The /r/books Book Club Selection + AMA for May is "All Systems Red" and "Artificial Condition" by Martha Wells
If you are looking for the announcement thread for the previous month, it may be found here.
Hello, all. During the month of May, the sub book club will be reading a novella double feature - All Systems Red and Artificial Condition (books 1 & 2 of The Murderbot Diaries) by Martha Wells! Each week there will be a discussion thread and when we are done, Martha herself will be joining us for an AMA.
From Goodreads of All Systems Red (feel free to skip if you prefer to know nothing going into the book as the description contains minor spoilers):
"As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure."
In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.
But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.
On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.
But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it's up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.
You may find the dates of, and links to, the discussion threads below in the sticky comment on this post. You are welcome to read at your own pace. Usually it is pretty easy to catch up and you are always welcome to join the discussions a little later. If you would like to view potential content warnings for the book, a reader-created list may be found here.
For those of you that are viewing reddit on the redesigned desktop version you will see an option on this post to 'follow'. If you 'follow' the book club post you will receive a notification when a new post, a discussion thread for book club, is added to the collection.
This is our monthly discussion of the literature of the world! Every Wednesday, we'll post a new country or culture for you to recommend literature from, with the caveat that it must have been written by someone from that there (i.e. Shogun by James Clavell is a great book but wouldn't be included in Japanese literature).
May 26 is Independence Day in Guyana and, to celebrate, we're discussing Guyanese literature! Please use this thread to discuss your favorite Guyanese literature and authors.
Dhanvaad and enjoy!
Otis, the bookstore cat that’s been a presence at Loganberry Books for more than a decade, will retire from his position on May 29.cleveland.com
Just had to come and gush about this one. I know it's fairly well-loved around here but I only just experienced it myself. I'm a fan of the Vietnm war in movies/TV, but haven't come across a lot of it in book form other than Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (also really good). I think that TTTD might have set a new standard for me in terms of war-related literature.
What really stood out to me as I was reading it is just how little depiction of "war" there is in these pages. There are no action set pieces or sequences of fighting, action and strategizing. Instead, it's a much more introspective work, focusing way more on the psychology of the author-protagonist, and the emotional and mental toll the war has taken on him and his fellow soldiers.
It's dark, emotionally poignant, tragic and often uncomfortable but ultimately a very powerful work that looks at the seeming pointlessness of the war, as brought up by the protagonist's daughter at the end when she amusingly asks if it's happening because a bunch of people are mad at each other.
All the stories are great, but 3 of them separated themselves from the pack - On the Rainy River (the one where Tim ponders desertion and spends a few days on the lake on the border of the US/Canada), Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong (the one where the young soldier brings his sweet, innocent girlfriend to their camp and things get...dark) and The Lives of the Dead (the one where Tim fantasizes about hanging out with his dead childhood love). Despite their length, they pack a hell of an emotional wallop. Tim O'Brien writes with a prose that's elegant and powerful, and there were a bunch of passages in the book that I read over and over again.
Ultimately, this is also a book about the power of stories and storytelling itself, it seemed to me, and how narratives can help you cope, lead you astray or just create your own reality.
An easy 5 star read for me, and one I plan on coming back to again someday.
This 70-year-old woman drives around the country in a traveling bookstore, and is looking for a business partnertoday.com
and these are somewhat obscure math and science books that i doubt there are many copies of. recently i visited a local library and they didn't have a few of the books on general relativity that they used to have. it's a little concerning. i don't know what they're making room for. 100 copies of the latest stephen king novel probably.
I’ve never read a book that I connect with so much as Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar”. To see experiences so similar to what I’m going through expressed so poetically makes my heart hurt as much as it makes me feel that I’m not alone.
I could list dozens of passages that resonate with me from this book, but this one is such a solid representation of depression and the exhaustion that comes from daily tasks.
