Runners Who Read

Who knew? A bunch of runners who enjoy reading and discussing what they read.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

A Do Not Read Warning (If I May Offer Advice)

I just finished reading a book entitled The Third Translation. It's sort of about an Egyptologist, so book stores over here in Cairo are pushing it. I'm not sure how large its debut will be in the states. It looked intriguing, and it was about Egyptology, so I picked it up. The author is a professor who worked at the British Museum and has won awards for his writing.

I was willing to look past some conventions that I think are intended to come off as modern liberties that I didn't care for, like the fact that he never uses quotation marks to set off dialogue (you just have to pick up contextually what is dialogue), or the lengthy, trance-like and often drug-addled dream scenes that serve no artistic purpose as far as I could tell and take away from the plot. I couldn't look past the myriad mistakes the book makes. I know I'm an oversensitive reader, since the book is ostensibly written from the perspective of an Egyptian philologist. But not only did he make Egyptological mistakes (he certainly didn't consult any Egyptologists, which was obvious, but I also don't think he did any research, since everything he says about Egypt is completely unreliable), but the book was poorly edited on top of that. There were spelling mistakes. The internal chronology was completely inconsistent: on one page he'd mention that his daughter was a junior in college in 1991; a few pages later she was 21 in 1994; a few pages after that she was 16 in 1989. Etc.

Oh, and the book barely had a plot, on top of it. But mostly I'm just fuming about the ridiculous Egyptological mistakes. I'd be curious to hear the opinion of anyone who reads this and disagrees with me and enjoyed this book.

PS -- if you're interested in reading a well-written and historically sound book about Egyptology, try Arthur Phillips' "The Egyptologist." Very very good.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Memorial Day (U.S.): Books of War -- and Peace

In the United States, Memorial Day will be observed this Monday, May 30. I'm reminded of some of my favorite books dealing with some aspect of the military or of war: Robert Fagles' brutally magnificent translation of Homer's Iliad, delivering the bone-crushing horror and tragedy of war on a vivid, epic scale ... Michael Shaara's novel of the American Civil War battle of Gettysburg, The Killer Angels, focusing on the human dimension of war and the heavy responsiblities of command ... and a deeply personal story of how those who go through the hell of war can experience personal healing and even spiritual enlightenment, as compellingly related by Claude Anshin Thomas -- a soldier who fought in the Vietnam War and later became a Buddhist monk -- in his recent memoir At Hell's Gate: A Soldier's Journey From War to Peace. (Thomas recently was a guest speaker at the Maria Kannon Zen Center in Dallas; his story is well worth reading.)

Anyone else have favorites with a war/peace theme?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Is pop culture making us smarter?

A new book is taking a different point of view on television and video games: they're actually making us smarter. Well, there are different kinds of smart, as the review points out ...

Monday, May 23, 2005

For the librarians in our midst

Here's a piece on a Seattle librarian, Nancy Pearl. Maybe you've heard her being interviewed now and again on NPR's "Morning Edition."

RWR Reader's Choice: second call for nominations

Just a reminder that June 3 is the deadline to submit your selection for our third quarter RWR Reader’s Choice book for July-September 2005 … I’ll post your nominations anonymously the week of June 6, and we’ll vote on which one we’ll read and discuss together online.

Some very interesting selections so far – please introduce us to your current favorite! Send me your nomination at eb_write@yahoo.com; thanks.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Yoda-lay-he-hoo

My favorite line from a movie review this week, from the always quotable Anthony Lane – describing Yoda in his review of Revenge of the Sith for the New Yorker:

Deepest mind in the galaxy, apparently, and you still express yourself like a day-tripper with a dog-eared phrase book. “I hope right you are.” Break me a fucking give.

Enjoy your weekend, everybody.

Don't you hate it when ...

... you're all ready to read a certain book, and only the movie tie-in version is available?

