books section here? December 5, 2018 7:34 AM   Subscribe

Could we have a books section here that's not Fanfare (for nonfiction/history/deeper reading on things discussed in FPP for instance)?

I'm desperately seeking a good books discussion forum. I'm sure that lots of MeFites are on Goodreads, but I would greatly prefer it if we had a good books forum on Metafilter rather than me trying to recreate a thoughtful Metafilter-grade discussion community with strangers elsewhere. My world is very much influenced by years of reading this site and that affects what books I choose to read and how I perceive the content. Also, we have no control over what happens to content posted on outside sites. Goodreads is owned by Amazon now and isn't likely to disappear, but I'd still prefer to keep thoughtful content here in this community.

My reading is typically a mix of science-related stuff and culture/society/history stuff, some of it related to historical background to current events/politics/racism issues that we discuss here. I'll typically read 3-5 books on a topic I'm finding interesting. I sometimes mix it up with MOOCs or lectures or edutainment stuff like The Teaching Company stuff.

I would LOVE to have a place to discuss nonfiction with Metafilter folks. FPP's themselves aren't great for the deep dives kind of thing- I'm often starting with books that are 20 years old and don't make for a good FPP in themselves. FanFare is the closest thing we have for books discussions but it's not a good place for nonfiction the way it runs right now- I glance at it once in a while, think "well, I don't watch shows or read sci-fi, so that's not for me" and ignore it for another 6 months.

Have we had a books section before? Can we? Is everyone on Goodreads and is that why we don't do this? Could we start one similar to the Music or Projects section?
posted by twoplussix to Feature Requests at 7:34 AM (53 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

I don't think a separate subsite is in the offing, but we are definitely looking at revamping and improving the way Fanfare works for this. So it'd be useful to hear what kinds of things people want the Books part of Fanfare to do better.

My sense is the main difficulty there is just getting a critical mass of people together who have actually read the book. One of the things we're working on for Fanfare in general is a new front page that will help with calling people's attention to active discussions, or discussions they might be interested in, in a more sensible way than the current date-posted format.

Folks who have used Fanfare for book discussion, or used other sites for book discussion, what works and what doesn't? What should we be thinking about adding or changing?
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:38 AM on December 5 [8 favorites]


Also twoplussix, I apologize for the delay in posting this -- we were discussing it last night when you first submitted it but the actual posting of it got lost at shift change. This is a good set of thoughts; thank you for opening the discussion.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:42 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


My sense is the main difficulty there is just getting a critical mass of people together who have actually read the book

I have a vague sense of it being proposed or tried in the past, but has MeFi tried having a book club, with everyone reading the same book in a month?
posted by lazuli at 7:51 AM on December 5 [4 favorites]


Honestly, just having the newest books show up on the side the same way that recently added TV shows and movies do would probably help a lot. With a lot of the older movies that get added, it's not so much that I've watched them recently as much as I see that they're being discussed (usually by seeing them in the 'recently added section).
posted by dinty_moore at 8:33 AM on December 5 [6 favorites]


Yes, the Tamora Pierce Book Club was going for awhile. Despite initial enthusiasm it kind of petered out to just a few of us at the end.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:37 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Metafilter is my number one place to find good books. I don't have any helpful ideas, but I support this 100%.
posted by holmesian at 8:42 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


One thing I've thought of that might be interesting / helpful, is if there was an easy way to link AskMe recommendation threads to FanFare posts about a specific book. (This could also work for TV shows, movies, etc.)

Perhaps if people got in the habit of linking through FanFare instead of directly to Amazon or GoodReads when they make recommendations it would draw more attention to FanFare generally and to books people have actually read and recommend specifically. FanFare pages contain much of the information about a book that Amazon would and include links to Amazon anyway, all with a lot less clutter and the opportunity for MeFi-specific discussion, comments and reviews.

