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Old 05-18-2011, 05:42 PM   #16
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Book club

I would enjoy being a member of this type of club. Of course, there are loads of differing opinions of what constitutes "literature" but we are talking about what sun surfer calls a "well-regarded work". This still leaves a wide area for exploration. I enjoy the "standard classics" {Jane Austen is my favourite novelist} but I would feel that science-fiction includes a great many very well written works {those by Damon Knight for instance} that could lead to fruitful and interesting discussions. The same would be true of Fantasy.

The means of choosing a book might pose some problems but those of you who have been in clubs of this nature would undoubtedly know how to obviate that. Anyhow, I would like to give it a try!
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:05 PM   #17
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A Modest Proposal

Well - we're shaping up to be a quite diverse membership - which is great! Since we want to focus on reading & sharing thoughts & opinions of what we're reading - I heartily support the suggestions to avoid dwelling on a debate on what is "literary" and not get bogged down in a lengthy voting system.

I would suggest trying this:

1. Each person sends 2 titles to the OP (sun surfer) via PM - with a short explanation of why you like the title, or why the group might like it, etc. This way the thread doesn't derail into arguments over relative merits of choices. Only the OP will know what titles are in the pool.

2. The OP gets to choose the first title and announces it, and serves as the first discussion leader/moderator. For our first round, a shorter work might be advisable as we get to know one another, and allow everyone time to finish it.

Since we are just getting to know one another, and some may be cash strapped these days, I would suggest - at least for the first selection - to pick titles available free here at MobileRead in the Patricia Clark Memorial Library of member-created ebooks.
(http://www.mobileread.com/forums/ebo...&sort=dateline)

3. If the first choice bombs, the OP can then select an alternate title from the pool.

4. Members can choose to read & participate, or sit out for the next selection if they are completely not interested in the current selection.

5. When the first title is read & done - the OP can either select the next "ring-leader' or a member could volunteer - and members would then each send 2 more titles to the new leader.
The new leader could specify an area or subject, i.e., biography, foreign works in translation, etc.

I think this anonymous submission of titles would let members feel "safe" in suggesting works that they think other members might not feel qualify as "literary" -- and let all of us learn about new authors & their works.

What do you all think about trying this?
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Old 05-18-2011, 10:42 PM   #18
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I'm interested.
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Old 05-19-2011, 02:38 AM   #19
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I'm happy to see interest for this! It seems we may have enough to have a proper book club.

Thanks for all the ideas. Here are my thoughts and ideas on some things so far:


-Defining literature: I see that this can be tricky. My initial reaction is to err on the side of inclusion. I trust in us though to resolve any differences amicably, and to end up with a selection every month that is generally regarded as literature. I think it will be a good thing if I write a simple general definition soon that we can consider as a guideline for this book club in making our selections; i.e. something that expands slightly on "well-regarded work". Any suggestions as to what this definition will include are welcome.


-Regarding kinds of literature: I like the idea of having an encompassing schedule of different kinds of literature, similar to the general book club here, so that we can experience a variety of what literature has to offer.

What would everyone suggest as categories? Obviously modern will be popular, looking at the posts so far. We could subdivide it. We also need a definition for "modern". Post-1900. Post-1950. The last 50 years.

A possibility is to divide by century. 21st century, which would be very recent literature. 20th century, 19th century.

I see that poetry and non-fiction aren't the most popular over the course of these first posts. I'd like to hear more thoughts on this although personally I'd like for them to be included, perhaps focusing on one per month, leaving us ten months of other kinds of literature.

Other possibilities include months focusing on certain regions (Asia, Russia, Europe, The Americas, etc.), months focusing on older time periods (Medieval, Ancient, etc.) and months focusing on other particular subjects (historical, philosophical, very challenging, tragic, romantic, etc.).

The goal will be to end up with a group of twelve that is both interesting and challenging; one that is diverse in covering a range of literature yet will be enjoyable and fun for us.

For this June, our inaugural month, I think we should do a "throw caution to the wind" pick and let it be any literary work, regardless of what may be decided as June's regular category. Do the rest of you like this idea?


-Method of deciding our monthly selection: I've read the other ideas presented and they're well thought-out. I admit though that I am partial to a structure similar to the general book club. It may seem complicated but I think in the long run it will be simpler. Having one person select the book each month is a good idea, and in a small book club it could work very well. I see problems though with a varied membership, and we don't know what the membership in this book club will look like at any given time. To me a simple voting process is more inclusive. More ideas and discussion on this are welcome.

If we do go with a voting process, I suggest we do it slightly differently than the general book club. We can start with nominations, but perhaps a nomination will need four or five votes (including the original nomination) to be put in the final vote. Then, only five nominees will be put up to the final vote. The final vote will have a shorter time period, such as three days. These differences will be to have a more select yet still varied group to choose from in the final vote, as well as to make the process simpler and quicker. Similarly to the general book club, each poster will get three votes to use during nominations.

