Reading group on wheels

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Erica
Participant
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So I got the idea in the bikefest event planning inspiration thread, and was wondering if anyone’s ever done this sort of thing?

I’ve never been to a reading group, but my understanding is that each time you meet, you’ve read more of the book. How could this work integrated with a bike ride? Maybe it would depend on the book? For example, there’s a book that I love by a graffiti artist (called You Don’t Have to Fuck People Over to Survive), and I imagine a ride based around that could include interesting, funny, and political graffiti in the area? Lies My Teacher Told me could maybe go over a people’s history of Pittsburgh based on landmarks we hit.

Then it would end at The Big Idea Bookstore where riders could purchase coffee (perhaps at a discount, I’d have to bring that up at a collective meeting…), and we could have a book discussion.

This is how I imagine it might work. Does anyone else have any ideas? I’m working on the planning for the store, but I’m sort of clueless on planning bike rides, so any suggestions are welcome.


brian j
Participant
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Well, your ideas about a reading group are right on. I’ve been “leading” one for about ten years now. We typically get together once a month, and the length of the readings are based on the relative density of the book.

I like the ride idea. The steel industry provides both limitless material and destinations. Given the growth of urban farms, there’s a lot of ideas there, too. Obviously, there aren’t books on Pittsburgh’s urban farms (yet), but perhaps working with the proprietors, you could work out some sort of book/destination combination.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Pittsburgh has a long literary history, with the likes of songwriter Stephen Foster through turn-of-the-last-century author Willa Cather through current writer Michael Chabon. Many many others with a good bit of fame.

One way it could be done is to bike to a pre-determined spot (say, Stephen Foster’s home on Penn), recite (well, sing) something of his. Bike off to another spot (Willa Cather’s home) and probably one person recite a bit of her writing.

Main thing would be developing a good list of sites and writers. Then play connect the dots. Then come up with reading selections, and people to read them aloud.

Like the pool ride, I’m guessing the whole ride might take a few hours, but people could join or leave as we went along, if we had some idea of how long it might take at each one and when we might be there. Thus, a pre-ride planning ride might be in order, too.

Just throwing that out there. I don’t have any experience doing this, either.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Another possibility is to visit spots in the city that featured prominently in books, even if the writers were from somewhere else. One example (of probably hundreds), “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” by Kim Edwards (2005) has extended scenes in Pittsburgh. Just thinking about that one book, I can recall at least four spots in the city where specific events took place. (Much of the rest of the book took place in Lexington KY.)

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