Right now, though, there are very few books on FanFare, so there would also have to be an effort/mechanism encouraging creation of those pages, or have it be an easy part of making the recommendation on Ask.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:51 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


My sense is the main difficulty there is just getting a critical mass of people together who have actually read the book

This is just me kind of mentally thinking aloud in response to LobsterMitten's "how would you do this" query: I wonder if it would be useful to essentially run it as a series of cyber-book clubs based on genre, where a book is selected ahead of time in a poll thread; people 'commit' to reading the book; and then a review thread opens after a reading period, maybe with a MefiMail reminder that the review thread's open. Each genre (mystery, sci-fi, thriller, etc.) would have a book selection poll thread that ran, say, a week. Then there'd be a reading period where there wasn't any discussion (especially to avoid spoilers from those who already knew the book, or had finished it quickly). Then, say, ____ days after the book was selected, a book discussion thread on it would open. Then after a certain period of time, maybe the book discussion thread wouldn't close, but the next poll cycle for that genre would open. Etc.
posted by WCityMike at 9:40 AM on December 5


There were book clubs set up when books were first added to Fanfare. I imagine that it takes a lot of work to curate and run those and would be disappointed in low turnout if I had run them. On the other hand, I know Fanfare threads don't close, so maybe we should make an effort or try to normalize going back to comment on a book that you've recently read even if the post was made long ago.
posted by soelo at 9:47 AM on December 5 [5 favorites]


This thread just nudged me to finally figure out whether there's an RSS feed for just new book posts (which there is! Here it is!) so I can actually know what books are being posted and maybe join in discussion while it's happening instead of realizing ages after the fact that it happened. Thank you for that little push.
posted by Stacey at 9:56 AM on December 5 [3 favorites]


FanFare is the closest thing we have for books discussions but it's not a good place for nonfiction the way it runs right now- I glance at it once in a while, think "well, I don't watch shows or read sci-fi, so that's not for me" and ignore it for another 6 months.

I don't think we need an entirely new section for this; the tool is there for us to take advantage of. You've been ignoring it, but that's what it's there for. Go ahead and post the books you're reading!

I do think participation has been low in the past and likely would be low going forward for book clubs, but that's how it is for most things on FanFare, honestly. I don't think a new subsite would change that.
posted by ODiV at 9:57 AM on December 5 [8 favorites]


There's a dormant "book discussion group for members of Metafilter.com" on LibraryThing.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:57 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Maybe there is a way to have FanFare threads appear not by date, but by last contribution? Only FanFare, lol.
posted by wellred at 10:07 AM on December 5 [3 favorites]


Part of it is just normalizing that it might take a lot longer for a post to generate comments - which would probably require making recent activity prominent for fanfare.

Because I watch my favorites and look at recent activity, I can tell that people are still reading and commenting on some of the older book posts (The Fifth Season, for example), but if I didn't use recent activity, I'd assume that the post was ignored and buried.

The other part of this is encouraging people to post on older posts and not assume that nobody is going to bother reading something two years after the initial post date.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:08 AM on December 5 [3 favorites]


Maybe there is a way to have FanFare threads appear not by date, but by last contribution?

there's a recent comments tab but it doesn't seem filterable to the my fanfare tab, so it's the same firehose of information but at least you can see what's current.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:29 AM on December 5


Currently there's tabs for "Recent Comments" (threads listed according to most recent comment), and "Watercooler" (top few active threads of the last little while, so it's a more general indicator of what's very active, as opposed to the most-recent-comment which can mean a single comment in a months-old thread). We're looking at something more based on the Watercooler model as the default view for the new front page of Fanfare.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:32 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


I've picked up this book from the library and would be up for talking about it and similar nonfiction titles.

I usually favorite things I've watched/read in Fanfare even if I haven't got anything to say about them, since I'd like to see what other people come up with over time and they'll show up in my recent activity on favorited posts.
posted by asperity at 11:34 AM on December 5


So where would you post a discussion of that book and others on that topic?
posted by twoplussix at 12:00 PM on December 5


aspercity that's exactly the sort of book I'd want to discuss - I have a shelf-full like that.

Another useful feature IMO would make each bookpost a living document so the discussion could go on 'forever'.

