Reading community

The heartbeat of Book Oblivion is our reading community. Join a global community of generous readers for live online lectures, discussions, and discussion.

Online courses

Learn more about the intersections between literature and philosophy and culture in our self-paced online courses. 

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Surround yourself with living books and the people who read them. 

How to Read More by Creating a Reading Habit

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Read With Us in 2020

A Global Reading Community

For curious minds who love to discover the hidden influences in literature and philosophy, Book Oblivion offers live lectures and discussions every two weeks for readers all over the world. 

Our online reading community of passionate readers brings together diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, religious beliefs, and their literary and philosophical interests. 

Our seven instructors are each passionate about reading and gifted in leading conversations in unique areas like philosophy, rhetoric, theology, the craft of writing, science, technology, math, literature, and reading.

Members of our community are insatiably curious and motivated to read, learn, and create everything from conversations to painting to fiction and beyond. Our reading community is academic in nature but we ditch the assignments, the jargon, and the imposter syndrome and emphasize conversation, friendship, and creativity. 

Book Oblivion participants exercise intellectual humility and curiosity and are here to kick back and talk about challenging books.  

Book Oblivion 2020 - Non-Fiction
Book Oblivion 2020 - Fiction

Live talks

Each live talk is a short lecture and long conversation. Participants unable to attend are able to watch the recording after.

Community Forum

We connect in our community forum, posting articles, sharing thoughts, and staying engaged with the books and each other.

supplemental resources

Articles, videos, reading guides, podcasts and more, including specific reading strategies to aid comprehension.

Reading schedules

Read along with our community by sticking to the recommended pages for each book that are broken down by week, month, and season.

HIMALAYAS OF LITERATURE

Stephen L. Russell - Book Oblivion
Stephen L. Russell
Tucson, Arizona

Stephen L. Russell is adding two new texts to the Himalayas of Literature Course series this year: The Golden Notebook and Under the VolcanoWe will spend two months on each book and dedicate two live talks to discussing these difficult works. Aside from these works, Stephen will lead the Book Oblivion community through two other works by contemporary writers, Alice Hatcher and Anna Burns. Stephen never shies away from a challenging read and his joy of the craft is evident in every conversation. He has the wisdom and empathy necessary for guiding readers through difficult narratives while offering depth and complexity in his instruction.

Live Talk Book Pages
January 11 Alice Hatcher - The Wonder That Was OursThe Wonder That Was Ours 300
March 21 Doris Lessing The Golden NotebookThe Golden Notebook 320/640
April 18 Doris Lessing The Golden NotebookThe Golden Notebook 640
September 12 Malcolm Lowry Under the VolcanoUnder the Volcano 200/397
October 10 Malcolm Lowry Under the VolcanoUnder the Volcano 397
December 5 Anna Burns MilkmanMilkman 352

Critical Theory & Philosophy

Jessica S Manuel - Book Oblivion
Jessica S. Manuel
Monterey, California

Jessica S. Manuel will add five new titles to the Critical Theory and Philosophy Course series this year. Last year’s reading list centered on myth while this year will explore space from a handful of literary theorists and philosophers. Readers will discuss the phenomenologies of space from the perspectives of Simone WeilMaurice BlanchotGaston Bachelard, D.W. Winnicott, and Henri Lefebvre. Jessica reads theory with a sense of wonder and celebrates a synthetic approach to reading. Her ability to connect one thinker to the next is dizzying at times but opens up the text in radical ways.

Live Talk Book Pages
January 25 Simone Weil - Gravity and GraceGravity and Grace 214
May 30 Gaston Bachelard The Poetics of SpaceThe Poetics of Space 255
August 29 Maurice Blanchot The Space of LiteratureThe Space of Literature 279
October 24 D.W. Winnicott Playing and RealityPlaying and Reality 214
December 19 Henri Lefebvre RhythmnalysisRhythmnalysis 128

Reading Beyond Murakami

Noah Blacker - Book Oblivion
Noah Blacker
Grove City, Ohio

Noah Blacker will lead our conversations in Reading Beyond Murakami by guiding readers through four of Murakami’s novels that fall into the genre category of realism. This year’s titles include Norwegian Wood, South of the Border, West of the Sun, Sputnik Sweetheart, and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. We will explore narrative theory and the intersections of trauma and literature with an emphasis on memory, metaphor, and the unconscious. Noah’s background in trauma studies and gestalt therapy offers a fresh perspective on the Murakami’s characters we know and love.

Live Talk Book Pages
February 8 Haruki Murakami Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood 296
April 4 Haruki Murakami South of the Border, West of the SunSouth of the Border, West of the Sun 190
June 27 Haruki Murakami Sputnik SweetheartSputnik Sweetheart 229
November 7 Haruki Murakami Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of PilgrimageColorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage 308

Theory & Theology

J Ryan Garner . - Book Oblivion
J. Ryan Garner
Maryville, Tennessee

J. Ryan Garner will lead our Book Oblivion Community in Theory and Theology by focusing on small sections of the Ivan Strenksi Reader, Thinking About Religion. Together we will examine how religion operates as a socializing force. Religious practices—with or without a formal deity—constitute dwellings, habits, and binding symbols. These organizing forces will help us appreciate the prevalence of religious practice rather than dismissing it as esoteric fantasy. Ryan teaches philosophy and theology at the college level and will offer careful instruction to help readers discern the delicate nuances between theological ideas and their impact of literary, critical, and cultural theories.

