the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘read-a-long

Hi Ya’ll,

just a quickie reminder (quiche, anyone? if you know that joke, raise your hand!) that our read along of Scott Lynch’s Red Seas Under Red Skies starts this week.  Hosted by Dark Cargo, Ashley at SFSignal, My Awful Reviews, Lynn’s Book Blog and yours truly, our first discussion will be next weekend.

Get the details (reading schedule, etc) here.

AND to add to your wonderful weekend, Jennie Ivens (@Autumn2May), staff member at Fantasy Faction, went to the Lynch & Bear reading the other night in New York, where she got a recording of Scott Lynch reading from The Mad Baron’s Mechanical Attic, a prequel of sorts to The Lies of Locke Lamora.

yes, you read that right: reading.  prequel. novella.

Also, infuriating guards and a very odd courtyard garden.  just go click the link, watch the reading, and we’ll all start going nuts for Red Seas Under Red Skies next weekend.

And thanks to Bente from The Bente Way of Life for providing us with the great read-along graphic!

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Hi Everyone, welcome to the second half of our read-along of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings. I invite you to click back to Stainless Steel and visit all the other wonderful discussions. A huge thanks to Carl for hosting and organizing this eye opening read along for a science fiction classic!

Salvador Hardin was the first character in the book that we got to spend any significant time with. What are your thoughts on the grande finale of his plotting, scheming and maneuvering to get the Foundation through to the next Seldon crisis?

I LOVED it. Hardin is a brilliant strategist. Sure, it’s easy to call him manipulative, and he is, but predicting what frightened power hungry people will do really isn’t that difficult. All he’s doing to the four Kingdoms is giving them enough rope to hang themselves with. I’ve never minded characters of ambiguous morality, so Hardin was a pleasure to watch. And when the other planets start understanding that without the technologies of the Foundation they are nothing? their power plants won’t work, their medical devices won’t work. . . wouldn’t it be smarter for them to work with Hardin and the Foundation instead of fighting them tooth and nail?

Remind me never play chess with this dude.

What are your thoughts on the way in which control/manipulation to achieve Foundation ends began to shift with The Traders?

although these were the draggiest chapters for me (I want more Hardin, damnit!), they were the ones that bore the most interesting after-thinking. Just as it had been predicted, planets and their populations began to see through the Foundation religion and rejecting the missionaries. The rules weren’t exactly sure what was going on, but they knew they had been manipulated and they were understandably insulted.

Regarding the shift from religion to trading – a thinly veiled lesson that nothing lasts forever? that we shouldn’t feel shackled to the traditions of the past simply because they worked for our parents? Yes, there is a thousand year plan, but that doesn’t mean every year has to be exactly like the previous year.

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This post is part of Stainless Steel Dropping’s Foundation read along, and coincidentally enough, works into my Vintage Sci Fi month as well. Written by Isaac Asimov as a series of short stories in the 1940s and published as such in Astounding Magazine, they would not be bound as the trilogy of novels we know today until the 1950’s, and then to far more fanfare in the 1960s. In 1966 the Foundation series won the Hugo for “best series”. Forty years after Asimov started typing that first Foundation story, he was paid one of the largest advances ever to write a fourth  Foundation series, which was published in 1982 as Foundation’s Edge.

A story of a galactic empire in ruins, and one man’s mission to save it. A mission that couldn’t be started until long after he died. Hari Seldon knew what he was getting himself info, but Isaac Asimov couldn’t have possibly guessed in 1941, what he was getting himself into.

When Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings told me a while ago he would be doing a Foundation read along in January, I was thrilled. What better way to introduce people to the masterpiece that is Foundation than through an easy to follow yet casually guided read along? He’s split the book in half, and since the whole thing is barely 300 pages long, that’s some easy readin’.  I seem to (re)read Foundation every ten years or so, sometimes going forwards or backwards in the chronology, sometimes not. Last time I read the books I was in college (and still living on campus!) so it was certainly time for me to be reading Foundation again.

Carl provided some conversation starters to use as a jumping off point, lets see where this takes us, shall we?

For those who have read it before, how has it held up to your memory/feelings about previous reads?

Like I said, it’s been about ten years (yikes, maybe longer!) since I last read Foundation. I was a little nervous that it wouldn’t hold up, that I’d be bored, or underwhelmed, or annoyed by the characters.  I shouldn’t have worried my pretty little head. Foundation is so far even better than I remember it. In fact, I feel like I’m finally old enough to understand it.

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Final battles, eagles, and a final trip to Rivendell. The story of the Lord of the Rings is at a close with the final chapters of The Return of the King. Middle Earth will never be the same again, and a bittersweet ending for our characters.

(By the way, want more hobbitses, more Middle Earth, more epic mythology?  Look for discussion posts of The Children of Hurin during the month of December. Posts won’t be as formal as these, but Geeky Daddy and Stainless Steel Droppings and I look forward to your comments!)

To lighten the mood, I can’t help but post the original How Lord of the Rings should have ended:

now that you’re laughing, here’s this week’s discussion questions.

What do you think Gandalf was going to speak with Tom Bombadil about?

What did you think of the two weddings? Do you think Eowyn will eventually find happiness with Faramir?

What did you think of their meeting with Saruman on the road home?  I was half expecting someone to just kill Saruman.

Holy Cow I was not expecting the scouring of the shire.  If this is your first time reading, were you surprised? And if this isn’t your first time reading, does the shock get a little easier to swallow on re-read?

What did you think of the very end, of the departure of the Havens?

Characters are supposed to change and develop during a story, right?  Who changed more, Sam or Frodo?

other blog disussions:
All Booked Up
The Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf
Lynn’s Book Blog
Book Den
Geeky Daddy
Stainless Steel Droppings

and my answers after the jump!

