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Old 08-06-2019, 11:52 PM   #496
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I can see the advantages both ways. I like how the Lit Club opens discussions right away and it's free flow which suits my busy schedule better. I like sharing what I'm thinking while I'm reading. However, I also think that having a set date forces everyone to have more back-and-forth dialogue in real time which is nice.

It took me a while to get used to having a set date in this club. I made 2 changes to my reading process. First, I delay reading until closer to the 1st of the month like Bookpossum suggests (depends on my library availability). Second, I started book journaling in January. It helps me keep notes on the book and remember things better for the discussions. I feel like that has made a significant difference for me.
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Old 08-07-2019, 06:58 AM   #497
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I agree. It definitely helps to keep notes as you go when reading a book that is for later discussion. I sometimes keep a few notes on non-Club books also, as this can help in writing a short review for GR.

That in turn is useful for me in the longer term in recalling a particular book and what my reaction to it was, as well as why I felt that way. Otherwise it's very easy after a time to know that I enjoyed a book, but to have little or no recollection of it. Maybe that's antiquity of course!
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Old 08-07-2019, 08:13 AM   #498
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I think most of the points, pro and con, of opening the book discussion right away have been covered, but I'll put in my 2¢ worth anyway.

The lag that results in the next selection being chosen before a book is discussed was instituted to facilitate library borrowing. It also allows people to plan for a book thus easing differences in reading speeds and other commitments; we all, ideally, at up at the same point on the same day. I'll add a minor benefit that having a set date helps ensure that a book is actually started and finished, rather than put off to some uncertain point in the future.

But that, of course, ignores the essential clash in preferences, whether it's better to be able to post as you go, or whether it's better to promote direct interaction by having a set time. We can't have both, even with spoiler tags. I prefer the latter myself as being more vibrant and I also think it's why we've had such high post counts so far. A high post count isn't a goal in itself, but it can be taken as an indication of interest.

A minor plus is that staggered dates for nominations/polling and discussion help promote always having something going on, which I think is a benefit. It keeps people looking and engaged.

We got to this point by evolution. A little history re the original MobileRead Book Club: the nominations for the next month and discussion for the current month originally started on the same day, which at least eliminated the issue of picking the next book before you've discussed the last. In retrospect, I think that was terrible, as each distracted from the other and it meant that there was a time of doldrums each month. Then the discussion was pushed back a bit because of the library consideration. Then, in fact, when the club was dragging it experimented with starting the discussion right away, pretty much a 180 in terms of policy, to see if that would engage more interest. As it turned out, it was disastrous and after a couple of months, the club went back to the older schedule.

TL; DR and everyone made the points already: the major factors seem to me to be the library issue and whether or not we're better off with direct interaction at a set time or letting people post as they read.
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Old 08-07-2019, 08:52 AM   #499
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Letting people post as they read means more a series of book reviews than an actual discussion. My personal preference would certainly be for the discussion starting at a set time. I think we have had some very interesting ones.

I don't have any problem with knowing I'm going to read a certain book from the beginning of next month, and getting on with other books in the meantime, but I suppose we all operate differently.
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:03 AM   #500
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Some have mentioned taking notes. I suppose I see opening the discussion thread early as kind of a way to take notes--to offer comments as one goes along. That's what's happening now in the Cat discussion, isn't it?

This wouldn't prevent there being an official start date for the discussion.

If I'm going to read a selection, I prefer to read it more or less right away, when I'm either excited about it or resigned to it. But I don't because it won't be fresh in my mind for any discussion weeks later. So I put it off till a couple of days before, by which time it becomes a chore, like homework, and interrupts whatever personal topic I may have begun binge-reading. I start out resenting it and not wanting to read it.

I don't want to make a big thing of this; it's simply the way I roll. I have no experience of how the other book clubs have operated or what's been tried. But I do hate the lag time between choice and discussion.
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Old 08-08-2019, 12:24 AM   #501
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Like others have noted here, I tend to hold off reading until closer to discussion time. I do keep notes and marked quotes, but how much I feel like discussing a book (good or bad) can fade a bit when I may have read half-a-dozen others since (depending partly on what they were).

I understand the desire to get into something as soon as it is chosen: generally I've done enough research etc. about the books during the nomination or voting phase that I've worked myself into the right mood for what we've chosen. The self-imposed delay before starting sometimes sees that sense of anticipation wane.

