So it seems that we tested the waters and have decided to read The First Circle: A Novel (The Restored Text: The First Uncensored Edition) (get the Kindle edition here). (I’m going to be reading the First Uncensored edition. You should feel free to read the version that they have at your local used shoppe, or your local library, or the one you’ve got on your bookshelf already. As such, when I talk about the book, I’ll do my best to say something like “in chapter 10, on page 93, when Tyrion slaps Joffrey” and not “go to page 93, line 4 and marvel at the wordsmithery”.)
If you want a little bit of background to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, you could do a lot worse than reading Burt Likko’s description of him here. If that’s too much trouble, know that he was a writer in the USSR and sent to the Gulag under Article 58 (a law which covered such things as complaining about Stalin). When he was being assigned, he was asked to fill out a form stating what his skills were. He put down “scientist” and, for part of his imprisonment, he was sent to a “Sharashka” which was where they sent the most valuable prisoners and had them engage in softer labors. Indeed, The First Circle gets its title from Dante’s Inferno. The First Circle was the nicest part of Hell.
So the version that I have upstairs has 87 chapters, the version that I am *STILL* waiting on has, I believe, 96 chapters. (Come on, Amazon!)
As such, I’m thinking that we should begin by reading, oh, let’s say 11 chapters. When there is a formerly unpublished chapter, that will be included in the assignment for those what have the unexpurgated version and we’ll all be in the same parts of the story together (I have both versions of the story so I should be able to put together a week-by-week chapter list by the time we have our kickoff “Okay, read the next 11 chapters!” post this time next week.)
Questions? Concerns? Stories about a girl you dated in college whose nickname was Sharashka?