Wednesday, January 4, 2017

10-12 Book Club

Eighteen of us met Tuesday night for 10-12 Book Club to discuss John Scalzi's book Lock In, which is kind of hard to summarize: It's a murder mystery that takes place in the future, after a pandemic has altered the world and people who lost their ability to move are able to get around by using "threeps" (named for C3PO) as mobile devices. One FBI agent is an "integrator" (someone who can suppress her personality and allow a "Haden" to use her body), while the other is a Haden, who uses a threep; and the main suspect? He's an integrator, so it could have been him who murdered the guy, or it could have been somebody else, using his body. You may have guessed by this point that it's science fiction. Sadly, Zoey, who has been politicking for months to read this book, couldn't be with us; but we had a lively discussion nonetheless, including some debate about the gender of the protagonist, Chris.

A few people loved the book unreservedly, while most had a few caveats but liked it pretty well. Ryan called it out as a favorite because it wasn't dystopian and it ended well! Ha! We all appreciated its lively style and the lack of excessive didactic explanation, which opinion we arrived at through discussing Isaac Asimov's series of robot novels pairing Earth detective Elijah Bailey with humanoid robot R. Daneel Olivaw, which starts with the book The Caves of Steel. We wondered whether people who liked Lock In would enjoy those, since Asimov does come from a tradition of "info dumping" in his novels. Hailey thought yes. The range of ratings for Lock In was a high of 9 and a low of 6, with a final score of 7.5.

Coincidentally, next month we are also reading about an out-of-body experience when we tackle David Levithan's Every Day, a book in which the protagonist wakes up every morning in a different body! And March's reading was hotly contested, with some final contenders from our ongoing list and some new nominations. We ended up choosing Side Effects May Vary, by Julie Murphy, in which Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, expects to die, and therefore commits mean-spirited revenge pranks on all who wronged her in life; but then she goes into remission! Uh-oh...what to do?

Other books we considered, in descending order of popularity, were:

Graceling, by Kristin Cashore
Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
Bumped, by Megan McCafferty
The Boy Most Likely To, by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Proxy, by Alex London
I'll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson
          (are we ever going to read this book?!)
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
Conjured, by Sarah Beth Durst
Enclave, by Ann Aguirre

We will keep these on our list. Next month the club meets on February 7th. Those who missed the meeting, pick up a copy of your book at either branch.

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