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From Goodreads:

A meteor decimates the U.S. government and paves the way for a climate cataclysm that will eventually render the earth inhospitable to humanity. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated timeline in the earth’s efforts to colonize space, as well as an unprecedented opportunity for a much larger share of humanity to take part.

One of these new entrants in the space race is Elma York, whose experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too—aside from some pesky barriers like thousands of years of history and a host of expectations about the proper place of the fairer sex. And yet, Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions may not stand a chance.

This month's book club will have four discussion threads. You can find an overview with dates and chapters in the sticky comment. As the discussion threads go up the sticky comment will be updated with links to the discussion threads.

Mary Robinette Kowal will host an AMA on Thursday August 30th to close out this month's book club selection.

Posted byAMA Author7 hours ago
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Intro: We are Max Allan Collins (a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, author of Road to Perdition, Quarry, the Nathan Heller series, and more) and A. Brad Schwartz (author of Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles's War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News, and a doctoral student at Princeton University). Since our respective childhoods, we've been fascinated with the mythic struggle between Chicago gangster Al Capone and his nemesis, Prohibition agent Eliot Ness. Five years ago, we decided to pool our talents and write the definitive biography of both men, which debuted on Tuesday as Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago:

To get this story right, we scoured archives in a dozen states and Washington, DC, toured Capone's Miami mansion, pored over Ness's yellowing scrapbooks, even test-fired a Tommy gun! Together, we uncovered the real men behind the myths and discovered a thrilling story that's never been fully told, with surprising relevance to our own times. For an hour beginning at 1pm EST on August 16, we'll be here to answer your questions. Ask us anything!


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As in title, just started reading The Wheel of Time while waiting for next book in The Expanse series and it feels like a chore... There's a lot of names to memorize and nations that are not explained so my question is this, is there a resource I should get familiar with beforehand? Or just power through it and hope for the best?

On a different note, some of the unpleasantness might be due to fact that I'm reading it in English which isn't my native language, but I have already read multiple books in English and this is the first time I'm having such trouble.

Thanks in advance for any tips on this one


Many thanks to everyone who commented, as most suggested I'll just read the book and try and catch up with some glossaries later. Also thanks for the mention of drinking whenever someone straightens a dress or strokes hair, that might be fun.


I've read short books within a day and sometimes feel a regret, as if I should've treated the read as a courtship rather than as a quick fling or one-night stand.

I just finished Follett's A Column of Fire (283,040 words) which I was very excited to complete. But then I was in a down mood because my mind was still in the story and I wanted to continue reading.

Is this a normal thing?

Also what could be seen as a negative is having to decide which book to read next.


Just finished this book because it was recommended as a good similar follow up to Shirley Jackson's Haunting of Hill House (which I also liked). I found the Elementals to be a pretty satisfying atypical gothic/haunted house story. McDowell was really good at infusing the narrative with a sense of place, fully describing the areas in Alabama principal to the story in a way that, for the first time ever, made me curious about Alabama. The horror elements are also pretty classic southern-style gothic, which is a motif I always can get into. This seems like a pretty well known book, but I figured I'd toss my opinion out there anyway.


As a teenager I found and read a book from a random bookshelf in my house. I remembered only parts of it but most importantly I remembered not reading the last chapter for days because I didn’t want it to end. After mildly extensive searching I found it! My local library didn’t have it so I purchased a copy on eBay. Now the only drawback is if it isn’t as good this time around as it was the first!

The story begins with a caravan traveling west in 1838. A little girl wanders off and stumbles upon a wedding between two rival groups of otherworldly creatures. Things go wrong and a battle ensues. The girl befriends one of these creatures and goes on to settle a new town called Everville. It’s hard to remember much more than that. Has anybody else read it? I haven’t found anyone who said it sounds familiar.


My experience reading Ishmael reminded me of a shrooms trip. It didn't introduce me to any completely new ideas nor did it have profound insight into our society. What it did do was help me to illuminate aspects of our culture that I new were wrong but hadn't pieced together exactly what the problem was. It helped me understand part of the reason why I was unhappy with society and how I could change to make myself happier. And it encouraged me to question things that everyone takes for granted.

Ishmael gets a lot of heat from people who treat it like a pure philosophy text, but I don't think that was ever its purpose. I think it is similar to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (another great read that also gets criticized for lack of real philosophy) in that it is pseudo-philosophy for the masses, and there's nothing wrong with that. Why would any fan of philosophy criticize something that increases interest in the field? I think it should be on must read lists as an easy introduction to philosophy and environmental activism.


