Catching up on Classics (and lots more!) discussion

56 views
New School Classics- 1900-1999 > Mockingbird Getting Organized

Comments Showing 1-22 of 22 (22 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Paul (new)

Paul (pleasantman) | 20 comments I'm new to GoodReads, so I'm curious about how we organize for our May 2014 reading of Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird."

ABOUT THE BOOK (No Spoilers) - 31 CHAPTERS
From an organizational standpoint, I'll mention the following (without risk of any spoilers): The book has 31 chapters. May 2014 has 4 weeks, and the book can easily be broken into 4 parts:
(a) Chapters 1-7;
(b) Chapters 8-16;
(c) Chapters 17-23; and
(d) Chapters 24-31.

So how do we organize?

HOW DO WE ORGANIZE? - A SUGGESTION
Paul's Suggestion: My thought would be that we start 4 "No Spoilers" topics. The first topic would be entitled "Chapters 1-7 (No Spoilers of Material After Chapter 7)". We would all try to read Chapters 1-7 by Friday May 9, so we could all begin discussing Chapters 1-7 during the days that follow.

The second topic would be "Chapters 8-16 (No Spoilers of Material After Chapter 16)", and we would all try to complete our reading of that material by Friday May 16, so that we could all begin discussing Chapters 8-16 during the days that follow.

And so on for the remaining two parts and the remaining two Fridays of the month of May 2014...

Also, you could create a separate, parallel, set of the 4 topics for folks who aren't concerned about Spoilers and who want to be able to talk about the entire book (for example, about foreshadowing, etc.) throughout. These topics could be entitled "Chapters 1-7 (Wide Open Discussion - Spoilers Welcomed)" for example.

However, perhaps this approach is too structured, too heavy-handed. I'm writing in search of suggestions from ANYONE with more experience than I about such things here at GoodReads.

PATH FORWARD
I created this topic "Getting Organized", so that we could discuss this. After everyone's made suggestions / commented, perhaps one of the more experienced group members or moderators could then create a post entitled "Reading Plan" or something similar, so that we can all read, enjoy, and discuss this book together.

Am so looking forward to this. The only thing better than reading a great book is reading it and discussing it with other book lovers.

Look forward to any comments, suggestions, or guidance. Sorry for the length of the post.


message 2: by MK (last edited May 01, 2014 03:55PM) (new)

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Hi Paul,

First, thanks for the great ideas! For smaller books like this, we're going to try to go with just two threads, one for *spoilers*, and one for *no spoilers*. If books get split into too many threads, it tends to inhibit conversation, rather than promote it, because of the effect that cutting the conversation off seems to have. And also, people read at different paces, so if they're finished, it can be difficult to remember what happened in say, chapter 8 as opposed to chapter 14.

For longer books, or books that a specific thread topic would be of interest, we'll use more threads, But, I think we'll stick with two for awhile, see if that makes the conversations flow easier.


message 3: by MK (new)

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments I just picked up my copy from the library. In looking at the book, I see it's broken up into Part One, and Part Two.

So, how about a separate spoiler discussion thread for Part One, and Part Two can be discussed with spoilers in a second thread, which can include discussion for the whole book?

That should allow for some incremental discussion, without truncating the conversation so much, that it inhibits discussion. :)


message 4: by Paul (last edited May 01, 2014 09:02AM) (new)

Paul (pleasantman) | 20 comments In this post, I identify a potential problem (and a proposed solution) regarding how our topics are identified for our reading of To Kill a Mockingbird during May 2014.

Sorry for the delay in my response to your last post (long hours at work are the culprit), but I do care about the topic, so I'm responding now. Also, I'm nervous about continuing the discussion, because I don't want to seem like a "problem child" member of the group reading this wonderful work.

THE PROBLEM
Your last few posts are confusing to me for one simple reason: it's not clear to me how your current approach protects those readers who would genuinely like to (a) talk about Mockingbird in detail and (b) rigorously avoid "spoilers".

As it stands, we now have 3 topics:

Topic #0: Mockingbird: First Impressions *No Spoilers, please*”

Topic #1: “Mockingbird Discussion, Part 1 ONLY *Spoilers*”

Topic #2: “Mockingbird Discussion, Part 2/Book as a Whole *Spoilers*”

Regardless of the titles, I maintain that ALL 3 TOPICS present the LIKELIHOOD that the reader will experience “spoilers”.

Let’s assume that you want to talk about the book in detail, but that it is Very Important to you that you be able to avoid “spoilers” (as it is for many readers). What will the reader think when he / she encounters these 3 topics?

Obviously, Topic #2 is open for discussions regarding the whole book, and so spoilers will abound. The reader will avoid this thread (possibly until after reading the entire book).

Topic #1 also says it’s open for spoilers. That is, even though Topic #1 says it is focused on “Part 1 ONLY”, it also says “Spoilers”, so spoilers from throughout the book are allowed. Bottom line: the title of this topic is ambiguous. It says “Part 1 ONLY” but it also says “*Spoilers*”, and so the reader who is fearful of a spoiler will avoid this topic too.

