Self-Help: It’s Time for a Book Club!

I can’t read.

Okay, that’s not exactly true. To put it in better terms: I don’t read!

Many of you are like me, but you won’t admit it. The idea of going out and buying Barack Obama’s latest book, or going gaga over Stephen King’s next Best Seller just doesn’t appeal to me.

Don’t get me wrong. I do read, just not the typical stuff people are referring to when they ask you, “What have you been reading?” I’m a news junkie, so I read everything that comes across the wire. And when I say everything, I mean everything. I have access to all sorts of news wires, so that stuff is delivered to my phone, computer, and sometimes personally. I read 3 sections of the New York Times religiously. I follow about 100 blogs on Google Reader of which I graze through 1 or 2 times a day. And being “The Sports Watcher” that I am, ESPN.com, SI.com and ESPN the Magazine are like my second religions (with “Man v. Food” being my first).

I do manage to read a “book” every now and then. Whenever something that can help my life crosses my path I get interested. So I’m a big fan of the “7 Daily Habits…” book/series, as well as the “48 Laws of Power” book/series. Occasionally, if an interesting autobiography is well-received, I’ll get interested, such as Stokley Carmichael’s book, which I read half-a-decade ago. But generally speaking, once you get past news and self-help, I’m “Seacrest out,” and I don’t find it necessary to apologize for that.

I know what many of you are saying: “You have no culture!” “You’re missing out on some great literature.” Or my favorite, “Books can stimulate your mind.” Listen, if books were the only thing stimulating my mind, I’d rather be dead. Besides, I’ve read the classics, and I wasn’t terribly impressed. All of those works I read— throughout my “advanced” English classes in middle and high school and during my stint at my liberal arts college—were very good books, but they didn’t get me excited.

Yes, some of them posed thought-provoking questions for society, but they didn’t answer them. The best part about all of those classical readings in college was not the experience of reading the books, but the discussions we had in class the next day. But you didn’t need the books to have those discussions, you just needed the questions those books proposed. Enter: blogs, political pundits, The Maury Povich Show and Cornel West.

In all seriousness though, I just can’t wrap my head around reading something as subjective and untimely as a classic book or a piece of fiction. Maybe that line of thought is a product of this “everything now” society that we live in, but I’d just rather read breaking news, breaking down a scientific study or finding out why Kim Kardashian isn’t allowed to eat cookies on TMZ.com

However, I do want to have those conversations that those classic books created during my academic career. I was way too sleepy, too stressed, or too into the hot German co-ed in my Contemporary Civilizations class for one too many of our sessions, so I need more of that conversation in my life now to make up for some of the stuff I didn’t fully participate in.

So, it’s time to start a book club!

I’ve wanted to do this for quite some time now, but I’ve been afraid to ask, just because everyone in my life is always talking about how little time they have in the first place. Needless to say, these are the same people I watch football games with for 12 hours straight or spend 8 hours roaming New York with, but of course, they have no time.

So, I’m asking now, and yes, I’m even asking the general public to join me. I’m not exactly sure that I will have all of you over at my house, but a virtual book club, in addition to the physical one I hope to start, certainly would be well worth my time.

So, please join my book club! If you know me, email me! If you don’t, sign up for my UzoNYC.com newsletter and let you know about the virtual book club I’m hoping to have as an extension of the one I’m doing here. This won’t be any old book club either! I’ll try to make it fun. I’ve already thought of a few things I’ll do my best to incorporate:

Authors of the books at our conversations
Contemporary pieces
Free food (for the physical book club that is)
Contributor of the month
Tournament style voting procedure for book selection
and…video conferencing with people outside of both my New York and blogging circles!

So I hope those of you who read this blog will lend out your virtual hand and help a brotha become more of a traditional reader. And for those of you who call yourselves friends, do holla at me, or your academia street-cred shall be challenged!

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