Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday Salon: The Forbidden List of Topics

I have a whole file of ideas for things to write about in my Sunday Salon posts. And yet not a one of them appeals to me today. I even have 3/4 of a Sunday Salon post written and that didn't speak to me either. I'm starting to think I should rename the file "The List of Forbidden Topics." Most of you are probably shaking your heads or wondering about the hyperbolic melodrama contained in that but let me explain the long and illustrious history. I used to belong to a fantastic book club when we lived in Ohio. It was called the Eclectic Book Group and it met at the local Barnes and Noble. The people were fantastic. We read from almost every section of the bookstore. And we had interesting and informative discussions. I still miss it almost five years later, can you tell?

One of the most endearing things the group had though, was a list of "Forbidden Books." This list was started because we had a general rule of thumb about reading only paperbacks. Hardbacks are just awfully expensive and since we were fairly adventurous, splashing out with that kind of money for a complete gamble was not terribly appealing. So when someone really wanted to read a book with the group that was only out in hard cover, we would add it to the list. The list came out at many a meeting when we discussed the next book choices. We'd read through the books we had collectively placed on there, really, really, really wanting to read them, enough so we noted them in order to jog out memory a year later when the title was released in paperback. And then we inevitably chose something not on the list. The list continued to grow and grow and grow. It never shrunk (sort of like my tbr piles or my wish list).

Finally, after one book nominating session where the list made its usual appearance and was ignored again, my friend B.'s husband T. suggested that perhaps we should just be honest and call this "The List of Forbidden Books" since it was clear we were never actually going to read the books on the list no matter what our intentions. The name stuck. The list actually has some great books on it. I personally had read about 90% of the books on the list as it stood when we moved away. I'm fairly certain the list is alive and well in the group to this day. I'd love to see what titles are on it now and whether I've read them or not. I'd also love to know if they are better about choosing off the list now or if the books on there still suffer the same fate they did five years ago. Oh, we did read a book off the list once when we declared it List of Forbidden Books month. I no longer remember what the book was but I know we all got a kick out of breaking with tradition and liberating it from dusty obscurity on our tattered piece of paper.

So my list of Sunday Salon topics will hang out in their file in case there comes a Sunday when I just can't think of a topic. Until that time, they will officially be re-named The List of Forbidden Topics and be snubbed week after week after week. And maybe one of these days I'll make it back to visit one of my favorite book clubs ever although now that they've finally purged me from the e-mail list, I'm not sure I'm allowed. Maybe I've become the forbidden former member!


  1. Awww... I sure hope you do get a chance to reconnect! That idea of "Forbidden Lists" looks very inviting! I would love to do the same - know what books are on the list! It would require a great amount of willpower if you all decided not to read a book from that list!

    Btw, am bestowing upon you an award here. ;-)

  2. This is a great post, Kristen! I found myself chuckling because I have a list like this too - it is a list of potential subjects for articles I want to write and submit (somewhere, anywhere!). I never, ever seem to write about them, although I keep adding to the list!!

  3. For a while, my TBR list was like that. I would add books to the list so I wouldn't forget about them but I rarely checked any of those books out of the library. I usually checked out a book that was somehow related to the book. For instance, if I searched for a book from my list on Amazon to read the description, I would end up reading one of the other books that Amazon suggested ("People who bought this book also bought . . .). Silly me!

    As for Sunday Salon topics, I don't do as much preparation as I probably should. I just fly with whatever book-related thought is on my mind. There are many weeks where Sunday Salon is the only time I post to my blog, so I have a whole week's worth of bookish thoughts rattling around in my brain.


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