Marginálie book club

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Current book club title

Orientalism (Twenty Fifth Anniversary Edition) by Edward Said
Tragically, it might be as good a time as any to read Said's Orientalism. This edition, the preface to which was written in New York in 2003 a few months before the author's death, touches upon what was then the latest intervention in the Middle East under George W. Bush, Tony Blair et al. There was much that Said did not live to see.

Orientalism is an important but also, perhaps, a difficult and intimidating book. Christopher Rozruch remembers discussions of it while he was studying politics at university from 1999 - 2002. He cannot yet be sure he will manage to read it still less understand it well. Still, there are countless resources about it and there will be much to discuss. Said himself speaks about the book in this video, but many others could surely be found.

Jitsi Meets

Thursday 7th June, 2018 around 19:00 Central European summer time. See for url and connection details. The first meet will be to outline the idea and demonstrate Jitsi. As elsewhere on Marginálie, part of the purpose will be to demonstrate some of the possibilities of existing technologies. The book club itself will meet again sometime over the summer. It is possible that a number of films by Adam Curtis will also be discussed in those later meetings.

The introduction, which can be seen here on YouTube, discusses how the Book Club is intended to look. It talks about Orientalism, mentions another couple of books which could be discussed and lays out the format etc. I did not post a link beforehand - I got waylaid by a friend and was a little too embarrassed to say I was going next door to talk to myself on the internet, which is what it felt like at this point. The same embarrassment can be sense at a couple of points during the video.

Background and overview

The Marginálie book club is in some ways an idea ten years in the making. This does not mean it will not still take some ironing out. It involves developing a protocol surrounding open tools such as PeerView, Jitsi, and more traditional torrents of creative commons-licensed videos and audio recordings of people making video diaries, asking and answering questions about cultural works, typically though not exclusively books. Torrent links might be used to directories of CC-licensed video and audio works which might potentially be later stitched together by people in their own edits of themselves and others trying to come to an understanding with these books. These might then be pieced together using software such as Kdenlive, perhaps using templates that permit them to release Marginálie-branded videos. This would mean these templates being released on their own license. While some videos might be produced for people who have already tackled a book - with spoilers galore - others might be introductions and discussions of books either for those too intimidated to tackle them, or for people who will need a discussion in order to be able to meet them halfway. Of course, it may be that there are no derivates but just the original video of the meet.

Basic protocol

A book will be announced, a link to a Jitsi meet conference posted, and either a livefeed to YouTube or, better, a stream saved to later be uploaded to a more open hosting solution. Ultimately, this might be something like a self-hosted PeerView instance or a torrent with web torrent fallback.

Titles and works



Bloodaxe Books

Krozruch has copies of a number of Bloodaxe compilations and some other collections and poetry handbooks, many of which serve as excellent introductions to the art of poetry in practically all of its forms.

Comma Press

While in Wales, Christopher Rozruch went to a couple of book launches by Comma Press and attended a course in the short story which was curtailed by his move back to Prague in January, 2013. If we are to understand any of the issues raised by the first Marginálie book club choice, Orientalism, then Comma Press, which pledged to publish only books from countries "banned" by Trump's executive order[1] will be key.

Verso Press

A radical publisher based in New York. Verso sells non-DRM ebooks and has some excellent books both in digital and physical form.

Virago Press

Virago bills itself as an "international publisher of books by women". Its podcast may be a good way to discover more about it and its authors.


Fra is a small publisher based in Prague. It publishes books in Czech. These might nevertheless be occasionally constructively discussed in English.


BookServer is a project from the Internet Archive.


As ever: @krozruch at keybase

Footnotes and references

  1. This interview with Ra Page mentions the Muslim Ban at the end but also gives a sense of what Comma Press is about, where it comes from, and why it may be of interest to Marginálie.