Bobby Campbell's illustration for the Illuminatus! online reading group
For 2018, let's try something different -- discussions of books not written by Robert Anton Wilson. As previously announced, we'll have an online discussion group, led by me, for Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov, that will begin in about two weeks.
And then later in the year, RAW scholar and serious Beethoven buff Eric Wagner has volunteered to lead an online discussion group of Joseph Kerman's The Beethoven Quartets. This will allow a deeper exploration of a composer who was important to RAW and is important to many of us.
With the caveat that Eric will lead his discussion any way he sees fit, the format should be the same as in the past. A reasonable number of pages will be assigned each week, the person leading the discussion will post a blog post, and then anyone else who would like can contribute in the comments. I plan to try to cover the Nabokov in 12 weeks of posts, with an additional "reminder" post the week before and perhaps an additional post at the end. Eric would like 18 weeks for his reading group.
There is a RAW connection to Pale Fire -- according to Eric, the book helped inspire RAW's use of footnotes in The Widow's Son. I don't know how many other Nabokov novels RAW read.
How about if we begin the Pale Fire discussion group on Jan. 15? That gives everyone a chance to hunt up a copy. It is still in print, available as an ebook and is widely considered one of the major novels of the last century, so it should be pretty easy to simply find a library copy.
I've been reading Nabokov for years, but I don't pretend to be an "expert." I am currently reading The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov by Andrea Pitzer, a biography which has a chapter on Pale Fire (which I haven't gotten to yet.). It's a delightful book. I also plan to get a copy of Nabokov biographer Brian Boyd's book on the work.
This does not mean an end to discussion groups about RAW's works. Hilaritas Press will reprint many more classics soon, giving us a good excuse to tackle them.