This last week’s class was book club week. We laughed, we ate cookies, we discussed. I really enjoyed the book club. Though I have no really studied English since high school (though I was a a history major in college), I have written seven novels for NaNoWriMo and love to discuss stories.
I really liked discussing “The Federalist Papers”. I felt like this was one of the densest readings and felt the discussion really helped understand it. I really liked the discussion of anonymity and whether we could have a ‘publius’ in our modern age. I also liked the discussion of Bananafish, though it was last, because I had not read any of the author’s work in high school so the “experts” who had read it before were especially useful. It was also very interesting hearing people’s different reactions to the interaction between the little girl and husband. It was very interesting to see how so many people were interpret the same situation. The discussions about death got a little heavy at times, but I liked that people were applying the book club discussion so much to their own lives. I also liked the cookies, but that goes without saying.
Having never done any sort of formal book discussion where I was “teacher” before, it was an interesting experience overall. I can see many applications for this exercise outside of fiction discussion. For example, in business libraryland, a common information literacy competency is the ability to interpret annual reports. You could have a group of student read four annual reports from four different companies. Students could compare and contrast how the companies present themselves in those papers. The book club format of smaller groups and sets of questions for discussion could be very useful in this case.