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NEW Non-Fiction Book Selection Process - Please Participate! 
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 NEW Non-Fiction Book Selection Process - Please Participate!
In an effort to figure out the best way to pick great books that will generate lots of discussion several people have suggested to try a new approach. Suzanne and some other members thought maybe we should try to first decide on a topic before we even take book suggestions. So let's give this a shot and see how it works for us.

To start with don't worry about when the reading period will start or stop. Tune out everything else other than what topics would be fun to read and discuss.

PLEASE say more than a few words. And don't suggest actual books here. TOPICS only.

You don't have to write a novel here, but give us some info about what you want to discuss. If your suggestion is "the history of American Indians" include a sentence or two about why you like this topic. Don't just say "American Indians."

Over the years I have learned a bit about who will or will not participate in the discussions. The people that just say "American Indians" are almost always hit-n-run members that won't add much to the discussion even if we ultimately read and discuss a book on their chosen topic. We're an actual discussion forum so let's discuss topics in this thread.

We're also tossing around the idea of giving more weight to different peoples suggestions. Certain members have proven themselves as being extremely active and involved. Other members have demonstrated that no matter how they vote they won't add much to the discussion. We should be placing more weight with the people that put the most effort into the entire process of book selection and discussion. How exactly we do this is yet undetermined.

Please now add your comments on the topics you think would be great for discussion



Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:23 am
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Post Re: NEW Non-Fiction Book Selection Process - Please Participate!
Salem Witch Trials.

As you might expect, I have a different perspective on them and I expect it would generate a great deal of discussion. Let me make sure that no one thinks I was in favor of them but I think I can recommend a book which will be a fascinating read and rich in material.

Curiously I was baptized in a church in Salem.

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Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:07 pm
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Post Re: NEW Non-Fiction Book Selection Process - Please Participate!
I would also be interested in discussing the Salem Witch Trials, because from what I have read about them, they were completely bogus and many innocent women were killed for no good reason. Of course this is true, but I do often wonder about the details of the trials and the executions, but I will admit from the get-go that it may be a touchy subject for me, as I have been "persecuted" by my peers in the same way that the young women of Salem were, and if I had lived in any period before 1800, I would have been burned, hanged, drowned, stoned, or pressed to death as a witch, simply because I am a strong-willed woman who knows how to read, enjoys reading, and isn't afraid to speak my mind. I am not suggesting I will "go in fighting," but I do know that I will react emotionally to the subject, and it is only fair to let possible future discussion partners know this.

I will also be honest and admit that I don't particularly like non-fiction, which is why I kind of backed out of the last discussion even though I voted, but if it is on a topic I am interested in I will be much more willing to give it a go.

On a related discussion topic, I would be VERY interested to read and discuss any kind of history of Joan of Arc, provided it was given from a historical viewpoint and not from a Christian/religious view. I have a copy of the actual written trials (which were altered very much against her and aren't an accurate portrayal of what happened), and would be very excited to read those and bring that to any book that we discuss about her. Although I am in no way religious, I consider Joan of Arc to be one of my personal heroes, because for one, she did what she knew needed to be done, regardless of what people called her or said to her, she gained the trust and companionship of the soldiers she led, even those who hated her or were skeptical of her ideas simply because she was a woman, and the story of her betrayal by King Charles of France (whom she helped put on the throne) is a touching and incredible story, and has been made into many amazing movies (my favorite is Luc Besson's The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc). She was also most likely schizophrenic, and it would also be very interesting to read her story from a psychiatric perspective, looking into her visions and her actions based on a possible psychotic diagnosis. Anything about her fascinates me, and I think, especially with Stahrwe's participation, it would be a lively and active discussion.

On another note of personal heroes, I would also be interested in reading about the history of Miep Gies, who died this year, who was one of the closest friends to the Frank family and did everything she could, including being sent to a labor camp, to keep the Franks hidden for as long as she possibly could. I would be interested in reading her story or stories of people like her in general, who hid Jews at the expense of their own lives and family, who were more humane and kind and human than anyone else I could ever think of. Being Jewish and having relatives who survived prison camps and a personal fear of the Holocaust, I would be emotionally involved and very sensitive to this topic, but I think it is necessary to discuss it, and think about who would do that for US/YOU if it happened again or to different people, and how many of us now would stand by and watch it happen, as so many Germans did, or do what Miep Gies and others like her did and risk their lives to save others.

