It was the Guardian's good-natured and respectful peek around the edges of the Booker Prize to try and find the books that the people out there were reading whilst the judges deliberated over their choices.
So I wonder if the world is ready for Not the TV Book Group?
Hang up your coats, make yourself at home and pour yourself a drink because you might not know it but you've stumbled in on a quarter of a low-budget launch party here. Over the next few months I'm delighted to be sharing the Not the TV Book Group virtual sofa with three other esteemed blogging friends, Kimbofo, Other Stories and Savidge Reads as we read, share and talk about our chosen books.
'Goodness me, this must have been months in the planning' I hear you exclaim as you fill your glass...no this is the blogworld, just four days, 83 emails, job done. As if we'd struggle to find good books we wanted to talk about with you all!
Before we get to the interesting part as in the books, there are just a few housekeeping details and several things to make clear.
Firstly and most importantly and despite that name, which was too good to pass up once we'd thought of it, this is not an attempt at spoofing or denigrating the TV Book Club, none of us want to do that.
The TV Book Club is there, it's happening and it's currently filling that vacant TV book niche and, despite those first show misgivings, we applaud that.
This will be about offering something different, a two-way online reading experience that will allow us and you the chance to read and talk about what we hope will be some enjoyable books around our blogs. Perhaps for me also a little bit of freedom from some self-imposed constraints because finally I will allow myself spoilers. I expend more energy than you can ever imagine trying not to give away a book's special moments whilst trying to do it all justice here, so the shackles will be off and I am looking forward to spilling the beans occasionally.
The choice of books has been ours and ours alone. There is no seduction involved, no publisher endorsements, no marketing money or funding coming
our way, no pitches from publishers suggesting we choose their books
either. Nor is this about book sales, we have little interest in those and they are likely to be unmeasurable in relation to this because we will be urging you to get the books from your library if you want to or find them for 1p elsewhere.
For Series One we have given ourselves a preliminary list of four choices each, to be whittled down to two by group consensus, making a list total of eight books and we have also set ourselves a few early boundaries
- Books to be unread by us personally.
- Books to be readily available from libraries and in paperback versions here in the UK at least.
- Books to have been bought, won or borrowed by us, but no freebies from publishers allowed.
- Books to have been published within the last five years.
Point Four is perhaps the moveable feast for future series (well, who
knows, we might get to like this) because therein lies the opportunity for bookish
variety and innovation.
Choosing the books has been much harder than I had thought. So much to consider just for four books that will become two and it's not necessarily about chasing the ace of the moment either; we could slot in some choices we might have missed and would love to read in the company of other opinions.This will also be like any book club, we could plump for the diamond for one of us that reads like a turkey for another (or heaven forfend is a turkey all round) if so we'll say so around our blogs and we'll say why and we hope you will too.
We're almost ready to share our choices and the Book Club will be hosted around the participating blogs in rotation on a Sunday each fortnight for sixteen lovely bookish weeks starting very soon.
If anyone wants to join us you will be most welcome, there will be room on our virtual sofas for as many of you as want to stop by, and when it's my turn to host, Bookhound has agreed to serve tea and cupcakes (that's your fault Rhys, he's gone off the idea now) Rocky will keep feet warm as necessary.