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Discussion: Future Reads
posts: 15 views: 1992 last post: 5 months ago
back to group back to club
Popping in to say, from my experience running Group Read polls on GR (in the Tudor group), the best number is probably somewhere between 10-15 books. That's enough for a choice, but not enough that voter fatigue is likely to kick in. (One month we got 24 nominations on a group read over there, and that was way too many. Another month we got 7, and that was a bit too few.)
I don't mind reading Storm in a Tea Cup. I bought it because it looked interesting and it's something my grandmother would like even if I'm not 100% happy with the writing style. Only, I have to read the books before giving them to my grandmother so I know what she is talking about when she goes on about any particular book or when my mother asks what I've been giving her to read. So, I will read Storm in a Teacup regardless of whether it's a book club selection or not.

Resetting and limiting choices for each round of voting is a good idea. I would also suggest that members vote for books they have or can get access to one way or another, instead of books that look interesting but can't read because they don't have access to it. I don't mind if you revote for the next book now or later either.

I'm not particularly concerned how you do it. If you need help maintaining lists or whatever, let me know. I'm willing to help, just don't know how and the BL site goes wonky for me on a regular basis. I have to use a different (aka obscure) browser just to be able to type anything on BL.

I object to history books in a SCIENCE book club, but I realize it's hard to tell how much science vs history a book is going to contain before actually reading it.

We'll keep Storm in a Teacup if everyone is ok with that - I remember at the very beginning there was a lot of verbal interest in that book, and as Tannat and Portable Magic pointed out, at this time of year it would be problematic to re-do the vote.

Ideally, list owners could assign other people 'admins' of their lists, but unfortunately that's not an option right now. I have a list created here:

... and while I'd really like to take you up on your offer, Portable Magic, to maintain the list, I don't want to dump a lot of work on you either. Although, I just looked, and there's only 7 books on it at the moment, so that's not too bad.

@JL's - you might be on to something there. I know we all mentioned themes at the beginning, and it would definitely help us give a direction/mandate to the voting list. But will it create more questions? ie how do we decide what the themes are each time? How is that communicated to everyone? I like the idea, but I want to make sure we cover our bases... Thoughts?

@SusannaG - 15 was the number that felt doable to me, so I'm glad to find that I was in the right ballpark at least.

So, here's where we're at so far:
1. How many books do we keep on the voting list? - 10-15 books
2. How do they make it onto the voting list?
3. Who maintains the list of "resting" books? Tentatively, Portable Magic unless there are other volunteers?
4. We need to do something about the next book but I don't know what - keep it? Have a tie-breaker? We're going to stick with Storm in a Teacup for now, as that was the leader... unless we want a tie-breaker of some sort for Dirt?
Reply to post #107 (show post):

You're right, it's hard to always know if your 'science' book is going to be more science or history. There are quite a few on my shelves that turned out to be more about historical science than current science. I don't mind them, but it's often not what I was expecting; it also screws with my shelving system. :P

So as the conversation stand so far, we really only need an answer to question 2, which I will break down further into 3 questions:

1. Do we clear the list after each read, allowing us to start with a fresh list each time, even if if some of the same books are re-added? (This would allow, if the group decides it's feasible, to create theme based lists each time.)

2. If No to question 1, how many books do we remove to the overflow list (keep in mind this is going to be a HUGE task for someone up-front, as there will be more than 35 books to be moved), and

3. How do we decide which ones go? I ask this because it seems that some of the books with a lot of votes are the ones that people seem less interested in.
Reply to post #109 (show post):

I suggest clear the list after each vote. Maybe have an informal book nomination in the discussion section until 10 books have been reached and then put up a list and vote for that? Suggested books that don't get selected can go on a list and members can look at that list for inspiration?
Reply to post #110 (show post):

I think that's (informal book nomination) only going to work if we have a consistent body of active participation at the time the discussion takes place. I'm not sure that's a realistic expectation and I'm worried it will leave members frustrated (either because they missed the discussion, or because the discussion had too few participants). Speaking for myself, I'd rather users added the books directly to the voting list themselves.
Reply to post #111 (show post):

Then how about the list gets cleared after a book is selected and then members add one or two books to the list for the next vote. If each member only adds one or two books then there shouldn't be too many? And then people vote for all the books they are interested in?

