Old School Wednesdays

Old School Wednesdays: The Results Edition

As you probably know by now, Old School Wednesdays is a new weekly Book Smuggler feature. We came up with the idea towards the end of 2012, when we were feeling exhausted from the never-ending inundation of New and Shiny (and often over-hyped) books. What better way to snap out of a reading fugue than to take a mini-vacation into the past, right?

Old School Wednesdays

Logo designed by the wonderful KMont

Last week, we asked YOU for your favorite old school suggestions – and the response was so overwhelmingly awesome, we decided to compile a goodreads shelf, an ongoing database, AND a monthly readalong/book club. (Note that we’ve removed books that we have already read, or that we selfishly want to review as solos on Wednesday!)

The OSW Readalong:

Based on the amazing suggestions we received from everyone, we decided to institute an official Old School Wednesday Monthly Readalong. Here’s how it works:

Every month, we’ll pick 5 books from the Suggestions Pool. We’ll announce those books in our first OSW post of the month and officially open the floor to voting.

You can vote for the title you want to read during the first two weeks of the month, using the spiffy poll in our sidebar, embedded in the original month’s post (that’s today’s post, for the April readalong), and on the brand new Old School Wednesday Page *points up at navigation bar*

On the second Wednesday of the month, we will announce the winner! The winning title will be reviewed on the last Wednesday of the next month – giving anyone that wants to join the readalong six weeks to get the book and participate in the readalong. (We’ll also provide tips as to where you can purchase or borrow the selected title.)

Enlightening, excellent discourse will ensue. We are excited.

April Readalong:

Even though itโ€™s already mid-March, weโ€™d still like to kick-start the first readalong in April. The voting opens TODAY March 13 and we will announce the winner on March 20. The readalong will happen on April 24, when we will post our joint review of the book and open the floor for discussion and linkage to your posts/reviews.

You can vote on which title youโ€™d like to read by using the poll in our sidebar, or following the titles below. The 5 random titles we picked from the list of suggestions (having made sure they are readily available to those who wish to buy it) are:

The White Mountains (The Tripods # 1) by John Christopher

The White Mountains

Long Ago, The Tripods — huge, three-legged machines — descended upon Earth and took control. People no longer understand automation nor machines, and unquestioningly accept the Tripods’ power. But for a time in each person’s life — in childhood — he is not a slave. Will still has time to escape.

Terrier (Beka Cooper #1) by Tamora Pierce


Tamora Pierce begins a new Tortall trilogy introducing Beka Cooper, an amazing young woman who lived 200 years before Pierce’s popular Alanna character. For the first time, Pierce employs first-person narration in a novel, bringing readers even closer to a character that they will love for her unusual talents and tough personality.

Beka Cooper is a rookie with the law-enforcing Provost’s Guard, and she’s been assigned to the Lower City. It’s a tough beat that’s about to get tougher, as Beka’s limited ability to communicate with the dead clues her in to an underworld conspiracy. Someone close to Beka is using dark magic to profit from the Lower City’s criminal enterprises–and the result is a crime wave the likes of which the Provost’s Guard has never seen before.

The Naming (Pellinor #1) by Alison Croggon

The Naming

Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child after her family is destroyed in war. She is unaware that she possesses a powerful gift, one that marks her as a member of the School of Pellinor. It is only when she is discovered by Cadvan, one of the great Bards of Lirigon, that her true heritage and extraordinary destiny unfold. Now she and her new teacher must survive a journey through a time and place where the forces they battle stem from the deepest recesses of otherworldly terror.

Alison Croggonโ€™s epic fantasy, the first in the Books of Pellinor quartet, is a glittering saga steeped in the rich and complex landscape of Annar, a legendary world ripe for discovery.

The Lost King (Star of the Guardians #1) by Margaret Weis

The Lost King

As a corrupt Commonwealth rules the galaxy through the might of its armies, its most influential general–a renegade Guardian of the deposed Starfire royal line–pursues the rumor of a hidden heir to the throne and searches for a woman he loves and is destined to destroy.

