Sometimes Internet Book Club

I love the idea of book clubs, but I’m rubbish about following through. Also, after my initial burst of enthusiasm for the first book on the reading list, I tend to get a bit antsy. Maybe it’s because I only have so much free time for reading, so I like to read what I want to read when I want to read it … which means I tend to be reading five books at once and leave some half-finished for years. Not the best of habits, I admit.

I do love discussing books with people, though, and those discussions always enrich my understanding of a particular work. We need other people and their insights and perspectives on things so that we can understand things more completely — that’s just the way life was designed to work. Plus, when you read a story or a book along with someone, there’s a bit of shared experience there, even if you’re not literally in the same room with one another reading or hearing the story at the same time.

For the past few years I’ve tried to read something spooky or scary in October as part of what I call “the magic months” of autumn. Last year an internet friend and I decided to read Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle … only to get creeped out by it toward the beginning, so we switched to good old Agatha Christie. And I forgot all about asking her how she enjoyed that book after we were done. Oops.

So this year I thought, why not short stories? A lot of short stories can be read in one (or two) sittings, which both makes them easier to finish and gives the opportunity for more variety, styles or perspectives. That’s when I thought of creating a Sometimes Internet Book Club, where people could participate as much or as little as they were able to, chiming in with their thoughts via hashtag on Instagram or Facebook posts. I could also read the stories aloud on Instagram/Facebook live video, so that if a person didn’t have time to read them, they would still get to experience them and then join in the discussion as they felt like it.

So, then, here is the lineup for the initial Sometimes Internet Book Club: Spooky Stories for October.

And here are the rules (or maybe they’re more like guidelines):

Read at your own pace, but I’ll try to repost each week’s reading list on Sunday, and then make posts for that week’s stories on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I will try to read them on those days, too, but that depends on schedules and whether the unexpected pops up or not. If it does, I will let you know when I plan to read. (But don’t let that stop you from reading and commenting as the spirit moves!)

I’ll be posting on my Instagram @innocentabroad and Facebook at Innocence Abroad with the hashtag #sometimesinternetbookclub. You can comment on those posts, or make your own and comment there, or wherever, however you want! Or you don’t even have to comment! This is all about giving everyone the maximum amount of fun with the maximum amount of flexibility!

If I get around to it I’ll do a little introduction of each author. However, I might not get around to it, so feel free to investigate them on your own, too, if you’re interested in learning more!

Some of these stories are a bit shorter, and some of them are a bit longer. I tried to choose a mix so that it wouldn’t make it hard to finish each week’s readings.

Should anyone want to have an actual face-to-face (via screen) discussion, sing out! We can arrange something via Facebook video chat or whatnot.

Any questions? Ask away! This might be a huge success. It might be a total failure. We’ll try it and see.