What we're about

Come join our Bradenton Book Club focusing on the classics.

Do you never feel comfortable unless you have a book going? Do you feel the frustration when there is no one available to discuss what you have just been reading? Or, maybe, you used to enjoy reading but feel you don't have time for it anymore but would like a spark to get you back to reading again? Then this might be the place for you.

One catch though...as the name suggests, we will be reading the 'classics'! I say that word in quotes because no one can ever agree on what books should be on that list, so, I will not have any definition. We will decide what to read in group participation and I expect lots of lively, respectful debates as to whether a book should be considered a classic or not. For a great short essay on why you should read the 'classics', pleas see this - http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1986/10/09/why-read-the-c... (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1986/10/09/why-read-the-classics/)

So, what kind of books should you expect? I hope for a wide mixture of both fiction and non-fiction from 2000 BC to modern times, and not just sticking with the western canon but exploring the world from all continents and cultures.

What kind of people should you expect to meet? I hope we get a range of members from their 20's to 100's, and while many book clubs tend to either be solely for females or heavily weighted with females, I hope we will also have a strong male contingent. My ideal is that we have a host of varying viewpoints. Above all, I will not only expect but demand respect for everyone in the group and their opinions.

What should you expect from the meetups? We will be discussing one book during each session that has been chosen well in advance. I hope for full group participation but, having always been a shy person, I will try to make sure that no one ever feels uncomfortable or out of place, i.e. being put on the spot for an opinion. As you come to more meetings and meet people, you will gradually grow more comfortable with sharing your thoughts.

What this meetup is not. Despite a focus on the classics, we will not be school. No preparing ahead of time with thoughts on what the theme is, or essay like answers to questions on comparing and contrasting, etc. It will be natural to dig a little deep into some books, but only when the conversation leads us there. Also, I do not want a roomful of snobs. Leave your pretensions at the door. No one will ever be judged for never having read certain books before. Many 'classics' were the soap operas of their day! Even Shakespeare was most popular among the rabble, not just for the high and mighty. If you've never read the classics or your only experience was in school, then prepare to be amazed. Challenge yourself to begin and you will soon find that picking up one of these books is no longer a challenge, and you will begin asking yourself why people don't understand when you can't stop gushing about all the characters and ideas you have been reading and talking about.

What can we expect from you and how to make the most from the group? Try to come to as many groups as you can. Don't wait for a book you may be interested in. I have too many examples of people believing they would not like a book only to fall in love with it. I am fine with people coming to the meetup even if they have not finished a book as long as you know to expect spoilers. Negative opinions are just as valid as positive ones, however, if you found yourself not finishing the book because you disliked it, be prepared to have your opinion challenged at the group and possibly be encouraged to finish later when others say that the book gets much better in the second half.

One last note about expectations. I will become more strict with no-shows. I make reservations at a restaurant based on the number of RSVP's. The restaurant will often have to make arrangements for a larger group, so, for a number of people not to show up, it is rude to those who did come and to the restaurant. I am fine with last minute changes, as I'm guilty of that myself and life does get in the way, but, I will only give a pass for 1 no-show before removing you from the group after the next instance.

What can you expect from me? I'm not a scholar, just someone who loves to read. I have been participating and organizing book clubs for more than 10 years. I began 2 successful book clubs in the area in 2005 that are still going strong, however, I handed the reins to others in 2011 when I moved to London for 4 years. Now that I'm back, I knew I wanted to be an organizer again, and there were not many evening book clubs for people who work in this area. One note - though I live in Bradenton, I work in St Pete, so did consider starting this group up there but wanted to give Bradenton a shot. If the group does not take off with enough members though, I may consider moving it, so, don't let me down, Bradenton area people!

Lastly, if you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to send me a note!

Upcoming events (2)

August Book Club

Anna Maria Oyster Bar Ellenton

This month is an American classic, Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird.

September Book Club

Tandoor Fine Indian Cuisine

This month is Candide by Voltaire. Candide is a French satire first published in 1759 by Voltaire, a philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment. The novella has been widely translated, with English versions titled Candide: or, All for the Best (1759); Candide: or, The Optimist (1762); and Candide: or, Optimism (1947). It begins with a young man, Candide, who is living a sheltered life in an Edenic paradise and being indoctrinated with Leibnizian optimism (or simply "optimism") by his mentor, Professor Pangloss. The work describes the abrupt cessation of this lifestyle, followed by Candide's slow, painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships in the world. Voltaire concludes with Candide, if not rejecting optimism outright, advocating a deeply practical precept, "we must cultivate our garden", in lieu of the Leibnizian mantra of Pangloss, "all is for the best" in the "best of all possible worlds".Candide is characterised by its sarcastic tone as well as by its erratic, fantastical and fast-moving plot. A picaresque novel with a story similar to that of a more serious bildungsroman, it parodies many adventure and romance clichés, the struggles of which are caricatured in a tone that is mordantly matter-of-fact. Still, the events discussed are often based on historical happenings, such as the Seven Years' War and the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. As philosophers of Voltaire's day contended with the problem of evil, so too does Candide in this short novel, albeit more directly and humorously. Voltaire ridicules religion, theologians, governments, armies, philosophies, and philosophers through allegory; most conspicuously, he assaults Leibniz and his optimism.As expected by Voltaire, Candide has enjoyed both great success and great scandal. Immediately after its secretive publication, the book was widely banned because it contained religious blasphemy, political sedition and intellectual hostility hidden under a thin veil of naïveté. However, with its sharp wit and insightful portrayal of the human condition, the novel has since inspired many later authors and artists to mimic and adapt it. Today, Candide is recognized as Voltaire's magnum opus and is often listed as part of the Western canon; it is arguably taught more than any other work of French literature. Martin Seymour-Smith has listed Candide as one of The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written. - Amazon

Past events (42)

July Book Club

Zenobia Mediterranean & Kebab Grill

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