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Ask HN: How do you share the stuff you find interesting while reading a book?
20 points by jsc39 8 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 19 comments
Many a times, it happens that after reading a killer book I want to talk to another person about specific ideas I read in that book and discuss it further to consolidate my understanding, also it acts as a great conversation topic. I however feel sometimes that not all friends want to listen to the book talk you have to say, or specific books can be talked with specific persons only. To resolve this, I would rather put the central idea as a tweet or a story somewhere to engage with like minded people. I want to know other ways people do the same





HN, Reddit, friends who share at least a shallow interest and have some patience. I realized my tendency to ramble/gush about novel (to me) ideas in college and actively worked to curtail it to avoid becoming a bore. Finding the right audience is important.

Journaling/blogging is also a good practice. I write for my own sake (I don't share it out, in general) but I write as if for an imagined audience made up of people I know in real life. If the topic is technical, it might be some classmates or colleagues, other topics I have other people in mind.

Occasionally I share out what I've written, but directly not published on a blog. Presently, I'm doing some demos for work training sessions (sort of a rebalancing effort, we have some very skilled and knowledgeable people, but the knowledge isn't evenly distributed and we have some very new people to programming). So some of the things I've written in the past are becoming relevant, I'm retooling what I wrote (actually it's a full-blown rewrite at this point) to target this specific group and make examples more suited to this office than prior offices (programming is programming, except it's not, motivating examples should be relevant to the audience).


Why is it so hard to find people with patience and shallow interest in the same topic as you :D

Because I'm not in college anymore. It was much easier, then, to find people with similar technical interests. After college, not living in a tech hub at least, it's much harder to find them in person. Which is where HN, Reddit, and similar forums come into play.

I've been searching for a community to discuss philosophical and literary classics. I live in NYC, and have tried to find an in-person group.

It's been tough to find, especially when you're busy. One observation I've made is that, since everyone has different interests, it's helpful to be willing to engage with other people's interests. Thus, you probably need to be willing to read books you wouldn't have picked up on your own.

I also have a blog with a small email list, but I suspect the deep conversations are more likely to occur in person with someone who you have an established relationship.


I live in Washington, DC, a few miles from Politics and Prose. They discount book club orders, and so there is a shelf, maybe six feet long by four feet high with books set out for clubs planning to discuss them. If I were looking seriously for a book club, I might drop in over the course of a few months to see what clubs have interests aligned with mine. How would I follow up? That part I don't know--slip a note into one of the books, perhaps. (I also don't know how the pandemic affected all this--I've hardly been into P&P in more than a year.)

But I'd suggest starting at bookstores.


This is really what reddit is built for. After I read a book I can't get enough of I'll usually go check on youtube to see if the author has done any interviews or podcast and then I'll look around for the subreddit for either the author or the book and sort by top all time. Occasionally I'll also make a post.

I've also always loved the idea of a book club but I've never joined or started one.


I blog the top ideas from each book I read (link in bio) and form book clubs at work. We have an Engineering team book club, Product Design book club, and a company-wide book club.

What do you do in those book clubs majorly. Do you share the highlights and screenshots of the parts of the books in those clubs?

We meet for one hour over lunch. In advance, the book club leader assigns about 30 pages to read. It's important that the page volume feels substantial, but also enough that people can complete the reading 30min before the meeting.

As a leader, I purchased the books for everyone using the company credit card and make it clear that it's your book to keep - so take notes, highlight, whatever you want.

The leader facilitates the conversation. Some leaders will post questions in advance on Slack. Other leaders will develop questions on the fly based on the direction of the conversation.

In the best product design and engineering books clubs, people reference specific passages and quotes which spark conversation about implementation within your own shared work.


If I learn something short and interesting I'll sometimes post it on /r/todayilearned and get a conversation going around that. Minor difficulty is that you need to link to something, and unless it's a web article the post won't succeed, but that's usually not hard and you end up learning more in the process.

Actually sometimes you even start to doubt what you've read when it's hard to come up with a second source. For example I read in "Broca's Brain" that Thomas Jefferson refused to believe in meteorites, but could not find a second source.


I have this urgency as well. I’ve used reddit most recently to revel in the emotions after finishing Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. I also listened to some podcasts about the book. Usually I prefer to talk with people I know, and I accept that they may listen but haven’t just read the book, and so we move on to other topics. To help me process, I make notes as I read:

If it’s an ebook on Kobo I highlight & maybe add a note, then import the notes into Calibre. I also read on mobile, listen with TTS, and listen to audiobooks (mostly fiction there, since I take fewer notes when it’s a strong narrative, and I’ve enjoyed being read to since before I could read). Notes help take the edge of the urge to discuss, and they help me remember for future discussions.

Like others have said, it helps to read what friends and family are reading if you want to share in the experience.


I would bring up the topic, but not necessarily the book, in the way you described; face to face and certainly not on twitter because it's mostly an awful platform for deriving substance. Finding out how to build a dialog is a skill like any other, and often times the book is just a vehicle for its ideas that you need to run with. I'm not interested in talking about books at all, moreso how the ideas might connect with someone else's experience. Very occasionally I'll chat with someone about the actual prose or design of a book, but that's just an extremely niche topic of interest I think. Also there are still book clubs, where they do exactly this, but I've never tried them.

I use reddit for that, many book-specific subreddits.

Any example of when you did it last?

Sometimes copy the text and type into a quote that I email, to share. Sometimes take a photo, and attach. Still primarily by email, which can lead to more thoughtful discussions. I think email gives everyone more time to think and edit responses, discussions.

Whenever I come across something interesting, I tweet about it, or write about it in my notes.

You could create a book club group if you want to discuss specific books, or try a Clubhouse room with the book in the title.


Do you share those notes somewhere or they are only for personal use. I wanted to know the social aspect of reading books, how does a person share an idea he/she read in a book with a larger audience and get more engagement

I share some of my notes on Twitter, that's the social engagement for me. I also write for my blog. Both can lead to a discussion with someone.




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