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

It's the first Thursday of the month. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in April 2021 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF, or even fiction. 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.

As always, one commenter with a U.S. mailing address will choose a book from our stacks.

Get email notifications... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this horrible cover

Usually at this time of year we promote Free Comic Book Day and ask you about your plans for visiting your local comic shop, but this year, due to the pandemic, it's been postponed to August 14.

So, instead, let's do another "Rename This Horrible Cover" contest.

Farnham's Freehold, by Robert A. Heinlein, was published in 1964, probably not coincidentally, the same year as the last cover we mocked. You can click the image to embiggen.

Can you suggest a better name for a book with this cover? 

The creator of the title we like bes... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s your TBR list like?

We suspect that most of our readers keep a TBR ("To Be Read") list and we're interested in hearing about it, so we've got some questions. Feel free to answer as many as you'd like and to ask questions of other readers.

Do you keep a TBR list? If not, why not?
What format is it in (e.g., notebook, spreadsheet, online)?
How many books are on your list?
How do you organize it?
How do you decide in which order to read your books?
Are you good at sticking to the list?
Where do you discover the books you put on your list?
What are the first five books on your list?
If you have one piece of advice for creating a TBR list, what is it?

As always, one random commenter will choose a book from our stacks.

Hamlet’s TBR Lament
by Bill Capo...

Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books or films we reviewed in March 2021. Once you identify a cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author/director
3. The book/film 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 at noon EST, 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 and/or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this horrible cover

Time for another "Rename This Horrible Cover" contest!

The Underpeople, by Cordwainer Smith, was published in 1964 and makes up half of the novel Norstrilia. The cover is.... striking...

Can you suggest a better name for a book with this cover? 

The creator of the title we like best wins a book from our stacks

Got a suggestion for a horrible cover that needs renaming?  Read More

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

It's the first Thursday of the month. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in March 2021 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF, or even fiction. 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.

As always, one commenter with a U.S. mailing address will choose a book from our stacks.

Get email notifications... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books or films we reviewed in February 2021. Once you identify a cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author/director
3. The book/film 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 at noon EST, 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 and/or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, Read More

Thoughtful Thursday is on Spring Break

Here are our current giveaways.

See you next week! Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Poetry

Saint Patrick’s Day always sees me returning to my favorite poet, William Butler Yeats, whose grave I made a pilgrimage to many a year ago. Though he might be the most famous, Yeats is hardly the only wordsmith from Ireland; for such a tiny land, it exports a hell of a lot of good poetry.

Which got me to thinking about poetry in fantasy. Tolkien, of course, made huge use of it in his works (your mileage may vary as to whether that’s a good or bad thing). But so have other authors — whether within the work itself, or as inspiration (see “Vaster than Empires, and More Slow” by Ursula K. LeGuin), as epigraph, or even by using poets as main characters, as Daniel Abraham does in his sublime LONG PRICE QUARTET.

... Read More

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

It's the first Thursday of the month. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in February 2021 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF, or even fiction. 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.

As always, one commenter with a U.S. mailing address will choose a book from our stacks.

Get email notificati... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Promising new authors!

The announcement of a new book by one of our long-standing favorite writers is always cause for excitement and then eager anticipation.

Just as exciting is the discovery of a new talent, though here the joy is not anticipated but comes partway through a reading as the realization dawns that we are indeed reading something outstanding, written by someone who just might be added to that list of favorite authors.

Given this past year we’ve all had, that sort of discovery is all the more treasured.

So what say you readers? What relatively new authors in the past 1-2 years have broken through for you into that rarefied atmosphere?

Or if not new writers, maybe a writer you’ve just come across (and are now frantically going through their backlist until their next new title comes out).

For me, I’d place Micaiah Johnson and Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books or films we reviewed in January 2021. Once you identify a cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author/director
3. The book/film 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 at noon EST, 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 and/or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Valentine’s Day 2021

Valentine's Day is around the corner!

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

Five years ago we asked readers about their favorite fantasy and science fiction romances. We thought we'd check in again to see if there are any updates to your lists.

