Slow Read 2020 Discussion Thread

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This discussion was created from comments split from: Sword of the Lictor, chapters 32-35.
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Comments

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    @dr_mitch said:
    And yes, next week is the end of book 3. Nearly 3/4 of the way there. Who wants to organise the next slow read?

    Should some kind admin person set up a thread to chat about that? Two things occurred to me as possibilities:

    1) The Long Earth books (Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter) - I have read the first but not the others, and am aware that some reviewers think the series tailed off a bit.

    2) Ancillary Justice and its two successors (Ann Leckie) - the first of these won just about every award possible when published. I was recently recommended the series by a friend but have not so far done more than dip into the free Kindle sample

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    We read Ancillary Justice once as a monthly pick. I was well received, but I'm not sure it was all that literary. I'm not familiar with the Pratchet series. I think a sci-fi series or trilogy would be interesting (The Book of the New Sun is technically SF, but reads like Fantasy). I'd be more inclined to go with the Foundation trilogy, or with Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions and Again: Dangerous Visions II - maybe doing one story a week.

    Other strong books in my opinion are still several that didn't get picked in the last round - Moby Dick, Titus Groan/Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake, and maybe The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales.

    Others ideas: The Name of the Rose, a Michael Moorcock series (Corum, Elric (1st 6 books) or the Runestaff quartet?), TH White's The Once and Future King, The Chronicles of Amber (1 and 2). Dare I suggest The Iliad and The Odyssey? Jack Vance's Dying Earth? Evangeline Walton's Mabinogion (4 books), or for something contemporary, A Stranger in Olondria and it's companion novel, The Winged Histories, by Sofia Samatar.

    BTW, this list of 'literary fantasy' puts Book of the New Sun first, Gormenghast second, Lord of the Rings third, and Lyonesse fourth: bestfantasybooks.com/best-literary-fantasy-books.html

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    The Moorcock Elric books could be interesting: I've not read them yet.

    Illiad, Odyssey, and perhaps Beowulf would all be good.

    Dune would have enough depth to keep us going for a long read.

    I've tried Gormenghast and Long Earth, and didn't really engage with either of them.

    How about Handmaid's Tale and The Testaments? The latter co-won the Booker prize this week.

    Talking of prizes, perhaps a slow read would reward us digging into something more literary, such as a Booker prize winner, or a Nobel prize winner.

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    Did Cloud Atlas win a prize? That might work.
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    I bounced off Ancillary Justice. It might be interesting to have another go, but I'm hesitant to commit to it for a slow read.

    The Elric books are disposable pulpy fun. I'm not sure that's what we want for a slow read. They're rapidly paced and best read rapidly IMO. Same goes for the other classic Moorcock series, and the Amber books, though I'd be tempted.

    Of the ideas we've seen before, I most like the idea of Dune, Moby Dick, and the Silmarillion. There are others I like the idea of (Foundation and Gormenghast) seemed not to engage several people who might otherwise take part.

    Of the new ideas in this thread, I most like Handmaid's Tale/The Testaments, Iliad/Odyssey (though we'd have to agree on a translation), and The Once and Future King (starts off as a children's book, and then an enormous tonal shift).

    N.K.Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy would work, but I've only just read it!

    I'm trying to think about more SF choices. I'm lukewarm on the suitability of most I like. Some of Alistair Reynolds might be suitable (probably not the entire Revelation Space sequence on grounds of total length).

    Julian May's Saga of the Exiles? This is hard. I'm glad someone else is running it.

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    Sci-fi: A fire upon the deep and A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge. These are two stand alone SF novels with a connecting character.
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    FWIW:

    I'd be most likely to participate in: Iliad/Odyssey, Moby Dick, Dune, Once and Future King.

    Least likely: Amber (it's a whole rant)

    Trivia: I have not read Cloud Atlas, but I did typeset it. Quite a challenge.
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    Commenting so I get notified of further comments

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    I see I forgot to mention I would also be interested in N.K.Jemisin's Broken Earth. I've heard nothing but good things and it would be interesting to do a slow read of something more recently published.
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    @Michael_S_Miller said:
    I see I forgot to mention I would also be interested in N.K.Jemisin's Broken Earth. I've heard nothing but good things and it would be interesting to do a slow read of something more recently published.

