We Read, Or Neglected To Read The Book. Since 2011.

Currently Reading: Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

Meets Monthly, For Men To Read & Converse.

Next Meeting: 6:30 PM Friday, February 28 at Gunbarrel Brewery

Apocalypse, Literati, Beer

This club can prepare you for the zombie apocalypse, give you a place among the top echelon of literati, or simply give you an excuse to have some beer.

  • Date: February 4, 2020, By Robert Category - Share/Discuss

    Our next book is Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari.

    Our next Book Club will be February 28th at Gunbarrel Brewing.

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  • Date: January 22, 2020, By Robert Category - Share/Discuss

    Book club is this Friday at Quinn’s house, 7479 Spyglass Ct. L204, Boulder, CO 80301.

    Here are Jed’s picks:

    The Nickel Boys: A Novel by Colson Whitehead

    224 pages

    As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is “as good as anyone.” Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides “physical, intellectual and moral training” so the delinquent boys in their charge can become “honorable and honest men.”
    In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear “out back.” Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King’s ringing assertion “Throw us in jail and we will still love you.” His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble.
    The tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys’ fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy.
    Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers.

    The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth 1) by N.K. Jemisin

    512 pages

    At the end of the world, a woman must hide her secret power and find her kidnapped daughter in this “intricate and extraordinary” Hugo Award winning novel of power, oppression, and revolution. (The New York Times)

    This is the way the world ends…for the last time.

    It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

    This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.

    Read the first book in the critically acclaimed, three-time Hugo award-winning trilogy by NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

    Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

    464 pages

    Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.

    Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.

    What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.

    With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.

    But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past by Chuck Klosterman

    288 pages

    The tremendously well-received New York Times bestseller by cultural critic Chuck Klosterman, exploring the possibility that our currently held beliefs and assumptions about the world will eventually be proven wrong — now in paperback.

    But What If We’re Wrong? is a book of original, reported, interconnected pieces, which speculate on the likelihood that many universally accepted, deeply ingrained cultural and scientific beliefs will someday seem absurd. Covering a spectrum of objective and subjective topics, the book attempts to visualize present-day society the way it will be viewed in a distant future. Klosterman cites original interviews with a wide variety of thinkers and experts — including George Saunders, David Byrne, Jonathan Lethem, Alex Ross, Kathryn Schulz, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Greene, Junot Díaz, Amanda Petrusich, Ryan Adams, Dan Carlin, Nick Bostrom, and Richard Linklater. Klosterman asks straightforward questions that are profound in their simplicity, and the answers he explores and integrates with his own analysis generate the most thought-provoking and propulsive book of his career.

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  • Date: December 22, 2019, By Erik Category - Share/Discuss

    Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

    224 pages

    Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those young rebels who are compelled, in spite of extreme danger, to venture illegally into the Zone to collect the mysterious artifacts that the alien visitors left scattered around. His life is dominated by the place and the thriving black market in the alien products. But when he and his friend Kirill go into the Zone together to pick up a “full empty,” something goes wrong. And the news he gets from his girlfriend upon his return makes it inevitable that he’ll keep going back to the Zone, again and again, until he finds the answer to all his problems.

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  • Date: December 18, 2019, By Robert Category - Share/Discuss

    Book club is this Friday at Jim’s house. Address: 2696 Beech Circle, Longmont, CO 80503.

    Here are the picks, from new member Chris:

    Alehouse at the End of the World by Stevan Allred

    334 pages

    When a fisherman receives a mysterious letter about his beloved’s demise, he sets off in his skiff to find her on the Isle of the Dead. The Alehouse at the End of the World is an epic comedy set in the sixteenth century, where bawdy Shakespearean love triangles play out with shapeshifting avian demigods and a fertility goddess, drunken revelry, bio-dynamic gardening, and a narcissistic, bullying crow, who may have colluded with a foreign power. A raucous, aw-aw-aw-awe-inspiring romp, Stevan Allred’s second book is a juicy fable for adults, and a hopeful tale for out troubled times.

    Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima

    400 pages

    Yukio Mishima’s Spring Snow is the first novel in his masterful tetralogy, The Sea of Fertility. Here we meet Shigekuni Honda, who narrates this epic tale of what he believes are the successive reincarnations of his friend, Kiyoaki Matsugae.

    It is 1912 in Tokyo, and the hermetic world of the ancient aristocracy is being breached for the first time by outsiders — rich provincial families unburdened by tradition, whose money and vitality make them formidable contenders for social and political power. Shigekuni Honda, an aspiring lawyer and his childhood friend, Kiyoaki Matsugae, are the sons of two such families. As they come of age amidst the growing tensions between old and new, Kiyoaki is plagued by his simultaneous love for and loathing of the spirited young woman Ayakura Satoko. But Kiyoaki’s true feelings only become apparent when her sudden engagement to a royal prince shows him the magnitude of his passion — and leads to a love affair both doomed and inevitable.

    Borne by Jeff Vandermeer

    336 pages

    In a ruined, nameless city of the future, a woman named Rachel, who makes her living as a scavenger, finds a creature she names “Borne” entangled in the fur of Mord, a gigantic, despotic bear. Mord once prowled the corridors of the biotech organization known as the Company, which lies at the outskirts of the city, until he was experimented on, grew large, learned to fly and broke free. Driven insane by his torture at the Company, Mord terrorizes the city even as he provides sustenance for scavengers like Rachel.

    At first, Borne looks like nothing at all—just a green lump that might be a Company discard. The Company, although severely damaged, is rumoured to still make creatures and send them to distant places that have not yet suffered Collapse.

    Borne somehow reminds Rachel of the island nation of her birth, now long lost to rising seas. She feels an attachment she resents; attachments are traps, and in this world any weakness can kill you. Yet when she takes Borne to her subterranean sanctuary, the Balcony Cliffs, Rachel convinces her lover, Wick, not to render Borne down to raw genetic material for the drugs he sells—she cannot break that bond.

    Wick is a special kind of supplier, because the drug dealers in the city don’t sell the usual things. They sell tiny creatures that can be swallowed or stuck in the ear, and that release powerful memories of other people’s happier times or pull out forgotten memories from the user’s own mind—or just produce beautiful visions that provide escape from the barren, craterous landscapes of the city.

    Against his better judgment, out of affection for Rachel or perhaps some other impulse, Wick respects her decision. Rachel, meanwhile, despite her loyalty to Wick, knows he has kept secrets from her. Searching his apartment, she finds a burnt, unreadable journal titled “Mord,” a cryptic reference to the Magician (a rival drug dealer) and evidence that Wick has planned the layout of the Balcony Cliffs to match the blueprint of the Company building. What is he hiding? Why won’t he tell her about what happened when he worked for the Company?

    Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

    224 pages

    Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those young rebels who are compelled, in spite of extreme danger, to venture illegally into the Zone to collect the mysterious artifacts that the alien visitors left scattered around. His life is dominated by the place and the thriving black market in the alien products. But when he and his friend Kirill go into the Zone together to pick up a “full empty,” something goes wrong. And the news he gets from his girlfriend upon his return makes it inevitable that he’ll keep going back to the Zone, again and again, until he finds the answer to all his problems.

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  • Date: December 15, 2019, By Erik Category -
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  • Date: November 30, 2019, By Andrew Category - Share/Discuss

    Yes, I chose this headline to get your attention.

    Hi all. I’m excited to be with you all at the December 20th Club. I bought the book on kindle and am starting it soon.

    Since moving to Colombia in August, I’ve been reading a ton to pass the time, escape the constant sense of newness, and to relax.