Now that I've nearly finished Margeurite Yourcenar's amazing fictional autobiography Memoirs of Hadrian, I'm jonesing for some more ancient history and figured Robin Lane Fox's acclaimed biography of Alexander The Great was just the ticket.

Then I remembered Oliver Stone's Alexander movie had come out recently. Crap! Sure enough, instead of a dignified ancient mosaic or Greek statue tastefully gracing the cover, it's Colin Farrell looking like -- well, a movie star dressed in fake armor, grimacing in garish Technicolor. And it's the only version of Fox's book currently in print. The local library has an older copy, but it's currently checked out ... and I need an ancient history fix real bad.

I really want to read the book, and I know the cover is only the wrapping for the real meat of the matter ... but it just seems so gauche, somehow. I can't believe I'm really wrestling with this, but I am. I'll probably break down at lunch and go buy it, then always make sure I lay the book cover side down ... ugh.

If iceberg lettuce is the polyester of greens, to quote John Waters, then movie tie-ins are the polyester of books.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Nominations and "Bed Table" Books

Thanks to everyone for the nominations I've already received for our first group reading selection (see the post just below this one for more on how to nominate) -- so far, offbeat humor seems to be something of a theme. Hardly a surprise there, I guess ... and at least a couple of suggestions I know I'm going to check out whether we vote to read them together or not. Plus, a couple of more seriously-themed thought provokers, with great potential for group discussion. Writers I've never heard of -- books I'm interested in exploring. That's what it's all about. Good stuff so far, my friends!

"Bed Table" Books

Without really meaning to, I seem to always accumulate a few books on my bed table – not chapter books, but the kinds of books which allow me to flip to any page and score a few last minutes of reading time before going to sleep. The books change, but they seem to always have one thing in common: it doesn’t really matter what page I turn to. Usually there’s a poetry anthology or two; currently it’s Kenneth Rexroth’s quietly poignant translations of One Hundred Poems From The Chinese.

Also, Zen Master Raven: Sayings and Doings of A Wise Bird by Robert Aitken. Whether you know or care about Zen Buddhism doesn’t really matter: these delightful stories are usually one page or less in length and are written with a kind of rustic charm, deeply wise and often humorous. Uniquely told from the viewpoint of a group of forest animals, it’s a sort of American spin on some classic Zen stories and koans. And the brush-style pen and ink illustrations accompanying some of the stories are a perfect complement. If you like Aesop’s Fables and other such stories in the wisdom tradition, Zen Master Raven could definitely appeal.

As another example of a potential bed table book, I would imagine the brilliant dark humor of Saki’s (H. H. Munro) fictional miniatures would also serve the purpose nicely. For the most part, they’re nasty little satires about the Edwardian English upper classes -- sometimes politically incorrect , often comically macabre, and typically only 1-3 pages in length. (I haven’t read any of those stories in years; I should order a copy!)

Do any of you keep a “bed table” collection?

Monday, May 16, 2005

RWR Reader's Choice: Nominations, Third Quarter 2005

It seems as if everyone is pretty well agreed on our “rules" at this point. So, no more waiting around. It’s time for you to nominate our first RWR group reading selection! This selection will be for third quarter, 2005 (July-September). We'll discuss the book right here sometime during the last two weeks in September. (For those headed to Dances with Dirt in September, we could actually have an opportunity to discuss the club selection in person. Preferably after showering.)

Here’s all you do:

1. Send one nomination to me via eb_write@yahoo.com no later than 12 midnight Friday, June 3. You’ll have the chance to nominate another book each quarter.

2. Nominated books must be fairly easy to find either in person or online (preferably in print), and should ideally be available in softcover. Subject matter: Whatever! Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essay/letters collections, etc. etc. etc.

3. Given the fact some members lead very busy lives, the suggested length limit is no more than 300 pages, but if you have a 329-page book that’s a real corker and you don’t want people to miss it, nominate away – no problem. (I may go over that 300-page length myself on occasion, I’m red-faced to say.)

