An Idea … Input Requested

I had an idea this weekend. I read. Lot’s of bloggers read alot. It’s endemic with the media, in that it attracts people for whom the written word is a preferred mode of communication in some way. But reading  is solitary. In our (mine anyhow) circle, few people are reading the books I read … when I read them. So there’s nobody to talk about what we’re reading. So, here’s the idea, I’d was thinking of experimenting with an “open source” book club. Features might include

  • I’d open up and install a new blog, say … “The Verbal Vortex” or some such thing with a likely DNS name and a fairly vanilla look.
  •  Any commentor, blog-neighbors, or really blogger with any history  or those recommended would then be setup as posters.
  • posters would be required to keep “it clean”, respectiful, and irenic.
  • You’d want to subscribe (RSS) to topics, or email subscription by category/genre.
  • The idea is that each “topic” would be a genre of books in a number (probably 4-15) contributors would decide to read one book (per genre) and discuss it. When they’ve communally decided they were done. They’d discuss, choose another and read and discuss that one. If the number of contributors grew to the point it got too “noisy” with contributions … then it should “spontaneously” split into sub-genres reading different books.
  • I think the idea might be that a book and an “on-deck” book be established for each category/sub-category, so that participants can get via library, bookstore, or Amazon the “next” book he’s interested in.
  • Initial topics might include: History, Religion, Philosophy, Science, Biography, Fiction … with a notion that that should expand if/when interest might grow.
  • I’d suggest that for the most part “comments” be closed. Conversations might normally be done via short post.

So questions:

  • Would this be interested … that is would you sign on?
  • If you would, what topics might interest you? Should there be additional topics to start?
  • Does my blog name work? Suggestions?

If there is interested, I’ll setup an initial pass as soon as this weekend.

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  1. Kyle says:

    Great idea, but I think it might actually work better as a wiki.

  2. Mark says:

    I considered that, but thought the blog format more like conversation. It’s probably less interesting for those still in school, because it’s a lot like discussing texts in classroom conversations, but for the rest of who perhaps miss that … I’m looking for a way to partially recreate that.

  3. Kyle says:

    My experience with blogging has been that it is inherently less dialogical than it seems. Sites like Boar’s Head Tavern come in as completely chaotic because RSS Reader’s like Google don’t automatically categorize things according to the site’s tagging system. To participate in any cohesive way, I’d have to subscribe to a new RSS Feed for every category, or even every individual book. Then I’d have to be constantly updating my subscriptions as new categories/books were introduced. I think I’d feel pretty confused and frustrated.

  4. Kyle says:

    On reading through your description more carefully, I think you actually have elements of a forum or BBS system in there.

    What do you think of this: a combo blog/forum site.

    The forum would be the heart of the site – where all the great discussion goes on. It could be invitation-only or merely vetted. The blog would be the front page, and the draw for the site, with a conversation starter essay for each new book.

    The forum could have two levels of conversation: one administrative, where we discuss what books we’re going to read and when, and who will write the intro (on a rotating basis?). The second would be the actual discussion, divided by category, book, etc. The amount of control or moderation could be adjusted as the site grew in size.

    After reading a given book, at a preselected date, the agreed-upon section leader would write a conversation-starter blog post of one or two paragraphs, ending with a link to the appropriate forum thread.

  5. Mark says:

    How about a different “blog” for each category? I think that wordpress as a mechanism for supporting multiple blogs via one install.

    I’d suspect that especially at the start (unless it catches on quickly) there wouldn’t be so much traffic that we couldn’t adjust. I wouldn’t expect everyone to be interested in every topic. The question is, for the RSS feed if I can make RSS feeds by category.

    I was thinking each category/sub-category to be reading one book at a time (and possibly deciding what to do next).

  6. Mark says:

    I’ll look into the forum option as well. I’ve never participated much in that format.

  7. Kyle says:


    WordPress automatically generates feeds for every category. It tends to be less efficient in producing links to them.

    The format I had in mind for the forum suggestion stemmed from my experiences with

  8. Mark says:

    If you didn’t notice from my later post, it’s up here.

  9. Kyle says:

    I probably just haven’t gotten to your later post. I have too many feeds in the reader. I see it now. Let’s see what happens!