If I think of any more topics I will be back to post them here, but these are the few I thought of just off the top of my head and based on Stahrwe's proposal. I promise that if a topic I suggest or support is chosen, I will most definitely do everything I can to participate in the discussion, and not disappear as I did with the last non-fiction discussion. I am very, terrible sorry about that. If my topic/any topic I support gets chosen, I will participate.

I'm looking forward to seeing other ideas. :)



Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:34 pm
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Post Re: NEW Non-Fiction Book Selection Process - Please Participate!
Some of the topics that seem to be getting the most play here:

Evolution/Creationism (beyond Dawkins)
Bible (Jewish, Christian or both)
Theology, Introduction

Two also-rans
Bible as literature, people have expressed a desire for discussion but not much has developed.

Post modern art/literature--several posts but a limited number of people


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Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:51 am
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Post Re: NEW Non-Fiction Book Selection Process - Please Participate!
I'd like to discuss people's views on population control.



Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:00 pm
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Post Re: NEW Non-Fiction Book Selection Process - Please Participate!
Post-modern literature.
The paranormal.
The dark ages.
The visual arts.



Last edited by Anderson on Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:11 pm
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Post Re: NEW Non-Fiction Book Selection Process - Please Participate!
Science fiction. :-P



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Sat Jul 17, 2010 1:09 am
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Post Re: NEW Non-Fiction Book Selection Process - Please Participate!
A book on Alexander the Great would be cool. That fits into my history reading nicely.



Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:32 am
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Post Re: NEW Non-Fiction Book Selection Process - Please Participate!
I see a pattern emerging. Salem and the witch trials, Joan of Arc, the dark ages, and Alexander the Great, these are all related to history. The very broad topic of history may be a good spring board to narrow down a time in history that is appealing to many, the Byzantium period for example. :) I would also like to read about Joan of Arc, and Alexander the Great, however, I would like the book to include the history surrounding these people as well, as opposed to a biography.

Another spin off topic from Salem and the witch trials, would be the phenomenon of hysteria. The witch trials of Salem is one example of this, but I'm thinking there are more recent examples. A comprehensive book may shed some light on this phenomenon which does affect our society.



Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:41 am
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Post Re: NEW Non-Fiction Book Selection Process - Please Participate!
Brilliant... I think you're on to something ;)



Sat Jul 17, 2010 12:26 pm
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Post Re: NEW Non-Fiction Book Selection Process - Please Participate!
bleachededen wrote:
I would also be interested in discussing the Salem Witch Trials, because from what I have read about them, they were completely bogus and many innocent women were killed for no good reason.


I thought only 19 were actually killed.... Maybe my book on the witch trials is wrong? It happens. :]

These topics are all really good. Now that I'm finishing up some stuff I'm sure I'll have a lot more time to read.

Suzanne wrote:
Another spin off topic from Salem and the witch trials, would be the phenomenon of hysteria. The witch trials of Salem is one example of this, but I'm thinking there are more recent examples. A comprehensive book may shed some light on this phenomenon which does affect our society.


This sounds really interesting.


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Post Re: NEW Non-Fiction Book Selection Process - Please Participate!
Being a bit of a classicist, I would be interested in discussing ancient Greek politics or society.
I also like the hysteria (modern or historical) idea.



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Post Re: NEW Non-Fiction Book Selection Process - Please Participate!
Genocide wrote:
I thought only 19 were actually killed

Only?

I'd say any more than 0 was too many.

Suzanne wrote:
Another spin off topic from Salem and the witch trials, would be the phenomenon of hysteria. The witch trials of Salem is one example of this, but I'm thinking there are more recent examples. A comprehensive book may shed some light on this phenomenon which does affect our society.

As Camacho said, Brilliant. I think this is a fantastic idea.



Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:36 pm
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Post Re: NEW Non-Fiction Book Selection Process - Please Participate!
there is a fiction book about the Salem Witch trials, called Calligraphy of the Witch. The historical research is excellent and the author's perspective is about slavery from the Mexican viewpoint. I forget the author's name. There is also the possibility that their rye grain was contaminated and was a cause of some of the hallucinations.

I enjoy history: I would like to know more about the river travel from other eras. Fish, eels, oysters, and crayfish were a staple of people's diet until refrigeration. I'd like to know more about river life and river people of any country.



Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:09 pm
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Post Re: NEW Non-Fiction Book Selection Process - Please Participate!
I see history as the emerging topic of choice.

Should we leave it at simply "history" and put out a call for book suggestion? Or should we require that the history be at least 100 years old?



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