Monday, January 7th, 2008...12:32 am

So the Book Club Finally Begins…

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I’m starting a book club. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do and now I’m doing it. The formula is simple. Once a month a small group of us will get together to discuss a work of literature or non-fiction. I’ll start off as the moderator and hopefully stimulate discussion and thought. For this to truly be a success, my goal is for everybody in the group to participate and eventually take turns leading the conversation. I’m picking the first book, but moving forward the group will select which books we will read.

If you’re wondering about my motivations, I wrote about starting a book club in my new year’s resolution post. If you want to get an idea of the kinds of books I enjoy reading then check out Littybooks (my current book blog). If you know of anybody that is interested please send them this blog post. If you want to join the book club, hit me up and let me know. All you have to do is get the book, read it, and show up ready to chat and listen. I want to try and get the group to 6-8 people for the first meeting and never get to more than ten minds in a room at once.

The first book club session will take place on Monday, February 18th at 9pm. Location is TBD but it will be in the city at an apartment or coffee shop or wherever I can find a room with enough space and good vibes.

The first book we will read is What is the What by David Eggers. The book is the fictionalized memoir of Valentino Achak Deng, a refugee in war-ravaged southern Sudan. Separated from his family, his travels bring him in contact with enemy soldiers, with liberation rebels, with hyenas and lions, with disease and starvation, and with deadly murahaleen — the same sort who currently terrorize Darfur. Based closely on actual experiences, What Is the What is heartrending and astonishing, filled with adventure, suspense, tragedy, and, finally, triumph. You can also read the NY Times review.

If you would like to buy the book you can find it here on Amazon. If you use these links to get the book I’ll get a commission that I’ll use towards book club refreshments.

What Is The What is written by David Eggers who is well-known for A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius. AHWOSG focuses on Eggers struggle to raise his little brother in San Francisco following the sudden deaths of their parents. It is one of the most unique, emotional and innovative books that I have ever read.

In the upcoming weeks I’ll send around links and articles about the book, the author and other interesting and related materials to help stimulate and shape the conversation. For instance, here is a link to the Valention Achak Deng Foundation – a real life organization started by the book’s protagonist to help rebuild Sudan. I recently read A Long Way Gone (my review) a gripping account by another “Lost Boy” of the Sudan. It was an eye opening and thought provoking read on what is happening in another part of the world. Perhaps we’ll touch upon the situation in Sudan and Darfur, perhaps not. Excited to see where the conversation might go as I think there are plenty of interesting paths and mind-bending issues.

If this book club is something that interests you I look forward to hearing from you. But what I’m really looking forward to is hearing what you have to think and say about What Is The What on the 18th of February.