4. Include, if possible, a description/appreciation of your book (100-word limit, about an average-sized paragraph) and a page count. Yes, you can copy from the book jacket blurb. I’ll also try to include a link to the book’s page on amazon.com for those seeking more information.

5. I will compile the nominations/descriptions and post an anonymous ballot sometime during the week of June 6, and then post the first RWR Reader's Choice Selection, based on the voting results, by June 20.

I’m really looking forward to your nominations!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

New Guy Rambling

Greetings to all...Such a highbrow group! I am amazed, impressed, intimidated...don't really want to admit my favorite books are old, common titles like "Dune" by Frank Herbert or "The Godfather" and "Fool's Die" by Mario Puzo! Tom Wolfe's latest effort "I Am Charolette Simmons" was quite enjoyable, but I also enjoyed "A Man In Full" which, apparantly from the discount racks, nobody else did. I did just finish reading a series of historical novels on the Civil War by Shaara-- "Gods and Generals" and "The Killer Angels." Not usually a fan of the historical novel, these works really helped retell the history and put things into a different perspective that I didn't have before. The group should open a world of options, and I appreciate Ed's efforts!

I'm rambling. I'll quit. I'm happy to be aboard!

--Dwyer

Friday, May 13, 2005

Re-reading books

Sorry if I am late to the party. Just finished the semester and am only now catching up on life and reading (as if there is a difference?)

Just wanted to reply to Kim's question about re-reading books. I re-read books all the time - often as a result of recommending them to someone else. Inevitably the process of re-reading brings some unexpected insights that I didn't have the first time around. I actually just pulled "And the Band Played On" from my shelves last night because I realized I wanted to read it again with my nascent epidemiologist eyes......

The same goes for reading an author's collected works. I think there is something particularly wonderful about getting a view of an author's world from several books. Sometimes, I appreciate the author even more (like my recent experience in re-reading Andre Dubus collected stories and memoir.) Other times, I discover that re-reading a collection I had remembered it more fondly than it deserved. That recently happened when I re-read several of Hellenga's books. I really disliked his protagonist (and found the writing facile) the second (maybe third) time around. Maybe I was just in a bad mood, but the experience was really sour the second time around.

I am really looking forward to getting some great recommendations from this group......and am already on the waiting list at local library for McEwan's book on 9/11 based on your recommendation, Paul.....

Paula.

TBR

Not for nothing, here's some of the stuff that's on my running to be read list:

Jim Crace, Quarantine and Being Dead
John Nichols, Sterile Cuckoo
Volume Two of the Hunter Thompson letters
W. Corbett, ed., Just the Thing: Selected Letters of James Schuyler
Stephen Amidon, Human Capital
Peter Turchi, Maps of the Imagination
Jean Phillipe Toussaint, Television
Francine Prose, A Changed Man

Another great reader's resource

When I was posting my favorite online reader's resources the other day, I forgot about one that may be one of the most comprehensive out there. It's here. The links on the left-hand side of their home page are exhaustive, or exhausting, depending on your point of view. Note that registration may be required for some of the links, particularly some of the newspapers.

Indulge!

What I've been reading...

I'm so impressed and feeling a little unworthy, the only thing I've read lately are essays by 17 year olds. The essays aren't intended to be fiction, but certainly some of these have taken great license with history. Perhaps it is historical fiction, I mean did you know that North Korea is in Western Europe? Neither did I.

I'm wondering how people feel about revisiting books they have already read and enjoyed. I'm sure some of us have read some of the same works and I personally have a few that I wouldn't mind reading again and discussing our memories of the book and how our perceptions have changed. For example, Confederacy of Dunces. There was a time when I judged people based on their thoughts on this book. I haven't read it in at least 10 years.

Kim

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Testing... being able to post as yourself rather than the administrator

Okay, I'm not sure if this will work or not, but for those of you who already have a blogger account (or who would like one), I think blogger offers a feature to allow you to post as yourself rather than having to log in and post as Ed.

