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[+] Summer Reading List: Discussion Thread

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
This thread is for all those who are participating in the ENWorld Summer Reading Program. Every few weeks, we will select a leading book from the voting thread and read it as a group, posting our reviews, assessments, and discussions here in this thread.

A Bit of History
A couple months ago, I got the idea to start a "Summer Reading List" similar to the ones we had in school. I wanted to spend more time reading this summer, and I wanted to see what kinds of fantasy novels my fellow ENWorld members would recommend. So I started a voting thread and asked people to nominate their favorites. We upvoted and downvoted and recommended, and eventually a handful of books floated to the top of the pile.

The first book to rise to the top of the list is The Book of Three, written by Lloyd Alexander and nominated by me, @CleverNickName. So that is the first book that we are going to be reading, and we're starting today! Hopefully you have all had time to gather up a copy of this excellent book, and are prepared to spend the next week or two immersed in excellent fantasy fiction (with a heaping helping of Welsh folklore.) This is a short book, having fewer than 200 pages, so we will be spending the minimum amount of time reading it (2 weeks). Other, longer books will obviously require more time...but for now, let's block off April 30-May 14 to read The Book of Three.

What Is This Thread For?
This thread is for discussion! Everyone who is reading (or has already read) the books on the ENWorld Summer Reading List are invited to share their experiences, insight, questions, opinions, and thoughts here in this thread. Long essays, book reviews, and editorials are encouraged...but remember that this is a [+] thread. If you hate this book and everything it stands for, please find a civil and polite way to express that opinion. Insults, arguments, and other examples of rude behavior will be reported for trying to derail the thread.

Sound fun? I hope so. Anyway, let's all grab our copy and start reading!

Product Details
ISBN: 9780805080483
Publisher: Macmillan Publishing Services
Paperback, 190 pages
Audiobook narrated by James Langton, 5:03:00.
Available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle format on Amazon.com, and at public libraries everywhere
Support your local indie bookstore

View attachment 133826

Help Select The Next Book
And just a reminder, the voting is still going! A "reading list" wouldn't be much of a list if it just had a single book on it, after all. So the original voting thread is still open, and I'd like to encourage folks to continue recommending and voting for books. We will select our second book on Monday morning (May 3), so that everyone has ample time to collect a copy before we start it in mid-May. So be sure to visit the voting thread and recommend any books that you think would be fun to read and discuss as a group.
 

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Based on "This thread is for discussion!":
Wow... am I the only person actually reading "The Book of Three" or is the rest of you still busy digging through the pages?

I first gave the book to my teenage daughter to read. She read it fairly quickly, which means, she was at least halfway enjoying it, possibly based on her then fascination with everything The Lord of the Rings. When asked she said she liked it.
Reading it myself I could tell the books age. Not sure how, it just felt a tad aged. There were quite a few similarities to Tolkiens ring-stuff, but again, maybe I saw those more clearly since we had just rewatched the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

All in all, sure no waste of time (the book is way too short for that). Not quite enough to make me want to pick up all the rest of Alexander's work though. I'm looking forward to the next book for this summer. :)
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
The thread awakens!

Thanks for chiming in, @thom_likes_gaming . I didn't want to be the first one to post, because I didn't want this thread to be All About Me.

I've only just started re-reading it, but I agree that it's showing its age a bit. I notice a lot of popular fantasy tropes come up pretty early, and they linger for several pages. But I have to remind myself that that's an unfair way of looking at it. Books like The Book of Three and the Lord of the Rings are a big part of the reasons why they are tropes in the first place.

My favorite part, easily, is the Welsh "flavor" that Alexander gives to the setting. The names of the people and places, the way things are described, the styles of clothing...it's so evocative. It makes me want to dust off my old Red Box Rules and run a group of friends through some of the old B/X modules again.
 

Jaegermonstrous

Swamp Cryptid
I've started reading it too! I'm about halfway through.

First impressions, I can definitely see some Celtic mythos flavor. I only took the one class on it, so my knowledge is pretty minimal, but I really like that Lloyd is using it. I think it adds a sort of "old world" fantasy flavor, if that makes sense? Kind of reminds me of 19th-century fantasy and authors like Lord Dunsany.

That said, I really dislike Taran. I know he's a kid, and that definitely comes across. Maybe I've just had my fill of entitled white boys. I'd really love to know more about Gurgi (crunchings and munchings!) and Eilonwy.
 


monsmord

Adventurer
Those books were formative. I liked all the characters (Fllewddur especially), but I'm not sure my mental images were what was intended. When I saw Gurgi in Disney's The Black Cauldron, I was shocked: I always imagined him more like Ookla the Mok!
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
This series was some of the first fantasy books I ever read (the first being A Wizard of Earthsea), and my youngest daughter's first introduction to fantasy books. She enjoyed it, many years ago.

Those books were formative. I liked all the characters (Fllewddur especially), but I'm not sure my mental images were what was intended. When I saw Gurgi in Disney's The Black Cauldron, I was shocked: I always imagined him more like Ookla the Mok!

My mental picture had him with more of the physique (and wild hair) of Grover from Sesame Street, though not the head or blue coloring.
 

Finished reading it. Loved it still.

Yeah, Taran is a young headstrong kid that thinks highly of himself. As I've gotten old and revisit books from when I was younger, I think those sorts of characters play very differently now that I'm an adult. I think part of the journey of the series is simultaneously him learning better and becoming the hero he thinks he is in the beginning. And I can certainly appreciate how Eilonwy calls him on his BS at just about every moment.

That said, I really dislike Taran. I know he's a kid, and that definitely comes across. Maybe I've just had my fill of entitled white boys. I'd really love to know more about Gurgi (crunchings and munchings!) and Eilonwy.

I'll admit, I have a hard time separating my image of Gurgi from the cartoon version. But I kinda picture him more like a furry, leaf and twig-bedecked Gollum.
 

Jaegermonstrous

Swamp Cryptid
Yeah, I recognize Taran as a kid-hero and probably would have been fine with him if I'd read the series when I was a kid. I know he's got room to grow, but he annoys the heck outta me.

I think it mostly comes down to the fact that the series was written for children, and not all kids' books work for adults, especially ones who didn't grow up with them. Like I loved the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, and I'll re-read them, but I wouldn't necessarily expect another adult to feel the same way.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Yeah, this is not how I imagined Gurgi:

the black cauldron hug GIF



I always imagined him more gangly, like a spider monkey.
 

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