What Books Should Bookclub Read First?

Discussion in 'Fan Town' started by Helen of Boy, Feb 25, 2015.


Which Three Books Should the Bookclub Aim to Discuss?

Poll closed Feb 28, 2015.
  1. The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Trilogy #1)

    13 vote(s)
  2. Ringworld (Known Space)

    5 vote(s)
  3. The Invasion (Animorphs #1)

    6 vote(s)
  4. The Golden Compass/Northern Lights (His Dark Materials #1)

    15 vote(s)
  5. Monstrous Regiment (Discworld)

    13 vote(s)
  6. Small Gods (Discworld)

    4 vote(s)
  7. The Wee Free Men (Discworld, Tiffany Aching #1)

    5 vote(s)
  8. Mort (Discworld, Death #1)

    4 vote(s)
  9. Going Postal (Discworld, Moist #1)

    4 vote(s)
  10. The Man Who Folded Himself

    11 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Helen of Boy

    Helen of Boy Hugcrafter Pursuivant

    You get three votes on the poll up there, it should be anonymous, and you can change them around as much as you like.

    I ran out of room, too, so it looks like we can't have more than ten things up at a time.

    I didn't put up all the Discworld, because 10 options is the limit and it's still half the poll. I hope I chose okay ones, I figured Tiffany Aching stands alone mostly and is better than Amazing Maurice (good though that it), Pyramids is good but lesser recommended as a jumping-in spot, and then we have two of the series books as well, from different points in time. I did my best (though I did also add a book to the list that we hadn't mentioned because I found out that the pdf is free online and it's amazing).

    Here's a super-brief pitch for all of the books, with hopefully minimal spoilers:

    The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Trilogy #1) -- The story of a boy that is going to be a wizard soon, in a not-quite-our world where wizardry consists of summoning and binding demons. So, of course, the boy does this. Haven't read since I was a kid, but remember it being funny and clever with some very interesting worldbuilding to go with.

    Ringworld (Known Space) -- A bunch of explorers find a massive structure out at the edges of explored space, which is unsettling because who built it? The team they send to investigate has some trouble, gets stranded, and has to make the trek to try and escape. Hugely famous sci-fi book, inspiration for Halo (the structure, at least).

    The Invasion (Animorphs #1) -- Teenagers walking home one night are in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time and witness the crash-landing of an alien spaceship. They befriend the alien, get the ability to turn into animals at will, and find out that another species of brain-slug type aliens is trying to take over the world and must be stopped.

    The Golden Compass/Northern Lights (His Dark Materials #1) -- Daemons! In the parallel universe where they exist, a young girl's friend is kidnapped, so she sets out on a quest to find him (and her uncle) as soon as she can.

    Monstrous Regiment (Discworld Standalone) -- A young girl sets out to join the army in place of her brother, because he's not going to survive if she doesn't. So she dresses up like a boy and goes to join up, learning a whole heck of a lot about how differently people treat you when you wear different clothing. Lots of musing on gender and gender roles, obviously.

    Small Gods (Discworld Standalone) -- A god is stranded on earth in the body of a turtle because no one actually believes in him anymore despite the massive, sprawling religion that has been built up around him. He tries to rectify this, because turtles are not rated for long-term desert life, and he wants to be a proper god again. Lots of talk about religion, a much better (kinder and truer) parody than most.

    The Wee Free Men (Discworld, Tiffany Aching #1) -- Tiffany Aching sees the world very differently from most people. This is because she is, or will be, a witch. This is slightly awkward due to local superstitions about witches. When her brother gets kidnapped by the Queen of Faeries, though, she's got to witch up and try to rescue him. For young adults, but don't let that put you off.

    Mort (Discworld, Death #1) -- Mort doesn't have a lot of direction in life. Death wants an apprentice to pass his work onto, not that he needs one, but it might let him take a vacation. Mort steps in and, later, up as the human and anthropomorphic personification begin to learn quite a bit about how the other works.

    Going Postal (Discworld, Moist #1) -- Moist von Lipwig is a crook and a conman and, most pressingly, a convict. His life is spared at the last moment only so that he can be given the unenviable task of refurbishing the city's long-decrepit Post Office, despite the telegram-esque Clacks system which has been making it ever more obsolete. If he fails, the hangman is waiting. One of the newer Discworld books, or at least on that end of things, so there might be a few more spoilers -- though I don't think too many, or ones that are too important, really.

