« The New Populists | Main | But a Dream »

January 17, 2007

Book Club

A friend and I were lamenting our inability to actually finish nonfiction books, and musing about starting a book club to help provide some discipline. I, however, am unimpressed with my ability to regularly attend events outside my living room, and downright pessimistic about my aptitude for cleaning up after events that occur in my living room. Yet my blog remains clean and regularly updated. And so an idea struck!

So here's the question, internet people: How do you feel about a book club? I'd start an extension on this blog (ezraklein.typepad.com/bookclub, or something), folks who want to join would sign up, and we'd go from there. I'd give a couple people keys to the Caddy, so they could post up impressions, and we'd have awesome discussions full of penetrating insights, illuminating ruminations, and consciousness expanding drug trips. Plus, we'd actually finish a book. But no use going through all that if you're not interested. So: Interested? Tell me in comments. And since this probably depends at least in part on the book we'd read, let's use Michael Kazin's The Populist Persuasion as a likely candidate for the first read.

January 17, 2007 in Books | Permalink


I'd be interested. I have done this before with another website, but the book choices were all over the place, so a political book club would hold my attention.

Posted by: jbou | Jan 17, 2007 1:11:35 AM

I'm convinced that not finishing nonfiction books is fine. Generally you get 3/4 of the content in the first half the book, so why not move on to another first half? IOW, I abstain on principle.

Posted by: ptm | Jan 17, 2007 1:14:09 AM

I tend to have the same difficulty with nonfiction, along with a lack of titles I think are valuable enough to read.

So count me in. If anything will work, this probably would, and someone with opinions as strong as mine should work harder to stay informed.

Posted by: Stephen | Jan 17, 2007 1:19:09 AM

This is the first time I commented though I have been a long time reader of your blog. I really like the idea of an internet book club. Count me in.

Posted by: Joe | Jan 17, 2007 1:33:42 AM

Ditto to Joe.

Posted by: Hunter Washburne | Jan 17, 2007 2:51:52 AM

AHH!!! Stupid auto-complete!!! THIS is why I don't comment. Can someone in charge please remove my last name from the above post?

Posted by: Hunter | Jan 17, 2007 2:53:11 AM

I'm in. I tend to actually finish nonfiction books, too.

Posted by: John | Jan 17, 2007 3:00:10 AM

Sure, I'd be interested.

Posted by: Royko | Jan 17, 2007 3:11:20 AM

First a book club, and then a few years later you'll be shouting at your studio audience, "Everyone gets health care! Everyone gets health care! Everyone gets health care!"

Posted by: apantomimehorse | Jan 17, 2007 4:30:09 AM

Doesn't this break the law of nonficton books- thou shalt keep this text forever as a research tool and a test of thy resolution? Isn't the finishing of a work of nonfiction a heresy? You confuse me, Mr. Klein.

Posted by: Hawise | Jan 17, 2007 7:22:27 AM

There was a time when I read nothing but non-fiction...then, one day, I picked an old copy of Casino Royale and I have been plowing through Ian Fleming and enjoying every damn minute of it....do you think there's something wrong with me?

Posted by: marcus | Jan 17, 2007 7:43:24 AM

Sure I'm in

Posted by: mickslam | Jan 17, 2007 8:26:37 AM

I'd be interested!

Posted by: RebeccaS | Jan 17, 2007 8:37:42 AM

I'm interested.

Posted by: Gregory Thelen | Jan 17, 2007 8:39:40 AM

Never been part of either a real or a virtual book club before, but this sounds fun and worthwhile. Plus, I already own the Kazin book so this would impel me to actually read it. So sign me up.

Posted by: Ryan | Jan 17, 2007 8:51:59 AM

I'm interested. I like to set reading goals for myself and I'm trying to do 75 books this year, so I can't waste too much time picking them out, heh--and while good novels are always waiting around to be read, with friends always willing to recommend more, good nonfiction requires a little more effort to find.

Posted by: Isabel | Jan 17, 2007 9:04:47 AM

I'd be in, definitely

Posted by: Dan Miller | Jan 17, 2007 9:13:20 AM

I'd be interested in this, although living between Beirut and Paris somewhat limits my access to brand new non-fiction. Would the reading list be all new books?

Because I've been looking forward to some motivation to read those books that have been lying around for a while but which I haven't yet gotten to.

Here's a short list of some of the books in my "been meaning to read" pile:

Alistair Horne - A savage war of peace
Mohammad Asad - The road to Mecca
John Lewis Gaddis - The cold war: A new history
Isaac Deutscher - Trotsky trilogy
Richard Hofstadter - Anti-intellectualism in American life
Seymour Hersh - The Samson option
Ilan Pappe - A history of modern Palestine
Georges Antonius - The Arab awakening
Peter Balakian - The burning Tigris
Anne Applebaum - Gualag: A history
Michael Mann - The dark side of democracy

Posted by: sean | Jan 17, 2007 9:15:45 AM

I would be interested depending on the text(s).

Posted by: Sam | Jan 17, 2007 9:18:45 AM

I'm in - I never seem to get through an ENTIRE non-fic book. I skim what I'm not interested in and MAYBE get through to the end... Then I throw it on my "reference" bookshelf.

Posted by: Kat | Jan 17, 2007 9:48:26 AM

I'm in. Definitely.

Posted by: urthwalker | Jan 17, 2007 10:13:05 AM

Sounds promising to me.

Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Jan 17, 2007 10:23:46 AM

Sounds like a great idea, but I generally take months to get through a book, so I doubt it would work for me. However, let us regular readers know when a new selection comes out.

Posted by: Adrock | Jan 17, 2007 10:31:49 AM

No one else feels horribly guilty when failing to finish a book? I do. I also feel awful if I have volumes on my bookshelf that I never read. It seems like false advertising to visitors.

Posted by: moriarty | Jan 17, 2007 11:23:18 AM

I'd be interested.

Posted by: Joseph Hovsep | Jan 17, 2007 11:28:07 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.