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  #1  
Old Jun 1st, 2022, 02:50 PM
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Spear by Nicola Griffith

June Book
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A perfect pick for Pride Month, Spear by Nicola Griffith introduces a queer Arthurian hero and what the publisher calls "a spellbinding vision of the Camelot we’ve longed for, a Camelot that belongs to us all." More from the publisher:
She grows up in the wild wood, in a cave with her mother, but visions of a faraway lake drift to her on the spring breeze, scented with promise. And when she hears a traveler speak of Artos, king of Caer Leon, she decides her future lies at his court. So, brimming with magic and eager to test her strength, she breaks her covenant with her mother and sets out on her bony gelding for Caer Leon.

With her stolen hunting spear and mended armour, she is an unlikely hero—not a chosen one, but one who chooses. Aflame with determination, she begins a journey of magic and mystery, love, lust and fights to death. On her adventures she will steal the hearts of beautiful women, fight warriors and sorcerers, and make a place to call home.
Griffith has an active blog on her web site (linked here) with lots of podcasts and interviews, and has read the audiobook herself. Thank you Sprite for suggesting this excellent adventure!
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Last edited by lostcheerio; Jun 1st, 2022 at 02:51 PM.
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Old Jun 6th, 2022, 11:34 AM
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SO I read the free sample (I am going to read an ebook, WHAT?! Yes, you heard me AN E BOOK) and this is a bit of a distant PoV. Interesting. The tone is little high-fantasy-falutin' for me, but the story is hooky and I like how well the author is doing the thing of letting an outsider spy on a world I am unfamiliar with, so she can describe it to me with not a lot of context. The world is observed and open to my hypotheses and assumptions, not explained or integrated for me by a wise, connected eye.

I am in!
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Old Jun 7th, 2022, 12:50 PM
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Just picked up my copy from the library today! There weren't any E book versions Will be diving in soonish.
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Old Jun 7th, 2022, 02:44 PM
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I will probably join in and read a lot beginning of next week?

I read like 100 pages of Hild and was really enjoying it, but life happened and I wasn't quite hooked enough (I read so much more before kids).

I know extreeeememly little about Arthurian legends so getting a twisted version of more or less first should be fun.
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Old Jun 7th, 2022, 05:07 PM
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HILD by Nicola Griffith is definitely a tome. I got to attend a reading with Nicola, where she read the opening of Hild, and that was enough to hook me. But then (confession time) the huge book sat on my to-read pile for a loooong while until I found the audio book in my library app.

SPEAR, being a novella, is a much shorter read/audio book
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Old Jun 11th, 2022, 05:42 PM
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How are we doing with Spear? I'm lukewarm on it so far. Seems a bit... I don't know, blokey? I suppose that's kind of the point. A bit "I am the superhero who can do all the everything and win over all the maidens and say all the right things and everyone thinks I'm just the greatest".

 
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Old Jun 13th, 2022, 07:28 AM
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I just started reading Spear and my first impression is the lyrical quality of the writing reminds me of Patricia McKillip's, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. Peretur is definitely not Sybel though and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the story.
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Old Jun 17th, 2022, 07:37 AM
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Finished it a few nights ago; this being a written book club compounds my "oh, I need to say something intelligent, and work it out properly, and phrase it well" anxieties and puts me in danger of not saying anything, so just going to glob down some reactions all quick and dirty like, like we're all sitting together in someone's living room with wine/beer and a nice cheese plate, and we're going to talk about the book for like half an hour, tops, and then the conversation is just going to flow into gossip or plans for our summer vacation or what have you.

 

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Old Jun 18th, 2022, 04:26 PM
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Glad you posted this, twids - I was having real trouble picking the book back up again, but now that you've done that it encouraged me to dip back in. If you liked the Welsh stuff, you should read Alan Garner's The Owl Service some time! I just finished it and it's VERY Welsh and mythic. Also way scarier than I anticipated, knowing it's supposed to be a kid's book.

 
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Old Jul 2nd, 2022, 01:09 PM
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I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer. We're taking another month on Spear!

I confess I haven't read it yet. I want to, and I will, hopefully this week.

I've been reading:
Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy for the first time
Inherit the Wind <--- wow, freaking timely I guess
The Sea Wolf by Jack London for the first time in a long time! Considering teaching this novel to middle schoolers are the high school kids are reading Moby-Dick. Interesting contrast.

Anyway, I am very much still looking forward to Spear, the nice cheese plate, the meaning of BLOKEY, and also interested in hearing some August suggestions!
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¸.-~*´¨¯¨`*·~-.,(_Spear by Nicola Griffith_)-,.-~*´¨¯¨`*·~-.¸
Come discuss this 2022 reimagining of Arthurian adventure at the RPGX Book Club
What do you know about Nimuë and Percival? Come tell us!

Last edited by lostcheerio; Jul 2nd, 2022 at 01:10 PM.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2022, 04:04 PM
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I AM GLAD you made this call. I almost died of a pernicious and likely infected deadline, and I was also hosting a reading series for my local book festival and the Georgia center for the book, so I had 1 or 2 novels to read a week (I hate moderators who do not read the book!)

ANYWAY long story short I did not crack it, and I want to!.
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Old Jul 18th, 2022, 09:45 AM
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I started Spear! The language is a little precious and watery, but I like the story and I'm pressing through.
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Come discuss this 2022 reimagining of Arthurian adventure at the RPGX Book Club
What do you know about Nimuë and Percival? Come tell us!
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Old Jul 18th, 2022, 12:46 PM
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I lost the thread as I was a reading so many books in between it. I JUST restarted and should finish tomorrow -- it is short.
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Old Jul 30th, 2022, 09:09 AM
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URG this was a tough one. I WANTED TO LOVE IT. I think the author is SO cool, I love her blog, I love her ideas. Her writing is pretty, but the distance of it, the tone, I felt as if it was pushing me out of the story.

In the end, the distant tone defeated me---I skimmed the second half, which is hard to do considering the prettiness and depth of the sentences. I am SURE I missed a lot. I liked the revision/reasons for Merlin's imprisonment -- I have always had a lot of sympathy for and interest in Nimuë, but the love story felt abrupt and tidy and the grail part of the story was clipped. or THIS IS DUE TO ME SKIMMING?

I am a LAZY reader. I DNF books I don't love, and Book Club is giving me some discipline here... It's probably morally very good for me OR WHATEVER.

Did anyone else complete it? Does anyone want to loft the flag and defend it? Who loved it?
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Old Jul 31st, 2022, 12:40 PM
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I listened to the audio version, read by the author, and I enjoyed it very much. I liked this retelling of the Arthurian myth, the core elements are there but without the patriarchal pov. I loved that the protagonist's big secret is not that she is a woman, but that she is the child of a divine being.

But, could be just me. I also loved Nicola Griffith's HILD and AMMONITE (consumed in audio). I'd agree her literary style is not a light read. I've met her in person a few times.
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