August 2019

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Anyone have a book they'd like to nominate for August? @NeilNjae you haven't done one in a while, nor has @clash_bowley.

Comments

  • 1
    edited July 29

    Meaning I should put up or shut up? :wink:

    If you remember I proposed this: https://www.amazon.com/Far-Spaceports-Richard-Abbott-ebook/dp/B017WODIUU . I stand by it.

  • 1
    edited July 29

    I do remember, and so long as Richard is ok with getting that level of scrutiny from his friends, not all of whom may like the book, then I'm willing. But most authors don't want to participate in book club analysis of their books, from what I understand.

    And 'put up or shut up isn't how I'd phrase it. I'm just trying to make sure everyone has a chance and feels welcome to propose books.

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    There was a winky smiley there! I most certainly wasn't serious about the 'put up or shut up' bit! But as for the book, it's the best hard SF I have read in several years.

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    There was a winky smiley there! I most certainly wasn't serious about the 'put up or shut up' bit! But as for the book, it's the best hard SF I have read in several years.

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    I've no objection to Far Spaceports.

    But if you want other suggestions, how about The Chill by Ross Macdonald? An American detective novel, kind of in the line of the hardboiled detectives of Hammett and Chandler, but much more psychological and concerned with motivations and relationships. Relevant to RPGs because Ron Edwards raved about Macdonald's books as source material for relationship-map-based situations (in the Sorcerer's Soul supplement). The Chill is one of his best novels, and one I've not read for a while.

    Or, for something very recent I've enjoyed, how about City of Brass by SA Chakrabory? Middle east based fantasy, action based and fairly fast-moving, good characters, and generally a good read. (It's the first book in a trilogy. The second book is better than the first, and the third is being released in a few months.)

  • 1

    Those both sound cool, and I’ve at times thought about getting Ron Edwards in to maybe do a guest read with us. How long is City of Brass?

    We’ve had other nominations before, too, that we still haven’t read - so note to everyone, please show enthusiasm for any suggestions you see that you’d like to read. We want to pick books people are enthusiastic about.

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    The Chill is about 290 pages, City of Brass about 500 pages.

  • 1
    edited July 30

    I will withdraw my suggestion. Sorry I put it forward. Either book Neil suggests will be fine.

  • 2

    Don't be sorry, and no need to withdraw it. We just need more people to show up and enthuse over something.

  • 2
    edited July 30

    I hadn't realized Richard might not WANT to do it. If so, I put him in an awkward position, which was never my intent. This is why I withdraw my suggestion.

    Also, I didn't catch that City of Brass was fantasy. Since I have severe problems with non-Tolkien fantasy, I would very much rather read Chill!

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    Chill does sound good - ideal summer reading, maybe.

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    @Apocryphal said:
    Chill does sound good - ideal summer reading, maybe.

    Ross Macdonald's books are very good, but they're not light reading. I keep a sheet of paper with me while I'm reading them, to draw up the relationship map as I go. It's the only way I can keep straight all the characters and their connections.

    That makes them great RPG fodder: I've run several campaigns that were just reskinnings of Macdonald's r-maps. But the books aren't mindless fodder for churning through by the pool.

  • 0

    Hi all, just got back from walking Hadrian's Wall and part of the Cumbria Way so haven't contributed to this. Happy to go with whatever is the decision for August. I have never read either The Chill or City of Brass, though I remember enthusiastic comments about the second on the list earlier this year.

  • 1

    Well, I guess its just the four of us these days, and @dr_mitch . Shall we do Chill, then?

    I'm going to suggest we just take turns picking the monthly books, like we used to.

  • 1

    Google has a lot to answer for. I'm happy with The Chill.

  • 2

    Huh. I thought I had my preferences set to get an email any time a new thread was started in "Nominations and Suggestions". I'll have to check again.

    I remember enjoying the Ross MacDonald book I read when I first learned about Sorcerer's relationship maps, but—sixteen years later—I couldn't tell you which one it was. I'll pick up a copy of The Chill and get started.

  • 1

    Tips for reading Ross Macdonald books

    The books are very tightly plotted, with just about everything on the page being relevant in some way. Also, the books aren't so much a "whodunnit" or even a "whydunnit", but the investigator exposing a complex and nasty situation in the hope that things can become resolved.

    Keep a sheet of A4/letter paper with you when you read the book. If you're anything like me, you'll need it to keep track of all the characters and relationships. I draw out a relationship map of the characters as I go. Most of the characters will have a connection to the central issues. (When I draw my R-maps, I distinguish between marriages, unmarried sexual relationships, direct parent-child links, and "other".)

    Without specific spoilers for The Chill, the situations in the books often go back over time and over generations, with the sins of parents having consequences on the lives of their children. It can be helpful to keep track of when and where relationships are in effect. Marriages and affairs starting and stopping can be significant, so keep track of those too!

    Expect at least one person in the book to go by different names in different times and places. Connecting these identities is often a key point in understanding the situation.

    Sometimes, characters will lie about the nature of their relationship with another. Again, uncovering the truth about this can be a key point.

    (You may get to about half or two-thirds of the way through the book and find you need to redraw your R-map. Things can get complex!)

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    Sounds like great advice @NeilNjae ! I'm going to move that post over to the book discussion thread when I create it, but will leave it here for now.

  • 1
    edited August 5

    Sounds like I have some work ahead of me... I can't just lose myself in it...

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    @clash_bowley said:
    Sounds like I have some work ahead of me... I can't just lose myself in it...

    Perhaps you can! I have trouble with keeping track of characters in books at the best of times, so that's what works for me. It also means I finish the book with an R-map ready to go for the next campaign I'm running.

  • 1

    Let's hope so, @NeilNjae! I am getting used to it with the Slow Reads, but it is uncomfortable!

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