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The Book Blog

profile-icon Michael Ramey

I want to thank Dr. Brittnee Fisher for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Vikings Read More Challenge & Book Club Blog. I have never participated in a book club before, so this is an excellent opportunity to explore different types of books. Since I majored in history, most of my reading has focused in that area, but I feel it is time to branch out and get out of my comfort zone.

            Apparently, my family felt the same way. During the winter holiday break my sister gave me two sci-fi books: Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead. I enjoy reading about science and astronomy and I watch many sci-fi shows; however, I had never gotten around to reading any sci-fi books or short stories. Both books are part of the Ender’s Game series written by Orson Scott Card. While the author has had his share of controversy, I still try to approach one’s art with an open mind while being aware of a creator’s flaws and prejudices and how they may shape their work.

            The first book follows Ender Wiggin, a child who is recruited by the government to train and compete among classmates to become a commander of an interstellar fleet fighting against an alien threat. Ender’s Game explores the dystopian environment that forced the government to try to find the next Alexander the Great or Napoleon to lead them. This society is only driven to defeat their enemies without considering why the aliens did what they did or how this desperate drive has negatively shaped humanity. While this book reads more like young adult fiction, Ender’s Game delves into mature themes of societal militarism, parental abandonment, and perpetual guilt which drives the characters’ actions.

            In contrast, Speaker for the Dead explores the aftermath of the war from the first book and explores the meaning of death, grief, regret, and legacy. While Ender’s Game is more action oriented, Speaker for the Dead is more cerebral and more focused on ideas rather than action. After a mysterious death occurs at the hands of an alien race on a recently colonized planet, the Speaker of the Dead – a humanist religious figure who eulogizes the dead by telling the truth about a person, flaws and all – is called to the colony to offer their services. Since spaceships travel near the speed of light in this series, it takes the Speaker two weeks to arrive, but due to relativistic space travel, over 20 years have passed on the colony. The issues with the time delay, such as changing attitudes, new developments, and more deaths, drive the story.

Both books explore important themes, but Card only scratches the surface of those themes in his narrative. I wish he had explored each theme more in-depth and had those themes drive the story rather than the characters providing a surface-level treatment. The conflicts and resolutions in both books felt contrived and did not have any emotional weight to them. Either way, it was nice to read something different and new. I hope by contributing to the book club, I can provide some insight into my reading interests and challenge myself to try new book genres.

Cover ArtEnder's Game by Orson Scott Card
ISBN: 9781250773012
Publication Date: 2021-04-27

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profile-icon Dr. Brittnee Fisher

From the conception of the “book club and reading challenge,” I envisioned the blog component as a way for me and other book lovers to collaborate and share our love of all things book and reading-related. In my personal life, I use social media as a way to communicate these ideas to others, but I have never tackled blogging personally or professionally. I have no shortage of things to say, but sometimes finding the time to say them can become a challenge. And, as many of you know, sometimes committing thought to action is an even larger obstacle.

So, as you can imagine, when a colleague of mine contacted me about becoming a contributor to the book blog I was thrilled! Beyond my general excitement of having someone to help me with the development of content, I am eager to read the thoughts that another book lover has to share. Having multiple contributors to the blog embodies the essence of this book club which from the beginning was readers chatting and sharing with friends about what they are reading.

As a subscriber to the blog, I want you to become excited about reading posts from a variety of book lovers that may kindly contribute to this blog. I hope that some of these contributors will make regular appearances when they can to add diversity and variety to the content. I have often found some of the best books to read from recommendations from friends, colleagues, and strangers on the internet!

Without further ado, I would like to introduce our first guest contributor to the blog, Mr. Michael Ramey. Michael is the Academic Support Coordinator for Writing at the Orange Park Campus Tutoring Center. Before that, he was in the same role here at the Palatka Campus with me. I only had the opportunity to work on the same campus with Michael briefly, but during that time I came to know him as a smart, kind, and knowledgeable colleague. I am eager to learn more about him and the books that he has to share with us through his blog posts.

Welcome, Michael. I can’t wait to read your thoughts!

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profile-icon Dr. Brittnee Fisher

Welcome Back!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and a restful break. I, shockingly, DID NOT spend my entire winter break reading. But don't worry- I always have books on deck to discuss with Book Club! 

I hope to see you at the first Vikings Read More Challenge and Book Club meeting this Friday at noon. The meeting is online to accommodate participants from all SJR State campuses. To get the Zoom link please register using this link:

I want to emphasize that this book club is not traditional. I want you to read what YOU want to read. And, the meetings won't have a formal structure. It will just be a group of friends chatting about books. You need to know that I'm an honest reader. I'm not going to love every book that I read and I won't expect you to either. I want these book club meetings to be a comfortable, nonjudgemental place to talk and share. 

Please tell all your friends (avid readers or not) about Book Club and encourage them to join. The more the merrier! 



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