Montini Catholic's student driven Book Club is generating an excitement for reading (and for hot tea) among its members.
New this year to Montini's roster of creative and challenging clubs, Book Club is enthusiastically led by English Chair, Mrs. Sarah Pittenger. "Students approached me about starting a book club at the beginning of the year," she said. "It's been really fun and entertaining so far!"
Senior Gabriella Lambesis is credited with spearheading and organizing the club. "I read a lot of books over the summer, but during the school year, homework and extracurriculars seem to get in the way of reading," she said. "I really wanted to read more during the school year, and I felt that Book Club would allow me to do that. My friend, Joce (senior Jocelyn Carrera), and I approached Mrs. Pittenger about starting the club."
Each month, club members decide on 'a book of the month' and meet twice during that month to discuss. "The first time we meet to discuss the first half of our book and two weeks later, we discuss the ending," informs Pittenger who supplements the meetings with hot tea served in teacups. "We are currently reading The Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. The kids really wanted to do a fantasy fiction for January!"
"A Simple Favor by Darcy Bell is my favorite book so far. It had a really interesting plot and character development, and it was a fascinating book to discuss," informed Gabriella, adding that The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson was her least favorite book read. "It was a plot based book without a lot of analysis."
Pittenger admits that there have been a couple of student selections she was reluctant to read at first. "I really enjoyed reading The Amityville Horror for Halloween, even though I wasn't sure I would like it," she said. "I was very excited when they picked Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. It was so good and I had always been meaning to read it and hadn't before book club!"
Gabriella finds the tea as one of the best part of book club meetings, and says that it has been a big draw for people to come to book club. "Mrs. Pittenger has a tea kettle in her room, so we get to drink hot tea. The tea idea started off as a joke because we compared ourselves to a club that had been formed on the show, The Office. I feel it help makes our club unique!"
According to the Center for the Professional Education of Teachers (CPET) - based out of Teachers College, Columbia University, Book Clubs promote a love for literature and a positive attitude towards reading. They also invite natural discussions that lead to student inquiry and critical thinking and foster interaction and collaboration.
"Book club is something that I was really excited to be a part of, and we really encourage other people to join in on the fun," said Gabriella. "It allows me to spend time with others doing something that I love. I encourage everyone who loves to read, and even those who don't, to join because it is a great opportunity to grow closer as a class!"
"Book Club can encourage an interest in reading for pleasure, which in turn fosters a growth in reading abilities," concluded Mrs. Pittenger.
English Department Chair, Mrs. Sarah Pittenger (far left), and Book Club members l to r: Kathleen Bukovsky, Mariella Maduzia, Kelan Scott, Gabriella Lambesis, Jocelyn Carrera, Cydnei Quinn, Nicole Pechacek and Maura Frank