1 Second Everyday's COO Schoneck Shoaf was talking about a book he'd recently started reading – a nonfiction book called Longitude
by Dava Sobel, about an English carpenter and watchmaker named John Harrison, who designed the first reliably working sea-clock. Schoneck's excitement over the history of this one man's lifelong quest to create a sea-clock that would eventually revolutionize mapmaking and sea travel was contagious, and several of us showed interest. I don't recall exactly who it was that suggested we start a company book club, but my money would be on Brand Manager Emily Volk. Emily takes reading very, very
seriously, and the company book club that she would create (the Slack channel we use for the group was created by her, so I don't need to rely on my awful memory for that) would be her third concurrent reading group.
Since there was already a book we'd started talking about ready to go, we began by reading Longitude.
Although it was a quick read for most of us, I think the overall feeling was that Schoneck's initial discussion of the story was actually more interesting than the book itself, which spent rather a lot of time focused on the politics and quirks of England in the early 18th century. Someday, we should get Schoneck to write a book himself. Our first book-focused conversation was maybe a little stumbling, but other than Emily, we were all pretty new to the idea. I'd certainly never been involved in a book club before, but with Emily's guidance we've worked out a pretty nice little system for our remote kaffeeklatsch. Here's how it works:
Each round, one of us (the host) leads the group through a discussion of the book we've just read. There's not a lot of built-in structure for what form this discussion will take, so it's varied from meeting to meeting and from host to host. Generally it's been a series of pretty laid back, meandering conversations about characters, themes, what we liked and didn't, and weird things we noticed while reading. It's awesome to get other perspectives from smart people on the books we read, and it's nice to have a relaxed discussion about something not-work with the people I work with.
When the discussion has wound down, another one of us (the predetermined future host) provides three reading options for the next round.The future host gives each of these potential next books a quick run-down and the group discusses them briefly before voting on which of the books we want to tackle. The final order of business for a meeting is figuring out who will act as host next, and when the next meeting should be. Once the future book has been decided, each of us is responsible for getting a hold of it. Some of us prefer hard copies, while some get digital versions, and still others opt for audiobook versions.
It's been interesting to see the options put forward by different members of the group. We're equal-opportunity in terms of content, format, and the great fiction/nonfiction divide, but we definitely have demonstrated a tendency toward nonfiction and SF. Below, for those looking for a next book suggestion or curious about what Team 1SE reads, is a rundown of our booklist to date.