I feel a bit shady posting this as my very first blog; I blog on my other site (greengeekgirl.com) and rarely think to migrate the blogs over here. I'm looking for a few intelligent readers, though, so I'm pressing on!
Note: This is absolutely and positively an attempt to get cool new members for my book group. But don't be fooled--I'm not mass-spamming this all over every site that I visit. I'm concentrating my efforts on the few sites where I will find intelligent, thoughtful readers--and nearly every atheist that I know is a book person who reads quality stuff, so I thought this might be a good place to search. ;-)
There's a book club out there that lets you read what you want to read, rather than forcing you to sit through month after bloody month of reading books that someone else picks. It's totally online and has very few obligations, except to chat about books, and participate in a handful of yearly reads if you want (but it isn't mandatory). It's run primarily by a couple of heathens (me and a good friend, although not everyone in the group is probably atheist--I would bet on a good percentage, though, since atheists tend to attract atheists, I've noticed), and the books we talk about are diverse--the only books we do *not* talk about are the sort of mind-numbingly-bad mass-market craptastic offerings that would send any intelligent person fleeing in the opposite direction (with a few exceptions--everyone has a slight penchant for a few junk reads between the "serious" ones).
In other words, nary a whisper about Dan Brown will be heard in our group--except, possibly, in mockery.
Our group is pretty well-established--we've been at our current site for 4 years now, and we're still very active. It's a private group on a site called Shelfari.com, so invitations have to be issued (to keep out the Dan-Brown-loving riff-raff). We also have an absolute no-drama policy: we respond swiftly to anybody making ad hominem attacks, verbal abuse (whether direct or oblique), and purposeful, belligerent disrespect. Reading is awesome, and making people feel bad is not awesome at all, so we don't like to mix the two. That having been said, we rarely censor our members--unless something turns into a meltdown (which rarely happens), admins don't generally delete posts. As long as you're being nice to other members, you can basically say whatever you want. (As Wil Wheaton says, don't be a dick!)
Some of our group favorite authors? Saramago, Marías, Murakami (both Ryu and Haruki), Kerouac, Gabaldon, Mieville, Stephen Hawking (and other physicists), Umberto Eco--we read a lot of world literature, actually, and a decent amount of non-fiction.
Shelfari recently set it up so that you can log in with your Amazon.com credentials, so if you have an Amazon account, you're already signed up! You'll probably just have to create a profile. If you check it out and want to join, click on my profile from the admin bar (I'm "Suze") and add me as a friend, telling me you're from ThinkAtheist. I'll accept it and send you an invite to the group. The site itself works a lot like Goodreads--you add books to your personal shelf that you've read, you can review books, chat about books, et cetera.
Ready for the link? (Congrats if you made it this far!) Here you go: http://www.shelfari.com/groups/10431/about
Hope to see you there!