Earlier this year I was given the opportunity to start a teen book club. Easy, huh?
Teens are elusive. They speak a different language and wear weird clothes and watch awful telly. So how on earth was I going to convince any of them to turn up to bookclub?
Despite approaching middle-age and having a couple of my own teens at home, I’m notoriously immature. I guess that makes me sound unprofessional but what I mean is I’m more than happy to inhabit the space that teens hang out in–I never really moved on from fifteen. What this means is I can remember what it was like to have angst. Teen years are tumultuous. Sure, they’re also the informative years but everything is a massive deal–how the heck do you get a lift to the party on the weekend? How can I get the olds to okay my excursion to party heaven? And, seriously, OMG, what the F %*K am I going to wear? Do you get what I mean?
So how does this translate into mixing with teens and talking about books? It means I leave my everyday, ordinary self at the door. You know, the one that’s fretting about getting the house sold, deadlines, giving a presentation, and juggling the lives of four different individuals who live in the same house. I let all of that go.
At bookclub, I ask my teens what they think about my newest cons, we pick apart the books we read, gossip about the latest celebs and drool over the bookcase in the room we meet in at Perth’s Centre for Stories. Ahem, actually we contemplate whether we can get away with rearranging all the books according to colour. One of us (not me) suggests the Centre may not like that and just because we dig colour coordinated books does not mean others will go for our new Dewey system. See, I don’t need to be the grown-up, the group self-disciplines itself.
To be honest, the hardest thing about book club is the sugar. Yep, the sugar! We have to consume the most sugar in the smallest possible time, it’s a thing we do. Now, I don’t have a nice, healthy teen gut brimming with friendly gut bacteria. I have an old person’s gut. But valiantly, I sacrifice and consume, nay inhale, a massive amount of chocolate to keep up with my teens.
We’re a small group of committed readers who meet once a month to talk books. We are five individuals who enjoy reading. We love catching up and finding out what’s been going on in each other’s lives. Does it matter that I’m staring down the barrel of middle-age? Nah! I dig YA fiction with a group of the coolest, hippest peeps I know and that makes bookclub for me, an absolute joy.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Teen Bookclub, contact the Centre for Stories at email@example.com.