Full disclosure: This is not my idea, but my friend’s. But it’s too awesome not to share!
Last summer, some friends and I were chatting on Facebook. Not even chatting, just posting on each other’s status updates. The conversation was about books, and we began reminiscing about the books we read as kids.
My friend E suggested we form a summer book club, reading books from when we were kids. We each nominated a few titles and voted on the final selections.
The book club was such fun! We read classics, like A Wrinkle in Time, and lesser-known works, like Monkey Island. Some I’d never read before (Charlotte’s Web) and some I’d loved as a child (The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle).
Thanks to the internet, I don’t read as much as I’d like to. Further, I rarely read fiction because once I start a book, I can’t put it down. Children’s books are much easier to read in one sitting. I could easily read them on my commute. At the end of the summer, I’d read around a dozen books, and I felt quite proud.
We met up at the end of the summer, talked about what we read, watched the 1976 version of Freaky Friday (we’d read the novel), and ate a ton of food.
I was thrilled when E suggested we do it again this year. To impose a little order on the club, she suggested post-2000 books, and we tacitly agreed to stay away from Harry Potter/Hunger Games/Twilight.
It’s been really exciting to see how YA books have and have not changed. We had more female protagonists this year, though I don’t know if we consciously chose those kinds of books or not. I was surprised how many books turned out to be part of a series (such as Matched and The Conch Bearer); I’m curious if Harry Potter and the like have influenced YA books in that way, or if series have always been pretty common and I didn’t notice.
Because members of the book club include people who’ve never met each other, the book choices have been varied, spanning genres and age groups.
We plan on meeting at the end of the summer, but we’ve been discussing the books on Facebook. I was an English major; I’ve missed discussing books.
Reading Young Adult books, specifically, has been thrilling. Sure, they are often shorter than “regular” books. However, the stories are no less complex, the story telling no less compelling.
Additionally, when I was a teen and trying to make the transition to “grown up books,” it felt like most books used the same plots about sex, murder, and dark secrets. Young Adult books are about so much more: the question of identity, the quest to belong, saving the world, and saving one’s self.
I often hear from other people how they wish they had more time to read. I’m not original in suggesting this but I’ll do it anyway: Check out Young Adult fiction. It’s awesome.
Our summer reading list:
- [icon name=”icon-book”] The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
- [icon name=”icon-book”] The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
- [icon name=”icon-book”] Matched by Ally Condie
- [icon name=”icon-book”] The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
- [icon name=”icon-book”] Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff
- [icon name=”icon-book”] Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce
- [icon name=”icon-book”] The Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni