I’d like to open this with a big Thank You, to you, our readers, for all your support and participation in the Book Salons. They are a reflection of our FDL community and activism.

This is your time to tell me about the Book Salons you liked, and didn’t like so much.  What are your favorite books, subjects?  How do you read them – hardback or eBook?  What are your recommendations for the coming year?

Your participation is what make these salons so special – without your comments and questions, it would be just another question and answer session you could read anywhere.  The salons at FDL ask the deep questions, not the safe “softball” questions, or sound bites. The authors and hosts have commented to me about how much they enjoy the discussions, even after a long book tour (and some interviewers that have not read the book).  A two hour block of time devoted to a live discussion of a book/subject, in depth, is rare and you are the reason we can do this.

Looking back at the archive for the past year – we have had on whistleblowers, economists, environmentalists, and activists. Authors who wrote about society, LGBT issues, media, the FBI, military, diplomacy, media, marijuana, torture, Bradley Manning, campaigns, and a lot of subjects in between.

We had these Nobel & Pulitzer Prize Winners: Ellen E. Schultz (Pulitzer Prize, Loeb Award, Polk Award), Tim Weiner (Pulitzer Prize),  Paul Krugman (Nobel Prize), Ted Rall (Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award,  Pulitzer Prize Finalist), Steve Coll (Pulitzer Prize), Doug Saunders (National Newspaper Award, Canada’s Pulitzer Prize), Chris Hedges (Pulitzer Prize), Michael E. Mann (Nobel Peace Prize), David Cay Johnston (Pulitzer Prize, President of IRE), and Thomas E. Ricks (Pulitzer Prize) – and many, many other great authors and Award winners too.

You can stop by FDLBookSalon.com and look at the past salons to refresh your memory of what salons we have had.

I’d like to thank all the authors and hosts who have been here, too. Thank you for your books and for all the extra time and effort you put in to make the salons interesting and a must-read experience.

Also, a big thanks to the unseen team at FDL that make the salons happen, it would not happen without you. Thank You.

I look forward to your comments and recommendations.  I receive a lot of books and recommendations from authors, and from authors who want to return to the Book Salon, from publicists with new books – but I’d like to know what you are looking for.  And yes – that is a picture of my desk this week.

154 Responses to “FDL Book Salon – Your thoughts to my desk”

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Hi everyone!

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 1:52 pm

For our new readers/commenters:

To follow along, you will have to refresh your browser:
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If you want to ask a question
– just type it in the Leave Your Response box & Submit Comment.


If you are responding to a comment – use the Reply button under the number,
then type your response in the box, Submit Comment.

dakine01 January 6th, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Thanks for all the hard work you do Bev. If nothing else, the range of topics, guests, and hosts has been phenomenal

Suzanne January 6th, 2013 at 2:04 pm

wow bev, your desk is packed. thanks for all the work you put into making these salons happen.

what goes into a book being selected for book salon? does it have to be political in nature to be considered?

Elliott January 6th, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Hi Bev

Thanks for all you do
you are a great author wrangler.

Is it true you have a crystal ball?

greenwarrior January 6th, 2013 at 2:07 pm

my, my, my. i love your desk. and, to think, i thought you just lazed around the house all day in your slippers.

Suzanne January 6th, 2013 at 2:08 pm
In response to Elliott @ 5

great question ellie — bev has remarkable timing

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:09 pm
In response to Suzanne @ 4

I look for progressive books, any subject, feedback/recommendations help push a book up the list to be picked. Economic and Finance books are the #1 favorites.

With 52 weekends available the decisions are challenging, too many good books and not enough weekends.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:09 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 3

Thanks! I have a great team back here.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:09 pm
In response to Elliott @ 5

Crystal Ball??

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:10 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 6

LOL – I spend many hours every day here at the computer.

Elliott January 6th, 2013 at 2:11 pm

you listed all the pulitzers and nobellers you’ve been fortunate to work with – any personal faves?

tuezday January 6th, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Bev, have you actually read all the books featured in the salon’s? You hand out some brutal, weekly reading assignments :’)

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:12 pm
In response to Suzanne @ 7

Actually I read FDL and other media / news to see what is current, but I don’t write the books, I pick from the books that are new and on the market. I do get lucky on the topics.

greenwarrior January 6th, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Probably, my all time favorite author on Book Salon has been Greg Palast. Not only are his books great, but he thinks so quickly on his feet that I laugh while learning about the hideousness he uncovers. I’d love to see him back as often as possible.

I’d like to see books in the future (as we’ve had in the past) that relate to our physical and economic survival in what could be coming hard times.

And books about nuclear power and how to get us to power it down.

And books about the environment in general.

tuezday January 6th, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Great salon yesterday, BTW. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to it until this morning.

One thing I’ve sometimes wished is that there could be a followup discussion to the salons. After reading them, even when I attend, sometimes I have more questions after the fact, then I did at the time of the salon.

bigbrother January 6th, 2013 at 2:15 pm

HI Bev
Thanks for rounding up all these interesting authors. I am restudying biology and the origin of life on Earth 3.5 billion years ago. The overarching concern on the planet’s priority list is how biological life dependent on oxygen and protection from radiation are becoming extict and over time will retreat into the oceans from where we came. Perhaps a priority list may help you pursue the most relevant works. In any case I look forward the vetting of these issues and hope you can find the time and energy to continue. Losing David was a blow the the level of research FDL enjoyed.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:16 pm
In response to Elliott @ 12

This list was just this year’s award winners. I do have a some favorites, but I have found all the authors to be easy to work with. FDL provides a forum for them to talk about their books and research – I work to make the experience an enjoyable time for them and us.

greenwarrior January 6th, 2013 at 2:17 pm
In response to tuezday @ 16

I’ve felt that way too. Yesterday, I started reading the Book Salon just as it was about to end. Given my knowledge of economics, the author used way more acronyms and shorthand representations than I could understand. I would have loved a forum to get my simple questions answered. Thanks for bringing that up.

karenjj2 January 6th, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Wow, bev, that desk is totally intimidating! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the salons and especially appreciate the variety you’ve produced week after week after week . . . no suggestions from me as you are waaaay above me!

