Monday, February 14, 2011

Community Reading

Tradition: Book club

Story:

I joined a book club with a bunch of women from my church. We don’t read specifically church books, we read some great books, some lame books, but either way the discussion is my favorite part. Last month we read Still Alice. I started the book just days after losing my grandfather (who had Alzheimers) which was poor timing on my part. I didn’t love the book, in fact I found it too clinical and even a touch harsh to read, but not harsh enough for that to be the point. So when I walked into book club I was ready to bash it. Instead we had some amazing discussions that opened my eyes to some things, but didn’t change my opinion. It was wonderful, the best kind of book club.

My family is full of readers. Growing up my older sister had a huge collection of boxcar children books and I had a huge collection of babysitters club books. We read all the time and my parents’ house still has more bookshelves than beds. Each of the kids in my family has come to love reading at a different age and through different books. My youngest sister is not a bad reader, but until recently I didn’t think she had that hunger for reading. This made me sad, so while I was out in Oregon for Christmas I tried to come up with ways to get her excited to read. I decided that while I was there we would take turns reading a couple chapters out of a book every day. She chose the book (I’m not real up on the current reading trends of 10 year olds). We read it and talked about it and laughed and it was a great time, plus she didn’t seem to mind it too much.

Then I came home and prepared to attend book club and it hit me. A cross country sister book club would be fun! Keep in mind, I don’t think the book club itself will make her love books, but I’m hoping she is hitting the point where she can learn to love them.

I live far away so we can’t share reading time, but we can read sections then email each other discussion questions. She gets to choose the book because I think that gives her a power over the process. She bought the first book while I was out in Oregon, then I took awhile to get it, but after a quick amazon purchase it arrived: Loser by Jerry Spinelli. Since she had already started it I have to catch up. She informed me of my pathetic performance with the following email.

I am about to finish chapter 10. So I am basically finished. Have you started to read it? Tell me when you have and send it with a summary (shortened version)

My favorite part of that exchange is the explanation of what a summary is, because I’m clearly clueless when it comes to reading terms. Nothing like letting your ten year old sister put you in your place. Do you have suggestions for the next book club selection? Do you have a book club with a kid in your life? How do you encourage discussion?

1 comment:

Alan said...

What a great way to continue on the love of reading to a younger sister who is a continent away.