Monday, March 17, 2008

Is Nonbelieving Literati Right for YOU?
Take This Test!

  1. I like reading books.
  2. I sometimes get ideas from books.
  3. I enjoy discussing books I’ve read.
  4. I’m curious to know what other people think about books I’ve read.
  5. I’m not afraid to voice my opinions.
  6. I have a blog, or I comment on blogs, or both.
If you answered yes to one or more of the above, the following post might CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

(Disclaimer: Probably not, though. But read it anyway. You never know.)

About eight months ago, I proposed forming a new group to be called the Nonbelieving Literati. My idea was that many of us in the Atheosphere are inveterate readers, and that we might enjoy sharing with one another our thoughts about a book that we'd read together. Or maybe just arguing about it. In any case, we’d have an extended conversation that would leap from blog to blog, in both posts and comment threads.

I'm proud to say that the group is going strong. And you're invited to take part in the thought-provoking fun.

Here’s the way it works. One of us recommends a book. The only no-nos for recommendations are atheist diatribes, best-selling or otherwise. We all read enough of those, don't we? Any other book is fair game, although some atheist or free-thinking angle is expected. We set a target date about a month and a half in the future. That’s a long enough time for even the slowest readers, or those with the least amount of hours to spare, to be able to participate. Members take turns making book suggestions.

On the target date, we begin publishing our posts about the book. The date is just a suggestion, though; any member is free to post on the book at any time thereafter. I'll warn you that most of us veteran NL-ers do like to get our punches in pretty quickly. However, in fairness to everyone, no one publishes before the target date.

Originally, I thought the ideal posts would be essayistic rambles, ruminations triggered by ideas the book suggested to each blogger. Not everyone, though — including myself — was feeling introspective each month. Instead, we've had an intellectual free-for-all. Some of us have written essays, some of us reviews. A few people have even written great diatribes about why they couldn’t bring themselves to finish one of the books.

In other words, whether you like the selected book or not, you should use it as an entry point to your own thoughts. Those thoughts might be about the book itself, or its theme, or its characters, or ... just about anything, as long as there’s some hook back to what we’ve been reading.

You can see the list of current members in my sidebar. New feature: Clicking on the asterisked links will take you directly to that blog's post about the latest book.

If you're interested in joining, leave a comment here, or drop me an email, or just blog about the book on the next target date and let us know that your post is published.

[H/T to Evo for urging me to update the NL introductory post.]


Franco said...

That idea is fat with brilliance.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I'll update the link from my post to this one.

Unknown said...

The Non-believing Literati has slimmed my waist, improved my self esteem, and changed my life!

[results not typical]

PhillyChief said...

I'd commit, but I fear commitment

Bing said...

It's like Oprah's book club, but you're not gullible or credulous and your head is not so far up your multipurpose vent that you can see out your mouth! Cool. Could me in.

Happy Jihad's House of Pancakes

Bing said...

Count me in.



The Exterminator said...

The most important way that it's not like Oprah's book club is that there's no Oprah! How much better could a book club get than that?

By the way, you are coulded in, and are now an official member.

Father Shaggy said...

I'm in, and I'm ready with a suggestion.

The Exterminator said...


It's great that you have a suggestion. Hold onto it for the time being, until it's your turn to pick a book. In the meantime, either blog or comment on A Room of One's Own, the target date for which is May 1. If you're a fast reader, there's still plenty of time to get in on our discussion of Not the End of the World.

Do you have A Blog of Your Own? If you do, why not leave the link in a comment so I can officially add you to the list of members?

Anonymous said...

Ex: Can I still join if I don't use the word "fuck" except for very rare occasions? Seriously, I would love to be a part of this.

John Evo said...

Billy, if I can be in, you can be in. So you're in! Seriously, there are a number of people who have said they wanted to be in, in the past. Those of you are still welcome. Jump in any time. Right now all you have to do is let Ex know and grab a copy of Virginia Woolf's, A Room of One's Own.

I've linked you Ex! And might I recommend to all members that you

A. Do the same
B. Tell people

As to point B, I got Ridger to join when I happened by her blog and she was posting about some book she read. I left an invite, and she's been a solid member ever since.

@ Philly - can you commit to giving us a link? I don't want to scare you though. :)

The Ridger, FCD said...

Nice writeup - I've linked to it.

Spanish Inquisitor said...

I have a link in my widget column. Just click on the NL graphic, and it takes you here. Feel free to steal the graphic. I can say that because I stole it from someone else (either the Chaplain or Ordinary Girl, I forget which).

Psychodiva said...

I would very much like to be counted in :) May not keep up with you some months tho as I have a fair bit of studying to do soon - but I will try :)

Psychodiva said...

can I jump right in and read- for the umpteenth time- A room of one's own? haven't read it for a while and I may be able to join in by May 1st if I remind myself of it's contents :)

The Exterminator said...

I'm adding you to the list of members. Of course you can read A Room of One's One, and you can even write your post. Just don't publish it until May 1.

Great to have you in the group.

Father Shaggy said...

Here I am, URL in hand:

Daniel said...


I'm in.

The Exterminator said...

We're glad to have you with us. I'm looking forward to your post.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ex,

Please can I play?

The Exterminator said...

Of course, you can play. You'll have to bring your own bat, though.

Anonymous said...

What's the next book?


The Exterminator said...

The next book is The Flight of Peter Fromm by Martin Gardner. You can find a link to its Amazon page by looking for the Nonbelieving Literati section in my sidebar.

yunshui said...

For those just arriving, the NBL has moved - this is now the place to sign up.