What's next?

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What's next?

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mar 22, 2017, 12:00pm

As we're wrapping up discussion on Interpreter of Maladies, I want to open up discussion for suggestions and feedback about how this round of OLOB went for everyone, and where you'd like us to go next. I'm currently leaning toward non-fiction, since we haven't done that before, but that can be a bit tricky for group reads.

Normally, I'd want to kick off our next read in May, but that's a very busy month for me, so we're likely looking at a June launch.

mar 23, 2017, 6:21am

If you're leaning toward non-fiction, biographies, journals, or letter collections might work well for a group read.

Historically, 2017 is a centenary year for major world events like WWI, the Russian Revolution, the release of the 1st jazz record, and more. Maybe a book around one of those events?

If sticking with fiction, maybe another country's author's work or one centered on one of those above historical events?

mar 27, 2017, 5:01am

I think a collection of short stories worked quite well, as people can dip in and out of them as their reading time allows, and everybody can probably manage to read at least some of them, which is less daunting to reply to whole novels. So I'd propose Arrival by the totally Excellent Ted Chiang. ALthough we did have an SF(ish) read only a year or two back.

Redigeret: mar 27, 2017, 1:19pm

I'd be up for another short story collection.

I have the Chiang on my TBR.

But, if people want some more options, how about:

1/ Best American Short Stories 2016 edited by Junot Diaz -- one of the best they've put out in recent years because it's truly diverse.

2/ We could look for short stories from a writer from the "banned" countries -- Iran, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, etc. To make it easier, we could look through the online archives of litmags like Granta (which has done specific issues by country in the past) or Asymptote Journal or Words Without Borders. All of these have free to read online archives of short stories in English by international writers.

I do have the names of some award-winning short story writers from each of these countries -- I had been researching for a personal project. So, if people are interested, we could look through those journals and I could share some of those writer names too.

No worries if not. Just thought it would be topical, given all that's going on.

ETA: If it helps, here's a collection of stories from each of the (original) seven banned countries that I collected from various online lit journals, including The New Yorker.


mar 28, 2017, 12:49pm

Thank you for the suggestions! The Chiang collection is a personal favorite, and I would relish the opportunity to read that as a group. That said, I don't want my personal preferences to be the main guide for OLOB, and we haven't yet attempted non-fiction.

apr 2, 2017, 11:22pm

I'd love to go with the Chiang stories--I've been meaning to read this!

apr 2, 2017, 11:32pm

I'd be up for something more humorous/semi-autobiographical. I was thinking something like Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened.

apr 3, 2017, 9:16am

I know this is supremely unhelpful but I kind of want to second all of these books--they're all such good suggestions! I love Jenny Lawson's blog and that book has been on my TBR for a while, along with Ted Chiang's.

But perhaps we could combine several of the ideas? Maybe a memoir from one of the "banned" countries would appeal to people.

Something along the lines of The Home That Was Our Country by Alia Malek, A Woman in the Crossfire by Samar Yazbek or Even After All This Time by Afschineh Latifi.

The first two focus on Syria during the Arab Spring so they're a little more relevant to events currently happening now while Even After All This Time is a memoir of the Iranian revolution so it's events are a little farther removed from today's climate but it has strong immigration themes.