I started this back in May, and here’s how it works.
Every month (though sometimes I skip a month or two if life gets weird), I read a new book from the Easton Press 100 Greatest Books collection. Anyone who likes the idea is welcome to join in the discussion: for a month, for the duration, or something in between.
The discussions take place in two locations: via Twitter group-DM and on my brand new forums. Either format has advantages and disadvantages; you’re welcome to use either or both. If you make regular use of Twitter and want a quick back-and-forth, DM will be best. If you want to write 4-paragraph essays, forums will definitely be better. I’ll probably do some cross-linking between the two formats.
These discussions are open-ended, meaning that in October you are still welcome to chime in and talk about what we read in May or June. When discussing a “current” book, we try to avoid discussing parts of the book that are ahead of schedule, in case there’s anyone left in the universe who’s unspoiled about the ending of Jekyll & Hyde or what have you.
Both academic commentary and gut reactions (“Wow, that character is a jerk”) are equally welcome – you don’t need any sort of background analyzing/discussing literature in order to join us. I am not a college graduate, myself, so my own input tends to be more of the gut-reaction variety, though I do cheat by looking at Spark Notes and Wikipedia for stuff like symbolism and historical context.
I try to arrange the books into meaningful groups so that I can intelligently compare/contrast, but sometimes I’ll throw something random in there just for fun. For example, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was necessary as a breather in the middle of our 19th century Russian novel phase, since there were five Russian classics in the set, most quite long.
This is a zero-pressure group. I have set “deadlines” for myself just to motivate me, but you’re welcome to straggle in two months late and say, “Oh yeah, I liked that bit too.” The more the merrier!