Our bookclub is the greatest in the history of the world.
I will take the Pepsi Challenge against any other bookclub and I guarantee ours is the best. I am biased, but I still believe.
We have a diverse group of people that are amongst the most passionate fans of literature that I have ever met. Everyone is unique, from diverse backgrounds and experiences, but the passion for the literature is universal.
We have a list of books that each person votes on - if any of the 12 members doesn't want to read the book, we remove it from the list. As tastes change, we revisit this list and modify accordingly. It has come to our collective attention that the books we chose by this democratic election process is flawed, and that is because none of us seems to trust our own opinions. The decision tonight was to change the list to books we SHOULD read, not necessarily the books we WANT to read. Here is the collective theory behind this:
We recently read War and Peace - a daunting effort that most of us were completely afraid of. As it turns out, a majority of members that were present at tonight's meeting felt like this was the best or among the best books we have ever read. Most of us were afraid of the undertaking and would not have read the book without the bookclub - the collective force that seems to drive us to undertake challenging reading tasks that we may not have had the courage to take on by ourselves.
We want more of these challenges. We want to start at the beginning and see how collective works have shaped history and other works of literature down the line.
The problem with this is, there are no lists that we want to follow exactly. Also, none of us really want the responsibility of choosing the works on this list because each of our ways of thinking are flawed. But if we don't use someone else's list, and we don't want to vote on books... someone has to choose the list. I cannot believe I was volunteered to do so, but this list now rests on my shoulders. A daunting task, and certainly not one that anyone can do correctly. Still, why not just do our best and see what happens? If it's not perfect, at least it can be a good starting point.
This list will not be written in stone and instead will evolve as we do. But we'll try to start at the start. We will remove the Bible and the Koran and other religious works but keep daunting reads by the ancient Greeks and even that of Hitler. What bookclub do you know that would not be averse to reading something like Mein Kampf? This will surely be difficult, but we hope it will be rewarding, teach us valuable lessons and enrich our lives.
For those of you in the blogosphere, you're welcome to read along with us and see how you do. There are no rules, this is not a set challenge with guidelines, but feel free to do as you will.
For those of the members of the bookclub that were not present at this meeting, please feel free to email me with any concerns or contribute to our facebook page.
I'm more concerned with getting the list right up until 1900, so don't focus too much on works after this point. This list will evolve. It is not perfect.
The list: http://eclectic-indulgence.blogspot.com/p/to-be-read-tbr-list.html