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View Poll Results: Should we change one of the classic months to another genre?
Yes - Change it 12 30.77%
No - Leave it as it is 20 51.28%
Either way is fine with me 7 17.95%
Voters: 39. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-26-2011, 09:46 AM   #31
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Why change an already separate category/genre instead of changing a duplicate? Why should Mystery go, or Science Fiction go, or Romance go, but 2 Classics stay? That is what I do not understand, and that is what I am questioning. If you take the topics as they are - by name - everything is represented once expect classics which is represented twice. Furthermore, just as the open months are open to any genre, they are also open to classics, giving classics a clear unfair advantage over the rest of the list. The classic topic/category will always have one more spot then any other topic/category. That is what I dislike.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:57 AM   #32
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@Issybird. Genre is a terribly limiting concept. Saying something is one thing is limiting and generally not conducive to useful discussion. I know it's human nature to pigeon-hole things in one spot and some things work well for that, but others don't. There will always be things on the fence, but, hopefully the forum is a democracy and voting sorts out what most think fit with any given month's category and what most think don't. I think it was a valid point that we should look at the duplicate categories and pick a theme for them. If people want more serious titles, people will nominate and vote for them inside of those themes. The split between literary (serious) and more light-hearted already exists. I'd like to see a prize winner category (not necessarily restricted to Pulitzer, but add in Booker, Giller, maybe Orange).

Does anyone have a list of the books actually selected over the time that the book club has been around? I'm just curious.

I've started compiling a reading list for myself for next year and I've decided I need more variety, but I've skipped looking at genre and said I'll pick something from every decade that people put in the best lists of the decade on Goodreads. So far, I'm pretty happy with where that is leading me.
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:00 AM   #33
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Furthermore, just as the open months are open to any genre, they are also open to classics, giving classics a clear unfair advantage over the rest of the list. The classic topic/category will always have one more spot then any other topic/category. That is what I dislike.
Where's the unfairness? Books are nominated and voted for. A classic will only win in open months if that's what a plurality wants. Having two months of classics makes no difference to what's chosen in an open month.

You're trying to have it both ways. You wanted a poll to see if a second classic month would be voted down, justifying it by saying that a vote would reveal the preference of the membership. Now that there's a good chance that the membership is voting to maintain the status quo, you're talking essential unfairness. And worry that an open vote might result in picking a book from a category you don't like in an open month, to boot, and make specious claims of an inherent advantage to a particular category.

Seriously, once you pushed for a poll, you pretty much were obligated to accept the decision graciously.
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:14 AM   #34
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There will always be things on the fence, but, hopefully the forum is a democracy and voting sorts out what most think fit with any given month's category and what most think don't. I think it was a valid point that we should look at the duplicate categories and pick a theme for them.
How about: 19th century classic & early 20th century classic

or: English language classic and classic in translation

And still lots of room for different genres in each category. Now everyone's happy!

OK, just trying to lighten things up. There's no solution that will make everyone happy and this whole discussion has mostly been about personal preference, under the guise of "fairness" and "wide appeal." People wanted a vote, a vote is in process, campaigning is legit, but some are going to be unhappy, no matter what the outcome.

ETA to say I entirely disagree with the following:

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@Issybird. Genre is a terribly limiting concept. Saying something is one thing is limiting and generally not conducive to useful discussion.
Defining terms is probably the most useful part of any discussion. Otherwise, how the heck do you know if you and the opposition are even talking about the same things? How can you arrive at a reasonable compromise without being clear on the issues? Otherwise, it's just a lot of mushy talk, going around in circles, that involves gut reactions and emotions and not logic.

Last edited by issybird; 07-26-2011 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:14 AM   #35
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@Issybird. Genre is a terribly limiting concept. Saying something is one thing is limiting and generally not conducive to useful discussion. I know it's human nature to pigeon-hole things in one spot and some things work well for that, but others don't. There will always be things on the fence, but, hopefully the forum is a democracy and voting sorts out what most think fit with any given month's category and what most think don't. I think it was a valid point that we should look at the duplicate categories and pick a theme for them. If people want more serious titles, people will nominate and vote for them inside of those themes. The split between literary (serious) and more light-hearted already exists. I'd like to see a prize winner category (not necessarily restricted to Pulitzer, but add in Booker, Giller, maybe Orange).

Does anyone have a list of the books actually selected over the time that the book club has been around? I'm just curious.

I've started compiling a reading list for myself for next year and I've decided I need more variety, but I've skipped looking at genre and said I'll pick something from every decade that people put in the best lists of the decade on Goodreads. So far, I'm pretty happy with where that is leading me.