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Hi Everyone,  welcome back to our Lord of the Rings read along! This week we’re getting through The Return of the King.  Sauron’s forces have been properly distracted by the siege on Gondor, the troublesome Rohirrim and Aragorn’s forces of old.  The eye of Sauron would never even notice too people meandering through his backyard, would he?

This week’s questions were provided by Carl of Stainless Droppings.  It just goes to show, Tolkien and Skyrim aren’t mutually exclusive. ;)

here we go!

1.  After witnessing the events of Denethor’s demise, what are your thoughts on him as a father and as a ruler, especially when compared to what happened with Boromir and the Ring.

2.  Instead of riding into the city with pomp and circumstance, Tolkien pens the king’s return as a clandestine act in which he demonstrates his rightful place through the act of healing the wounded.  Your thoughts?

3.  For one chapter Sam got to be rescuer and ring-bearer.  What are your thoughts about Sam’s brief time as a ring-bearer in comparison to the others who have born the ring, or wished to?

4.  In a twist unexpected in many hero tales, Tolkien ends the journey into Mount Doom with Frodo ultimately failing at his task.  How did you feel about this and ultimately how does it make you feel about both Frodo and Gollum?

5.  Given that The Lord of the Rings is largely about an all male cast, what are your thoughts about Tolkien’s portrayal of Eowyn now that we’ve seen the course of her journey through these culminating chapters of her story?

6.  Much of this section of our reading has been filled with desperate acts with little hope of success.  How do you feel about the mood Tolkien created in the build up both to the battle and the final push into Mount Doom and what are your thoughts on how these sections ended?

7.  The “assigned” sections for part 3 only take us to the end of the actual story. Will you be reading the appendices?

my answers after the jump!

Other blog discussions:
Lynn’s Book Blog
Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf
Geeky Daddy

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Happy Saturday everyone!  do you have snow?  How about annoying Christmas ads on tv?

Let’s get to some fun stuff, shall we?  This week we’re talking about the first section of The Return of The King.  This is the book where it all happens, where everything ends, where all the cards are on the table and the time for bluffing has come to an end. In this first section, we jump back and forth between Merry and Gandalf who are in Minas Tirith,  Pippin who is in Rohan, and Aragorn who is on the way to the land of the Dead. Sounds a little dramatic, no?  Well, yes, and verily.  ;)

This weeks questions were provided by Clint over at Geeky Daddy, and they are some good ones!  As always, leave your link in the comments or tweet it to me at @redhead5318 with #LOTRreadalong .

1.With the company that went with Aragorn through the Paths of Death. Would you have volunteered knowing it may be curse and ghosts haunting the paths?

2.What were your thoughts of Merry and Pippin in the preparation to the Battle of Gondor. It seemed that each ruler just thought that each hobbit could not be a contribution to the battle.

3.Did you think that the preparations to the Battle sparked your interest and all or did you find that the flow was bogged down a bit?

4. I thought that it was great that both Eowyn and Merry made it to the Battlefield. Yet against orders of the King and made a huge contributions. What did you think both of them doing this and would you have done this if it was you?

5. What do you think of Denethor’s rash decision to send Faramir to hold Western Osgiliath against the hosts of the Enemy that outnumbered their own greatly?

Check out these other discussions!
Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf
Geeky Daddy
Lynn’s Book Blog
Polishing Mud Balls
Book Den
Stainless Steel Droppings

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Hi Everyone, welcome to our last discussion of the epic middle book in The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers. (click for parts One and Two) Focusing on the end of the book, our adventures center around Frodo and Sam, who with Gollum’s help, are looking for a way into Mordor.

and as they say, one does not simply occupy Mordor. Or wait, have I got it wrong? ;)

Anyway, after running into a very suspicious but mostly friendly Faramir, they decide to take Gollum’s advice regarding the only other way into Mordor. Up many, many stairs. Into a dark, dark cave.  I still can’t watch those particular scenes in the movie, I usually cover my eyes and have someone tell me when it’s over. If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean.

I got to come up with questions/discussion starters for the end of The Two Towers, and I invited everyone to add and subtract, get creative, go whichever direction they wanted. Here’s what we started with:

Faramir strikes me as a noble, intelligent fellow, especially concerning powers beyond his control.  Had he gone to Elrond’s Council instead of Boromir, how might the story have changed?

What did you think of Shelob and her lair? Would you willingly go in there?  Yes, I know Gollum says “this is the only way”, but Frodo could have demanded they explore and attempt to find another way.

When Sam saves Frodo from Shelob, he finds himself in the vision he saw in Galadriel’s mirror.  Knowing the future isn’t always as helpful as one would think, is it?

Having always been a sidekick/helper of sorts, Sam reluctantly realizes he may have to become the Ringbearer. What do you think Sam will do with the Ring of Power? If you were the sidekick of the hero, and suddenly had the opportunity to become the hero, to finish the quest, what would you do with the Ring of Power?

The conversation between the two Orcs at the end was highly amusing for me.  Yes, it serves to educate Sam on Frodo’s condition, and Tolkien could have just left it at that, but he didn’t. The Orc’s commiserating could have been any soldiers in any war.  To me, it felt like Tolkien was humanizing the enemy, instead of the traditional dehumanizing of the enemy that you usually see in war stories. What do you think?

The book ends on a cliffhanger. Are you excited to finish up the trilogy and see how it all turns out?

The answers, after the jump!

Other blog conversations:
Geeky Daddy
Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf
Stainless Steel Droppings
Lynn’s Book Blog
All Booked Up
The Written World

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.