Literary The MR Literary Club • Welcome, Information & General Discussion
#1  sun surfer 11-27-2011, 06:11 PM
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Welcome to the MR Literary Club! We're a small but friendly group and newcomers are always invited to join in anytime whether for one post, as a new regular, or anywhere in between. In this post you'll find upcoming topics, all our selections to date, links to all of our threads, and our current guidelines. Anyone can post in this thread with general discussion, or jump directly into participating in one of our other threads. If anyone has any questions feel free to post them here or PM me. We hope you'll join us.

On Goodreads, Link
Dazrin's Excellent Stats Spreadsheets, Link

Selections, Topics & Thread Links

Links are numbered at the end of each line in chronological order; the first number (1) should generally be the nomination thread while the last number should generally be the discussion thread.


Current Guidelines & Club Operations

Spoiler Warning below

Topics, Categories & Themes

Currently we set topics on a month-to-month basis. Every month around the first we ask for topic, category or theme ideas for the next month in this thread. Around the 10th or so we will settle on one. We don't have any hard or fast guideline but if there seems to be a majority interest in a particular idea, we'll go with that one. If there is no clear majority interest then we might go with an idea by someone who hasn't chosen a topic before or in awhile. If neither of those are relevant, we'll likely go with the first one suggested that isn't my own. If we happen to have no ideas posted then I will choose and announce a topic for the next month, but if this is the case then any others can still post ideas after this and we'll likely go with one of those instead.


Every month around the first we begin nominations with a new thread for the month based on a simple topic, category or theme. These nominations last around four days. During this time, anyone interested in participating in the discussion that month can nominate a literary work which somehow fits the topic. Each participant can nominate one, two or three works in a given month. Generally all nominations will go to the vote.

Immediately after nominations, voting occurs in the same thread. Voting lasts exactly four days. Anyone wanting to participate in the discussion that month can vote. Each person receives a number of votes equal to the number of nominations that month minus one (e.g. if there are six nominations in a month then each person receives five votes). A person may give each nomination one or two votes, can vote all at once or a bit at a time, and can use all of their votes or only some. If anyone accidentally casts more votes than they have, only the number allowed are counted and in order listed. Voting is accomplished by post; votes cannot be changed and voting posts should not be edited.

We have a monthly selection, chosen by a vote after a nomination period in a specified category. Generally, we start the selection process for a month around the and we have our selection by around the tenth at the latest. Discussion threads are started soon after a selection is chosen so that people can discuss the selection before, during and after reading as they like. Nomination and voting threads are stickied only for a week or so while they're active, but discussion threads are stickied for close to two months each to give everyone plenty of time to contribute while the thread is stickied (threads can still be posted to after they're not stickied anymore as well). As such, there are usually two discussion threads stickied at any one time.

Nominations are open for around three days and everyone may nominate up to two selections each during this period, and all nominations automatically go forward to the vote so long as they fit the category (it is rare one doesn't, but if it happens I'll post that the nomination is invalid and that person will receive their nomination back and may nominate another if there is still time). Once nominations are complete voting begins in the same thread and lasts exactly four days from my post starting it. Each person receives a number of votes to use equal to the number of nominees minus one, and may give each nominee either zero, one or two votes. Votes are cast by post and the posts should not be edited and votes cannot be changed after being posted. Anyone may vote all in one post or split up in different posts as they like and may use all or if they prefer only some of their votes. They cannot give more votes than allowed however; if they do only their votes up to their limit counts (and this will be determined by the order votes are listed in and cannot be changed; listed counts ).

Here are more detailed guidelines for regular categories:

-Nominations will run for around three days.-

You may offer up to two nominations. All nominees (so long as they are within the category) will move forward to the vote with no need for support from others.

Once nominations are complete, voting will begin and also occur in the same thread.

-Voting will then run for four days.-

I will make a post in the thread to open voting. The vote will close exactly four days from that post; even if the final tally doesn't occur immediately after voting closes, no votes made after that time will count.

Votes will be made by post. You will have a number of votes to cast equal to the number of nominees minus one, which will be specified when the vote begins. You may give each nominee one or two (or no) votes. You may vote all at once in one post or vote in separate posts at different times, so long as you have more votes remaining to cast. You may use any number of your possible votes up to the maximum. Any extraneous votes per person (past their maximum or more than two for one nominee) won't count. Votes cannot be changed once they are cast.

Once voting is complete, the count will be tallied and a winner declared. In the event of a tie, there will be a one-day run-off vote, also in the same thread. If the run-off also ends in a tie, then the tie will be resolved in favour of the selection that received all of its votes first.

