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The media specialists betting on 'Seabiscuit'

An interview with Carol Fritts, coordinator for the Library Media Specialists Book Club.

How was this club formed? As media specialists, we like to discuss all types of books, but we don't get the chance to do adult books. When we do get together formally for work, we always talk about children's books. Because the media specialist is a unique position in the school, it can be kind of isolating. This club is an opportunity to meet with people who understand what you do and share a passion for reading. We have been meeting since May 1999. We get together every six to eight weeks.

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Where do you meet? Sometimes we meet in members' homes or in a restaurant. On occasion, we've met in a restaurant according to the theme of the book. For example, when we were reading The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, which takes place in the Southwest United States, our group met at a Mexican restaurant.

What are you currently reading? We're reading Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand.

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Does your club gravitate toward one genre more than another? We definitely gravitate toward fiction. We've read mysteries and historical fiction, but we usually read realistic fiction.

How do you select books? The people who are there choose the book for the next meeting. We use Booklist, a periodical published by the American Library Association. Our selections also come from what people have either read or from word-of-mouth recommendations.

What have been some favorites of your club? Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen. All of us were familiar with his children's fiction books, but this was actually a nonfiction book about his experience training for and running the Iditarod in Alaska. It was very entertaining and told us all about the crazy things he did to prepare for the race, but it was also about the dangers of running it. Another one our group liked was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It's historical fiction/romance/time travel. We never thought of ourselves as romance readers, but we ended up really enjoying this book.

Why did you like it? It takes place in Scotland, and you learn a lot about Scottish history. The characters are really engaging. It's the first book in a series, and most of us went on to read the rest of the series on our own.


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