A book opens. The limited time and business of life are suddenly put on pause. A new story is created, unlike anything else. Every Tuesday, the newly created FHC Book Club is hoping to provide people with a small escape from life.
“Reading is a great way to get away from it all,” said junior Tori MacLeod said. “You can kind of shape it yourself. With video games and TV, everything is shown to you; it’s kind of mindless. Whereas with reading, you kind of get to use your own imagination and get your own ideas with the characters.”
Along with Tori, juniors Jackie McLaughlin and Maddie Vonk have just established a new book club for FHC. In this club, a group of students is tackling brand new novels and stories together. While it was only an idea at first, the idea was put into motion by Jackie. While traveling back from a HOSA field trip, Jackie asked Tori and Maddie if they would help her run a book club. They immediately wanted to, then looked to English teacher Lisa Penninga for guidance. While she is the advisor, the club is primarily student-run.
“Really, they’ve done all the work,” Penninga said. “They’ve created a website, Google Forms to vote on the books, and slide presentations. They’ve done a great job.”
Penninga believes that the junior girls have done a great job taking on this leadership role.
“Tori, Maddie, and Jackie do a good job talking up different topics,” Penninga said. “They bring up books we’ve studied in school so everyone can relate. It’s a really good group of people.”
In a typical meeting, the group will discuss the current book they are reading. All of the group members try to be on the same chapter for every meeting in order to prevent spoilers. They will also talk about other books they’ve read in the past or hope to read in the future.
Many group members see this club as a way to talk about their passions and have a voice about something they are interested in.
“School’s really stressful, especially for juniors right now,” Tori said. “[Book Club] is kind of a way to [relieve stress] and have one day after school where we can all meet with a bunch of friends and talk about books.”
The Book Club tries to read about 70 pages a week. While this may be challenging to some, it helps motivates the members.
“I’ve really had to push myself, but I like it,” Maddie said.”Without [Book Club], I would never read, so it’s really nice.”
The Book Club is currently reading Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. They are looking to read a different genre every month. Most people tend to stick to one genre of novels, but with The Book Club, they are hoping to experience new literature.
“It’s great to get out of your comfort zone and experience new things,” Tori said. “If you never try it, you’ll never know.”
Reading brings about a great amount of benefits. In the most notable way, reading new books can help in English class.
“It can help you in your English class if you learn more about discussing books [while in Book Club],” Jackie said. “It helps you understand the book better and see new perspectives on it.”
Aside from the obvious educational benefits, reading can be entertaining for students. Through the use of creativity and imagination, students can bring a new world to life.
“I think that you can use your imagination [with books],” Maddie said. “There’s something about reading you can’t get anywhere else. You come up with all the images on your own; it’s more personal.”
While people may be tempted to go on their phone or watch TV, books are just as entertaining. Jackie hopes that this club will motivate people to read more on their own time.
“A lot of times, people put off reading because there’s better stuff to do,” Jackie said. “If you think, “Oh I have a meeting on Tuesday, I’ve got to read that,a�� it kind of helps.”
The founders of the book club hope that their members will see both the educational and personal benefits.
“I hope that people feel relaxed and find an opportunity to really stretch themselves and read books that they normally wouldn’t read and maybe find a new genre or author that they really like,” Maddie said. “People can take the time to read [with book club].”
While it can be challenging to enjoy reading in high school, these three students are looking to change that. Books can be life-changing; all it takes is another page.
“Hopefully, [Book Club] is a way to continue reading, so you never really lose your joy of reading,” Tori said. “I’ve felt that way, and I know some of my friends have felt that way. Hopefully, they enjoy reading. It continues to be a part of their lives, and they never lose that.”