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Welcome to reading aloud together over zoom. Full length novels and essays on Tuesdays. Plays on Wednesdays. Thursday through Monday: suggestions welcome.

This is a lot of fun. We read the entire book or the entire play together, from first page to last. Co-organizer Mark L. and I have found this to be a terrific way to get to know a writer, and to share with other readers. Currently we're reading Virginia Woolf on Tuesdays, and Chekhov, Ibsen, and the like on Wednesdays.

Format: At each session, a volunteer will recap the previous week's readings, and introduce the upcoming material. We will then take turns reading a few paragraphs at time, stopping for discussion as we go. Link to free copy of the text usually provided.

This method has many advantages. My favorites: A shared, thorough understanding of the book. We may take weeks and months to explore a novel (and the writer’s world). Also, you don’t “have to” prepare in advance. No anxiety-inducing deadline reading! Plus the obvious benefits of Zoom: not only can you attend in the comfort of your jammies, but you get to meet people from all over the world. By the way, vocal participation not required; some prefer to come and just listen.

Also with Zoom, we are doing cold reads of a variety of plays, from all eras, using scripts available on-line. This can be challenging, since the script can feel like just the blueprint for the finished work, and few of us have done theater, but we learn a lot and have fun doing it. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/theater/plays-to-read-out-loud.html

Most of us will be non-professional speakers, learners and enthusiasts. Non-native speakers of English are especially welcome. People of all ages, gender orientations, ethnicities: please come. The only “rule”: be mindful of each others’ experience in the session.

Eventually, pandemic conditions permitting, we can also return to in-person meetups with a traditional book club format.

Me: Literary fiction, history, biography, general non-fiction, natural history, poetry, and more. Louise Erdrich, Salman Rushdie, David Mitchell, Yann Martel, Toni Morrison, Lauren Groff, and many more. Most of these discovered via Meetup book clubs.

Cheers,
Sherry

***

By Hazel, our Founder:
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” ~Dr. Seuss
I've tried joining a few book clubs that were genre specific (chick lit), gender specific (chicks only), and author specific (Stephen King) but as none seemed to satisfy my palate, I thought I'd try to see if there were others like me, i.e. those who can equally enjoy the likes of Jane Austen, Stephen King, Shakespeare,Neil Gaiman, Dean Koontz as well as nonfiction books (The Book of Vice, Don't Get Too Comfortable). Chosen as "One of the 5 Best Book Clubs to Join in New York" by CBS Local* ! (in 2012)
Story About The Name of this Book Club:
I am a huge Jane Austen fan and attended a Jane Austen Discussion at the Morgan Library featuring modern day authors whose works were a tribute to Jane Austen literature. One of the authors, Ben Winters, had written "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monster"' published by Quirk Classics. I admit that I had read "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" by the same publisher and had no desire to read another work from their publishing house.
During the Q&A session, Ben Winters confessed to an audience mostly comprised of the Jane Austen Society of North America that he had actually disliked Jane Austen in school and wrote his book to appeal to a larger audience. What caught my attention was an audience member who had read the book asked him to confirm the HP Lovecraft references in the book. (HP Lovecraft?!). He affirmed this, adding that other influences for the book included Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson.
This intrigued me and yes I did go "Hmmmm.." buying the book that same day and devouring it over the weekend.
That experience taught me to keep an open mind and inspired me to create this book club.
As Ben wrote when he autographed my copy "Come on in, the water's fine.."

Upcoming events (4+)

Read Aloud: Orlando by Virginia Woolf

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WELCOME to our continuing zoom readalong of Virginia Woolf’s exploration of gender, sexuality, literature, and history: her novel Orlando. We have finished the novel and will now return to the letters and diaries.

AIM: To have fun! A deep dive, to gain some degree of understanding and appreciation of the text.

WHO: We are mostly non-professional readers, learners and enthusiasts. Non native speakers of English especially welcome. All ages, gender orientations, ethnicities. Friendly people, mindful of each others’ experience in the session.

FORMAT: We will take turns reading a few paragraphs at time out loud, stopping for discussion as we go. I will introduce the book each week, and bring in background readings from Virginia’s letters, diaries, other work, and from material about her and her circle.

From a REVIEW in Vulture: "Lighthearted and fantastical, stretching more than three hundred years ... From around 1925 until 1928, Woolf had a passionate affair with the aristocratic, bohemian, bisexual novelist Vita Sackville-West. In the words of Sackville-West’s son Nigel Nicolson, the novel is “the longest and most charming love-letter in literature,” and the character of Orlando a celebration of Sackville-West’s unconventional life. But the story of Woolf’s gender-fluid and superhuman heroine is about much more than a single individual. As a work of political satire and feminist fantasy, Orlando laid the groundwork for today’s cultural landscape, in which the boundaries of both gender and literary genre are more porous than ever. Through a protagonist who, over the course of several centuries, takes multiple lovers and writes reams of poetry in every possible style, Woolf makes a joyful case for the transgression of all limits on desire, curiosity, and knowledge. Yet at the same time, Orlando constantly runs up against the limits of that freedom, exposing the persistent vise-grip of patriarchy even on a character blessed with the privileges of wealth, beauty, and close-to-eternal youth. Woolf invites us to imagine what it would feel like to escape, and yet, over and over again, reminds us that we are trapped. When we talk today about the tantalizing potential of a gender-agnostic society, of a world in which masculine and feminine traits are recognized for the performances that they are, or when we explore such possibilities in fiction and fantasy, we do so in Orlando’s shadow."