IDK about others here but my denser stuff I keep returning to and adding to understanding (and questions - always more quetions); my Production of Space has tons of margin scribblings, about 50 postits hanging out and note pages stuffed in back and I'd bet there's at least 10 others here with the same book - be wonderful to see how folk are using their books and sharing some of our more useful learning.
posted by unearthed at 12:20 PM on December 5


I'd personally prefer to revive the LibraryThing group posted above to using FanFare for books. I think the forum format lends itself better to browsing, and is more open-ended - people could post discussions of authors or more general topics, as well as books. Also requests for suggestions, that could just link to the those kinds of requests in AskMe.

FanFare frustrates me because while I know that topics don't officially close, they tend to be active only when a tv show or movie is new. Which doesn't lend itself that well to books; people don't rush to consume a book the minute it's out like they do with tv and movies. The forum percolates topics to the top, which I think would help keep threads alive.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 12:22 PM on December 5


It would be amazing if our books discussion area somehow linked to the many askme book recommendation threads.
posted by latkes at 12:32 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


So where would you post a discussion of that book and others on that topic?

I'd post it here.

Let's see how it works, and come up with some ways to make it work better. I'm open to trying the LibraryThing forum out, but I'm more comfortable participating here than anywhere else, and will see updates to anything I've participated in or favorited pretty reliably, no matter how long it's been since the initial post. (Recent Activity, I love you.)
posted by asperity at 12:49 PM on December 5


Having just posted that, I think my first feature request for book posts on FanFare would be a fiction/nonfiction category setting.
posted by asperity at 12:59 PM on December 5


FanFare frustrates me because while I know that topics don't officially close, they tend to be active only when a tv show or movie is new. Which doesn't lend itself that well to books; people don't rush to consume a book the minute it's out like they do with tv and movies.

This is a big part of it, I think. A couple of years ago I tried posting a MeTa about tweaking Fanfare to make this easier to deal with once but got a mod message that made me think there wasn't much point given the capacity issues at the time.

My suggestion was that MyFanfare (or the Fanfare sidebar which shows MyFanfare posts) should be sorted by recent comments instead of of by date, so that at least there would be some way of checking for conversation on books I was interested in, instead of having to skim through the whole list looking for recent comments. So basically like a Recent Activity specifically for Fanfare.

Another thought is to rearrange the Fanfare tabs so books get a separate tab, perhaps one that is in two parts: one chronological listing and one Book Club side bar that contains all books in MyFanfare, again arranged by most recent comment.

A third possibility, though an ambitious and off-the-top-of-my-head one, is to be able to develop special interest groups on Metafilter, perhaps by using mod-defined contacts, and use these as nucleii to keep book groups going.

But more generally, without an actual book group with dedicated and synchronous readers, I don't really see a way to encourage book group style discussion. I don't really go in for online book groups so I don't know how other more successful sites might handle it, but it seems to me to be a people problem rather than a technological problem, and one that is exacerbated by the fact that Metafilter simply doesn't have as many active members with significant overlap in interests (at least outside SF and fantasy) as it needs to keep discussions going.
posted by tavegyl at 1:50 PM on December 5


Is there any way to harness something like the "Proposed Events" tab we have in IRL?

Someone could suggest a book or topic, then set a "read-by" date when a full thread will be posted. That way a critical mass of readers could bring their thoughts to the discussion in the first wave of activity. There might still be the long tail trickle of comments in the following months, but for the most part, the book would be fresh in the participants' minds.
posted by itesser at 1:51 PM on December 5 [7 favorites]


The MyFanFare function that lets me pick TV shows I want to follow would be somewhat difficult to extend to books since book series are usually much shorter, but perhaps people could subscribe to genres or authors the way they do to question categories on AskMe?

Especially if they could then drop specific threads from MFF that they didn't care about, they might be able to build a queue of things they are interested in.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:04 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


I am very active in Goodreads groups. Here are my thoughts about Goodreads v. Fanfare.

* Goodreads doesn't use threading. This makes it very similar to Metafilter in terms of how conversations flow.

