Friday, December 24, 2010

Machine of Death - chat scheduled

Ok, sounds like January 16 works for people.

This means we have 3 weeks to read.

Let me know who can make a Sunday, January 16 chat at 3PM PST. The time can be changed if the majority prefers something sooner or later, so if you'd like to suggest an alternative time leave your suggestion in the comments.

Between now and January 16 we will have some opportunities to share on the blog so stay tuned for that.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Machine of Death

Based on rankings, it looks like the next book we will be reading is Machine of Death - Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, David Malki.

The book is 464 pages, now we need to decide if we want to speed through it in 2 weeks and have our discussion the weekend of January 7, or take an extra week and conclude the book the weekend of January 14.

Our official start date for this book is December 24, that gives a few days to go out and get a copy of the book from the library or the book store, or to stay in and order it from Amazon.

As you all get your copy of the books this week, let me know in the comment section of this post how you feel in regards to the speed at which we read. Because some people are only able to participate in the reading while on vacation, I want to get through this first book quickly. If we feel rushed at the end of this book we'll take more time on the next book.

On Decemeber 24 I will announce the time and date of our discussion based on the feedback already received, and any additional time and date feedback received between now and then.

Looking forward to the new book.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Book #3

Ok, time for quick decision time! You all made fabulous choices. I have compiled a list based on some feedback from you guys. Please rank the following book choices:

a) A Room With a View - E.M. Forster
b) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
c) The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell
d) Machine of Death - Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, David Malki

Remember, this is for our quick Holiday read. The books above and the other books listed that we don't read this time around will go on our list of books to read in the future. The reading will continue this time, not end abruptly.

So 1) list your choices in order, and 2) suggest an end date for this book

I'm fine if we decide to go fast or take our time with this book, but I know some of you are on vacation and not able to read much during the semester so let me know your desired speed.

And, let this all be known by 12/21 at 5pm PST since we will need to get the book and start ASAP.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

anyone interested in a holiday read?

Hello Thinkers,

I apologize for the four month cold shoulder. you deserve better than that and I hope you can forgive me.

So is anyone interested in reviving this book club either for a quick holiday read or something more long term? It has been far too long since I allowed myself the benefit of reading (since August 10, to be exact) and if anyone of you is interested I'd love to:
1) choose a book to read and dialogue about together
2) read a book any of you have recently read and would like to talk about
3) read a book you have not yet read but are planning to read and discuss
4) read a book you have read in the last 20 years that you think is pretty good (from the little memory you have of it) and we can have chats to discuss the book and to talk about life and other random stuff
5) choose a book at random from my book shelf, read it by myself, and blog about it

So, let me know if any of those interest you.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

on beauty and being wrong

Here's the chat from last night to anyone interested.

astempson: So, shall we chat about the book?

Cynthia: we shall. So, I totally predicted the Howard-Vee hook-up. Disgusting, she has been with father and son...

astempson: Yes, I anticipated it as well.
She is just... awful.
Did you notice that Howard mainly seems to do dumb things when he's drunk?
Conversation with his dad, hooking up with Vee, embarrassing himself at the party early on in the book...
And, same for Zora at that other party.

Cynthia: And did you notice that the mistresses he keeps all sing praise about his wife?

astempson: Hmm, true.

Cynthia: Vee was all talking about how Kiki is like an African Queen, and Claire talked about how Kiki was a new kind of female, confident and independent.

astempson: Yeah, but he didn't listen.
It was interesting that Kiki moved out, not Howard.

Cynthia: When it is her house

astempson: Right.

Cynthia: I liked the tomato anecdote or analogy, or whatever it is the students use to describe courses/professors.

astempson: Yesss, that was great.
I loved the taboo of telling a professor about it.
It was an interesting moment... Like, it's okay in Vee's mind to sleep with a prof, but not tell him about silly student inside jokes?

