Monday, April 28, 2008

Leading a Reading Room discussion this week

For you of you who haven’t heard of the Reading Room at — known affectionately as TORn, you’re really missing out. Though a lot of the content on TORn focuses on the films — indeed, I believe it was because of the films that TORn was created in the first place (as an aggregator site for pre-release rumors) — the Reading Room is the place for book purists! At any given time, a book discussion of some sort is always underway. Since late last year, it’s been The Lord of the Rings again. The Reading Room works its collective way through a chapter a week, each chapter discussion being led by a volunteer member of the group. It’s like communism, only with Elves. ;)

This week, I’m leading my first ever chapter discussion, though I’ve participated in a number of them. I’m doing “Treebeard” (Chapter 4 of The Two Towers). You can follow the discussion at the Reading Room — Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Or better yet, why not register there (it’s totally free) and participate in the discussion first-hand?


  1. Jason! I have two questions for you, because you are so smart, and they're not related to this post, but I just thought I'd ask.

    1. Do you know anything about and what do you think of Rowling's lawsuit stuff as an affect on how people will read Harry Potter; and

    2. What genre would you classify the HP novels as?

  2. Hi Alex. I don’t know if those two questions are a matter of smarts, but I’ll give you my opinions.

    1. From what I know (which is not a very great deal), I think Rowling is in the wrong. I believe that the lexicon is within the limits of Fair Use. And moreover, it has been online for ages (with no complaints from Rowling), but only now that they want to put it in print and charge money for it does she complain about the content. It doesn’t add up. Either the content is in violation of copyright, or it’s not. I happen to believe it’s not — but again, I only know what’s been on the news sites; I’m certainly not privy to the internal details of the lawsuit.

    As to whether or how it will affect people reading Harry Potter. I doubt it will have very much effect, to be honest. If anything, it may depress the success of her next book — but pretty much everyone who was going to read HP the first time around has already done so. And those who haven’t probably don’t really care about the lawsuit.

    2. I would call them fantasy novels. That seems pretty clear to me. Or did you mean, children’s versus adult? I think that’s borderline, but ultimately, I’d probably say children’s.

  3. It’s like communism, only with Elves. ;)

    RTFL! Now I have to sign up to satisfy my curiosity.

  4. Glad you liked that bit, Cat Bastet. And of course, I meant communism as an socioeconomic theory and not the political Communism of the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba. I guess maybe that goes without saying. :)

    My “Treebeard” chapter discussion went really well, I thought. The archives are all there for the reading. Heck, you can even still add your own voice to the discussion, though only the person(s) to whom you’re responding will be notified of your comments. (But they’ll be there for posterity to read in the archives as well.)