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Spring 2666 Update March 2, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in 2666.
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It’s been awhile since I mentioned our 2666 Group Read, so I thought it was about time to post an update. Today begins Week 6, so we are a little more than a third of the way through the book. Due to the significant (an understatement) storms and power outages we experienced last week, this is the first time I have finished a section well before the Monday deadline. Instead of reading the book this morning to finish the section (this week we finished The Part About Fate), I have the opportunity to reflect on what I have read, and to absorb some of the really insightful posts other readers have been putting on their blogs.

Although I have been mostly enjoying reading 2666 as a group so far (the group aspect has kept me motivated to push through some slow parts) one feeling I had not anticipated was how much I feel like I am missing from the reading. Some of the other readers are making some truly wonderful connections between history, symbolism and metaphors and themes – and I’m still just reading a story. I take things at face value, as they are written, and if the allusion isn’t glaring, I just move past it. In The Part About Fate, we have a whole section about a character that is obviously based on a real-life figure. I knew enough to recognize that, but that’s where my thinking stops, and I just read the words for what they say. Other readers in the group read have put the words in context as though they were said by the real-life figure, and by adding his life experience to the written words, there is another level to the meaning, another (hidden) message from the author, another theme to be discussed.

I liked reading most of the assigned books in High School English class. I hated English class. That’s kind of how I feel now. At least now, I don’t have to come up with these theories on my own. I can just read for the pleasure of the story, and then check the blogs to see what I’m missing.

Lots of good stuff collected here, the main site for the Group Read:
Las obras de Roberto Bolaño

Other insights:
Infinite Zombies
Naptime Writing

Is reading a social or solitary experience? January 27, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in 2666, reading.
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This article from the New York Times last weekend includes a quote from none other than Matthew Bucher, organizer of the Spring 2666 group read of Roberto Bolano’s novel 2666 (which just started – there’s still time to catch up!). He said that he still reads, at night, at home and on his own, but the discussion of what he read the next day only enhances his experience.

I feel the same way – audiobooks notwithstanding (they have their own place) I don’t want to read in a group; I read by myself. However the article includes quotes from other readers who indicate they are somehow disappointed to know that anyone has ever read the same book as them. They feel that the world of the novel is their own secret place, and for someone else to read the book is like an unwelcome intruder in that world.

While I have felt connected to some of my favorite books, even so much so with some of my favorites as to imagine they went on without me everytime I put them down, I have never felt the imaginary world to be mine exclusively. Rather, when I found a particularly special world, I was (am still) eager to share that world with friends who I know would also appreciate it. (Just ask any of the individuals I continually press my latest reads upon.)

So what do you think? Solitary or Social Activity? Do you like to share books?

Spring 2666 starts soon! January 19, 2010

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Here’s a reminder for anyone thinking of joining the Massive Online Group Read of Roberto Bolano’s 2666: blogging starts next Monday, January 25, 2010! So, if you haven’t started yet, you have almost a week to get going. On Jan 25, we’ll start discussion of the first 50 pages. It’s OK if you’re a little behind, but just beware of spoilers!

See the reading schedule and links to other sites on our Spring 2666 page.

Here comes 2666 Spring January 8, 2010

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Last June saw the start of Infinite Summer during which participants read David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest in just 3 months. Spearheaded by Matthew Baldwin, the project drew attention from all over the internet. Baldwin set a reasonable reading schedule of approximately 75 pages per week, and along with three other “guides”, posted weekly blog entries about the book and how it was progressing. The project was quite successful, and was thus repeated with Bram Stoker’s Dracula in October.

The Infinite Summer website has a note to look for another project in January 2010, this time reading Roberto Bolano’s 2666. However, there doesn’t seem to have been any developments on the site to get ready, and the project appeared to have been dropped – that is, until this week. Matt Bucher of the blog Las obras de Roberto Bolaño has come forth with a 15-week reading schedule, starting January 25, 2010, and finishing around May 3. You can follow along on his blog, or also at Infinite Zombies. There’s also a listserv, and undoubtedly once this gets going, other forums and discussion sites will pop-up. (Maybe even here!?)

Also, according to this LA Times article quoting Mr. Bucher’s blog, participants should use the Twitter hashtag #2666 to coordinate tweets related to the project.

I have heard that 2666 was a great book, and in fact, it’s been listed on at least one “Best of the Millennium” List. What better motivation to finally pick it up than joining in this massive book group? Be on the lookout for the Monday Book Review sometime in May!

What do you think of this project? If you plan to participate, let us know in the comments.