The only thing I can suggest for your quest is to do a search for all "Book club" threads and go from there. I do know that at the end of any book club thread there are at least 4 links to other book club threads. Will edit this post if I find any more helpful info.
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:38 AM   #36
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Where's the unfairness? Books are nominated and voted for. A classic will only win in open months if that's what a plurality wants. Having two months of classics makes no difference to what's chosen in an open month.

You're trying to have it both ways. You wanted a poll to see if a second classic month would be voted down, justifying it by saying that a vote would reveal the preference of the membership. Now that there's a good chance that the membership is voting to maintain the status quo, you're talking essential unfairness. And worry that an open vote might result in picking a book from a category you don't like in an open month, to boot, and make specious claims of an inherent advantage to a particular category.

Seriously, once you pushed for a poll, you pretty much were obligated to accept the decision graciously.
Issybird, you really don't seem to understand me, at all. You pick and choose what you want to hear out of the words that I say.
My quoting you, was tongue-in-cheek, for the very reason that I wanted the vote and you didn't, yet things are currently going your way. I have absolutely no problem with the vote. I did ask for it and I said when I asked for it that I would abide by it. It doesn't mean that I won't discuss my point of view, nor will I ask that the vote be ignored. If it is what the majority wants, you know that majority you were so afraid to allow a voice, then so be it. I wasn't saying the vote was unfair, I wasn't complaining about the vote..I was stating how I feel about the topic.

As for unfairness and advantage...its a matter of simple math. I understand that there is little chance that one topic will completely take over the year, however, the possibility is there. I am talking about chance and possibility, not actuality; I would like to make that very clear. All of the current topics have 3 chances in the year (counting the 2 open slots), where as Classics has 4 chances (counting the 2 open slots plus its 2 regular slots) that's all I was saying.

So in conclusion:

1. I am very happy we had the vote, allowing people to have a voice.

2. I never had any intention of fighting the very vote I championed, regardless of the outcome.

3. I think chances and possibilities count for something and one genre having four chances/possibilities where all of the others have only three chances/possibilities is "unfair".

If there is anyway I can make my position any clearer please let me know.

Last edited by Nyssa; 07-26-2011 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:41 AM   #37
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Since classic is not a genre, then maybe both months should go so we can put in actual genres.
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:43 AM   #38
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If we get stuck with yet another classic month, we need to nominate modern books. Books that are written by authors withing the last 20 years and that the author is still alive. We need to get away from the moldy oldies that don't read well today.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:11 AM   #39
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3. I think chances and possibilities count for something and one genre having four chances/possibilities where all of the others have only three chances/possibilities is "unfair".

If there is anyway I can make my position any clearer please let me know.
Again, classics is not a genre. With the current list, we could have 12 months of classics, assuming people voted for 'em. Classic sci fi, classic horror, classic mystery.... you take my point or perhaps you don't.

All along, my position has been that it is important to take into account the preferences of various readers and that "majority rules" is not the best method to ensure that. I think two months of classics helps appeal to a broader spectrum, as there's a subgroup not very well served by SF/F and Mystery/Thriller/Horror. You disagree. We're never going to agree on that one, but crying "unfair" is really the stuff of playgrounds. It's not a case of fairness or unfairness, it's a case of competing visions on how to appeal to the broadest possible group. I recognize that, but I don't think you grant the classics claque the justice of their position, even if you don't agree with it. It's not inherently "unfair;" it's just different.

I didn't want a vote because I don't think votes take into account minority positions all that well, but so it goes. After all the talking's done, there has to be some way to decide. Could be benevolent dictatorship, a vote, whatever. I won't say I'm not pleased that the vote so far is in favor of keeping two classic months. But please, acknowledge that those who are voting along those lines are not voting for something that's "unfair."
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:41 AM   #40
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But "Classic" in itself limits ones choices...so there is still an increase in the chance of having something labeled as "classic". The fact that all of the genres can also have something "classic" strengthens my case :

January
Wild Card (no nominations, a vote of all the non-winning nominations from the last 11 months)

Classic - 1; Non Classic -1

February

Romance

Classic - 2; Non Classic -2

March
Nonfiction

Classic - 3; Non Classic -3

April
Humor

Classic - 4; Non Classic - 4

May
Classic

Classic - 5; Non Classic - 4

June
Thriller/Suspense

Classic - 6; Non Classic - 5

July
Fantasy (trees/magic)

Classic - 7; Non Classic -6

August
Free For All (any genre)

Classic - 8; Non Classic - 7

September
Mystery/Crime

Classic - 9; Non Classic - 8


October

Horror

Classic - 10; Non Classic - 9

November

Science Fiction (rivets/science)

Classic - 11; Non Classic -10

December
Classic

Classic - 12; Non Classic -10



12 to 10 = Advantage = unequal opportunity.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:52 AM   #41
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We could make it so that in the non-classic months that if a book is nominated and it's considered a classic, it cannot get voted on as it's a classic in a non-classic month.

