When students want to sit back and relax, they usually don’t reach for a copy of “Jane Eyre.”
Instead of delving into the works of the Brontës or other esteemed pieces of literature, high schoolers choose to spend their free time mindlessly scrolling through social media or consuming series after series on Netflix. However, with the addition of the CCHS Book Club, that could soon change.
Over the summer, co-presidents Tayler Ford and Nora Mirabal decided to start the Book Club after Mirabal came up with the idea.
“We’ve both always been very interested in reading,” Ford said. “We enjoy reading in our leisure time. We thought that Book Club would be a great way to bring people with a similar interest in reading [together].”
“I love the idea that students want to read just for the joy and the pleasure of reading.”
When Ford and Mirabal approached English teacher Lisa Jones about sponsoring a club, she was initially a little hesitant. Jones hasn’t sponsored a school club in several years due to other commitments such as running the English department, teaching two AP courses and writing a never-ending amount of college recommendation letters. But, after hearing that the two juniors wanted to start a club focused on literature, Jones was eager to help them accomplish that goal.
“When they told me that it would be Book Club, I got very excited,” Jones said. “Of course, I love the idea that students want to read just for the joy and the pleasure of reading. I feel like we just don’t get the opportunity to do enough of that, much less witness that in action. So it just seemed like the perfect fit.”
A lack of reading among students is not a phenomenon limited to the campus of Cooper City High, or even the boundaries of Broward County. According to a survey from the American Psychological Association, about a third of high school seniors reported that they had not read a book for pleasure in the last year. While surfing Snapchat or binging “Black Mirror” certainly have their own appeal, Jones emphasizes that students are missing out on the wonders that lie in between book covers.
“Book Club would be the perfect platform for students to genuinely delve into a book in a fun and social atmosphere.”
“I think students really need to understand that every text— whether it be a visual text, whether it be a song— really comes from a deeper level of understanding,” Jones said. “For me, reading was just always such an incredible escape. I’ve been so many places in this world that I may never get to visit [in person] … because books provide that level of magic.”
The Book Club met for the first time on Monday, February 4, but plans to continue meeting about once a month. The first book that the club is reading is “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, a novel about a shepherd boy that travels far and wide after dreaming of finding treasure in Egyptian pyramids. Whether prospective members are bibliophiles looking to discuss their favorite novel, or students simply trying to get back into an old hobby, joining Book Club is sure to lead to a greater appreciation of literature.
“We feel the reason many people have fallen out of love with reading is they don’t take the time to look into the quality and meaning behind a book,” Ford said. “Book Club would be the perfect platform for students to genuinely delve into a book in a fun and social atmosphere. We hope to show our members that reading isn’t boring.”
Photo by Kayla Florenco