July Discussion: The Importance of Being Earnest

ImportanceThe Read It & Steep group simply loved The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.  We had such fun discussing this silly play that I took almost no notes at all!  We all delighted in the read and many of us made sure to watch an adaptation (or in some cases more than one adaptation) on film. We all took great delight in laughing about the absurdities of the actions in the play.  What fun it must have been to see this on stage and know that you are laughing at yourself (if you happened to be part of the society that Wilde is satirizing).

I was surprised (and pleased) at the number of our readers who had not read this gem before.  Especially coming from George, a steeper who has read just about every early Greek play no matter how obscure; he voiced his delight in Wilde’s writing and an interest in reading more.  Nothing can be so gratifying!  George, unfortunately, was away for the summer and I only had his input through the letter he wrote me about the play. Continue reading

The Green Mile discussion

The Green MileBack in May, Read It & Steep met to discuss one of my all-time favorite books, Stephen King’s The Green Mile. We’ve found, in the past, that sometimes conversation can be stifled if we all feel pretty similarly about a title.  Not so with Mr. King’s masterpiece.  This was the first time in the history of RI&S that every single attendee gave a book a 5 teacup rating.

It was a special night all around, most especially because my mom attended. This is one of her favorite books as well and I credit her with encouraging me to read it the first time around. It was Mom’s intention to sit in the corner (creepy, right?  I made her sit at the table) and not make a sound, but she found that she simply could not avoid getting involved in such an interesting conversation. Continue reading

Redshirts discussion

redshirtsFirst off, check out these fun alternate covers that I found from Aidan Moher, who apparently found them through Tor.  Awesome, aren’t they?
Now let’s discuss Redshirts:
I loved LOVED Redshirts by John Scalzi.  Seriously.  Loved it.
Even our members who don’t usually care for sci-fi really enjoyed this novel.  A few of the ladies did say that they probably would have enjoyed it even more if they actually had any idea what “redshirt” was referring to.  Those of us who are familiar with the “redshirt” phenomenon were rolling in our seats at much of the book; what we hadn’t expected were the tears!
I like sci-fi well enough.  I curate the library’s science fiction collection even.  I don’t read too too much SF myself, usually since I like a little bit of everything, but I do watch enough SF television that I knew what was going on and what I was getting into.  Surprisingly, however, I guess I forgot how I sobbed during some of those Battlestar Galactica episodes, because I totally forgot how some sci-fi can really get you in the feels, you know?  I (and many of my Steepers) went into Redshirts expecting not much more than a silly parody of science fiction television shows . . . a fun romp through space that poked fun at Star Trek and made me feel like I was reading Galaxy Quest.  What we hadn’t expected is what we ended up getting: a well-rounded, complex, moving piece of fiction that really explored diverse characters and how they interacted with their universe in a very potent way.
Is Redshirts funny?  Absolutely.  Does it spark theological debate?  Yep!  Trust me, I was surprised too.  We got to wondering whether Scalzi was even aware of the theological correlations we ended up discussing.  It didn’t hurt, of course, that one of the Steepers, Justin, is a pastor.  He brought up such interesting points that many of us may have thought about, but not in a theological way, Science vs God.  God vs god (the author).  Narrative vs narrative.  Free will vs predetermination.  It was a fascinating conversation especially since our room had a pastor and a scientist in it.
Kristin Explains It AllWhat it really comes down to is this: we got to have another awesome flow chart-this time by Kristin explaining the history of the Star Trek series and films and that we all really enjoyed Redshirts. Please see the picture to the right.  She did this from memory, people!  This girl knows her sci-fi, in fact 99% of our sci-fi reads have been Kristin suggested.  This was the favorite so far.
I loved it.  Really loved it.  Have I mentioned that?  Cause it’s true.  Even though it ended up giving me the full body sobs, I loved it.  I loved when it made me laugh.  I loved when it made me sad.  I loved when it made me think about televison and reality and fiction and God and god.  Recommend Redshirts to everybody.  Haven’t read it?  Well, go.  Stop reading this right now and go read that.
An enthusiastic 5 teacups!