Feb 24, 2010


My friend Rick's online book club is named for James Mason. It turns out he loves movies as much as books so he named his club for one of his favorite actors, and the club welcomes thoughts about movies as well as books.

Rick is the only person I know with the same kind of movie knowledge in his head as my wife Marie. Marie and I still have the boxes of Trivial Pursuit cards we collected when they were in their heyday, and the one called Silver Screen Edition will challenge even the most devoted film fan. I can just barely beat Marie at the music questions in the RPM Edition, but she stomps me flat with movies. I'd love to get Marie and Rick together at the game table to tackle that one, and watch the gears turning.

The James Mason Classic British Book Club is hosted by Goodreads.com. It's a grand place to find book recommendations and make online friends, so grand and vast, in fact, that Rick's club is warm and cozy by comparison. For example, I just learned that Goodreads has six million books in their database as of this date. I haven't pursued all the breadcrumbs just yet but at first glance it appears that Rick's club, and others like it, get the benefit of the Goodreads structure with all the advantages of a smaller group that might actually get to know each other.

Who thinks this stuff up? Did they know all these connections would be possible? Did they see it coming?

It's a Brave New World, all right. Or jump from books to music, from Aldous Huxley to the Grateful Dead, and fast-forward a few decades to say what a long, strange trip it's been. With a flash sideways from California tie-dyes to martinis with Cy Coleman in New York, and a confident guess that The Best Is Yet to Come.

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