Book Club

Introducing the Persephone Book Club

I can’t think of a better place for an online book club than a blog for bookish ladies.   At the suggestion of the amazing @slaybelle, we decided that there was no better way to follow up Middlemarch Madness than to read some of the wonderful books from the bracket together.

To start, we’re going to read the first book starring our winner, Hermione Granger. (NOT Danger; we are bound and determined to make Hermione Danger Internet famous with our typos. Which would be okay, because she’s awesome, but still…)

So! Go dig out your (likely) well-worn copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and crack it open one more time; we’re going to get all up in the Hagrid, the Hogwarts, the Harry and of course, Ms. Hermione.  As previously mentioned, I’m totally new to Potter, so be patient with me.  I’m nearly finished with The Sorcerer’s Stone, and I am tickled to say I am loving the crap out of this book. Now you’ve done it, I’m going to have to read all seven.  I also hear that my imaginary celebrity boyfriend D. Tennant is in one of the movies, and I must investigate further.

Each cycle of the book club will last for four weeks, and we’ll  cover one book per cycle.   The first post will announce the book we’ll be reading (we’re going to stick to Middlemarch contenders at first) and give a timeline of how the rest of the discussion will unfold.  The second week, there will be a reminder post, as well as extras like background on the book or author, historical perspective or examining criticism.  The third week, we’ll start tackling some discussion questions, keeping them on the bottom half of Bloom’s Taxonomy, then the fourth week we’ll take everything a step further and tackle discussion questions using our higher level thinking skills.

Thanks to Wisconsin Education Association Council for this image.  Please to pardon the Comic Sans.

So here’s the schedule for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone!

Today, 4/7 – Introduction to book club and first book.

4/14 – Discussion on background, author, trivia bits and the impact of the Harry Potter books on modern pop culture. (Feel free to send me any tidbits you have!)

4/21 – Discussion of lower-level taxonomy points; knowledge, comprehension and application.  This is where we’ll cover the plot, characters, setting, etc. you all remember from Lit class.

4/28 – Discussion of high-level taxonomy points; analysis, synthesis and evaluation.  This is where we’ll dig into who Rowling’s influences are, deeper meaning in the text and finding the universal themes.

I’m going to be a big old spoiler and go ahead and tell you the second book we’ll be reading today, too, so you can jump ahead.  Since I didn’t know Harry Potter at all, I wanted our second book to be one I know like the back of my hand, so I picked my very favorite YA book of all time, The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin for May.

If there are any questions, you can leave them in the comments or contact me by private message or email (either selena (at) persephonemagazine (dot) com or opheliapayne (at) persephonemagazine (dot) com will get to me.)

Ready? Set? READ!

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

26 replies on “Introducing the Persephone Book Club”

I was super-way-into Harry Potter when I was younger, but for some reason after the end of the series I got really disillusioned from it and started to see the flaws (or at least, the things that I saw as flaws) I would love to read the series again from the beginning, and discuss it with mega-fans and newbies. Who knows? Maybe I’ll change my mind and start loving it again.

I feel really similarly about Harry Potter, and particularly about the ending. I’d be very interested to re-read the entire series with Persephone, if only because though she’s pretty kick ass in her own universe, I seriously question Hermione’s status as any kind of feminist role model.

That said, my main bone to pick with the success of HP is that at the end of the day, Rowling’s writing skills aren’t actually that good. I guess I’ll save that fight for week 3 or 4, though. :p

No matter what, I’m stoked for the Persephone Book Club!

I think so, yes. And as for reason behind the change itself, I think it was less that an American child would turn down a book with “philosopher” in the title (please), and more that in the states, “philosopher” no longer has a connection to magic/alchemy/etc. Thus, sorcerer.

And as for Northern Lights vs. The Golden Compass, I agree that the latter is much more evocative, and I’m not sure why they changed it, though I think it’s interesting given that Golden Compass goes much more thematically with Subtle Knife and Amber Spyglass, as each are the central instrument of their respective books.

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