My oldest daughter and I formed a book club recently. Right now she and I are the only two members.
We named it “The Terrific Toad Book Club.” My first suggestion was “Bloody Brilliant Book Club,” but Vivian didn’t like the idea of using the word “bloody” in it so she changed it to “Brilliant Bunny Book Club.” Then she offered up the idea for the toad title.
I took it to a vote with a group of people I know and the toad won. I was secretly glad. Bunnies are cute but toads have adaptability and more magical powers.
In our book club, we are reading the Harry Potter series. Last Sunday we finished the first one, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Vivian and I spent about 3-4 weeks reading it. We take turns reading pages and read about one to two chapters every few days. Then on weekends we’ll read five or six chapters.
My daughter’s third grade class started a theme of Harry Potter wizardry this year and it sparked me to introduce the books to Vivian and make it a mother-daughter bonding experience. I’m so glad I did this as I’m enjoying the experiences just as much as she is, maybe more in fact.
As I kid I was a major book worm. I read constantly. But I don’t remember reading with friends or even with my mom, who is also a book worm.
Looking back now I wish I had found one or two avid reading pals to discuss books with. I wonder why I didn’t think to join or start a book club when I was growing up?
When I was ten and my reading interests heightened, I didn’t discuss the stories I inhaled. I didn’t discuss my budding writing skills or share the first set of poems and stories I wrote with anyone. I kept it to myself. In fact I didn’t join a writers group until I was 34 years old.
Then once I did join that writer’s group in my thirties, I began pushing myself in new ways. I finally began sharing my writing, submitting my work to publishers and gaining confidence to believe my work had potential and was even quite good on occasion. I went into overdrive to somehow make up for the many years I missed out on being open of my writing and reading passion.
I wonder how often kids and adults dismiss their own sparks of interest? I wonder why we often push aside the things we really enjoy even if they don’t fit the mold or are part of a trend?
Right now with the Terrific Toad Book Club, I just want to enjoy these reading moments with my daughter. I have no intention of putting pressure on her to become a writer someday. But I do stop to ask her questions about the story. It helps build comprehension skills and understanding of literature. After each book we plan to watch the movie and talk about differences from the book versus the film. We watched the first film last weekend. Then Vivian watched it a second time the following day because she enjoyed it that much more after reading the book.
I’m glad we have this club in our lives right now. I’m glad it’s something we both look forward to a few times each week among our hectic schedules.
Right now I love the feel of her snuggles on the sofa or in the bed. I love hearing Vivian’s voice change as she reads Hermione Granger or one of the Weasley boys. Most of all, I love seeing her not want to stop reading and her expressions when something unexpected happens in the story.
I know our book club may not last. Vivian will likely lose interest someday and it will sadden me. I will choose to continue on my own or find a new activity to enjoy alongside her or just watch from afar.
But I hope we can always find a way back to reading and to discussing the stories that influence us, real or magical.
I hope she knows that if I’m going to be in a group or club with anyone, I’d most rather be in one with her and my family.
Consider starting a club with your loved ones. Pay attention to what your children are interested in and what excites them. Find ways to bring it to life. Chances are that you will find a book that relates to whatever that activity, person, hobby or object may be.
And if you have interest in the Terrific Toad Book Club, let me know. Membership prices are at a bargain right now…meaning you only need to bring something to eat and a smile to join.