Friday, December 15, 2006

Welcome to Betty's List Book Club Blog

Welcome to Betty’s List Book Club Blog. Betty and I are excited about providing a safe, engaging and thoughtful space for GLBT readers to share their insights about the books they have read, their reading experiences, and their joy of reading.

In addition to contributing to Betty’s List Book Club Blog, I am looking forward to facilitating Betty’s real, live, in your face, happily social, and hopefully provocative Betty’s Book Club (beginning on January 31, 2007 at the beautiful Duboce Park Cafe). I am counting on readers of this “virtual venture” to help me shape the direction of that “real life adventure” with their comments and advice.

In thirty years of teaching community college literature, the one thing my students have taught me is that avid readers have many ways of approaching the books that they love. In my new book, Book Savvy, I have tried to present some of these “reasons to make reading an important part your life” to a wider audience in an attempt to encourage everyone to read more (quantity…way good) and read more meaningfully (quality…way better).

To begin our conversation here, I’d like to throw out eleven reasons to read for your consideration. If you know a twelfth reason, I’d love to have an even dozen. I’m also fishing for why you particularly like to read, so that I can select the first few books for the Betty’s List Book Club. Subsequent books will be easy for us to choose, once I get to know you all in real time.

So let’s begin. What do you think of these reasons to read? What books do you think are essential reading? What do you want in a book club? What else do you want to talk about? Help shape the Betty’s Book Club experience with your ideas and expertise.

Eleven Reasons to Make Reading an Important Part of Your Life:
Reading for Information
Reading to Understand Others
Reading to Know Oneself
Reading for Fun
Reading for Ideas
Reading as Virtual Travel
Reading to Become a Part of Our Culture
Reading for Suspense
Reading for the Love of Beauty
Reading for Glimpses of Perfection
Reading to Develop Thinking, Writing and Conversational Skills

Welcome…Let the Games Begin.

Cynthia Lee Katona
Professor and Author of Book Savvy


Betty said...

Cynthia, thank you for creating the Betty's List Book Club Blog. We are excited that you will be the facilitator of our new Betty's List Book Club.

Your multifaceted experience positions you uniquely to lead us in our exploration of interesting and important books of many types.

I am already enjoying reading your book, Book Savvy, and look forward to your comments about it and also to hearing from featured speaker Jewelle Gomez.

The first gathering of the Club will be on the evening of Wednesday, January 31st, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM at Duboce Park Cafe hosted by Rachel Herbert. Duboce Park Cafe is located at the corner of Duboce and Sanchez Streets in San Francisco, just across from Duboce Park.

Very best!


ScholarNotes said...

Thanks for the nice comments about Book Savvy, and I can't wait for the launch of the Betty's List Book Club. When I see what you've done for bicycling in the Bay Area, I can only imagine what we might do together for reading! And there couldn't be a nicer place to meet than the Duboce Park Cafe.
Cynthia K

jde said...

In varying degree, your list would be mine.

Except I would add, for myself, I read to learn and expand my awarness outside myself.

I hope to read a good book, which for me means I will, in some way, be changed.

Cynthia K said...

Glad to hear the list resonated for you. I agree about being changed by the important things we read. Even casual reading can have a profound effect on us when we read the right book at just the right time in our lives.
Cynthia K

trudi said...

I think, for me, another reason to read, is to not be alone with my thoughts, to realize that others feel as I do. To realize that certain feelings are universal. Reading taught me I was never really alone.

Cynthia K said...

You must have a terrific talent for identifying and empathizing with characters. It is great to know we're not alone out here with our seemingly eccentric feelings.
Cynthia K

Heinness said...

YAY!! One of my New Years resolutions is to join a women's book club. I can't think of a better club than one headed up by Cynthia K. Thanks! and I look forward to our first meeting.

Cynthia K said...

That's a terrific New Year's Resolution! I hope lots of other readers follow your lead. Look forward to seeing you at the launch.
Cynthia K

Joan said...

Thank for starting this book club!

I have so many questions. Can I come just once in a while or is it better to come regularly? Do I sign up or just show up? Do we decide as a group what book we'll start with or do you decide? Can we post here with suggestions for books we think would be good for the book to read? For example, I have one: this Christmas someone recommended to me "The Russian Album," a memoir by Michael Ignatieff who is a half Russian and half Scottish-Canadian who now lives and writes in London. The New York Times Review called it "a vivid, fascinating account by a gifted writer who sweeps back the curtain from the past, revealing it full of color and life. Its evocative details sometimes recall passages of ''Speak, Memory,'' written by Mr. Ignatieff's grandfather's best friend at the Law Faculty of St. Petersburg, Vladimir Nabokov."

