Anyone want to start an SDMB reading group?

One of my favorite parts of reading a book is discussing it with others.
I checked out Ulysses from the library today and thought that would be a good book to discuss in a reading group, and then I thought this would be a good place to try and get one going.
Does anyone think it’s a good idea? We don’t have to do Ulysses.

I’ve never been part of a reading group before and have no idea how to set one up, so I’m hoping that if people want to do this someone will want to run it.

Sounds good to me. I always wanted to join a reading group but the ones in my neighborhood always meet during working hours.

How many other people would have to join for you to join?

That question goes for anyone who might be interested. I would be willing to give it a try with as few as four or five people to start with. If nobody else wanted to I could try running it, as long as I had help from everyone else.

Also, for anyone who is interested, what kind of books would you want to read?

I would want it to be kind of diverse, I also think it would be interesting to do difficult works that people might not want to read on their own, like Ulysses. Maybe we could come up with some kind of voting system, like having someone nominate a book and someone else second it for it to be a candidate.

I’d be up for it, depending on the book, but Ulysses is way too rich for my blood. (I slogged all the way through it in an honors seminar in HS and have no interest at all in tackling it again, even though I’m sure I’d get way more out of it now.)

Something less ambitious might get more support.

What we did with the movie musicals group was put together a slate of movies (done democratically a couple of times, then based on lists that ArchiveGuy, lamia, and I put together), schedule them out in two-week intervals, and ask for volunteers who each wrote an OP for a different film.

For a reading group, you could either do a different book each month, or for longer books, divvy it up by halves, thirds, or quarters of the book, so no one had to commit to more than 200 pages or so every two weeks. (Most of us have multiple other commitments to juggle.)

You also need someone to keep track of the master schedule, post reminders to people of what’s coming up when, nag dilatory OPers, etc.

I’d be interested…but not Ulysses.

So Depends on the book(s). If you are thinking classics, I might suggest The Inferno. I’ve managed to avoid it to this point, mainly as Paradise Lost bored me to tears. The recent Niven/Pournelle sequel to their take on it has me interested though.

I’m in. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while now, but there aren’t any that I know of in my area. I’d be mostly interested in mid-length books with maybe a mix of modern and classic works. I’m not too picky though, and I’d like to start reading books outside my usual genres anyway.

I’m not up to Ulysses either, but I’d be interested in trying this.

This sounds like a fun idea. Once a book is decided on, it will easy to get more people to participate.

Plus, with the new poll feature enabled, it will be super easy to have a vote on which book to read (assuming you want to decide that way).

I would be in for Ulysses.

I’m probably not up for all this. I have a tendency to start things and then get busy with something else and not finish the first thing. Any volunteers? You seem like you might be good at it, twickster, how about you? I started this thread more interested in being a democratic participant rather than the person who organizes it.

That’s a really good description of what I’d like the books to be.

I suppose Ulysses would be a bad idea for now at least. I’d like to consider it for the future, but I’m thinking that the first book we do should be something relatively easy and well-liked. I just read Slaughterhouse-Five and that might be a good candidate, or something like Catch-22.

Sounds like an interesting idea. Would it be here online, and what nights of the week would it meet? Just curious.

Too bad I missed your group on movie/musicals. I would’ve ** loved** to participate in that one!

So – in addition to my moderating duties in Cafe Society and MPSIMS, as well as my resurrection of teemings (recruiting contributors, editing material, overseeing logistics), you think I should take this on as well? :dubious:

I’ll do it if no one else does, but I would certainly hope someone else would step up to the plate on this. It’s not time-consuming, just requires a consciousness of the passing of time, the ability to keep track of who’s supposed to do what when, and a willingness to remind people of their obligations when those people fall down on the job.

That’s the great thing about an online group – people can participate when they have time. Generally someone posts an OP (“original post,” which can either refer to the first post in a thread or to the person who makes it) to kick off the discussion, and then people read that OP and respond, or respond to what other people have said, or raise their own issues. By starting a new OP every two weeks, or twice a month, or whatever, we keep things moving along.

