It's no surprise that book clubs have become so popular in recent years, and I don't mean because Oprah has one. After finishing a good book, most of us feel a need to talk about it, to compare notes, relive the high points, skewer the weak spots, and generally get it out of our systems. Of course, we also want to drink wine and gossip.
Well, Slate doesn't have a liquor license, but we do work with a lot of people who'd be great to have in any book club. You've been able to read them for years in the magazine. But podcasting has given us a new way to capture the back-and-forth dynamic of a real book club more faithfully. We invite you to read the first selection of the Slate Audio Book Club and then download the audio of our discussion when we post it on March 15.
The book is The Year of Magical Thinkingby Joan Didion. (The New York Times Magazine ran a long essay adapted from the book here.) It's a memoir of the year following the death of Didion's husband John Gregory Dunne, and it has been celebrated as the most important meditation on grief and mourning since C.S. Lewis' A Grief Observed.
Slate critics Stephen Metcalf, Meghan O'Rourke, and Katie Roiphe will sit down at a cozy bookstore/cafe in New York's Soho neighborhood to discuss Magical Thinking, and you'll be able to listen in starting March 15. The audio will be available as part of our regular podcast feed (direct iTunes feed here), or as a free download from the site. We hope you'll read the book and take part in the book club, which we expect to be the first of many.
Note: You don't need an iPod to listen to Slate podcasts. You can download the MP3 files to any computer with a broadband Internet connection and play them with any of the major free media players.
Questions? Comments? Podcasts@slate.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)