Some of our favorite book bloggers, led by the intrepid Elizabeth Campbell, Lady Darkcargo, have started a project: group readings, called Read-Alongs, of Mercury Retrograde Press books. To say we’re honored by their interest would be an understatement! They’ll be holding read-alongs of a variety of Mercury Retrograde Press books over the course of the year, and we have all been graciously invited to play along.
Who is “We”?
All of us, the readers. Oh, yeah, and the writers, too, but mostly those of us who adore books, who treasure the smell or the way the backlight of the eReader casts just enough light in a darkened room.
What is a Read-Along?
It’s a bit like an online book club. One person will volunteer to lead the reading of a particular book; she will figure out how to break down the book into manageable chunks (because people have lives, you know) and propose a schedule for all the participants to post about the book they’re sharing (once a week seems to be pretty common). Other book bloggers will sign up to participate and the parties involved nail down the schedule and other details. Then the reading starts.
Meanwhile, the read-along leader develops sets of discussion questions for each chunk of the book and distributes them to the participants. Then, on the agreed-upon dates, all the bloggers put up posts of the questions and their thoughts. Then discussion ensues: they comment on one another’s thoughts; their readers do the same. And then they go back to the book, read the next chunk, and do it again.
How can we readers participate?
It seems clear that the most fun is had by participating bloggers: people who go to the trouble to actually post on their own blogs. Maybe this is just the push you’ve been waiting for to finally start your own blog. Go for it! But if you don’t have a blog, you can still participate by stopping in to the participating blogs on the read-along days and joining the discussions there. We’ll be posting links to the posts of read-alongs as they develop, just to make it a little easier.
I’m a blogger! How can I get in on the fun?
Start here. You can join read-alongs if you want, but if you’re more interested in the independent route, there are plenty of other options. And, as always, reviewers and book bloggers are welcome to inquire about review copies of any of our books. If you want to get in on a read-along, Lady Darkargo can put you in touch with the bloggers leading them. (If you’re interested in the Shadow of the Sun read-along, get in touch with nrlymrtl, who runs the Dab of Darkness blog.)
What if I haven’t read the book yet?
No worries! Most of the people involved are reading for the first time as they play. The joy of these things is hashing over the books while you read, not doing a book review or book report. And if you haven’t bought the book in question, as long as it’s a Mercury Retrograde Press book, we’ve got you covered: for each of the read-alongs book bloggers do for a Mercury Retrograde book, we’ll be offering a free download of the book in question for the duration of the read-along. Usually we’ll post the free download a week in advance of the first read-along date for the book, so that everyone has plenty of time to get started.
What books will have read-alongs?
I don’t know, but I’m as anxious to find out as you are. This project belongs to the bloggers, and they’ll be deciding what to read. The people organizing the read-along of Mercury Retrograde books have agreed to start with The Shadow of the Sun. But there has been chatter about read-alongs of a number of other books on our roster. I can’t wait to see what they’ll read!
The Shadow of the Sun read-along starts April 1. Details, and download links, available here.