The Dead Writers Club

Hello Reader,

I have been thinking I might start an online book club for those interested in literature from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. I’ll call it something like:

The Dead Writers Club.

If you’re interested in joining, or know someone who would be, express your interest by emailing me at – deadwritersclub at booktopia dot com dot au


John Purcell
The Booktopia Book Guru

P.S. I will post more details when I make them up.

P.P.S. My aim is to encourage readers to persist with a classic novel they may put down because they are not sure it is worth the effort. They may think it slow, or not relevant to their lives, or too descriptive, or the language may seem foreign to them.

I would also like to share experiences with those who already love the literature of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. I think by expressing our enthusiasm as a group we can encourage the doubtful to take a chance with some of the best books ever written.

How would I/we do this? That is undecided. It may be through Twitter and Facebook. It may be through comments on the blog or a forum page. Or the posting of reviews. It may be done via a webinar or YouTube or Skype. We may even organise groups in the real world to get together, give them questions and guides, and then ask them to publish their notes (or film their discussion).

Who knows? It is up to us. The thing is to make a start – so drop me an email deadwritersclub at booktopia dot com dot au to tell me you’re in.

Here are a few examples of me expressing my enthusiasm for literature:

The book is dead. Long live the book!

Did you just call me an idiot? No, I said I enjoy reading the classics…

Anna Karenina by Tolstoy

The Magus by John Fowles

Lolita by Nabokov

Freedom by Franzen

The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas

The Weekend by Bernhard Schlink

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

13 Responses

  1. This sounds interesting to me. I quit my Book Group which I loved. I had been a member for 28years and in the last year lost interest in pursuing titles chosen for me. Why?
    Approaching 60 years of age, I realised if I didn’t start reading the classics I had missed out on, I might never get the chance!
    I am guided by my curiosity. So far I have read: Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, Gift of the Magi by O’Henry, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, A Passage to India and A Room With a View by E.M. Forster, Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde.
    I am currently re-reading Anna Karenina and am working my way through an omnibus of Jane Austen stories.
    What I would hope to gain from joining a “deadwritersclub” is other people’s perspectives on the books, background information on the novels and novelists and suggestions for further reading.
    I lead a “gypsy” life so my reservations would be that I am unable to commit to each title and may not be able to contribute on a regular basis.
    However,I do hope you get this off the ground. I am sure there are many others who would like to broaden their education by this kind of reading. Good Luck!


  2. A book club focusing on dead writers? Well, there’s Jane Austen…


  3. Elegant writing….. I’m in!
    Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, O’Henry, Somerset Maughan….the list is endless… oh yes, and Gogol, Saki, Collette ………
    Please advise me when everything happens


  4. When your up & running, I’m in!


  5. So I’m not the only procrastinator…

    PS one literary icon I hate is Shakespeare – can you cure me of this?


    • Hello Marjorie,

      Take one tiny step towards a love of Shakespeare by learning a little bit about him – I recommend this > Shakespeare : The World as Stage by Bill Bryson. Buy this book online here

      It is short, easy to read and entertaining so you aren’t investing too much time or effort but it could open the door for you.

      Thanks for your comment,



  6. Is this club going anywhere… yet? :)


    • Not yet. But as this year will be known as ‘the year of John completing things he started’ I have high hopes. :)


      • Excellent. We wait in hope.


  7. How did you go getting this up off the ground? Any luck? ;)


    • I’m still working on it.
      I am ready and willing.
      I just need help from IT and I am in a queue!
      Taps foot impatiently….


  8. Franzen?


    • Did you read the review, sir?


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