Nov 17 2019, 3:10pm
The Reading Room has traditionally had some kind of organised project going on, and it's unusual that we weren't able to organise anything new at the end of the 2018 Hobbit read-through. Perhaps that's why things currently seem very quiet, with few posts or posters.
Who would be interested in a new Reading Room project - 'favourite chapters'?
How about an idea from the 'whither the Reading Room' discussion of nearly a year ago - that people should present a favourite chapter, saying why it is their favourite, and then host a discussion of that chapter for a week?
I'm imagining that the presenter each week acts like a Chapter Leader in a readthrough - that is, they write something that can start a discussion about the chapter, and they check in sometimes during the week to reply to reactions. What and how much they want to write - one post or several; long or short; deeply learned or more 'a new reader's reaction' - is up to them.
Such a scheme should be:
=>Workable even with a small number of participants (c.f a traditonal read-through that can't proceed unless a leader is found for every chapter of the book).
=>Should be inclusive - someone who has read a book even once can have a favourite chapter and be able to say why it is their favourite. And they alone are right about that, even if other people have a different opinion of the chapter. Therefore I'd hope that we'd hear from people who don't usually post, if that's because they worry about their lack of expertise. But we don't know the answers to 'lurkers, why do ye lurk?'
=>Needn't stick to a schedule. It would be best if we had a discussion each week, or some other consistent basis, in the hope of getting folks to hang out in the RR a bit more (and perhaps post other thoughts & questions). But if someone can't do their chapter on time, it shouldn't matter much. Unlike a traditonal read-through, there won't be an organiser (me on several occasions!) who has to scurry around finding a replacement, or presenting the chapter themselves at the last minute.
=> Needn't be a whole lot of work for the presenter of the chapter or for any organiser (an important point since I seem to be implicitly volunteering to organise it!)
I suggest that chapters are from one of Tolkien's most popular works: LOTR, The Hobbit or Silmarillion. Assuming that everyone has (or can get access to) those works seems like a reasonable requirement, whereas if we allow any Tolkien work then people may be excluded by not having, say A House For Mr. Baggins*.
What do you think? if you're already up for presenting a chapter, would you reply with just the chapter title, in caps, as the title of your post (e.g. A KNIFE IN THE DARK?). You can say more in your post if you want, but please use that format in your post title- That helps everyone else scanning the thread to see which chapters have been taken, and makes offers stand out from other discussion. Otherwise it becomes a little tedious to try and work out who has offered to do what
*This unpublished work was to describe Bungo Baggins' struggle to develop an authentic and self-determined life for himself, to be symbollised by the successful completion of a house. Presumably at the end he either buys or constructs Bag End. But how Bungo was to overcome the forces of fate, prophecy and the machinations of his wife's clan we never find out -- Tolkien only drafted the plot and then abdononed the idea after a furious argument with VS Naipaul.
And anyway I just made all that up.
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.