A new book club, part of, I am.

I love reading. I am quite a lay reader – loving fanciful flights of clichéd ideas and pure pulp in the stories told. However the main point is I love to read anything and everything. I love interacting with people. However more often than not I am wary of coming off as too stupid or too boisterous making people dislike me. Disregard the above statements if it makes no sense. I just felt I had to give some caveats for the rest the post.

When the idea of a book club was floated I jumped onto the band wagon for the following reason
1. Always wanted to be in a ‘book club’
2. Trusted the people involved based on past interactions with them on twitter and offline
3. Wanted a support group to help me read and understand the more ‘literary’ and ‘serious’ books.
4. Have fun

Of course I have zero experience of a book club.at All I had were hazy assumptions based on mentions of book
clubs as it popped up in a novel, movie or a news item. So what did I expect when i joined a book club? Well, to be fair, my
innermost secret idea was the club would be a bit Dead Poet Societish . Essentially 10-12 people meet, have some coffee and discuss a book that they had read and have a good time understanding a book.

Well we had our book club launch this last week – and it was a success as launches go. It was a well spent afternoon and I for one was very happy to meet the author of one of my favourite books. You can find better posts on the launch by Shantanu [For the passionate book lovers], by Sankarshan [Post The Tossed Salad Book Club meeting] and by Poonam [Makings of a Book Club]. Poonam’s post in particular made me reflect on the launch event and try to map it against my earlier ideas/expectations for a book club.

I did not think the launch was how a typical session of the book club would/will run. We had picked a popular book, a popular author and a commercial locale – it was a given (imho) that the meeting would become a book reading/author interaction of sorts. If you read Shantanu’s review above you will notice that the event reads like any author-fan interaction. So to that extent I agree with Poonam. However I do not see it as a shortcoming on her part as a moderator or in us as a book club.

This is the way I see it, I would love for the book club to fit my romantic ideas above. I know that if I want to stay enthusiastic about this book club for long I do want to have discussions on the books themselves… and debates… and explorations… and serendipity… etc etc. *However* that’s not all we should have. That would be too narrow and self-serving a purpose. If we do last long we *need* to have occasional readings and interactions like we had in the launch. We *need* to spread the habit of reading if we can. And we should have fun.

Without the quieter, serious discussions a book club will end up being just another tweetup. However considering that most of the initial members of this specific club are quite active on the social interweb it is unavoidable that we will do flashy stuff from time to time. In fact that is the charm our group has.

So as far as the launch was concerned I believe that Poonam, Sahil and other volunteers did a fantastic job setting up and running the event. The activity of the launch day may not reflect a typical book club session but there will be days like this from time to time. We do need to meet before the next session and try to codify some of the discipline that we thought would have been obvious. Poonam has already enumerated some of them in her post . The next book club meeting will be the real test. The book is interesting but it will not be as easy to read as Meluha was. And the author is dead. So it cannot be a Q&A, people will have to do their homework and they will need to interact if they want to have some takeaway from this activity. [Watch out for my post after that session;)]

So here’s hoping for a long innings to this book club.

Cheers.

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Scoble’s interesting post on the ‘expertise’ of everyman.

Economic Idiocy‘ is an interestingly downbeat post by a generally upbeat personality. It is interesting not just from the current context of the big failure being faced by the US economy. More interesting, in my opinion, was his questioning the intellect of the collective – of the masses. He has managed to pinpoint the exact issue with a decentralised system, it just takes a small critical mass to cause a wave and not all waves are necessarily well thought out or even healthy in the long run. At the same time the other end of the spectrum is to live in a gilded cage of a centralised system. I have often thought about these things. However the way Scoble put it out there and the fact that ‘he’ did (I did not expect such a cynical view from blogosphere’s and disrptive media’s biggest fanboy) – made me link him here for the 2-3 people who visit me.

P.S: Normally you would find my favourite Scoble’s posts in my shared links. You can also find the latest posts there in my sidebar.

The view from my Balcony

First of all apologies for the crappy pics but I had my phone at hand and decided that better to take the pics than wait for another day.

