Art by Yours Truly

Hello TAYers, I hope this text finds you well. As part of the project to unite our community, I come to you with an invite to the very first TAY Book Club! Hosted by me, Nior, and Co-Host/Friend/Secretly-Bent-On-World-Domination Nomadic Dec, this will be sort of a cross event here and on the TAY Discord channel.

Since Summer is almost upon us, we’ve decided something related to trips, travels, and whatnot would be the perfect subject. We choose 10 books that we think have anything to do with a preselected theme and yo guys vote on one for a read. We will have discussions here on TAY by mid and end book, but Discord will be used for a more constant talk. Then, after a month or so (depending on the length of the book) we will reunite ourselves in the Book Club channel and here for a final discussion/review. Last but certainly not least, our members can each suggest a book (in keeping with the month’s theme of course) and the most upvoted submission will be added to this post. We’ll have other activities of course, but for now, we figured we started with the very basics of a book club.

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Now, each of us was supposed to write our own blurb, but life is trying to kick Mr. Dec’s nuts, so he’ll need both hands to defend that attack and because of that, he won’t be joining us in this first activity (I wish you the best of luck man!). So his choices are still here, but since I’m yet to acquire the power to read minds, Mr. Dec’s choices will only have a synopsis on them.

So here it is, in no particular order, our picks for the Book Club: Trips and Travels Edition!


Murder On The Orient Express, by Agatha Christie

Suggested By Nior

Synopsis: Shortly after midnight, a snowstorm stops the Eastern Express on the rails. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for this time of year. But the next morning, there is one less passenger. A man is found dead in his cabin with twelve stab wounds. With the train trapped in the snow, it is up to Hercule Poirot to unravel this mysterious and troubled crime.

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Why This Book: When the concept of travels comes to mind, we usually think of exotic places, self-discovery, maybe finding a fleeting love. But don’t you hate when your trip is disturbed by a terrible murder? I know right, awful. Since not all of us can be famous detectives, this murder mystery from the Queen of Crime herself will have to suffice. For now.


Americanah, by Ngozi Adichie

Suggested By Nomadic Dec

Synopsis: As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Nigeria at the time is under military dictatorship, and people are seeking to leave the country. Ifemelu departs for the United States to study. Through her experiences in relationships and studies, she struggles with the experience of racism in American culture, and the many varieties of racial distinctions. Obinze, son of a professor, had hoped to join her in the US but he is denied a visa after 9/11. He goes to London, eventually becoming an undocumented immigrant after his visa expires. Years later, Obinze returns to Nigeria and becomes a wealthy man as a property developer in the newly democratic country. Ifemelu gains success in the United States, where she becomes known for her blog about race in America, entitled “Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black.” When Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, the two must consider the viability of reviving a relationship in light of their diverging experiences during their many years apart.


The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri

Suggested By Nior

Synopsis: The poem tells of Dante’s journey through the three realms of the dead, lasting from the night before Good Friday to the Wednesday after Easter in the spring of 1300. The Roman poet Virgil guides him through Hell and Purgatory; Beatrice, Dante’s ideal woman, guides him through Heaven.

Why This Book: When I said travels I did not mean it only in the literal way. The Divine Comedy is a spiritual journey about a man trying to get closer to God, and independently of your religion or lack thereof, this book is still a classic that has some underlying themes that can resonate with people from any time in history. Plus, Dante is the OG self-insert fanfic character. What’s not to love?


The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula Le Guin

Suggested By Nomadic Dec

Synopsis: The novel follows the story of Genly Ai, a native of Terra, who is sent to the planet of Gethen as an envoy of the Ekumen, a loose confederation of planets. Ai’s mission is to persuade the nations of Gethen to join the Ekumen, but he is stymied by his lack of understanding of Gethenian culture. Individuals on Gethen are “ambisexual”, with no fixed sex. This fact has a strong influence on the culture of the planet and creates a barrier of understanding for Ai.