Okay, next is to figure out what books to do, and what book to start with.

Suggested so far:

The Inferno

A couple of votes for Ulysses, but several votes emphatically against it, so let’s take that off the table for now.

I’d like to read some older American classics: I love Edith Wharton, and would suggest The Custom of the Country for a great intro to why I love Edith Wharton. I’d also be interested in revisiting F. Scott Fitzgerald, who I adored in HS but haven’t read in almost 40 years – maybe Tender Is the Night? Someone in the reading thread has been reading Sinclair Lewis and loving it – again, I read him as a kid, but would be interested in going back. Babbit and Elmer Gantry would be possibles.

I’ve been meaning to get involved in a reading group for a while now.

So if someone’s willing to organize it, I’m interested and am up for reading pretty much anything.

Can’t this be a low-maintenance thing to save any one person from taking on the burden of moderating the whole thing? Maybe have a different person each month pick a book and lead the discussion?

I might be interested in getting things started, so long as I know what the expectations are from everyone and they turn out to not be too labor-intensive. At the least, I wouldn’t mind helping out.

Even if a different person picks the book and posts the OP each month, you need a single person to keep the list of who’s doing what when and reminding people to do what they’re supposed to do. Again, this isn’t an arduous time commitment from that person – just maintaining the list, posting reminders (“Discussion of X will begin one week from today”), and following up with OPs if they don’t start their threads in a timely manner.

Otherwise, after a month or so, the whole thing dies a natural death. (See, for instance, Little Nemo’s effort to start a film group a few months ago.) If you don’t have someone responsible for keeping things going, they don’t.

I’d be willing to do the initial list set up work, but I can’t commit to doing the ongoing reminders. I have a major project at work next year that may, at times, prevent me from doing reminders and such forth in a timely fashion. I’m more or less free till New Year’s, but I’d feel better about handing off at that point.

If we use twickster’s model, we can probably get a reasonable schedule set up for the next 6+ months. I’m thinking we do a poll, and folks post in the thread that they are 1) interested in joining, and 2) a book that they’d be willing to do the OP for. We can get the schedule based on say the top 6 or so vote getters, do them in order, with the OP belonging to the volunteer. New poll after a few months to set the next 3 months, and so on.

So, I have an expanded list of suggestions below, taking books mentioned (one per author) along with a few others. My other additions are either personal favorites or intend to reads. I limited this to fiction, assuming that was Talon Karrde’s original intent. I’d suggest another few days or so to add/subtract from this list, and then move to a poll.

Modern Classics (1900-Present):
Slaughterhouse-Five (Kurt Vonnegut)
Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
Tender Is the Night (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
Elmer Gantry (Sinclair Lewis)
Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

Older Classics(Prior to 1900):
The Inferno (Dante Alighieri)
The Custom of the Country (Edith Wharton)
Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)
Vanity Fair (William Makepeace Thackeray)
The Sixteen Satires (Juvenal)

Modern Fiction:
The Princess Bride (William Goldman)
The Best of HP Lovecraft (H.P. Lovecraft)
Babel-17 (Samuel R. Delany)
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Agatha Christie)
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (John Berendt)

I would love to participate in this along with the rest of you! But I’m only going to be able to join in on books that are available for free online. I’m seriously short of cash at the moment and can’t buy books. My local library is tiny and doesn’t have much of a collection. It does participate in interlibrary loan, but it can take up to six weeks to get a book, and then you can only keep it for two weeks, no renewals. So if any of the books you choose are ones that I can read online, count me in!

deathawk, god bless you for stepping up on this.

So at this point you’re taking nominations for books, and then we’ll vote on which of those nominated books we want to tackle? Yay for the poll function!

I’ve got a ton used books taking up space in my storage shed. If we end up doing a book you can’t read online let me know and I’ll ship it to you if I have it.

I’m in.

I’ve got over $300 credit at the biggest used book store in Philly – I can probably help out with the ones the** StmM** doesn’t have.