* Goodreads communities are more specific, and that brings more engaged readers to a discussion within that group than we would get on Fanfare. Let's say I'm an active part of the Books about Cheeseburgers group. We do a group read of a book about cheeseburgers every month. Even if I'm not going to participate in the read that month, or for several months!, I'm still popping into the group regularly to chat about cheeseburgers, and I might contribute to the book discussions in an ancillary way even if I haven't read the book. I'm at least AWARE of what book we plan on reading for a given month. I don't have to go out of my way to get this info. With Metafilter, me being part of the Dune re-reading group doesn't mean I'm checking the Fanfare planning post every day (or even Fanfare every day, for that matter!) Instead, I'm engaging with the less specific Metafilter community on the blue or the gray.

* When I visit any part of Goodreads, there's a notification that there are new discussions on posts I've commented on. I don't need to visit Recent Activity.
posted by tofu_crouton at 2:22 PM on December 5


Two other thoughts:

1. People should try clicking the tabs on Fanfare to visit the Clubs page, the Watercooler page, etc. I get the impression that not everyone in this discussion knows they are there. If people who care about this topic don't know they are there, then they could definitely stand to be more prominent.

2. The sidebar on Metatalk links to an extinct book club page that should be removed.
posted by tofu_crouton at 2:25 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


There were book clubs set up when books were first added to Fanfare. I imagine that it takes a lot of work to curate and run those and would be disappointed in low turnout if I had run them. On the other hand, I know Fanfare threads don't close, so maybe we should make an effort or try to normalize going back to comment on a book that you've recently read even if the post was made long ago.

YEP and oh god if anyone wants to resurrect the Discworld Publication Order read-through that I started and couldn't keep up with, please do so. It is a lodestone of shame around my neck.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:29 PM on December 5


One difference with books versus films or television is that there is, functionally, an endless amount. People chart their own course through the sea of books, so you very rarely get the kind of critical mass of people reading the same book at the same time that even minor TV shows and arthouse flicks attain.

The one thing I can think of to make it work is to make it somehow atemporal, e.g. have it be like the AskMe archive page, where you could browse by title, author, tag, bookclub, time, genre, and so on. Plus a books-specific version of FanFare search.

Oh, and maybe people could write down title, genres, tags etc. they're interested in and opt-in for e-mail alerts.
posted by Kattullus at 2:34 PM on December 5 [4 favorites]


1. People should try clicking the tabs on Fanfare to visit the Clubs page, the Watercooler page, etc. I get the impression that not everyone in this discussion knows they are there. If people who care about this topic don't know they are there, then they could definitely stand to be more prominent.

I had completely forgotten these exist, you are quite right. Though I think they can definitely be tweaked and improved, for example, to address the difficulty of finding that there are still-active discussions about a book one is interested in but hasn't added to Recent Activity. Right now, in Clubs, for instance, one struggles to find out what year a club last had a post added to it.

Watercooler doesn't have a books section, at least in the Classic theme, and I wonder how much use it would be to readers anyway.
posted by tavegyl at 3:23 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


I have a vague sense of it being proposed or tried in the past, but has MeFi tried having a book club, with everyone reading the same book in a month?

Eyebrows McGee ran the Historical Fiction Book Club on Fanfare for several months starting back in 2015 and there were some great books and comments.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:13 PM on December 5


Prior to that, bearwife organized a monthly book club on MetaChat for at least a couple of years (her 2012 MetaTalk references a March 2010 start date).
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:32 PM on December 5


I tried starting a Low Effort Book Club for discussion of books that many of us have already read, but keeping it going was, um, a little more effort than I expected.
posted by roger ackroyd at 4:33 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


My problems with Fanfare:
(sorry, poorly written because I'm away from a full-size computer but have a wall-o-text-generating keyboard to go with my tiny phone screen:)

I want to make a contradictory point that Fanfare is both "too many unrelated things in one subsite" and also that the Clubs format dilutes or "silos" the discussion too much for the low traffic that our subsites get.

