SMDB Bookclub: January Selection, Feb Nominations

I am Legend sounds good… just keep the vampire theme in my reading going on and on and on and on…

clapping, bouncing in seat

Oooh! I loved * The Handmaid’s Tale *. I can’t wait for the discussion!

A vote for “Earth Abides” by George R. Stewart

I will second this nomination. I read this book when it first came out, because I like Dave Egger’s style. I’ve never found anyone who’s even heard of this book, let alone read it, so I’d be extremely interested in discussing it.

Godspeed, Arnold Winkelried!

I’ve read Heartbreaking Work, which I thought was overrated, and Carter Beats the Devil, which I liked – the author of that, by the way, is married to the woman who wrote Lovely Bones, which I want to read but haven’t yet. Any of these seem like choices that might lead to lively discussion.

American Gods sounds the most interesting of the other nominess so far. (Thanks for not calling me a lazy slut, by the way, Politzania – I had kind of a “duh” moment for not going to amazon myself.) I think I’ll read this regardless, but will wait a while to see if we do it here before running out and getting it. Since I’m also participating in the “50 books this year” thread, I don’t want to get confused…
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=154542
…am I really the only one participating in both of these? (hmm, better go over and link this thread there…)

I picked up my copy of The Handmaid’s Tale today - I can’t wait to start reading it this evening. Great idea, Dangerosa.

I went and bought what I believe is the fifth copy of The Handmaid’s Tale that I have owned the other day. I tend to buy books and then give them away. Or just not dig through the boxes in the basement when I want to re-read them. Someday I’ll get enough bookshelves up and discover I have three copies of The Handmaid’s Tale, four of To Kill A Mockingbird. I think I’m the only human not related to Susan Faludi who has bought (and read) three copies of Backlash.

Along with it I bought the book for my non-virtual bookclub – Art Speiglman’s Maus. Puts Handmaid in a different context than I’ve had before. (And made the clerk look at me very strangely).

Thanks to everyone participating for their enthusiasm.

I’m looking forward to re-reading “The Handmaid’s Tale” and would like to add to the suggestion of “The Lovely Bones” for February.

The “They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the American Civil War” book, while I have not read it, is a first of it’s kind work about women in the military during the 19th century and from what I’ve heard has gotten good reviews. :slight_smile:

twickster47, you ignorant slut! :smiley: (SNL reference and JUST meant as a joke!)

I’m in on both of these too… and HT won’t even count as a new book… boohoo…

[mental images of dopers]Politzania has always reminded me of Dan Aykroyd[/miod]. No offense taken, my dear.

I’m planning to count Handmaid’s Tale again, since I last read it in 1986, and I think there’s a statute of limitations. Of course, at this point I’ve only completed one book – I do, however, have three others going at one. Guess I better post over at LiveJournal.

(Hmmm, do bathroom books count if you read the whole thing, albeit a page or two at a time? If so, I actually have four books going right now…)

Good selection, and I’ll look forward to whatever we choose next. Here in Knoxville, I (co)-moderate a couple of discussion groups - a film discussion group and a science fiction novel discussion group, and have about 4 years experience doing this, all told. So, I do have a couple of questions, points that I think must be considered:

  1. Given the interests of time and in trying to get as large a group as possible, should we limit the number of pages per novel to, say, 500-600?

  2. I would like that to nominate a book and to second it, you must have actually read the entire book. Trust me - doing books nobody has read is an easy way to get burned.

  3. Too eclectic a selection will result in a group that is ill-formed, with too few people that post in every thread - I mean, lets face it: most of the people who get excited about Handmaids Tale will likely suffer through a collection of Japanese haikus about dreams, and might not even make it through The Federalist Papers. What I’m trying to say is that there should be an underlying theme or thread to the club, even if it is as broad as “English fiction of the last 100 years” or “Nobel Winners” or “Anything but Romances and Books that are Numbered.”

  4. Cost and Availability. No books that have not made it to paperback. No books that are so obscure that they will require shipping and Google. Preferably books that can easily be found in libraries and used bookstores - actually, I would prefer no new releases (either paperback or hardback) at all, giving the books time to percolate down to the used book stores. Otoh, the book must still be available in a current edition - Unsafe at Any Speed, while an influential book, should not be a selection because it is out of print, but The Jungle would be OK as it is in print.

  5. Moderators. They need to remember that they will lead the discussion, not just participate. A few hours of research on the net, reading other peoples thoughts on the book, will definitely increase the number of topics you can use to draw people into the subject. I’m glad that this groups set-up has the nominator being the moderator for that book, for nothing sucks more than having a moderator who hated the book and has nothing to say about it. In the groups that I lead, I or my wife have to do all moderating, regardless of whether we thought there was anything worth speaking about and I gotta tell you, it’s torture.

Anyway, I think if we keep the above things in mind when we nominate books we’ll have a nice group here with plenty of participants. The Handmaids Tale is, I consider, one of the more perfect books you can use for a book club - it’s easily available in used and new editions, short but thematically deep (easy for mods!), popular (good turnout book), and can fit in a broad list of categories (sf, womens lit, popular fiction, etc).

The Handmaid’s Tale has one other added advantage as a selection. At least in some editions, it comes complete with a set of suggested questions for book club discussions appended to the end.

Shhhhh! :wink:

Good points by JohnT. I have a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale lying around somewhere, and it has been several years since I read it, so I guess I’ll do a re-read after I finish LOTR.

My reluctance to guarantee my participation for future books is due to some of the considerations JohnT mentioned.

The version I got from the library has this. I can post the questions, if people like.

I have to say, this is one of the best written, most depressing books I’ve ever read. I shall hold off on further discussion until we are ready…

Just a friendly bump…

So, what book has been officially picked for February?

since I don’t see a decision yet, I’ll throw in another nomination for 'The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World". A friend just raved about it to me, and I’m intrigued.

Dangerosa, did you decide?

I agree with American Gods I definately want to reread it. I enjoyed it.

I’d add others but I can never think of anything I’ve read before.

Ooo wait Outlander was a pretty decent book I felt. Though at points it seemed to me like a mis-genred romance novel.