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Topic: Mistborn for Book Club?

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Subject: Mistborn for Book Club?
Date Posted: 6/6/2014 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/3/2007
Posts: 326
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I enjoy being in a book club because it makes me read books that I would typically overlook. My book club is made up of 9 other women who never read fantasy (which is one of my favorite genres) and every now and then I like to challenge them. Three years ago, I chose The Curse of Chalion. I thought it would be a "safer" pick because it was a stand-alone fantasy book, it was about humans, and the magic system was relatively small. I enjoyed it, but I can't say that it was a huge hit.

I think only 2 other people finished the book. (Meanwhile, I'd finished the entire trilogy). Some started on it, others "couldn't find it" at the bookstore, and the overall opinion was that it was not a very good pick. The next two years, I ended up picking Little Women and Jane Eyre. (I enjoy the classics as well, so that wasn't a total cop-out).

This year, I think I want to have them give fantasy another try. The only catch is that we are supposed to recommend books that we have never read before, so that is a challenge. I've had Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy on my list for a while now, and was thinking about recommending the first book.

Would Mistborn be a good choice for a group of women who never read fantasy?

I've thought about Homeland by RA Salvatore (even though I've read it), because it could generate a good discussion/social commentary. Then again, I can't see most of these women getting into a dark elf main character with scimitars. Such a shame.

Assassin's Apprentice is one of my all-time favorites (I could pretend that I've never read it, right?)

So... opinions on Mistborn and any additional fantasy recommendations you think they might like (but in truth, probably won't!) are appreciated!

Date Posted: 6/7/2014 12:21 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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Well, if they didn't like Curse of Chalion, I can't see them liking Mistborn...  Maybe that's my own preferences talking though.

What sorts of books are generally a hit with the book club?


And are you wanting more epic or high fantasy rather than something that's sort on the borders of a couple different genres?

Last Edited on: 6/7/14 12:22 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/9/2014 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 7/3/2007
Posts: 326
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We tend to read a variety of books, but nothing terribly adventurous.

Recent selections include: The Goldfinch, Winter's Bone, Mrs. Kennedy and Me, Wonder, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Fortune's Rocks, The Book Thief, Rebecca, The Giver, Room, Crossing to Safety, etc. One slightly more out there pick was The Master and Margarita. I thought it was fantastic... I was also the only one who liked it.

I think this group just prefers more straightforward, "real-life" kinds of stories and has a harder time really delving into the other worlds (different races, magic systems, pantheons, etc) that the fantasy genre provides. I don't know if they are not as open to the genre because they haven't had much exposure to it, because they don't take it very seriously as a worthwhile genre, or because they don't have a very high tolerance for anything violent and/or scary. Honestly, it's probably a combination of all three.

Either way, I still like pushing them a little and want to recommend something interesting. I realize that there is no perfect selection, and that it probably won't be very well recieved no matter what I pick, but I do want to be intentional and try to make the best selection possible.

Thanks to anyone who can offer some input :)





Date Posted: 6/9/2014 8:25 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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Curse of Chalion is one of my favorites, so I'm having a hard time thinking up another epic fantasy they might enjoy if they weren't even willing to try that one.  Perhaps Tolkien? Maybe they'll cut it some slack cause it's a classic?

Or perhaps the first Game of Thrones book since the show is so popular?  That's pretty long for a book club book.

Terry Pratchett is another possibility. (Though there's not all that much to discuss in Pratchett other than what your favorite joke was.)

Okay, so as far as easing non-fantasy readers into fantasy - what about reading something set in the real world?  Urban fantasy, in other words. 

Neil Gaiman tends to be be popular with people who aren't typically fantasy readers.  His most recent The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fun story and doesn't have much violence.  (And it's pretty short so they have less excuse for not finishing!)

Hm.  The Golem and the Jinni was really good.  You could use that to talk about immigrants, etc.  There's also a good reading discussion guide at the end of some editions.

I recently finished The Drowning Girl and that was really good as well.  Though it's not a great one to read if your group members want firm answers as far as "what happened?" - cause some of the point of the book is that you never find out for sure.

Let's see...  Charles de Lint is another light-hearted urban fantasy author.  His Forests of the Heart works very well as a stand-alone but it's old enough they might have trouble finding it in physical bookstores.

Perhaps something like Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic? Maybe if they've seen and liked the movie version they'd be willing to give the book version a try.  The novel is darker and grittier.  Again, this is older but Hoffman's such a popular author there's still a decent chance of finding it in stores.

Eowyn Ivey's The Snow Child is another one where there's both a magical and a mundane definition and the author never tells you which one is true.  (No actual magic in this one.)

Do any of these sound good or should I be suggesting something completely different?




