My Book Club’s new website

I created a new blog for my book club this week.  It’s at if you’d like to take a look and see what we’re up to…

So, What’s on My Reading Schedule for September?

It seems my reading for the next month has already been determined by all my “book club” commitments. This is what’s on the agenda:

1.) There I Grew Up: Remembering Abraham Lincoln’s Indiana Youth (by William E. Bartelt)

This is the September book for the “Bookmama’s” bookstore’s discussion group. I have been to a couple of their previous discussions earlier this year (Fahrenheit 451 & Some Buried Caesar) but haven’t made it back lately due to scheduling conflicts. I spoke to Kathleen, the owner of the store, yesterday and she said that the author of this book will also be there, so I hate to miss an opportunity to discuss a book with the author present. This meeting will take place on Monday, September 13th, so I don’t have much time, but there is a three-day weekend between now and then… Also, I don’t even have a copy of the book yet, but I ordered it yesterday and Kathleen said I could pick it up next weekend. This book also fits into my Project: Civil War reading.

2.) Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

This is my book club’s September book a and is actually one that I picked for us to read. (we take turns picking from a list of suggested titles by members of the club, but one cannot pick his own suggested book). Is is one of those books that, throughout my life, friends have suggested I read, saying “knowing you, I bet you’d really like this book,” etc. I’m skeptical but we’ll see. Someone said it sounds a lot like another book my club read (Illusions by Richard Bach) which I did not like AT ALL, so I am a bit concerned… I’ve downloaded this book already from Barnes & Noble and it’s not too long, so we’ll see.

3.) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

This will be a re-read for me (third time). My original book club back in the 90’s read it on my recommendation, and I read it myself for the first time in the late 80’s and was very pleasantly surprised, not knowing it wasn’t just a ‘monster book.” This book is the featured reading of a “Great Books” reading group on the north side of Indianapolis, a couple members of which I’ve met on my visits to the local chapter of the CFI (Center for Inquiry), an organization that promotes science and critical thinking. They have a weekly Sunday morning “coffee & conversation” at their location downtown on the canal, which usually features a lot of intimidatingly smart people. For the most part I just keep quiet and nod my head occasionally…

4.) Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut

One of my favorite “discoveries” this year is the soon-to-open Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in downtown Indianapolis. They actually have an all-Vonnegut book club that meets the last Thursday of the month (September 30th in this case). I visited them last week for their meeting on Slapstick (more on that later) and it’s a nice group of people, one of whom was a personal friend of Vonnegut(!) and another of whom knows mNy of the Vonnegut family through her work in establishing the memorial library.

That seems like a lot of reading (“required” reading, anyway) for one month, but I think I’ll be able to handle it, and it’s not any more than I’ve been averaging this year.

Well, that’s what’s on tab for Jay this month. What are you reading? Have you read any of these four? Anything I “need to know”…?

Sent from my iPad

Finished my 2nd book of 2010

Well, I completed a single day, (probably) four-sitting read of “Some Buried Caesar” today. It was a relatively short book (274 pages, small paperback with ‘normal’ font size) and moved pretty fast.

I’m not usually a reader of whodunits, so I’m not sure how I was supposed to go about it. In the end I decided to just ‘enjoy it’ and not put pressure on myself to try to solve it (it’s a good thing, ’cause I didn’t). When I got started, I did try to make a list of characters (I.e. “suspects”) but I found myself referring to it most often just to keep the characters straight,

This is my first exposure to a Nero Wolfe story – although I had certainly heard of the character before. I thought it was an interesting choice for his creator, Rex Stout, to make his hero a sedentary, lethargic, obese, and somewhat arrogant character who depends so much on his lieutenant, Archie Goodwin. The character’s popularity, however, seems to make me think this doesnt really bother too many readers.

All for now & back to Waverly…

Sunday Inquiry

After reading some yesterday via an E-reader (well, my iPhone – if you will allow it to qualify), I was curious who out there in the blogosphere uses E-readers and which model they use. What features do you like/dislike, etc. Most people that I know who have bought them really like them, but is there an end to the honeymoon period? Do they get tiresome? Are they durable over time? Are they a convenience, or do you prefer them over traditional books?

Sony Reader?

Let me know…

Finally finished my first book of 2010

Just got done with the 424-page “The Smartest Guys in the Room” – the story of the rise and collapse of Enron. Blitzed through the last 150 or so pages this morning. A good – and somewhat infuriating – read. My book club meets in a couple weeks on this book and I’m curious to hear everyone’s reactions to it.

Now, back to Sir Walter Scott’s “Waverly” (currently on page 288/494); wish me luck!

Trip to Bookmama’s

Stopped by Bookmama’s bookstore on the way home from work today. It’s a cozy little bookstore in Irvington – across the street from Lazy Daze Coffee House (one of Indy’s best) on Johnson Avenue.

Anyway, had looked them up on-line earlier to see if they had a copy of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (they did), and now book 1 of PCW is in my hands. I have to finish “Waverly” and my January book club book before starting it though, and I plan to make some big strides in that direction this weekend.

I looked for a copy of Rex Stout’s “Some Buried Caesar” but – although they had a couple Stout books, it was not among them. They did say they were supposed to get some in soon, though.

Bookmama’s also hosts meetings of a “Jane Austen Book Club” (didn’t they make a movie with that title?) regarding which I’m told they finished reading all of Jane’s books long ago and moved on to read the Brontes and are now on Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the d’Ubervilles” (did I spell that right?). I believe their meeting for this is Wednesday, 1/27/10. I should try to make that, even though it is the day before my book club’s monthly meeting.

They also have a discussion on 1/19 of the Rex Stout book. (those are going on all over town since that is Indy’s “One City, One Book” selection)

Enough blogging! Time to knock out a few more chapters of Waverly… which reminds me- I did look for Sir Walter Scott books at Bookmama’s too, but the only one they had was a quaint, diminutive paperback copy of Ivanhoe which – as I told the lady working there – “everyone has a copy” of…

Reading Progress(?)

Haven’t had a lot of time to do any hardcore reading this week, but I look forward to a quiet Saturday & Sunday morning, where I can make good progress.

I’m up to chapter 28 in “Waverly”; our hero has been stripped of his commission in the British army, but is pleasantly distracted by the Scottish lass, Flora, who may or may not accept him, it seems…

I’m also about 25% into the book “The Smartest Guys in the Room”, which is my book club’s January book. I’m still finding it interesting and entertaining, and my business and accounting background probably helps make it a good read for me. I am concerned some of the others in my book club may not be enjoying it, but part of our club’s stated goal is to read outside our normal genres, so I guess that’s okay.

I also read that Indianapolis (hey, my ‘reality city’ also ends in ‘polis’…) will have a discussion at the southport library on January 25th of the One City, One Book selection “Some Buried Caesar” by Rex Stout. If I can get through these other two books in time, I’d like to read that one as well and then see who (or how many) shows up for the discussion. Maybe by then my new blog here will have gained a head of steam.

Still looking for suggestions for my Project: Civil War (hereafter “PCW”) reading list. Need to pick up a copy of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” as well. If I read that by the end of the month, and the Rex Stout book, and the other two I’m currently involved in, that would make 4 books in January – a bit ahead of my normal pace but, after reading some other blogger’s posts on-line, that doesn’t seem like so much after all.

More later…