First off, this idea came about from my dissatisfaction from the way books are spoken about so dogmatically, and negatively, on places like Goodreads and Amazons review areas, or forums. Not all these areas harbor such vitriolic patterns of speech about one’s opinions on books, but there does seem to be a bad habit infecting these places, where it’s getting harder for people to engage with books in such a way that is intellectually-stimulating, challenging, and above all, truly conducive for the sharing of different opinions. Having seen the way many such book groups operate successfully and civilly on these sites and in physical meeting places, I wanted carve out such a space here on this fairly popular book blog. It is the ideal launching pad, to really initiate a wider discussion of books, and to above all, encourage thoughtful, critical methods of engaging with literature. This isn’t about how fast you finished the book, nor about having a certain ideologically sound opinion (oftentimes described with respects as to having a “factual opinion,” an oxymoron if there ever was one), or attacking a certain title or author as a collective group of cyber mobs. There is a way to maintain the wit, the acerbic humor, and snark that is commonplace to discussions, without having the discussion devolve into strident attacks on others, or things that dissuade wide, open, honest discussion on a book. Once you hold a certain opinion as being the only valid one, you suddenly stop the discussion from continuing.
Back in early 2014, I developed the group Lestat’s Book Coven, as foremost a way of celebrating Anne Rice’s slated release of the newest entry in the long-running Vampire Chronicles series- Prince Lestat. More important, the group has successfully paved the way of succeeding in hosting a safe forum for large numbers of people with a wide array of contrasting opinions to safely and enthusiastically engage in dialogue about books for which they are passionate about. Readers should be the ones who understand the most that a good book opens itself up to many, many different opinions. With the anti-democratic conduct recently of some mobs though overrunning review sites with dogmatic opinions, based on not reading a book, it is harder to read and discuss books.
As a seasoned reader, one of the original things that really saddened me as a reader was the way fans of certain series have routinely been bullied, including fans of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books. For some reason, the snark and criticism began not taking the form of actually discussing the content of the book, but whether or not fans of a certain series deserve to be called out upon their supposed “poor taste in literature.” For awhile, that sort of mean dialogue about book readers, regardless of how I felt personally about the Twilight series, really exhausted me, left me feeling winded, but ultimately sad that people are having trouble behaving maturely, when discussing what they love, or perhaps loathe. You can do both, without verbal slaying or attacking of another person, or downright vehement hatred shown towards a book’s fan-base as a whole.
That is why this book club is being created, in an effort to propagate, or spread the idea of “Civil Reading,” a way of reading that goes beyond petty insults or attacks on other readers, but actually conversation about the books themselves. We are choosing as our first three noteworthy selections for the months of October, November, and December, in 2015, the three titles that comprise the All Soul’s Trilogy, by author Deborah Harkness. From the outset, it is a book that can easily be pigeonholed as seeming like Twilight, but with witches and daemons, and vampires impervious to direct sunlight ( without the consequence of sparkling). It is at its core not just a romance between an inquisitive, fledgling witch named Diana and a strong, quick-witted vampire scientist named Matthew Claremont, but it also a story that delves into the what-if, behind the imaginary scientific side of fantasy elements. It shows the blurry lines between science fiction, fantasy, romance, and historical fiction. It is a book that breaks many genre barriers, and it’s many divisive opinions makes it the perfect candidate to serve as our first three selections.
Here’s how to participate in the Bibliophile’s Reverie Book Club:
**First, leave a comment below responding to this post in someway, even one or two words at minimum, say whether you wish to partake in these discussions or not. But above all, please leave your preferred email address in your comment below, allowing you to be contacted via a special newsletter to be sent around that will automatically inform you weekly of the newest updates about the progress of our book club. By leaving a comment, you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win a US paperback copy of Discovery of Witches.
**From that informational email, you will receive information about discussion questions, reading assignment details, and when our monthly live chat (about an hour in length, summarizing our hopefully many large numbers of discussion points) will be broadcasting via Google Live On Air, a feature that works fantastically from experience with large video- based/webcast discussions. We may or may not have special guests, so stay tuned as to details about that.
**Our discussion questions are forthcoming, but anyone can participate by getting a copy of Discovery of Witches from either Indiebound (independant book stores), Kobo, Barnes and Nobles, or at your local library.
Once received, read up to the end of chapter 12,right up to the start of Chapter 13, which comes to around Pg. 153 in the US paperback edition, varies based on preferred format. But read up to this point before the first discussion post, to be posted on Saturday, October 3, 2015.
**SPECIAL BOOK CLUB GIVEAWAY (Copy comes courtesy of Viking Books, subsidiary of Penguin Random House)
**By leaving a comment below, you will be instantly entered into a special giveaway for a paperback edition of Deborah Harkness’ Discovery of Witches, which is only open to those living in the US. The winner will be chosen at random upon the end of the giveaway-Saturday October 10,2015 at 11:59 PM. Eastern Standard Time.
Throughout the month of October, tweet (on Twitter) us using the hashtag #ashmolebibliophile, to engage in bibliophile reverie specific discussions for the first book of the All Soul’s Trilogy, by Deborah Harkness.
Be sure to stay up-to-date on all our updates beginning now, and throughout the month of October!
Our discussions will take place mainly on Lestat’s Book Coven (Facebook Group) and through discussion posts on here, posted every Saturday throughout October, specific to Discovery of Witches.
If you’re looking for somewhere to download the Discovery of Witches audiobook, you may find the below information relevant:
At Bibliophile’s Reverie,we’re pleased to show support to sites that support indie book-stores!
By clicking this image, you’ll be redirected to an awesome online site, called Libro.FM, which supports indie bookstores, through the sale of digital audiobooks of the latest releases!