Last Edited on: 6/10/14 12:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/13/2014 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2007
Posts: 1,690
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My book club is the same.  One other gal and I read fantasy, there are a couple that read mysteries, but for the most part, genre fiction is looked down on as lesser.  (Although we've read mainstream fiction that I don't know how you can get lesser than!)

We are reading Mr. Penumbra's 24 hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, not heavy fantasy, but was Pasadena's One City, One Book selection and therefore acceptable.  Also on the speculative fiction side was The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender, again set in So Calif and the author teaches writing at USC, so not threatening.

Maybe you can find something set in your neighborhood or by a local writer....

ETA:  Game of Thrones (which I've read) was suggested and roundly defeated. 

Last Edited on: 6/13/14 12:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/13/2014 1:40 PM ET
Member Since: 7/3/2007
Posts: 326
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Hi Susan! It sounds like you and I are definitely in the same book club boat!

I also have one other girl who has slightly broader reading tastes. (She is the one who recommended that I read The Hunger Games before anyone was ever talking about it). Most of my book club has not read The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, etc. It was actually a stretch for us to read The Woods by Harlan Coben because it was "a murder mystery" and some people were a little hesitant about that. Don't get me wrong... I love my group and it is made up of some very sweet friends. But my tastes and theirs are significantly different!

I am now leaning towards recommending The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. For one thing, it's a "children's book" so I would like to think that it would not be too graphic or scary for this group. It also won the Hugo Award, the Newberry Medal, and the Carnegie Medal, which makes it sound like it's not a totally worthless pile of genre drivel. I have read Good Omens and Neverwhere by Gaimen, and I love his dark sense of humor and his subtle twist of fantasy on the real world. That is making it my current front runner for now.

There is also no possible way (EVER) that Game of Thrones would fly in my group, either. I can relate with you on that point as well!

Date Posted: 6/13/2014 2:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2007
Posts: 1,690
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Also, I bet your group is somewhat younger.  Ours is a group of about 30, with 12-15 a usual number, ranging in ages from late 40's to early 70's.  Yet, we also read The Fault in Our Stars, which I never would have read.  Most liked it.

Wine is also served and a good time is had by all!

Date Posted: 6/13/2014 2:39 PM ET
Member Since: 7/3/2007
Posts: 326
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There are only 10 of us and we are all in our 30s, except for one lady who is a member's mom.

All but 3 of us are stay at home moms (I'm one of the works full time girls) and all of us have small children. We do, however, love our wine as well and we get to meet at cool restaurants once a month for a fun night out :)

Date Posted: 6/27/2014 3:49 PM ET
Member Since: 11/4/2005
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As much as I loved the Mistborn trilogy the magic system is very dense. I would sugest one of his stand alone books like Elantris or Warbreaker instead.  A few other suggestions for newcomers would be the Princess Bride, by W. Goldman, if you liked the movie you should like the book.  A natural History of Dragons, by M. Brennan, this may only be out in hardcover right now.  Cloud Atlas, by D. Mitchell, this IMO barely fits as fantasy but it was interesting.  The Name of the Wind by P. Rothfuss, this is the first in a series and quite a thick book, but very well written. Or if they might like a more romance take on fantasy there is Kushiels Dart, by J. Carey, but it is a bit dark.



Date Posted: 7/8/2014 12:25 PM ET
Member Since: 10/20/2012
Posts: 804
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A fairly new series is out, and I gobbled it up.  All through except for Shattered which is not on the Talking Books list yet (it will be).  I loved all the Kevin Hearne books in the Iron Druid Trilogy. He has a fantastic sense of humor and is not too bizarre or gory.  You'd love the audiobook narrated by Luke Daniels too.  It has a hilarious dog in it.  The first book in the series is Hounded.

Judye / maysied

Date Posted: 7/8/2014 9:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/3/2007
Posts: 108
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Try Among Others by Jo Walton. Read that in my book club and it worked great!

Date Posted: 7/20/2014 9:53 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 260
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I'm wondering if something like "The Stolen Child" by Donohue might be more palatable to your book group since it sounds like they're not going to be keen on high fantasy. Some other possibilities: "The Girl with Glass Feet" by Shaw and "The City, Not Long After" by Murphy, both of which contain elements of magic realism; "Firethorn" by Micklem, which reads more like historical fiction than fantasy. "Agyar" by Brust is also a 'different' sort of fantasy choice. I also second the aforementioned recommendation of Kevin Hearne's books, which weave in plenty of literary and historical references and are good for some out-loud laughs, though they might be less ripe for discussion than the 2nd, 3rd and 4th books I mentioned above.

Date Posted: 8/6/2014 6:47 PM ET
Member Since: 8/29/2010
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Neil Gaiman would be a good choice. Stand alone books that read pretty quick. Stardust and The Graveyard Book come to mind. Be careful however his books can range from good for kids to oh dear that will scar me for life. If you haven't read the book before I wouldn't just pick one and recommend it.