The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey

The Black Swan

After his wife’s untimely death, a powerful sorcerer dedicates his life to seeking revenge against all womankind. He turns his captives into beautiful swans–who briefly regain human form by the fleeting light of the moon. Only Odette, noblest of the enchanted flock, has the courage to confront her captor. But can she gain the allies she needs to free herself and the other swan-maidens from their magical slavery? A monumental tale of loyalty and betrayal, of magic good and evil, of love both carnal and pure, and of the duality of human nature, The Black Swan is a rich tapestry which is sure to become an all-time masterpiece of fantasy.

The next OSW Readlong book you want to see reviewed is:

  • Terrier by Tamora (Beka Cooper, #1) (42%, 89 Votes)
  • The Naming by Alison Croggon (Pellinor, #1) (21%, 44 Votes)
  • The White Mountains by John Christopher (The Tripods, #1) (14%, 29 Votes)
  • The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey (Fairy Tales #2) (12%, 26 Votes)
  • The Lost King by Margaret Weis (Star of the Guardians, #1) (12%, 25 Votes)

Total Voters: 213

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Get voting! And we hope you will join us on April 24.

Ongoing Suggestions:

Got a suggestion? Have an amazing book, published at least five years ago, that you would love to nominate for the OSW monthly readalong? Speak up and submit your favorites! (If you have problems with the form below, you can also access it HERE.)

Thanks everyone! Let us know if you have any other comments, suggestions, or ideas. We cannot wait to see which title wins the vote, and for our first-ever Old School Wednesday Readalong!


  • Ana
    March 13, 2013 at 11:27 am

    *wills folks to vote for The Lost King because I really want to read that*


  • Thea
    March 13, 2013 at 11:43 am

    I voted for the first Tripod book because HOW HAVE I NOT READ/HEARD OF THESE BEFORE? *sticks out tongue at Ana*

  • KMont
    March 13, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Must admit The Lost King sounds interesting. Whichever wins, I’m going to try to do this with y’all. Fun stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Angie
    March 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Thea, you haven’t read the Tripods books?! They are great!

  • Eliza
    March 13, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I’ve read two of them already, so it was between the other three. I went with the first Tripod book because it’s completely different from what I’d normally read on my own. All sound great, so I’m looking forward to seeing what our selection will be.

    Thank you, Ana and Thea, for all your hard work creating the bookshelf, spreadsheet and polls. I’m loving the read-along/book club idea. I’m looking forward to the interesting and lively discussions that will take place, especially since we don’t have to dance around any major plot points for fear of spoilers.

    Question: I’m hoping that this isn’t the only shot for the “losing” books in the poll. There are worthy contenders and, who knows, with some other competition maybe one will be the winner.

    You know I’m going to take advantage of the suggestion box. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ana
    March 13, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Eliza- Definitely NOT their only shot, we want to read all the things, and will make sure to try and have those appear again!!! (Even if we don’t end up reading those in the readlong, we still want to read them!)

  • Tami
    March 13, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Pollsarchive page looks broked. If it’s the same poll software I used on my old blog, you probably just need to create the wordpress page and put the special code in the page contents in the admin.


    Also, YAY. Terrier was great fun (and I selfishly voted for it even though I’ve already read it. I want to read it again). I also loved Black Swan and would love to discuss my personal review of it … but I liked Terrier better and your comment above about giving “not the winner” books multiple chances warms my heart.

    No matter what, everyone’s a winner! ๐Ÿ˜€ Best kind of “contest”.

  • Lexie
    March 13, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Went with Terrier since I was planning on reading that set of books before the new Circle Reforged Book anyhow, though I def want to check out Black Swan (which I do own apparently), the Naming and The Lost King!