Thank you so much; you’re another unsung heroine of the fdl crew.

Elliott January 6th, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Bev – how far in advance do you select the books and is it difficult to get hosts?

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:19 pm
In response to tuezday @ 13

Tuezday, good question. Actually I read enough of all the books offered to see if they fit our salon and readers. Not enough time to read them all.

What type of books would you like?

MayDaze January 6th, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Just want to express my appreciation for these salons and the effort that goes into them. I rarely comment but read nearly all of them. As far as subject matter: politics, economics, environment – basically what you’ve been doing.

tuezday January 6th, 2013 at 2:20 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 19

I have an undergrad in econ and sometimes need look up an acronym. I feel for you, as it’s easy to get lost.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:21 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 15

Greenwarrior, Thanks. I have been sneaking more environmental books into the rotation this past year. I have some more lined up. Greg Palast is fun to work with – and he has Hosted several salons now too.

RevBev January 6th, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Bev, You have taught us well. I, also, am amazed at the desk and had no idea how labor-intensive your job is to put it all together. Many thanks…Ive been a fan for quite awhile. B

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:22 pm
In response to karenjj2 @ 20

Karen,
Thanks. Feel free anytime to send me a note when you come across a book you would like me to look at. FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

Siun January 6th, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Wow Bev, you make the most wonderful thing happen twice each week! I remain in awe of your talent to find just the right titles and just the right hosts week after week. Thank you for all you do for us here!

My favorite – clearly- was getting to host the discussion with Kim Stanley Robinson whose multiple Hugo, Nebula, Campbell and Locus awards adds a nice spice to our Pulitzer et al authors. That discussion was the most amazing gift for me and I hope for others as well.

I’m curious what you want to read next – and what would you like to host?

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:23 pm
In response to tuezday @ 16

One thing I’ve sometimes wished is that there could be a followup discussion to the salons. After reading them, even when I attend, sometimes I have more questions after the fact, then I did at the time of the salon.

Interesting…

Dearie January 6th, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Bev, thanks also for the occasional unusual book….. bluewombat’s book on peanut butter led to a really lively and enjoyable salon right before Christmas when it was unclear as to whether or not there would be a crowd available. Lots of lively commenting and Jon kept up really well.

RevBev January 6th, 2013 at 2:25 pm

There are a couple of things that interest me. One was suggested earlier, I think. There was a recent biog. of Gov. Ann Richards; it has good reviews. Our own Glenn Smith knows the writer and would be glad to host.

Also, I am interested in any/some recent feminist lit….A couple of early writers have died recently; I think some review of early work would be rewarding.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:25 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 17

Thanks. I’ll keep those books in mind, science is a good topic here. Enjoy your research, interesting subject. David was amazing.

masaccio January 6th, 2013 at 2:26 pm

I really liked the book 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson, and set about reading as many as possible of his books, most recently Galileo. Thanks to the Book Salon!

tuezday January 6th, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Bev, the one thing I’d like to see, is it would be nice if advance copies of the books could be made available to us. Sometimes the salons are so close to the release date that the books have arrived the Monday following the salon (figures), or in the case of Randall Wray’s book, yesterday, I could only find it available in hardcover ($100-yikes), mailed from the UK. Don’t know when the softcover became available on Amazon.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:27 pm
In response to Elliott @ 21

I work about two months out – because of the coordination that is needed to pull a salon together, between FDL, author, host, and publisher.

greenwarrior January 6th, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I notice that right now the latest upcoming Book Salon listed is for February 3. Would it be possible to go out more like two or three months into the future rather than one month? It seems to me that I remember it going out further in the past. It would make it easier for me for planning and reading.

Siun January 6th, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Followups would be neat – so often we are introduced to a book or author in the Salon but only later actually have a chance to read the book or read others by the same and having a chance to circle back would be superb, even if just perhaps with the host and ourselves?

Elliott January 6th, 2013 at 2:29 pm
In response to BevW @ 35

(see she does use a crystal ball to get things timed so well)

Lorraine Watkins January 6th, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Thanks so much for these Salons Bev. You do a terrific job in finding quality books and authors. It is clear you put a lot of effort into it. The Books are one of the highlights that make FDL so outstanding.

CTuttle January 6th, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Mahalo Nui Loa, Bev, for all the excellent work you’ve done…! *g*

Can you tell us a little about some of the work you do behind the scenes in preparation…?

Like pairing the Hosts with the Authors, etc…?

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:30 pm
In response to MayDaze @ 23

MayDaze, Thank you for lurking and reading along. I was amazed to find out how many people really just read along, wow. Feel free to just stop by and say Hi to our authors and hosts, you don’t have to ask a question, I think they would appreciate it.

bmaz January 6th, 2013 at 2:30 pm
In response to Siun @ 28

Yep, I want to echo Siun’s first paragraph. Bev, what you do is awesome and wonderful. And much appreciated. It is an incredible service to both the FDL community and the greater world.

