babble book club reading schedule

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Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture
babble book club reading schedule

The babble book club's thread for the upcoming reading schedule is maintained on this thread. We will still use the babble book club: upcoming selection ideas thread to generate ideas, so this baby doesn't get too crowded.

The schedule rotates between fiction and non-fiction selections, and reading time lasts around a month. So, if you miss one, you can easily pick up for the next!

As mentioned, I'll try to figure out how to schedule things on our facebook group as well, which will require knowledge of the internet and social media, so that's a maybe.

Any and all updates will be added here for everyone to refer to for their reading!

Issues Pages: 
Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Okay, so we have chosen to read The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King for our next selection, which will have a final discussion date of Friday January 17 2pm EST (a little longer to compensate for the holiday).

So let's start lining up other selections as they appear.

Non-fiction: The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King final discussion date: Friday January 17 2pm EST

Fiction:

Non-fiction: Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

Caissa

I'd like to suggest Orange Wave for late 2014.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Schedule update:

The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King: January 17

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht: February 21

Salt: A World History: March 21

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Schedule update:

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht: February 21

Salt: A World History: March 21

Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan: April 18

[Non-fiction selection need]

Book of Negroes [proposed]

 

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Hey friends, rabble's amazing blogs and books intern would like to moderate a discussion WITH YOU on The Orenda (as per SF's excellent advice).

Christina wrote this fantastic review of The Orenda, and about it winning Canada Reads, and would like to use that as a jumping off point for discussion.

Since Christina's intern time at rabble is coming to an end, we would like to propose inserting this one into discussion before Half Blood Blues. Christina as propsoed Tuesday April 22 in the evening (exact time TBA).

How would everyone feel about this decision? Excited? I thought so.

[please let us know if there are major qualms before we officially decide this)

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

You're not proposing making it a reading selection, I hope? 

There are 210 holds ahead of me at the library. 

It would be interesting to hear what she has to say about it, but I do not intend to buy it.

 

Caissa

Bump

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Hmm, yes that was the proposal, and I know that will be an issue for people (including myself).

There is a time crunch though because her internship is ending, and holds on the book will probably be forever.

My thoughts are those that can't read the book, that sucks, but there is enough fodder there to discuss other things as well. Especially since we have just read The Inconvenient Indian.

Quite a few people are on board with this as well.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I'm on board! It will be worth it because Christina is the best. Even if it means I have to read a book.

Caissa

I suppose I can purchase another book. A rare oocassion for me. ;^)

Caissa

Do we have another book in the hopper? Do we have people committed to partticipating in BBC discussions? Things have been dragging a bit lately and I am as guilty as any other BBC member.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Hi Caissa and all!

Yes these are great points, and I find I am really dragging as of late, so I need to step away from my participation in bcc for the next few months, so I am better able to focus on other projects [and not keep half-assing my bcc participation].

I'm happy to turn the moderating reigns over to anyone else who would like or for the bcc to be lead in another direction by someone/everyone else! And, when possible for me, participate in the conversations, but I will not be able to coordinate and moderate the conversations for the next few months.

I think the fact that this message was sooooo delayed also speaks to that ;)

Would anyone like to propose what is to happen next?

[actually. I had a fun idea about doing a "most controversial books" themed bbc and starting it off with Catcher in the Rye.]

Caissa

I like the idea that whoever proposes the book becomes the moderator for that book. 

Caissa

Bump. Thoughts BBCers?

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

I havn't been active with the bbc since the discussion of Carmer Aguirre's book last fall, but I'd be interested in getting re-involved depending on the book selections.

I think we need an ongoing moderator for the bbc in order to guide us through the selection of each book in a reasonable time frame. There've been instances where there's been no clear preference among bbc members for any one book over others, and we need a moderator who can deal with this so the selection process doesn't stall.

I'd also propose that we drop the current reading schedule. It's not clear if there's enough interest in the books on the schedule to bothere bbcr making them the next selections. I think it's best to pick books that we know the coref  bbc members want to read. That's not to say that the books on the reading schedule couldn't be future selections, just that it's best to ensure people will actually read them before we go ahead and "select" them.

I support having variety in the bbc selections, but this is less important to me than selecting books that bbcers want to read. I'm also less concerned with strictly alternating fiction/non-fiction books for the same reason, though it's ggod to have some variety.

I'd be willing to take on the role of bbc moderator if no one else wants to take on the position. I'd want to drop the current schedule, thoungh I'm open to any of the books on it. And to be a fair moderator I'd give more weight to others thoughts on book selecton than my own.

sherpa-finn

I come from the civil society tradition that whomsoever first volunteers for an unpaid post gets it. So am simply inclined to say "Congrats, Left Turn!"   Thanks for volunteering, - and if 30 minutes of silence means consent, can we declare nominations closed and move on?  (Does sound a bit like an LPC candidate selection process, I grant you.)

 

So, can we move on to the selection of the next book.... I am fine with either "The Book of Negros"  or "Short History of Progress", though I do lean more towards the former at this particular moment.

