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General > Planning for June 2011 read

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message 1: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments It's still early to start planning our June, 2011 read (after Moby Dick and an interim read), but I have a thought to put out.

Up to now, we've read entirely fiction. I'm thinking of setting up the June selection as a poll among nonfiction works. Just skimming our bookshelf, some of the titles the random generator would be asked to pick from would include Plato's Republic to Augustine's Confessions to Aristotle's Ethics to Herodotus's Histories to The Education of Henry Adams to Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin to the Federalist Papers to the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and many others.

Is this an idea which appeals, or do people really not want to be offered only nonfiction titles to pick our next book from?


message 2: by Galicius (new)

Galicius | 43 comments Good suggestion. All for it.


message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Myers (the_chestertonian) I like the idea. Fiction is great, but some solid nonfiction would be an excellent balance. I'll be on summer break from school, so I would particularly enjoy being motivated to keep my mind active with something requiring a lot of concentration and thought.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Great idea!


message 5: by Bill (new)

Bill (BIll_B) | 250 comments Patrice wrote: "What a coincidence! I spent the day telling people that I cannot read one more piece of literature! I've had it! I'm a non-fiction person.

Then my prof said that she loves, loves, loves, Cons..."


Patrice, I liked Consolation of Philosophy as well, its been a long time since I read it, and would love reading it with this group.


message 6: by Sasha (new)

Sasha Love to read some non-fiction and was delighted to find Boethius being spruked. The references to him during Canterbury Tales discussions were tantalising.


message 7: by Roger (new)

Roger Burk | 1465 comments Boethius is Best!


message 8: by Alias Reader (last edited Mar 12, 2011 07:55AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 180 comments I would love to read The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin~ Benjamin Franklin with this group !

I tend to prefer non fiction, so I am all for your idea. :)


message 9: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 53 comments Sounds good to me. I try to always have a fiction and non-fiction canonical/classic on the go.


message 10: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4065 comments Count me in. A little philosophy or history would be a nice change of pace.


message 11: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Normally, I choose our list of selections at random from the bookshelf list. But for this choice, it might be good also (or even instead) to solicit suggestions as to what nonfiction people would be interested in reading.

No absolute guarantees (I don't care how many people suggest Faraday's Experimental Researches in Electricity, I'm not putting it on the voting list!), but I think it's likely that any nonfiction book with at least three suggesters (you can suggest more than one book, but don't go hog wild!) will make the list.

Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy already qualifies.


message 12: by Ibis3 (last edited Mar 12, 2011 04:22PM) (new)

Ibis3 | 53 comments I've got both Aristotle's Metaphysics and Vico's Principles of a New Science burning holes on my bookshelf. Wouldn't mind A Journal of the Plague Year*, De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things), or the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius either.

*ETA: technically, this one might be classed as fiction, since the narrator is a fictional creation...


message 13: by Bill (last edited Mar 12, 2011 04:45PM) (new)

Bill (BIll_B) | 250 comments Ibis3 wrote: "I've got both Aristotle's Metaphysics and Vico's Principles of a New Science burning holes on my bookshelf. Wouldn't mind A Journal of the Plague Year*, [bo..."


I'm fond of Meditations, myself, and will be your second suggester of this one, leaving only one more to go.

Everyman--when you say don't go 'hog wild', with suggestions, I think this is an important admonition. However, can you be more specific? For example, Ibis3 just suggested 5 books. I've seconded two. Are either one of us approaching hog wild territory?

Perhaps we could add as many to the list as interest us, but be limited to a specific amount of seconds? But then again, we could end up with so many on the first time suggestion list, that seconds are too dispersed. Whew! this is complicated.


message 14: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Bill wrote: "Perhaps we could add as many to the list as interest us, but be limited to a specific amount of seconds? But then again, we could end up with so many on the first time suggestion list, that seconds are too dispersed. Whew! this is complicated.
"


I would say that three is a pretty good number to propose or support, though Ibis is fine since she got in early. But I'm not ironclad about it; if you've supported three and then somebody comes in with one you really want to read, I wouldn't get too upset about your saying so. Basically, I want a fairly limited (to keep the voting somewhat compact) selection of books that people not so much wouldn't mind reading, but really want to read or perhaps even better wanted to read for some time but haven't had the gumption to tackle, but the support of this forum might help them over the hump to actually get to it.

