Last summer I was struck with the overwhelming feeling that I hadn’t been reading enough science fiction recently. I’m often struck by the feeling that I’m not reading or doing enough of something or other, but this time I actually took action. After chatting with my friend Lindsay over some beers, I decided that I was going to read ONLY science fiction during the month of July. “Sci-Fi July” had such a nice catchy, sing-songy ring to it and such a simple premise that I figured I could convince some other friends to participate – I made a Facebook group and Sci-Fi July was born. The rules are super-duper simple: join the Facebook group and talk with other nerdy folks about the sci-fi books you read during July. (If those rules are too limiting for you, any speculative fiction is fine by me – SpecFic July just didn’t have the same ring).
Over the years I’ve belonged to many book clubs both in person and on-line, but last year’s Sci-Fi July was absolutely one of my favorites. Some of the best parts are:
• One month is a nice finite length of time. The end is always in sight, and I don’t experience the ebbs and flows in my interest that I do with a year-long book challenge or a standard book club.
• We don’t all read the same books, but last year there was enough overlap in our reading to have some fun discussions.
• I got some great new-to-me recommendations and of course, the whole thing was a bunch of nerdy fun.
I’ve been anxiously awaiting the return of Sci-Fi July since wintertime.
For over a month now, I’ve been planning and editing my Sci-Fi July to-read list, but as I worked on my list I realized that some sort of check-list would be helpful. I want to make sure I’m reading broadly within the genre, and I just really love checking things off of lists. I’ve seen other book challenges use Bingo cards and that seemed like the perfect solution here. Four or five books is a manageable amount (for me) in one month, but I also peppered in a couple non-book options like movies and TV shows. I realize that the Bingo card below uses some book-land “jargon” — a few Google searches and/or browsing some Goodreads lists should bring up options for each of the categories (or ask for recommendations/clarification in the comments!).Here’s what’s currently on my Sci-Fi July 2016 to-read list and some of the Bingo categories they fit into:
Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau (Time Travel, Female Author)
Spin by Robert Charles Wilson (Time Travel, Aliens, Recommendation from a friend)
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson (Dystopian or Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult, Author of Color, Female Author)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Young Adult, Female Author)
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (Time Travel, Female Author)
The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu (Aliens, Translated form another language)
The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi (Cli-Fi, Dystopian or Post-Apocalyptic)
I am Legend by Richard Matheson (Published in the 1950s)
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Dystopian or Post-Apocalyptic, Female Author)
Descender by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen (Comic or Graphic Novel)
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Space Opera, Female Author)
ODY-C by Matt Fraction, illustrated by Christian Ward (Comic or Graphic Novel)
Now I just need to figure out whether I actually have a BINGO within those options….
Until next time, find the stories that make you stronger. #WorkOutNerdOut