The online book world is vast, but it can very quickly become an echo chamber of the same few voices. There are thousands of bloggers reviewing and talking about books, but many of our conversations stop at the surface level—not because we don’t care to dig deeper, but we lack the proper space. If reviews and their comment sections rightly aim to protect readers from spoilers, where can we gather for that discussion?
I had to go back and look for evidence, but in the middle of a chat-rant-brainstorm focused on that echo chamber, Monika was first to wish for a site that allowed us to choose a book, pose questions, discuss without regard to spoilers and then let the comment section “do its thing”. With a few tweaks and details, The Socratic Salon was born.
Monika’s great, isn’t she? I’ve known her since college. She currently blogs at Lovely Bookshelf and does a fabulous job there. She’s not only a talented blogger, she’s a talented musician – a teacher, a performer, and a published composer – and she’s a full-time unschooling supermom.
I still believe all I did was summarize a group idea, despite Shannon’s so-called “evidence.” 😉 But you know who else is a fellow homeschooling and blogging supermom? Jennifer at The Relentless Reader! She’s smart, she’s sassy, and she’s always making something amazing for dinner. To put it simply, she’s:
I admire how Jennifer speaks so intelligently about the books she’s read (and oh my goodness this woman reads mountains of books!) without ever being stodgy. Her blog is completely gifferific!
Speaking of my blog, fun fact: April practically stole the name The Steadfast Reader from me! (It’s true, she told me so!) April is our critical thinker, our whip-smart and witty litigator (for real, she’s a lawyer!), our worldly, widely read and traveled wise woman and one of the most passionate people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. If you want a close reading of something she’s the best person to ask. April is candid and crazy, that’s a winning combination if you ask me.
April’s a whole lot of crazy, but luckily we have Catherine to keep her in check…or egg her on, depending on the day. Catherine is our West Coast fashionista with a brilliant librarian brain, which she puts to incredible use at The Gilmore Guide to Books. Catherine is currently up to her ears in a total home renovation, so it’s a good thing she can still get to the pool to swim off all that stress!
Wow, if I’m supposed to be the voice of reason we’re in a lot of trouble! I think of Shannon for that role because no matter what comes up she has an even keel about it. Add to that she is crazy creative at her blog, River City Reading, and well, if I didn’t like her so much, I’d hate her. She’s the Energizer Bunny of ideas and getting things done. With help from her sidekick pup, Ruby, who, face it has more Instagram followers than she does.
Ruby really is my right hand gal. She’s allowed in our salon, but I’m sure high society would have frowned on her and her rambunctious ways. Thankfully, we’re taking the idea of a salon, which is a regular social gathering of eminent people to discuss art, literature, and philosophy, and making it our own. So consider this your formal invitation to join The Socratic Salon any time you’d like.
We are seeking to engender conversations not just between the five of us, but between other readers. If a fellow reader makes a comment that you have a response to, by all means respond! Our community guidelines are simple and sensible. There’s no need to wait for us, we want this conversation to be as comprehensive as possible including as many people and opinions as the comments section will hold.
Because we want our discussions to include as many of you as possible, we’ll be waiting until after publication to discuss new titles. We also plan to dig into the backlist a bit. If you want to read along with us, you can check out the planned discussions over in the sidebar. Even better, if you have a book or a topic you think would make for great chatter, throw it in the suggestion box.
Come back Wednesday to discuss Jill Alexander Essbaum’s Hausfrau!