Join Jeff Howe and the World’s Largest Book Club

The book publishing industry, just like the news industry, has struggled to find an identity over the past couple decades with large box stores taking over small corner bookstores only to soon be replaced by online retailers. Now, just as it looked like the pastime of reading was experiencing a complete decline, technologies and innovations look to revive and transform the industry. ebook readers are making books cool again, independent publishing is making it irresistibly affordable and new formats— falling somewhere between a short book or a long magazine article— offer something for everyone.

Now, technology writer and educator Jeff Howe is attempting to use the art or reading a book to achieve the much loftier goal of “creating community across geographical, cultural, ethnic, economic and social boundaries.” And to get more people reading, more people talking about and appreciating the written word. Howe is doing so through his virtual book club hosted on Twitter. It’s building on the momentum of a similar endeavor launched last summer, which had 12,000 people from around the world reading and avidly discussing the same book. The 2011 book, voted on by participants, is The Blind Assassin, a historical novel by Margaret Atwood.

While it may not be the next Oprah’s Book Club— just over 5,000 people have signed up so far— it should achieve Howe’s other goal: good fun with a good book. It may also offer an interesting twist, with the participation of the author of the chosen book, 71-year old Canadian author Atwood, who is already very active on Twitter. Discussions start on June 1st, so it’s time for potential participants to start reading!

Facilitators Wanted

One Comment

Christene Browne

Greetings ,

I just wanted to introduce you to a fantastic new book. Two Women is a cautionary tale about two women who share the same soul. It is a magical look at the hard subject of domestic violence with a surprisingly humorous take.

The book is currently a part of the Read Ontario promotion and was named as one of the most anticipated books of Fall 2013 by 49th Shelf. More information about the book can be found here:

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any more information.

Best Regards,

Christene Browne


About the book:

Bernice Archer has raised her blind twin daughters, Eva and Ava, in the relative isolation of their low-income downtown neighborhood. Every night Bernice tells her daughters the same bedtime stories; stories that are sometimes magical, and often cautionary, about the dangers of the world outside the walls of their small apartment.

Eva and Ava, now middle-aged, still wait for their mother’s stories with a combination of excitement and suspicion, knowing that there is much they haven’t been told. They are particularly mistrustful of Bernice’s warnings of the dangers of the opposite sex, and want to know more about the story of their own origins. As loving as she is loud and as full of secrets as she is of stories, Bernice is the centre of the universe for Eva and Ava, even as they yearn for freedom and experiences of their own.

When Bernice notices two new neighbors in their building, she is inspired to tell a new story. And so begins the saga of Violet and Rose. Bernice believes that these two women were born at the exact same moment, hemispheres apart, and that they share the same soul. She knows also that domestic violence is an issue in both of their lives.

Like Eva and Ava, the reader is swept along in the wake of Bernice’s stories, not knowing what is real and what is fantasy, but believing none the less.

About the Author:

Christene A. Browne is an award-winning filmmaker. Born in St. Kitts, Browne moved with her family to Regent Park, Canada’s oldest and largest low-income community, in 1970. There she became involved in making videos, participating in and then leading the Regent Park Video Workshop Project before going on to attend Ryerson University’s film program. Browne’s first dramatic feature, Another Planet, was the first feature film to be directed by a Black woman in Canada. In 2007 Browne completed Speaking in Tongues: The History of Language, a documentary series that looks at the History of Language from prehistoric time to the present day. In 2011 Browne was awarded the Documentary Filmmaker prize at the Women’s International Film and Television Showcase Visionary Awards. She lives in Toronto with her three children.


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