One thing I would like to point out to those who don’t get to see the work BevW puts in behind the scenes is that it is NOT just the great, and great variety, of authors she brings here to Book Salon, but also very much the fabulous hosts she schedules. Both play a valuable role in the finished product you see and enjoy every week.

Thank you for all your work.

tuezday January 6th, 2013 at 2:31 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 40

Excellent question, Tut.

TarheelDem January 6th, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Thanks for the great lineup of authors last year, Bev.

Are you limited to new releases and authors doing promotional events? There are works from up to a decade ago that I would like to see discussed in a salon format.

I have in mind in particular Eric Foner’s Reconstruction: America’s Unifinished Revolution, 1863-1877. Or Richard Hack, Puppetmaster: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:32 pm
In response to tuezday @ 24

My background was in electronics and “government bureaucracy”(retired), with an interest in everything else, I read a lot my whole life, all subjects. I have to look up acronyms too. If you don’t know, ask the author to explain.

greenwarrior January 6th, 2013 at 2:34 pm
In response to TarheelDem @ 44

I’ve had that thought myself of wanting not-brand-new books on the Book Salon. Thanks for asking the question.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:36 pm
In response to Siun @ 28

Siun, you hit on one of the important issues – getting the chemistry right between the author and host, it has to “work” to get a good discussion. That is what is really time consuming for me. Kim Stanley Robinson was great – such a gentleman to work with.

My reading is all over the map, but to get away from politics and heavy issues, I read murder/mystery novels and gamer magazines.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:37 pm
In response to Dearie @ 30

It was great to have bluewombat and his book on the salon, great timing and a great book. It was a fun salon.

masaccio January 6th, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I’ll add this. Reading Galileo reminded me of how little I know about history. I’m reading Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt, a history of the recovery of a manuscript copy of De Rerum Novarum by Lucretius, and its effect on Western Culture. It’s fascinating.

I’d love to see a bit more history, sort of “how we got here”. Maybe someone will write a good book on labor history in the US.

spocko January 6th, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Book Salon host here. I’ve been honored to host some book Salons in the past and hope to again in the future. I want to thank Bev for asking me.

I understand that people don’t always get a chance to read the books, so in my review/intro (and then in the questions) I try to help the author make some of the points I found most compelling about the book. I do that if I don’t see questions that lead them to those areas.

I’ve done PR for book authors before and know how grateful they are to have questions that allow them to dig it to the interesting stuff. What I love is when people get into a conversation with the author that leads to specific new insights, even for people who haven’t read the books.

What I want to know is, after the book salon is over do you feel compelled enough to read it or figure you got the gist of it and move to something else?

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:39 pm
In response to RevBev @ 31

RevBev, Ann Richards – good topic. Noted. Thank you!

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:40 pm
In response to masaccio @ 33

KSR is good, I’m looking at getting David Brin /Existence (novel) TRAILER – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzr-DSDMkJM&feature=player_embedded

fingers crossed

Teddy Partridge January 6th, 2013 at 2:40 pm

It’s a spectacular series, clearly the most popular and effective FDL venue for authors, readers, and learners. I simply cannot imagine the work it must take to make the Book Salons happen weekend in and weekend out. Truly amazing work.

First of all, Bev needs an assistant: someone to help her take the schedule out farther, someone to coordinate authors’ access and signon to FDL, someone to let her take a weekend or two off occasionally!

Secondly, in the category of “Often Imitated, Never Excelled” the progressive blogosphere needs to get on board promoting the Book Salon. All too often, I hear from cyberfriends “I wish I’d known about that!” For those of us FDL regulars who are tuned in to the very easy-to-remember schedule of Sat-Sun5pm(2pmPac) it’s hard to believe others don’t know. But they don’t seem to get it. Maybe kos, Eschaton, Hullabaloo, etc., could commit to making schedule announcements on Friday nights, or Saturday a.m., so more readers would know about each Book Salon?

Third, commenters (all of us) need to think twice before we press “Submit Comment.” Would you say that at your bookstore, directly to the author at a reading? Would you ask that unrelated question at your library, at an author reading, when it actually has nothing to do with the book or its topic? Are you, frankly, being impolite? (My pet peeve: is your question directed more at/about the host than the author?)

Fourth, well I don’t have four as it turns out. It’s such a well-oiled machine, producing such extraordinary results every single weekend. I end this way: THANK YOU, Bev, for the chance to provide some feedback, and for everything you do to make this place a gem.

tuezday January 6th, 2013 at 2:41 pm
In response to BevW @ 48

It’s funny, bluewombat recruited all of us from LLN to show up for his salon and he didn’t need us. I was glad the salon was so well received.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:42 pm
In response to tuezday @ 34

Because the salon is a non-profit we cannot link to the big commercial book sites, I link to the publisher. Check the usual sites – like Amazon for used if possible.

Tammany Tiger January 6th, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the Book Salon. You lined up a superb set of authors–and discussion hosts–in 2012, and nudged me into reading many of the books discussed in the Salon.

Authors I’d like to see in the Salon in 2013 include Nate Silver, Jessica Valenti, and Matt Taibbi.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:43 pm
In response to RevBev @ 26

Some salons fall into place with minimal efforts (?6hrs) some take a lot more.

CTuttle January 6th, 2013 at 2:44 pm
In response to BevW @ 47

– getting the chemistry right between the author and host, it has to “work” to get a good discussion…

Your Alchemy has been magical, M’dear…! ;-)

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:44 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 36

Now that the holidays are over and everyone is back at work – the schedule will fill up quickly in the next week or so. Keep watching the Book Salon page for updates.