Finally, Topic #0 says “No Spoilers”, but there’s a problem. Because it’s an open topic for the ENTIRE book, you have no idea, on any given date, where the various readers are in their reading, and so Tom, Dick, Harry, and Curly will all be simultaneously making posts regarding chapters 3, 6, 9, and 12, and thus three of the four readers (75% of the readers) will be experiencing spoilers.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION
I would rename Topic #1 as follows:

Topic #1: “Mockingbird Discussion, Part 1 ONLY *NO Spoilers*”

This way, everyone knows that, at this topic, they should ONLY post comments / discussion regarding things they’ve read in Part 1. They should NOT post comments / discussion regarding things they’ve read in Part 2.


message 5: by MK (last edited May 01, 2014 09:35AM) (new)

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Paul wrote: "A SIMPLE SOLUTION
I would rename Topic #1 as follows:

Topic #1: “Mockingbird Discussion, Part 1 ONLY *NO Spoilers*”"



Great idea! I'll do that now. Thanks, Paul :)


Edit, I can't, I'll explain in another post


message 6: by MK (new)

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments MK wrote: "Edit, I can't, I'll explain in another post"


I'm sorry, Paul, I spoke too fast. There is generally only one thread for NO spoilers. The rest of the threads are for discussing the book, or the section of the book (and anything preceding that point, if they'd like).

If you have a suggestion to clarify the title for Part One, so that only spoilers relevant to Part One are permitted, then I'd consider that as a good option.

I understand your concern about spoilers. Many share it. I would just urge courtesy by our members in restricting spoilers to areas under discussion.

However, breaking it into too many posts, for short works, especially, cuts off conversation altogether, so that isn't desirable either.

A happy medium between freedom to speak, and freedom not to have the story wrecked, is generally achieved with one non-spoiler thread, and care in posting/reading after that.


message 7: by MK (new)

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Hi Paul,

I appreciate our off-line conversation. I've had a chance to talk to Cindy and Bob about it as well, and I think we're going to stick with just one non-spoiler thread. I asked them to stop by and post, when they have some free time.

I apologize for confusing you!
- mk :)


message 8: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Brown (beautygoodbook) Paul wrote: "I'm new to GoodReads, so I'm curious about how we organize for our May 2014 reading of Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird."

ABOUT THE BOOK (No Spoilers) - 31 CHAPTERS
From an organizational standpoint, ..."


Hi Paul
Thanks for the input but at this time I think we are going to go with just one non spoiler thread. Some of our reads in the future will probably be broken up into parts to make the discussions of such long and detailed books easier.


message 9: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new)

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
Paul wrote: "I'm new to GoodReads, so I'm curious about how we organize for our May 2014 reading of Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird."

ABOUT THE BOOK (No Spoilers) - 31 CHAPTERS
From an organizational standpoint, ..."


Paul if I understand your assertion you want to break the book down into 4 sections. No discussion could take place till May 9th when by then the group is to have read the first 7 chapters. A Discussion page is then opened to discuss any aspect plot, character, etc. including spoilers through the first 7 chapters, but not beyond. Then repeat this procedure three more times till all 4 sections are complete.

First this seems way too dictatorial. The discussion system you describe only sounds feasible for a classroom setting. This group has members from all over the world, different ages, and different levels of education, and different reading speeds. This also does not protect future members wanting to catch up on group books they have not yet read. Paul your system exposes them to spoilers with no warning, since all discussions could have spoilers.

Our group system is not perfect but it does try and allow members to read at their own pace, and tries for reasonable protection from plot spoilers. Our book discussion folders are always open and members can make comments any time. There is no way that a member can be completely protected from exposure to a written spoiler. The only exception to this would be for concerned members to not look at any discussions threads till after they read the book. I think most people will risk reading a spoiler simply because one of the reasons for joining the group is participating and learning from each other.

Paul your method doesn’t offer any more protection against members reading spoilers than the current method. Members must always be prepared to encounter a spoiler, even if the thread is designed to not have any. People make mistakes and the ease in which a mistake can be made increases given our groups multi-national make up. English is not the first language for many of our members. This group is meant for people to enjoy. To discuss their love of reading, gain perspective on how different members may perceive and view a book. I for one am looking forward to reading how people around the world like or dislike “To Kill A Mockingbird”

Each member must assume personal responsibility in deciding what posts to read or not read. If a discussion thread lists a topic as having NO Spoilers, expect a spoiler even though there should not be one. If a discussion thread lists a topic as having Spoilers, expect detailed information about a books plot, characters, and author, as well as member’s personal feelings about liking or disliking the story.


message 10: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Bob wrote: "Paul wrote: "I'm new to GoodReads, so I'm curious about how we organize for our May 2014 reading of Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird."