But you're right, ti gets complicated, which is why I like the random-selection-from-the-bookshelf. Anybody can put anything they want to on there, but the random number generator tells us what goes into the voting list.


message 15: by Traveller (last edited Mar 13, 2011 07:15AM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 27 comments 1. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Actually any book on this topic would be extremely cool for me, but I linked to the one by Gibbon.

2. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

3. The Republic by Plato.

I think these are already on the shelf, but I'm listing them as "want to read" items. :) (Well, I have all of them and partly read them, but would love to do them with the group.)


message 16: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Including the books I mentioned in the first post (yeah, it's unfair, that was more than three, but if anybody told you that life is always fair they lied!) here are the books that have been suggested with the number of supporters (those that have already made the cut are bolded):

Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (1)
Aristotle, Ethics (1)
Aristotle, Metaphysics (1)
Augustine, Confessions (1)
Aurelius, Meditations (3)
Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy (4)
Defoe, Journal of a Plague Year (1)
Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (2)
Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (2)
Herodotus, Histories (1)
Lucretius, On the Nature of Things (1)
Plato, Republic (2)
Various, Federalist Papers (1)
Vico, Principles of a New Science (1)


message 17: by Bill (new)

Bill (BIll_B) | 250 comments I'd like to use my third, and final, second in support of Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.


message 18: by Sasha (new)

Sasha Thanks, Bill, you saved me the trouble. I don't think I could handle Gibbon on my own! Actually, I can hardly even lift it up on my own :/


message 19: by Larinmtz (new)

Larinmtz | 22 comments Everyman wrote: "Including the books I mentioned in the first post (yeah, it's unfair, that was more than three, but if anybody told you that life is always fair they lied!) here are the books that have been sugges..."

I would second the Aristotle (either one) and be a third for Plato. Thucydides anybody?


message 20: by Traveller (last edited Mar 13, 2011 02:03PM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 27 comments Hah, but that was two more for Decline and Fall! :D Yay!
Say, could we do this for the next reading after that as well?

Btw, I'd like to do the Lucretius sometime too. And Aristotle. A lot of enticing reads you have there, Eman!


message 21: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Larinmtz wrote: "I would second the Aristotle (either one) and be a third for Plato. Thucydides anybody? "

Okay on the second (third) for the Republic, since that's the only Plato on the menu so far.

Are you saying you want to second both Aristotles, or do you want to pick one?

And are you nominating Thucydides (presumably the History of the Peloponnesian wars) or just sniffing around for interest?

Decisiveness, please! [g]


message 22: by Galicius (new)

Galicius | 43 comments 1. Boethius
2. Augustine
3. Gibbon


message 23: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Traveller wrote: "Btw, I'd like to do the Lucretius sometime too. And Aristotle. "

Were those formal seconds?

I need people to be specific, please.

"I nominate......"

or

"I second....."

And specific work, not just author, please.

I don't know how to interpret these general expressions of interest. I haven't done anything with your post, Traveler, so you still have all your seconds to issue.


message 24: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Traveller wrote: "Say, could we do this for the next reading after that as well?"

Not quite sure what you mean by "this." Do you mean non-fictions specifically? Or do you just mean the nominating/seconding process?


message 25: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Here's whee we stand (Treveller not yet having any seconds of record):

Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (1)
Aristotle, Ethics (1)
Aristotle, Metaphysics (1)
Augustine, Confessions (1)
Aurelius, Meditations (3)
Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy (4)
Defoe, Journal of a Plague Year (1)
Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (2)
Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (3)
Herodotus, Histories (1)
Lucretius, On the Nature of Things (1)
Plato, Republic (3)
Various, Federalist Papers (1)
Vico, Principles of a New Science (1)


message 26: by Julie (new)

Julie (readerjules) I third the autobiography of Ben Franklin


message 27: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4065 comments 1. Republic
2. Aristotle's Ethics
3. Augustine

Isn't the unabridged Gibbon like five or six thousand pages in length? How long would the group take to read it? And is there a prize for the last one standing?


message 28: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 13, 2011 03:34PM) (new)

I third "Augustine, Confessions".

I was interested in "Journal of a Plague Year" but it seems to be a work of fiction. Could it be added to the regular list as a future option?


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

Thomas wrote: "Isn't the unabridged Gibbon like five or six thousand pages in length?"

That's what I thought! That's more than a little daunting.


message 30: by Larinmtz (new)

Larinmtz | 22 comments Everyman wrote: "Larinmtz wrote: "I would second the Aristotle (either one) and be a third for Plato. Thucydides anybody? "

Okay on the second (third) for the Republic, since that's the only Plato on the menu so f..."