Suzanne January 6th, 2013 at 2:44 pm
In response to tuezday @ 54

i know he was worried that no one would show up.

bev, do other authors have those same fears? is there a form of book salon stage fright that occurs with the authors?

RevBev January 6th, 2013 at 2:45 pm

And thank you, Bev….you can see all your fans.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:45 pm
In response to Siun @ 37

Followups would be neat – so often we are introduced to a book or author in the Salon but only later actually have a chance to read the book or read others by the same and having a chance to circle back would be superb, even if just perhaps with the host and ourselves?

Good idea.

maa8722 January 6th, 2013 at 2:46 pm

All of the Book Salons are gems!

My fear, though, is that we come to depend too much on a book review in a newspaper or magazine, or even online with the author in attendance, rather than reading the complete primary object, itself. Isn’t there some follow-up which we owe to ourselves and the author?

I am a scold when it comes to relying on proxies to fill that need just so more ground is covered-lite, but then I am 65.

Maybe I don’t know what to do about it nowadays. Maybe there isn’t enough time in our workaday lives anymore to conscientiously read a thick history, novel, or even an agenda-driven ideological screed in its original, unabridged version. Instead the solution is like fast food, less is more, etc.

My hunch, then, is counterintuitive. We need a lot more Book Salons! Do three or four a week! They don’t all have to address brand new works, either. Sooner or later everyone vising the salons will have gotten hooked by one or another of them, and enough so that it will be impossible to avoid reading a real, original work in its entirety.

Such a focused journey will be worthwhile even if time has to be redirected from other pursuits.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:46 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 39

Thanks, and thank you for commenting. I enjoy seeing everyone jump in and engage the guests.

spocko January 6th, 2013 at 2:47 pm

I also want to ask a favor of people who do read the books and like them. Getting progressive authors out there is hard. We don’t have the same RW infrastructure that the right does, where they buy crates of a book and give them away. It is a combination of Word of Mouth and regular people suggesting that a book author make it on various shows.

I’ve made it a point to help both Martin Hickman (Dial M for Murdoch) and FDL Book Salon Welcomes Anat Shenker Osorio, Don’t Buy It: The Trouble With Talking Nonsense About the Economy line up other interviews because I really liked the books and I felt that more people needed to know about them.

Anat was so grateful for the help and I wish I could do more because all this talk about the “fiscal cliff” was right up her alley. However as I (and her publicity people) found out, you need people other than just PR people suggesting an author for an interview. So for example if people in the Bay Area had dropped a line to KQED Michael Krasney for her book that might have convinced them to have her on to discuss this. That personal suggestion from listeners to a program really make a difference.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:52 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 40

CT, good question.
Basically a lot of emails, to authors, publishers/publicists back and forth – to get a book scheduled, then research the book/author, make a list of possible hosts, find contact info, write emails, wait and repeat until a host is found. Have Publisher send a review copy. A lot of phone calls and follows ups. A week before the salon, contact all the guests, provide logons, walk the guests through an orientation and answer all their questions. Friday – get the Introductory Posts from the hosts – edit and schedule in server. Weekend – make sure post is ready, the guests show up on line and monitor the salon, send out thank you emails after.

dakine01 January 6th, 2013 at 2:52 pm
In response to spocko @ 50

I’ve also hosted a couple and enjoyed them immensely – I have also volunteered to host a couple if the authors would agree to come in but no luck there. Ah well.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:52 pm
In response to bmaz @ 42

Thanks.

greenwarrior January 6th, 2013 at 2:53 pm
In response to BevW @ 59

Thanks!

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:54 pm
In response to TarheelDem @ 44

TarHeelDem,
Thanks – noted. I am open to any good book, any year. I like to provide a good discussion of the subject. New books are what I see the most and what is provided to me to look at.

CTuttle January 6th, 2013 at 2:54 pm
In response to Suzanne @ 60

*heh* Despite all our assurances to bw, that people would indeed show up…! That was a top ten Salon in my book…! ;-)

bmaz January 6th, 2013 at 2:54 pm
In response to spocko @ 65

Yeah, I would like to echo Spocko. One of the reasons – heck, let’s be honest, the biggest one – that authors (and the publishers that direct them) come to Book Salon is to SELL BOOKS.

Almost all the authors that come here are people consistent in some form with the worldview of FDL and the progressive blogosphere. These are worthy authors and causes, buy the books!

spocko January 6th, 2013 at 2:57 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 71

It’s funny, but I worry about people showing up too when I’m the host. I don’t really want it to be a long conversation with me and the author, but I prepare for that if necessary, especially on books that are hard to get though because of subject matter.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:58 pm
In response to masaccio @ 49

History – I get a lot of books on history and biographies. I will look at those more now.
Such as:
Kevin Phillips 1775: A Good Year for Revolution
Haynes – The Last Segregated Hour

maa8722 January 6th, 2013 at 2:58 pm
In response to spocko @ 65

Re: #65. . .

“. . .I also want to ask a favor of people who do read the books and like them. Getting progressive authors out there is hard. We don’t have the same RW infrastructure that the right does, where they buy crates of a book and give them away. It is a combination of Word of Mouth and regular people suggesting that a book author make it on various shows . . .”

