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  1. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Forum Book Club

    Discussion in 'Discussion of Published Works' started by EFMingo, Apr 19, 2020.

    Hey everyone,

    I remember some years ago there was a a forum book club that had a number of members involved in deep discussions on the quality of these more famous authors and their stories. I would like to reopen this book club, and expand the purpose to involve a deeper craft analysis for the readers to understand what makes the writing effective, or where it leaves more to be desired.

    I've been doing a lot of craft analysis essays on different short works, poems, and novels for some time now, and I've found it's been able to help me identify what exactly makes these works so effective and popular, thereby allowing me to attempt style changes without falling into the repetition of my usual work. I think my own analysis and digging into works of literature, genre or general, could be aided and expanded by having multiple voices critically looking at the works and debating them with each other and me. It doesn't have to be stuffy either, as I do want to have fun with it and not make it a chore. Simple dialogue about the work would always be welcome as well. But I challenge members here to dig deeper in their reading, and find what's most effective in the story telling in order to improve their own writing skill.

    What I'm looking for is a core group of members that could do maybe a novel, or collection of short works by a single author, a month. Three weeks to read it at most, and a week of discussion at least. There are a number of ways to choose which books as well. I would like input on this here. We could do suggestions throughout the week, and conduct a poll. Or we could take turns in selection. Personally, I like the poll method because new members can join in the discussion easier that way, or others can take months off without feeling obligated.

    All in all, I just want a friendly discussion involving literature as a group, and to improve our writing through engaging critical analysis. Please let me know here, or PM me if you are interested.

    And for a couple of initial suggestions for a starting novel: Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway, No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy, or The Collected Stories by Amy Hempel.
     
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  2. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Contributor Contributor

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    Sounds like a great idea. I'm up for it!
     
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  3. Dogberry's Watch

    Dogberry's Watch Contributor Contributor

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    I like the poll method idea. I think this would be a great thing to do.
     
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  4. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Okay, I will go with the poll. Does anyone have any other suggestions? I'm going to add Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House to that list as well. Any other suggestions are very welcome. I would also like to add that many literary classics are available for free on things such as project gutenberg, so those would be cheaper if that's an issue.

    As far as format, I was thinking of naming the books on new threads per month, much like the story contest threads, and formulating a series of prompt questions to get the discussions rolling. I would post the prompt questions two weeks after the initial book thread starting post, where I will try to link free versions of the books if they are available.

    I'm planning on starting on May 1st. I want to post the poll by the beginning of next week so we can decide on a book before the beginning of the month. All subsequent polls would be a week before the new month began. Sound doable?
     
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  5. Dogberry's Watch

    Dogberry's Watch Contributor Contributor

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    I'm of the mind that I'll read whatever the group says, even if I've already read it. As for the rest of it, the books on new threads sounds fine format wise. We'd just do the discussion part there, and it's all in one place. I think May 1st sounds good, too.
     
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  6. love to read

    love to read Senior Member

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    Hi, that really is a good idea, count me in.
     
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  7. Zombie Among Us

    Zombie Among Us Active Member

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    I love this idea! Would inconsistent participation, such as reading some but not all of the books, be allowed?
     
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  8. Dogberry's Watch

    Dogberry's Watch Contributor Contributor

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    I wouldn't have a problem with that. There might be books some of us just aren't all that keen on reading.
     
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  9. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yes of course. I want this to be fun and constructive, but not obligatory.
     
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  10. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Contributor Contributor

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    I would like to do some Cormac McCarthy - maybe Blood Meridian? No Country is a nice choice tho. Would be fun to compare it to the movie.

    Also feel a bit bad I've never read Moby Dick.
     
  11. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Moby Dick is a slog to read, but I can put it up on the poll. Nice selection on Blood Meridian though.
     
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  12. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Even the old kids adaptation was a slog, so why the original version? o_O
     
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  13. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Alright then. If there are any last minute suggestions for books, please put them up now. Otherwise, I'm just going to go with what we have here so far listed, and maybe a couple extra in different genres. The poll will be up later tonight for the May book and the first month. Thanks for the interest on short notice!
     
  14. Cdn Writer

    Cdn Writer Contributor Contributor

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    Currently Reading::
    TRYING (!!!) to read Eric Flint's "Ring of Fire" series.......it's soooo many books!!!!!
    Larry Correia's Monster Hunter series is a fun read and I feel provides a more realistic look at traditional monsters than some authors have been doing.

    For a writer from the mid 80s, Leo Frankowski's "The Cross Time Engineer" series was pretty good. There are 5 books in the series: #1, "The Cross Time Engineer"; #2 " The High Tech Knight"; #3 "The Radient Warrior"; #4 " The Flying Warlord"; and #5 "Lord Conrad's Lady." There are other books that are set in the same universe but they were written by someone else, using Leo's name. They were horrible - "Lord Conrad's Quest for Rubber"?! I didn't read any others in the series although I am searching Amazon for them now. There are apparently a total of 8 books in this universe.

    My only feeling with things like Moby Dick, Hemingway, and other "traditional" literature is that some of us were forced to read this crap in high school. It may be the greatest book(s) ever written but when some teacher says that I **HAVE** to read it, it destroys the pleasure for me. I simply wouldn't read those books again because of the bad memories.
     
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  15. dbesim

    dbesim Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I’m partially in.

    I think I may place a vote on the book now and again. I just can’t make any promises on committing to reading it at the target time.
     
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  16. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Contributor Contributor

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    Suggestions:

    DFW - The girl with the curious hair (short stories)

    Joseph O Neil - Netherland (novel)
     
  17. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm hesitant to do a full on series since that obligates multiple months to one genre and author. I will. however, be in favor of testing the waters on a first book of a series, and letting readers decide on their own if they want to continue it. I'll put the first book of each of those series in the poll.
     
  18. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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  19. Rzero

    Rzero Reluctant voice of his generation Contributor

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    I'm looking forward to this. It's exactly what I've always wanted out of the Book Discussion section of the forum.
     
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  20. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Was the best part of it years ago. I got sick of waiting for it to reappear, so I decided to take the initiative. Glad to have you on board!
     
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  21. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Shenanigan Master Contributor

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    I wanna get in on this! No real suggestions for the poll, but I think that's a fair enough selection tool. I also haven't been reading like I want to lately but maybe this'll give me a bit of a push. I think I'd rather try to stick to one thread though? The way I am I might forget to go look for the new thread for the book club, but seeing the notification pop up will help remind me 'oh yeah that's a thing I was doing'.
     
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  22. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I can always tag you on the new thread so you have it pop up, if you would like.
     
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  23. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Shenanigan Master Contributor

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    I did not think of that, that would be helpful, thank you!
     
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  24. ruskaya

    ruskaya Senior Member

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    Could you do the same for me? I would like to participate in the discussion, but I am afraid I might forget where the thread is or the timing of the discussion. thanks!
     
  25. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'll include you on the tagged listing for the discussion board post. Thanks for wanting to participate! Just as a reminder, the initial discussion post will be posted on May 20th. Heinlein's novel isn't terribly long, only 438 pages in my small edition, and I've place a link to a free online copy in the May Book Club Poll thread for those unwilling to purchase it. The online edition may be slightly longer though, as I believe that is the edition posted much later by his wife, which includes a bit more of his political themes.

    Happy reading, and remember to look critically at it as a writer as well! Book discussion is excellent and all, but focus on the craft reveals a lot more on the why for the novel's effectiveness. Look forward to hearing from you all in a couple weeks!
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2020
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