For many years, I’ve been a fan of endurance sport, be it cycling (mountain biking), paddling, running (trial running FTW!)… I’ve discovered being a fan (of participating) doesn’t mean I successfully motivate myself to do it often enough. Typically I have to enter for a race in order to motivate me to train regularly enough to achieve a good level of fitness. (And even then, I don’t train enough.)
A great solution to the motivation problem? A training partner! Anyone that’s been there knows how much that helps with motivation. I’ve found this to be true even in the case of downhill skiing! If you’re feeling like being lazy, it takes only one in the group to stand firm to help others overcome their laziness.
So that’s one reason, but certainly also not the only reason for a book club! The other stronger reason is because there’s so many interesting things to discuss in a group, each member can contribute their own experiences that seem relevant to the thoughts encountered, or maybe certain sections raise questions for some that are best answered by other real live people in a conversation. It’s just like the comments and discussions below a blog, it contributes significantly to the experience of a post.
So how would this work, a blog-run book club? Well, if there’s interest, we’d read a certain section each week, or every two weeks, or whatever, and then “come together” on the blog, someone (me?) will write a short summary or intro about the section we’ve read, then we’ll discuss! Just like usual. In an ideal world, it would be possible to limit the main conversation to members of the “club”, i.e. the people that are actually reading the book. (If it’s more than just me, of course… ) In fact, I’d want the comments of the members (readers) highlighted, emphasized, the primary focus, but still provide another area for observers to contribute as well, especially if their field of expertise is relevant to the discussion. We’ll see, but to start with, it will be a plain old blog post with plain old comments like we have here.
Without much further ado, here’s the list of books I’m keen on reading, to see if there’s any interest in others joining in:
- Peter Rollins, How (Not) to Speak of God followed by The Fidelity of Betrayal
- Brian McLaren, Everything Must Change
- Marcus Borg, I’ve not finished reading, and am prepared to restart: The Last Week and Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, and happily re-read the whole of Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time
- Marcus Borg and NT Wright, The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions
- Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God
- CS Lewis, The Four Loves
- Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis or Sex God
- Richard Rohr, Adam’s Return
- William M. Schniedewind, How the Bible Became a Book
- St. Paul: 1 Thessalonians, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Romans… Written in the name of Paul: the Pastoral epistles, Acts of Paul and Thecla (apocrypha)… Matthew, Mark, Luke, John… this one will be a really tough long-term course, in particular I want to follow Philip Harland’s podcasts, coming at all of these from a historian’s perspective, and if I have time, also supplement it with anything else I can find (e.g. material from other related books on this list).
- David Wilkerson, The Cross and the Switchblade — arguably the book that started it all for me, I sometimes feel like going back to see what influenced me. The Vision — arguably the first point at which it all started falling apart (that took long), to be read with some humour, a 1974 visions of the end of the world. I’d love to read some 16th/17th/18th century end-of-the-world literature as well.
- Al Lovejoy, Acid Alex — I may have trouble getting my hands on this in Europe.
- Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
- Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
- Dale McGowan, Parenting Beyond Belief followed by Raising Freethinkers
- Steven Pinker… someone recommended a book to me when I expressed interest in some linguistic things, I think it was Words and Rules?
- Chris Turney, Bones, Rocks and Stars – The Science of When Things Happened
- Carl Sagan, Billions and Billions, The Varieties of Scientific Experience, The Demon-Haunted World (shock, horror: I haven’t finished reading it yet, I’ll happily restart from the beginning)
- Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man
- Ernst Mayr, What Evolution Is – tricky one, we’re talking university textbook here
Any interest? And you’re welcome to vote for books here even if you’re not going to join in on reading them (say so though), since what I read will certainly have some influence on what I blog, and you’re all readers of this blog. What would you want me to write about?
And on top of all that, any recommendations?