————–

Yes, exactly. And reading an entire source is about learning more of a subject rather than merely reinforcing what we already know or think.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 2:59 pm
In response to spocko @ 50

Spocko, Thank you for hosting some of our salons. After the salons, I’m already looking at the next week’s line up. I really would like to fully read and enjoy all the books.

greenwarrior January 6th, 2013 at 3:00 pm

I’m in a book club that meets monthly and I had one of the titles that was a Book Salon pick as a choice one month in our book club. That’s another possibility for spreading the word about authors, books and issues we’d like to see have wider readership.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Teddy, Thank you for all you’ve done and for the hosting. You are right, I’d like to see the salons mentioned outside of the website and facebook posting I do.

If people would like to mention the salons to friends, it would be great.

nahant January 6th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Thank you for all you do Bev!! Looking forward to this years crop of books & Authors!!

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:03 pm
In response to tammanytiger @ 56

tammanytiger – thank you, it is nice to see you in the comments too.
Noted – on the book.

greenwarrior January 6th, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I’ve read Path to Power,the first book about Johnson by Robert Caro and it is riveting. I’m about to start the second volume, Means of Ascent and am looking forward to reading all of them.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:06 pm
In response to Suzanne @ 60

bev, do other authors have those same fears? is there a form of book salon stage fright that occurs with the authors?

If the author is not returning to the salon – most are first time “chatters”, they are anxious until I show them how to logon and throw some chats/comments back and forth. At the beginning of all salons they are nervous, but after several responses they settle down and just enjoy the exchanges with you.

greenwarrior January 6th, 2013 at 3:07 pm

To answer Spocko’s question, I’ve read many books featured on Book Salon that I otherwise would never have heard of or read. And I’ve also read other books by the same author in some instances as a result of the Book Salons.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:09 pm
In response to Suzanne @ 60

If the author is not returning to the salon – most are first time “chatters”, they are anxious until I show them how to logon and throw some chats/comments back and forth. At the beginning of all salons they are nervous, but after several responses they settle down and just enjoy the exchanges with you.

RevBev January 6th, 2013 at 3:11 pm

We should get Caro…He has a new book now. He always comes to the TX Book Festival when his next book comes out….

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:11 pm
In response to maa8722 @ 63

maa8722, I understand the time required to read a long book. But you can ask the author/host any questions you have without having read the book, they will answer them.

More salons?!! Actually we do mid-week book salons also when an exceptional book comes along and we can fit it in that way. (grin)

Suzanne January 6th, 2013 at 3:12 pm
In response to BevW @ 82

i know that as a host i’ve been nervous and worried that no one would show up or that the author would not like my introductory post (after all, the author *is* an author and i am not). and yes, once it gets going, i settle down and its a lotta fun.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:12 pm
In response to spocko @ 65

Yes some authors put the word out on their websites – but an email or tweet about an upcoming salon would get the word out also.

greenwarrior January 6th, 2013 at 3:13 pm
In response to Suzanne @ 60

There was one Book Salon recently where it was mostly me, the author and the host for most of the two hours. That was the Sunday before Christmas. I felt bad for the author/editor who had put together an invaluable collection of some of Howard Zinn’s speeches.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:14 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 67

Thank you for Hosting. Yes, some authors I ask decline due to schedules, or other reasons.

nonquixote January 6th, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Just want to thank you BevW. Your place here is a treasure trove.

A comment about your desk would be that in remodeling a house a few years ago and changing a room into an extensive library for the new owners, the engineer specified doubling the floor joists or incorporating posts and beams below. ;-)

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:15 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 77

Great idea, thanks. Which book?

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:16 pm
In response to nahant @ 79

Thank you for all your comments during the year!

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:17 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 81

I’ve got Caro on the spreadsheet, may have to try and get him.

greenwarrior January 6th, 2013 at 3:17 pm
In response to nonquixote @ 91

Thank you for looking out for our lady of the salons!

I remember one long ago vacation where millions of us kids were sleeping together in one double bed and at some point in the night a bed leg went through the floor. I do not guarantee we weren’t jumping.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:20 pm
In response to Suzanne @ 87

Thank you for hosting! We are all nervous at the beginning of the salon. I explain to the guests, the one thing I can’t control is who shows up – but they are pleasantly surprised when the salon starts and questions come in.

spocko January 6th, 2013 at 3:20 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 83

Book sellers always like to talk about “hand selling” and in a way that is what this is. With the publishing industry getting bifurcated into superstars and everyone else, it’s important to help, “everyone else” in as many ways as we can. Back in 2007 when I was famous for 14 minutes a publisher came to me about possibly writing a book. He said, “Nobody reads books anymore, people write them as method to get the ideas ‘out there’ in the media/blogosphere.” This rather depressed me. What’s the point of writing a book if nobody is going to read it?

Cynically the right wing knows this, it is more important that some wingnut book with the krazy ideas pushed by Koch make it to the best seller list than that millions of people actually read it.

In the area of business books I know that consultants actually write them so they can get more consulting work. I’m not saying that they didn’t put a lot of effort into the books, but the books are often an excuse to charge future client more, to establish the credentials. Also, in the MSM, one of the few ways that authors can break into the MSM is by have a book out.

The Colbert Report or the Daily Show need a “news” event to justify a guest on. Again, the right understands this and they create an entire supportive infrastructure to help this happen. Did you know that the Heritage foundation has 12 full time PR people? All they do all day is get their book authors into the media. On the progressive side the author gets a PR person who as 25 other books to promote a week.

greenwarrior January 6th, 2013 at 3:20 pm
In response to BevW @ 92

It was Classified Woman. Most people read it even though it wasn’t easy to get, but I was really disappointed by the discussion, which I’d hoped would be about what she saw and experienced, but, instead, they were criticizing the lack of footnotes and the lame use of language and was it even believable. 3 English teachers and one librarian in the group. The librarian was the only one besides myself wanting to talk about the issues the book raised.

masaccio January 6th, 2013 at 3:21 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 77

That’s a really good idea. After a book salon, we should be well-prepared for ou own book clubs.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:22 pm
In response to nonquixote @ 91

LOL – thanks. I have an older house with 2″x6″ floor planks, and they get a lot of use. (grin)

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:23 pm

How are you reading books now? Hardcopy or digital?

