Chicagoland book clubs
Mother-Son Book Club
This is the Mother-Son Book Club, for use on the Books pages. Photo provided by a club member...OUTSIDE TRIBUNE CO.- NO MAGS, NO SALES, NO INTERNET, NO TV, CHICAGO OUT, NO DIGITAL MANIPULATION... (HANDOUT / March 18, 2013)
Our sons were all friends entering fourth grade, and one of the moms suggested starting a book club for the boys. We all thought she was crazy because we didn’t think boys would be able to sit still and discuss books. But to the mothers’ amazement, we have met for more than 10 years, read over 60 books, and our sons (now in college) and their mothers still meet to discuss books whenever they can.
Part of the secret of the success in the early years was seating each boy next to his mother, preparing questions for each boy to pass around to answer — and plenty of food (often related to the book) and video game time after the discussion.
Until high school, we met once a month with the sons taking turns choosing books and hosting meetings. During high school we met every two to three months. We even skyped with one boy who was in Argentina for a semester. Now that they’re all in college we have met during breaks from school.
Five books we loved: "Ender’s Game" by Orson Scott Card, "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak, "Watchmen" by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, "Jurassic Park" by Michael Crichton, and "Shackleton’s Stowaway" by Victoria McKernan.
We loved the unusual character chosen as the narrator of "The Book Thief" and found the Grim Reaper’s role and philosophy of death refreshing.
The moms didn’t like "Mister Monday" by Garth Nix because it was disorganized, and it didn’t measure up to some of the great science fiction and fantasy books we read. The sons didn’t like "Dandelion Wine" by Ray Bradbury because they thought it was boring.
At the first meeting, the boys had read "Honus and Me" by Dan Gutman — the story of a boy who is cleaning his neighbor’s attic and finds a genuine Honus Wagner trading card. When he touches it, he goes back to Wagner’s time. When the boys arrived at the meeting, they were sent to the attic, where they were thrilled to find a Honus Wagner card! That first meeting set the tone for creativity in our meetings.
Up next: The moms meet monthly while the boys are in college, and our next book will be J.K. Rowling’s "The Casual Vacancy." We meet with the boys at Christmas break and summer break. Perhaps our next book will be "Letters from the Earth" by Mark Twain or "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis.
Editor’s note: Entries are edited for space and content