Runners Who Read

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

Monday, May 09, 2005

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 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 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 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 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 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


Blogger RWR said...

Thanks, Ed, for pulling this together. I look forward to discovering some great reads!


3:03 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Worked for me too!

4:51 PM  
Blogger RWR said...

I'm in

Thanks Ed


2:13 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Try this on...

What about recommending a drink with our book?

For example, we recommend a book like "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamtress" with green ginger tea, or absinthe with that novel by, uh, hmm...

5:08 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

... or if you want, suggest music to go with your book ... say, a little Debussy with your Proust, or some Schubert or Mendelssohn with your Dickens ... or some Charlie Parker with your Raymond Chandler!

6:26 PM  
Blogger T said...

I don't know about the drinks and music... I'm cool with the virtual running club. I'm supercool with the virtual book club. But, "I'm drunk by myself listening to classical music because my online friends told me to" kind of crosses a line for me. I guess no one said I'd have to get drunk. Hm.


12:15 PM  

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