Saturday, September 21, 2013

Book Club

Two years ago, I had an idea for a book club: when I read a book that I thought someone else would enjoy, I would pass it on to them, and encourage them to do the same. I figured that this would have incredible network effects, and that, pretty soon, I'd be getting all of my reading material this way. Also, around that time Amazon claimed that it would be allowing purchasers of e-books to loan them to others.

I gathered three books to send. Young Jeezy got the Game, Ken Dryden's introspective look at life in the NHL, which Bill Simmons calls the best sports book ever; Old Granddad got "The Brain that Changes Itself" a truly fascinating look at how, by training, people of all ages are able to reprogram their neural circuits to develop new skills and circumvent blocked conduits; and my friend Master P got Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World.

The success of this endeavor was more measured than I'd hoped.  None of my Kindle purchases were among those"available for lending;" either the Potomac-bound volume, never arrived or it remains unacknowledged to this day; and when I asked Jeezy about the Game: he said he wasn't interested. End of story.

But master P thanked me effusively and not long thereafter A Time of Gifts appeared in my mailbox. I responded with the Book of Disquiet, and when I was home in September, Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris and Is Paris Burning were waiting for me, which was a lovely surprise.

So the relationship has been more polar than the "many-to-many" network I'd envisioned, but nonetheless, I count it as extremely successful, and I look forward to the exchange for years to come.


  1. Also, you recommended Michael Porter for the Breadman.

  2. I should add that it's no fair to be disappointed in your book club when you didn't tell anyone that you were forming a book club. I think you have been remarkably successful, under the circumstances.

  3. The idea was that you were in the club when you got a book from me. Two thirds of the recipients declined membership, and I'm not aware of any follow-on.