First of all, name and all, Fanfare looks so much like an entertainment media-specific subsite that there's just no way for a casual browser clicking on the main page to realize it's also a designated place where you could discuss academic reading, self-help reading, or other "serious" nonfiction, the kind we sometimes incidentally discuss as part of Asks or FPP's. The first page of Fanfare has a boldly placed note about organizing posts by episides, ie a TV/shows reference. The first few times I saw that page it just looked like it was a subsite about TV shows to me. The only way to notice discussion about other kinds of books would be to click through several layers, browse a bunch of book clubs, and maybe chance upon the right thing, and then just maybe find that the 'club' is currently active. If you're not on the Internet to read about entertainment/movies/shows, the first page of Fanfare just gives you no reason to click around long enough to discover that the clubs are not just about fan stuff.

At first glance, and second and third glance in my opinion, Fanfare just doesn't like the place where someone would think to put discussion of a book like "When Affirmative Action Was White" or a thread about books about manipulative behavior in relationships, for instance, or a place where it's worth clicking around because after some politics thread, someone might have started a "further reading" books discussion about the history of libertarian dogma (all these examples are book threads I'd like to start).

I get that some people likely don't mentally divide their reading between "nonfiction" and "entertainment" (and that I'm also ignoring people who'd like to discuss, say, "high" literature or poetry and don't fall into either of my categories), but I think the nonfiction category is REALLY relevant to our Ask and FPP discussions and that it's poorly served by being lumped in with entertainment media.

At the very least I just see no reason whatsoever why it's good to lump any books and any movies/shows together into one media category. We have a separate music subsite. Why are bookmoviesshowsgames all lumped together into one giant undifferentiated clump when the books side of it is, just by itself, such an enormous ocean of COMPLETELY unrelated interests and when movies and books/shows are consumed on such very very different timescales?

Scrolling past a bunch of uncurated stuff such as is the case in Fanfare also comes with it's own opportunity costs, especially if you're trying to avoid being 'distracted on the Internet' by avoiding content you consider low-value such as chatter about addictive shows. First of all, scrolling takes actual time and bandwidth and attention. I don't read much sci-fi but even I actually get "stuck on the internet" sometimes, mindlessly browsing io9 or reading about superhero movies I haven't watched and am not likely to. I actively try to limit my consumption of that sort of internet. Browsing through a bunch of entertainment fluff in search of nonfiction or politics books feels like a poor use of my internet time, so I'll click away from Fanfare when after the 20th post or club about movies because frankly I'm on Metafilter primarily because of the 'heavy' content and because I see Metafilter as a more valueable use of internet time than when I let myself read entertaiment-related media.

Voting on books to read, book clubs, the problem of getting people to read the same book at the same time:

I read more than anyone I know, but i have yet to join an IRL book club because it feels like a commitment or obligation that could get stressful. I DO pop into books-related Asks and FPP's quite often. I've brought up with many friends the idea of starting an informal book club and they've all expressed a fear of committing to something with a deadline and feeling guilty if they didn't get through the books in time. I think this is a common problem with reading books on a deadline.

I think unless you're Goodreads- an online community SPECIFICALLY oriented around books- it's best to avoid emulating a book club format with deadlines and votes on what everyone should read next. What I think works here is to have more chatty threads with fairly loose guidelines, and to keep the threads open indefinitely. What's special about Metafilter is Ask and the Blue, and the very wide array of things we discuss. I'd imagine that nonfiction book discussions here would end up with lots of people discussing stuff that came from FPPs and Asks and MeTas and general concepts we've discussed on the site over the years and I would encourage setting up any books discussions to encourage that. I were Dictator Of The Book-Discussing World I would probably run a weekly thread on 'books about x topic' and vary the topic rather than discussing one specific title and hope enough people have read the one title AND that they feel like they have something useful to say about it.

I get that you can currently run discussions this way in the Fanfare clubs and that I could start TwoplusSix's Book Club there and run it how I want, but I think nonfiction readership at Fanfare is so diluted by completely unrelated content that the chances of people finding things are poor, and that if there are multiple of us with different nonfiction book clubs scattered around Fanfare it's too much of a silo situation for such low traffic.