    • Octavia Butler – Wow! I have loved reading these “speculative fiction” books that land near-sci-fi, and include time travel, alien-human sex, and tragically close to Trumpian reality stories. Fantastic reads, powerful writing. Catchy.
      • The Parable of the Sower
      • The Parable of the Talents
      • Kindred
      • The Patternist Series (4)
      • Xenogenesis Trilogy (Lilith’s Brood)!!!! AMAZING. READ!
    • N.K. Jemisin
      • The Broken Earth Trilogy (3 Hugo awards)
    • Monte Melnick – On the Road with the Ramones
    • Martha Wells – The Murderbot Diaries (1 and 2). – Awesome human/robot/mixed adventure
    • Geoff Rodkey – We’re Not From Here – Awesome audio book, kid friendly
    • Peter Brown – The Wild Robot and The Wild Robot Escapes – Kid friendly, great read for anyone
    • Tom Feiling – Short Walks from Bogota – still reading
    • Madeline Miller – Song of Achilles – reading today, gripping, loved her other book Circe.

    …and some others. I’m doing a 40 book challenge with my students where I read a bunch of books in different genres, all 5th grade level books. I’ve enjoyed most of them…

    Must Read. Get the first one.
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  • Date: November 30, 2019, By Robert Category - Share/Discuss

    Our next book is The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson.

    Jim will be hosting our next Book Club in Longmont on December 20th. We may have a special guest from Colombia.

    Newcomer Chris will be bringing the picks.

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  • Date: November 20, 2019, By Robert Category - Share/Discuss

    Book club is this Friday at Erik’s house. Address: 1313 Short Ct, Louisville, CO 80027

    Here are the picks, from Quinn:

    Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
    288 pages

    Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a
    Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of
    science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor
    Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and
    bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human
    being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the
    creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-
    innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge
    against his creator, Frankenstein.

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
    370 pages

    Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a
    poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in
    1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing
    the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been
    bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family
    can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a
    riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific
    discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about
    the mother she never knew.

    The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire #1) – Craig Johnson
    358 pages

    Walt Longmire, sheriff of Wyoming's Absaroka County, knows he's got trouble
    when Cody Pritchard is found dead. Two years earlier, Cody and three
    accomplices had been given suspended sentences for raping a Northern
    Cheyenne girl. Is someone seeking vengeance? Longmire faces one of the more
    volatile and challenging cases in his twenty-four years as sheriff and means to
    see that revenge, a dish that is best served cold, is never served at all.

    The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother – James McBride
    291 pages

    Who is Ruth McBride Jordan? A self-declared "light-skinned" woman evasive
    about her ethnicity, yet steadfast in her love for her twelve black children. James
    McBride, journalist, musician and son, explores his mother's past, as well as his
    own upbringing and heritage, in a poignant and powerful debut, The Color Of
    Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother.

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  • Date: October 19, 2019, By Robert Category - Share/Discuss

    Our next book is Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.

    Erik will be hosting our next Book Club in Louisville on November 22nd. Quinn will be bringing the picks.

    Total Comments: 0
  • Date: October 15, 2019, By Robert Category - Share/Discuss

    Book club is this Friday at Gunbarrel Brewing. Address: 3506, 7088 Winchester Cir, Boulder, CO 80301

    Here are Greg’s picks:

    Hillbilly Elegy
    257 Pages
    From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class

    Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

    The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility.

    But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.

    A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

    Norse Mythology
    301 Pages
    Neil Gaiman, long inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction, presents a bravura rendition of the Norse gods and their world from their origin though their upheaval in Ragnarok.

    In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki—son of a giant—blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

    Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose, these gods emerge with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

    276 Pages
    Some facts about Billy Dickens:
    * He once saw a biker swerve across the road in order to run over a snake.
    * Later, that motorcycle somehow ended up at the bottom of a canal.
    * Billy isn’t the type to let things go.
    Some facts about Billy’s family:
    * They’ve lived in six different Florida towns because Billy’s mom always insists on getting a house near a bald eagle nest.
    * Billy’s older sister is dating a jerk. It’s a mystery.
    * Billy’s dad left when he was four, and Billy knows almost nothing about him.
    * Billy has just found his dad’s address–in Montana.
    This summer, Billy will fly across the country, hike a mountain, float a river, dodge a grizzly bear, shoot down a spy drone, save a neighbor’s cat, save an endangered panther, and then try to save his own father.

    334 Pages
    Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

    Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.

    Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

    Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it.

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