The Blind Assassin by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood has been tapped as the inaugural entry for a new, Twitter-based book club.
Spearheaded by The Atlantic magazine and Northeastern University journalism professor Jeff Howe, 1book140 aims to spark "global, participatory" conversation about the selected titles.
The Man Booker and Hammett Prize-winning novel The Blind Assassin captured 32 per cent of a public, online vote earlier this month to become the 1book140 selection. It beat Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story (21 per cent) and Jennifer Egan's The Keep (18 per cent).
The project is inspired by city-wide "One Book" reading programs as well as One Book, One Twitter, an initiative started by the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper in summer 2010 that drew thousands of tweets sharing readers' thoughts on Neil Gaiman's American Gods.
"Gosh, thanks Atlantic #1book140 voters!" Atwood, an avid Twitter-user, posted after her book was selected. "Would it be cheating if I joined in? Guess so..."
After a flurry of posts pointed out that Gaiman took an active part in the online discussions last summer, Atwood returned with an insider tidbit for readers on Tuesday.
"My first #1book140 post(a day too early): factoid: bridge Laura drives off is still there, but they changed railings to solid sides," she posted via Twitter.
Discussion of The Blind Assassin opened at midnight on Wednesday. Dialog about specific chapters or sections will be denoted by dedicated Twitter hashtags (e.g. #1book140_1, #1book140_2).
Suggestions and voting on the club's next book begin mid-month, with discussion of the forthcoming title slated to start July 1 at midnight, and so on.
"The point isn't to perform magisterial feats of exegesis single-handed, but rather suss out new and interesting interpretations with lots of other people," organizers said in a statement.