Thursday, October 28, 2004

Reading with the guys

I went to the second meeting of the book club at my daughter's school today, and was assigned to the group I'll be leading in discussion. Once again, I got the group with the boys -- and seeing how quickly the other leaders staked their claim to girl groups, I guess that's considered a bad thing. Last year, my group had three out of the four boys in the club, along with two girls, and it was a constant battle to keep the guys interested when the girls were talking and the girls interested when the boys were. This year, my group is all boys -- five of them -- and although the librarian looked at me sympathetically and offered to break the group up and distribute them among the girls, I urged her to keep things as they were. Maybe it's not PC to be so segregated, but the boys wanted to be on their own, the girls wanted them to be on their own, and I'm really curious to see where the discussion goes when there's more mutual interest.

In our general discussion today, my group members were loud and boisterous but involved and enthusiastic about books. Since the boys in my group last year disliked a lot of the books chosen to read because they were "girl books," I asked this year's guys what they thought made a "boy's book" different from a "girl's book." Action, adventure, war, a male protagonist, and a lack of boring plotlines seemed to be the consensus, although one boy boldly asserted that he would read anything, even if it was about Hilary Duff. He has a twin sister, so I'm thinking there's some sort of prenatal influence going on there. He also admitted to liking "Magic Treehouse" books, which warmed my heart because my daughter likes them too, but I worried that they are so wildly age inappropriate. But another boy agreed that he liked reading them too, albeit a few at one sitting. Another boy wanted to talk about nothing other than "Harry Potter" and Eragon. Those won't be on the book club list; next week, we'll discuss "Because of Winn-Dixie" which has no action, adventure, war or male protagonist and a somewhat meandering plotline, but was one of the few books my boys last year really liked. I'll be interested to hear what this year's group has to say. If I can keep us from being disbanded due to loudness, it should be a good year.

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