I logged in with the prearranged password via blogger as though I were going to post as RWR. I next selected the "Settings" tab, from there I selected the sub-tab of "members", and then I entered my email address to invite myself. It emailed me an invitation, which I accepted, and now theoretically I'm posting as me.

Is it working? If I've screwed anything up, let me know. I'm just too lazy to remember two sets of log in information.

Housekeeping: viewing a post and comments as a single thread

If you want to view a post and subsequent comments as a single thread (like on the Higdon V-Boards), just click on the individual post you want to read in the menu on the left-hand side of this page. When you do, the post and comments will all appear together in the same RWR blog format.

Read on the run,

Ed

Currently reading...

Have you ever binged on one author? I’m sure you have.

For the past few months I’ve been reading books by Ian McEwan – Amsterdam, The Comfort of Strangers, Saturday (just released), and now I’m deep into The Child in Time. McEwan faces fairly average middle-class people with an extreme, yet realistic, usually violent, event (but without any graphic depiction of violence which, I think, makes it more troubling).

The Child in Time deals with the aftermath of a parent’s worst fear – the inexplicable abduction of a young child. McEwan likes to “weave” (during a recent interview about Saturday, he used the word “weave” and its variants about ten times!) subplots through his books and in this book he deals with the loss of childhood in several dimensions of the characters’ lives. So far, I’m finding it to be a disturbing and beautiful novel.

Paul Gottschalk

Currently reading ...

More historical fiction for me after Patrick O'Brian's Post Captain -- this time, a trip to ancient Rome: Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated from the French by Grace Frick. This was just recently reprinted for the first time in many years by FSG -- I had read a profile on Yourcenar in the New Yorker earlier this spring and became interested in the book from what was said there.

I'm only about 100 pages into this 400+ page book, but this is some of the most elegant, perceptive writing I've encountered since reading the Lydia Davis translation of Proust's Swann's Way. It's a work of fiction in the form of a long letter from the dying emperor Hadrian to his grandson, remembering his life and the events that took place. Like Patrick O'Brian, Yourcenar has the genius to immerse you fully in the period she's writing about -- I would swear it's a real classical Roman memoir!

I'll save the rest for a full book report, but if you're just in the mood to admire what has to be some of the finest pure writing currently available (and in a translation, no less), check it out.

-- Ed Brickell

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Newcomers Welcome!

For those just joining us, welcome!

-- Ed Brickell

Housekeeping: Editing/Deleting Posts

Paul G. posted a perfectly sensible argument today for allowing books of over 300 pages to be nominated for the quarterly "Reader's Choice," the first of which we'll nominate next week. Personally I hope we can keep as close to 300 pages as we can, but if you have a truly great 340-page book that you feel just can't be missed, I don't see why it couldn't be at least nominated, with the page count included as part of the nomination info. So, good for Paul for opening my eyes a bit. (Of course, if you're just posting book suggestions/reviews outside of the quarterly nomination, as I did below, the length of the book matters not a whit.)

Paul also informed me he deleted his post with the good intention of trying to keep the blog a bit cleaner. Of course, I'm not helping his cause with more housekeeping posts like this, but there will be less of these as time goes on.

I just wanted to point out something regarding editing/deleting posts: I will never, ever edit or delete another person's post, unless the post is obviously a hostile hijacking or a troll. I can't imagine we'll have any such problems with this group. If you want to edit or delete your own posts, that's entirely up to you.

Carry on, fleet readers!

-- Ed Brickell

Housekeeping: Commenting on posts

If you want to comment on a post, you may have missed a way to comment that will help cut down on blog home page clutter. (Not that any of your comments or posts are "clutter," but you know what I mean.) If you want to comment on a specific post:

1. Under each post is a line reading "(#) Comments." Click on it.

2. This takes you to a Comments page. Type your comment in the box provided on the right-hand side of the page and sign your name, if you want us to know who you are. Note that the Comments box allows you to use certain HTML codes.

