First Wednesday of the month at 6:30 PM
A book club focusing on Sci-fi, Fantasy, Horror, and other speculative fiction. Stop by the Information Desk or call us at 440-944-6010 to register and reserve books!
March 6: The Dispossessed (1974) by Ursula K. Le Guin – This is a classic tale of two planets torn apart by conflict and mistrust — and the man who risks everything to reunite them. A bleak moon settled by utopian anarchists, Anarres has long been isolated from other worlds, including its mother planet, Urras—a civilization of warring nations, great poverty, and immense wealth. Now Shevek, a brilliant physicist, is determined to reunite the two planets, which have been divided by centuries of distrust. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have kept them apart. To visit Urras—to learn, to teach, to share—will require great sacrifice and risks, which Shevek willingly accepts. But the ambitious scientist’s gift is soon seen as a threat, and in the profound conflict that ensues, he must reexamine his beliefs even as he ignites the fires of change.
April 3: The Golem and the Jinni (2013) by Helene Wrecker – Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic, created to be the wife of a man who dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free. Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker’s debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.
May 1: Uprooted (2015) by Naomi Novik – Uprooted is a 2015 high fantasy novel by Naomi Novik, based on Polish folklore. The story tells of a village girl, Agnieszka, who is selected by the local wizard for her unseen magical powers. Together they battle the Wood, a nearby forest, as it seeks to take over the land. The book has been warmly welcomed by critics and other fantasy authors, who have praised the portrayals of both Agnieszka and the Wood. It won the 2015 Nebula Award for Best Novel, the 2016 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and the 2016 Mythopoeic Award in the category Adult Literature. It was a finalist for the 2016 Hugo Award for Best Novel., based on Polish folklore. The story tells of a village girl, Agnieszka, who is selected by the local wizard for her unseen magical powers. Together they battle the Wood, a nearby forest, as it seeks to take over the land. The book has been warmly welcomed by critics and other fantasy authors, who have praised the portrayals of both Agnieszka and the Wood. It won the 2015 Nebula Award for Best Novel, the 2016 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and the 2016 Mythopoeic Award in the category Adult Literature. It was a finalist for the 2016 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
June 5: Dune (1965) by Frank Herbert – Dune is set in the distant future in a feudal interstellar society in which various noble houses control planetary fiefs. It tells the story of young Paul Atreides, whose family accepts the stewardship of the planet Arrakis. While the planet is an inhospitable and sparsely populated desert wasteland, it is the only source of melange, or “spice”, a drug that extends life and enhances mental abilities. Melange is also necessary for space navigation, which requires a kind of multidimensional awareness and foresight that only the drug provides. As melange can only be produced on Arrakis, control of the planet is a coveted and dangerous undertaking. The story explores the multilayered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion, as the factions of the empire confront each other in a struggle for the control of Arrakis and its spice.
July 3: Black Leopard Red Wolf (2019) by Marlon James – It is the first book of the Dark Star Trilogy. The novel draws on African history and mythology, blended into the landscape of the North Kingdom and the South Kingdom, and the political tensions between these two warring states, as well as various city-states and tribes in the surrounding landscape.
August 7: Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution (2022) by R. F. Kuang – Babel is set in an alternate-reality 1830s England in which Britain’s global economic and colonial supremacy are fueled by the use of magical silver bars. Their power comes from capturing what is “lost in translation” between words in different languages that have similar, but not identical, meanings. Silver bars inscribed with such ‘match-pairs’ can increase industrial and agricultural production, improve the accuracy of bullets, heal injuries, and more. To create and harness this power, Oxford University created the Royal Institute of Translation, nicknamed “Babel”, where scholars work to find match-pairs. The plot is focused on four new students at the institute, their growing awareness that their academic efforts maintain Britain’s imperialist supremacy, their debate over how to prevent the Opium War, and the use of violence.
September 4: Red Mars (1992) by Kim Stanley Robinson – For centuries, the barren, desolate landscape of the red planet has beckoned to humankind. Now a group of one hundred colonists begins a mission whose ultimate goal is to transform Mars into a more Earthlike planet. They will place giant satellite mirrors in Martian orbit to reflect light onto its surface. Black dust sprinkled on the polar caps will capture warmth and melt the ice. And massive tunnels drilled into the mantle will create stupendous vents of hot gases. But despite these ambitious goals, there are some who would fight to the death to prevent Mars from ever being changed.
October 2: The Shining (1977) by Stephen King – Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.
November 6: Klara and the Sun (2021) by Kazuo Ishiguro – Here is the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her. Klara and the Sun is a thrilling book that offers a look at our changing world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator, and one that explores the fundamental question: what does it mean to love?
December 4: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (2014) by Claire North – Harry August is on his deathbed. Again. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. Until now. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. “I nearly missed you, Doctor August,” she says. “I need to send a message.” This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.
Titles this year:
January: A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959) by Walter M. Miller, Jr. – Set in a Catholic monastery in the desert of the southwestern United States after a devastating nuclear war, the book spans thousands of years as civilization rebuilds itself. The monks of the Albertian Order of Leibowitz preserve the surviving remnants of man’s scientific knowledge until the world is again ready for it.
February: The Forever War (1974) by Joe Haldeman – The Earth’s leaders have drawn a line in the interstellar sand–despite the fact that the fierce alien enemy they would oppose is inscrutable, unconquerable, and very far away. A reluctant conscript drafted into an elite Military unit, Private William Mandella has been propelled through space and time to fight in the distant thousand-year conflict; to perform his duties and do whatever it takes to survive the ordeal and return home. But “home” may be even more terrifying than battle, because, thanks to the time dilation caused by space travel, Mandella is aging months while the Earth he left behind is aging centuries.