I've decided to stop the book club. The response has gotten slow to nonexistent. Thanks to everyone who participated.
This thread started originally as a gripe about slowing down because I've been out of academia for so long, and wanting to do better. It has now evolved into a book club, where a book is chosen, and then discussed in Google+ Hangouts.
If you want to join us, don't hesitate to ask. If we're in the middle of a reading cycle, we will still acknowledge you joining us, and if you think you can finish the book before the end of the cycle, you are free to read and join the discussion, or even just listen in if you really want to. Just be aware that the discussion will remain focused on the book.
[size=20]The New Book Club Details are Below. Please read![/size]
I am eliminating the Mumble server, as it's sparsely used, and I'm not interested in maintaining that cost anymore, so we're switching to Google+ Hangouts for our discussions. You don't need a webcam, as you can still talk in a hangout without one, but you are free to share your (appropriate) webcam feed with us. If you wish to be added to the Google+ GWJ Book Club circle, PM me with your Google+ associated email address or profile link.
At the moment, the book club has a few modes of discussion and suggestion.
First, book suggestions will be conducted approximately a week before our official discussion. I will post a submission form that will allow folks to submit their book choices. After the suggestions are collected, a vote will be posted, so folks can vote for their choice. This process will be anonymous, so I'm relying on you to honor these two rules:
1. Only submit one book.
2. Don't vote for your suggestion.
The only exception to rule #2 will come if the same book is submitted more than once. At that point, when the voting survey for the books goes live, I will notify you that this is the case.
Second, new discussion modes. We will have two discussion modes now. One will be the final discussion, with questions and everything, like our old format. That will happen at the end of the reading cycle (typically 4-5 weeks), when we have the most folks available. As noted above, this will take place in a Google+ Hangout.
The second will be a discussion group on Goodreads where people can post their thoughts on chapter blocks that will be selected after the book is chosen, and will occur in the run-up to the main discussion. Basically, each week you will be expected to complete the reading of specific blocks of chapters, and then discuss those chapters on Goodreads (or a better forum, if this seems insufficient) in text form. I'm hoping this eliminates the problems with folks who will not be able to attend the big discussions, as well as give some incentive to those of us slackers by setting smaller goals, and accommodate those fast readers who are enthusiastic about discussing the story.
We will also have a new way of determining when folks are most easily available to discuss for our live discussions, by placing a range of dates and times into a survey. The date and time on which there is the most convergence of availability will be our final discussion. As we are a diverse group across time zones, this naturally means that we will likely exclude some folks. I'm hoping the online text discussions will also help to accommodate these folks.
Suggestions are welcome, so please, reply to this thread or PM me with your ideas.
Original post follows.
Just for fun, I was browsing through some of the old threads where I posted in the past. Not recent past, either, more like three years ago. As I read, I noticed a few things, chief among them:
1. I was a dick. Especially in P&C.
2. I sounded a lot smarter than I do now. At least, I think so.
This is not a new realization for me. More recently I've become aware that I don't think as quickly as I used to in regards to certain things. Intellectual realizations that would've come to me at the snap of a finger in the past tend to come a few minutes, or even longer, later. The connecting of the dots is starting to take longer. I don't think it's the result of any kind of illness, so much as it is a change of habits and routine.
So, what has changed? My evenings are dull. Even though I've moved, that much hasn't changed at all. I come home, browse the web for a while, then figure out what games I'm going to play, then go to sleep, usually too late. I spend very little time on real intellectual pursuits anymore. Despite having plenty of things to read on the Kindle, I hardly ever sit down with it and just read anymore. I have shelves full of unread books, as well. Some part of me remembers enjoying reading, because I still can't resist a good book store, but more recently I feel like a collector rather than a consumer.
On top of all of this, if I actually want to start dating, I'm going to need something to talk about. Ask me about my life and you'll get short, one-word answers. This does me no good.
I don't know what I'm going for in this thread. Maybe a book club, just as an early concept? I know we have these forums to discuss things, but maybe it would be better to talk about things as well. I remember that once I got used to it, I used to thrive on the environment of a discussion in a college classroom. Writing is rewarding in its own ways, but it's not the same skill set as an oral discussion (no dirty jokes, please), and I have a virtually unused mumble server just sitting there...
Perhaps I'm being a bit specific in identifying the gap by putting it solely on books, but that's just because it's the immediate example of something I used to do with frequency and fervor, and is now something that mainly decorates my living space.
I could probably find something like this where I live, but GWJ has been the source of many new friendships for me. I wouldn't mind finding a few more.
Here's a list of the books we read in 2011-2012:
December - The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God
January - Tigana
February - The Hunger Games Trilogy
March - How We Decide