3. Don't worry about doing anything else -- just click the "log in and publish" key.

4. Your comment will appear under the correct post on the blog home page, but you'll have to click the "(#) Comments" line to read it -- or click on the individual post in the listing on the left-hand sidebar of the home page, which brings up the comments under the original post in a thread format.

Hope that helps!

-- Ed Brickell

RWR Book Review: Post Captain (Patrick O'Brian)

How many fans of historical fiction do we have? This is the second in Patrick O’Brian’s “Aubrey/Maturin” series of novels – actually more like one long novel in 21 parts -- set in the naval world of the Napoleonic Wars. It’s my fourth time through this series; I enjoy periodically sailing again with perhaps historical fiction’s most famous odd couple: “Lucky” Jack Aubrey, a lusty, rough-and-tumble British naval officer, and his eccentric sidekick, ship’s surgeon, pioneer biologist and sometimes secret agent, Stephen Maturin. (I thought the recent movie based on two of the novels was surprisingly good.)

The Aubrey-Maturin Series

Many historical novels read more like costume parties than true historical fiction, but O’Brian is the real deal. What his work may be lacking in tight plotting is more than made up for by his great attention to historical detail and his talent for writing action. His dialogue sounds authentic to its time but immediate, never forced or stilted, and his books are bristling with real historical flavor – I feel I'm being wholly transported to the early 19th century, rather than reading a modern novel in 19th century dress.

O’Brian makes no allowances for those of us ignorant of staysails, jibs, spinnakers and the like: he knows his sailing as thoroughly as he knows his history, and he doesn’t pause for explanations. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily need to know anything about sailing yourself to enjoy the books; much can be picked up through context, and if you’re really interested the rest is available in several books like the one listed at the end of this post, A Sea of Words.

I have always admired O’Brian as a writer. His action scenes are absolutely thrilling page-turners, among the best of any novelist I’ve ever read; yet there is also plenty of psychological depth to the characters and their interactions. Even the most minor characters are fully drawn in a few choice phrases. And, simply put, Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are two of the most three-dimensional people ever to be made up entirely out of someone’s head.

The Book: Post Captain

Post Captain is for the most part a leisurely-paced, loosely-plotted look at Aubrey and Maturin between voyages, walking unsteadily on land and dealing uncomfortably with frustrating romantic entanglements, naval career politics, and sudden changes in Jack’s financial fortunes. At times it reads more like a Jane Austen novel than an Aubrey/Maturin adventure, and events can seem to move at a snail’s pace. Yet the characters and the world they live in are so carefully and fully drawn that you can get comfortably lost in it. Two naval action set pieces – an attack on a French harbor and a chase after a Spanish treasure fleet – are as action-packed and thrilling as any O’Brian ever wrote. Surrounding those two scenes is a great deal of domestic drama, unusual for the series, that -- while engaging and revealing for those who are already familiar with the characters -- might seem tedious to those reading the series for the first time.

I’d recommend Post Captain to any committed Aubrey/Maturin fan, and the series as a whole to anyone who seeks out the best in historical fiction – perhaps the best place to start is the first book in the series, Master and Commander.

I don’t know if we’ll ever get another historical novelist with O’Brian's special blend: a passionate devotion to careful detail and equally strong flair for action. His love and deep knowledge of the vibrant and violent world of early 19th century Europe is clear in every page he ever wrote.

Master and Commander: Book 1 in the Aubrey-Maturin Series by Patrick O’Brian


A Sea of Words: A Companion and Lexicon to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O’Brian by Dean King

Looking forward to book reports (long or short) by others!

-- Ed Brickell

Oops!

Sorry, I was the (inadvertantly) anonymous Pamuk fan.