I know a lot of people read this book in high school. But I didn’t. I am 34 years old, and just read this for the first time last week. So many of the themes in the book I have thought of before but hadn’t articulated them or really discussed with anyone. I love the straightforward language of the narrator, and the no nonsense, honest way that he sees the world. Did this book have a strong affect on anyone else? And are there other books that can be recommended based off my enjoyment of this one? Thanks!


After reading this book, and to add a backstory this is a beast I’ve often tried to tackle but was led to wary by the first couple pages, I’m satisfied that this is he best book to have hit shelves in that past 60 Year’s (can’t say hundred because Faulkner, Huxley, Orwell, and Joyce topped that).

This book, for those that don’t know, is a modern adaption of the book of genesis in the Old Testament. However I would go to say that this book actually does what Paradise Lost also did, which is to encode emotion into an old text that lacks it. Every character in this piece has a role and is more than just a 2D figure to push the text forward. Take for example the chapter between Dessie and Tom, which I won’t spoil, as it adds nothing to the book but adds so much to what the book means. This book is about people lost in their own times trying to capture a ghost that they cannot see but feel.

Not to detract but a shining point of this book is the culture of America at the turn of the century. While we like to believe America has always been a land of freedom, it actually is a land built on the back of a disposable workforce (thanks blade runner). Lee is a great example of the feelings felt by not just immigrants but people of color in America, this feeling of needing to code switch to fit the stereotype of white culture that dominated back in the day. Lee understand that he can be trusted only if he fits he profile.

This book delves so deep into the effect of love and the effect that people can have. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to find, not an understanding to life, but a reason to be kind and thoughtful to those that surround you.

Tl:DR read this goddamn book and see how it affects you.


Good eveing yall!

I am currently thinking of gifting my significan other the "when breath becomes air" book because ive read it and it was amazing. However, i dont just want to give her the book, i want to do something special like write notes on it about my thoughts or underline quotes that inspire me. Does anyone happen to have other or better ideas on gifting a book and making it more special for someone?


This is something that has been on my mind for a while now. Recently i finished Christopher Ruocchio's debut novel Empire Of Silence. I really enjoyed it and thought the writing was pretty good. The prose was outside what i usually get in my typical SciFi/ Fantasy writing and was a refreshing read. I bring this up because upon reading some others reactions they described the writing as "melodramatic" which i didn't really understand as the basis of a criticism. So that got me thinking (I don't want to discuss Empire Of Silence, I just wanted to give context) what really is melodramatic writing? If it really exists at all? I know it's up to opinion and that some may find a passage of text beautiful and moving, while others would simply roll their eyes, but what exactly separates good prose from simply being melodramatic? Isn't all fiction melodramatic in a sense? Everyone has a right to their opinion and I have done my fair share of eye rolls, but melodramatic strikes me as an odd criticism in a way i can't really articulate. Clunky prose exists, sure, but using melodramatic as a form of criticism in a art from that is largely dramas played out on paper is weird. Maybe I'm missing something. Discuss below.

Moderator of r/books

Welcome readers,

Yesterday was V-J Day and to celebrate we're discussing your favorite books about the Pacific Theater in World War II, both fiction and nonfiction. Please use this thread to discuss your favorite World War II books and authors!

If you'd like to read our previous weekly discussions of fiction and nonfiction please visit the suggested reading section of our wiki.

Thank you and enjoy!


Maybe I'm feeling guilty and want to see if anyone else did this. I, a full grown adult, took a day off a few months ago to finish The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Even though it isn't the best book I read this year (tie between Pale Fire and Blood Meridian) I just got sucked into that world and had to see it through to move on with life. I know, it's awful; not everyone has the luxury of taking a day off to do something a frivolous as reading a book, but I'm sure I'm not alone. So? What was the last book that you put off important things for?


I recently finished The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck, and I have some conflicting thoughts and opinions regarding this novel. The entire piece is a criticism of human morality, and suffice to say that topic is convoluted at best; however, Steinbeck does a good job of portraying the ideal of morality through several different angles (via the different characters). I did enjoy the overall novel, and it left me with a lot to think about.

The novel asks, “Is it morally acceptable to forfeit certain ideals and break the rules to come out on top, in order to be in a position to contribute more ‘good’ to society?”