Cynthia: I don't know what to make of her. She has had eyes for Howard, but why? I just don't picture him as this attractive professor, so what's the draw? Also, how is she so utterly different from the rest of her family.
Maybe it has to do with daddy issues....

astempson: Well, she's like Jerome in that sense. He is the lone Christian in an atheist household, and she's the lone... well, unChristian in a house of Christians.
What better way to disrespect her father than to sleep with her father's enemy?

Cynthia: Yeah, they are both black sheeps. I am liking the daddy complex, that would actually explain a lot. She is kind of tense around her dad, and speaks of him jokingly. And Howard is his greatest opponent in a sense.

astempson: Yep.
Meanwhile, Zora swoops in to fight her dad's battles.

Cynthia: Zora is a daddy's girl

astempson: Up until the very end.
Everyone is so flawed. It's interesting.
This book challenged me because I wasn't in love with any of the characters, but I was captivated by them.
What about the death of Mrs. Kipps?
Oooh, and the painting drama?

Cynthia: I don't agree with the characters, but I really liked them because they were captivating.

astempson: Yes.

Cynthia: yeah, Mrs. Kipps death surprised me

astempson: I thought the funeral was interesting. It was nice when Howard was able to stop judging people and just be in the moment, actually thinking about the big picture.

Cynthia: and then sleep with Monty's daughter

astempson: Oh my goodness.
But, hold on, he goes and visits his dad.

Cynthia: I was starting to think, after he visited his dad, that maybe he would reconcile things. but no

astempson: Yeah.
I was feeling really hopeful.
And then he messed everything up.

Cynthia: he kind of can't do anything right

astempson: Once he was a repeat offender so to speak, I was far less willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
(P.S. - Unfortunately, my family is having a late dinner in approximately ten minutes, but we can continue the conversation past this evening!)

Cynthia: ok.

astempson: I really thought that things were starting to get better between him and Kiki. It was such a let-down when he messed up again.

Cynthia: agreed. I guess in a way, she had to move out because they were both not making a move. She had every right to kick him out, but it's good for her to start over

astempson: Yeah. I loved how everyone vicariously gave the dog extra love.
Trying to atone.
What about Levi?
I thought it was a very honest look at people trying to be aware of world events, when Levi was trying to read that book on Haiti, but wasn't confident enough to speak on the subject for a while.

Cynthia: When they discovered the picture, and he got in it with his mom about their own cleaning lady getting paid $4, I wanted to applaud him.

astempson: Yeah, that was big for him.
Even though he was involved in the theft... But, at least it was principled.
I must say, it surprised me that he wasn't using drugs.

Cynthia: I think he still just spits out what people tell him with no real knowledge, but I think he is much more aware than the family gives him credit

astempson: Yes. He pulled out that phrase... caucasian art dealer.

Cynthia: We haven't talked about affirmative action, what do you think of Monty being so opposed to it?

astempson: I think that Kiki did a great job of defending affirmative action. That whole exchange between the two of them was very interesting.
When she talks about her philosophy, that she told her kids to work five times as hard as the white kids...
I mean, she demonstrates that it's not about entitlement.

Cynthia: I think she is like Levi in that people really underestimate her. Zora, Jerome and Howard are intellectuals, and Levi and Kiki are out of that loop but mostly bc they don't flaunt it

astempson: Yes, that is true. I think of Levi as being like Kiki.
I'm rereading the passage now...

Cynthia: they have opinions and can back them up and fight you over them, they don't step down in battle and that surpises ppl

astempson: It's interesting at the end, what Monty has to say about liberals not believing that conservatives are motivated by moral convictions as profoundly held as those that liberals hold.
Yes, they are much stronger than people expect.

Friday, August 6, 2010

reschedule, on beauty and being wrong

Since it looks like only 2 people can make the Saturday chat, we've decided to reschedule it for Monday evening at 7pm. Hopefully this will work for those out of town or who have other scheduling conflicts on Saturday.

