Slow Read

2

Shall we try to settle on a slow read plan for this year? I'm volunteering to lead it, which gives me the right to gather a few options together:

A : Dune and some sequels (Frank Herbert)
B : The Foundation series (Isaac Asimov)
C : The Book of the New Sun (Gene Wolfe)
D : The first two Gormenghast books (Mervyn Peake)
E : The Silmarillion (J.R.R. Tolkien)
F : Moby Dick (Herman Melville)

I don't want to start off with a traditional poll, so I'll pose a more general question...for which, if any, of the above would you be likely to take part in a slow read?

Comments

  • 1
    Totally up for A, B, E or F sight unseen. Don't know anything about C or D but if the mood of the group goes that way then I'm cool with that.
  • 2

    Totally down for A,B. (NB: Only have read Dune, and not every sequel.)
    No idea about C or D.
    E is a hard no for me, but don't let that stop you.
    F is a crapshoot- I've never read it, but it's my wife's favorite book.

    No NK Jemisin?

  • 2
    Well, my odds of participating this year are low on any case, simply because of time commitments. So take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

    I started Dune about 15-20 years ago and couldn't get through all the Paul Atreides acid trips. But, I told a friend of mine I'd give it another try. So I'd probably participate in this one, at least through the first book.

    I read the first Foundation book when I was a teenager, and I remember it being a little ... straight forward? Episodic? It seemed that every chapter was just another problem to solve without much depth, beyond the vast timescale. Maybe it just went over my head, but I don't know that there would be enough to discuss.

    No idea about C or D. I could be tempted to at least start them.

    E is a hard "not for me". Everything I've heard about it (particularly the praise) indicates that it's the parts of Tolkien that I personally don't like, magnified and expanded.

    Moby Dick is intriguing. I've never read it, but have heard so much about its power and depth that I feel tempted to dedicate my life to hunting it down and stabbing my harpoon through ... er, reading it. Most likely to participate in this one.
  • 1
    > @Michael_S_Miller said:
    > I read the first Foundation book when I was a teenager, and I remember it being a little ... straight forward? Episodic? It seemed that every chapter was just another problem to solve without much depth, beyond the vast timescale. Maybe it just went over my head, but I don't know that there would be enough to discuss.
    >
    >

    That is exactly how he wrote it... a series of linked short stories later unified into Foundation vol 1. I think probably vol 2 was in a couple of major chunks, and vol 3 all at once.
  • 2

    Those are all good suggestions. I'll do any, but my order of preference would be:
    F : Moby Dick (Herman Melville)
    D : The first two Gormenghast books (Mervyn Peake)
    E : The Silmarillion (J.R.R. Tolkien)
    B : The Foundation series (Isaac Asimov)
    C : The Book of the New Sun (Gene Wolfe)
    A : Dune and some sequels (Frank Herbert)

    Moby Dick is a wonderful and complex novel. It has a lot of depth, a lot of things going on. It really lends itself to a group read because everyone will see different things, which will help widen each person's perspective on the novel.

    Gormenghast is very interesting - all about characters who reside mainly within a massive, rambling castle which is largely a world to itself. The characters are complex and weird caricatures. They's Flay the butler, Swelter the cook, and many more. The traditions are deep set in the castle, but a youth manipulative youth named Steerpike comes into the mix and wreaks all kinds of havoc. He's a bit like the Turlough character from Doctor Who's Davison years, but more malicious. I haven't read these in years. Michael Moorcock lists these among his biggest influences.

    The Silmarillion would be fun to read as a group. Very much a greek tragedy vibe rather than heroic fiction. Very mythological. Very rich setting. This is the beating heart that makes Middle Earth feel like such a real place. I might suggest doing The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales together, if that's not too long.

    The Foundation I've never read, though I have listened to the BBC radio adaptation. I'd be inclined to stick to the original three books. I don't know if it would make a good group read, but among SF works it's spoken of very highly. My impression is that it's complex and idea- rich enough to make good fodder.

    The Book of the New Sun is a foursome of books - sort of science-fantasy. Takes place so far in the future that science is effectively magic. The writing is challenging and rich - you may want a thesaurus handy. The narrator is unreliable. I've only so far read the first book, but always had every intention to keep going. It would probably be rewarding in a group setting since I think people are liable to miss things individually on a first read.

    Dune I've read a few times. Many say it's the best SF book of all time. I've never quite understood that reaction, but maybe a group read would increase my appreciation.

    Most of these are not lah-di-da kinds of books. Moby Dick, the Silmarillion, Gormeghast, and New Sun will challenge you, each in its own ways. But they are all considered classics, and for good reason. I suspect Paul suggested these particular boos for both their quality and their level of challenge. The Slow Read is an opportunity to tease out something knotty, in my opinion, and to find out why it's got the reputation is has.

  • 2

    A, C, and E definitely.
    D maybe. Depends.
    The others? Meh. I read Foundation when I was a child and loved it, but the more I read Asimov, the more I began to dislike his style. I have said before - I LOVE Melville! Typee, White Jacket, Billy Budd, hell yea! The Whale Tale? I have tried too many times and I just get pissed off. Tell the fucking story Herman! It's as bloated and self-conscious and self-important as Dahlgren - another "masterpiece" by another author I love.

  • 1
    edited January 29
    Some commentary from me. I chose these because I judged they all have a certain depth and challenge which would make a slow read worthwhile, and give those of us taking part plenty to discuss. And to an extent, all are famous, which does make a difference.

    I don't know them all equally well. I've actually never read Moby Dick. I've not read Dune beyond the first book. The others I know better, or in some cases very well though it's been at least a few years for them all.

    Let me ponder a little longer. Thanks for all the feedback so far.
  • 3

    Here's a good question, since it seems like Moby Dick is in the forefront- is it gameable?

  • 2

    @rossum said:
    is it gameable?

    For my money it is.

  • 2

    @dr_mitch said:
    A : Dune and some sequels (Frank Herbert)
    E : The Silmarillion (J.R.R. Tolkien)
    B : The Foundation series (Isaac Asimov)
    F : Moby Dick (Herman Melville)

    I've already read all of these and would be happy to read them again. I've put them in order of preference for a slow read.

    C : The Book of the New Sun (Gene Wolfe)

    Not read this, but would be willing to give it a go.

    D : The first two Gormenghast books (Mervyn Peake)

    I've tried a couple of times to read these and bounced off.

    Neil.

  • 2

    With the new movie and RPG coming out, shouldn't we just go with Dune? One Horse Town wrote an unfinished Gormenghast-ish RPG called Stone Horizons, but I think I am the only person with a copy, as I was going to publish it. I don't know what RPGs to use for the rest.

  • 2

    The ones I've heard the most positivity about here are Dune and Moby Dick. Either seems to turn off some people, but those who are positive about each are really positive. I may go to a straight vote.

  • 1

    I would read any of these. I have already read all of them except D and in some ways that makes D my LEAST favorite. I feel like a slow read is almost better if you are already familiar with the material. But I would read D too. So hurry up and pick one already. LOL.

  • 1

    Sorry to go off radar here for a week; I was avoiding Dark Orbit spoilers. But I'm back, and ready to take up the reins again on the slow read.

  • 1

    Slow read! Take it easy! Slow read! Take it easy!

  • 1

    Slow planning for slow read.

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