Tag Archives: book club

An infinite read.

Things are finally starting to settle down a bit, finding a place for new job alongside sleep, leisure time, SSR (sustained silent reading), and etc. This past weekend was spent mostly at coffee shops and at home, either reading or writing or watching Best in Show. I’m chugging along in Infinite Jest and I’m convinced that if it weren’t for a group of people reading along with me, I’d take a whole lifetime to read this book. I learned quickly that bookmarks in the footnotes and my current place were not optional. I have a working list of words to look up and another list of quotes and general favorites from the text. First impressions: Holy shit, this is way more accessible than I imagined! Then, holy shit, there are so many people I need to make a diagram of diagrams of characters. Then, Oh, cool, I’ve been to Beverly. 

I’m stoked to be reading it, and more tempted than ever to invest in a Kindle Fire.

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One Book, One Twitter: Take Two (A List!)

A couple weeks ago I mentioned One Book, One Twitter: an online, worldwide summer reading event organized by Wired magazine’s Jeff Howe and everyone else on Twitter. An interview about the project is supposed to air today on NPR’s All Things Considered, though I don’t see it on the rundown. A few of my thoughts on the project since its conception or rather, my knowledge of it:

Pros

  • It supports reading fiction. I can get behind something that tries to get people to read good fiction.
  • It promotes interaction and personalization of new media. I support trying to figure out new media, to mold social platforms in a way that makes them serve our best purposes. The criticism against social media claims to be a resistance against the inanity of it. What’s the harm in trying to turn something possibly stupid into something ingenious? It’s what we make of it.
  • I like to read. I’ve been interested in reading American Gods, having heard positive reviews, and it’s been chosen as the book. The author, Neil Gaiman, is on Twitter as well, offering a unique chance to interact with the author as you read the book.
  • It can’t be that bad, can it? The chances of every single person involved in this experiment being an idiot can’t be too high, can they? That’s a pro, isn’t it?

Cons

  • It could go horribly awry. A good friend of mine predicted the worst, saying if we read 1984 as I voted, I’d be subject to tweets such as this hypothetical one from “@BasementAnarchist… Remind you of any GOVERMENTS YOU KNOW??!!?!?! LoLZ!”
  • There’s no plan. That’s part of what makes it exciting and part of what may keep people from taking it seriously. Howe has joked that we can do whatever we want since we’re sort of playing it by ear anyway. Something that could’ve just been a passing, “Hm, that might be interesting” moment has gained momentum because of how well known Howe and Wired are. In the end, it’s just some guy who had an idea and had the resources to spread it around.
  • Who cares what other people take from the book? It could end up being a platform for heated, ignorant debate on a great work of literature. It could make me want to rip my hair out.

Though my skepticism of the project has grown somewhat since I initially heard about it, I still support it if it gets one person to read a book just to be a part of the moment. Thoughts? Do you plan on getting involved?

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1 Book, 1 Twitter: International Book Club, Anyone?

My choice? 1984, Orwell

I won’t bore you with why it’s been a while since my last post, instead I’ll just share my excitement with a new global book club happening right now. Jeff Howe is contributing editor to Wired Magazine, owner of Crowdsourcing.com, and author of a book on the subject. He is also a man after my own heart, literarily speaking, of course. His latest “scheme” is to get everyone on Twitter to read one book, the same book, and talk about it or tweet about it (but at this point, what’s the difference?). His idea, influenced by the one city, one book program, is not an attempt at creating a book club where everyone chooses a list of books to get through and meets at specific times to discuss. Instead he wants to create a sort of moment in time, where people across the globe are reading the same book, albeit in different languages, and talking about it all of the time. From Wired.com:

The aim with One Book, One Twitter is…to get a zillion people all reading and talking about a single book. It is not, for instance, an attempt to gather a more selective crew of book lovers to read a series of books and meet at established times to discuss. The point of this (to the extent it has a point beyond good fun with a good book) is to create community across geographical, cultural, ethnic, economic and social boundaries.

At best we start an annual summer Twitter tradition, and bring a bunch of people from all over the world to read together. At worst a handful of us pick a book in an ad hoc fashion and we’ll simply have started another Twitter book club.

If you’re a word nerd, how bad could that be?

Aside from getting to read something you’ve always wanted to but just haven’t gotten around to yet, you get to hear the insights of people you’d never get to join a book club with. The list is diverse and each book meets the requirement of being widely available and translated in many languages; these are often the books that people don’t get around to reading. Here’s our chance! So, word nerds, you in?

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