be included in next RBCT poll perhaps.
3. Sony you have 14 days.... Posters establish reading length time. Spoilers obv need to be in just about every post. Format would be "Im on page XXX: Spoiler"
4. After the established time has passed, people can being posts without spoiler tags, and a new thread could be proposed.
5. The most requested books of last months book thread will be included in the next month's poll.
1) Fantasy/Sci-fi: The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1) by Patrick Rothfuss
My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as "quothe." Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person. I've had more names than anyone has a right to. The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it's spoken, can mean The Flame, The Thunder, or The Broken Tree.
"The Flame" is obvious if you've ever seen me. I have red hair, bright. If I had been born a couple of hundred years ago I would probably have been burned as a demon. I keep it short but it's unruly. When left to its own devices, it sticks up and makes me look as if I have been set afire.
"The Thunder" I attribute to a strong baritone and a great deal of stage training at an early age.
I've never thought of "The Broken Tree" as very significant. Although in retrospect, I suppose it could be considered at least partially prophetic.
My first mentor called me E'lir because I was clever and I knew it. My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it. I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String. I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them.
But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant "to know."
I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
So begins the tale of Kvothe—from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe as a notorious magician, an accomplished thief, a masterful musician, and an infamous assassin. But The Name of the Wind is so much more—for the story it tells reveals the truth behind Kvothe's legend.
2) Non-Fiction: The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
One of the world's most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it.
Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius—a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions.
The copying and translation of this ancient book-the greatest discovery of the greatest book-hunter of his age-fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson.
3) General Fiction/Popular Fiction: The Light Between Oceans: A Novel by M.L. Stedman
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.
4) Genre Fiction (Historical): Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae by Steven Pressfield
Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here obedient to their laws we lie.
Thus reads an ancient stone at Thermopylae in northern Greece, the site of one of the world's greatest battles for freedom. Here, in 480 B.C., on a narrow mountain pass above the crystalline Aegean, 300 Spartan knights and their allies faced the massive forces of Xerxes, King of Persia. From the start, there was no question but that the Spartans would perish. In Gates of Fire, however, Steven Pressfield makes their courageous defense--and eventual extinction--unbearably suspenseful.
In the tradition of Mary Renault, this historical novel unfolds in flashback. Xeo, the sole Spartan survivor of Thermopylae, has been captured by the Persians, and Xerxes himself presses his young captive to reveal how his tiny cohort kept more than 100,000 Persians at bay for a week. Xeo, however, begins at the beginning, when his childhood home in northern Greece was overrun and he escaped to Sparta. There he is drafted into the elite Spartan guard and rigorously schooled in the art of war--an education brutal enough to destroy half the students, but (oddly enough) not without humor: "The more miserable the conditions, the more convulsing the jokes became, or at least that's how it seems," Xeo recalls. His companions in arms are Alexandros, a gentle boy who turns out to be the most courageous of all, and Rooster, an angry, half-Messenian youth.
Pressfield's descriptions of war are breathtaking in their immediacy. They are also meticulously assembled out of physical detail and crisp, uncluttered metaphor:
The forerank of the enemy collapsed immediately as the first shock hit it; the body-length shields seemed to implode rearward, their anchoring spikes rooted slinging from the earth like tent pins in a gale. The forerank archers were literally bowled off their feet, their wall-like shields caving in upon them like fortress redoubts under the assault of the ram.... The valor of the individual Medes was beyond question, but their light hacking blades were harmless as toys; against the massed wall of Spartan armor, they might as well have been defending themselves with reeds or fennel stalks.
Alas, even this human barrier was bound to collapse, as we knew all along it would.
"War is work, not mystery," Xeo laments. But Pressfield's epic seems to make the opposite argument: courage on this scale is not merely inspiring but ultimately mysterious.
5) Young Adult/Teen/Children's (both Fiction and Non): Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Larry McMurtry, in books like The Last Picture Show, has depicted the modern degeneration of the myth of the American West. The subject of Lonesome Dove, cowboys herding cattle on a great trail-drive, seems like the very stuff of that cliched myth, but McMurtry bravely tackles the task of creating meaningful literature out of it. At first the novel seems the kind of anti-mythic, anti-heroic story one might expect: the main protagonists are a drunken and inarticulate pair of former Texas Rangers turned horse rustlers. Yet when the trail begins, the story picks up an energy and a drive that makes heroes of these men. Their mission may be historically insignificant, or pointless--McMurtry is smart enough to address both possibilities--but there is an undoubted valor in their lives. The result is a historically aware, intelligent, romantic novel of the mythic west that won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
6) Pot-Luck: Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
From the opening line of his breakthrough cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson plunges the reader into a not-too-distant future. It is a world where the Mafia controls pizza delivery, the United States exists as a patchwork of corporate-franchise city-states, and the Internet--incarnate as the Metaverse--looks something like last year's hype would lead you to believe it should. Enter Hiro Protagonist--hacker, samurai swordsman, and pizza-delivery driver. When his best friend fries his brain on a new designer drug called Snow Crash and his beautiful, brainy ex-girlfriend asks for his help, what's a guy with a name like that to do? He rushes to the rescue. A breakneck-paced 21st-century novel, Snow Crash interweaves everything from Sumerian myth to visions of a postmodern civilization on the brink of collapse. Faster than the speed of television and a whole lot more fun, Snow Crash is the portrayal of a future that is bizarre enough to be plausible.
Last edited by Himeo; 02-25-2013 at 10:48 AM.
In for Snow Crash, if for no other reason to keep Merkin from yelling at me.
I never finished Snow Crash so BULLY. I am devastated that the Genghis Khan book is not up for selection but it would have lost out to Snow Crash anyway.
I never got into Snow Crash, just never really interested me, so I voted for it in the hopes that peer pressure will get me to read it. It can't be any more monotonous than American Gods!
I can do Snow Crash for the 10th time. not a problem.
agree with Chaos that April will hopefully have Genghis as an option. I DL'd it
I put in votes for Snow Crash and Gates of Fire. I love Snow Crash, but I always look at these Book of the Month Club type things as an opportunity to read something I normally wouldn't on my own. However, I would have no issue reading SC again. I also liked The Name of the Wind, but I just recently re-read it and don't feel like doing it again so soon.
"It's okay," Hiro says. "I'm sure they'll listen to Reason."
I don't really see anything but fantasy or sci-fi ever winning one of these polls on this board. "Lonesome Dove" is one of my all time favorite books though, I highly recommend it. Not sure why it's in the "young adult" section though.
Last edited by BrutulTM; 02-26-2013 at 03:00 PM.
I'm hoping that we start to branch out into some other genres pretty soon. Some of these non-fantasy/scifi books I would love to read.
I like that Himeo is throwing out broader based stuff than I would bother to look for, but I am too pussy to vote for it apparently.
Can we have Double Fantasy September where we only nominate books about John Lennon?
Stuff I dig is SCi-Fi / Fantasy and Bios. I'll go outside my comfort zone is it is really good.
I'm getting sick of Name of the Wind hogging the Fantasy spot. It's taken second place two months in a row now.
How about a rule that if a book takes second place two months in a row it's the automatic pick for the next month OR it's banned from the poll for the rest of the year?
Last edited by Himeo; 03-23-2013 at 09:28 AM.
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