“I saw the days of the year stretching ahead like a series of bright, white boxes, and separating one box from another was sleep, like a black shade. Only for me, the long perspective of shades that set off one box from the next had suddenly snapped up, and I could see day after day after day glaring ahead of me like a white, broad, infinitely desolate avenue. It seemed silly to wash one day when I would only have to wash again the next. It made me tired just to think of it. I wanted to do everything once and for all and be through with it.”
Here and throughout the rest of the book, Plath so eloquently describes the turmoil and hopelessness of life that I’ve struggled to put into words myself.
Another one I sadly relate to:
“I saw the years of my life spaced along a road in the form of telephone poles, threaded together by wires. I counted one, two, three…nineteen telephone poles, and then the wires dangled into space, and try as I would, I couldn’t see a single pole beyond the nineteenth.”
My heart absolutely breaks for Plath when she writes in this way, but at the same time it hits so close to home.
Fantasy/sci-fi series these days seem to come in series only and are so massive it’s overwhelming and makes me not even want to attempt to read them.
I am a lover of fantasy and sci-fi. I am also an adult with a full time job, and interests outside of reading as such I try to get the most out of my time with them. I am no stranger to long stories, over 1000 pages, and if there is a reason for it to be that long I will happily devour it.
What I have an issue with is that writers these days can’t seem to edit their story or possibly push their stories to be long enough to have sequels.
Every time I visit the local book store I look at what’s happening on the fantasy and sci-fi sections. And oh boy. Books with 500+ pages, which is pretty standard for a story lure me in, get me all interested just to realise they are only part of a series of other similarly bulky publications.
I am talking modern, contemporary books. If you look at the Lord of The Rings trilogy, or Pullman’s Dark Materials or even Asimov’s Foundation epic those series are not as…lengthy as the ones I see on the shelves. The above writers also have standalone publications. Asimov’s I Robot are stories set in the same universe and despite the slim volume it sure packs a punch. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World didn’t need a trilogy. Pratchett’s Discworld books can be read and enjoyed as standalone stories. King’s The Talisman is a fantasy which could be done in a single book despite how action packed it is.
Everyone raves about the Expanse series so I checked it out and it’s TEN books. The Mistborn series 4 books all just shy of 600 pages each except the last one. Game of Thrones, same thing.
I have tried my hand with Holly Black’s Cruel Prince which is also part of a series. The amount of filler in the first book was astonishing! At the end I was just sitting there like “If the rest of the books contain so little action and have similarly large margins and spaces between letters this whole trilogy could easily be compressed into a single book.
The above of course is my personal opinion, and is a general rant. I might post it in three parts and make it into a trilogy. 😉
Honestly I was putting off this book for ages because I’m not into romance but I just finished it yesterday and I can honestly say it ended with an hour of sobbing and a tub of ice cream
I feel a little bit awful saying this but mostly I feel angry, I’m angry Finch killed himself I saw so much hope & I truly believed that Violet could save him
Remember when Violet said she knew what he was going through but still couldn’t save him, I somewhat feel the same way I as a reader knew exactly what he was thinking and what he was going through and it’s ironic but I’m angry I couldn’t save this fictional character I’m also confused why , I don’t understand why he did it ? Why didn’t he seek help? I know he had a bipolar disorder but why’d he attempt to kill himself so many times I got the impression that he wasn’t serious so why how did he do it?
Also I don’t get why the book is called all the bright places (is it because of all the places they visited?)
I recently had to read this book for school, and it's now my favorite book I have ever read. Please, if you haven't read it, just do it; it's super short. Although they initial lesson of the book seems to be 'screens bad books good,' there's so much to it than that. The relationships Montag (MC) has and how they are affected by his conflicting emotions are fascinating as well as tragic. F451 almost made me cry near the end. I'm curious as to what others think about this masterpiece. Do you guys love it as much as I do?
Now I'm going to share my favorite part of the book, so if you haven't read it, then skip this part.
At the end of the book, when Montag's home city is being bombed, one of the most powerful pictures was painted for me. Montag imagined that the power went off in his house before it was hit by one of the bombs, causing his wife's three parlor TVs, which she was always watching, to shut off before she died.
