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Nerdist Book Club: DUNE

Who’s ready for some sci-fi flavored summer reading? Prepare yourselves because Nerdist Book Club is back and we’re going to explore a classic. So far, we’ve read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion and Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, and I sort of like switching between older books and new ones. To that end, round three of the club is devoted to Frank Herbert’s Dune.

Published in 1965, Dune was followed by several sequels and prequels by Frank Herbert and then later by his son Brian. I’ve read a handful of those and believe Dune is far and away the best piece of the story. It introduces you to a feudal interstellar society far in the future and follows the path of Paul Atreides. The Atreides, a noble family, accept control of the harsh desert planet Arrakis. The planet is of the utmost importance because it’s home to the spice melange (also known simply as “the spice”)–the most valuable substance in this universe. Religion, politics, ecology, technology–these themes and many more are explored in depth. I’ve read the book a couple of times, and my experience is that it gets better with each subsequent reading.

Dune is not a small book and it has plenty to chew on so we’re going to break it down into 12 bite-sized parts. The first discussion post will go up on Monday, June 22, so you have enough time to acquire a copy of the book and read the first assignment. I’m reading a 1990 paperback edition, ISBN 978-0441172719. It’s $5.50 on Amazon. You don’t have to read the same exact edition though. Listen to an audiobook, get an e-copy, head to your library or local book store–any way you can get it. Watching the 1984 film adaptation from David Lynch and the 2000 television miniseries are extra credit assignments.

How to Participate

Participating in Nerdist Book Club is easy. Simply acquire the book, read along with us according to the below schedule (you can read ahead if you want, just don’t spoil anything), and come back to Nerdist on each of the dates listed to discuss the latest reading assignment. Discussions will happen in the comments of each post. You’re also free to discuss on social media. I’ll keep tabs on the #NerdistBookClub hashtag.


Dune doesn’t have chapter numbers so I’ve included page numbers from my edition as well as the final word from each assignment (I’ve ended each assignment at the chapter breaks).

  • Part 1: Pages 1-65, ends with “abomination”–discussion June 22
  • Part 2: Pages 66-132, ends with “son”–discussion June 29
  • Part 3: Pages 133-204, ends with “Duke”–discussion July 6
  • Part 4: Pages 205-262, ends with “tooth”–discussion July 20
  • Part 5: Pages 263-324, ends with “cheeks”–discussion July 27
  • Part 6: Pages 325-410, ends with “worm”–discussion August 3
  • Part 7: Pages 411-479, ends with “wound”–discussion August 10
  • Part 8: Pages 480-550, ends with “mistake”–discussion August 17
  • Part 9: Pages 551-603, ends with “someday”–discussion August 24
  • Part 10: Pages 604-650, ends with “often”–discussion August 31
  • Part 11: Pages 651-725, ends with “darkness”–discussion September 7
  • Part 12: Pages 726-794—discussion September 14

Please note that we’re skipping a week in July because of Comic-Con International.

Every week’s post will have a summary of what happened along with my thoughts and analysis, notes about my extensive feelings for Princess Irulan, favorite quotes, discussion questions, and links to some bonus material (this probably will include some clips from the movie and miniseries adaptations and some Dune cosplay). There’s no obligation to answer discussion questions–you can jump in and ask your own questions in the comments or share your thoughts.

Who will be joining me in reading Dune? I think this is one of those books, like The Silmarillion, that people have been meaning to read, but perhaps haven’t got around to doing so yet. Hopefully this will nudge you into cracking the book open while you’re sitting by the pool this summer. Maybe we can even have a meet-up in Los Angeles this summer where we all ignore each other while we read! Head to the comments and tell me if you’re ready to journey to Arrakis or give me a shout on Twitter. Be sure to use #NerdistBookClub in all your social media posts so we can spread the word.

Featured Image courtesy of DeviantArt // Artist: Nathan Rosario

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