Teens turn pages at Van Noy book club
January 12, 2012
The Van Noy Library teen book club conducts their monthly gathering Saturday, 5 p.m. to discuss Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann.
The book club, which began in November 2009, meets the second Saturday of every month and provides a forum for teenagers, ages 12 to 18, on post to talk about books they've read both in and outside of the club.
"The purpose of the book club is to get children to read things that they wouldn't normally pick up themselves," said Katie Buxbaum, Cirrculation Desk Manager/Teen Program Coordinator, Van Noy Library. "I'm not choosing the books that they read. We'll through out a few titles. I'll ask have you all heard of anything good or read anything interesting lately."
Having the club available to them gives the youth an opportunity to be around other teenagers with a similar interest.
"It's a great time for the teens to meet other people who like to read because people think that book worms are kind of nerdy and we don't really do anything fun," said Buxbaum. "What's great is a lot of the kids end up becoming friends after coming to the book club which is nice."
Since the club started, the young adults have read books from many different genres from the classics to popular novels recently made into movies.
The discussions begin from questions that Buxbaum finds on the internet that pertain to the book the teens just read.
"I'll ask the questions and they'll all give their opinions of things," Buxbaum said. "Then they get into the nitty-gritty of whether or not they liked the book. They always revert back to other books they liked and compare and contrast those with the one they just read."
Discussions can get very passionate, said Buxbaum, especially when a bit of chauvinism is displayed.
"The discussion we had about Hunger Games, one of the kids made a comment about the main character saying she was naïve, and a few of the girls got a little offended and came back at him," said Buxbaum. "It wasn't in a malicious way, but it was interesting because he was going from an 'I'm a guy and guys are awesome' standpoint because he's 12 (years old). I've got 16 year-old girls going, 'Excuse me?' "
Buxbaum incorporates other activities into the discussions about the books. After reading Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol this December, the teens watched "A Muppets Christmas Carol" to see how close the movie stayed to the novel.
"They did a really good job of pointing out, 'Hey, that's actually a quote from the book,'" Buxbaum said. "To see them remember that kind of stuff was really fun."
Friendships have also been formed between book club members. Chelsea Stephens, 19, Van Noy Library, library technician, said the majority of the people she talks to are people she's met through the book club.
"I would say probably 95 percent of the people I talk to are people I've met in book club," said Stephens.
Other attendees have similar experiences. Teen Book club member Donte' Jones, 15, said he recently found out one of the other book club members rides the same school bus.
"I hang out with him after school a little bit now," said Jones.
Improved self-confidence and social skills is another benefit Jones has received since joining the book club.
"Being at book club allows me to talk to people around me more because you are in a small circle with a group of people and you're talking to them and you're hearing what they have to say and they are hearing what you have to say," said Jones. "Since I started going to book club I've been more social at school and I've been more outgoing to others."
Providing a time and place for teenagers to come and feel like they can be themselves is something Buxbaum doesn't ever want to lose.
"I like them feeling like they can come in and just chit chat," said Buxbaum. "I have a lot of them that will come in and ask me what I recommend they read. They're like my reader's advisory. They read things ahead of time for me so I can recommend it to other children."