Book Club adapts to virtual setting

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Rashmi Kanipakala

Book club member junior Rashmi Kanipakala displays her favorite book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.

Claire Fuller, junior and the president of the Wootton Book club, said there was an enjoyable atmosphere during the first meeting. The Book Club is a new addition to the list of clubs distributed by the SGA.

The club is starting off being operated in a different manner than Fuller was expecting. Fuller intended for the club to meet in the Media Center, yet when eight people showed up to the first Zoom meeting in October she remained excited and welcomed them in. “It is nice having a smaller group of people for a book club because people usually feel comfortable speaking in smaller groups and it’s easier to get to know them,” Fuller said.

The club meets the first Friday of every month where the chosen book is discussed and the next month’s book is decided. The first book the book club is reading is “A Darker Shade of Magic,” by V.E. Schwab. “It is a fantasy fiction story about travel between parallel universes,” Lee said.

We try to do a different genre each month so we can be exposed to a wider variety of genres.”

— Claire Fuller

The work needed to prepare for each meeting is done by Fuller with help from the Vice President and junior Rashmi Kanipakala. They come up with a list of five to six titles for the group to choose from, and create a Google form to vote for which book to read next. “We try to do a different genre each month so we can be exposed to a wider variety of genres,” Fuller said.

Media Specialist Tammie Burk is the sponsor, but she lets Fuller decide the direction the club will take. In Burk’s over 20 years of experience in Montgomery County, she has helped lead some of her middle school’s book clubs. According to Burk, “high school is very different” from middle school book clubs in the fact that their book clubs are not “teacher driven.”

The list of books that can be read by the club is not expansive. As the book club is connected to the school, each book needs to be evaluated and approved. In normal circumstances most of the books chosen come from the Media center as all of the books there have already been approved. One of Burk’s roles is to make sure the members “get access to [ebooks], or if they are looking for print books” she can figure out how to get those titles as well.”

Junior Ellie Lee is one member of this new club and joined because she wanted to read more. Lee said that she doesn’t read that often and usually limits herself to nonfiction books or murder mystery novels. In fact the reason Lee decided to join the club was because, “I felt like I wasn’t reading enough over quarantine and all my friends were already in the group,” Lee said.

The club is currently composed of mostly one friend group who share a love of reading. The club is open to new members who want to join a group of friends and read interesting stories. The atmosphere within the club was positive, friendly and, “it felt natural,” Lee said.