"Montag, falling flat, going down, saw or felt, or imagined he saw or felt the walls go dark in Millie's face, heard her screaming, because in the millionth part of time left, she saw her own face reflected there, in a mirror instead of a crystal ball, and it was such a wildly empty face, all by itself in the room, touching nothing, starved and eating of itself, that at last she recognized it as her own and quickly looked up at the ceiling as it and the entire structure of the hotel blasted down upon her, carrying her with a million pounds of brick, metal, plaster, and wood, to meet other people in the hives below, all on their quick way down to the cellar where the explosion rid itself of them in its own unreasonable way."
This has been sitting with me quite a lot recently. I needed to get my thoughts into words and share them with you.
My Nanna died a few years ago and I have since learnt that she got her books from a charity shop - she refused to pay full price because she grew up in wartime and post-war from a relatively poor background, and even as an adult she worked two jobs and she and my grandad were by no means rich.
So she got all of her books from charity shops… which meant they had to have been donated by some good soul. There was a series she was reading, a long series. I can’t remember which but knowing her it was probably a detective/crime/murder mystery series. She read books out of order and died having never finished the series, because she couldn’t find the books.
Grief form her death was hard enough, but to learn this about her is utterly heartbreaking. So I am making every effort to read books I’m passionate about, and I hope you guys all manage to do the same.
That’s… that’s all really.
I just finished reading Tuck Everlasting and genuinely enjoyed it. I know it is geared towards an elementary school audience but I think that we can really enjoy it as adults as well. I haven't been able to motivate myself to read in the past few years so I thought an elementary level book might be a good place to start (rather than trying to get into the Wheel of Time after many failed attempts). Prior to starting Tuck Everlasting, I made the mistake of reading a few posts about it on Reddit. That definitely skewed my perception because I read it expecting to absolutely hate the ending. But I think it ended perfectly! Anyone else feel the same? I'm wondering if any of you ever went back and read a childhood book - did you enjoy it or regret it? My next goal is to read Maniac Magee and hope that I'll fall in love with it all over again just as I did the first time.
Refugee children in London will be given a book each month until they turn five, thanks to a new project from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.theguardian.com
A book named "Maria Tripon - Mesager al țării Oașului, promotul țâpuritorilor oșenești" is one of the best books I've ever read, it is 270 pages long and it's also available to buy only in Romania! It has the lyrics of a song, lists every times where she was on a TV show, shows every festival that she participated in, it mentions all of her personal information which excludes the sensitive ones, childhood times and much more. It's undoubtedly one of the best books I've ever read!
Way back in 1993, I was a 13-year-old that was just about to go on a cross Canada trip with my family for a summer vacation. I was huge into fantasy at the time, and a family friend lent me the first four books of the Wheel of Time series. I quickly took to them and spent a lot of the travel time/down time reading them. At the end of the summer, I had finished the 4th book and was impatiently waiting for another (I figured that the 5th – and obviously last – book should be coming out soon, and I distinctly recall thinking that it should only take the author a couple of months to write it, for some dumb reason).
When the 5th book came out, I picked it up as soon as I could and tore through it quickly, only to find – again – that the story was not yet done. Which then set up the following pattern that I followed for almost a decade:
- New book comes out.
- I re-read all prior books to refresh my memory as to what is going on in the story.
- I read the new book, only the find out that the story is not yet done.
I followed this pattern until Crossroads at Twilight (Book 10 - 2003), at which point I decided that I was done with that pattern, and I was going to wait until the series was finished once and for all. So, I put the books back on the shelf….and for a long, long time, I forgot about them. My favorite genre, fantasy, did not appeal to me as much as it used to, and I went on a very long non-fiction kick – and primarily only read during my commutes on the train (which totaled for 3 hours each day). My life changed….I got into a relationship, got married…then moved somewhere where I no longer had that commute, and my reading as a whole just….stopped. That was about 10 years ago, and without commuting to set aside the time, my recreational reading just abruptly ended.
