Making the 1book140 Shortlist

1book140_icon.JPG The 1book140 polls are now closed.* We're still doing a final count, but more than 2,000 people nominated nearly 300 books for the honor of being the subject of our giant June read-along. Here's what happens next: The Atlantic's 1book140 team and I will spend the weekend poring over that lengthy list. We'll each pick ten books, then hash out between us which FIVE to put on the shortlist.

From Monday until Thursday you will all vote for your favorite. One reader = one vote. Note that we've sped up the schedule a bit. Again: Voting will close out on Thursday, May 26. Reading can begin anytime, really (Who are we to tell you when to read?), but DISCUSSION will formally begin on June 1st, and run through the end of the month.

How will we choose? We've devised a few guidelines. Remember that this will be a monthly book club. Just because your fave didn't make the cut doesn't mean it won't on another month. Starting in July we'll propose a theme for each month's Big Read: Contemporary History, Horror (yes, yes, we heard you loud and clear, Joe Hill fanatics), Classic Novels, etc. But for this first, trial run of #1book140 we have some criteria in mind:

1) Diversity: You're clearly a varied set of readers; we want a shortlist that reflects that.

2) Feasibility: David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas received a lot of votes. He's on my list, too. But at 509 (somewhat thorny) pages, it may be something we tackle after we get our sea legs.

3) Living Authors: I love Middlemarch as much as the next red-blooded, chest-thumping American male, but after a thorough search, it turns out George Elliot is deceased. For this first month, we'd like a living--and ideally, tweeting--author. (In this, we are bowing to the wisdom of the comments to this post.)

4) Fiction: Why? Because when I think of a summer read, I think of made-up people doing made-up stuff. And that's from a guy whose favorite book is Barbara Tuchman's magisterial A Distant Mirror.

Of course, this only partially cuts down the list. Which means I'll be seeing much less of my family the next few days than planned, and spending a lot more time reading reader reviews on Amazon. There are worse ways to spend a rainy Boston weekend.

* What polls, you ask? Just what in tarnation are we supposed to be voting on, you want to know? Go here to read all about the 1book140 project.

See all 1book140 posts.

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Jeff Howe is a professor of journalism at Northeastern University in Boston and a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard. He helps run @1book140, The Atlantic's Twitter book club. More

Jeff Howe is a professor of journalism at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He previously worked as a contributing editor at Wired Magazine, where he covered the media and entertainment industries. In June 2006 he published "The Rise of Crowdsourcing" in Wired. In September 2008 he published a book on the subject for Random House. The book has been translated into 11 languages. Before coming to Wired in 2001 he was a senior editor at and a writer at the Village Voice. In his 20 years as a journalist he has traveled around the world working on stories ranging from the impending water crisis in Central Asia to the implications of gene patenting. He has written for Time, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, Mother Jones and numerous other publications. He lives in Cambridge with his wife and two children.

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