Posted by : atcampbell | On : December 5, 2011

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

The North Austin Reading Group met on December 5th at the North Village Branch of the Austin Public Library to discuss Jasper Fforde’s Shades of Grey.  Eight people attended; all had read Fforde before.  All started the book and 6 finished it.  The book was published by Viking Adult, December 2009.  It is available in hardback, paperback, audio book and on the Kindle.  One innovation, “The Shades of Grey Cheat Sheet,” can be found at  It’s a two-page list of some of the high points of a difficult-to-describe book.

This element—being hard to describe—made the book ideal for a discussion group.  The setting is of a dystopian post-apocalyptic society (the Something that Happened) with a pecking order determined by one’s sensitivity to and perception of color.  The “New Order” had undertaken “The Great Leap

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : October 9, 2011

Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds

The North Reading Group met on October 9th to discuss Terminal World, by Alastair Reynolds.  The book was published in mid-2010 by Gollancz and Ace Books.  It is set in the future, in a world with a geography resembling Mars, and begins in a city/structure called Spearpoint.  “Zones” existing at different energy states are inhabited by humans, some modified to exist in specific zones.  The zones are at different technology levels, and transitioning between them requires drugs and may induce debilitating or even fatal biological problems.  The

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : June 21, 2011

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The North Reading Group met on June 21st to discuss A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Nine members attended and 8 had read it.  The story was serialized in All-Story magazine, starting in 1912, as “Under the Moons of Mars,” by “Norman Bean.”  The stories were collected and A Princess of Mars was published in 1917.  One member commented that she ”could see how it was pretty hot stuff in the old days,” and “Beats the hell out of Little Women and all that stuff!”  Another said that this was from the golden age of SF and he had “strong memories of reading the whole pile.”  He owned first editions.

Other comments were generally complimentary, qualified by the time since it was written- that the protagonist, John Carter, was a fun adventurer; Burroughs was a

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : April 4, 2011

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

The reading group met at the North Village Library on Steck on Monday, April 4, to discuss Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan. Fourteen people attended. Thirteen started the book, and nine finished reading it. Two people had read this author’s work before. Seven people intended to read the next book in the series. Many said that they would have enjoyed it in their adolescence also  (the targeted age group).

Everyone seemed to enjoy the book on some level. Many added the phrase

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : January 18, 2011

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

The North Reading Group met at the Milwood Library on January 18th to discuss Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. This is his most famous work and has been published in myriad editions since its first release in 1726.  Eleven members attended the meeting, and six editions of the book were represented.  All had started the book, and all but one had finished it. Only nine had read Swift before, but those who had read him had invariably read some version of Gulliver’s Travels.

Opinions varied wildly, with one reader calling it one of her favorite books

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