Hey all! I just read Blake Crouch’s new book Recursion. He is the author of Dark Matter, a previous club pick. Recursion was amazing! Must read.
Got The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin, our pick for this month. I had it reserved at the library and expected to get it in like six weeks. But kabloowy! It became available for my Kindle. Incidentally, Dead Astronauts by Vandermeer also showed up for me yesterday. So, it’s a full month of reading.
Got my apocalypse chicks into a bigger coop today. 4 weeks old and jumpy as hell. I’m going to sell a few, as I have 20 new ones…. Let me know if you want some. Is that like pitching your own book for club reading?!
Our next pick is The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin.
Our next Book Club will be June 19th at 8:00 PM on zoom. Ryan will be bringing the picks.
Book Club is tomorrow over Zoom. Here are Andrew’s picks:
Braiding Sweetgrass by RobinWallKimmerer
Fox 8: A Story by George Saunders
The Painter: A novel by Peter Heller
The City We Became: A Novel (The Great Cities Trilogy Book 1) by N. K. Jemisin
Dead Astronauts: A Novel (Borne Book 2) by Jeff VanderMeer
Here are the details on the picks from Amazon.
Our next pick is The Time Machine by HG Wells (bonus points if you also read Reason by Asimov).
Our next Book Club will be May 1st on Zoom at 8:00 PM. Andrew will be bringing the picks.
This Friday we’ll be having our first ever Zoom Book Club. The picks from Dan are below, and you should be able to find all of these digitally.
Dry by Augusten Burroughs 293 pages (2004) (Memoir)
You may not know it, but you’ve met Augusten Burroughs. You’ve seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twenty-something guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had two drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls, and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn’t really a request) of his employers, Augusten landed in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey, Jr., are immediately dashed by the grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click, and that’s when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life and live it sober. What follows is a memoir that’s as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is real. (less)
Reason by Isaac Asimov
“Reason” is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov, first published in the April 1941 issue of Astounding Science Fiction and collected in I, Robot (1950), The Complete Robot (1982), and Robot Visions (1990). It is part of Asimov’s Robot series, and was the second of Asimov’s positronic robot stories to see publication.
Powell and Donovan are assigned to a space station which supplies energy via microwave beams to the planets. The robots that control the energy beams are in turn co-ordinated by QT1, known to Powell and Donovan as Cutie, an advanced model with highly developed reasoning ability. Using these abilities, Cutie decides that space, stars and the planets beyond the station don’t really exist, and that the humans that visit the station are unimportant, short-lived and expendable. QT1 makes the lesser robots disciples of a new religion, which considers the power source of the ship to be “Master.
The Crystal Man by Edward Page Mitchell
Science Fiction and Supernatural Horror Fantasy Tales from a forgotten pioneer . (great explanation)
The Time Machine by HG Wells
“I’ve had a most amazing time….”
So begins the Time Traveller’s astonishing firsthand account of his journey 800,000 years beyond his own era—and the story that launched H.G. Wells’s successful career and earned him his reputation as the father of science fiction. With a speculative leap that still fires the imagination, Wells sends his brave explorer to face a future burdened with our greatest hopes…and our darkest fears. A pull of the Time Machine’s lever propels him to the age of a slowly dying Earth. There he discovers two bizarre races—the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks—who not only symbolize the duality of human nature, but offer a terrifying portrait of the men of tomorrow as well. Published in 1895, this masterpiece of invention captivated readers on the threshold of a new century. Thanks to Wells’s expert storytelling and provocative insight, The Time Machine will continue to enthrall readers for generations to come.
I just re-read the Dogstars and I am finding a box canyon and preparing water and weapons for the apocalypse. Half joke. Stay healthy
Our next book is Solaris by Stanisław Lem.
Our next Book Club will be April 3rd at Robert’s house in Erie. Dan will be bringing the picks.
Book club is this Friday at Gunbarrel Brewing. Address: 3506, 7088 Winchester Cir, Boulder, CO 80301
Here are Jim’s picks:
by Edward Snowden
In 2013, twenty-nine-year-old Edward Snowden shocked the world when he broke with the American intelligence establishment and revealed that the United States government was secretly pursuing the means to collect every single phone call, text message, and email. The result would be an unprecedented system of mass surveillance with the ability to pry into the private lives of every person on earth. Six years later, Snowden reveals for the very first time how he helped to build this system and why he was moved to expose it.
Spanning the bucolic Beltway suburbs of his childhood and the clandestine CIA and NSA postings of his adulthood, Permanent Record is the extraordinary account of a bright young man who grew up online—a man who became a spy, a whistleblower, and, in exile, the Internet’s conscience. Written with wit, grace, passion, and an unflinching candor, Permanent Record is a crucial memoir of our digital age and destined to be a classic.