The only requirements for the selections are that they are literary, that none have been the monthly selection of either book club yet and that they number at least four. That’s it, pretty simple. Any questions, just ask!

I feel like we know and respect each other so I’m confident that these rotating months will be filled with good, interesting selections. The idea is for these months to be comfortable and fun for members. I want everyone to feel like it’s simply part of the club to have a turn at some point, and no big deal since everyone will have a go, and trust that the atmosphere in the club will be to treat each person’s Rotating selections with positivity and respect.

In addition to our monthly posts, we operate on a yearly cycle for discussing club changes and categories. Our club years go from July of one year to June of the next, and we generally discuss these yearly matter somewhere between March and July. Anyone can suggest changes, which must be approved by me (as it can change the work I do for the club) and then I may either simply either approve it or not myself, or ask for a casual vote in this thread by post on the proposed change, though there is always the possibility of a special vote thread for a change if I think it's warranted. Changes can be made any time of the year if I think it's appropriate and anyone can suggest changes at any time, but generally decisions and implementations are left until the normal change-of-cycle timeframe. There is usually a separate categories thread each year around the appropriate time in which we decide on the next yearly cycle's category line-up.

So, what is literature for the purposes of this club? A superior work of lasting merit that enriches the mind. Often it is important, challenging, critically acclaimed. It may be from ancient times to today; it may be from anywhere in the world; it may be obscure or famous, short or long; it may be a story, a novel, a , a poem, an essay or another written form. If you are unsure if a work would be considered literature, just ask!

A Brief History of Time the MR Literary Club

Spoiler Warning below

A group of people led by pilotbob started the MobileRead Book Club in 2008 as part of the Reading Recommendations forum. That club grew and, separately, in 2011 FlorenceArt started the MR Literary Society thread in the same forum to discuss literary books in general. Participating in both, this inspired sun surfer to propose the idea of a separate book club for MobileRead specifically focusing on literary selections. The interest was there and thus the MR Literary Club was created with its first selection being in June 2011.

The beginning saw a surge of participation. Soon after, both book clubs were moved to a sub-forum of Reading Recommendations specifically for the two clubs, where they still are to this day. Both began to experience a decline in participation there, but their core members sustained them through the years, along with new members joining at intervals and other posters stopping by to join in here and there.

The Lit Club has remained pretty consistent in its format, but there have been changes.

It had a lottery every so many months in the beginning, where one member would be randomly chosen from those willing and would then nominate the entire month's slate for everyone else to vote from. This was then replaced by a system of bi-monthly rotating nominations where members volunteered to similarly nominate the entire month's slate. After many years, rotating months were finally retired.

It also had some interestingly complex categories, such as Journey around the World which was invented by HomeInMyShoes and where only books from countries that hadn't had an author chosen by the club before were eligible, but the most famous being Region and Time Period. Both of those had a list of specific regions or time periods, and their months would begin with a one-day vote to determine which specific region or time period would be used that month, with that one then becoming ineligible thereafter with the goal being to eventually make it through the entire lists. That did happen with Time Period, and Region came close. After many years, both of those categories were finally retired as well together with complex categories in general.

The club began with the club runner (along with issybird) deciding the yearly slate of categories, per consensus of those discussing the matter. After a few years the club switched to having a nomination and vote process to come up with the yearly slate of categories. After many years and some tweaks along the way, this was finally retired in favour of deciding topics only a few months in advance on a more seasonal basis.

At first the lit club used the polling forum feature for voting but as the club became smaller voting by post became the preferred method, which contrasts starkly with the general MobileRead book clubs which still use polls for their voting. Similarly, the lit club also switched from nominations requiring seconds and thirds like the general book club to simply having all nominations go to the vote without the need for secondary or tertiary support beforehand.

The club also started a Goodreads page along the way. That page hasn't received much traction since all posts and discussions occur here, but it's handy for those who use that site to view all the club's selections in one place at Goodreads.

2017 and 2018 brought big changes to the MobileRead Book Clubs sub-forum. WTSharpe, who had run the general MobileRead book club for many years after taking over from pilotbob, retired from the position and issybird became his replacement. She in turn set in motion starting a new club, with the goal of combining the two clubs. The idea was bandied about and very seriously considered but issybird and others wanted the new club to be more of a 2.0 version of the general club with unfortunately little lit club format or spirit carryover, so in the end it was decided to keep the lit club as its own separate entity. The reincarnated version of the general club, the New Leaf Book Club, came with a surge in participation for it.