In fact we did just recently have a classic in a non-classic month. We had The Maltese Falcon. And we also had The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy not long ago. Again another classic. So really, classic is all over the place. Can we please dump the vote and dump the topic for December and pic something else?
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:55 AM   #42
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...Can we please ... dump the topic for December and pic something else?
Actually, I'm with you on this, Jon, but it looks like the people have spoken and we lost. I would have preferred another non-fiction month, but that doesn't appear to be what the majority wants. Power to the people. Right arm. Or something like that.

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Old 07-26-2011, 12:42 PM   #43
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We could make it so that in the non-classic months that if a book is nominated and it's considered a classic, it cannot get voted on as it's a classic in a non-classic month.
The rub here is, you can't even define classic. If you consider Harry Potter and HHGTTG classics that's fine. Personally, I don't.

As the single remaining founding member of the book club the point of the whole thing was to get exposure to books that I wouldn't normally read.

It's pretty clear when you take literature classes in University you won't be reading and discussion Harry Potter or HHG... you will be reading stuff like the Penguin 10 Essential Classics: http://us.penguingroup.com/static/pa...ntialclassics/

Esther Lombardi, About.com’s resident classic literature guide, offers this handy definition of classic:

“A classic usually expresses some artistic quality--an expression of life, truth, and beauty. A classic stands the test of time. The work is usually considered to be a representation of the period in which it was written; and the work merits lasting recognition. In other words, if the book was published in the recent past, the work is not a classic. A classic has a certain universal appeal. Great works of literature touch us to our very core beings--partly because they integrate themes that are understood by readers from a wide range of backgrounds and levels of experience. Themes of love, hate, death, life, and faith touch upon some of our most basic emotional responses. A classic makes connections. You can study a classic and discover influences from other writers and other great works of literature.”

So, what is modern classic, well sounds like an oxymoron to me:

"A modern classic, then, would have to be a book written after WWI, and probably after WWII. Why? Because those cataclysmic events shifted the way the world sees itself in irreversible ways.

"Beyond content, modern classics also demonstrate a shift in style from earlier eras. This shift began in the early part of the century, with luminaries such as James Joyce expanding the reach of the novel as a form. In the post-war era, the hardened realism of the Hemingway school became less of a novelty and more a requirement. Cultural shifts have meant that obscenities once viewed as outrageous are commonplace. Sexual “liberation” may be more of a fantasy than a reality in the real world, but in literature the characters certainly sleep around a lot more casually than they used to. In tandem with television and movies, literature has also shown its willingness to spill blood on the pages, as violent horrors that once would not even have been alluded to now become the basis of best-selling novels."

So, seeing as there is something to the idea of modern classic and some folks here see two classic months as a "duplication" here is my proposal.

Classic - pre World War 1 (pre-1914)

this would be the month for those great books written long ago that you can still buy at borders. Most will be in the public domain so people can download them for free.

Modern Classic - post World War I

this would be your On The Road, Catch-22, A Canticle for Liebowitz, Harry Potter, Hitchhickers Guide, etc. This can also include those Pulitzer prize winners as well.

yes, I know there are classics in every genre but I still think there is merit in having months set aside for classics... especially since I don't have time to participate in the "literary" book club.

thoughts?

BOb

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Old 07-26-2011, 01:08 PM   #44
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The rub here is, you can't even define classic. If you consider Harry Potter and HHGTTG classics that's fine. Personally, I don't.
Common usage of the term classic does incorporate some variation of , to put it colloquially: “Still read and appreciated after all these years.”

It's fine with me to just let the votes decide what is or isn't appropriate for a month's category as long as I can say for the Fantasy month nominate The Metamorphosis. Surely no one really believes that Gregor Samasa is turned into a cockroach? The votes would not be there for that I know.

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Classic - pre World War 1 (pre-1914)

this would be the month for those great books written long ago that you can still buy at borders. Most will be in the public domain so people can download them for free.

Modern Classic - post World War I

this would be your On The Road, Catch-22, A Canticle for Liebowitz, Harry Potter, Hitchhickers Guide, etc. This can also include those Pulitzer prize winners as well.
Sounds good to me, let's go with that. Though from your dates did you mean WWII?


Isn't it about time for nominations for August to start? None of this need impact that.

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Old 07-26-2011, 01:11 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilotbob View Post
yes, I know there are classics in every genre but I still think there is merit in having months set aside for classics... especially since I don't have time to participate in the "literary" book club.


If the mood ever strikes you or the choice is particularly interesting to you, anyone can feel free to participate in the literary book club just for a month at a time, as I'm sure you'd say the same about for this book club.

Last edited by sun surfer; 07-26-2011 at 01:22 PM.
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