That hiatus came to an end a couple of years ago, when I rediscovered the library and started to get back into reading fiction. (It’s a good way to unwind before bed). Then, just about a year ago, I had to move some of my books and I found that I still had the WoT series….and a quick search revealed that the series is now indeed complete (and that Robert Jordan died? Like 15 years ago?). I figured that now was a good a time to finish the series as any, and started to plug away that them again, finally finishing A Memory of Light just the other day. I’m glad I did, not only for the story itself, but because of a couple of things I realized while re-reading the books – which I guess is the whole point of my preamble 😊
- Re-reading the books not only reminded me of the story as when I originally read it, but also of the people I was with and the places I was in when I was reading them. That family trip came back into mind. Reading in my room when I still lived with my parents. Being in university and reading them again – as well as my first place after graduating. Family and friends that I had spent time with. The family friend who lent me the original books way back has been gone for a long time now, as is one of my parents. Friends that I was inseparable from during the original reads are now far flung, with time and distance making visitations a rare thing. It was opening a window back to my younger self, and it was not something I was expecting when I started my re-read.
- Being now in my early 40’s, instead of my early teens/early twenties has changed how I view characters or some writing tropes that occurred within the series, and not always for the better:
- Teenage Me – Why are all the main characters treated like kids? They are obviously old enough and mature enough for what they are doing.
- 42 year-old me – YOU. ARE. ALL. KIDS. Even the ones in their 20's.
- Teenage me – Man, do these female characters get naked a lot. Woo!
- 42 year old me – Why, exactly, does this scene require nudity? Also…all these characters are now late-teens / early 20’s at best now…..which is a bit of an ‘eww’ based on the current age difference.
- Teenage me – Loved the romantic connection between the characters.
- 42-year-old me – Eye roll. While some of the romances made sense, there were a couple in there that originated from the smallest meetings. And you want to get married? You don’t even know each other.
So, basically, I just created a long post to say "Re-reading books when you're older brings back memories and my interpretations are now different" :) So, sorry if I bored you. Still shorter than a standard WoT chapter though.
Finally, I would like to thank Brandon Sanderson for finishing up the series. I will have to admit that the writing style shift that occurred when he took over took a bit of getting used to (it was almost like good fan fiction at first), but once I did, the remainder of the series was great. In particular, that one extremely long chapter in the final book was intense and very well written.
I recently started The Atlas Six after reading such rave reviews about it, so I was pretty excited. I'm also a huge fan of dark academia (never the same after reading The Secret History). I'm around the part where all the characters are all gathered together for the first time. But anyways, I'm actually having a really hard time getting into it? I feel like the author didn't do a good job of setting the story up. I'm confused about everyone's powers and the world they live in, and I don't particularly like any of the characters. Does it get better or is it a lost cause (over-hyped)?
Since it's publication in 1831 Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" is an absolute classic in gothic horror fiction and also provided a template for science fiction.
The tale of the doomed Victor Frankenstein who had brought to life a a creature that would unfortunately bring havoc and tragedy in it's wake. For years the monster of this story has become a cultural icon. The book has be adapted to film many times (some vastly different from the original story). For me it will always be the original, ever since I gotten the Dover Thrift Editions copy of it (along with "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde).
A classic certainly to be enjoyed over and over.
I've always been more of a science person than a humanities person, with history especially being inscrutable to me: sure, I can memorize who did what and when, but is this supposed to be enjoyable? I could get behind big themes and concepts, such as the development of agriculture or the spread of the Mongols, since they seemed to follow a certain logic, but individual events like WWI felt like a list of bullet points nebulously linked by the concept of "politics". I could still appreciate the time period, and really enjoy historical fiction set in the time such as War Horse or All Quiet on the Western Front, but the much less personal narrative of the war as a whole wasn't something I could see myself diving into.