I'm open to either Aristotle, but for the sake of decisiveness (not my strong suit at times, I'm afraid), I'll say "Ethics." Yes, I was referring to "The History of the Peloponnesian War" with Thucydides. Along with Plato's "Republic," of course. :)


message 31: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments M wrote: "Thomas wrote: "Isn't the unabridged Gibbon like five or six thousand pages in length?"

That's what I thought! That's more than a little daunting."


The Great Books of the Western World covers it in 1,700 pages, but they're oversize pages. That's a bit more than all of Shakespeare takes. Yes, it's lengthy, but then, it covers an incredible amount of history. I have dipped into it from time to time, but have probably only read a total of 10% of it. I would love to tackle the whole work, personally, but it would be a fairly major undertaking and people would have to be prepared to make a significant commitment.


message 32: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Current status. Looks like some very interesting choices.

Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (1)
Aristotle, Ethics (3)
Aristotle, Metaphysics (1)
Augustine, Confessions (3)
Aurelius, Meditations (3)
Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy (5)
Defoe, Journal of a Plague Year (1)
Erasmus, In Praise of Folly (1)
Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (3)
Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (3)
Herodotus, Histories (1)
Lucretius, On the Nature of Things (1)
Plato, Republic (6)
Various, Federalist Papers (1)
Vico, Principles of a New Science (1)


message 33: by Sasha (new)

Sasha Everyman wrote: "M wrote: "Thomas wrote: "Isn't the unabridged Gibbon like five or six thousand pages in length?"

That's what I thought! That's more than a little daunting."

The Great Books of the Western World c..."


Perhaps we could do specific chapters? I have an abridged version, which has some complete chapters and some abridged chapters.


message 34: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Right now, we have seven excellent choices, a nice range of options, with at least three votes each. Nobody else has more than one. Since voting on more than seven choices starts to spread votes out too much, I'm strongly inclined to quit here and call those our choices for the next reading poll. Since I didn't announce an end to this process earlier, I'll allow another day or two for people to make impassioned pleas for one or two of the others if they aren't happy with any of these choices and really want to push something else, but otherwise this list will be it.

Once we have a final list, we'll allow a period of lobbying and then put up the poll.

Meanwhile, I hope you're getting on well with Moby Dick. I am actually finding it quite interesting with lots of points to discuss. But then, I haven't gotten to the cetology parts yet!


message 35: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 53 comments Everyman wrote: "M wrote: "Thomas wrote: "Isn't the unabridged Gibbon like five or six thousand pages in length?"

That's what I thought! That's more than a little daunting."

The Great Books of the Western World c..."


Perhaps, instead of doing an abridged version (my heart is crying out already at the mere mention of the "a" word), if this is chosen we could break it up and do it in sections. Wikipedia says
Volume I was published in 1776, and went through six printings. Volumes II and III were published in 1781; volumes IV, V, VI in 1788–89


We could start with Volume I, and do an interim read or even a whole other major work, then read Volumes II and III, another work, then Volumes IV-VI.


message 36: by Sasha (new)

Sasha I am glad we're starting MD soon, I am starting to get a bit stuck and I am looking forward to having my GR friends give me some impetus to keep on reading.


message 37: by Traveller (last edited Mar 13, 2011 11:41PM) (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 27 comments Ok, I'm slightly confused now - I thought we each had 3 votes, and my 3 votes were:

1. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
by Gibbon.

2. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

3. The Republic by Plato.

Having every second month a non-fiction read like this would be nice, and also what Ibis3 mentioned - cut Gibbon up. ..if Gibbon got the vote, it might have to be that, or could we vote about rather doing the abridged version?

On a side note: I do hope I'll be excused for being a bit squeamish and sitting out with the Moby Dick reading. I've always loved whales and have detested whale hunting, and therefore have always avoided the book. :) Looking forward to Jude in the other group though!


message 38: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 53 comments On a side note: I do hope I'll be excused for being a bit squeamish and sitting out with the Moby Dick reading. I've always loved whales and have detested whale hunting, and therefore have always avoided the book. :) Looking forward to Jude in the other group though!"

