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Old 05-17-2011, 11:29 PM   #1
sun surfer
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Post The MobileRead Literary Book Club Begins

Well, let's try this and see what happens! I've gotten a few requests after mentioning it in another thread, so I've decided to start a thread for it.

There is already another great general interest MobileRead book club that covers a wide variety of genres, but the goal of this one is specifically to enjoy "literature" together. The idea is that each month we will select and read a well-regarded work and have a group discussion of it afterwards.

If there ends up being only a few of us, we can discuss how we want to proceed. Perhaps if we continue we'll just decide amongst ourselves each month which book to read and keep everything in one thread.

If there is enough interest, we could follow the structure of the general book club, with nominations and voting for the selection.

If no one expresses interest in this thread, well, I suppose this thread will softly float away and at least I can say I tried.

My hope is that this club will be a fun and rewarding experience, and possibly help to broaden our understanding of the works we're reading from the input and opinions of others.

What constitutes "literature" is debatable but we can decide as a group what we'd like to focus on. Some possibilities to give an idea of kinds of literature we could select from include modern, Asian, Medieval, poetry, historical, European, ancient, non-fiction, 18/19th century, philosophical, etc.

Any suggestions or advice are of course appreciated. If there is interest, our first month will be June, so we will choose our first selection within the next two weeks.
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Old 05-18-2011, 06:56 AM   #2
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Thanks for grasping the nettle, sun surfer. Just a suggestion - which really just supports my own prejudices - how about we restrict ourselves to literary fiction? Now, I know there are many problems defining and delimiting literary fiction, but it narrows it down a bit by excluding poetry and non-fiction.

Another suggestion is that participants could take it in turns to choose the "book of the month" rather than having complicated voting systems.
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:04 AM   #3
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Thanks for grasping the nettle, sun surfer. Just a suggestion - which really just supports my own prejudices - how about we restrict ourselves to literary fiction? Now, I know there are many problems defining and delimiting literary fiction, but it narrows it down a bit by excluding poetry and non-fiction.
I agree. A poetry or non-fiction selection would seriously narrow the field of participants, I suspect, me included.

Nice idea though sun surfer.
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:43 AM   #4
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I could be interested in this. I like the monthly book club, but find myself skipping alot of the selections.
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:53 AM   #5
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I'm interested - fiction only is fine with me. Are you interested in revisiting the "classics" you've never read yourself, re-reading "oldies but goodies," or sampling current literary fiction (i.e. works in translation by Nobel Prize winners that aren't mainstream), or any & all of these?

Personally, I've been meandering through the Henry James canon for the past year, and also dipping into Anthony Powell, Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens, and lately modern Irish writers (Edna O'Brien and others).
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Old 05-18-2011, 10:21 AM   #6
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Im interested too. The topic of "what constitutes literature" could be of lively discussion. When I personally think of literature I feel it to be something that has meaning. Such example is The Grapes of Wrath I consider literature as it describes the feeling and struggle of people, where as The Da Vinci Code is just a story thus not literature. A Christmas Carol is literature, anything by Matthew Reilly is not.

But examples that are a grey area for me is like those by Jules Verne. Not really books that are life changing or have a life message but are considered literature by the masses. I could be wrong in my thoughts but it is something for discussion.
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Old 05-18-2011, 10:43 AM   #7
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I'd be interested. I prefer modern literary fiction.
Currently I'm about halfway through The Great House by Nicole Krauss.
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Old 05-18-2011, 10:53 AM   #8
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Im interested too. The topic of "what constitutes literature" could be of lively discussion. When I personally think of literature I feel it to be something that has meaning. Such example is The Grapes of Wrath I consider literature as it describes the feeling and struggle of people, where as The Da Vinci Code is just a story thus not literature. A Christmas Carol is literature, anything by Matthew Reilly is not.
I am wary of those "discussions" as the last time i saw one on this board, it devolved, predictably, into people calling others elitists and descending into temper tantrums about how they wanted to read fun things not things that made them work.

I prefer classics and some modern literature, but I am interested to see what gets suggested and how we set up the club in terms of book picks.
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:17 AM   #9
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Lots of people have different opinions of what is literature. For example, I feel that some "classics" are absolutely garbage. So what is the definition of literature? I mean, What I think may not be what you think and that's where the problem lies. Different people's perceptions f what literature is. And to me, a book that's not enjoyable (to me) is not literature.
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:32 AM   #10
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I'm interested.
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:42 AM   #11
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I'd be interested. I prefer modern literary fiction.
, and preferably living or very recently deceased.

...but I'm happy to go along with whatever choice we settle on.

Last edited by orlok; 05-18-2011 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:43 AM   #12
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I'd be interested. I prefer modern literary fiction.
By authors who are not dead.
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:44 AM   #13
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Interesting subject...

Hello, all.

I must echo other's posts concerning the idea of a book club being a good idea. It certainly has an appeal for me.

Personally, I would be willing to read and discuss just about any genre' so I don't have a problem with what is selected.

I do very much agree with astrangerhere (HELLO! from Durham) in that the last thing the book club needs is a discussion that decends into the bowels of dissention and strife.

The Free Dictionary states the following concerning discussion:

"dis·cus·sion (d-skshn)
n.
1. Consideration of a subject by a group; an earnest conversation.
2. A formal discourse on a topic; an exposition."


Discussing differences in opinions or interpretations is stimulating, fun and can be enlightening if approached with an open mind. Notice the definitions: consideration... earnest conversation... dicourse on a topic. I don't see argument or name-calling in any of the definitions.

My apologies for getting on my soapbox. Sometimes my passion carries me beyond where I should go...

Yes, I am quite interesting in a book club. It would be nice if the selections were readible available (read free).

Looking forward to more conversation on the issue.

Regards,
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:45 AM   #14
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One way to define literature would be to say "required reading in our high schools and colleges." However, I've seen some of the required reading lists that are currently in vogue and you'll never get me to agree that the Twilight series is great literature.

My interest will wax and wane depending on the books. I would be interested, for example, in books by Sinclair Lewis, John Steinbeck, or Ernest Hemingway, but not interested in anything by Bram Stoker, Louisa May Alcott, Charles Dickens, Herman Melville, to name a few. It is not that I don't recognize their work as great literature -- hard to say Dickens or Dumas pere is not of that class -- rather, it is that I am not interested in the 19th century writing style.

One way to solve the problem may be to limit the work to particular time periods and available from the MobileRead library. Just consider anything available in the MR library to be literature.
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:24 PM   #15
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One way to solve the problem may be to limit the work to particular time periods and available from the MobileRead library. Just consider anything available in the MR library to be literature.
That means we can count Star Trek as literature. I like that.
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