Monday, December 19, 2011

Book Club Report: The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt

A couple of evenings ago we had an awesome Christmas book club gathering complete with a pile of yummy treats and a great discussion about The Wednesday Wars, a book that I think everyone in the group who read it, totally loved and enjoyed.

Here are some random group thoughts:

  • As is often the case, we had a bit of genre discussion... again. Is this book middle grade? Or YA.. or could it actually be considered an adult book? We pondered the fact that it's an adult narrator looking back on his childhood, much like To Kill a Mockingbird, yet it is actually marketed and shelved as middle grade. We found that interesting.
  • Most of us are regular readers of YA books, but we have a new book club member who is accustomed to reading adult books about strong female characters. When she started this book and realized it was about an obnoxious 7th grader boy, she nearly gave up... that is... until she discovered it was just as much about the teacher's character and growth, as it was the boy's. I thought that was a great insight!
  • Many book club members compared this book to the popular TV show The Wonder Years. It has a nostalgic feel to it. It takes place in a simpler time, yet covers many complicated topics.
  • We thought it was an awesome book for refreshing our American history especially for the year 1967... some of us even googled and did research!
  • We also loved the way this book fosters a love of Shakespeare. It's a great way to get kids interested.
  • We wondered about the Micky Mantle incident described in the book and if the author experienced something like this, or heard of something like this happening.
  • The author's new book, OK for Now, is about the "friend" Doug featured in The Wednesday Wars. It's getting much buzz and I think we all left want to read it, and others by this author.
Bottom line: Everyone seemed to really enjoy this one!

Other books we talked about:

Jenni really enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake and now wants to read more about ghosts. She cautions that is has pretty harsh language though. She also finished To Kill a Mockingbird and now understands why people are naming their kids Atticus.

Jessica read A Christmas Carol and said it was awesome. She also read Three Cups of Deceit by John Krakaur which led us to discuss both the original book and this book and why? Why for both... the whole thing is very sad and confusing and strange.

Jenny read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and said it was okay. She also read and enjoyed 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson.

Kim read and really liked Divergent. She also read On the Fringe by Courtney King Walker, a ghost story, The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke and Pope Joan by Donna Woofolk Cross, which we though maybe should be a future book club pick.

Julie read Making the Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa, the one about a cat that could tell when the rest home patients were dying and went to be by their side. It sounds fascinating.

Karen read The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver after hearing that she was a good author for learning more about small town America. She liked it a lot.

Suey mentioned her love for The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and tried to describe it but it just doesn't work.

Stuey reported on Jesus, my Father, CIA and Me Ian Morgan Cron, which he reviewed on this blog, and also his current read called Laughing at Wall Street by Chris Camillo, which he's not liking so much.

Sam read Buddha by Deepak Chopra and said he's converted! (But he followed that up with a big JK.) He also read Endurance about that Shackleton dude (can't link since there are two found on Goodreads and I'm not sure which one it is!), and Inheritance by Christopher Paolini. He said it was good.

Bethany read Divergent and LOVED it.

Tessa listened to Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand on audio and loved it too. She said it was 55 cds long! Whew.

And that was book club this month!


  1. Wednesday Wars is one of my favorite books EVER! I think it can be enjoyed by any age, but I did wonder if a kid would love it as much as I did. I loved Okay for Now too. Maybe someday my one of my book clubs will be willing to pick this one. Whenever I suggest it, they kind of ignore it because it is a middle grade/YA book. Sad.

  2. Wonderful recap! Thanks for always taking such good notes so I don't have to, lol. I usually remember the discussion, but it's hard to remember all the books.

  3. I enjoy reading your thoughts about your book clubs. :)

  4. It was a fun book club. I had fun. I'm impressed with all the links in this post, way to go the extra mile.

  5. Shelley: I do hope your book club gives it a a try. I think people should be much more open to kid's books, they are awesome!

    Jenni: You'll have to tell me when I get the discussion details wrong! Ha. That could very easily happen.

    Kailana: I'm glad you like it. It's one of those things where I wonder every time, should I really post this or not.

    Jenny: Gah... links are a pain, that's for sure. But once I get going, they really aren't so bad! I just saw you are on Twitter! Yay! I will spread the news.

  6. I just have to echo the sentiments here. I both love book club and this book! Thank you for keeping things running so smoothly and for posting such great reports.



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