I’ve found I’m reading more on my iPad then carrying a stack of books around to read; lighter and the backlit words help at night in bed.

Dearie January 6th, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Bev, greenwarriors comment at 89 was interesting. I recall following along but not commenting during that salon. If I have nothing to ask nor anything interesting to add, I do manage to contain my desire to participate (well, most of the time!) Do you have any sense of (or actual way of knowing) how many people are actually reading along? i would think that a count of participants (both active and passive) would be useful for judging the interest in a topic.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:25 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 98

I’m sorry to hear that, it was a good book. Wonder why they didn’t want to discuss the subject – just the format.

greenwarrior January 6th, 2013 at 3:26 pm
In response to BevW @ 101

I’m still reading actual books. Except one book I wanted to read that I was 6 millionth on the library waiting list and a friend lent me her kindle with it on.

eCAHNomics January 6th, 2013 at 3:26 pm
In response to masaccio @ 49

This is one of the good ones I’ve read recently: Bread—And Roses: The Struggle of American Labor 1865-1915 by Milton Meltzer, 216 pages, 10/28/12; a terrific short readable book about lowly it changed, what the Gilded Age a**holes did to retard it, how the govt helped them, not the people; some (semi?) heroes: Gompers, Debs, Jane Addams, Henry George, Edward Bellamy, William Jennings Bryan & populist movement, Upton Sinclair, and finally Wobblies

spocko January 6th, 2013 at 3:27 pm
In response to BevW @ 101

I don’t have an iPad only a iPhone, so I read mostly hardcopy. I also like to mark up my books and take notes in them (Mrs. Spocko hates this, but I use them for references). I’ve found that I can’t retain digital books as much as hard copy. A recent study on the brain and memory points out that by providing physical clues (location on the page, how far into the book) all help people remember certain parts better.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:28 pm
In response to Dearie @ 102

Dearie, thanks for your comments, I look forward to them. Over the years there have been a few salons where it was just the author, host, me and an occasional comment from a reader – long salons. I feel bad for the guests. I never know what is going to happen, I know where a salon starts – never where it will end.

Siun January 6th, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Having hosted, I’ve also had the chance to see the wonderful way Bev welcomes and reassures the guest authors and hosts – really a remarkable tone is set from their first encounter with Bev and her graciousness. We are so lucky to have her!

eCAHNomics January 6th, 2013 at 3:29 pm
In response to BevW @ 96

I appreciate your advance warning about how nervous some authors are on the one I hosted. It wouldn’t have occurred to me that someone who taught college for decades would be nervous, but Ludwig froze up, gave answers that were too short, and I tried to fill in as best I could.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:29 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 105

eCAHN, good book, had it here on the desk for a while, didn’t fit it into the schedule.

john in sacramento January 6th, 2013 at 3:30 pm
In response to spocko @ 65

Just want to echo this, Michael Krasney has some amazing discussions, and I think a kind of cross promotion would work great.

(And I know, if you’re not in the Bay Area or NorCal, you don’t know who we’re talking about, but his show Forum is a treasure)

eCAHNomics January 6th, 2013 at 3:30 pm
In response to spocko @ 106

Most of my friends won’t borrow the books I’ve read and really liked bc they are too marked up.

spocko January 6th, 2013 at 3:30 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 105

That sounds like a interesting book. I’ve met some Union people lately and talking about the way the Union was attacked was astonishing to me. Supposedly one of the reasons they turned to the mob was the police were in the pockets of big corporate owners.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:31 pm
In response to spocko @ 106

I understand, making notes is the way I retained the lectures in school, visual person.

greenwarrior January 6th, 2013 at 3:31 pm
In response to BevW @ 103

I’ll take a guess. They’re all “liberal”, but not really informed except by the mainstream media. Except the librarian. A number of them also do not want to look at the possibility of what kind of government we are living under.

I’ve been watching “The Untold History of the US” at one couple’s house who are in the book club. We take turns providing the meal and beer. They would never have watched this on their own. He wanders in and out of the movie once he’s done eating. She commented the other night that “It’s depressing.” It’s easier for most people to do things that feel better. It makes it easy to understand how the Nazis got away with so much.

spocko January 6th, 2013 at 3:35 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 109

I haven’t had that problem. But I was afraid of it so I made it a point to talk to the authors before the Book Salon to get them an idea how they often go and what to expect. I also tell them in advance, “if nobody asks, here are some questions that I WILL ask, so you can be prepared in advance.

I also made it a point to recruit some friends to come early on so the author didn’t feel ignored.

Additionally I usually go to all the Book Salons and appreciate people like dakine01 who usually has a great early question.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:35 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 115

It is hard for some people to slowdown and look around at our government, they feel overwhelmed. Get them to do little activities, local, and they may engage into the bigger picture. The Book Club is one way.

RevBev January 6th, 2013 at 3:37 pm
In response to spocko @ 116

And always apologizes that he hasn’t read the book yet….Such a gentleman..;)

spocko January 6th, 2013 at 3:38 pm
In response to BevW @ 117

Agreed. Also it’s hard for some people to feel like their actions make any difference on the national level. I like to think about how to something specific locally and then figure out how that can scale up.

