Earlier this month I floated the idea of starting a reading group or book club feature called The Lightmonthly Read. I think we’ve received enough interest to justify going ahead with it. The more the merrier — so if you are among those who expressed interest, please spread the word, bring a friend.
To refresh everyone’s memory, the idea is that every month we’ll read and discuss a book that we selected the previous month. Generally I think we’ll have a nomination phase starting on the first of every month and then hold a vote, allowing a week for each phase. That should give everyone at least two weeks to acquire a copy of the book after voting is closed.
This time around, however, since next month will be the inaugrual Lightmonthly Read and we’re already 10 days into April, we’ll skip the nomination phase and go straight to voting on a short list.
Since the Prometheus Award finalists were just recently announced, we’ll choose our May read from the list of finalists — sans The Children of the Sky, because Matthew Dawson has already reviewed it, and The Restoration Game, because we’ve received a copy from Pyr that Matthew Alexander is going to review soon. That leaves the four finalists listed at the end of this post.
Discussions will take place mostly in the Prometheus Unbound forums. I’ve created a set just for the Lightmonthly Read: one forum for discussing the current month’s read, one subforum for voting on future reads, and another subforum to archive the discussions of previous month’s reads. Old threads on previous reads won’t be closed; this setup is meant to place focus on the current month’s read. To create and maintain a reading group or book club atmosphere, the Lightmonthly Read forums are members-only; you’ll have to register an account on Prometheus Unbound and be logged in to read and post in them. Anyone can register, and it’s easy.
We may occasionally hold live voice and video discussions using Google+ Hangouts or Skype.
One of the participants may be invited to write an official review of the selected book for Prometheus Unbound at the end of the month. If you’re interested, let us know at some point before the month is out. Otherwise, one of the staff will write the review.
We hope eventually to get authors involved in discussions of their work, whether they can only spare an hour in a Google+ Hangout or have time to participate in the forum over the course of a few days or even the entire month.
Authors, this is a great way to promote your work and to interact with your current and potential fans. It’s also a good opportunity for book giveaways. If you’re interested in participating in the Lightmonthly Read, let us know.
Which of these four Prometheus Award finalists do you want to read and discuss in May? Cast your vote in thein the forums. Deadline is Monday, April 16th at midnight eastern time. (Reminder: You must be registered and logged in to read and post in the Lightmonthly Read forums.)
The Freedom Maze (Small Beer Press) — Delia Sherman’s young-adult fantasy novel focuses on an adolescent girl of 1960 who is magically sent back in time to 1860 when her family owned slaves on a Louisiana plantation. With her summer tan, she’s mistaken for a slave herself, and she learns the hard way what life was like. In the process, she comes to appreciate the values of honor, respect, courage, and personal responsibility.
In the Shadow of Ares (Amazon Kindle edition) — This young-adult first novel by Thomas L. James and Carl C. Carlsson focuses on a Mars-born female teenager in a near-future, small civilization on Mars, where hardworking citizens are constantly and unjustly constrained by a growing, centralized authority whose excessive power has led to corruption and conflict.
Ready Player One (Random House) — Ernest Cline’s genre-busting blend of science fiction, romance, suspense, and adventure describes a virtual world that has managed to evolve an order without a state and where entrepreneurial gamers must solve virtual puzzles and battle real-life enemies to save their virtual world from domination and corruption. The novel also stresses the importance of allowing open access to the Internet for everyone.
Snuff (Harper Collins) — A Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett (winner of a Prometheus Award for Night Watch, also set in Discworld), Snuff blends comedy, drama, satire, suspense and mystery as a police chief investigates the murder of a goblin and finds himself battling discrimination. The mystery broadens into a powerful drama to extend the world’s recognition of rights to include these long-oppressed and disdained people with a sophisticated culture of their own.