I love my new home. My missus and I especially like out balcony. It faces away from the complex and towards a society of bungalows. As a result it is a wonderful place to laze around in our beanbags sipping tea, readying or working (well she does a lot of work there whenever the weather is fine)

Just some pics from my balcony:

1. Facing left:

Facing left - near
Facing left - near
Facing lft - farther
Facing lft - farther

2. Facing centre:

Facing centre
Facing centre

3. Facing right:

Facing right - nearer
Facing right - nearer

Facing right - farther
Facing right - farther

The balcony faces NE and the pics were taken after noon – hence the shadows.

Cheers.

Got HP: The Deathly Hallows : Prelude

Visiting Harry Potter after exactly a year (+4days:)) I thought I would write this post in a symmetrical manner to the one about getting the Half-Prince one.

Once again got it first day first show – this time around 7:30 am. And this time there was an actual queue I had to stand in unlike two years ago:)

1. Will again start of the cover. The only cover available in India is the children version:( Since I had no option I had to go ahead with it. Not yet checked the alternate covers.Will hop over to Amazon and other sites to check them out after writing this post.

My cover
Harry potter children

Really loved the insleeve with the Stag Patronus. Funnily in India we got the UK versions(£17.99 was the price shown)
Patronus

Here’s the adult version – sexy cover.
Harry potter sedate
2. Once again not a very long tome. 607 pages to be exact.

3. Once again the story is flowing pretty well. Managed to finish it in one sitting. With the obvious comfort breaks I finished it in a little under 8 hours. I will reserve judgment on where it stands with respect to the other books in the series.

4. Once again I do not like the price point. INR975/- at Crossword was too steep even with the INR200/- gift coupons. Just invites the pirates according to me. But then again maybe it’s just me:) [Caveat – some shops were selling for less. However I had already pre-booked]

All in all a very enjoyable day. I was very happy I picked it up and read it before the stupid news media spoilt the ending for everyone. Too tired to write the review though. Hope to be able to do that by tomorrow.
Njoy:)

The blogosphere has become a vivid reflection of society…

…a society where below the veneer of respectability there is crassness, intolernace and a susceptibility for violence and degrading acts. A society where women just do not get the rights and respect they deserve.

For details of the specific incident you can launch off Scoble’s article – http://scobleizer.com/2007/03/26/taking-the-week-off/

This is one reason so many of my friends, including my wife, are scared of publishing on the net. In today’s world being frank and open can make you a very easy target for intolerant idiots.

And please do not tell me that you can threaten somebody and that is all rght as long as you do not do the act. As Kathy rightly points out in her blog, the threat itself is enough to derail a person’s life – to make a person start looking over their shoulders day and night. This is no less intense than a terrorist threat and should be treated as such!!!

Dune: the aftermath, the movie, misc.

Got a lot of comments for my log on Dune. Thanks mates. HyperPat was especially helpful in his comments. Will be looking out for more advice from him wrt sci-fi and reading in general. Pat, will be a regular visitor of your site for sure. NULL also has an interesting site.

One obvious reference I missed was “To tame a land” – thanks to Dr. J for pointing that out. Miss hearing albums with you pal!

And finally my lazy friend Venks wants to see the movie rather than read the book. For him, here follows my review:

Dune, The Movie:
Dune poster

My one liner review: Watch Dumb and Dumber instead!!!D&D

After a long long time I saw a movie I absolutely hated! The difference between the richness in the book and the stupidities in the movie were too many to ignore. Now don’t get me wrong. I am a movie buff and not a movie critic. I end up loving almost every movie I watch. I normally try to keep an open mind and try to keep a context of when a movie was made to judge the moviemakers efforts. For eg. Tron is a movie which is quite campy in today’s context but in the time it came out one can understand why it would have been cool. Movies based on ooks, one does not expect much from them, still you do like them. Hell! I even liked Hellboy-The Movie!!
Tronhellboy

So after all the background let me tell you categorically – Dune was thrash. Tremors is a much better movie, at least its honest about its B-gradeness.

Frank Herbert has written a great book, God alone knows why he supported this movie and not Iron Maiden’s song:)
PoM

So Venks watch Kal Ho Na Ho rather than watching Dune.