Right now I’m trying to think what to do on the public safety issue.

greenwarrior January 6th, 2013 at 3:38 pm
In response to BevW @ 117

I think I could have done better as a host that month also with more questions prepared ahead of time to take the conversation into content areas.

spocko January 6th, 2013 at 3:39 pm
In response to RevBev @ 118

Yep. I love that opening. I also love Teddy’s Compliment following by a tough questions method.

RevBev January 6th, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Funny how well we know each other….Thanks.

eCAHNomics January 6th, 2013 at 3:44 pm
In response to BevW @ 110

Unfortunately author is now deceased, so no book salon.

Perhaps you could run a salon once every 6 months or so when FDLers ask others for book recs on certain topics.

I’ve been fortunate to find good books on certain topics of interest while intuitively rejecting others of no use.

Specific example: I read books pro & con about WMDs before the U.S. invaded Iraq. I hit the right mix. A good friend read a couple of long books that were mostly govt propaganda, i.e. think tank authors, and he didn’t really know what was really going on.

Book-TV was one method I used to separate the wheat from the chaff, but I find that has deteriorated in quality lately.

I also read the negative reviews on amazon. Sometimes more revealing than the positive ones. You don’t have to believe what the reviewer says, and not knowing anything about the reviewer, either positive or negative, makes this anything but a failsafe way to select, but often good input.

When I first tried to find out about insurgencies, I ranked the amazon results by most popular. I bought & read 2-3 of them, most very short, and was quickly up to speed, at least in an andvanced amateur sense.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Teddy, thanks for your comments and how we treat our guests here. I always explain (assure them) that we are adults here and agree to disagree, and that we discuss the topic with no personal attacks allowed. This is a constant fear of first time guests/”chatters” on FDL, fear of the wild west on other sites.

spocko January 6th, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Speaking of the public safety issue. I don’t know of anyone who has a book coming out on the topic, but I would like a book Salon on this topic. It can be about more than just guns, also about the mental health problems that lead to violence. Recently Mother Jones did a piece about the neurological impacts of lead on brain development and how the reduction of lead helped reduce crime.

I’m interested in root causes as well as methods to fight a problem. Too often book authors are good at analyzing the problem, but not always on what to do. And if they do have suggestions they aren’t always tested or supported. I want to know what can work, what has worked as well as what has not worked.

Jeff Kaye January 6th, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Hi Bev, I’m happy I dropped in, so I can thank you so very much for all your hard work for some time now on the Book Salon. You’ve put out a quality product for years now, one of the very few that one would have to say that without it, the Net would be and feel much depleted.

On the hard copy vs digital discussion, I read books both ways. Each book I buy has certain choice points that determine which mode I purchase: impulsivity, immediate need, wish to savor and hold, price, general availability, need to reference charts or pictures, etc etc

I don’t have a favorite Salon. There are authors and subjects that are more or less interesting to me, and my time is often spent on my own projects. But when I have time, I will go to Salons both past and sometimes present.

If you could ever get Daniel Barbenblatt, author of A Plague upon Humanity: The Hidden History of Japan’s Biological Warfare Program , I volunteer in advance for the Salon. The publisher is HarperPerennial, paperback, 2005 (in print), but was published first in Out of Print hardback in 2004 by Souvenir. While the book is nearly nine years old now, it remains the last major book (in English) published on Unit 731 and the U.S. cover-up, a subject that has profound repercussions through the Korean War and to both the modern stories around both biological and chemical war scares and why the US turned to torture.

Thanks, again, Bev.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:47 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 123

Perhaps you could run a salon once every 6 months or so when FDLers ask others for book recs on certain topics.

Interesting, more information, and recommendations.
Thanks.

Jeff Kaye January 6th, 2013 at 3:48 pm
In response to Jeff Kaye @ 126

I also want to note that the high quality of the contributions by the commenters is the other reason for the success long-term of the Book Salon, and why so many authors, I think, have come here.

Bravo to all of you!

eCAHNomics January 6th, 2013 at 3:48 pm
In response to spocko @ 116

I was prepped OK. I had read the book 3 times, had scores of Qs and knew the book so well I could often supplement Ludwig’s As. It was a question of being alerted to potential of author being nervous, for a variety of reasons. In Ludwig’s case, in retrospect, I think the reason was bc the medium was not one he was comfortable in.

Generational, I think. I regard book salons as easier than doing a book tour, bc author can choose not to answer Qs he doesn’t want to.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:50 pm
In response to Jeff Kaye @ 126

Jeff, Thank you for hosting and all your support over the years.
I find digital is easiest now, and impulse buys at 1am.

Daniel Barbenblatt, author of A Plague upon Humanity: The Hidden History of Japan’s Biological Warfare Program – I’ll look into it. Thanks again.

tuezday January 6th, 2013 at 3:50 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 98

I, unfortunately, didn’t read the book until after the salon. Believe me, I had tons of questions. My husband read the book too and couldn’t put it down.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:52 pm
In response to Jeff Kaye @ 128

That is the secret – winning formula! I may set up the salon – but without you and all the FDL readers asking questions, the salons would not be here or the outstanding forum they are.

spocko January 6th, 2013 at 3:53 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 129

I understand I was fortunate to have people comfortable with the forum (and typing!) I did enjoy your responses though and that made it worthwhile. I remember on Book Salon (I can’t remember the topic) but the authors didn’t really get who the FDL audience was. They talked down to us and made obvious points. I wrote to MauiMom about it afterwards and found out that I wasn’t the only one rolling our eyes at the simplistic answers.

