Coming Soon: The Goodreads Book Club

Posted by Patrick Brown on May 9, 2011
This summer, Goodreads will take the book club experience to the next level.

On May 25, we're unveiling a new project -- the Goodreads Book Club. In celebration of our 5 millionth member, we'd like to ask you to read a book with us in June and July--along with hundreds of thousands of Goodreads members worldwide. This won't be like any book club you've ever been a part of before. Take a challenge, join chapter-by-chapter discussions of the book, watch as your friends read the book and post their comments, ask the author a question, and more. The Goodreads Book Club is a total book immersion experience, and it will culminate with a live chat with the author. Stay tuned for a special Goodreads Book Club section of the site, launching at the end of May. Let's take one book and dig in at the same time. It's our fervent belief that reading leads to the sharing of ideas and personal and societal growth. It's also fun. Our goal is to show all of the various ways people can interact with a book and, hopefully, with each other. As Oprah exits the book club stage, we enter.

For our first book club pick, we've chosen Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad. Several months ago we noticed something interesting about A Visit from the Goon Squad on our site. Although the numbers of readers were not huge, the reviews were glowing, delightful, passionate. Our members were on fire about this book. Curious, every single member of the Goodreads staff sat down and read it. And simply put, we loved the book and suspected it would appeal to a broad audience. Then came the outside accolades: Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and upcoming HBO series. Ultimately, we felt that this a timely book, one that is uniquely suited to a platform like Goodreads. And of course we really, really enjoyed reading it. We think you will too.

Here's what some of the Goodreads team thought of Goon Squad:

Tricia: "I've read that fiction is ethical in that it reminds us of the subjectivity of our experience and that it is one of the few art forms in which we can temporarily experience another person's consciousness. If that's true, then Egan's Goon Squad does that and more. The "more" being an experience of palpable interconnectivity and dependence on other people, however minor they may seem in someone's story. This book made me feel old and young, naive and wise, but most of all, like I didn't know how it was going to end. And like life, that's the funnest part."

Elizabeth: "It's a story about derailment in a way, trailing the strings of people's lives as then spin out of control and wind up where they least expect, a web of broken ambition and futile desires. It's a little edgy and certainly hip, and the writing is very, very effective."

Patrick: "The "goon" in the title of this book is time. It opens with a quote from Proust, the poet laureate of memory, about how we cannot recapture the people we were in past the places where we were those people, but rather that those people exist within us, always. And that, it seems to me, is more or less the book, in a nutshell. But, oh, how it gets there. How the story unfolds -- stories, really -- is breathtaking. This the best book I've read this year."

Louise: "You know how sometimes you'll notice something, like the shoes a stranger is wearing, or a purse across the room and it'll remind you of something and you'll end up staring into space, lost in that memory? A Visit From the Goon Squad is kind of like that. The funny thing is, I've never worn safety pins in my clothes, I've never had some 40 year old guy do coke off my bare butt, and I've never dived into a polluted river, but A Visit From the Goon Squad made me nostalgic for those events."

To kickoff the Goodreads Book Club, we are throwing a party at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York. We are thrilled to have Jennifer Egan read from her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The punk band Care Bears on Fire will perform live, and there will be party favors, surprises, and more. Admission is a $10 donation to Housing Works Bookstore Cafe. All proceeds will go to helping them fight to end AIDS and homelessness. For more information on the party, or to purchase a ticket, click here.

Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)

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message 1: by Dani (new)

Dani C Do book clubs in England!!


message 2: by Kerry-Ann (new)

Kerry-Ann (A Bookish Redhead) I'd love to go to a book club1 Sadly there is none in Northern Ireland! :( x


message 3: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown Just to clarify, only the launch party is in New York, specifically. The book club will -- including live video chat with the author -- will happen entirely online, so it is fully international in scope.


message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah McCoy Just wanted to say that I think the Goodreads Book Club is BRILLIANT, and your launching book & author couldn't be more fabulous. Kudos, my Goodreads friends! I shout your praises from the rooftops.


message 5: by Laura (new)

Laura I think it's a fantastic idea! And for those of you in other countries - just because the kickoff party is in New York, doesn't mean that most of us in the US will be able to attend either. It might as well be in England or Australia. But being online, it's accessible to everyone with internet. Can't wait to read the book.


message 6: by Linda (new)

Linda Martin I was excited when I saw Goodreads was starting a book club---great idea! In looking for this book about the Goon Squad I noticed it had been in our library since March and no one had checked it out---hum, strange for such a great book, right? Maybe not. Looking through it, reading a page here and there, I was offended by the language or life style on every page. And what's with the chapter 12 of slides? Really? Sorry, Goodread team you failed my personal test of a picking a great book. Just saying....


message 7: by Darcy (new)

Darcy Conroy I think this is a great idea! I attend two monthly book clubs here, in Sydney, but I'm moving to Bangkok in August and it might be a wee bit hard to find new ones. I hope the Book Club part of the site makes it easy for those in non US time zones to join the discussions!


message 8: by Beth (new)

Beth I was excited about this until I read Linda's comments. Now after reading Linda's comments I will have to check out the book and flip through it before I decide whether I want to participate in this venture.


message 9: by Chris (new)

Chris Kepner Great work, Goodreads. Once again showing why you're one of the most dynamic and nurturing communities for readers and writers! How can we submit titles for consideration?


message 10: by Julie (new)

Julie Klein On June 15, the Gotham Book Club will be chatting ONLINE with Jennifer Egan about her highly acclaimed novel, A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD. Here is the link: http://www.gothamnetworking.com/goth/...

All are welcome to participate!

julie klein


message 11: by Athira (new)

Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day) This is a fabulous idea! I'll be interested in seeing how this is implemented and how the discussions and chat will happen. Great job, guys!


message 12: by Susan (new)

Susan I am willing to give it a whirl.


message 13: by Chris (new)

Chris Kepner I have to disagree with you, Linda. I'm about 120 pages into GOON SQUAD and completely in love with it. The characters are beautifully drawn, the voices brilliantly conceived, the interweaving plots extremely compelling, the subtle but poignant insights on what seems like every page... I generally don't recommend a book that I haven't finished yet, but I have to make an exception here.


message 14: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca This is so awesome! How do you make the bookclub selections? Or who makes them?


message 15: by Liz (new)

Liz Brown how do you join the goodreads book club? i would like to join but don,t know how. could someone tell me. thanks


message 16: by rivka, Goodreads employee (new)

rivka Liz, stay tuned for a special Goodreads Book Club section of the site, launching at the end of May.


message 17: by Mom (new)

Mom Imagine the possibilities.... I am looking forward to the Goodreads Book Club.


message 18: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Great idea! I'll love sharing impressions with such a diverse and interesting group as the Goodreads readers!


message 19: by Liz (new)

Liz Brown how do sign up for the good reads book club?


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