Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nerdy Book Club

(This post is cross-posted on the Nerdy Book Club blog, and is part of an ongoing series of confessionals/testimonials/proclamations by members of the NBC -- the Nerdy Book Club.)

My name is Mary Lee Hahn, and I’m a member of the Nerdy Book Club. I could tell you the entire story of my membership, from my bookish childhood to the present, but instead, let’s pretend there’s a bookmark in my story and let’s open to one particular spot. Let’s start with last week.

Last week I finished listening to Monsters of Men in the Chaos Walking series.

If you are a member of the Nerdy Book Club, the above sentence will tell you volumes (pun intended) about me. You can empathize with the emotional rollercoaster Patrick Ness has taken me on over the past few months as I listened to all three books in the Chaos Walking series. You’ll know exactly when I cried, and you’ll know what moral and philosophical issues we could talk about into the night.

Two of the readers I most admire in the world recommended this series to me, and recommendations are one of the hallmarks of the NBC – if it weren’t for the joys of convincing another reader to fall in love with our (new or long-beloved) favorite books, there would be no CLUB in the Nerdy Book Club. Not only do we read, we talk about books, blog about books, and tweet about books. Now that I’ve completed Ness’ series, I’m connected to those two readers (and all the NBC readers who’ve read the series) in deep and complicated ways. We share a reading history.

Books build connections between readers and readers build connections between books. After finishing Monsters of Men, I needed to listen to a book that would heal my soul. On my bookshelf was Charlotte’s Web, read by E.B. White – the perfect antidote for a dystopian future on a fictional planet: the cycle of life and friendship, anchored in the concrete details of Zuckerman’s farm. That’s another benefit of membership in the NBC: the knowledge that books can heal us. And did you notice what kind of shelf I went to in order to find my next read? It was my audio shelf. As a card-carrying member of the NBC, I have many shelves for my books: audio, e-book, poetry, cookbooks, adult, professional, and classroom, to name a few.

Not only do I have shelves, I have piles. Most NBC members do. There’s a To-Be-Read pile…and another, and another and another.

Time to stop writing and read. I finished Charlotte’s Web today, and I’ve already downloaded my next listen – Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks. Now…which TBR pile should I tackle…

Mary Lee Hahn teaches 4th grade in Dublin, OH. She has belonged to the Nerdy Book Clubs know as the Cybils (she’s a round two poetry judge this year), the NCTE Notables, and the Central Ohio Kidlitosphere Bloggers. Ten years ago she wrote Reconsidering Read-Aloud. These days she blogs with Franki SIbberson at A Year of Reading, and writes occasionally for Choice Literacy.

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