First, Julie Wilson at Seen Reading does something pretty funny. She sees people reading in public, then she writes hilarious posts describing her take on the reader and including a passage from the book. What a fantastic idea, huh? (Link via Rusty via Bookninja, another site you should read, if you don't already)
Then, Matthew Baldwin at Defective Yeti is chronicling -- in great, funny detail -- his second attempt at reading Moby Dick. His goal: to plough through by the end of November. Each of his daily entries describe his progress and impressions:
Already I feel like I'm on a date with someone who does not share my interests. Yes, I have felt vibrations while sailing on ships, but they were more gastrointestinal than mystical. And I've never felt crazy to go to sea. Me, I'm a big fan of land, the sort of terrain you can ride a bike across and build a bagel store on. If empathizing with the narrator's hydrophilia is a prerequisite for enjoying this book, I may be in trouble.At the bottom of each entry, Matthew also includes a list of the words he had to look up, along with their definitions. I now know what a "grapnel" is. Curse you, internet, for educating me when I only want to be entertained!
Am I the last person in the world to get on board with Shelfari? I'm deducing this based on the volume of emails I get recommending this site. I haven't signed up yet, because I always jump into these things with childlike enthusiasm, then I get bogged down in the fact that, to use the site, I have to type and stuff -- because hey, this is still the internet and so far no one has developed an interface that will allow me to control my computer with the sheer power of my mind -- and then I forget my password, and then I sort of forget to go back to the site, and then months later, as the volume of unread email from the site's administrators -- encouraging me to "Try our new features!" or "Connect with other members!" or "Test a trial for our new paid subscription service!" -- piles up in my inbox, I realize that this site and I aren't going to work out. But I'm still too lazy to cancel my membership and cancel my mailing list subscription, so eventually the proportion of mailing list email vastly outweighs the regular email, and I end up abandoning my email account entirely and starting a new one. It's the mailing-list-subscriber relocation program.
But hey, this Shelfari thing might work for you! It does look pretty cool. Good luck!