Another more altered option is to have a set period of time for nominations, such as three or four days. Each person will have only three votes to spread out (one per nomination), but a nomination can be voted for by many different people. Then, when the time period is up, the two or three nominations with the most votes will be put to a short final vote.


Really, these are all just means to the same end - to enjoy literature together. I'm looking forward to getting these options settled soon and beginning our first selection.
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:45 AM   #20
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I would also be interested.
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:04 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
That means we can count Star Trek as literature. I like that.
Why not. If james Joyce's Ulysses can be considered literature, there is no reason Star Trek can't be. Literature is such a fluid term that it is virtually meaningless.
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:10 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poohbear_nc View Post
What do you all think about trying this?
Nice post poohbear, certainly food for thought. I quite like the idea of a single individual deciding after some suggestions have been made (rather than a prolonged argument over which to select). As you say, if someone doesn't like the choice, they can just sit out until the next one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sun surfer View Post
I see that poetry and non-fiction aren't the most popular over the course of these first posts. I'd like to hear more thoughts on this although personally I'd like for them to be included, perhaps focusing on one per month, leaving us ten months of other kinds of literature.
I'm not against poetry being included, but not having read poetry for appreciation for many a year, I just don't feel I could do meaningful justice to any discussion of poetry. So I might read the poem, and the discussion that follows, but would probably not participate.
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:26 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poohbear_nc View Post
...

What do you all think about trying this?
I would prefer the way the other club works (nominations and voting). It gets me motivated to read the book seeing everyone's thoughts vs just one person picking.

IMO.
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:22 AM   #24
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Post Some further thoughts...

CAUTION: Long Post... Get yourself a cuppa and settle in...

Hello, sun surfer.

I read through your post (and the entire thread) with great interest and am very excited about the proposal you are putting forth. I'd like to add my own comments and suggestions based on what you've posted here.

Quote:
-Defining literature: I see that this can be tricky. My initial reaction is to err on the side of inclusion. I trust in us though to resolve any differences amicably, and to end up with a selection every month that is generally regarded as literature. I think it will be a good thing if I write a simple general definition soon that we can consider as a guideline for this book club in making our selections; i.e. something that expands slightly on "well-regarded work". Any suggestions as to what this definition will include are welcome.
Merriam-Webster defines literature as follows:

"...3a (1) : writings in prose or verse; especially : writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest (2) : an example of such writings <what came out, though rarely literature, was always a roaring good story — People>"

Wikipedia has a very nice article on Literature.

Dictionary.com defines literature as follows:

"...1. writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays."

The Collins English Dictionary defines literature as follows:

"...1. written material such as poetry, novels, essays, etc., esp works of imagination characterized by excellence of style and expression and by themes of general or enduring interest"

Given the above definitions, it should be relatively easy to define what the book club considers literature by incorporating those pieces of the above definitions that "fit" the book club's wants and desires. If I may...

Literature (Mobileread Literary Book Club definition)
"Written material possessing excellent form, style, expression of ideas and themes of general, permanent and / or universal interest. Examples of literature include poetry, novels, histories, biographies, essays, etc."


Quote:
Regarding kinds of literature: I like the idea of having an encompassing schedule of different kinds of literature, similar to the general book club here, so that we can experience a variety of what literature has to offer.
I heartily agree with you.

Quote:
What would everyone suggest as categories? Obviously modern will be popular, looking at the posts so far. We could subdivide it. We also need a definition for "modern". Post-1900. Post-1950. The last 50 years.

A possibility is to divide by century. 21st century, which would be very recent literature. 20th century, 19th century.
I do like your idea of categories and your suggested ideas. Again, if I may...

1. Top level category of time period.
2. Major sub-category of genre.
3. Minor sub-category of author.
4: Minor sub-category of work.

Example:

TOP LEVEL CATEGORY:
20th Century

MAJOR SUB-CATEGORY:
Poetry / Prose

MINOR SUB-CATEGORY:
Robert Frost

MINOR SUB-CATEGORIES:
The Pasture
Mending Wall
The Road Not Taken

etc., etc.

Time periods could be 20th, 19th, 18th, etc. Centuries with anything beyond the 18th Century being Other Time Periods.

This structure could be applied to each identified genre to be included along with the time period, authors and their works.

Quote:
I see that poetry and non-fiction aren't the most popular over the course of these first posts. I'd like to hear more thoughts on this although personally I'd like for them to be included, perhaps focusing on one per month, leaving us ten months of other kinds of literature.

