A tool for members of Jax Freestyle Book Club, a meetup.com group in Jacksonville, Florida, to talk about what they're reading and would like to read. Click on the meetup badge to the right to go to our meeting homepage.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New format!

I've been thinking about ways to let us engage with other readers in a very inclusive way, without turning meetings into general chat sessions. This is tricky, and I don't know if I've invented a new kind of book club experience or am just creating a blip in consciousness, but my idea is to post a list of ten books that have come up as being of interest, and asking everyone who RSVPs to commit to one, and come in ready to talk about it. If everybody reads the same book, great. If no two people read the same book, great in a different way. I guess we'll find out from RSVPs for March if this has appeal.

The ten on the list (I hope) cover the waterfront. We have fiction, bio, memoirs, books about science, books about economics, upbeat books, downbeat books, boomer college, American history, turmoil in Africa, and a boomer youth era favorite. Some are long and a bit challenging, others are easy and breezy. I'll try to add some hyperlinks later, but in the meantime, you can google them or look them up on your favorite book review site.

Benjamin Franklin-An American Life by Walter Isaacson

Chronicles, Volume 1 by Bob Dylan

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

The Life and TImes of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson

Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream by Barbara Erentreich

A Free Life by Ha Jin

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves
by Sharon Begley

Friday, February 1, 2008

Hope lots of you are exploring the Feb selection

It's very interesting and definitely rewards the time!

Here's the text of an email I sent the group through meetup:

There hasn't been too much RSVP'ing (yes or no) to this month's meeting notice, and I'm thinking some might be on the fence as to whether they want to invest the time and energy it takes to read a book, into this month's selection. Or maybe you've been busy and haven't thought about it one way or the other!

EIther way,The Bookseller of Kabul is not at all a difficult read. It was the bestselling nonfiction book in the history of publishing in Norway, and it's generated an interesting controversy in the aftermath of its publication, check out the article at http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/story/0,1284,1046429,00.html or listen to/read an NPR report on the issue at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16626180

So, still not sure if you want to snag a copy? Try a short excerpt from the first chapter at http://www.hachettebookgroupusa.com/books/83/0316734500/chapter_excerpt17708.html

Hope to see you the nineteenth (PLENTY of time between now an then to read this not long or difficult book!!!!!!!) It's readily available at the library, on the shelves at local bookstores, many used copies are available at Amazon, Powells, etc., and it's out in audio CD format.

The Bookseller of Kabul

A penpal friend of mine wrote this after I told him I was reading this book.
Something to add to the discussion on Tuesday?
The ethics of jounalists. I'll be thinking about trust as I'm reading this book. I haven't picked up the book from the library yet but I will this weekend.

begin forward:
I think this book illustrates an interesting phenomenon. The amount of misuse of people´s trust that journalists think is ok. Seierstad, a norwegian woman journalist, used a family in Kabul, Afghanistan, to further her own career. The bookseller got very angry, he wrote a counter-book. He even travelled to Norway to show that Seierstad is a moral swine. What, to me, is interesting is the following: how much is it ok for an emancipated women, a really good woman (in her own eyes), to consciously misuse other people? In the interest of your own career? She sold out everyone in the family who let her live with them. That was her way of paying back for the generosity she had used. She looks herself in the mirror each morning and she feels no shame. She consciously misused the family. Reflect on what gave her that moral right. She is not stupid in terms of brain power. She is a journalist. She did not care about what consequences her book had on the family whose basic human friendlieness she had misused. It is interesting to watch how people like her functions, journalists. (We have lots of the same kind of journalists in Sweden, it is no special norwegian desease.) It is something about being a journalist. They do this again and again. One might wonder why?