Looking at your list, I think this book would be:

Reading for Information
Reading to Understand Others
Reading as Virtual Travel
Reading for Suspense (it's a real page-turner)
Reading for the Love of Beauty (the descriptions of the culture of the time)

But--can a book be in multiple categories or just one?

And do the books we read have to be GLBT in theme?


Cynthia K said...

Thank you very much for all your provocative questions. Let me just say that the book club experience is richest when there is a core of readers who make it a priority in their lives to show up for each meeting/event. Then that group can shape the contours of the club by answering your other important questions, like whether the books read should have a theme, or if we want to invite authors to come and talk with us about their work.
I will check out your recommendation of The Russian Album. As Book Savvy gets near to a second printing, I am hoping to add about 20 more “books that can’t be put down.” I encourage others to post books that they admire to this blog as well.
And a last note:
Many authors have been contacting me directly about where to send review copies of their books, and offering to come speak with us.
Any authors out there who would like to share their experiences with us may send review copies of their books to:
Cynthia Katona
Ohlone College
P.O. Box 3909
Fremont, CA 94539
All authors will be accorded a respectful reading and consideration for the Betty’s List Book Club.
Cynthia K

Anonymous said...

I slept with Katherine Dunn's "Geek Love" last night. Tonight I think it'll be Oscar Wilde. AGAIN.

As a kid I would read with a flashlight into the early hours of the morning, well after my imposed bedtime. I do the same now, only instead of Judy Blume, it's Wilde--hold the flashlight.

Overall I read to learn new things, see different ways words can be put together. Empathy, connotation, intuition, and the art of conversation can be learned through reading. It is a vital asset.

I agree with the universal feelings and not feeling alone. I mean, if it's 3 in the morning, you can't sleep, and none of your friends are up to call, there's always that copy of Catcher in the Rye to pick up. Or any other book for that matter. There's always SOMETHING going on between the pages!

So a 12th reason to read? To be able to go on adventures you wouldn't normally go on yourself. For example, while in Sydney I went out to this place King's Cross. I didn't do anything fabulous. It was alright. The whole time I was thinking about how I could write about it and what I'd have my character do.

Cynthia K said...

Hearing your passion for reading and your choice of books makes me hope you’ll think of attending the launch on January 31, 2007. For someone who writes, reading is an extra pleasure. Watching masters at their craft is one sure way to improve ones own writing. Making astute observations, and then turning them into language with the power to move others, has to be one of life’s most exhilarating challenges.
Cynthia K

Anonymous said...

A $50 gift card to Barnes and Noble.

Anyone have any book suggestions?

Cynthia K said...

mis adventures:
Looking at your "favorite books" on your profile, I'd suggest Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary, Tom Robbin's Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, and Huysman's Against Nature. Great Gift! Happy Reading!
Cynthia K

Anjuli said...

the book club sounds great, and is on my new year's resolution list as well. I would add, that I read for the sheer love of language and of writing as a vivid, sensual, and evocative art form. There is something so delicious about a few short lines of poetry or prose that can capture the emotional essence of a character or relationship.I am an eclectic reader. I enjoy classics, books by international women writers, socio-political narratives, all kinds of poetry, and also children's literature! : )
I just finished reading "Reading Lolita in Tehran" and enjoyed it a lot. Looking forward to your book selection.

Cynthia K said...

Welcome to a fellow voracious reader. In Book Savvy I have included works from all the genres you mention as well as Westerns, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mysteries, and even Memoir. Because I didn’t get to read as a child, I rely on others to tell me about their favorite children’s books. I’d love to hear about any children’s lit titles you think might be good for the next printing of Book Savvy. Once we all get to know each other at the launch, it will be exciting to select provocative, fun and meaningful books for the Betty’s List Book Club.
Cynthia K

experientdocs said...

I'm sooo excited! But wait - did you decide on a book yet?

Cynthia K said...

Glad you are as excited as we are, and look forward to talking with everyone about book selection at the launch.
Cynthia K

liz d. said...

who can attend the meeting

Cynthia K said...

liz d:
Everyone should attend the Betty's List Book Club launch, just to hear Jewelle Gomez read, and to enjoy the new Duboce Park Cafe.
Cynthia K.

jamie said...

A friend of mine just informed me of this bookclub. I have been looking to join a bookclub for months/years, and this lgbt one seems perfect! I obviously missed the first meeting, as just hving heard about the club. Can I still join? If so, see you all at the next meeting. If not, enjoy the reading adventures!

Cynthia K said...

Welcome. We'd be delighted if you would join us at the next meeting. And bring your friends. If you can, take a look at my book, Book Savvy, and you'll be all caught up and ready to go.
Cynthia K.