    The Man Who Folded Himself -- Probably the best time travel story I've ever read. A man receives a gift from his uncle, a belt that allows him to mess around with time. He proceeds to do so, which leads to the interesting situation where the person he interacts with most becomes, well, himself -- with all the good and bad that entails. Not entirely safe for work, but really good, I think, and by the guy that did 'Trouble with Tribbles' and other excellent Trek stuff.

    So. There are the ten foretold tales for reading. Vote awaaaay!

    EDIT: You don't need to post in order to vote, and you can totally post here and argue why one book is especially an especially good choice (just please avoid spoilers, or use the spoiler tags properly) whether you've voted or not. That's why I left the votes changeable, so good discussion could sway people around, no need to hold off on voting.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2015
  2. albedo

    albedo metasperg

    Thank you so much for the organization; I don't have the spoons for organization today.

    Poll looks like it works great. And the summaries are awesome, Goodreads summaries are usually 'back of the book', which is often either spoilery or very vague.

    Feels like I should note that these are the books we'll read FIRST, but we'll be doing another of these in a month or two. :D
  3. Helen of Boy

    Helen of Boy Hugcrafter Pursuivant

    Oh, yes, that's a good point.

    ALSO! This poll will close automatically in a week. So there's lots of time to discuss things (though we can close it before then if we want, too). Wanted people to have lots of time to see it, and also the time to give consideration/wait until had enough spoons to think it out, etc.

    But yeah, after that we'll talk more about other books and put up another 10 for voting. Hopefully we will not have 5 more Discworlds next time, because much as I love them, 2-3 options seems reasonable enough to me.
    • Like x 1
  4. unknownanonymous

    unknownanonymous i am inimitable, i am an original|18+

    It was tricky to decide but I ended up choosing Bartimaeus, The Golden Compass and Small Gods. Golden Compass because of the recents daemon thing, and Small Gods 'cause I read that, chronologically, it happens before all/most of the other books in the series. Was tempted to choose Ringworld but didn't. Generally okay with any of the Discworlds. Not sure about Animorphs or the Man Who Folded Himself.
  5. bramblepatch

    bramblepatch ground/water dualtype

    Haha, yeah, I was gonna say, that's a lot of Disc.

    (Voting Ringworld, because I've been meaning to read that forever and haven't yet; Amulet of Samarkand, because I read that in middle school and remember literally nothing about it except that I liked it; and Monstrous Regiment because I really love Monstrous Regiment you guys)
    • Like x 1
  6. Helen of Boy

    Helen of Boy Hugcrafter Pursuivant

    Well, at least we no longer have a 3-way tie for 3rd place. Was going to ask what we wanted to do in case of a tie.

    How many votes should a thing need to be folded into the next poll? 3? 4? 2?

    I feel like not folding everything in automatically is good, because we're already allowing for three different threads at once, there's lots of options, so if not many people are interested it seems silly to keep pulling them in.

    Maybe will have to depend on how many votes we get overall.

    EDIT: Or we just rework the list from scratch each time, that'd be an option, too.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2015
  7. bramblepatch

    bramblepatch ground/water dualtype

    I think it might be a good idea to give it a day or two before we figure that out? Narrowing it down will probably be a good idea but we should probably give everyone a bit more of a chance to vote first.
  8. Helen of Boy

    Helen of Boy Hugcrafter Pursuivant

    Oh, yeah, I mean, it won't even matter until the voting's about to close?

    Somethhing like 20-25%, maybe, because that means people were interested but there were other good options.

    But I don't imagine we'll even be compiling an actual list until we're close to finished with the first set of readings.

    Side note: Also, if I'm overstepping or anything, anyone please let me know! I'm trying to be helpful, but I recognize that can sometimes come out as me being autocratic, and I have a hard time telling when I'm being reasonable and useful or controlling and demanding.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2015
    • Like x 2
  9. Acey

    Acey a girl with a crown and a scepter

    Voted for The Golden Compass, The Wee Free Men, and Mort.

    I've actually read the latter, but I was maybe 11 at the time so I probably didn't enjoy it as much as I would now, though I did like it quite a lot.
  10. Helen of Boy

    Helen of Boy Hugcrafter Pursuivant

    Bump for the night-time/evening folks to see. Or the folks in other time zones, really.