My very blunt opinion: pick a method and see if it works. If it doesn't, figure out something else for the next time. ;)
Reply to post #112 (show post):

I asked for blunt, so thank you, ::grin::. BUT, and please imagine a whiney voice here, I don't want to figure out something new again!! ;-)

Seriously, I think we're getting there, although most of this conversation has taken place when a large part of the world is in bed, so I'm not going to close the discussion until tomorrow (my tomorrow - everyone else's 'later today').

But so far those who have participated have agreed that:
The next book will go on as planned.
List will be cleared, and moved to the overflow list, run by a volunteer.
Members will submit 1-2 suggestions each, directly to the voting list (max. 15 books), for the March read.
Voting takes place over 1 week period.
Winner is next read (March)

Steps are repeated.

If anyone feels we should do something differently, or sees a flaw in the cunning plan, please speak up. If in another 12 hours or so, there are no objections, we'll move forward with said cunning plan and see if we can make it work for us.
Reply to post #113 (show post):

I like the idea of having them in categories or themes, and cycling through a different theme each month, because it would prevent us from having our only options in the same category every month, if the majority of the voters prefer, say, biology related subjects over astronomy.

BUT, that would be a complicated system, I think simple is best. So I like the plan that MbD has outlined.
Reply to post #113 (show post):

Yup, sorry was out of pocket (pesky work commitments) and have just caught up:
I completely agree with what the discussion has brought up so far.

Also, I am happy to volunteer for maintenance activities but will need instruction as I have absolutely no idea what I am doing.
Yay, other people chimed in!

I like the idea of asking everyone to add in a suggestion or two (ideal number 10-15). I don't really like picking 10-15 completely randomly because I'd be afraid there'd be nothing interesting/available to me. If we maintained a list of previously suggested books, that would just give us an extra source of inspiration. I'm not keen on choosing a theme each time, but if someone wants to suggest a theme in the future reads thread because we haven't read anything in that vein, I'd say they're welcome to do so. Not all the suggestions may follow the theme but it should still be an interesting source of book recommendations.

I can help keep track of things if you like. Nominations/voting should probably take place over a couple weeks, with at least a week set aside for adjusting one's votes.

I like to read about the history of science (depending on the style) but I usually balk when I'm not expecting pure history. What counts as too much history is a rather blurry line for me. My favourite science books are those that not only tell us what we know but how we know what we know. I don't mind choosing a "history" book every so often, but I feel like we're due some actual science soon.

Also, unchosen books that people want to read are perfect candidates for Rogue Flat Book reads!
Reply to post #116 (show post):

10 - 15 books put forward to a vote when the time comes sounds good to me, too.

Also, I'm not a fan of the theme. Sorry. I can see its merit, but it is kinda admin heavy. It is a simpler solution to vote from a small pool of books that people are interested in at the time of voting/planning the next read.

Also, I'm looking forward to Storm in a Tea Cup. :)
Reply to post #117 (show post):

As for the theme, I was thinking more along the lines that if after a few books, someone wants to suggest a topic because we haven't read it, then those who agreed that it would be a good topic for the present could skew their suggestions that way.
Reply to post #118 (show post):

Oh, I see. Sorry, I misunderstood the intention there.

Is that not something that we could just do on a case by case basis? I.e., like recording a theme in the notes or comments when the call comes to suggest new titles for the next group of books to choose from?
Reply to post #119 (show post):

Apologies in turn for only chiming in belatedly.

I agree on a 10-15 book voting list -- and FWIW, let's stick with "Storm in a Teacup" for January.

We can record topics in the lists' comments section for each book; caveat, though, that this makes life harder for the (alas, only) person maintaining the lists.

That said, we have two overflow lists already; the one created by MbD for the 50-book voting overflow and the one I created before we chose the group read following the Humboldt book. I'm a bit concerned that creating even more lists without reference to what's already there will just end up in needless duplication and / or in people losing track of what is out there. Maybe we should consolidate the lists we have and on that basis come up with a way to put more of a system into things?
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