  • Estara
    March 13, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    @KMont, I totally love all the headers and those awesome Smugglivus posters you do, but I have to admit that every time I see that header for Old School Wednesdays, I *WISH* you had chosen a background picture that didn’t feature the damsel in distress, plus awesome fighting male hero. I guess my patience with that trope is simply gone after years of being offered little else, in the genre. Ah well.

    My vote went for Terrier, too, although it would also be a reread for me ^^.

  • eliza
    March 13, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    wow, reading through your database list was like an odd trip down memory lane… books i’ve read but totally forgot about (owl in love, whoa!), books i loved but thought you’d definitely already read (sabriel!). anyways, love this feature, can’t wait to see what comes of it!

  • Ana
    March 13, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Estara – first, let us just clarify that Kmont designed the banner but we found and chose the background picture. It was our choice and decision to go with this and ours alone.

    We chose that image because it looked sufficiently Old School to us. We didn’t see a damsel in distress, but rather someone going: OH SHIT A DRAGON!

    That said, your interpretation is completely valid and of course, completely understandable given the historical trope context.

    We don’t want our readers to feel alienated by the image though, and will look into a replacement. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  • Li
    March 13, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Ana – I seriously loved THE LOST KING (and the entire series, come to think of it) when I first read them as a teen (umm… possibly too young, but still!). Maigrey and Sagan totally captured my imagination.

    I was thrilled when I saw it pop up on your Old School Wednesday recs (and I’m still making my way through all the comments, so thank you for the GR shelf!).

  • Liz
    March 13, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Thank you so much for making the list and the database! I loved all of the recommendations in that last post, but having to go back and scroll through there would have been really frustrating. This is perfect.

  • Estara Swanberg
    March 14, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Ana, thanks for clearing the provenance up. I hope the tone of my original comment was more resigned than aggressive, as I certainly did not want to offend KMont. The ‘wish’ part was heartfelt, though ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Having explained your reasoning and first impression of the artwork you picked (without the logo which might obscure parts that give a different emphasis on what is happening)AND – from all I can see, heh – being the only reader who stopped short when looking at the image, I would respectfully suggest that you don’t go to the trouble of the extra work just because of me.

    I’ve been reading your blog for long enough to know that the two of you do not endorse damsels-in-distress. My sensitivity may also have to do with recently watching the awesome first Tropes vs. Women video released by Anita Serkessian, which features exactly that trope.

    And lastly, I hope we can get back to more informal interaction soon ^^, while squeeing over a good book. .. well, I’ll do the squeeing, you’ll probably do the well developed and presented review from all previous evidence. :mrgreen:

  • Estara Swanberg
    March 14, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Gah, her surname is Sarkeesian, sorry.

  • Ana
    March 14, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Estara, no worries. We are looking into changing the banner but we want to find something that is perfect. ๐Ÿ™‚

    That video is awesome right? So well-written and presented. Very cool.

    See you around, as usual! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Estara Swanberg
    March 14, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Wohoo :mrgreen:

    I’ve been clicking around in Feminist Frequency – I was linked to it before the huge witch hunt started (and then I became a backer of her Kickstarter), as she’s done interesting things about pop culture before. It’s addictive.

    I love the fact that a tiny off-set to the horrible mess and aggression that has swamped her has to be the increased quality in sound and stylish presentation for her series. I wish they’d license it for some of the hipper TV channels and really stick it to the rabid misogynist …. well, you can see where I’m going there…

  • Heidi
    March 14, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Ah!!! Ladies, I LOVE this idea. I can’t guarantee I’ll always be able to participate (because I *might* have made the mistake of saying ‘Sure, I’ll read Infinite Jest!’ which is taking up like three months of my life), but I will when I can. Love it–it was a goal of mine this year for ~75% of my reads to NOT be from 2013 for the same reason you started this series–so this really helps kick me into gear. ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Michelle
    March 14, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Re: the picture. If you look at the woman’s face I don’t really see her fearful or cringing. Imagine her saying “I don’t think your plan is working”.

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