Book Club Newsletter 7 - September 7 2020

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TTRPBC Newsletter N0.7
Dateline: September 7 2020, Uptown Park in East York, Ontario, Canada

Welcome to another (long overdue) edition of the TTRPBC Newsletter! I don't actually have a lot of news to share in this edition, but since we recently welcomed a few new members, I thought it would be nice to give them a proper welcome and let people know what's going on here.

So, first off, let me welcome @Alex , @BurnAfterRunning , @Morthrai , and @Doccowie - most of whom will be familiar to those who attend the Mitchester Arms on Fridays ( @NeilNjae , @Apocryphal , and publican @dr_mitch ).

The TTRPBC is both book club and a forum; our goal is to explore works of fiction together as gamers and discuss those books for their literary qualities, their plot, world-building, and character inspiration, and of course their gaming potential.

As a book club, we explore books in two ways:
1. MONTHLY READS
We nominate a 'Monthly Pick' each month to read together as a club and we discuss that book at the end of the month. At the moment, these monthly picks are picked by club members in rotation - the September pick was selected by @NeilNjae , with subsequent books to be picked in this order:
October: @clash_bowley
November: @dr_mitch
December: @RichardAbbott
January: @WildCard (which will be the beginning of our 10th year!)

After this, we begin the rotation again, or maybe mix it up. If you, as new members, are finding the club to your liking and want to take part in leading a book discussion, we'd be more than happy to fit you in. Participation is casual, meaning that members are not required to read each book to be in the club or to participate in the discussions. If you like the club, you'll find a way to participate on your own terms.

Monthly pics as generally not more than 400 pages (some have been longer), and are SF, fantasy, pulp, or historical fiction. We've also done the occasional graphic novel, adventurous travelogue, and interactive fiction. To get a sense of what we've read in the past, look through the index of discussion topics for the last 20 books https://ttrpbc.com/categories/official-selections or at this list of older books from our https://ttrpbc.com/discussion/12/the-first-seven-years#latest

We're about to start a discussion of our 91st book - Tehanu, by Ursula K. Leguin, the fourth book in her Earthsea series. We explored the first three Earthsea books in previous months, and by the same author we also did Always Coming Home (earlier this year) and The Dispossessed (a few years ago).

Our September pick will be Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente, an SF comedy along the lines of Douglas Adams about a music competition - in Spaaaace!, hosted by @NeilNjae . Read this book by the end of the month if you'd like to join in on the discussion.

Our October book, an SF classic of political intrigue and, well, languages I guess - by Jack Vance: The Languages of Pao, hosted by @clash_bowley

2. SLOW READS
Slow reads are a special category that we've done for the last three years in addition to the monthly picks. With a 'slow read' we generally pick a longer work and read it slowly - about 20 pages a week - with a new discussion topic each week. We've done three of these so far - The Lord of the Rings was our first, back in 2018. This was hosted over at G+ when the club was located there and was an immense success. As with our other G+ content, it would have been lost but for the efforts of @Michael_S_Miller who put in the work to put the discussions into book form so we could all have a copy.

Our second 'Slow Read' was of the Book of the New Sun quadrology by Gene Wolfe in 2019, another very successful read (though unlike Tolkien, not all members were able to get into the vibe to the same degree.

In 2020, we attempted triple-Hugo-award-winning The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K.Jemisin, an effort that was not as successful, with the majority of respondents not really enjoying it. We cut the discussion short after book 2, though a few of us have gone on to read the third book in the series, which we'll give a short discussion to in its own thread.

The Slow Read categories can be found here: https://www.ttrpbc.com/categories/slow-reads

The nice thing about the slow read is the pacing - if, as a busy blogger, writer, or gamer, managing a book a month is a challenge, then the slow read allows you to participate in a discussion at a slower pace, spread out over a longer period of time. We've yet to discuss a slow read for 2021, but are open to suggestions. In the past we've considered Dune, Gormenghast, Moby Dick, and Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions, though we haven't so far done any of those.

3. FORUM
The TTRPBC is also a forum and a great place to discuss books of all kinds with other gamers. We have a general forum for the discussion of books (including book awards, film adaptations, sharing articles about books or listing books) https://www.ttrpbc.com/categories/general-book-babble and another for gaming https://www.ttrpbc.com/categories/game-discussion

If you like to post book or game review, we have categories for those, too:
https://www.ttrpbc.com/categories/book-reviews
https://www.ttrpbc.com/categories/game-reviews

And lastly, we have categories for club talk:
https://www.ttrpbc.com/categories/nominations-and-suggestions is for discussions surrounding what we'll read next as a club, and for announcing the monthly pics.
https://www.ttrpbc.com/categories/help-and-how-to is the place for technical help or discussing the running and organization of the club, and
https://www.ttrpbc.com/categories/offtopic is the catchall place for anything else you'd like to bring up.

So, that's who we are and what we do in a nutshell. Please feel free to introduce yourselves if you haven't already, or take the opportunity to ask any questions you might have.

Comments

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    Thanks for the newsletter, @Apocryphal , and welcome to all our new members. I've started on the discussion questions for Tehanu and will have them up in a day or two. Space Opera looks fun.

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    Welcome to all our new members! Be ready to do some reading! :D

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    Welcome to the new members!

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    It's probably worth also saying to new members that in order to get notifications of new discussions, they (and all of us) need to check their notification preferences:
    Go got your profile,
    Select Notification Preferences,
    Scroll to Category Notifications
    Check or leave blank whatever you want

    ... then try to remember to repeat this every month for new categories! None of us have yet found a way to default new category notifications on, so you have to remember to check back and update settings each time @Apocryphal or whoever adds a new category.

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    Thanks for the warm welcome. I'm getting cracking on Space Opera - am I right that we'll only start discussing it when we've finished it, ie in October? Have I got that right?

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    @BurnAfterRunning Discussions are nominally always held at the change of the month - this makes it easier for everyone to schedule their read. In practice, though, most discussions start a weekend or two after this, depending on how people have progressed and the host’s schedule. So aim to be finished by the 1st, but don’t sweat it if you need a few more days.

    The discussions themselves usually run from one to two weeks for each book, which gives even more leeway for jumping in late.
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