Thoughtful Thursday

On Thursdays we host a weekly discussion question and usually gives away a book from our stacks. If you’ve got something you’d like to discuss or a suggestion for cover art that’s begging to be renamed, or if you’ve won a giveaway, please contact Kat. Thoughtful Thursday was originally conceived and hosted by retired reviewer Ruth Arnell.

Thoughtful Thursday: Summer reading giveaway!

Today’s the last day of school for my kids, which means that summer is here! Even though it’s a little chaotic around here with the kids home for the next couple of months, I am out of the classroom and teaching only one online course, so my schedule is lighter than usual and I’m planning to get a lot of reading done.

Click to embiggen.



I took a good long look at what will be landing on our bookstore shelves soon when Woman’s World Magazine asked me to contribute to their Summer Reading issue (it was in your grocery store check-out line this past week!).

There are several important sequels coming out, but for the magazine article, I focused on books that didn't have any prerequisites.

They only printed two of my suggestions, probably the two they thought would be most appealing to their readers:

Children of Earth & Sky by Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in April 2016. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author
3. The book title



Please identify just one cover that has not yet been identified correctly so that others will have a chance to play. If they're not all identified by next Thursday, you can come back and identify more.

Each of your correct entries enters you into a drawing to win a book of your choice from our stacks. Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Who should win the Nebula Award?

It’s award season! Next Saturday, May 14th, the 2015 Nebula awards will be announced, and the Hugos are coming up in August. Like last year, there is excitement, and plenty of controversy in many categories, although both Best Novel shortlists look solid.

As always, there are books we here at the site loved, and some we didn’t warm up to that much. And as always, there are books we hope will win and books we think will win, and those aren’t always the same books.

Let's talk about the Nebula nominees first. We'll do the Hugos in August.

The Nebula Candidates for Novel are:




Raising Caine by Charles E Gannon (Review)
The Fifth Season by Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

It's the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means, 'cause we do this on the first Thursday of every month! Time to report!

What is the best book you read in April 2016 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF. We just want to share some great reading material. Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.

(And don't forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page. And we've also got a constantly updating list of new and forthcoming releases.)

As always, one commenter will choose a bo... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Free Comic Book Day 2016! (15th anniversary!)

Free Comic Book Day — FCBD — is always the first Saturday of May and this year marks the celebration's 15th anniversary. To get your free comics on May 7, you’ll need to locate a local comic bookstore and, if in doubt, give them a call to see if they are participating. Chances are, if it’s an independent comic book store, they are offering free comics, because FCBD is designed to celebrate comics, to introduce comic books to new readers, to celebrate the unique independent comic book stores that sell them, and to support comic book stores by bringing in new customers in addition to the regular patrons.



If you are new to comics, FCBD is for you just as much as it is for those of us who can’t make it through a single day without reading comics. For me and others like me, it’s a day of celebration. But we also want to reach out to new readers.

So, if you have never been... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this cover!

Baen is known for its cheesy cover art, but this one is particularly horrid.

Please help us rename this awful-looking story collection by Christopher Anvil. Rx for Chaos is highly rated at Amazon, by the way, so let's not judge the book by its cover.

The author of the new title we like best wins a book from our stacks.

Got a suggestion for a horrible cover that needs renaming? Please send it to Kat.

We love this game!kelly Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in March 2016. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author
3. The book title



Please identify just one cover that has not yet been identified correctly so that others will have a chance to play. If they're not all identified by next Thursday, you can come back and identify more.

Each of your correct entries enters you into a drawing to win a book of your choice from our stacks. Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

It's the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means, 'cause we do this on the first Thursday of every month! Time to report!

What is the best book you read in March 2016 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF. We just want to share some great reading material. Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.

(And don't forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page. And we've also got a constantly updating list of new and forthcoming releases.)

As always, one commenter will choose a bo... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: In Honor of To-Read Lists

I dedicate a lot of time to reading, and I have reading routines, but perhaps the most important of them is maintaining a to-read list.

My to-read list exists in two places: my phone and my laptop. If someone recommends a book to me in conversation, I immediately take out my phone to add another author/ title, e.g. "Wilson/ Comstock." The to-read list on my phone is random, disordered, and disorganized, but every few weeks, I'll open it and transfer its author/ titles to a master file on my computer. This master list is alphabetized by the author's surname, and it sometimes contains a parenthetical explanation of why I want to read it, too. Though the list is long, I keep the entries concise.

It would be nice to liken my to-read list to a garden, except that mine never stops growing. I suppose I could check its growt... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in February 2016. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author
3. The book title



Please identify just one cover that has not yet been identified correctly so that others will have a chance to play. If they're not all identified by next Thursday, you can come back and identify more.

Each of your correct entries enters you into a drawing to win a book of your choice from our stacks. Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Lá Fhéile Pádraig

Happy Lá Fhéile Pádraig!

I’ve only got a wee bit of Irish in me, but every year I like to celebrate Irish history and culture on St. Patrick’s Day.

Mainly that includes food and drink. At this very moment there’s a pot of corned beef and cabbage simmering on my stove and the Guinness is chilling in the fridge.

But I also enjoy celebrating their literature and lore. After dinner I may settle down with some Irish-inspired text — perhaps a story set in their beautiful land, perhaps a tale inspired by their legends and myths, maybe just something written by an Irish author.

Do you have any suggestions?