ABOUT THE BOOK (No Spoilers) - 31 CHAPTERS
From an organizational..."


Agreed. We can never be spoiler free in posts, as some people WILL forget, even if the thread states no spoilers. If this is a HUGE issue, or when I really don't want to find out what happens, then I stay away from threads completely until I'm finished with the book.

Having one thread for no spoilers and others to discuss more in depth is the only way that it makes sense for discussions, trying to give everyone an option of how and where to post, without having crazy multiple threads for every couple of chapters. Personally I have HATED discussion threads that split books too much, as it always stilts conversation, as you have to remember which chapter to stop and discuss, or if you read past that point, try and remember where to stop discussing things. I find this works better with buddy reads, but not with monthly group reads.


message 11: by MK (new)

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Pink wrote: "...Having one thread for no spoilers and others to discuss more in depth is the only way that it makes sense for discussions, trying to give everyone an option of how and where to post, without having crazy multiple threads for every couple of chapters. Personally I have HATED discussion threads that split books too much, as it always stilts conversation, as you have to remember which chapter to stop and discuss, or if you read past that point, try and remember where to stop discussing things. ..."


Yes, this a million times. I've noticed it in others, that conversation is hard when it's too split up. And, personally, I've noticed it as well. It becomes fairly difficult to remember what happened exactly where in a book, the more time that passes, so for fear of posting in the wrong spot, I just won't post at all. Unless I'm literally reading - posting - reading - posting - etc.


message 12: by MK (new)

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments I've just had another PM exchange with Paul, I *think*, but I'm not certain, that his main concern is to make sure that posts in Part One do not discuss anything that happens in Part Two.

I was hoping the title did that, but I can try to make it clearer, by posting a warning in the Part One thread.

Would that work?


message 13: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2384 comments MK wrote: "I was hoping the title did that, but I can try to make it clearer, by posting a warning in the Part One thread.

Would that work? ..."


It should. And the way we're doing it is pretty standard around here for groups that break their discussions up into multiple threads.

If I saw a thread that had "No Spoilers" in the title, I would assume that to mean no spoilers at all for any of the chapters!



And I agree with limiting the number of threads. I'm generally a quick reader so the more threads there are, the more I get confused about what comment goes where. Personally, I really dislike the discussions in groups where they post a new thread each week for that week's chapters. If I read at the beginning of the month, I'm done long before they post their "final thoughts" thread. If I read at the end of the month, they're long done discussing the first few chapters. I never seem to hit a happy medium so I just stopped participating altogether.


message 14: by MK (new)

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Okay, thanks for feedback, Melanti. I'll try to edit in comments about not posting Part Two spoilers into the Part One thread.


message 15: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9558 comments Mod
Yes, notice that the few books where I split up the discussion. It was the "book as a whole" thread that got used. So I stopped splitting up the reads except for really long ones -- like War and Peace.

Mods -- you are doing a great job.


message 16: by MK (new)

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Yes, I noticed that too, Kathy, about the 'book as a whole' threads. And, thanks!

We're winging it! :D (heh)


message 17: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new)

Bob | 4959 comments Mod
Pink and Melanti make a good point. I am also not a big fan of a books being broken down into small parts. I also understand that some books maybe helped in the discussion by this process, but I think they need to be larger books.


message 18: by Paul (new)

Paul (pleasantman) | 20 comments Wow! Everyone, thanks for the wonderful (and thoughtful) comments.

I'm writing now for two reasons.

First, to apologize if ANY of my suggestions or comments caused offense or consternation in any way. Although they were well-intentioned, I think I must have fallen into the trap of proposing more structure than perhaps is necessary. My fault. No excuse. Please forgive me.

Second, I wanted to advise that I am more than happy to proceed under the status quo, and I so look forward to talking about all that lies ahead in this wonderful book. We clearly have a thoughtful and considerate group looking forward to reading this book, and I'm humbled by the opportunity to participate.

Lee opened Mockingbird with the quote: "Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." I'm going to reach deep inside, locate my inner child, and simply look forward to sharing this book with all of you.

Warmest regards,

Paul


message 19: by MK (new)

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Bob wrote: "Pink and Melanti make a good point. I am also not a big fan of a books being broken down into small parts. I also understand that some books maybe helped in the discussion by this process, but I ..."

Agreed.


message 20: by MK (new)

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Paul, I posted an additional warning inside the Part One thread. I hope that will help assuage your worries :).


message 21: by Paul (new)

Paul (pleasantman) | 20 comments MK wrote: "Paul, I posted an additional warning inside the Part One thread. I hope that will help assuage your worries :)."

Yep! Totally.


message 22: by MK (new)

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Paul wrote: "MK wrote: "Paul, I posted an additional warning inside the Part One thread. I hope that will help assuage your worries :)."

Yep! Totally."


Fabulous :)


back to top

40148

Catching up on Classics (and lots more!)

unread topics | mark unread


Books mentioned in this topic

War and Peace (other topics)