We didn’t want to be rude in the Salon, but needless to say, we didn’t end up buying the books. But that is bound to happen.

eCAHNomics January 6th, 2013 at 3:55 pm

One of the book salons I liked and stayed on long beyond my interest was on pro-sports. My couple of Qs were about the economics of it (naturally). I typed in a couple of Qs, went to fix supper, came back to find a good discussion underway and stayed for the the rest of it.

Peterr January 6th, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Late to the party, but not too late (I hope) . . .

Lots has been said above about the authors and books, but I love the way in which the hosts are matched to the books. Some hosts are people I know and recognize, but others are complete newcomers to me — and seeing their contributions as hosts leads me to look into their work as well.

Thanks for finding these gems as well!

Two questions for Bev: do authors ever offer you suggestions of new books to follow up on their chats? Do they ever say “I’ve had so much fun, that I’d love to come back as a host?”

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:56 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 134

Sports – it has been a while, I’ll have to look around.
Thanks,

greenwarrior January 6th, 2013 at 3:57 pm

As we come to the end of this Book Salon (did I get the phrasing right, Bev?), I want to make sure I thank you, Bev, for the wonderful creature you’ve created here with the Book Salon. Thank you so much for all your hard work and creativity putting it together.

Love,
gw

eCAHNomics January 6th, 2013 at 3:57 pm
In response to spocko @ 133

made obvious points

I’ve come to recognize “talking point” authors early in the salon, and usually drop it after that.

Elliott January 6th, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Bev – you are the best, so glad this isn’t some kind of goodbye thread :)
THANK YOU for all that you do

spocko January 6th, 2013 at 3:57 pm
In response to BevW @ 132

I’ve been reading Reddit lately and their AMA (Ask Me Anything) forums. They can been a real free for all, with people asking good questions and stupid ones. The whole Upvoting/downvoting method can help some quality rise to the top, but it also buries some interesting questions.

And it’s not really moderated and the “ask me anything” means they can ask about their sex lives. I find it somewhat amusing but nowhere need as interesting and useful as the Book Salons.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 3:58 pm
In response to Peterr @ 135

Two questions for Bev: do authors ever offer you suggestions of new books to follow up on their chats? Do they ever say “I’ve had so much fun, that I’d love to come back as a host?”

Peterr, thank you too for the recommendations and hosting.

Authors do make recommendations as we discuss the salon during the phone calls. Yes – a lot of them immediately reply to my thank you email and say they would like to come back and offer to host too.

tuezday January 6th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Bev, I love the book salons and greatly appreciate your efforts. I forgot to say that upthread. Me bad.

eCAHNomics January 6th, 2013 at 3:59 pm
In response to BevW @ 136

I can’t remember what the book was. And it was quite awhile ago. What made it stick in my memory was that some topics of no interest to me in general turn out to have interesting aspects. Plus the other commenters (all guys iirc), were sports fans and had good info to add.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Thank you all for a lively salon. I sat here at 5pm and wondered if anyone would show up… now I know how authors feel trying to keep up (grin)

Thank you again.

Next week:
Trevor Aaronson/ The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism; Hosted by Marcy Wheeler

Leigh Ann Wheeler /How Sex Became a Civil Liberty; Hosted by Nancy L. Cohen author of Delirium.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 4:02 pm
In response to tuezday @ 142

Thank you.

Have a great week.

RevBev January 6th, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Bev, Thanks again. You do a great job and bring really interesting guests.
Again, Happy New Year. Looks like we will be spending quite abit of time with you….Cheers.

CTuttle January 6th, 2013 at 4:04 pm
In response to BevW @ 141

…Yes – a lot of them immediately reply to my thank you email and say they would like to come back and offer to host too…

*heh* Your arsenal grows ever larger…! ;-)

Mahalo Nui Loa, Bev…! *g*

petal January 6th, 2013 at 4:08 pm
In response to BevW @ 130

The book A Plague Upon Humanity was very good and I learned a lot. Couldn’t put it down.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 4:13 pm
In response to petal @ 148

petal, thank you! I’ll add it to my spreadsheet and check it out.

Have a great week.

tuezday January 6th, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Bev, in case you come in and look for any late comments, one thing I meant to ask is if the host’s could post their review/intro in advance. I often find the publisher’s description of a book less than compelling but the host’s intro will really pique my interest and the salon, of course, gives me reason to get the book and read it. I personally would love to see the host’s intro about a week in advance, as that would give me time to read the book prior to the salon.

Just a thought. Thanks for all you do.

Teddy Partridge January 6th, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Great chat, Bev, thanks for including us all!

Elliott January 6th, 2013 at 5:10 pm
In response to tuezday @ 150

tuezday, it’s up at least a half hour before the salon, not quite the week you were looking for, but do check in before it starts

Knut January 6th, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Hi Bev, from down in EPU-land ( we just returned from a long weekend in New York.

I just wanted to say that the Salons would be impossible without the effort Bev puts in to making them work. I very much enjoyed the two I hosted, but the best was with Sheila Bair (haveIg got that right? It was with a bank regulator, that much I remember). Anyway, thanks, Bev, for everything.

BevW January 6th, 2013 at 8:44 pm
In response to Knut @ 153

Knut, Thanks for your recommendations over the years and for Hosting great salons. Welcome back from your trip. Sheila Bair is the right salon.
Thanks,

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