On the plus side, the current system leaves room to adapt to changing circumstances: starting earlier when I know reading time is going to be short or the book is long, finishing what I've got going before getting into the new selection ... and so on. I think this flexibility has a lot to recommend it.

I don't know what the right compromise is. I'm not unhappy with the current system but I recognise it is not perfect; I doubt if such a beast exists.
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Old 08-08-2019, 12:54 AM   #502
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Given our experience with the old MR book club, I wouldn't want us to go to immediate discussion availability -- it was, frankly, a disaster. That being said, I do understand the delay concern. But it certainly makes it much easier to get a book from the library. It also gives more time to read books in the 400-600 page range, something that simply isn't feasible with shorter time frames. (Though I suspect we'd all be a bit leery of 600 pages. Of a book I love? No problem. But I book I'm not enjoying? Really tough. )
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Old 08-08-2019, 11:35 AM   #503
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Given our experience with the old MR book club, I wouldn't want us to go to immediate discussion availability -- it was, frankly, a disaster. That being said, I do understand the delay concern. But it certainly makes it much easier to get a book from the library. It also gives more time to read books in the 400-600 page range, something that simply isn't feasible with shorter time frames. (Though I suspect we'd all be a bit leery of 600 pages. Of a book I love? No problem. But I book I'm not enjoying? Really tough. )
Why was it a disaster? I have no prior experience so I genuinely want to know.

Re library borrowing--since the nominations are supposed to be at least a year old or thereabouts, doesn't that keep wait times down at most libraries? My experience may not be typical, as two of my three library systems are huge and well-stocked, but I've rarely seen a wait time of more than a couple of weeks.
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Old 08-08-2019, 01:31 PM   #504
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Why was it a disaster? I have no prior experience so I genuinely want to know.

Re library borrowing--since the nominations are supposed to be at least a year old or thereabouts, doesn't that keep wait times down at most libraries? My experience may not be typical, as two of my three library systems are huge and well-stocked, but I've rarely seen a wait time of more than a couple of weeks.
I think that's a more geographical question than anything. I have access to the highest volume circulation public library in my state as well as to the entire university library system. But I find that I often have to wait more than at, say, a rural library because I also live in such a huge concentration of readers.
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Old 08-08-2019, 01:51 PM   #505
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Why was it a disaster? I have no prior experience so I genuinely want to know.

Re library borrowing--since the nominations are supposed to be at least a year old or thereabouts, doesn't that keep wait times down at most libraries? My experience may not be typical, as two of my three library systems are huge and well-stocked, but I've rarely seen a wait time of more than a couple of weeks.
Participation went down. Whether it was because people were at different stages and so couldn't respond, or because for people who had a harder time getting the book or had to delay for other reasons felt they'd missed the discussions or the salient points had been made, or some combination or other reasons, I don't know. But it didn't go well.

Library availability varies widely. It's given that by waiting somewhat longer to start the discussion, a book is more likely to show up in time. As it is, we've got roughly five weeks after the end of the poll (assuming no tie), so that doesn't allow for being very far down the waitlist, no more than a couple of iterations.

As a practical matter, if the discussion were bumped up a couple of weeks, then we'd be doing that at the same time as the nominations. I think we're better off staggering "events," both to maintain focus on one thing at a time and also to always have something on the boil. I agree that nominating the next book before we've discussed the last one isn't satisfying, but it seems like the least bad alternative given other considerations.
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Old 08-08-2019, 02:10 PM   #506
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I also like how the staggered dates encourages more frequent interactions and doesn’t have nominating and discussing overlapping.
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Old 08-08-2019, 03:21 PM   #507
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Why was it a disaster? I have no prior experience so I genuinely want to know.

Re library borrowing--since the nominations are supposed to be at least a year old or thereabouts, doesn't that keep wait times down at most libraries? My experience may not be typical, as two of my three library systems are huge and well-stocked, but I've rarely seen a wait time of more than a couple of weeks.
issybird has already pretty much answered this, and in much the same way I would have. But as for libraries, I have access to two very different libraries -- one a Provincial wide library, and one a major, tech-heavy metropolitan-area library where they routinely PASS bond issues to support the libraries. And yet, I've often had to wait 2-4 weeks to get a book. Which is why I automatically get on the waiting list as soon as a book is nominated. I don't wait for its selection. And I still sometimes have to buy a book. Which, as a retired person, is no longer trivial.
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