Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Picked by: Judi

Bill: Had a real problem making myself read this - only one so far like that. Too long, too wordy for me - 400 pages too long.
General Read: 2 | For Discussion: 4

Phyllis: Interesting concept - parasite aliens, what it means to be human, etc. but the book was about 300 pages too long. Dialogue in the middle meandered. The love triangle and dialogues was too much like Breaking Dawn which makes her books become too cookie cutter.
General Read: 2 | For Discussion: 3

John: Very easy read. The book was slow in the middle; enjoyed the end.
General Read: 4 | For Discussion: 3

Steph: This book captivated me at first and I felt I couldn't put it down. But then, I tired of all the cowering and passivity of Wanderer and almost hoped Kyle was going to do some damage. I was also very annoyed with her actions in the trial of Kyle (hey, that rhymes!). The ending with the excursions and the acquisition of the medicine picked the book back up for me, but I got very tired of the martyr act very fast. With all that being said, I enjoyed it for the most part.
General Read: 4.5 | For Discussion: 4

Judi: Intriguing ideas about the relationship of the soul to the body. Raised lots of discussion about "love" - can it be separated from the body?
General Read: 3 | For Discussion: 3

Discussed at Firefly Coffeeshop.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card

Picked by: Bill

Judi: Page-turner, well written; excellent character development. More psychological exploration than the average sci-fi book.
General Read: 4 | For Discussion: 4

Phyllis: There seemed to be much more character development in
Ender's Shadow than Ender's Game - and the character was quite complex. All of which made it a much more interesting story.
General Read: 5 | For Discussion: 4

Bill: Reviews say it is not necessary to have read Ender's Game, but I think that adds significantly to the enjoyment & understanding of Ender's Shadow. I found the "parallax" view of the same events original and fascinating.
General Read: 5 | For Discussion: 5

John: How Bean evelved from using his intelligence for self perseverance to having feelings and helping his fellow companions was fascinating. I believe there was little differences between this and Ender's Game even thought each was seen through different eyes.
General Read: 5 | For Discussion: 4

Steph: Great character growth. Card married the two novels with expertise. I amused myself by reading the same scene from each book, one after the other, to see how each character felt during the exchanges. We have had livelier discussions on other books.
General Read: 5 | For Discussion: 3

Eric: I've heard a number of people say that Bean's series is their favorite, above Ender's, and yet I cannot compare the two because I cannot read the one without the knowledge of the other. Yet, I can say that Card masterfully changes perspective, voice and varies theme, returning to a story he first published some fourteen years earlier, in a way I doubt few others would be able to accomplish so well. The juxtaposition of survival and compassion, entitlement verses humility, revenge and mercy represented in almost every thread of this story laced with with underlying (and many surface and overt) theological themes make this a very interesting read and a great discussion opportunity regardless of your belief system.
General Read: 4 | For Discussion: 5

Discussed at Firefly Coffee Shop.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Spin by Robert Charles Wilson

Picked by: Steph

Bill: Masterful combination of human relationships and sci-fi technology. The characters are not secondary to the technology, which I found unusual in the sci-fi genre.
General Read: 5 | For Discussion: 4

John: As a child I often would think of how vast is space. This book brought some of those thoughts back. When the replicators traveled deep into space and sent information back was very interesting. I would have liked to hear more from Jason about what he learned from the replicators.
General Read: 4 | For Discussion: 5

Judi: Plot somewhat disappointing; the mystery of the Spin is not clearly explained. Good character development, although female characters, for the most part, were in subservient roles.
General Read: 3 | For Discussion: 3

Phyllis: Interesting concept - well written, kept my interest. Women could have been more developed as characters - stronger, less dependent. Tyler was a wonderful narrator, but Jason & Diane's stories would have been interesting if more developed.
General Read: 5 | For Discussion: 4

Steph: Good character development, but something was lacking somewhere. Maybe the characters were too dramatic and over-simplified? I am also turned off by loves that don't get together. I loved the sci-fi technology aspect; seemed well thought out.
General Read: 4 | For Discussion: 5

Discussion questions used:

I asked one question and we ended up discussing things for over an hour:
  • What were the themes you observed?

Discussed at Firefly Coffee Shop

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Old Man's War by John Scalzi

Picked by: Phyllis

Andrea: An easy read, enjoyable for entertainment, lacked depth and development of underlying themes. Posed questions it did not explore and left a lot of potentially great concepts unexplored. I would recommend it for a lazy afternoon's read: you can lose yourself in the story without working too hard for the reward.
For Discussion: 3 | General Read: 4

Eric: Old Man's War is a very easy read, perhaps too easy. The subject matter lends itself to so much more and I was disappointed by Scalzi's lack of encouraging his characters, and thereby his readers, to ask the deeper questions or commit to some real opinions. I felt the characters lacked depth and development. That said, it was still a nice freshmen showing and I currently have the next book in the series in my possession so that must say something about this books readability.
General Read: 3.5 | For Discussion: 2

Discussed at Steph's house.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. LeGuin

Picked by: Judi

Eric: Not a difficult read but a literary journey which seems at least as arduous to traverse as the main characters' nearly three month ice journey which takes up at least a third of the book. While I do not believe that dust-cover-reviews do it justice and I enjoyed it much more than expected, I definitely would not have enjoyed it as much if I had not had the potential of a hearty group discussion at reads end. Perhaps this book suffers from being an artistic pioneer and stylistically copied since, but at my reading, some forty years post-debut, there were parts that seems formulaic and not well polished and other parts that seemed very timely during a post-war, pre-election era which may make its reading during later periods not nearly as pertinent as it was to me. Overall, I considered it to be better than average but not so much so as to be noticeably present on my recommendation list. I would read something else by this author but probably give my copy of the book to the library had I not checked it out from there in the first place.
General Read: 3.5| For Discussion: 4 (potential)

Discussed at Firefly Coffee Shop.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Book Reviews

A new item we're adding to discussion: Reader Opinions.

If you are a current member and would like to submit your opinion to previous books, click here.

Your reviews will be put up using first name only. Or a pseudonym if you like.

Going forward, written opinions will be asked for at each discussion.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton

Discussion questions asked:
  • Compare the technologies to the ones we have today.
  • Do we put too much confidence and faith in technology to solve our problems?
  • Do you think this book would be relevant in its time? If it came out today, would it have as much impact?
  • What do you think of the style it was written in with fake documentation?
  • What did you think of the characters?
  • What about females? Was it sexist, or just a product of its time?
  • For the person who chose this book: What made you want to read it? What made you suggest it to the group for discussion? Did it live up to your expectations? Why or why not? Are you sorry/glad that you suggested it to the group?
  • How would you have liked it to end?
Discussed at Firefly Coffee Shop.