Bernice Torregrossa

Housekeeping: be sure to "sign" your post

Remember to put your name at the end of your post if you want us to know who you are. Thanks!

-- Ed Brickell

Another Pamuk fan

I read Snow recently but still prefer one of Pamuk's earlier novels, The Black Book. It's mysterious (but not a mystery in the genre sense) , funny and spellbinding. It's available in paperback, one of the RWR criteria.

AH HA!

I finally figured this thing out! Perhaps if I read my email more carefully...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Some Internet reader's resources

Thanks, Nels and Tracy -- I had never even heard of Pamuk, and today I find out he’s considered one of Europe’s most prominent novelists. That’s exactly why I wanted to start this site: I’ve got some catching up to do!

Many of you may already know about these, but I thought I’d post a few of my favorite Internet reading resources, especially helpful for those of you hunting for your next book:

The Guardian Books page: Lively, intelligent reviews and features from the UK. The “top ten” book lists by current authors can make for some good reading suggestions.

Exquisite Corpse: Avant-garde literary journal edited by Andrei Codrescu of National Public Radio fame. Literary grenades and stink bombs of all sorts; a very fun site. I had a few scattered poems published in the paper version in the early 90’s, which seems like a lifetime ago now. Unusual reading and author suggestions galore, but it's not a consumer-friendly site. And thank God for that.

Granta: The online site for the famous literary review, again with a UK slant. Many reading suggestions here.

New York Review Books: The publishing arm of the New York Review of Books; responsible for unearthing many forgotten literary classics and bringing them back into print. Also responsible for publishing one of my favorite books of all time, The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll by Alfredo Mutis.

Booksense: A family of independent bookseller websites, with lots of reviews and reading suggestions.

Paris Review "Writers at Work" interviews: If you ever wanted to know more about your favorite author's views on their work and other subjects, this site catalogs a gold mine of in-depth interviews from the Paris Review's ongoing "Writers At Work" series.


Enjoy your reading (and your running)!

-- Ed Brickell

R.I.F.

Groovy, Ed.

Tracy, I read Snow - good stuff. Here's an interesting review on a litblog I read frequently, moorishgirl.com. Scroll down to 17 November. And here's a bit of news from late winter about some hot water he's in.
Pamuk in Trouble?
Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk faces criminal charges in Turkey over statements he made about the Armenian genocide to a Swiss newspaper. Pamuk's statements (that "30,000 Kurds and over 1 million Armenians had been killed in Turkey") are considered controversial in Turkey, the only country that continues to deny the genocide and in fact alleges that it was the Armenians who exterminated the Turks.

It's particularly ironic that Pamuk should be molested about this, since his latest novel, Snow, features several references to the genocide. Given Pamuk's worldwide reputation, and Turkey's desire to join the EU, it's unlikely that the charges will actually be followed up, but we'll keep an eye on this story.

Currently, I'm in Reynolds Price's Kate Vaiden. Price has been on my TBR list since hearing him on NPR's All Things Considered. A first person narrative of a woman in North Carolina, orphaned as a girl after her father shoots her mother then himself, Kate wanders in search of stability and runs whenever it's at hand.

Cheers,
Nels

Monday, May 09, 2005

Yea!

Works for me. Your proposed guidelines sound quite good. Thank you for setting this up! I'm ready to read, too.

Personally, I'm right now reading a book entitled Snow, by Orhan Pamuk. It's much more interesting than I expected when I picked it up, being about a Turkish poet (expat living in Germany for the past few years) who returns to a small town in Turkey where the tension between the conservative religious movement and the push towards westernization is growing and causing veiled women to kill themselves as the town's political tension builds. It reads quite well, considering it's translated from Turkish. Very enjoyable.

That's my two cents until we choose a book for the club.
Tracy Musacchio

Looks good

Should be cool.....I'm ready to read!

Len Stewart

Worked for me!

Nice and thorough job on the proposed procedures, Ed!