    I'd not heard of it before but the Goodreads blurb and review comments make it sound appealing

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    I’d be game, and it does get positive reviews, but I admit I’m skeptical of the literary quality of anything recent in the genre fiction dept.
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    @Apocryphal said:
    I’d be game, and it does get positive reviews, but I admit I’m skeptical of the literary quality of anything recent in the genre fiction dept.

    I've recently read it, and loved it. There is a reason why it won so many awards. (A Hugo for each novel in the trilogy and a Nebula.) I think it would stand up to some detailed analysis of a Slow Read. There are some good themes in there, beyond a fantasy romp about earthquakes.

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    I agree the _Broken Earth_ trilogy is superb. It's every bit as good as the reviews and awards suggest, and some deep themes it would be fun to discuss. My word it's bleak though.
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    I guess all that remains is for someone to take responsibility for running the read and pick a book.
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    It's now December 18th and I thought I'd joggle this back up to the top of the stack...

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    Shall I offer to co-lead Broken Earth for next year? Next year might be busy, so I'd like to have a partner in doing it.

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    @NeilNjae said:
    Shall I offer to co-lead Broken Earth for next year? Next year might be busy, so I'd like to have a partner in doing it.

    I think, based on what you and @dr_mitch said, that it's a good book choice - if fact I bought a copy against the probability that we do it one day.

    As for helping out - I'll do it if nobody else steps up. I feel like I already do a lot around here, so was hoping someone else would be willing to step in. @dr_mitch just paid his dues with The Book of the New Sun. So how about @RichardAbbott or @clash_bowley? Or how about (and I know this is more of a longshot) @MARCC or @WildCard ? The slow reads are a little less onerous than the monthly reads in terms of time per week, but do require more stamina over the course of the year.

    See? This is why we need new blood in the club! Go out and find some more members - or even bring some lapsed members back!

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    Dues paid or not I'll happily assist; I've read the books and would be able to do it, as long as @NeilNjae is happy to do the initial organisation.
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    I’ll happily participate but can’t commit to leading the read.

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    I'd happily help with a slow read but would prefer if it was a book I'd already read rather than one I was approaching new. So (for example) I'd be happy to assist with Moby Dick, since I have read it, albeit a long time ago. But I'd not feel so good about a totally new item.

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    Thanks for the offers, folks. I'll sort out the schedule and kick things off. If I flounder, there's help about.

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    Thanks for volunteering @NeilNjae ! Much appreciated.
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    Excellent!
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    > @NeilNjae said:
    > Thanks for the offers, folks. I'll sort out the schedule and kick things off. If I flounder, there's help about.

    Do let me know if you're on holiday or too busy, and I'll try to bluff it in your absence
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    I've taken a look at a schedule for the long read. There are 66 chapters in all, which is an awkward number to fit into about 50 weeks. I've gone for one chapter per week, but two chapters on the third week. I've kept the weekly deadline on a Wednesday, as that seems to work well.

    Here's the schedule.

    What do people think?

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    Bit difficult to say as I haven read it, but based on the past two slow reads ive noticed that one tends to want the breaks to reflect episodes in the text. Eg. if there are two episodes in the Lazaret then they should be in the same week. On the other hand, one also wants each weekly read to be roughly the same length, and also the same number of chapters so it’s easy to remember how many to read! Meeting all three at once is likely to be impossible.

    It if makes sense, I don’t think we need to stretch the book out to Christmas. If it makes sense to do 66 chapters in 33 weeks I think that’s fine.
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    Once you settle on a schedule, and after the holiday, I'll make a Google calendar. Let me know when things are final, @NeilNjae
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    @Michael_S_Miller does that mean you’re in?
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    That means I will start and as long as I don't bounce off the book as hard as I bounced off The book of the New Sun, I'm in.
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