One random commenter wins a book from our stacks. Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Fantastic Quotes

It's been nearly 5 years since we last shared some of our favorite quotes from speculative fiction, though I think at the time we were considering collecting quotes and making this a regular column. Let's try it again. Share some of your favorite quotes from the books you've read, or from interviews or blog posts from the authors who write those books. Give us the quote and the source (book title, link to interview or blog, etc).
Here are a few quotes that readers mentioned last time we did this:
Consistency is the defense of a small mind.
~The Seeress of Kell by David Eddings
To make life worth living a man or woman has to have a great love or a great cause… I have neither.
~Robert E. Howard

There’s no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated.
~The Lies of Loc... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

It's the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means, 'cause we do this on the first Thursday of every month! Time to report!

What is the best book you read in February 2016 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF. We just want to share some great reading material. Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.

(And don't forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page. And we've also got a constantly updating list of new and forthcoming releases.)

As always, one commenter will choose a... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this cover!

It's time again for one of our favorite games!

Please help us rename this strange-looking science fiction novel by Chester Anderson and Pocket books. The Butterfly Kid, which is a semi-autobiographical fantasy about LSD hallucinations (surprise, surprise), was nominated for a Hugo Award in 1968 but didn't win. Has anyone read it?

The author of the new title we like best wins a book from our stacks.

Got a suggestion for a horrible cover that needs renaming? Please send it to Kat.

We love this game! Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in January 2016. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author
3. The book title



Please identify just one cover that has not yet been identified correctly so that others will have a chance to play. If they're not all identified by next Thursday, you can come back and identify more.

Each of your correct entries enters you into a drawing to win a book of your choice from our stacks. Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Favorite SFF romances

Valentine's Day is around the corner!

Love is in the air and everyone's thoughts turn to romance.

We all have our favorite fantasy and science fiction romances.

Who is your favorite SFF couple, and why?
And, are there any SFF couples that you really despise? If so, why?

As usual, one random commenter picks a book from the stacks. Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

It's the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means, 'cause we do this on the first Thursday of every month! Time to report!

What is the best book you read in January 2016 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF. We just want to share some great reading material. Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.

(And don't forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page. And we've also got a constantly updating list of new and forthcoming releases.)

As always, one commenter will choose a ... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in December 2015. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author
3. The book title



Please identify just one cover that has not yet been identified correctly so that others will have a chance to play. If they're not all identified by next Thursday, you can come back and identify more.

Each of your correct entries enters you into a drawing to win a book of your choice from our stacks. Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Which 2016 releases are you waiting for?

Another year, another round of amazing novels! I can feel myself almost salivating at the delicious, delicious sequels and debuts set to be published this year! Right now I’m envisioning curling up in a comfy chair with a 2016 release and a big plate of cookies... and it’s really distracting…

Anyway, here are the two releases I’m most excited about this year:

1. Daniel Abraham’s The Spider's War, out March 8, is the conclusion to his acclaimed THE DAGGER AND THE COIN series. I’ve been waiting for this one for two years! Here's the publishers's blurb:

The epic conclusion to THE DAGGER AND THE COIN series, perfect for fans of George R.R. Martin. Lord Regent Geder Palliako's great war has spilled across the world, nation after nation falling before the ancient priesthood and weapon of dragons... Read More

Reading Resolutions 2016

It’s that time of year again; full of optimism and champagne, we set a great list of goals for ourselves. Gyms, exercise machines sales reps and diet programs do gangbuster business the first two months of the year.

I take the easy way out and make reading resolutions. Here are mine for 2016:

I resolve to make my writing a priority.
I resolve to delve deeper into the sub-genre of Military SF.
I resolve to go to more conventions.

I’ve already registered for Northern California’s small and dynamic FogCon in March, and WorldCon in August. Look how well I’m doing!

How did I do on last year’s? Well, pretty well on the Mil-SF resolution, I think, and I read several good books on literary criticism, but I fail... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday Giveaway: What’s the best book you read last month?

It's the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means, 'cause we do this on the first Thursday of every month! Time to report!

What is the best book you read in December 2015 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF. We just want to share some great reading material. Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.

(And don't forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page. And we've also got a constantly updating list of new and forthcoming releases.)

As always, one commenter will choose a... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read in 2015?

It's the last day of 2015! We hope you've had a wonderful reading year and that our work here at FanLit helped you achieve that.

Now we want to know: What is the best book you read in 2015?

It doesn't have to be a book that was published in 2015. Just read in 2015. It doesn't even have to be speculative fiction.

Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.

If you haven't yet, please check out our favorite books published in 2015. And, as always, we have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page. And we've also got a constantly up... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Happy Holidays!

We wish you a Merry Christmas!
(And for those who don't celebrate Christmas, we wish you a lovely holiday season!)

We hope you are able to have a joyful time with the people you love.

We also hope you'll have time to spend with some wonderful books.

How are books involved in your holiday? Will you be giving any books as gifts? If so, which ones and why?

Do you hope to receive any particular books? Or perhaps gift cards or cash to spend on books?

If so, which books do you hope to acquire, and why? We want to know!

One commenter gets a FanLit T-shirt or a book from our stacks.

  Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in November 2015. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author
3. The book title



Please identify just one cover that has not yet been identified correctly so that others will have a chance to play. If they're not all identified by next Thursday, you can come back and identify more.

Each of your correct entries enters you into a drawing to win a book of your choice from our stacks. Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

It's the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in November 2015 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF. We just want to share some great reading material. Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.

(And don't forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page. And we've also got a constantly updating list of new and forthcoming releases.)

As always, one commenter will choose a book from Read More