Friday, 18 July 2008

Calling all itchy chins

Can't get enough Dan Brown? Then stop reading right now because this is definitely not the book group for you. Have an open minded general interest in non-fiction and a desire to read and discuss books on art, culture, politics, history and philosophy? Then itchy chin is a new central London based book group which would like to meet you.

It works something like this: we choose a new book to read every month and then meet up early evening mid week in a pub or cafe somewhere reasonably central to discuss. Decisions on what to read next will be collective, but in the interests of lively discussion I'd like to focus on books which are more speculative than factual and more on the side of challenging than accessible. Since works of fiction are already well served by other book groups, I expect we will predominantly stick with non-fiction though reading literary criticism along with the original work is definitely a possibility.

To get things started the first book will be Slavoj Žižek's In Defense of Lost Causes (reviewed here) and the proposed first meet up date is the 26th of August. I'll confirm the venue in the next week or two, but it will definitely be somewhere central in the WC1/EC1/N1 area. A possibly is the Candid Arts Trust in Angel N1.

We'll generally try to stick with inexpensive paperbacks, however Žižek's book has only recently been published so is only available in hardback. Fortunately it is available for a reasonable price from Amazon. Some possibilities for future books include:

Albert Einstein - The World as I See It
Bertrand Russell - History of Western Philosophy
E. H. Gombrich - Art and Illusion
Edward W. Said - Culture and Imperialism
Francis Wheen - How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered The World
Guy Debord - The Society of the Spectacle
Orlando Figes - A People's Tragedy: Russian Revolution, 1891-1924
Truman Capote - In Cold Blood

The aim is to appeal to non-expert audiences and by the nature of being in central London and the people already interested I would expect there would be a slight left leaning, but people of all backgrounds and persuasions are of course welcome. Especially people who think The Da Vinci Code is kind of mindless airport novel which rots the brains of honest, decent people and sets the paths of humanity back five millennia.

Intrigued? Send a mail to chrisf (at) and I'll add to you the list.

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