It’s Grace here today to tell y’all about this month’s book clubs. I’m not going to do two separate summaries each month but I’d like to let y’all know what happens with each meeting. For those of you who haven’t heard of this before, I was asked by my local indie bookstores, the Oxford Exchange and Inkwood Books, to run teen-based book clubs. You can read my original announcements and explanations here and here.
Last month at the Oxford Exchange, we read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Last month at Inkwood, we read A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall. Both kickoffs went very well so I was excited to see what November would bring! This month, I was unable to attend book club at Inkwood due to a lacrosse game so Erin, an Inkwood employee, moderated. I will be doing it for December though, and we’re reading one of my absolute favorite books!
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas | Goodreads
For the Oxford Exchange this month, we read The Count of Monte Cristo. This book is my favorite classic; while I enjoy Fahrenheit 451 and Pride and Prejudice and all them, there’s nothing quite like the thrill and intrigue of the Count wreaking revenge on the men who plotted his downfall. It’s clever, a little dark, smartly wrapped up and paced to perfection. This book is prime.
I was a bit apprehensive about numbers, but enough people were in town to have a solid crowd.
We had gorgeous Penguin Classics editions in the bookstore, but due to timing, we ended up ordering abridged copies for book club. The Oxford Exchange book club is now run entirely by me – still with considerable help from the company, but it’s my pet project now more than ever.
Therefore, it’s no longer part of my job’s parameters when I run book club; it’s entirely out of my own time and planning. Having that on my shoulders was cool albeit a little more stressful. Luckily, with my experience moderating the last two and organizing treats and such, it was fun this time especially.
This month was less of a discussion and more of a presentation. While most people were at least solidly into the book, the character names and plotting throughout most of The Count of Monte Cristo can be confusing, especially for people who haven’t read it before.
I spent the entire book club explaining the plot of the book. Most people understood Edmond Dantes up until the Chateau d’If, and then got confused with the Spada treasure and his ensuing personas. Additionally, many characters switch names halfway through the book thanks to assumptions of titles, marriages, illegitimate children/adoptions, etc,.
I essentially taught an English class today. I ended up drawing a character map and explaining the premise of each prong of the Count’s elaborate plan for revenge. It’s an intense plot, filled with masterful twists and morally ambiguous actions. It’s absolutely phenomenal. It was slightly exhausting, but it’s a book that I love to talk about.
The drawing’s slightly unclear, but I divided most of the characters into their respective families and explained from there. From Caderousse to Villefort to Danglars, there was a lot to cover.
One of the perks of hosting book club on the last Sunday of the month was that OE hosted Tea for Tots (which they do every month – definitely worth checking out!) and we got some of the leftover finger sandwiches and iced apple cinnamon tea. As a devout fan of Oxford Exchange foods, like TeBella and Buddy Brew, I was over the moon happy about it.
At the end of the meeting – which mostly consisted of me explaining the book and us talking about the intricacies of the plot – we picked books for the rest of the year. Up until now, I’ve been using my best judgement to pick books but having some input was beyond valuable. Here’s the schedule for the rest of the year if y’all are interested! Book club for November was fantastic and if you’re in the Tampa area, we’d love to have you! (I wasn’t expecting to photograph my handwriting so I apologize for its uncharacteristic sloppiness.)
Upcoming Book Clubs
December 8 at Inkwood Books at 7 P.M.
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan | Goodreads
December 21 at Oxford Exchange at 3 P.M.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess | Goodreads