Who are your new (and all-time) favorite SFF couples, 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. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in January 2021 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF, or even fiction. 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.

As always, one commenter with a U.S. mailing address will choose a book from our stacks.

Get email notificatio... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Favorite speculative fiction soundtracks

Television and streaming services have given us a wealth of speculative fiction content the past several years.

HBO, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and even Syfy have delivered interesting, thoughtful programming with high production values, including outstanding soundtracks.

Which show has your favorite sound track? Why? Tell us in the comments.

One commenter with a USA mailing address will win a book from our Stacks or a $5 Amazon gift card. Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: 2021 Books We Can’t Wait For! (Giveaway!)

Here are some of the books we can’t wait for in 2021!

Hover over the covers to see what our reviewers said about each book.

Which books are you looking forward to this year? One commenter wins a book from our stacks OR we'll send you the Kindle version of your choice of one of these:



If you'd like to get email notifications about our GIVEAWAYS, add your email address here. No spam or other emails, only announcements of our giveaways: Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books or films we reviewed in December 2020. Once you identify a cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author/director
3. The book/film 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 at noon EST, 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 and/or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, Read More

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

It's the first Thursday of the month. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in December 2020 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF, or even fiction. 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.

As always, one commenter with a U.S. mailing address will choose a book from our stacks.

Get email notificati... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Our favorite books of 2020 (giveaway!)

Here are our favorite books published in 2020. Hover over the cover to see who recommends each book. Click on the cover to read our review.

Please keep in mind that we did not read every SFF book published this year, so we know we’ve missed some good ones! Please add your comments — we’d love to hear your opinions about our list and to know which were YOUR favorite books of 2020. What did we miss? One commenter chooses a book from our stacks.

ADULT SFF



MIDDLE GRADE / YOUNG ADULT SFF



NON-FICTION Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read in 2020?

Hooray, 2020 is almost over! Even with all the disruptions and turmoil, 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 2020?

It doesn't have to be a book that was published in 2020. Just read in 2020. 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.

Soon we'll be telling you about our favorite SFF books published this year.

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 updating list of Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books or films we reviewed in November 2020. Once you identify a cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author/director
3. The book/film 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 at noon EST, 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 and/or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, Read More

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

It's the first Thursday of the month. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in November 2020 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF, or even fiction. 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.

As always, one commenter with a U.S. mailing address will choose a book from our stacks. Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: In 2020, we’re thankful for escapism

To our American readers: Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays here at Fanlit. A time we normally set aside for family, close friends, and (of course) good food. A time to consider how grateful we are for those and other aspects of our lives. A chance to reflect on the larger perspective than perhaps our daily lives don’t leave us much time for.

This year, of course, is different. The time we’ll set aside for family will be Facetime. Our close friends haven’t been close enough for far too long. Our food will be less elaborate, come in smaller portions, and no, it won’t taste as good. Little, if anything this year, is “as good.” And while we’ll still take time to reflect, much of that will be on what is missing, and for too many of us, who is missing. At our tables. In our lives.

Oftentimes, we in the fantasy/science fiction world bristle when non-fans disdainfully label our genre, “escapist.... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books or films we reviewed in October 2020. Once you identify a cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author/director
3. The book/film 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 at noon EST, 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, Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Seventh Annual Speculative Fiction Haiku Contest

Time for our seventh annual SPECULATIVE FICTION HAIKU CONTEST!  Anyone can do this!

As a reminder, here are the rules:

For haiku, the typical subject matter is nature, but if you decide to be traditional, you must give it a fantasy, science fiction, or horror twist. We expect to be told that the peaceful wind you describe is blowing across a landscape of an unfamiliar, distant planet. And if your poem is about a flower, we hope that elegant little touch of beauty is about to be trampled by an Orc. We welcome the sublime as well as the humorous, the pedestrian along with the momentous.

Though you may use the traditional three-line haiku following a 5-7-5 syllable pattern, feel free to break that pattern. Many poets who write English haiku adhere to other expectations:

Written in three lines, though sometimes in two or ... Read More