Inside the English Book Club

#positivepurpose #positiveengagement

Imagine being able to drink afternoon tea in a grandiose palace. Imagine walking down an endless expanse of golden sand, laughing and singing. Writing with quill and ink, alone in an abandoned, old library.

Well, unfortunately, this is real life, and with the additional annoyance of the Coronavirus, it’s extremely unlikely that we’ll be able to enjoy the experiences above by the time that this year comes to a close.

Unlikely… but not impossible. This is where the book club comes in.

English has been by far my favourite subject. (No, I’m not saying this to suck up, but if there’s additional privileges… I’ll take them.) Sure, our school offers many more activities than most, and I do enjoy the weekly ELA sessions of article writing and debating, but well- As a bookworm at heart, I did hope that there would be some activity with some semblance to a DEAR period where we could have more interaction and actually converse with like-minded people on the topic of books, and just books.

So naturally, when our English teacher mentioned a book club, I was really excited. Some innate voice of mine told me to calm down, that it wouldn’t be anything good anyways, and I couldn’t deny the fact that I would probably be let down.

After all, I havebeen through primary school. What ‘book discussions’ meant was a bout of embarrassment and overenthusiasm on my part, while everyone else stayed deadly silent, as if I was the recipient of the contagious ‘disease’ that was a love of reading. Which… was true.

But anyways, let’s just say that I was extremely surprised. In a pleasant way.

It turns out that the HKUGAC Book Club is one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced in my (short) life. Around 10 students participated this term, everyone was very welcoming and I soon found myself at ease with the relaxed atmosphere. At the start of the year, we met once every fortnight online, where we were assigned a certain portion of the book to complete before our next meeting.

Everyone there was really into the discussions, and I found myself exploring theories that I never would’ve thought of, and unlike those half-hearted ‘book sharings’ that I was used to, these book club sessions pushed me to think deeper than I usually did, and with the company of my fellow club members, reading a book was much more than just ‘reading’.

Now, you may be wondering why you would want to waste an hour of your precioustime talking about a book with other people when you could perfectly well finish it in one sitting by yourself. Honestly, I thought the same at first, but well, the more, the merrier, right? I consider myself as a fast reader, but I’ve never truly taken the time to just savor and think about the book I was currently reading.

In our book club, we dissect the books, the characters, the plot and everything else we can think of.

While enjoying oreo cakes. (Well, that was once, but still.)

It’s much better than dissecting dead frogs, don’t you think?

Anyways, back to my first point. If skimming through a book was dipping one toe into the vast ocean, then book club discussions would be like fully submerging into the water and enjoying the coolness and the icy thrill that it brings. Although we’re stuck here right now, it doesn’t mean that we can’t delve into a good book as if we were actually living and breathing alongside the characters.

And if you don’t think you’re a good reader or if you think you don’t speak English well enough? As long as you’ve got an open mind and a passion for reading, even if you’re just there to watch or to listen, we at the HKUGAC Book Club wholeheartedly welcome you to join us on the journey of reading.

By S1SW(05) Chan Wing Tsun Valerie