It's our last chat for this book, so we hope some of you can join us for the close.

Please leave a comment on this post if you will be able to make the Monday chat.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

on beauty and being wrong

We are almost finished with our second book, how time flies.

Our final chat for On Beauty is scheduled for this weekend, let us know if you will be able to make it for some, all, or none of it.

Thanks to those who have already replied regarding the last chat.

If you haven't already, read below:

In preparation for the final chat, I want to know who is able to make the chat as it is currently scheduled:
on beauty and being wrong
chat: Saturday August 7 at 11am

Please comment with a yes or no.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

On Beauty, The Anatomy Lesson

In preparation for the final chat, I want to know who is able to make the chat as it is currently scheduled:
on beauty and being wrong
chat: Saturday August 7 at 11am

Please comment with a yes or no.

Below is the transcript for our last chat.

Friday, July 23, 2010

On Beauty, The Anatomy Lesson chat

Well it looks like the anatomy lesson chat will be rescheduled to Sunday (7/25) afternoon, 3pm PST.

Unfortunately, there was no time that fit everyones convenience, but hopefully those who can't make this chat will be available for the third (and final) chat for On Beauty:
on beauty and being wrong
chat: Saturday August 7 at 11am

I hope those who were struggling with kipps and belsey have found the the anatomy lesson more enjoyable.

I am really enjoying the read and I look forward to discussing it. If you can't make the chat, feel free to post your thoughts here. To get it started, let me share with you what comes to mind when Howard opens his mouth: "oh no he didn't!" Particularly, after he speaks of the woman he married on page 207.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

On Beauty Chat 2, date change?

Just a reminder that we have our second chat for On Beauty coming up.

The previously set date and time are Monday July 26 at 6:30pm, however in the last discussion people expressed some conflict with that. So, here is your opportunity to suggest a better time/date. Please keep in mind that we still have our final chat August 7, so it would be better to keep the next chat sometime in the first half of next week (Sunday-Wednesday).

All suggested times should be submitted by Friday (7/23) morning, and Friday afternoon we will announce the final date/time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

On Beauty Part One Chat Transcript

Thanks to everyone who participated in our first of three chats on On Beauty! If you were unable to make the chat, we invite you to read the transcript, after the jump.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

On Beauty Part One Chat Tomorrow

We refuse to be each other.
H.J. Blackham
Hello, friends! Exciting news: tomorrow is our first chat on Zadie Smith's On Beauty! According to our schedule, our first chat will discuss the first part of the book, "Kipps and Belsey," which is the first 125 pages of my paperback edition.

So, if you're going to participate in tomorrow's chat, RSVP in the comments and send me your Gmail address (if we aren't already Gchat contacts). Our Gchat will commence at 6:30 pm Pacific time tomorrow, Wednesday, July 14th. We look forward to tomorrow's discussion!

Also, it's not too late to add preliminary comments on part one to CC's post from last week. This is also a great place for people to participate if they cannot make one of our chats. And, click here for our full reading schedule for On Beauty.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

kipps and belsey, pt 1

Let's get some first impressions of On Beauty.

What are people's initials thoughts about the book? How do you like the story, the characters, and the writing?

Monday, July 5, 2010

On Beauty reading schedule

Hopefully you have all been able to pick up the new book, On Beauty, and are ready to get started.

The book is divided into three sections, so instead of having two discussions we have decided to have three, one after each section is complete. Below is the chat schedule.

kipps and belsey
chat: Wednesday July 14 at 6:30pm

the anatomy lesson
chat: Monday July 26 at 6:30pm

on beauty and being wrong
chat: Saturday August 7 at 11am

So have the first section (~125 pages) completed by July 14, the second section (~150 pages), and the final section (~170 pages). The sections aren't equal in length and that is why the schedule is kind of all over the place.

