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Real Life Discussion Groups - Tell Us About Yours

Old 04-29-01, 10:47 AM
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I belong to a group in real life and we meet every week, reading about 100 pages (current selection: King Jesus, by Robert Graves) per week. There are currently 8-9 active regular members (50-50 m/f). We gather at a local restaurant, and have dinner and socialize (the group has gotten fairly close after 7 or so years) and then open discussion on the book, led by the person who selected it. I've noticed the pendulum in operation though - we just started the journey back from socializing being the main topic of discussion back to the book. As such, we've also changed nomination procedures, going from a nominate anything you like approach, to a scheme where each member picks two books but the club votes on which it'd like to read, and back again to a free for all - (two books per member though). I think I prefer the free for all approach as it provides a bit more individuality. That said, our list looks like the following: (keeping in mind that, having just finished a rather somber/depressing list, a lot of people wanted something a bit lighter or off the beaten track)

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkein
Humboldt's Gift, by Saul Bellow
Time Will Darken It, by William Maxwell
Redwall, by Brian Jacques
Naked, by David Sedaris
The People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn
Dune, by Frank Herbert
Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
The Horse's Mouth, by Joyce Cary
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, by Gregory Maguire
The Sea Wall, by Marguerite Duras
Blindness, by Josť Saramago
The Infinite Plan, by Isabel Allende
Cakes and Ale, by W. Somerset Maugham
Seize the Day, by Saul Bellow
Wind from the Carolinas, by Robert Wilder
The King in Love, by Theo Aronson
A Book of Common Prayer, by Joan Didion
Idoru, by William Gibson

I think I've gabbed long enough - am looking forward to hearing about how other people discuss books...
Old 04-29-01, 11:34 AM
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It would be nice to have something organized like that FOR THIS FORUM's book club. I presume that our book club has just the members discussing the book, or can any lurker jump into the discussion with a pro-con point of view, for example.... Such basic groundrules haven't been laid.
Old 04-29-01, 06:20 PM
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Well, I don't mean/want to put down Alyoshka's efforts (who is doing a great job organizing dvdtalk's discussion group). There are many more considerations for an online group to consider: who gets to select books, since there are SO many people who can participate in it. Then too you'd have to have a core of individuals who read and discuss every book - these people in my opinion should be the ones to select the new lists. How to determine them? Take the top 5 or 10 (or so) selections from the vote, and use them to form a starting list. People who read and post for most of the books could then be considered your core. To add members after that, this core could invite people (by vote or not) into the group. Just some random off the cuff thoughts...

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