Those curious about why and how he disclosed top secret information may be most interested in the second and third parts of the book, which cover his years working in the intelligence community.
The first part of “Permanent Record” is the most personal. He recounts his early years, much of which he spent behind a computer. He writes of his discovery and reporting of a vulnerability in the website of Los Alamos National Laboratory, the country’s nuclear research facility, as a teen. Often staying up late exploring uncharted online territories during the internet’s earliest days, he struggled to stay engaged with school and failed to complete assignments. “You have so much potential, Ed,” said one teacher, who pulled him aside after class. “You have to start thinking about your permanent record.”
Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion
by Jia Tolentino
Trick Mirror is an enlightening, unforgettable trip through the river of self-delusion that surges just beneath the surface of our lives. This is a book about the incentives that shape us, and about how hard it is to see ourselves clearly in a culture that revolves around the self. In each essay, Jia writes about the cultural prisms that have shaped her: the rise of the nightmare social internet; the American scammer as millennial hero; the literary heroine’s journey from brave to blank to bitter; the mandate that everything, including our bodies, should always be getting more efficient and beautiful until we die.
The strongest pieces in Trick Mirror have to do with the commodification of the self. Tolentino recalls appearing in a short-lived reality TV show when she was 16. (She really is a case study in mediated identity, a fact she concedes—sometimes cheerily, sometimes not so much.) The cameras satiated her ravenous teenage desire “to be seen” and at the same time capsized her into a boundless ocean of self-consciousness that ceased to bother her simply because it had swallowed the whole world. Rewatching some of the episodes, in which she was cast as the priggish smart girl who refused to make out with anyone, Tolentino “can’t tell if, on the show, I was more concerned with looking virtuous or actually being virtuous—or if, having gone from a religious panopticon to a literal one, I was even capable of distinguishing between the two ideas.”
It was, in short, “useful, if dubious, preparation for a life wrapped up with the internet.” In her big opening essay on that inexhaustible subject, “The I in the Internet,” Tolentino’s insights are sterling. Dissecting the profile as the basic building block of social media, she writes, “The everyday madness perpetuated by the internet is the madness of this architecture, which positions personal identity as the center of the universe.” The ubiquity and fury of trolls, she believes, is in response to the internet’s exultation of the ever-appealing, overexposed self, the creation of which is a skill central
to traditional femininity—in other words, an ability women have been trained in from an early age. “This legitimately unfortunate paradigm, inhabited first by women and now generalized to the entire internet, is what trolls loathe and actively repudiate.” While Tolentino’s depiction of the earliest days of the internet as a wholesome band of helpful Usenet newsgroups is overly rosy (trolls have always been with us), she pinpoints why the transition from the internet as a kind of communal tool to Web 2.0’s marketplace of personality has been plagued by such a torrent of online misogyny.
by Stanisław Lem,
When Kris Kelvin arrives at the planet Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface, he finds a painful, hitherto unconscious memory embodied in the living physical likeness of a long-dead lover. Others examining the planet, Kelvin learns, are plagued with their own repressed and newly corporeal memories. The Solaris ocean may be a massive brain that creates these incarnate memories, though its purpose in doing so is unknown, forcing the scientists to shift the focus of their quest and wonder if they can truly understand the universe without first understanding what lies within their hearts.
Fleishman Is in Trouble
by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Recently separated Toby Fleishman is suddenly, somehow–and at age forty-one, short as ever–surrounded by women who want him: women who are self-actualized, women who are smart and interesting, women who don’t mind his height, women who are eager to take him for a test drive with just the swipe of an app. Toby doesn’t mind being used in this way; it’s a welcome change from the thirteen years he spent as a married man, the thirteen years of emotional neglect and contempt he’s just endured.
Anthropologically speaking, it’s like nothing he ever experienced before, particularly back in the 1990s, when he first began dating and became used to swimming in the murky waters of rejection.
But Toby’s new life–liver specialist by day, kids every other weekend, rabid somewhat anonymous sex at night–is interrupted when his ex-wife suddenly disappears. Either on a vision quest or a nervous breakdown, Toby doesn’t know–she won’t answer his texts or calls.
Is Toby’s ex just angry, like always? Is she punishing him, yet again, for not being the bread winner she was? As he desperately searches for her while juggling his job and parenting their two unraveling children, Toby is forced to reckon with the real reasons his marriage fell apart, and to ask if the story he has been telling himself all this time is true.
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.