We don't divide up the Music or the Projects subsites into clubs or genres or anything- the traffic is way too low- and I actually think that makes for more readership for these low-traffic subsites. I think a books (or nonfiction) subsite wouldn't be harmed by being a low-traffic site unless it's hard to find the discussions in the first place, which is the current case with Fanfare clubs.

Other than cutting movies/TV out from a books discussion and MAYBE dividing things by nonfiction discussion/fiction (or leaving fiction in Fanfare), I think a large relatively undivided books or nonfiction subsite would actually lead to better discussion here than dividing stuff up further into more genres or into Fanfare clubs. I think keeping it chat-friendly and with fewer rules would lead to higher quality discussion- not closing books posts after a time, not having rules like the Fanfare 'one episode per post' rule, not trying to emulate a true books site by dividing everything up into a million genres or topics of interest, and leave any further division to threads.
posted by twoplussix at 4:41 PM on December 5


At the very least I just see no reason whatsoever why it's good to lump any books and any movies/shows together into one media category.

The reason is time and effort vs. interest, I think.

I think nonfiction readership at Fanfare is so diluted by completely unrelated content that the chances of people finding things are poor, and that if there are multiple of us with different nonfiction book clubs scattered around Fanfare it's too much of a silo situation for such low traffic.

I mean, your "interesting stuff" is someone else's "unrelated content". It would be nice to be able to filter better on the FanFare page though, no matter what your interest is. And yes, these silos have pretty low traffic.

... I think a large relatively undivided books or nonfiction subsite would actually lead to better discussion here than dividing stuff up further into more genres or into Fanfare clubs.

Isn't a book club essentially a subsite though? Couldn't you pretty much treat it that way or is there something about how they function where that wouldn't work?
posted by ODiV at 6:28 PM on December 5


What about encouraging (somehow) discussion about shorter fiction - especially shorter fiction that's available online? We'd sort of talked about doing this for the hugos this year, and that might help with the entry barriers.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:28 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


I think short fiction would make a great additional category in Fanfare itself!
posted by soelo at 6:33 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


I think nonfiction readership at Fanfare is so diluted by completely unrelated content that the chances of people finding things are poor

I wonder if some of these issues could be mitigated via diligent posting elsewhere on the site. Like, in addition to a club page, I'm sure it's OK to create a Fanfare Talk thread occasionally to try and stir up interest in some focus area like non-fiction (compare with the regular "Anime Season" posts there, which seem more than fine). But I'd also be curious whether an Ask thread like "Help the Non-Fiction Book Club choose our next three books" could work on a quarterly basis or whether it'd be reasonable to post legitimately good FPPs focused on some article, in-depth book review(s), or whatnot and point out below the fold that there's a Fanfare Non-Fiction Book Club with book posts up for something related to the topic. My guess would be that it could take some patience to find the right material and some effort to frame it well, but as long as it's still an interesting, self-contained post, I suspect few people would blink at a shout-out to a club or its book posts--personally, I'd read that less as a self-post and more as "Previously on Metafilter" link.
posted by Wobbuffet at 7:00 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


To be clear about Music, that's for sharing music we make ourselves rather than discussing music from elsewhere. I think. I mostly visit it every year for my Jingle Rock Bell fix and should really check in there more often.
posted by asperity at 7:03 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


In 2011, a Meta Book Club was active at metachat.org. It pre-dated Fanfare.
posted by zarq at 7:19 PM on December 5


I wonder if some of the ranging discussion you're interested in having would make sense on FanFareTalk, twoplussix? Like, a monthly "Whatcha Reading?" thread, one for fiction and one for non-fiction, perhaps. They could stick around for a long time for follow-on discussion, and if there specific books that a few people were interested in, they could be split out into separate threads for more detailed discussion. Or the Whatcha Reading? threads could get more granular over time as they attracted a larger audience with more diverse interests.