I'm of the same mind as you about whaling and generally avoid any books that contain cruelty to animals, so I was wary of MD too. But I was quite surprised and had no problem reading the whole thing. I think Ishmael's (Melville's?) attitude toward whales and whaling made the difference. The book turned out to actually be quite funny and informative. It sent me on a journey to compare what we know of whales now as compared to then. I ended up giving it a 10 out of 10.


message 39: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Traveller wrote: "On a side note: I do hope I'll be excused for being a bit squeamish and sitting out with the Moby Dick reading. I've always loved whales and have detested whale hunting, and therefore have always avoided the book. :) "

There is a lot more to Moby Dick than whale hunting, and indeed I think, from what I've read so far, you wold find it very sympathetic to your point of view. Not that they don't kill whales, because they do, but there is a lot else going on that, I would suggest, is very worth reading. Madge has said she intends to skip certain of the more violent chapters; perhaps you might want to join her in that approach?

But if you really don't want to, of course you shouldn't.


message 40: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Traveller wrote: "Ok, I'm slightly confused now - I thought we each had 3 votes, and my 3 votes were:"

It was confusing because I wasn't really clear about it even in my own mind at first-- it was just an idea that developed as we went along.

It wound up with the idea that each person got three initial suggestions to add to the list, and in addition to that could "second" three suggestions made by others. In retrospect maybe that was a bit too generous, but it seems to have worked out fine. And all three of your book made it onto the final list, so it worked out fine that way for you


message 41: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary | 232 comments I'd love to read Boswell's Life of Johnson- anyone?

And I'd give a second to Plague Year- I think it can squeak in as nonfiction, yes?

Given that list, I'll be plumping for Augustine- I've read him before but never been able to discuss him!


message 42: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 27 comments @Ibis3 and Eman: Ah, thanks for the elucidation re Moby D. Will peek through one eye, gingerly. :)

Everyman wrote:
It was confusing because... ....so it worked out fine that way for you

Ok, well, - then may the best book win! :D


message 43: by Lily (last edited Mar 14, 2011 07:28PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 4646 comments I suspect this is too late to generate much interest this round, but I would like to nominate Montaigne's Essays, a book into which I enjoy dipping from time to time and believe would be enjoyable to work through as a group. So while suggested for "serious" consideration, this is also a "test" to see if any one else out there is interested in this author and his ruminations on life et al.


message 44: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Myers (the_chestertonian) I second Lily's nomination of Montaigne's Essays, and also support Erasmus' In Praise of Folly and Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy.


message 45: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Lily wrote: "I suspect this is too late to generate much interest this round, but I would like to nominate Montaigne's Essays, a book into which I enjoy dipping from time to time and believe wo..."

I think I'll stick with the existing list.

I agree with your approach of dipping into Montaigne; I have thought of using some of his essays for Interim Reads, but I'm not sure that reading the full collection straight through as a regular selection would be the best approach to him. But the Essays are on our bookshelf, so will probably come up at some point in the usual course of events to be voted on, at which time people are perfectly free to disagree with me and vote for reading it as a regular read.


message 46: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (moontravlr) | 27 comments Oops, I forgot to second the Erasmus. Probably too late now, but just in case.


message 47: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Traveller wrote: "Oops, I forgot to second the Erasmus. Probably too late now, but just in case."

Yep, sorry, too late. But that would only have given it two votes anyhow.


message 48: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Okay, here is the selection of works which will go up on the poll for our next vote:

Aristotle, Ethics
Augustine, Confessions
Aurelius, Meditations
Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy
Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (3)
Plato, Republic

A really nice, diversified selection of offerings. Lobbying may now begin in earnest, with the poll being put up whenever I decide to get around to it.


message 49: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments One note: I am generally opposed to reading abridgments of works. This would include Gibbon. So if you vote for it, you're voting for the whole work. It would probably occupy us for most of the summer, but on the other hand it's a momentous work covering nearly 1,300 years of the history of one of the (if not the) greatest empires in the history of the world with enormous impacts on subsequent historians and thinkers. If one believes that "those who do not understand history are destined to repeat it' the book may be of great importance to us in looking at what may be the possible future of what could be called the American Empire.

This isn't to say that this is the book we should pick. I frankly don't yet know which of these works I will vote for (there isn't a single one I would regret seeing win the poll. And I may keep the remaining selections around and resubmit them as another poll a year or so from now.) I guess what I'm saying is, don't take it off the table because it's long. The length may well be part of what makes it so valuable to read.


message 50: by Andreea (last edited Mar 15, 2011 12:10PM) (new)

Andreea (andyyy) Couldn't we somehow vote which volumes from Gibbon to read and make the ones that we didn't read this time around eligible to be voted again next time? I think it would encourage people to vote for it (since it's easier to commit to a book that has under 1,000 pages than to one that has more) and we could have a poll to decide whether to read the remaining volumes after we finish the first ones.


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