My thoughts on @1book140

Jeez Louis. I've been trudging along with this Twitter book club thing (which, P.S., if you wanted to "follow" me - I'm @abrokenbinding), and it's like pulling teeth.
I would love to say that I am loving it, but I'm not. I really, really like the book - but the discussion is lacking.

Here are my main gripes:

1) I've never been a part of any sort of forum, or other online discussion, but I'm realizing that they are hard. I would much rather be sitting in a room with these people than trying to get my point across in 140 characters. You can't even quote a full line without it being over 140 characters, let alone DISCUSS it. People have had to get creative, but I'm not sure if it's worth it. I'd much rather just write my thoughts out, while still keeping it concise - just not 140 characters concise.
Also there was a little bit of disorganization at first with the discussion, and I think that made it get off to a rocky start. But there is going to be disorganization with anything (This is my least gripey of gripes because I feel like as time goes with this, it will only get better).

2) I feel like its taking forever because I'm pacing myself with the book. Normally I race through a novel like it aint no thang, but because we are doing multiple day discussions on single sections, I feel like I'm reading at a snail's pace. I wish I could just read the whole thing: BOOM - and then discuss it - but I'm slightly afraid I will forget what happens where, or let my big mouth slip and tell people something they shouldn't know yet. Yikes.

3) It's taking away from me - here - with you who may be reading this. I'm going so slowly with this book that I'm not reading any other books to talk about here! And what a drag that is.

So yes, those are my thoughts on this book club. I like the book - but I'm not feeling the discussion thus far. Perhaps in time, as we get more and more into the plot of the book, it will liven up a bit. Until then - I must continue to trudge.

On to reading!


  1. I did 1 Book, 1 Twitter last year with American Gods, and this actually seems like a breakneck pace with that one. It ran about 3 months, and we discussed about 3 chapters a week. I balance it by only reading the designated sections, and then reading something else for most of the time. The slower pace is necessary to keep everyone together though. Initially, there wasn't going to be a schedule, but there are people like you and me that could finish the book in a week, and others that are going to need the whole month. This way, the bulk of readers are at least in the same place for discussion.

    I wrote about my final thoughts from last year here: http://brimmingbrain.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/one-book-one-twitter-a-world-of-readers-connected-by-140-characters/#more-23

    A few of the things haven't changed. While it's nice that the book was somewhat democratically chosen, I still wish we hadn't gone with a book flagged as sci-fi (despite sci-fi being one of my passions). It turned off a lot of people last year, and I've already seen remarks this year. I also still think that there shouldn't be separate hashes for each part/chapter of the book, but rather for each discussion section - so there would be a single hash for discussing parts I and II. Right now, I feel that discussion is getting broken up a lot. Also, the signal-to-noise ratio for Twitter still hasn't improved much. It hasn't been so bad yet this year, but last year trying to sort out the conversations in between the numerous retweets of the same messages was frustrating.

    It can be tough sometimes, especially on a limited medium like Twitter, but there are high points. Like seeing different interpretations of the same text and connecting with other readers.

  2. I don't think there's much point in having an actual, substantial discussion within Twitter itself. The 140-character limit, I agree with you, makes that pretty much impossible. (Although that limit produces its own kind of conciseness, of brilliance at times, and I think Twitter would not be close to what it is without that.)

    Twitter is a great way to share pointers. The real action happens all over the place in blogs such as this, and Twitter ties it together. That's at least one of the functions it serves, and for me it does that better than anything else.

    About reading the book and discussing it at the same time ... that is something I'm also not familiar with. I think until you are finished with the entire book, there is little you have to say except minor questions of understanding, and snaphots of your voyage through the pages. But I'm open to see what else could happen, and so far still rather thrilled by @1book140. (@drmirror on Twitter.)

  3. I am so excited about this idea, both as a social media device but also because I am a librarian and I like the idea of so many people reading the same thing all over the world. I do enjoy seeing the participation and the many perceptive comments and quotes. It is clear that readers, whether they are enjoying it or not, are discussing and analyzing.

    My problem has to do with the fact that this book does not lend itself to chapter-by-chapter analysis. The first couple of chapters (in my opinion) are there to draw you in, and then the pieces start falling into place once you read further (and not even much further). I read several chapters quite quickly and then watched the early discussions as tweeters grappled and went back-and-forth with guessing that would not have been necessary had a few more pages been added to the schedule. I think that dividing the book into fewer sections would greatly improve the quality of the discussion (I, too, have only discussed books once I have finished them).

    I have my Tweet Deck set up so all of the hashtags are in different columns, but this doesn't organize the discussion in any other way except for chapter. People still RT about the schedule, etc. in the chapter hashtags and I have trouble following who is responding to which tweet when it is so broken up.

    All of this is the nature of Twitter. So I am not frustrated or annoyed. I just wish there was some way to go deeper. I also love @1book140 and will continue to participate, but I wanted to share my ideas in an effort to improve it later so participation stays high. (Jennifer_NYC on Twitter)

  4. Fskornia-
    You’re right, I’ve seen a couple tweets that seem to dislike the sci-fi aspect of TBA. I actually really enjoy it – but I’m kind of a sci-fi dork at heart. I think there is a lot more to this book than the story about Planet Zycron- so hopefully people can see past it being labeled sci-fi.
    I think the pace is going to be ok – I just don’t want to go super slow, but I’m scared to read the whole thing and then accidentally blurt out a little detail that I should have kept to myself until later. I think the best idea, for me at least, is to just keep a little notebook going with my ideas on each section, that way I won’t forget what I want to say.

    I’m thrilled by @1book140 – don’t get me wrong! I think that it is a very cool idea, and for the most part, it seems like everyone is enjoying it.
    I’m relatively new to Twitter, so part of my issue could be that I am still getting used to it. I like the 140 characters to an extent. It keeps people from blabbing our ears off, but it also does make it a little hard to explain a thought. I’ve had to use a lot of brain power to try and cut my ideas down, and although it’s intriguing to do that, it is also a little frustrating. But – like you said – there is nothing stopping me from putting down all of my thoughts in my blog, and once I am completely done with the whole book I can write my little heart out.

    Jennifer –
    I agree with you about the chapter divisions, it gets a little frustrating when we are all trying to see who is saying what. I’ve got my TweetDeck running on overload too with all of the columns open so I can try to keep up with what everyone is saying.
    I really enjoy the idea of having so many people getting together and reading the same book – it’s a very cool concept. I hope that it keeps up and people continue to enjoy it, I think if some of the issues we’ve brought up get resolved, it would only make this experience THAT much better.

    Thank you guys for your input, I always like to hear other people’s comments. It sometimes gets lonely talking to myself on here (haha). I look forward to seeing more of your thoughts on The Blind Assassin as we continue on with @1book140!