    I really wish I knew how to sell The Man Who Folded Himself better without many spoilers...

    Selfcest, exploration of a character's sexuality in a world where they're the only person, by an excellent gay author, lots of clever bits involving time travel and how it might change someone.

    Lemme quote the back of the book, at least, the edition I have:

    But yeah, as a reminder, feel free to stump for your favorite books, or (ideally) the one you haven't read but have heard good things about! Or the one you think most others won't have read but you really want the chance to talk about with folks anew!

    Still a spoiler-light zone, please! Keep 'em mild and behind tags until folks've had a chance to read the books for themselves.
  11. Acey

    Acey a girl with a crown and a scepter

    ...That actually sounds incredibly fascinating, and I hereby change my Golden Compass vote to a Man Who Folded Himself vote.
  12. albedo

    albedo metasperg

    Seconding that, that sounds really cool.
  13. garden

    garden lucid dreamer

    I never actually posted in the book club thread, but I'm definitely interested - voted for Amulet of Samarkand, Golden Compass (cause I really need to reread that) and Monstrous Regiment.
  14. Helen of Boy

    Helen of Boy Hugcrafter Pursuivant

    There hasn't been a substantial change in the votes for abooout a day, now. Do we want to close this out so we can get to reading?
  15. emythos

    emythos Lipstick Hoarding Dragon

    Sure. We've got like three books with the same large amount of votes now anyways.
  16. swirlingflight

    swirlingflight inane analysis and story spinning is my passion

    I'm so amused that there's a three way tie and it's been that way more than a day.
  17. albedo

    albedo metasperg

    Yeah, sounds good to me; it seems relatively unlikely that the results will change much. Thanks for organizing, @Helen of Boy !
  18. emythos

    emythos Lipstick Hoarding Dragon

    I somehow get the feeling it's the best we'll get from this poll XD
  19. albedo

    albedo metasperg

    I think we're all pretty invested in our favorites. >>;
  20. Helen of Boy

    Helen of Boy Hugcrafter Pursuivant

    Poll will close in 7 hours, then, just to make sure people have enough time to vote or change votes if they really want to. Given that these three have been in the lead a while, I imagine that won't be much of a difference, but still.

    So, a few points of order, then. I asked about some in the main bookclub thread, but I'll repost them here:

    -How long should we wait until we start the threads for the books? I'm happy to do it tonight after the polls close, if we want, or we can wait a few weeks so people can read the books first.
    -How long should we be spoilering things for in the appropriate threads? I assume a spoiler policy of [page number/% remaining (for kindle)/chapter referenced] in the spoiler title would make the most sense. But how long before we hit open discussion? Two weeks? Three? Four?
    -When should the next poll go up? Which books from this list should be grandparented in to the new poll?

    My answers in a spoiler, so you can see them but also can give your opinions first without seeing them if you so choose:
    I think starting the threads tonight and using the spoiler policy for discussion for 3~ weeks makes sense, maybe? Not everyone will read every book, let alone read them at the same rate. I might tear through Monstrous Regiment first and not do Golden Compass until later, for example. Makes things harder, but... seems worth it, if spoilers are a concern? And then after three weeks not everyone will be done, but it seems like we'll be close enough, at least.

    Could do rot13 instead of spoiler tags, if that'd be easier, but it seems HARDER since it involves going to other sites. We could also do unspoilered discussion from the get-go, but ideally some of the books we get on the list should be new to some/all of the people reading them, and I know some people are more concerned with spoilers than I am.

    Regarding books to have carry over: The Man Who Folded Himself is in 4th by a decent margin, more than 30% of the votes. The Invasion is quite a bit lower, at <25%, but I suppose could be carried over if we really wanted to. I feel like Ringworld, despite not meeting the >20-25% criteria I was spitballing earlier, should be given at least one more shot, since it was (if I'm remembering rightly) the book that prompted the idea of a bookclub in the first place. In addition, the next part of each series should be added for sure, so the Golem's Eye and Subtle Knife definitely get spots.

    Then we trawl through the bookclub thread to the remaining 5-7 options with as diverse a range of books as we can, I suppose? Might be a bit biased, but can do the best we can to change things up each time, at least?
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