Other possibilities include months focusing on certain regions (Asia, Russia, Europe, The Americas, etc.), months focusing on older time periods (Medieval, Ancient, etc.) and months focusing on other particular subjects (historical, philosophical, very challenging, tragic, romantic, etc.).

The goal will be to end up with a group of twelve that is both interesting and challenging; one that is diverse in covering a range of literature yet will be enjoyable and fun for us.
Again, I heartily agree with your suggestions. I would very much enjoy poetry and non-fiction to be included in our discussed works. Also, you suggestion of focusing on different geographical areas as well as eras is a wonderful way for us to expand our own horizons. Sort of getting us out of our own "head", as it were...

Quote:
For this June, our inaugural month, I think we should do a "throw caution to the wind" pick and let it be any literary work, regardless of what may be decided as June's regular category. Do the rest of you like this idea?
I think this is a very sound idea. Let's get the "ball rolling" by putting out a work to read and discuss for June while the "details" of the book club are worked out and, ultimately, published.

Quote:
Method of deciding our monthly selection: I've read the other ideas presented and they're well thought-out. I admit though that I am partial to a structure similar to the general book club. It may seem complicated but I think in the long run it will be simpler. Having one person select the book each month is a good idea, and in a small book club it could work very well. I see problems though with a varied membership, and we don't know what the membership in this book club will look like at any given time. To me a simple voting process is more inclusive. More ideas and discussion on this are welcome.
I agree that a straight forward voting process is the best approach -- it is democratic and each person gets their "say" (their vote).

Quote:
If we do go with a voting process, I suggest we do it slightly differently than the general book club. We can start with nominations, but perhaps a nomination will need four or five votes (including the original nomination) to be put in the final vote. Then, only five nominees will be put up to the final vote. The final vote will have a shorter time period, such as three days. These differences will be to have a more select yet still varied group to choose from in the final vote, as well as to make the process simpler and quicker. Similarly to the general book club, each poster will get three votes to use during nominations.

Another more altered option is to have a set period of time for nominations, such as three or four days. Each person will have only three votes to spread out (one per nomination), but a nomination can be voted for by many different people. Then, when the time period is up, the two or three nominations with the most votes will be put to a short final vote.
I believe this two-tiered, timed approach is very sound. I do like the idea of voting first for the nominated works THEN having a second vote to actually select from the nominated choices.

Quote:
Really, these are all just means to the same end - to enjoy literature together. I'm looking forward to getting these options settled soon and beginning our first selection.
Thank you, sun surfer, for putting forward this idea. For myself, I see it as an exciting prospect and one from which I shall be able to grow as I am opened up to other's ideas, comments and direction.

I look forward to our starting.

Regards,

Last edited by Vandy; 05-19-2011 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:20 PM   #25
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This sounds like a club that could give a great deal of pleasure. I would agree with the inclusion of poetry.

The use of sub-categories seems an effective way of dealing with individual shorter works. Thus, one could discuss Le Fanu's deeply disturbing short story "Green Tea" as part of a minor sub-category. Likewise his great Gothic novel Uncle Silas could be treated as a major long work under the category of Sheridan Le Fanu.

I feel strongly that some shorter works are well worth being given discussion time. The Time Machine by Wells is a very short novel but it engages with some very significant social and philosophical implications.

What would be the most effective way of nominating some choices?

Last edited by fantasyfan; 05-19-2011 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:43 PM   #26
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I am in, regardless of whats included in terms of fiction, Poetry, Non-Fiction, after all I can choose which I want to read, and which I don't, I just hope all the venerable posters in the thread will teach me by example as to what is Literary work,

I have already picked up from the two threads, enough ideas for months of reading, I just hope I can discuss with you all without looking too foolish and ignorant,

Thanks to all for getting this going,

In rapt anticipation
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:49 PM   #27
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I'm interested also

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin2960 View Post
I am in, regardless of whats included in terms of fiction, Poetry, Non-Fiction, after all I can choose which I want to read, and which I don't, I just hope all the venerable posters in the thread will teach me by example as to what is Literary work,

I have already picked up from the two threads, enough ideas for months of reading, I just hope I can discuss with you all without looking too foolish and ignorant,

Thanks to all for getting this going,

In rapt anticipation
- on everything
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:52 PM   #28
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I'd prefer if you guys didn't use the "Book Club" thread pre-fix though.

BOb
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:01 PM   #29
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Quote:
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I'd prefer if you guys didn't use the "Book Club" thread pre-fix though.

BOb

In respect of PilotBob can a Moderator add a "Literary Book Club" Prefix Please !
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:07 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by rhadin View Post
Why not. If james Joyce's Ulysses can be considered literature, there is no reason Star Trek can't be. Literature is such a fluid term that it is virtually meaningless.
If A Passage to India can be considered literature, there is not much that can't.
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