Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pfeiffer Book Club

I'm an avid reader and can't really understand why everyone wouldn't want to be in a book club (or 2 or 3!). I belong to two face-to-face book clubs and one online discussion group. But, I know that everyone is not like me. In fact, my own children don't like to read, which is hard to admit. I get my love of reading from my Dad. So, I hold out hope that my boys will come back to reading. After all, they did read when they were young. My oldest devoured the Goosebumps books while my younger son loved historical fiction books, such as Across Five Aprils and My Brother Sam is Dead. Sadly, they are not the only ones who no longer read. An AP-Ipsos poll several weeks ago found that "one in four adults say they read no books at all in the past year." This is reminiscent of the 2004 National Endowment for the Arts report titled "Reading at Risk." It found that only 57 percent of American adults had read a book in 2002.

So, it's no wonder I was a little worried that there wouldn't be much interest in a book club on campus. However, my fears were laid to rest when we had our first meeting of the new Pfeiffer Book Club on Wednesday. We met at noon in the Reading Room and enjoyed pizza and cookies while we discussed how to set up our new club. There were eleven people in attendance! They didn't just come for the free food, either. While everyone took turns making suggestions for our first book selection, I recognized that kindred spirit evident in all book lovers. They were making their case for a book that they loved and wanted to share with others. Participating in a book discussion group can expose you to things you would have never discovered on your own. We all tend to gravitate to the same types of things, including books. So, when we read a book that we wouldn't have picked up outside a book group and discuss it with each other, we see the world through new eyes.

Despite what the polls and surveys say, there are those of us who still read and want to discuss what we read with others. For our first selection, we will be reading The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. If you can, please join us at our next meeting on Wednesday, October 24, at noon in the library. It looks like we have a really good mix of people, and I anticipate some really good discussions.

Because there were a few people who could not attend the noon meeting due to scheduling conflicts, we are going to have another meeting in the evening. Right now, it looks like Mondays around 7:00 or 8:00 will be a good time. I will be posting more information as soon as the date and time is set.

Finally, for students who can't attend either meeting or anyone else who is interested, I will be posting discussion questions for each of the books along with historical context, author biographies, etc.