David Kleeman

Welcome to Runners Who Read!

Hi there! Thanks for offering to take part in our little experiment. At the beginning of each calendar quarter, we’ll gather here to vote on a RWR Club Selection that we'll read together for the coming quarter; at the end of the quarter, we’ll gather here once again to discuss it. We can also use the blog to keep each other up-to-date on all of our latest reading favorites and other book world news.

Everyone will be given access to this blog for posting purposes -- I recently sent everyone an e-mail with the user name and password. (If you still need the user name and password, e-mail me at eb_write@yahoo.com.) To sign in, just click on the "blogger" logo in the top left-hand corner of this page.

At the end of any post you create, sign your name so we know who you are! Feel free to post club- or reading-related posts at any time, including other reading suggestions, etc. If you're posting on the current club selection and are including book details, please put "(Spoilers)" in the title of your post.

Nominating club selections

Far be it from me to tell you what to nominate as our quarterly selection. However, experience dictates that some limits have to be set, or we’ll all end up reading 900-page biographies of Millard Fillmore. Not that there would be anything necessarily wrong with a 900-page biography of Millard Fillmore, but for purposes of a book club some things can just get a bit unwieldy and cause people to lose interest.

The two hard and fast rules for nomination are:

1. Limit your selection to a book 300 pages or less.
2. Limit your selection to a book that is currently available in softcover and relatively easy to find/order.

Beyond that, anything goes – fiction, non-fiction, biography, essays, short story collections, poetry anthologies, etc. I will only make one suggestion that might result in a happier, healthier book club: aim neither too high nor too low. For example, it’s highly unlikely many members are going to wade through James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, however wonderful it might be. Likewise, the latest John Grisham or Danielle Steele novel doesn’t often leave a whole lot of room for engaging discussion – what’s on the page is pretty much what you get. For purposes of a book club, a literary middle ground often seems to work best. And there are a lot of wonderful books in that middle ground. That said, it's only a suggestion and feel free to nominate whatever you want within the two parameters listed above.

Each member can nominate one favorite book per quarter as the next club selection. Please send your nomination to me at eb_write@yahoo.com. I’ll post a deadline for nominations. If you wish (and I strongly encourage it), you can also send a brief description of the book in question, including page count. (Limit your description to 100 words or less.) For further information, I will also try to post a listing of the book on amazon.com as well.

Voting for the club quarterly selection

Once the nominations deadline has passed, I will post an anonymous “ballot” with all of the nominated books. Take a look at the ballot, choose the two books that interest you the most, and send me your vote at eb_write@yahoo.com. If you don’t vote by the posted quarterly deadline, you'll miss voting for the current quarter’s selection. The book receiving the most votes will be the next club selection. (In the event of a tie, I will randomly select the club selection from the books that are tied.) I’ll announce the selection here once the votes are tallied. Individual votes will not be posted.

Each quarter we start over with a clean slate and new nominations are taken from everyone.

Reading something you just plain can’t stand

It happens: although book clubs are, in part, about getting out of your mental and cultural comfort zones a bit, the current club selection may be something you simply can’t muster up the energy to read at all. All I ask is: at least give it a try! If you really don’t like it at all, come back the next quarter and try us again.

"What I'm Reading": books outside the quarterly selection

Always feel free to submit your own informal book reports on books that aren't the club selection but are still books you're excited about, or reports on books that fall outside the club limits but are still wonderful. This club isn't simply about reading and discussing the club selection every quarter, but also keeping each other up-to-date on the latest and greatest.

That’s all for now – if you have a comment on anything in this post, please post it in “Comments” at the end of this post; thanks. If you prefer to keep your comments private, send them to me at eb_write@yahoo.com. I’m certainly open to other suggestions on the “rules.”

The deadline for rules/guidelines comments is May 30, after which we’ll begin nominations (a bit early) for the third quarter 2005 club selection.

Happy running/reading!

-- Ed Brickell