Or put more simply, “Do the ends justify the means?”

Ethan struggles with this throughout the entire novel, being tempted by the Bakers as well as being pushed by Margie. I definitely relate to Ethan in this, because I find it extremely hard to continue to “play by the rules” while everyone else exploits a loophole to get ahead. Sure, finding a loophole isn’t exactly cheating per se, but it’s not necessarily being honest either. I wanted Ethan to earn back his family’s riches honestly, since it would convey that he wouldn’t become a part of something that tore his family apart. Despite this, I understand that he’s trapped by circumstance and his family’s expectations. Ethan also seems to be partially living in the past, revelling in the old Hawley glory days (anyone else get Death of a Salesman vibes here?) and I found it to be a very annoying aspect of his character.

On a side note, Danny’s character is intriguing because he was upfront and honest about his dishonesty, in which case is it really even being dishonest? What did you guys think of this piece, compared to Steinbeck’s other works?


So I encountered this book and I liked it but there are some loose ends which bother me:

  1. At one point Conrad is terrified of the castle which suggests a rough past. But this is not mentioned again.
  2. Conrad has also some social past which is not discussed.
  3. The build up with the doctor is never actually delivered.

I suspect that this is some message about governments or communism. Conrad being a simple worker suffering from the load of the government, and eventually becoming as bad as the old one. Is there any analysis out there of the book? What is your opinion?


There’s something so frustratingly yet satisfyingly real about these characters. I’m not talking about stereotypical (and in some cases lovable) villains who think they’re helping the greater good in an unconventional way, but the character whose muddy morals and manipulation have you trying to decide whether you love them or hate them throughout the book.


I'm talking about particular characters only, not that the movie itself was superior to the book overall.

My friend said Boromir and Snape. I agreed about Boromir but not Snape; I preferred Snape in the book.

I thought Harry Potter himself was better in the movies - in the books he came across as pretty bland and flat but Daniel Radcliffe was able to make him into a more compelling character.

I also preferred Paul Muad'dib in the movie because it was Kyle Maclachlan. How can you not love Agent Cooper in his myriad forms?


I've read the entirety of the first series, and I absolutely loved it. One of the few series I've not been able to put down. One of my favourite things about it is the relatable dialogue; being a teenager myself, I personally can relate to the dialogue, sarcastic, witty and humourous, just like most teenagers I've met.


You can’t help but think about family whilst reading the J. D. Vance memoir. One of the things that I can’t stop thinking about is; why does the author, try to have a relationship with his mother even though she causes and has caused so much pain to him (psychologically). He can’t help but try and get his mother out of drugs or whatever the reason when she comes to him, even though he is in a totally different world now than he used to be. I know family for any human being is really important even if they aren’t the perfect person. Still I can’t grasp my head around that their is this strong desire to help family even though they have caused you so much pain. Where would the line be drawn?

The other question that comes to mind, is the fact that they have such strong bonds with the family. I have the sense that in that culture family is extremely important, if someone messes with the family, they all unite as if to say “no one messes with my family”. This extreme bond they have still happens even though they torture each other inside the family. Why do you think that is?

I would really like to read any opinion on this!

Thank you!


After just having finished "Journey to the End of the Night" by Louis-Ferdinand Céline, I am starting to see a pattern in the books I have a hard time getting through. That one and "The Stranger" by Camus. Both books I really felt like I had to power through. I believe the reason is that I can't empathize/identify with the main character. This leads me to just becoming frustrated with many of their actions and then to being frustrated with the books.

It's not that I believe the books are bad, they are all classics and seem objectively good. My issue is with my own lack of enjoyment when reading them. Further, I understand that I am not supposed to identify with the characters, it is exactly their flaws that make them great pieces of litterature, but in both cases, the extremity of how terrible decisions (I feel) they make, just leaves me frustrated, as said.

Now, my question is if I am reading these books in the wrong way? "The Trial" by Kafka, was on the same path, but was saved when I read that I should read it like a comedy, which made it far far better. However, I was not able to read the two others in such a way. Am I doing something wrong, or should I just accept that these types of pessimistic/nihilistic/absurdist books with heavily flawed, irrational and/or self-destructive characters aren't for me?

Lastly, I get that the lead characters of the two books are based in very different world-views, but in very broad strokes they share characteristics in my relation to reading about them.

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