Live from not-New York, it’s the recap of book clubs!

I originally called this “Live from New York” since I tried to write this from New York City over ASB, but that didn’t happen because I was way too busy with everything that went on. I will try to blog about it soon, but in the meantime, I’m back in Michigan and now I’m recapping book clubs.

The different book club facilitators all chose very different readings, so the conversations took different paths. However, there were a lot of similarities between the book clubs. I felt like all of the facilitators started the conversation with a question but then let the conversation propel itself organically, only participating or introducing a new question when a particular idea or thread ran its course.

The participants brought a lot of great ideas and perspectives to our discussions of the readings. I definitely did not read things the way a lot of people did. For example, I didn’t consciously think of the gender issues in the story “The Fisherman and His Wife,” but we had a rich conversation on it, especially in trying to place the story in its original context and the gender roles at the time at which the story was written down.

Overall, I thought it was a very stimulating class period and a good practice of how to run a book club. A genuinely interested audience made it easier for us as facilitators, at least in my mind, because we had to do very little – Krista and I just had to make sure the conversation kept going (which wasn’t hard, since people had a lot to say about our readings on appropriateness and young adult literature). I know I say it a lot about the activities we do, but I really liked this activity. I know I’ll be doing book clubs in the future, and I love any chance I can to try out new questions or methods.

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2 thoughts on “Live from not-New York, it’s the recap of book clubs!

  1. I agree that it was a very stimulating class period and a very positive experience overall. As you said, the discussants really had little to do except open the conversation on their selection and populate the discussion with new questions as conversation dwindled. However, I think this was also a very utopia-like book club, mainly because all of the participants were highly invested in interacting because it was for a class assignment. Additionally, we wanted our other group members to be active in their discussion of our selection so we in turn were more likely to be active participants during their selection discussions. Were you and Krista the first book club selection presenters in your room? Do you think the order of the discussions affected participant engagement? Did the first group discussants set the tone for the remaining discussions or did each pair create a new setting for their respective book club?

    * I was hoping to learn a little bit more about the overall themes of the different book club selections and see how they compared to the “darker” thematic tones of the Spades Book Club. (Mainly because you are the only member of my blog group who was in the Hearts club!)

  2. We were the last group to go in our book club, since we knew our discussion had the potential to get out of control. I think that each group kind of set a new tone that was largely based on their reading for us. And even though we were last and people might have been tired, we had a topic just about everybody was passionate about and so the discussion was quite lively. As for themes, it sounds like we had a bit lighter book club than your half of the class, though we did get into some interesting and serious discussions on social class, gender roles, and censorship.

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