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Pajiba Book Club Suggestions

By Yossarian | Comment Diversions | February 23, 2010 |

By Yossarian | Comment Diversions | February 23, 2010 |

The first iteration of the Pajiba Book club, our group read and discussion of Lolita, will be taking place here on Thursday (and carrying on well into the weekend I’m sure). But I want to take this opportunity to talk about the second, third, fourth, and beyond. There was a lot of enthusiasm over the idea of starting a book club and even if it didn’t result in all of you rushing out and reading Lolita with us I want to keep stoking that fire and encourage more and more participation to keep the idea going.

The way it is conceived right now the book club would be a monthly occurrence. With Lolita about to wrap up we need a good book to read in March and some idea of where to go after that. This comment diversion is devoted to general feedback on the book club and getting your input on what kind of books you are interested in reading.

Since this is a Pajiba book club the selections will be varied, eclectic, and non-traditional. Expect radically different choices from month to month. High quality and enough substance for good discussion will be the only constants. We definitely need some female authors represented, and I would love to see some translated fiction make it (respect the international Pajiba presence), good genre fiction, science fiction, as well as some of those classics that we didn’t pay enough attention to in school and need a good excuse to go back to. If you don’t read very often this is a good reason to get into the habit and if you do read it’s a good excuse to get out of your comfort zone and be exposed to new books and new ways of thinking about them.

I’m looking for suggestions, but coming up with book ideas is the easy part. I could name a hundred books we should read. What I really want to know is what you will read; what gets people excited and brings them in? Making suggestions is great, but seconding, thirding, and otherwise getting behind some good ideas is what I hope to see here. (That goes double for you, lurkers. Make up a name and get involved. It builds character, and members of the opposite sex will find you more attractive.) If you like an idea, say so. I will be reading and tallying up every comment, spreadsheets will probably be involved, so make yourself heard.

To get things started, here are a couple of my own suggestions:

- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I know there are a lot of Gaiman fans here, and although most of them have already read this one it is probably worth revisiting for a good reading group discussion. And it could get a lot of people who haven’t read Gaiman to read him for the first time. Those of us who want more of a challenge can read The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling along with it and discuss the connections between the two works.

- A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace. I’m not sure how many dedicated DFW fans we have here but this is really aimed at people who haven’t read him before. I would never in a million years suggest his fiction in a book club, that’s just asking for 80 percent attrition, but his nonfiction is another story. His nonfiction is accessible and brilliant. Just trust me and give it an hour or two of your time. When tethered to reality his style becomes manageable and his talent for observation of detail and making connections, defamiliarizing the world making things new and beautiful, will blow you away. The anchor of this collection is a 100 page travelogue about a trip on a Caribbean cruise ship. A thematically similar essay on State Fairs would give rise to plenty of structured discussion. Add to that essays on tennis, television, and David Lynch movies and this is the perfect non-traditional Pajiba book club selection.

- And after we settle down from LolitaCatch-22, anyone?

What do you think?

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.