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Old 15th Oct 2004, 10:38   #1
Wavid
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Default Reforming the Palimpsest Book Group

Reforming the Palimpsest Book Group

The Book Group has been running for a fair while now, with varying degrees of success. There's been some really good discussions on there, those on Hawksmoor spring to mind, but some have petered out a little without much being said.

I was wondering whether anything could be done from a organisation point of view to help things out? I have put this topic in the Gen Chat thread so that those who aren't in the Book Group can give their views too.

I really don't mind what comments people want to make about it: from why you maybe don't want to be part of any book group, let alone the Palimpsest one; or some subtle changes to the way things are done.

One option might be to change the choosing of a book from one individual's choice to it being a collective decision, thus ensuring interest throughout the Group. My other thought was maybe to alter the emphasis, perhaps onto short stories - not on collections but on just one story. This would mean less reading, so people won't be dragged away from their current TBR pile, and the possibility of some really in depth discussion. Maybe the same could be done for just one poem, perhaps.

Anyway, it'd be interesting to know Palimpeople's thoughts.
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 13:40   #2
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My own thoughts - voiced elsewhere at some point - are that anything longer than about 200 pages is beyond my desire to read, given the limited time I have to read, and the often limited application I bring to it (hard day at work = TV zombie).
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 13:46   #3
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Quite. I honestly think that to stop it becoming a chore, and to keep things interesting, making short stories the focus might have a beneficial effect.

Reading a ten or twenty page story isn't a problem, I am sure, for even the busiest Palimpsesters, and yet they can contain more than enough scope to inspire some good debates. Plus, with many of the great short stories can be downloaded for free from places like Project Gutenburg, making it more accessible too.
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 14:21   #4
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I have to say I would miss the form it has presently and would be unhappy at it becoming a 'short-story group'. I don't mind about who chooses the books - some way of forming a consensus would be needed - but I wouldn't have read half or indeed most of the choices so far were it not for the BG. Yes, put a limit on the number of pages but I am really not a fan of short stories, even though there are tons of good ones, and I think it may well water down the range of things we look at. I would have never read GK Chesterton, or even Graham Greene, and it just needs some slimming down of choices.
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 15:38   #5
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I'm with Col there. There are a couple of corkers in the bunch we've read (and I've read all but one of them). But, gotta say, sometimes the longer ones feel a chore - I wouldn't have read American Gods had it not been for a brief hospital stint (and no, it didn't aid my recovery) - so a move to briefer works is helpful. That I would endorse.
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 16:13   #6
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Fair comments Col & amner, and as you have actually contributed to the Book Group, which is more than I have done, they probably carry more weight too! :wink:

Col's right - short stories only would be needlessly limiting.

Can we take it as agreed, so far, that books chosen need to be done so with a little more consultation than before (maybe a 'to read' list could be maintained with suggestions on it?) and there should be some sort of common sense page limit to ensure that everyone can fit in the time to read the books?
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 16:58   #7
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I wouldn't like the options narrowed down to short stories either. Basically I like it as it is. I don't know, maybe after pm-ing a title to amner, he would p-m it to other members and only after getting minimum 3 positive replies, the choice got officially announced?? Sounds a bit too complicated to me, but if we have to discuss reforms... :D
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 17:44   #8
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I, like Col, would not have ready many (or any) of the book group selections on my own. That’s one thing I like about the book group. I think we can add to it rather than scale it back. Discussion seems to last about two weeks per book. That leaves two weeks quiet per month. We could have multiple discussions on at once, maybe using the quiet weeks for shorter pieces: poetry, essays, short stories, etc. Another question is how to select them. Consensus or serial autonomous selection?
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 18:09   #9
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I'm inclined toward a consensus choice, I must say.

Perhaps we could all choose 6 books and pool them, then do a vote at the beginning of the month to see which gets picked?
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 19:58   #10
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I think the collective choice thing could work - as I have had a really hard time picking when it was my choice (and they weren't that successful either)

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