Online Book Discussion Forum Ready

For those of you who were interested in taking part in an online book discussion, the forum has been set up. It’s pretty sparse right now, but I expect that it will expand once there is actually some conversation going on. The first and foremost item I should draw your attention to is the poll in the “Next Book” forum. That poll requests feedback from everybody as to what type of book we should read. Feel free to post suggestions in that thread in addition to voting in the poll, as I was limited to 6 options in the poll. Once we have a genre decided on, I’ll post a list of suggestions from that genre (possibly with some help from our friendly neighborhood librarian) and we’ll choose a book from that list.

I make no guarantees as to the stability or availability of the forum, as I have very little experience hosting/running something like this. I don’t anticipate any problems, but you never know! Anyway, visit the Online Book Discussion (sounds so official, doesn’t it?) to sign up.

Gauging Interest – Online Book Discussion?

I’ve been trying to add to my list of books to read. More specifically, I’ve been trying to add books outside my normal reading genres (Fantasy/Sci-Fi and historical non-fiction). So I’ve put a number of books that friends have recommended on my list of books to read (thanks for the tip on the tool, Anna!). Some of these have come from recommendations from friends (specifically Lou Ann and Kevin), bits I’ve heard on NPR, and of course some of the classics I “read” (i.e., skimmed) in high school.

Kate just finished reading My Sister’s Keeper, which had been recommended by Lou Ann. I haven’t read it yet, but it seems to me from the subject matter (read Lou Ann’s post about the book for more info) that it is ripe for discussion. Likewise, I have found myself interested in what people think of Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal.

So I wanted to gauge interest in an online book-discussion group. It would initially take place here on my blog (probably just in the form of comments). It could be a monthly thing, or an every-two-months thing, or a chapter-a-week thing, or whatever we want it to be. Who would be interested? What kind of format would you like to see it take? If you’re interested, respond here and help me come up with ideas!

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

I just finished reading Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore. Lou Ann mentioned this book as her current reading for a book club she’s in, and I was intrigued. Lamb is an irreverent look at Christ’s life from his pal Biff. Devout Christians, and more specifically, devout Catholics will have plenty of problems with the book. But I thought that it was an interesting and entertaining tale of what some of the more mundane aspects of Christ’s life could have been like. What kind of conversations would he have? How would he relate to other people in everyday situations?

The most interesting part of Lamb was the way in which Moore balanced Christ’s humanity and divinity. The humanity of Christ was very much in the forefront of his interactions in the book, but when push came to shove, his divinity always had the final word. I should point out that this is not a novel intended for children. Moore seems to be preoccupied with sex throughout the book, and it is very much a focal point of Biff’s throughout the narrative.

The biggest problem that I had with the book is that I felt like the death and resurrection were diminished by Moore’s handling of them. Moore went out of his way to state clearly that Jesus was the son of God, and yet the sacrifice of the cross was diminished (I thought) by Biff’s participation in the events as they unfold. I found the final scenes to be anticlimactic and ultimately unfulfilling. That being said, I definitely would recommend this book as an interesting read. If nothing else, it should spark some good discussions in various book clubs!

Not Usually a Meme Fan

But I’ll be a good sport, since both Anna and Jackie tagged me for this one:

Four jobs I’ve had:

  • Locksmith grunt (this was super fun)
  • General Office Grunt @ American Red Cross (via Temp Agency)
  • General Office Grunt @ World Bank (via Temp Agency)
  • Web Author/Technical Writer @ current employer

Four movies I can watch over and over:

  • Princess Bride
  • Anything by Pixar
  • Father of the Bride
  • The Fifth Element

Four books I could read over and over:

Four TV shows I love:

  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer
  • 24
  • Lost
  • Good Eats (can’t watch anymore – no cable) 🙁

Four places I’ve lived:

  • Springfield, VA
  • Faifax, VA
  • Vienna, VA
  • Blacksburg, VA

Four places I’ve vacationed:

Four of my favorite dishes:

  • Salmon
  • Chicken Caserole (Mom’s recipe)
  • Kate’s Sauce & Pasta
  • Steak (Medium, please)

Four sites I visit daily:

Four places I would rather be right now:

  • US Virgin Islands (Specifically St. John)
  • Somewhere in Colorado (Learning to Ski)
  • London (Visiting Jackie & Jon)
  • Alaska or Australia (yeah, that’s cheating, I know)

Four people I am tagging:

Book Queues

One thing I love about Netflix (and the Internet in general), is that it is a wonderful supplement to my limited capacity to remember movies I want to see. If I see a movie that I’m interested in, I can simply add it to the bottom of my queue, and then delete it later if I change my mind. I want to find the same sort of thing for books. I’m not really interested in a Netflix-esque service for books, as I can just pick up most of what I want at my local library (it doesn’t have the feature I’m looking for on their Web site – I checked).

Has anybody out there (possibly the librarian?) stumbled across this sort of thing?