Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mostly librarians science fiction/fantasy book club

I am coming up to 10 full years of participating in a science fiction and fantasy book club. Established years earlier by a group of state agency librarians, the group has been meeting monthly for lunch and book discussion at a downtown location near most of our workplaces.

We have members from a number of agencies, including the state library, the secretary of state's office, corrections, and now several lucky retirees. Some members are extremely well-read and knowledgeable about SF and fantasy, for others each author and book are a new experience. We gather once a (fiscal) year for a pot-luck on a weekend to choose the books for the coming year. We try to have a nice mix of genres, with at least one classic and usually a vampire book for one fan of that genre. One member is an expert in horror, so his suggestions are highly valued.

Here are the books we will be reading this fiscal year (thank you RF for compiling the list.) Read along and comment if you'd like. I'm hoping to soon create an online spreadsheet or database to list all the titles that have been read in the last eleven years.

8/08 Chabon, Michael / The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (alternative history)

9/08 Miller Jr., Walter M. / Canticle for Leibowitz (classic post-apocalyptic)

10/08 McDevitt, Jack / Seeker (space opera, archaeology, mystery)

11/08 Zelazny, Roger / A Night in the Lonesome October (fantasy)

12/08 Stirling, S.M. / Dies the Fire (post-apocalyptic)

1/09 Adams, Douglas / Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (comic sci-fi)

2/09 Robinson, Kim S. / The Years of Rice and Salt (alternative history)

3/09 Hill, Joe / Heart-Shaped Box (horror, ghost story)

4/09 Huxley, Aldous / Brave New World (classic dystopia)

5/09 Scalzi, John / The Android’s Dream (interstellar diplomacy, satire)

6/09 Maguire, Gregory / Wicked: the Life and Times of The Wicked Witch of the West (fantasy, cautionary tale)

7/09 Meyers, Stephenie / The Host (alien invasion)


Marianaria Sra. bibliotecaria said...

I recently read The Yiddish Policemen's Union and it was so good, I stopped reading it for a while because I didn't want it to end.

Chabon has created a magnificent alternate world that works so well, I think, because that world is a shtetl (in Alaska, no less) set in a larger world that is very much to the periphery, and not much different from today.

Note: this isn't a spoiler. The ending of the shtetl's right to the land, and the need for the Jews to move (I almost wrote wander) again reminded me of the Brits in Hong Kong when the lease was up.

I think it helps to appreciate this book to have some feel for the culture of hadidic Jews (maybe just from a novel by Chaim Potok) but it's not absolutely necessary.

The ending is rather chilling, as it's quite easy to imagine it happening now.

I envy you the chance to read this for the first time.

Marianaria Sra. bibliotecaria said...

Correction to previous post:
that's hasidic, not hadidic, Jews.