Oh, - and I am also fine with Caissa's suggestion that the designated moderator need not do all the actual moderating / facilitating. If Left Turn can move us toward agreement on a book and timeline, its seems quite reasonable to me that someone else could step in to lead on energizing / mobilizing / guiding the actual discussion.  

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Ok, so I guess that I'll be the new bbc moderator for the time being. I'm fine with others stepping up to facilitate the actual book discussions, but I'm happy to do this as well.

Here's the list of some of the current and past suggestions for the bbc. I'll give it a day to see if there are any other suggestions, then I'll put up a poll in the fb group. Votes can also be made on this thread as soon as anyone wants to put a vote in.

Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

hHalf-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright

Svend Robingson: A Life in Politics by Graeme Truelove

Caissa

I have read the first two books, the latter recently. Unionist has been plugging A Short History of Progress for awhile. It has the benefit of being short and therefore I would vote for it. I also accept Left Turn's gracious offer to be moderator.

 

Finally, I would like to ask for a vote of thanks to Kaitlin McNabb, founder, organizer and first moderator. We all owe her a vote of thanks for stimulating discussions with authors, a steady stream of interesting books. Without Kaitlin, we would not be having this discussion. Well done, Kaitlin. I hope you will be able to continue to join us in reading books.

Unionist

Caissa wrote:

Finally, I would like to ask for a vote of thanks to Kaitlin McNabb, founder, organizer and first moderator. We all owe her a vote of thanks for stimulating discussions with authors, a steady stream of interesting books. Without Kaitlin, we would not be having this discussion. Well done, Kaitlin. I hope you will be able to continue to join us in reading books.

I second the motion and add my own thanks and congratulations! I was kind of a latecomer to the club (and still a half-baked participant), but Kaitlin's contribution has been brilliant. Stay with us!

 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Yes, thanks and congratulations to Kaitlin for all your time and effort moderating the bbc. Hope you stay with us.

Caissa

Are other people interested participating in BBC or are we down to a small rump? Could I have a show of hands?

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

Maybe the "small rump" merely represents those who are contributing at the designated discussion time, not necessarily those reading. I have not been able to log in at the designated times more than (I think) twice, and even then I really had no interesting or incisive comment to make.  The value of a selection is that it leads to reading books one would not have otherwise read, or possibly even heard of.  The Beauty and the Pity was a good example; I'm not big on fiction in the first place, and had never heard of the author, nor would I have selected a Vancouver-based story particularly (I have read a lot of CanLit based on other places I have spent time, like NL,the North,etc).  

 

I believe that was one time I did log in at the discussion time, but had nothing really to say. The father-son relationship was well-developed in its complexity but I thought the denouement lacked narrative coherence. Nevertheless, I'm glad I read it and noted the author, Kevin Chong, who has just published a book in honour of the 50th anniversary of the great Northern Dancer's win at the Kentucky Derby. I'm anxious to read that one, and have put my name on the list at the library. I wouldn't have known to keep an eye on this author if it weren't for BBC.

It might be an idea to emphasize a discussion period  of longer duration, rather than a specific date and time. I find if I didn't meet the "date" I lose momentum if I did have something to say on the book, and figure no one will read it anyway.

I don't like the Facebook voting though. I don't object to it for others, but I use Facebook exclusively for close family mmbers.

 

 

sherpa-finn

Hand waving over here. I am still interested in participating but suspect I will not meet the small rump criteria. (Who's doing the measuring?)

FWIW, book selection does make a difference to me.  I just found a copy of Wright's "Short History of Progress" on the Missus's bookshelf this morning, so that's a likely prospect for me. Or "Book of Negroes".

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Apologies for the delay. The bbc poll for our next reading selection is up on the fb group. I've added infracaninophile's suggestion to the list of suggestions I posted above. Here's the updated list. Votes can be made here or in the fb group.

Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

Great Northern Dancer: The Legendary Horse That Inspired a Nation by Kevin Chong

Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright

Svend Robinson: A Life in Politics by Graeme Truelove

Caissa

Bump. THere has been a grand total of 2 votes on the Facebook page, both for A Short History...

Unionist

Make that 3.

 

sherpa-finn

And I am #4.

Caissa

Bump. Any more votes to be tallied?

Unionist

Can I vote again? I'm from QC. And Caissa said he'd vouch for me.

Caissa

You are indeed distinct.

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

Count me in for the Progress book. I was impressed with the author in a documentary I saw recently,  Martin Scorsese's Surviving Progress.  Sobering. I recommend watching it in conjunction with the book. 

You can get it free from the public library, and you can buy it online here:

http://survivingprogress.com/?page_id=433

You can also see an 8-minute segment online:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDrYq4oLzm0

It's kind of out of context, so you might want to see the trailer first:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLS6m6D9_o4

 

Very, very worth watching.  I look forward to reading the book (picked it up at library).

Caissa

Bump. So do we have the next book?

Caissa

Bump. Are we moribund?

Slumberjack

Probably a good time then to re-introduce 'A Thousand Plateaus' as a candidate.

