Thursday, July 25, 2013

Trials and Tribulations of Book Clubs

This summer I joined my neighborhood book club.  It's been a good chunk of time since I've taken time for myself to sit down and chat with adults about adult books.  I was probably a little too excited.  Our July book was nonfiction and I'm a fiction girl, that should have been my first red flag.  Here it is...


Isn't the cover cute?  I think that was my favorite part of the whole book.  It is a dual autobiography, two brothers sharing their journey from India to becoming doctors in America.  I really wanted to like this book.  It was my FIRST book club with these ladies and who walks into the FIRST book club and complains?  Yep, that's me.  I found it hard to like Deepak, his writing was very arrogant.  Sanjiv I did like, but I found myself forcing myself through the book just to be done.

But...there is a silver lining.  It made me reflect as a teacher about the idea of abandoning books.  It is OK to abandon a book if it's not your cup of tea.  There are just too many other great books out there waiting to be read.  However, if I abandoned this particular book I would have been letting my fellow book club members down.  I needed to push through it in order to be properly prepared for any sort of discussion.  I can't wait to talk about this with my students when I see them in August!! (Let's skip over the fact that only two of us out 15 actually read the whole book...doesn't that tell you something?)

It also made me think about genres and the how readers gravitate to genres they like.  I am a historical or realistic fiction girl.  It was good for my little brain to gain a little more schema on India, religion and both Eastern and Western medicine.  This will be another riveting teaching point for my little cherubs, the need to push ourselves into genres that aren't as comfortable.  They allow as to grow and sometimes they surprise us.
Thankfully, we had a nice book club conversation about our August book and we decided on a book that I have already read and loved.  Check it out...


You may have already read it.  If you haven't, I encourage you to check it out.  It's a memoir of a girl growing up with a charismatic, nomadic family.  As my friend Mary shared, it really makes you feel like the POY (Parent of the Year.)  I read it first back in 2008 when I was a sleep-deprived mother of two.  I recall really enjoying getting to know the characters and being impressed with the resilience of the children.  I just finished reading it a second time and this time I found myself more wrapped up in the fact that it's a memoir and felt almost sick as I read it.  I think now that I'm getting a good 8 hours of sleep a night (and sometimes a nap...it is summer vacation)  I can think more clearly as a parent and I was appalled that these children were being raised by such careless parents.  It also made me angry as a teacher that no one did anything to help these kids.  The second time around, this book really brought out emotions.  You know where I'm going, don't you?  Another teaching point for my precious little readers:  The power of a good reread.  I read the book once to digest it and get the story line.  It took the second read to really pull myself in, care about these kids and feel raw emotion.  I can't wait for our next book club.  I'm ready this time.

What are you reading this summer?  I'm always looking for a good read.

How are book clubs going in your classroom?  Any "a-ha" moments you'd like to share?