Perhaps an announcement of the monthly threads could be made in the sidebar to bring attention to them.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:24 PM on December 5 [4 favorites]


I wonder if some of these issues could be mitigated via diligent posting elsewhere on the site. Like, in addition to a club page, I'm sure it's OK to create a Fanfare Talk thread occasionally...

I don't read FanFare Talk, and I don't watch MST3K, but I still know about the marathon watches because of seeing posts on MetaTalk. Maybe the mods would be OK with posts here about choosing read-along books? (Caveat: I don't join book clubs because I read at my own whims, but enjoy comments from others about books I've read/I want to read, especially if they're non-fiction. I'd read a MeTa along the lines of "My 2019 reading list--I'll be posting in FanFare--suggestions?" with follow-up reminders every three or four months.)

as long as it's still an interesting, self-contained post, I suspect few people would blink at a shout-out to a club or its book posts--personally, I'd read that less as a self-post and more as "Previously on Metafilter" link.

*Nods in agreement*
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:39 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


My one experience of using FanFare to discuss a book came after I'd happened to see a post there last summer about Helen DeWitt's then-newly-published collection of short stories Some Trick, and, about six weeks later, when I'd got around to obtaining and reading the book, adding a comment about it, which was then, and still is now the only one there besides the original poster's. If anyone else has read it I'd still be very interested to see what you thought about it!
posted by misteraitch at 7:20 AM on December 6


Some Trick is on the 2019 Tournament of Books long list. DirtyOldTown started a Fanfare book club for the 2018 ToB, which I thought was a great idea but we were a little too late by the time we realized we had a critical mass. Maybe this year we can start earlier, either when the short list comes out or now by reading likely longlist items that already have posts such as Some Trick, Circe, Stray City, or The Overstory.
posted by tofu_crouton at 10:18 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


I haven't really thought to look for books on FanFare. Immediate reactions upon trying that:

1. Good, there's a way to just see books!
2. But, I haven't read any of the ones on the first few pages.

And that's kind of a killer.

At the very least, it probably needs a genre subdivision. (I know, there are tags, but they don't just bring up books.) And probably a sort by title, and sort by author (without the intro paragraph).

And probably a few hundred more entries. What might not be too hard: when there's a FPP about a book, add a FanFare entry for it. Harder but more useful: when a post asks for book titles, add a widget that allows creating FanFare entries.
posted by zompist at 1:52 AM on December 7 [2 favorites]


Bouncing off some thoughts here - and with a view to a more asynchronous than synchronous 'book club' approach - one idea I've had for a while is for a 'book reviews' section, which emphasizes the use of tags, maybe a bit like LibraryThing. So LibraryThing already exists, but, I find I like a lot of the posts in MeFi anyway, and so would be interested to see what other folks here are reading. Presumably if ISBNs are added, other things could be pulled in as well, e.g. Library of Congress catalog records and subject headings.

So the 'first post' would be the book, and then the 'reviews' would be the comments. Again being able to see if MeFites I like have posted book comments, would be useful I think.

Not sure if this is practical or not at the back end, however, I am more likely I think to search through a well-indexed MeFi book review archive for something interesting, as opposed to reading a book at a specific time.
posted by carter at 4:06 AM on December 7 [3 favorites]


Piggybacking in a small related request, on the FanFare archive page, could there be the A-Z links for books like there are for TV and movies?
posted by ellieBOA at 7:02 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


Piggybacking in a small related request, on the FanFare archive page, could there be the A-Z links for books like there are for TV and movies?

Is this what you mean? It does exist but is not clearly linked from anywhere and would probably be improved with the inclusion of author's name and perhaps series where appropriate.
posted by tavegyl at 9:28 PM on December 7


Not quite, if you scroll to the top of that page, for TV (and further down for movies), letters like below are hyperlinked:

- # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z -
posted by ellieBOA at 10:06 PM on December 7


Here is another vote for this or something similar:LibraryThing group
posted by waviolet at 4:18 PM on December 9


I've asked for this before, but still: show Authors on the list page.
posted by signal at 4:32 PM on December 12 [1 favorite]


And Series, too, when relevant.
posted by signal at 4:37 PM on December 12 [1 favorite]


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