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

Caissa wrote:
Bump. So do we have the next book?

 

Who is supposed to decide?

Unionist

The people decide. The people have spoken: A Short History of Progress.

Agreed?

I'm sure Left Turn will weigh in shortly. He may have taken a wrong turn.

Meanwhile, is there a set day or date each month for the discussion? Caissa? If not, let's set one right now. How about June 5? Or anything else.

 

Caissa

In the past we tended to give 4-6 weeks for reading the books; a period of time that felt very long for me given that I read between 100 and 120 books per year. I think for a book as short as this one a 2 week period would be sufficient. Paging Left Turn.

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

Caissa wrote:

In the past we tended to give 4-6 weeks for reading the books; a period of time that felt very long for me given that I read between 100 and 120 books per year. I think for a book as short as this one a 2 week period would be sufficient. Paging Left Turn.

I'm OK with that, I read a couple hundred books a year too and can polish one off in around two days, longer for War and Peace type tomes, or books in French.

What is the opinion on my suggestion of having a longer discussion period.  The trouble with a set day/hour is that no matter when it is many people will be working (or in the wrong time zone).

 

Unionist

infracaninophile wrote:

What is the opinion on my suggestion of having a longer discussion period.  The trouble with a set day/hour is that no matter when it is many people will be working (or in the wrong time zone).

I like the idea. I think the tradition of a set brief discussion related to having the author online (when possible) to participate. Where that's not possible, why not spread the discussion over 2-3 days (or whatever sounds reasonable)? Yes, I agree.

ETA: In fact, even when we're lucky enough to have the author, nothing prevents more discussion before, or after.

 

Caissa

I just checked a copy out of the university library.

Caissa

I started the book. Is anyone else reading it?

Unionist

Re-reading it.

sherpa-finn

OK - I am in. I haven't actually cracked the spine yet. But I am told it will be a rainy weekend, so I should get stuck into it far enough for a conversation next week. 

sherpa-finn

Bump... so it was actually a wonderfully warm and sunny weekend and I spent most of it in the garden. No apologies.

Nonetheless, I stll got through the first couple of chapters. In other words, I am making slow progress thru The Short History of Progress.

Any opening thoughts / reflection / questions / gambits (for the chess players amongst us)?

Caissa

I have only read the first chapter. It has a good explication of the Whig View of history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whig_history

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

I'm partway through, but turned my library copy back and requested an earlier edition because the formatting was very distracting -- lots of bubbles and boxes. Gimme text, please! But I am liking  some of his concepts, such as "progress traps." It's not an idea that originated with him but he gives some good examples. Here's oine from an interview he gave:

 

Quote:
Many civilizations who thrived and achieved brilliant things, such as the Sumerians or the Maya, eventually fell victim to their own success. This is what I call a “Progress Trap,” which happens when technological innovations create conditions or problems that society is unable to foresee - or unwilling to solve.

An example is irrigation systems. This was a terrific idea for the Sumerians, allowing them to grow food in the desert. However, as time went on, irrigation led to a build up of salt in the land. Eventually, over a few centuries, the Sumerian fields began to turn white from salt. After about a thousand years, their crop yields fell to only a quarter of what was possible in the fields they started with. Large parts of southern Iraq had to be abandoned, and still haven’t recovered.

That is one example, but I think we can be sympathetic in the Sumerians’ case because they couldn’t have foreseen the consequences before it was too late. But in our case, we do know what’s going to happen to the planet as the climate warms and destabilizes. We have an overwhelming consensus of scientific opinion and computer modeling that shows it. We don’t have the excuse of ignorance or lack of technology.

Where I see the similarity today with these ancient civilizations is in the behaviour and denial of the elites - the political leaders - people who should be the decision-makers just hoping the problem will go away.

The ancients tended to respond by saying “the gods are angry so we need to build bigger temples.” In other words, magical thinking. Our version of this is the widespread belief that the problems caused by rampant growth and technology will be solved by more of the same.

The interview is here:

http://www.desmog.ca/2013/06/21/locked-progress-trap-interview-author-ro...

I watched Martin Scorsese's documentary in tandem with reading the book. It brought in not only Wright but also Jane Goodall, Daniel Povinelli (a cognitive scientist), Michael Hudson (an economiist) and several others. Well worth a watch.

 

 

 

shartal@rogers.com

Can I propose amusing junk fiction?

Unionist

shartal@rogers.com wrote:
Can I propose amusing junk fiction?

Go for it!

 

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

Are we going to talk about A Short History of Progress

(Where are you, Left Turn?)

sherpa-finn

Sorry folks. I am afraid that I ran out of steam after 3 chapters of "A Short History of Progress". (And that last Chapter was even aided by listening to the audio version of the original lecture.) 

So I have moved on to the two big historical fiction books sitting on the bedside table that I had scheduled for summer-time reading: The Orenda and Book of Negroes.

Just dived into The Orenda this past week, - it is an absolutely terrific read!  Will now have to go back and re-visit the related BBC thread, and maybe offer a few belated thoughts of my own.