Reading Buddies has been going strong now for five months. Five months! I can hardly believe it. I’ve finally gotten around to reading some excellent books, and I’ve gotten to discuss them with fellow readers. Thank you to those who have read with me so far! And to those who haven’t but mean to: I’m very much looking forward to it!
As I look ahead at my own schedule as well as think back over the past five months, I’ve decided to try a few new and different things. Here’s a rundown of the updates and tweaks to Reading Buddies. I hope they’ll make the project better! I know I don’t tend to be particularly concise, so there’s a summary of what follows down at the bottom of the post.
The Long Version
As we’ve gone along, I’ve noticed two features in particular that seemed to be missing. First was some way to keep interested parties apprised of the current schedule, including unscheduled informal reads. Second, there was nowhere to discuss the books with one another while reading. To remedy these two issues, I’ve created:
- The Reading Buddies reminder list: you can sign up for very occasional email reminders about monthly and/or informal reads!
- The Reading Buddies Goodreads group: participants in each read will have a place to ask questions, share impressions, gasp over plot twists, and note favorite passages together. If you’re on Goodreads and interested in Reading Buddies, you are very welcome to join!
Are there other features you’d like to see incorporated into Reading Buddies? If so, I would love to hear about them!
Revamping the Current Schedule
We’ve been tackling two books a month as formal, scheduled reads. During July and August, however, I’m going to have to slow the pace a bit. July is a hectic month for my summer classes, and it turns out I’ll be away for nearly all of August, with only occasional access to Internet. So, I’m revamping the schedule a bit, dropping a book from each month. Originally, Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell were up for July, and August was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh. The new schedule will be:
July: Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (discussion post: 7/15; wrap-up: 7/29)
*(I’m also doing an informal reading of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell between now and mid-July, if you’re interested!)*
August: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (discussion post: 8/12; wrap-up: 8/26)
September: Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh (discussion post: 9/16; wrap-up: 9/30)
If anyone is still interested in tackling Gone with the Wind, please do let me know! I’d like to read it, but with my school schedule, I’m not sure I can get it, plus other books, plus schoolwork squished into a single month for a formal read.
Tweaking the Process
What I’d like to do, from now on, is to have one formal read per month, posting the wrap-up on the last Friday of the month and the discussion post two weeks before that. That should allow me to up the number of informal reads. The few I’ve done have been very enjoyable, and this way I’ll have more time for them. I’ll be better about posting them as well as keeping the Reading Buddies page current. I’ll also add them to the Goodreads group and send out email reminders to those who’d like them.
I’d also like to change how we do the book selection process. I’m thinking two months ahead of time, I’ll post a poll of books that were frequently chosen from my original lists. (If you want to nominate books, just fill out this form!) Polls will be up for a month, probably in my sidebar, and then I will announce the chosen book, leaving people a month to track down a copy, shuffle their reading schedules as needed, etc. So, a poll will be up for all of August, the result announced at the beginning of September, and the winning book read in October. Does that work?
The Short Version
If all of that was more than you want to know, here are the highlights:
- There is now a Reading Buddies reminder email list and a Goodreads group!
- Due to schedule issues, the July thru September schedule has been reworked. See the pink box above. If you’d still like to read Gone with the Wind, let me know and we’ll work something out!
- From here on out, I’d like to do one formal read per month, thus allowing me to increase the number of informal reads. I’ll post informal reads on the main Reading Buddies page, send out email reminders to anyone who signs up, and add them to the Goodreads group so everyone can stay current.
- We’re trying out a new selection process! Each month, I’ll post a poll including frequently chosen books. After a month, I’ll announce the winner, which will be read during the next month. (So, during August, we’ll pick the book for October, which will be announced at the beginning of September.)
I would love to hear any suggestions or feedback you might have! I love Reading Buddies and want it to be as easy and fun to participate in as possible. What do you think of these changes?