On Thursday, November 21st, book club met to discuss our book choices for this month. We had chosen to read books from two different series: Divergent by Veronica Roth, and A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. What we ended up discussing was why book series seem to be so popular and what to do when we hit on a good one.
According to our discussion, the main reason book series seem so popular is that when students find something good, they stick with it. Isn't that the truth. If we go back to past series, ones that I would have read when I was a kid, The Narnia Chronicles, Anne of Green Gables, and The Little House on the Prairie all come to mind. I'm pretty sure that I read every Bobbsey Twins book I could find. We had The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and The Lord of the Rings. These are great books and why would we read just one when the story leaves you hanging and when the development of those characters and that plot line are so powerful? Yes, we love series because when we find a really good book and well-developed characters, we have a hard time saying goodbye to them.
Where does that leave us in our book club? The problem with a series in book club is that we have a difficult time reading just one book and then putting it aside. Students want to read the next book in the series and if we move on to a different choice, we might lose some of that initial enthusiasm for the book.
And yet, the purpose of our teen book club is to discover books out there that really peak our interest. If we settle on one type of book and don't stretch ourselves to discover others, we are limiting our exposure to books, which is not the point of reading and discussing.
The other issue with reading only one type of book is that sometimes that particular series doesn't work well with some of the readers in the club. They then become frustrated with our book selections and might discontinue their enrollment in the club or they might limit their comments. Definitely not what we'd like to see.
So yes, we decided that reading the first book in a series is fine, but then the members of the club may need to read the next few in the series outside of the club. And we decided that's okay.
Will we continue reading the Divergent Series and The Series of Unfortunate Events? Of course, but not in a group setting. For next month, we'll be reading Dicken's Oliver Twist.
I have had a few jobs in my life that I didn't enjoy: detassling corn, working in a small motor parts factory, framing pictures, serving food, and rejecting bad eggs in an egg factory. Today, I take part in a book club for teens and I love every minute of it.