Sunday, June 22, 2008

Lemonade > Kool-Aid: Introducing the Two Bits Book Club

Chris Kelty: professor of anthropology. Moderator of the wildly popular Internet Cult Leaders panel at ROFLCon. Enormously famous citizen of the world. And, most recently, author of a new book about Free Software and its cultural cultural significance, titled--appropriately enough--Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software. (Freely available for PDF download here.)

Courageously, Kelty decided from the get-go to explore and amplify the cultural significance of Two Bits itself , by encouraging "modulation" of the text. Over at Harvard Free Culture, modulation is something we like a whole lot.

So we started a book club. Which is not all that similar to modulation, but everyone got so excited thinking about sitting around on porches, drinking lemonade and thumbing through pages, that we totally forgot the following facts:

1) Tim is in San Francisco. I am in Seattle. Christina and Alex are in Boston. Except, Christina's actually not in Boston right now.

2) Digital lemonade is not a thing.

3) We do not, in fact, have copies of the book. Only PDFs. There will be no thumbing through pages.

Okay, we didn't really forget those things. Nevertheless, they do present certain challenges. But also: opportunities! Because how many book clubs do you know that meet on the front porch of the world??? AKA Blogosphere.

That's right. Not that many. (Real answer: many.)

Anyway. We're trying. And we'll keep trying, for the next however-many weeks, as we trundle together through Two Bits. We hope you join us for the ride. Once the ride starts, anyway.

The players:

Alex Leavitt, blogging (sensibly) at Alex Leavitt

and yours truly, blogging here

EDIT: And the magnificent Mike Wolfe, blogging at Machinations!

And so, there you have it. The ride will start soon. We promise. And, while we're not making any (other) promises, I think it's safe to say that the results may or may not be extremely culturally significant. (See how safe that was? Ambiguity is go!)

More soon. Stay tuned.


Laura said...

You may not currently have copies of the book to thumb through, but you COULD purchase a beautifully designed copy of the book, printed on acid free paper so that it will last hundreds of years, if you so desired. It's available at online retailers or here, from the press:

Jason Pfeifer said...


I came across your blog post regarding book clubs. I’m Jason Pfeifer, and some friends and I started an online service called Booksprouts, that allows people to create book clubs, choose books, invite friends, and read and discuss online. We are currently seeking people who might be interested in trying the site out, and giving us feedback on the service. We also welcome people who have blogs to write reviews of the site (good or bad) as a means of feedback. We’re really excited to hear what people think, and on how we can improve the site. It’s 100% free, by the way. Please feel free to check it out.

book clubs


Jason Pfeifer
Community Manager