An interview with teacher Kathy Hobart, founder of Trinity Book Club at Trinity School in Ellicott City.
Why did you start this club at your school? All of my friends were in a club, but I wasn't, and I wanted to start my own. I thought what better place to start one than at school. I sent an e-mail to the faculty on the last day of school in June 2003 and invited everyone to my home to discuss The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Ten people showed up.
Were you surprised? Yes and no. I know that a lot of teachers read, and I knew that the summer would be a good time to start because they have more time to read for pleasure.
How has attendance been since everyone returned to school? We have an average of five or six during the school year. We meet every six to eight weeks on a Friday afternoon in the faculty room.
How do you select books? Usually someone has a suggestion. We've been leaning toward fiction. In November, our language arts teacher suggested we read Tangerine by Edward Bloor, which is one of the books that the seventh- and eighth-grade students are reading in a special program at our school called Bookademics. Our club's discussion was very good; there's a lot to talk about in that book. It's about a family and the role that sports and competition play in their lives.
What else has your club read? We've read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett and The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl.
What is The Dante Club about? The story is set in Boston immediately after the Civil War. It's about a group of famous scholars, such as Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Lowell and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who meet regularly to translate The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. Some murders occur that mimic the punishments in Dante's book, and this group helps to solve them. That was a great book. It was filled with history and interesting facts about the main characters.
What is your club currently reading? The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon. It's told through the eyes of a boy with Asperger's syndrome, a condition similar to autism. I thought it would be good to read about students who are out of the mainstream. It was highly recommended by a friend of mine in another book club. It's also a short and easy read.