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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: May 6, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

    One book, one Twitter

    Fiona McCann

    The idea is to get everyone on Twitter to read the same book at the same time. Kind of what creator Jeff Howe a.k.a. Crowdsourcing describes as “one massive international book club.” So there were nominations nominated and votes cast, and now the One Book, One Twitter tweeters are reading Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. They’ve got eight weeks to complete the book, and are required to keep their comments to a strict schedule in order not to ruin the surprise for those who read at a more leisurely pace. What do you think? Given that I’ve just taken over the Irish Times Book Club in the temporary absence of my colleague, Rosita Boland, I’m interested to see what makes people read a book, or join an online book club, and what they glean from the whole heady exercise. Any takers? Online book clubs, yay or nay? Those interested in following the tweetin’ shenanigans, #1b1t is the hashtag to bring you all the latest comments.

    • John Braine says:

      I’m definitely game, just discovered both book clubs. I love the idea of an online book club. (I’m toying with the idea of setting up an online audiobook club). Now I just have to decide whether I want to start Let the Great World Spin or American Gods.

    • Fiona McCann says:

      John: Let the Great World Spin! Do it! I like the idea myself – in fact, I like it better than the idea of a physical book club, because I can get involved from anywhere, and don’t have to provide canapes. Win win if you ask me!

    • XXfactor says:

      @1 Would that be a virtual book club in a virtual ‘Room at The Top’…? Your name/sake?

    • James says:

      I have just read the following description of the book on Amazon.com: “The intriguing premise of Gaiman’s tale is that the gods of European yore, who came to North America with their immigrant believers, are squaring off for a rumble with new indigenous deities: “gods of credit card and freeway, of Internet and telephone, of radio and hospital and television, gods of plastic and of beeper and of neon.”

      I also see that the Kindle edition costs $9.99 (second cheapest), but I can buy a used (print) copy for 30 cents which I am going to do. Am I breaking the rules? Will I be expelled from the group?

    • Fiona McCann says:

      James: Ha! Excellent point. You won’t be expelled, I shouldn’t think, but you are clearly taking sides with your print edition. Mind you seeing as the group is being run on twitter, I suspect your tweets will cancel out your heady off-line purchase.

    • Brian Collins says:

      Personally I’m not a fan of book clubs. Unless I can pick all of the books the groups reads. I treasure my reading time too much to risk it for a book which patently doesn’t interest me – Let the Great World Spin is a particularly well-chosen book in that regard.

      I realise I’m probably missing out on books which I wouldn’t have tried myself and which I’d turn out to like, but I’ll just have to risk it.

      The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is rather good by the way Fiona, keep it in mind if you’re still in charge of the book club when the next book is chosen – and it would be a fine conversation piece. One Day by David Nicholls is also great.

    • ShaneD says:

      American Gods is probably one of the great unrecognised books of the Naughties; not too many people have read it, despite a searching critique of the American myth. There are plenty of books around at the moment which seek to challenge the great American Dream (Brooklyn and Netherlands spring to mind) but American Gods tops them all. The book description from Amazon isn’t particularly accurate, the Gods don’t just come from European mythological cycles, but also from Africa and Asia, though Odin (of Viking fame) does hold pride of place. Gaiman’s brilliance with using mythological figures and motifs was proved with his epic Sandman comic series and American Gods reads like a more mature, more deliberate exploration of the themes of story-telling, cultural hybridity and the importance of place than anything he has given us before.

      Give it a read, I’ve yet to meet anyone who didn’t love it once they’d tried it.

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