Please try and contribute to the discussion on the blog and/or in the chats. We don't expect everyone to be able to make them all (but cheers if you can), but we'd love to hear your thoughts sometime.
The first post for discussion will go up this week, on Wednesday July 7 after 6pm.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Book 2- On Beauty

Welcome friends!

Sorry if you couldn't make the first chat, if you'd like we can publish a google doc with some of the chat that way those who didn't make it can see what we discussed.

Now for book number 2...

We have decided to go with a bigger book and a contemporary piece. The book is On Beauty by Zadie Smith. We will begin reading on July 4th (this way you have time to get the book), and will take 5 weeks to read it (~90 pages a week) ending on August 7.

Because the book is so large, we have decided to have 2 chats. One chat will be Wednesday July 21 at 6:30pm and it will cover the first part of the book. The second/final chat will be Saturday August 7 at 11am.

Later this week Amanda Esq or I will post a schedule that tells which chapters should be read each week. Then, each week we will have a post go up where people can comment on the stuff from the previous week. This way there is a regular discussion and if anyone is unable to make a chat, they can always make the blog discussions :)

The Prince chat

Chat is today at 6:30pm

Not everyone responded, but 3/4 who did said Tuesday at 6:30pm was ideal.

AND, our new blog will be here

From here on out, that will be out homebase :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

book 2

Looking forward to the next book, we'd like to hear some of your suggestions. Some suggestions are:
1984 by George Orwell
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Sense and Sensibilty by Jane Austen
Treasure Island by Stevenson

We realize none of these are recent texts, but for the record we are not restricting ourselves to texts that were written in another century. Feel free to give suggestions, maybe there is a book you have been meaning to read but haven't gotten around to it yet, or a book you read but would really like to discuss it in a group. Since many of us work or go to school or spend a ridiculous amount of time watching TV (me!), let's plan on 80-100 pages a week.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Prince chat

So this week has been kind of crazy. Illness has taken me down. Sorry it is Friday and we haven't announced a time.
I propose we schedule a chat for next week because: 1) it sounds like many people have not finished the book (myself included) 2) because it is kind of last minute to expect people to be available this weekend at an as of yet unannounced time.

Here are some possible times, please rank them in order of what you prefer. Please note the hour and a half time is only a suggestion, it may be less or it may be more, but feel free to duck out at anytime if you need to.

a) Saturday July 3: 7:30am-9am
b) Saturday July 3: 11am-1:30pm
c) Saturday July 3: 3-4:30pm

I know that Chris Carr (wow, three CC's in one place) said that he can't do Saturday, but since next Sunday is July 4th, I am going to recommend a couple times during the week.
d) Tuesday June 29: 6:30-8pm
e) Friday July 2: 7-8:30pm

Please check back here regularly as we figure stuff out.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Prince and other general info

Welcome (future official name) book club members. This is for all those reading the current text (The Prince by Machiavelli) or anyone who just wants to listen to people talk about said text.

I am Cindy, but you can call me cc.

Amanda Esq and I have discussed different possibilities of how to make this long distance book discussion work and for this first round we have decided to have two discussion forums, 1) this blog post and 2) a (skype) group chat to follow.

Now, let me explain to you what those forums will look like

1) To start off, please add a comment to this post. In the post include:
a) your name and brief introduction
b) any comments about The Prince or anything you would especially like us to discuss in the future chat
c) the best time this Saturday, Sunday, or Monday for you to partake in said chat (in Pacific time, please). Keep in mind that Amanda and I will try to choose a time that works best for the majority.
d) suggestions for a group name

Feel free to comment to others and use this to get to know each other.

In the future we will have a blog specific to the book club, but until we have a name Amanda Esq and I didn't want to get one started.

2) As for the chat, this allows us an opportunity to discuss in greater detail. Anything mentioned on this blog (read b) above) will be discussed, and then some.

This first time around we will be trying different things to see what works and what doesn't. Please hang in there with us as we try and make this the best it can be.

Ok, now get to posting!