I wanted to share with my readers about my experience in a book club, and my thoughts on book clubs in general. Book clubs can be great, if they are done in the right way. In a good book club, books that are chosen to be read should have content that is appropriate, void of foul language, and the situations should be appropriate to the age group involved. A great addition is that many books (especially those I read recently) have book discussion guides in the back, or online. The facilitator, or adult in charge, should read the books before assigning them to the young people participating in the club. All of the participants should actually want to read the book and share their thoughts and opinions on the book, not just be there to hang out. If we eat a snack, or play a game, the activity should somehow relate to the book that was read, not just be random.
I participated in a book club at our local library a few years ago. The book club was called the "Book Worm Book Club", aka the pre-teen book club (no one ever called the club by the real name). The club that I was in, I would say, was not the best book club. Hardly anyone who came had read the books that were assigned, and everyone pretty much used the club as a hang out to see their friends. Even the librarian who assigned the book, did not finish reading the book on more than once occasion before the club date. The librarian had only read three out of seven of the books we read before assigning them to us. We spent more time playing games and eating snacks that had nothing to do with the books, than actually discussing the book we had an entire month to read.
What follows is the books we read in the club, and my thoughts on each of them:
1. The Mystery at the Lilac Inn: Nancy Drew book 4
I read this book long before I was in the book club. I re-read the book for the book club. Nancy Drew is always enjoyable. A clean, old school mystery book.
2. The Island of the Blue Dolphins
I know this is assigned reading in many schools. My Mom and Dad both read the book in school, and liked the story. Though my Mom re-read some when I was reading the book for book club, and said she didn't know why she liked it. The story was clean, but scary and boring at times ( for my age at the time, I was 9 or 10). The worst was a death scene, which I remember being too descriptive. My Mom warned me that a character died, but I was not prepared for the gruesomeness of the death scene.
3. Alice in Wonderland
The author of this book either had an incredible imagination, or was doing some serious drugs. I felt like the author just randomly put things in at the end, there was no plot-line, no purpose to the story. I suppose the story was about Alice's dream, and dreams are usually kind of crazy, but I expect more out of a book. I felt like this book was a waste of my time. The rest of the book club group really liked this book; I wonder how many of them just watched the movie (and were just thinking about how hot Johnny Depp is)... the monkey chased the weasel... (LOL).
4. The Calder Game
This was a fun book, except for the random point of view changes. I like point of view changes, but these were confusing until you got part way through them and realized whose point of view you had switched to. Also, I believe there was some foul language in this book. The book was a mystery and that was pretty good. There was some interesting art history, math and geography mixed in to the story. I felt very learn-ed after reading this story, like I could go get a PHD.
5. Into the Wild: Warriors Book 1
I think the main reason I didn't like this book, was at the time I read this I was writing a book about Warrior Cats, and this book is about Warrior Cats. I was devastated. All I could think was that I would never get my book published, because someone else got the same idea published first. I had never heard of this book. I got my idea from reading the Redwall series and Eragon. I skimmed the rest of the book. I know that some of my friends were not allowed to continue reading these, because of the magic and un-Christian religious ideas in later books.
6. Harriet the Spy
La-la-la-LOVE Harriet the Spy! This book does unfortunately have some mild foul language (use of the d-word). I would not pick this for a book club, because of the language, but I do really like this story. I read this book before we had to read it for book club. I also saw the movie before book club. I know at least one of the kids at book club did not read the book, she only saw the movie. I loved the book because I could totally relate to how Harriet wanted to be a writer and carried a notebook with her everywhere.
7. The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events book 1
I never finished this book. I didn't go to the book club for this book either. I think the main reason was that I was really depressed by the story. Everything went wrong, and the book was super sad, and I had barely started reading it.
... the weasel thought was all in fun, but then he ate the monkey... MUST WAKE UP!!