That is, until I read A World Undone! G.J. Meyer manages, in this absolute beast of a book, to make the impersonal personal. Rather than reduce the war down to diagrams and arrows and "the French attacked here so there was famine there", Meyer takes us deep into the political heads' personal lives and thought processes, and reminds us of all the people involved in war. The aforementioned 'bullet points' of battles suddenly make a lot more sense when the decision-making process is laid out for me, and I found myself much more invested in the outcomes of individual events. Meyer humanizes a lot of the players of WWI in a way that we did not cover in school, going into what their psychological state must have been like and the pressures of internal politics, and I felt honest sympathy for a lot of these generals! Of course, I wonder how accurate these portrayals are, and must take it with a grain of salt; Meyer may very well have focused on certain facts more than others to paint these people in the light that he finds most suitable or interesting. There are a lot of quotes that I had not heard before this book, and I don't know enough to judge them. But the very fact that he was able to take, say, Tsar Nicholas II and turn him from "ruler of Russia" to "man anxious for his country and family but under immense pressure" in my mind, and to give him dimensionality, is impressive.
The book itself is a beast, but I think that's the whole point: Meyers's prose keeps your attention as he goes into every little detail of the war, and pulls you in for 800 pages of nonfiction that feel like a narrative. It's clear to me now that I had not appreciated the history of the event because I had not gone deep enough into it, and could not appreciate it fully based on the technically accurate, but incredibly incomplete view of it I had been exposed to. If this is what history is actually about, I get it now! Turns out, history buffs do not take pleasure in memorizing spreadsheets of names and relationships, but are able to see the very human element involved in events of the past. Knowing all of the details makes it so much more "real", and I'd be more willing to learn more about it. I'm now tempted to go on a deep dive of some other historical event to see if it can finally make sense to me, too!
I know the original Swedish didn't have people's weights in pounds, the majority of the Anglosphere uses kg, so just stick to kg. I feel like I'm being pulled out of Sweden into the US, I don't need that, there's enough books, TV and movies set there.
If a book is set in Ireland, and written by an author who went to school in Ireland, why is the MC studying 'math' and telling us the temperature in F? Again stop pulling me into the US.
I had a book printed and shipped to me and it came wavy and warped like this. It took about a week for it to arrive. I have no idea if it is because of humidity or faulty printing, but the pages themselves are printed fine. I can't seem to find any signs of water damage. It's a paperback and the cover is fine too. Any idea on what I should do to fix it?
Just finished this books and would like to discuss it.
I really like the way Morrison writes, she's elusive and direct at the same time. Her books read easily.
This book is about the loss of innocence, women's relationships and competitiveness under patriarchy, dysfunctional family dynamics,...
I have a few questions: was Celestial a prostitute ? Was Junior a ghost or some supernatural entity ? Why did she refer to Billy Cosey as "her man" ?
To my recollection it was an autobiographical style book, about a middle aged guy. The tone of the book was a little sad overall. I'm pretty sure at the end of the book he got humilated by a person / people at a bar. And he ended it off by basically saying this is my side of the story, so he at least has his POV out there before this girl tries to screw him over.
Probably butchered the description, but if this sounds familiar lmk 😊
me personally i never went to the bookstore and grabbed a book and read it i always look online for good books so i wanted to know if someone ever grabbed a book at a local store maybe bcz the cover was nice or the title was magnificent or whatever and it turned out to be a 5-star read. i’m just curios so lmk!
I just found out that my friend's wife has published 2 self help books. It's a smaller book for moms and kindness and Christian self help stuff. Should I buy the book from Amazon, brick and mortar store, online order from B&N? I'm sure publishers are able to track sales, so which retail numbers do they look from?
How do, non-mainstream, authors get paid nowadays? Do they get any commission from sales or just cash up front?
Does it help them with future book deals if they have good sales?
OR, Is this an extremely complicated question and I should just buy the book from anywhere because 1 sale doesn't matter?
I'm kind of a new reader and I've just recently started reading a book that isn't non-fiction but it kinda feels like it. This book is extremely reflective and basically has no plot but it's pages are filled with questioning your reality. As I read it there's no 'path' to walk. It's a series of reflections and I'm kinda afraid of forgetting it. I'm very lost, please help. For those who are curious, the book is "A Paixão Segundo G.H."/"The Passion According to G.H." by Clarice Lispector.