In mid-2018, the lit club had a major refresh, which is when most of the club's changes heretofore mentioned occurred. The idea for the refresh was to plan on a shorter basis and to simplify things.

sun surfer has run the lit club from its inception. issybird was a silent partner who helped with club administration the first few years, and Vandy helped with keeping track of the club's nominations at first. Bookpossum helped out for a few years later on, and contributed some lovely pictures during her tenure. In 2018 Dazrin began compiling and maintaining a large amount of statistical and historical data for all the MR book clubs including the lit club. Aside from those already mentioned, a sampling of lit club members past and present include fantasyfan, Bookworm_Girl, bfisher, Hamlet53, caleb72, paola, desertblues, BelleZora, Billi, ccowie, Synamon, John F, beppe, orlok, Spinnenmonat, and more.


*stats spreadsheets courtesy of Dazrin
*pictures here and on our goodreads page courtesy of and taken by Bookpossum
*region category map courtesy of sun surfer

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#2  John F 11-28-2011, 09:32 AM
Does this mean the categories for the latter half of 2012 are open for discussion?

#3  Nyssa 11-28-2011, 09:45 AM
Looking at the list: I bought The Master and Margarita for June, but didn't read it (due to both lack of time, and a difficulty getting into the book), I already owned both Bleak House and A Passage to India, but did not read those either, then I just gave up. *sigh* I really will have to try to do better next year.

I've download A Christmas Carol of the MR Book Club and Beasts and Super Beasts for this book club (should it win).

#4  Hamlet53 11-28-2011, 10:03 AM
Quote John F
Does this mean the categories for the latter half of 2012 are open for discussion?
I don't think that was implied, but if this is to be discussed let's do it now and get it over with. No more arguments and polls in 2012.

#5  John F 11-28-2011, 11:24 AM
If the second half of the year is fixed, could the first post be edited to show it?

For some reason the list looks different then what I recall seeing elsewhere. I thought there were *a lot* more lottery months.

Quote Hamlet53
I don't think that was implied, but if this is to be discussed let's do it now and get it over with. No more arguments and polls in 2012.
Good luck with that.

The only thing I would like to see discussion on is some effort to pick works which are widely available as ebooks.

#6  sun surfer 11-29-2011, 03:32 PM
Quote John F
Does this mean the categories for the latter half of 2012 are open for discussion?
Here's what I wrote in the "Begins" thread in response to some people asking about changes:

it's a possibility to change or move around the categories some, but I'm inclined to wait until all the categories originally chosen will have had their chance before a change (so around next July).

Quote Hamlet53
I don't think that was implied, but if this is to be discussed let's do it now and get it over with. No more arguments and polls in 2012.
I was thinking that maybe we could have a July-June timeline as our "year".

I think of the arguments and polls happening in the other book club as separate from us.

#7  Hamlet53 11-29-2011, 10:02 PM
Quote John F
- snip -
The only thing I would like to see discussion on is some effort to pick works which are widely available as ebooks.
Sun surfer, perhaps we should have a discussion about this. I am not sure what the "some effort" would imply, if is not to pick books not available as an ebook. I know that this is a requirement for the other book club, maybe it would do to implement it here if not being available as an ebook is discouraging people from nominating books, voting for books in the polls, or reading the books and participating in the discussion?

I am not in favor of the idea because it creates a "doughnut hole" of books that are too recent to be in the public domain (and hence available from places like PG) yet not so recent and/or well known that the books have been released in ebook format. Going to only ebooks I suspect would have a related effect of making books not originally written in English even less available as one must also deal with the copyright on the translation. I see this especially applying to books written in non-Western European languages.

On the other hand if it is much of a barrier to participation to not be available in ebook that's worse.

#8  JSWolf 11-29-2011, 11:38 PM
I have to agree that allowing non-eBooks is an impediment to some people reading the winner if it isn't an eBook.

#9  Nyssa 11-29-2011, 11:49 PM
I have 3 major concerns when it comes to either book club: Price, Availability & Time or Can I get it?; Can I afford to get it?; and How long will it take me to either afford it or get it, and then read it.
I will always make more effort to get any ebook than I will a paper book, because that option always saves me time, and more often than not, money, as well.

#10  fantasyfan 11-30-2011, 05:40 AM
Quote Nyssa
I have 3 major concerns when it comes to either book club: Price, Availability & Time or Can I get it?; Can I afford to get it?; and How long will it take me to either afford it or get it, and then read it.
I will always make more effort to get any ebook than I will a paper book, because that option always saves me time, and more often than not, money, as well.
I agree.

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