A growing literary phenomenon of the last decade or so is the program where people from a given geographical area all read the same book and then get together to discuss it. (Rob Neufeld, for example, has developed the "Together We Read" project here in Western North Carolina.)
Now someone has taken this a step further, using the power of online social networking. Jeff Howe, author of Crowdsourcing and a contributing editor at "Wired" magazine, has come up with "One Book, One Twitter," a plan to get everyone on the worldwide social network discussing the same book. After announcing the project, Howe arranged a vote for which book to read, and the winner was Neil Gaiman's bestselling and acclaimed fantasy, American Gods. While Gaiman himself fully supports the project, he is actually somewhat ambivalent about the choice, since he considers American Gods to be one of his more "divisive" books. Nonetheless, he has promised to help out by "sending helpful or apologetic tweets to people who are stuck, offended, or very, very confused."
Since, at last count, Twitter had about 100 million registered users, this has the potential to be a very large "book club" indeed, even if only a tiny fraction of Twitter folk participate. The discussion began yesterday, and if you would like to follow along, simply go to Twitter's home page and enter "1b1t" (without quotation marks) in the Search box. You don't have to be registered with Twitter to view the discussion, though you do have to be registered to participate yourself.