Saturday, April 2, 2016

Book Club: How Can We Keep Ourselves Connected to Books and Each Other when the Year Ends? #A2ZChallenge Letter B

Do not, under any circumstances, belittle a work of fiction by trying to turn it into a carbon copy of real life; what we search for in fiction is not so much reality but the epiphany of truth. --Azar Nafisi READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN

"I remember you telling me last spring that you want the class to be like a book club," M--- said.

"I did? How have I done?" I asked.

"Oh, this class is basically a book club. I love that we talk about books and that we pretty much share our thoughts." 

This snippet of conversation happened a couple of months ago in my AP  Literature and Composition class, which I'm teaching as a new prep this year. 

Fast forward to earlier this week when the class raised the topic of book clubs once again. We had been talking about students' senior projects, which will be based on a text we have read this year or one that might appear on the AP Lit and Comp exam. 

Some students had intended to read a new book during spring break but found themselves busy with other tasks instead. 

"We can always read during the summer and chat about books via Twitter or some other forum," I offered. 

"This class is really just a book club anyway," T---said. 

"T--- and I have been talking about starting a book club. I really want to be in one," M--- said. 

"I've never been in a formal book club," I lamented. 

"Hey, let's do it. Let's start a book club," M--- beamed. 

"Yea, let's do it," A--- agreed.

Other students chimed in and offered possible names for the club, which we have informally agreed to start when the school year ends. 

I told the girls that I love discussing books with them but that our book club can't be about me being the teacher. It has to be all of us chatting about books on equal terms. 

I suggested we begin with Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, a book about a group of women meeting with their teacher to read Nabokov's Lolita. 

That prospect excited the girls. 

The bell rang and lunch morphed into class time as the other students joined our informal book club that is AP Lit and Comp.

We still haven't decided on a name, although M--- and I have chatted via Twitter about some possibilities, including "Princesses of the Page." We can envision the swag and tiara's formed from the pages of books we'll read and share. And while we love the classics, including those from"dead white guys," we want the voices of women writers to join our book club. 

Every fairy tale offers the potential to surpass present limits, so in a sense the fairy tale offers you freedoms that reality denies. ---Azar Nafisi


  1. I'm part of some online book clubs but I would love a real life one! Genres often put me off certain books so I like the idea of group work.

  2. That's exciting that your students are liking the books they read enough to want to form a book club. I am in a book club that I really enjoy. Unlike the ones they portray on TV we actually discuss the books. And there is the benefit that A. J. mentioned above--I read books that I wouldn't have normally picked up. I hope that your new book club will turn out as well as mine has.

  3. I always wanted to join a book club too. I do enjoy some of the dead white guys writings and love books with some teeth, some edge, some deep characters. I also enjoy frivolous crime and drama books also, when relaxing.

  4. What a great post! I love the ideas you have for your book club. I joined a storytelling group once, but I haven't formally joined a book club yet. My honors courses in college seemed like book clubs because the class size was small, and everyone discussed our good reads!
    @Kristina Farrow
    Being Kristina

  5. What a great way to engage the students!


  6. Sounds like an exciting prospect for all!

  7. Books are great. Nice to see the book club coming along.

    You have been minioned by Sheena-kay Graham
    Proud Minion of the Joy Brigade

  8. How wonderful that your students are engaged on that level! I've been in two book clubs, and am starting to miss that particular type of interaction.

  9. "Princesses of the Page" - what a great name! :)