Thanks for the positive response to my last post about perhaps starting up a couple of Japan-related blog events here. If you missed the previous post and you're not sure what I'm talking about, go ahead now and read it. I'll wait....
Ok, so now that we're all on the same page... based on the initial response I've decided to try getting both the monthly Japan-related mini-challenge and the reading group/read along group running. I thought that since there is some interest for both, I might as well try and then I can always tweak things as we go along and find out what works and what doesn't. So I've thought a bit about the logistics and I'd love to know what you think. I'm completely open to ideas so do let me know if you think something might work better.
For the first group, the Japan-related mini-challenges, that will cover all variety of topics, I'm thinking to go ahead with a monthly topic that will be announced on the first of each month. Then whoever wants to join in will have a full month to do that month's task, post about it on their blog, and submit the link. At the end of the month I'll post a wrap-up post to highlight some of the blog posts submitted. The structure would be very much like Weekly Geeks except monthly instead of weekly.
The main problem is that I can't for the life of me think up a good name! So I'd like to ask your help. We need a name that would work for anything Japanese related, both literature and other things like film, traditional customs, etc.
The only thing I came up with was "Discovering Japan" which fits in with my "Reading Japan" label, but that's not a requirement, and it's not terribly exciting. Then jokingly I thought of "Let's Japan!" since there's so much incorrect English usage here but it's probably both condescending and not a good idea to propagate bad grammar. (No need to point out that my grammar isn't always perfect either!) So please get your thinking caps on and suggest a name. And for a little motivation, if we end up using it for the monthly event, I'll buy you the Japanese literature book of your choice (from The Book Depository).
For the reading group, I think I'll go ahead with a bi-monthly group read, with any read-alongs running concurrently. I'm assuming (maybe incorrectly?) that most people won't join in both the current book group choice and the read-along at the same time, but even if they want to I think it would still be doable. I know I plan to. My idea is that the schedules of the two would be independent of each other. So, for example, if we start the book group next month, we would have two months in which to read the book on our own and then we would convene sometime around the end of November to discuss the book. The next selection would then be discussed two months after that. The read along would probably last for 2, 3, 4 months depending on the length of the book. As an example, I Am a Cat was originally published in 3 volumes so that could be pretty easily divided into 3 months, or even longer if people wanted. In that scenario I'd probably post an update for each section, therefore a post a month. The books haven't been chosen yet, this is just to give an example.
So I have a couple of questions.
1) Would you prefer to have the reading group discussion on the same day every two months (ie. November 25th, January 25th, etc.), or the same day of the week (such as the last Friday of the month in question)? And equally would you prefer the discussion to be near the beginning, middle or end of the month. I've given examples at the end but that's not at all set in stone.
2) Here are the suggestions so far of books to read (click on the covers to read the blurbs at Amazon):
A Quiet Life by Kenzaburo Oe
The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata
The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
The Love We Share Without Knowing by Christopher Barzak
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
I Am a Cat by Natsume Soseki
I think the last two would probably be better as read-alongs since they're both on the long side. Are you interested in reading, or discussing any of those? Are there any others you'd like to suggest? I can put up a poll, or else we can just decide informally this time for the first book(s) but then have proper submissions later once we get rolling.
I also don't really have any creative name ideas for the reading group, but figure we can always just go with something typical, like these possibilities:
Reading Japan Book Group (I'll probably keep the "Reading Japan" label that I've been using so far as the overall category with each reading event a sub-category).
Japanese Literature Reading Group (The reason I originally went with "Reading Japan" for my own perpetual reading project was because I also read books about Japan by non-Japanese authors, but we'd probably be reading Japanese authors for the most part for the group, right?)
However, the same goes here, if you can think up a better name for the reading group that we end up using, I'll treat you to a Japanese literature book of your choice.
For the read-alongs I'd probably just use the book's title, like the I Am a Cat Read-along. And once the names are all decided on I'll make up some buttons.
As for the short story feature I mentioned in the previous post, I'd still like to try it but I think I'll wait a couple of months and then try to incorporate it in with the general reading group, perhaps choosing a specific collection to read through week by week.
I've never hosted a reading group or a mini-challenge or anything before so I really do appreciate your input. I look forward to reading some great books, and discussing all things Japan with you.