The Alchemist, By Paulo Coelho

Suggested By Nior

Synopsis: The Alchemist follows the journey of an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago. Believing a recurring dream to be prophetic, he asks a Romani fortune-teller in a nearby town about its meaning. The woman interprets the dream as a prophecy telling the boy that he will discover a treasure at the Egyptian pyramids.

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Why This Book: First, because the author is Brazilian like me. Second, this book is the journey of a man to discover himself and on the way, he meets all kinds of people that will give him new perspectives on his journey. It really doesn’t sound that impressive the way I’m writing it, but trust me, this is a must read.


The City and the City, by China Mieville

Suggested By Nomadic Dec

Synopsis: Inspector Tyador Borlú, of the Extreme Crime Squad in the European city-state of Besźel, investigates the murder of Mahalia Geary, a foreign student found dead with her face disfigured in a Besźel street. He soon learns that Geary had been involved in the political and cultural turmoil involving Besźel and its “twin city” of Ul Qoma. His investigations start in his home city of Besźel, lead him to Ul Qoma to assist the Ul Qoman police in their work, and eventually result in an examination of the legend of Orciny, a rumored third city existing in the spaces between Besźel and Ul Qoma.


Fantastic Voyage, by Isaac Asimov

Suggested By Nior

Synopsis: The United States and the Soviet Union have both developed technology that can miniaturize matter by shrinking individual atoms, but only for a limited amount of time, depending on how small the item is miniaturized. The scientist Dr. Jan Benes, working behind the Iron Curtain, has figured out how to make the process work indefinitely. With the help of the CIA, he escapes to the West, but an attempted assassination leaves him comatose with a blood clot in his brain.

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To save his life, a crew is placed aboard a specially designed submarine named the Proteus, that is miniaturized and injected into Benes. The ship is reduced to one micrometer, giving the team one hour (60 minutes) to remove the clot. After the 60 minutes have elapsed, the Proteus and its crew will begin to revert to its normal size, become vulnerable to Benes’s immune system, and kill Benes regardless of the success of the surgery.

Why This Book: Another one for the not so literal meaning of a trip. This Asimov’s tale has seen some parodies over the years and for good reason. I’m pretty sure even the Teen Titans cartoon (RIP) did one at some point. This is a fun little adventure inside the human body that may or may not be used in your biology classes. Hint: It won’t. Unless you have a cool teacher.


Nine Lives: In Search of Modern India by William Dalrymple

Suggested By Nomadic Dec

Synopsis: Dalrymple’s seventh book is about the lives of nine Indians, a Buddhist monk, a Jain nun, a lady from a middle-class family in Calcutta, a prison warden from Kerala, an illiterate goat herd from Rajasthan, and a devadasi among others, as seen during his Indian travels. The book explores the lives of nine such people, each of whom represents a different religious path in nine chapters.


The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Suggested By Nomadic Dec

Synopsis: Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

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Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.


American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Suggested By Both

Synopsis: Shadow, a taciturn convict reaching the end of a three-year prison sentence, is released from prison early when his wife, Laura (McCabe) Moon, and best friend Robbie Burton die in a car accident, leaving him alone in the world. Bereaved, he takes a job as a bodyguard for a mysterious conman, Mr. Wednesday, who seems to know more about Shadow’s life than he lets on. Shadow and Wednesday travel across America visiting Wednesday’s unusual colleagues and acquaintances until Shadow learns that Wednesday is, in fact, an incarnation of Odin the All-Father. Wednesday is recruiting American manifestations of the Old Gods of ancient mythology, whose powers have waned as their believers have decreased in number, to participate in an epic battle against the New American Gods - manifestations of modern life and technology, such as the Internet, media, and modern means of transport


Most Upvoted Suggestion Goes Here


And that is that. If you wish to take part on this, just leave a comment below and join us in the chatroom on TAY Discord if you so desire (Look for Nior there to gain access to the Club’s channel). For now, just leave a suggestion if you have one, and I’ll have another post with a link to the voting poll (including the most upvoted suggestion from you guys) so you can vote and decide on a winner.

Hope to see you there!