PLEASE NOTE:

  • Each week opens with a recap of previous events, so it’s fine to join in the middle of the book. Each week we will pick up where we left off the last time. See the comments section for the starting point for each evening.
  • We will begin on time; if you need to arrive later, you will be integrated into the group once we come to a natural stopping point. Special note to first timers: you are most welcome; however, due to the nature of the reading experience, latecomers who are also new to the group will generally not be admitted once the reading starts.
  • Reading aloud and discussing not required; most people do discover they love it!
  • If you are not familiar with zoom, please message Mark L and/or me a few days ahead of time so we can get you hooked up.
  • How to prepare: No prep necessary. We do our reading IN the sessions, out loud, taking turns, as we go.
  • What to bring: An open mind and a sense of humor.
  • Free: FREE COPY OF THE TEXT WILL BE PROVIDED EACH EVENING SHORTLY BEFORE THE EVENT. Watch the Comments section below.

Table read: "The Clouds", by Aristophanes

Link visible for attendees

We will be reading this play aloud together, an hour and a half at a time. Starting location given in comments. No experience necessary. Love of learning and discussing a +.

Late-comers (unless we know you) will generally not be admitted, as it disrupts the reading.

If this is your first time with us, you are strongly encouraged to join five or ten minutes early, so we can work out any technical issues you may be having.

***

[Wiki] The Clouds is a Greek comedy play written by the playwright Aristophanes. A lampooning of intellectual fashions in classical Athens, it was originally produced at the City Dionysia in 423 BC and was not as well received as the author had hoped, coming last of the three plays competing at the festival that year.

Retrospectively, The Clouds can be considered the world's first extant "comedy of ideas" and is considered by literary critics to be among the finest examples of the genre. The play also, however, remains notorious for its caricature of Socrates and is mentioned in Plato's Apology as a contributor to the philosopher's trial and execution.

Link to free online version of play:
http://classics.mit.edu/Aristophanes/clouds.html

(Image: whyathens.com; a performance of the play)

Shakespeare reading: The Comedy of Errors

Needs a location

We will be reading this play aloud together, an hour and a half at a time. Starting location given in comments. No experience necessary. Love of learning and discussing a +.

Late-comers (unless we know you) will generally not be admitted, as it disrupts the reading.

If this is your first time with us, you are strongly encouraged to join five or ten minutes early, so we can work out any technical issues you may be having.

***

[Wiki] The Clouds is a Greek comedy play written by the playwright Aristophanes. A lampooning of intellectual fashions in classical Athens, it was originally produced at the City Dionysia in 423 BC and was not as well received as the author had hoped, coming last of the three plays competing at the festival that year.

Retrospectively, The Clouds can be considered the world's first extant "comedy of ideas" and is considered by literary critics to be among the finest examples of the genre. The play also, however, remains notorious for its caricature of Socrates and is mentioned in Plato's Apology as a contributor to the philosopher's trial and execution.

Link to free online version of play:
http://classics.mit.edu/Aristophanes/clouds.html
(Image: whyathens.com; a performance of the play)

Table read: "The Clouds", by Aristophanes

Link visible for attendees

We will be reading this play aloud together, an hour and a half at a time. Starting location given in comments. No experience necessary. Love of learning and discussing a +.

Late-comers (unless we know you) will generally not be admitted, as it disrupts the reading.

If this is your first time with us, you are strongly encouraged to join five or ten minutes early, so we can work out any technical issues you may be having.

***

[Wiki] The Clouds is a Greek comedy play written by the playwright Aristophanes. A lampooning of intellectual fashions in classical Athens, it was originally produced at the City Dionysia in 423 BC and was not as well received as the author had hoped, coming last of the three plays competing at the festival that year.

Retrospectively, The Clouds can be considered the world's first extant "comedy of ideas" and is considered by literary critics to be among the finest examples of the genre. The play also, however, remains notorious for its caricature of Socrates and is mentioned in Plato's Apology as a contributor to the philosopher's trial and execution.

Link to free online version of play:
http://classics.mit.edu/Aristophanes/clouds.html

(Image: whyathens.com; a performance of the play)

Past events (209)

Table read: "The Clouds", by Aristophanes

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Photos (141)