As per a recent thread in General, quite a few of us expressed interest in a Tower Book Club. Last year in January, Mother started the WoT ReRead and I like how that's going so far. But it'd be great to discuss nonWoT books with people as they are reading them (all the fresh feels). So as today is December 1, I'd like to get the ball rolling for it starting in the New Year. Plenty of time to check out if the local library has it, or to request it in your stocking, or use an holiday gift voucher on. The thought of doing books around a central theme was a great idea that came up in the thread and I'd love to try that out for the first phase. I think three books over three months sounds good. You don't have to read all three; each will have its own thread. It gives you options or time so fits into most people's schedules! Book 1 Mother requested that Catherine Asaro be the author of one of the books, as this award winning author will be a guest speaker at JordanCon in April. I've never read any of Asaro's works before, as I tend to lean more toward Fantasy than SciFi but since I am going to JCon I am definitely on board with this plan. The problem with Asaro's books is ... where do you start? The first written novel is Primary Inversion but the first one in the Skolian Empire series chronologically is Skyfall. Oh but wait!! There is another novel linked to that series that seems to be standalone(ish) and one of the main characters is called Althor (how uncanny). The main problem with this one is that it's been rewritten so we can't guaranteed paperback readers are reading the same as e-readers! DILEMMA!! I think we'll go with Primary Inversion. It's around $6 on kindle (much cheaper than Skyfall) and looks like it might be more available in paperback too. Books 2 & 3 With book 1 chosen we then just have to settle on a theme. Having not read the book, I have to go based on reviews. There appears to be several themes we could go use but perhaps the easiest is cultural diversity. So I've attached 4 options and after 10 days we'll choose the top 2 votes. The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough Genre: Fiction/YA Flora and Henry were born a few blocks from each other, innocent of the forces that might keep a white boy and an African American girl apart; years later they meet again and their mutual love of music sparks an even more powerful connection. But what Flora and Henry don't know is that they are pawns in a game played by the eternal adversaries Love and Death, here brilliantly reimagined as two extremely sympathetic and fascinating characters. Can their hearts and their wills overcome not only their earthly circumstances, but forces that have battled throughout history? Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman Genre: Fiction/YA Sephy is a Cross - a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a nought - a 'colourless' member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood. But that's as far as it can go. Against a background of prejudice, distrust and mounting terrorist violence, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum - a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger . . . The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski Genre: Fiction/YA/Fantasy As a general's daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. Kestrel has other ideas. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in Arin, a young slave up for auction. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him - and for a sensational price that sets the society gossips talking. It's not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for him is much higher than she ever could have imagined. Similar as you can see but it'd be interesting to compare. And to throw in a non-Fiction King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild Genre: History King Leopold of Belgium, writes historian Adam Hochschild in this grim history, did not much care for his native land or his subjects, all of which he dismissed as "small country, small people." Even so, he searched the globe to find a colony for Belgium, frantic that the scramble of other European powers for overseas dominions in Africa and Asia would leave nothing for himself or his people. When he eventually found a suitable location in what would become the Belgian Congo, later known as Zaire and now simply as Congo, Leopold set about establishing a rule of terror that would culminate in the deaths of 4 to 8 million indigenous people, "a death toll," Hochschild writes, "of Holocaust dimensions." Those who survived went to work mining ore or harvesting rubber, yielding a fortune for the Belgian king, who salted away billions of dollars in hidden bank accounts throughout the world. Hochschild's fine book of historical inquiry, which draws heavily on eyewitness accounts of the colonialists' savagery, brings this little-studied episode in European and African history into new light.