Live Talk Book Pages
February 22 Ivan Strenski Thinking About ReligionDavid Hume, Baruch Spinoza, James Frazer, Bronislaw Malinowski, Mircea Eliade Select Readings
July 25 Ivan Strenski Thinking About ReligionRene Girard, Clifford Geertz, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Talal Asad Select Readings
Nov 21 Ivan Strenski Thinking About ReligionLudwig Feuerbach, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, William James, Michel Henry Select Readings

Science & Technology

Bruce Manuel Book Oblivion
Bruce Manuel
Monterey, California

Bruce Manuel will offer Book Oblivion two conversations in the areas of science and technology this year. With a posture that is far more playful than pedantic, he will focus on two popular introductory physics books, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by the beautiful writer, Carlo Rovelli, and The Little Book of String Theory by Steven S. Gubser. Bruce’s passion for physics is fueled by an insatiable curiosity for understanding how the world works. His ability to articulate difficult concepts in simple terms uniquely equips him to lead these conversations. Fear not – this is not your high school science class.  

Live Talk Book Pages
March 7 Carlo Rovelli Seven Brief Lessons on PhysicsSeven Brief Lessons on Physics 88
August 22 The Little Book of String TheoryThe Little Book of String Theory 179

Writing & Creativity

Helena Mariposa - Book Oblivion
Helena Mariposa
Denver, Colorado

Helena Mariposa will lead two conversations on the intersections of culture and the craft of writing to help our Book Oblivion Community focus on creativity. We will read Lewis Hyde’s wildly popular, The Gift, and David Shields creative manifesto, Reality Hunger. Our Book Oblivion community has largely focused on reading as input for the last three years and we are hoping to move toward reading as an act of creating. All artists – including writers, painters, readers, filmmakers, teachers, and anyone in between – will delight in the beauty and inspiration we tap into in these conversations on writing and community.

Live Talk Book Pages
May 2 Lewis Hyde The GiftThe Gift: How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World 385
September 26 The Little Book of String TheoryReality Hunger: A Manfiesto 221

Ulysses

Joe Greenwell - Book Oblivion
Joe Greenwell
Munroe Falls, Ohio

Joe Greenwell has helped lead our community through Marcel Proust’s beautiful novel In Search of Lost Time for the last two years. Once we read through the seven volume novel, we plan to start over with live talks. This year Joe will continue to use his knowledge and expertise of modern literature to enhance our understanding of the James Joyce masterpiece, Ulysses. Joe has a gift for breaking down complex prose into easily comprehensible nuggets and does so with eloquence and humor. Planned as a sixteen week course, Ulysses will span four months and include four live talks.

Live Talk Book Pages
May 16 James Joyce UlyssesUlysses ~200/800
June 13 James Joyce UlyssesUlysses ~400/800
July 11 James Joyce UlyssesUlysses ~600/800
August 8 James Joyce UlyssesUlysses 800

Frequently Asked Questions

Book Oblivion is a global online community of readers who are passionate about literature and philosophy. We trace the way ideas connect to each other and over time through reading literature, philosophy, art, and rhetorics. Many of us are academics gone rogue. We are here to nerd out over books and ideas, ask questions, and grow intellectually. 

Participants enroll from all over the world, including the United States, Spain, Australia, Hong Kong, India, Canada, Mexico, and more. Most participants are college graduates, but this is not a requirement. Several participants are retired, some are working professionals, others are graduate students, or some are stay at home parents. The only requirement is a humble, intellectual curiosity and a desire to connect with others over books.

Jessica launched Book Oblivion with a desire to rescue books from oblivion and return them to the center of culture and conversation. We work really hard to create space and time for these conversations to take place and are often one of the only intellectual outlets for our participants. 

Conversations take place in English, but we have participants reading in languages from all over the world. Discussions on translation choices make things really interesting. 

Jessica receives book lists from each instructor and arranges the readings for the year based on several factors. Each instructor leads discussions based on their passion, expertise, and familiarity with the author, book, or subject. 

Our book selections focus on several themes: 

  • Critical Theory and Philosophy
  • Himalayas of Literature
  • In Search of Lost Time
  • Reading Beyond Murakami
  • Reading With Wonder
  • The Craft of Writing 

Participants join for $21/month to participate in all live talks and the community forum. 

You can enroll by becoming a Book Oblivion Member and you can cancel at any time. To join our community, click HERE

You can join our newsletter to find out more about Book Oblivion and receive updates on article. Sign up below. 

Book Oblivion is a global online community passionate about reading literature and philosophy. Contact Us

Articles

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Ralph Ellison and Kenneth Burke on Race, Writing, and Friendship

Ralph Ellison and Kenneth Burke were friends for more than 50 years and Bryan Crable chronicles the complex history of their friendship.

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Reading as Meditation - A Critical Creative Practice

Reading as Meditation – A Creative Practice

Reading as meditation is the creative practice of attending to the text to evoke the image of thought that penetrates the reader.

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Rudolf Otto on the Fearful and Fascinating Mystery of the Holy

Rudolf Otto on the Fearful and Fascinating Mystery of the Holy

In Idea of the Holy, philosopher and theologian, Rudolf Otto shows the numinous, the fearful and fascinating mystery of the holy, evokes deep worship.

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Haruki Murakami on the Intuition and the Banality of Evil in Barn Burning

Barn Burning on Intuition and the Banality of Evil

Barn Burning is written by Haruki Murkami is loosely based on William Faulkner’s story and explores themes of evil, intuition, metaphor, and memory.

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The Best Books for Teaching and Learning

The Best Books for Teaching and Learning

The best books for teaching and learning include insights on neuroscience, biology, philosophy, psychology, and communication theory.

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Mircea Eliade and The Myth of the Eternal Return

Mircea Eliade and The Myth of the Eternal Return

In his 1949 book, The Myth of the Eternal Return, Mircea Eliade explores the role of repetition, imagination, and participation in creating history.

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Book Oblivion is a community of readers exploring literature, philosophy, art, rhetorics, and beyond.
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