Faculty Book Club

Samuel Joslyn

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I enjoy reading more than I do watching movies, which is perceived to be less common. Conceptualizing, creating an image in my own mind, is more emotional than being presented with visual scenes and dialogue.  Reading is more intimate and certainly more individualistic.  Despite this, I do find something is missing with free reading.  I believe a group perspective, a ‘melting pot’ of experiences and belief systems, could dramatically improve everyone’s enjoyment of reading—a task many consider daunting.

This precisely is what the Wayne Valley Faculty Book Club does so flawlessly. The club, led by Mrs. Marturano, is comprised not only of current teachers, but also of nurses, staff, and retired members of the school. Some of the most creative literary minds that currently or have once called Wayne Valley home meet about once a month to discuss the reading material. That material ranges from the classics, that we as students would deem challenging in our English courses, to more contemporary and manageable text. To my amusement, Mrs. Marturano informed me that the club also has its own schedule for the summer. For the last summer, the club decided on Hamilton by Ron Chernow.

It would be assumed that the club would be predominantly composed of the English department. But, in fact, the ratio of the club is only 60:40 in favor of English teachers. Every department in the school is represented and this influences the literature they choose. While the humanities portion looks at the books from a literary perspective, the science portion tends to judge the material based on the validity of its context.

Mrs. Hannon, English teacher and member of the club for ten years, is amazed with the cohesiveness of the club. She said, “It is always interesting to see various types of people approach the reading in different manners. Very often during the school day, we are ‘segregated’ into our departmental offices, and the book club affords us the chance to get to know our colleagues.”

What perhaps is the greatest attribute to the club is that it blends together a variety of individuals. Each possesses a unique educational background, various life experiences, and different general outlooks. Ultimately, the diversity of the members allows for a great experience for the staff members to develop relationships and understand each other on a greater scale.

A book is chosen based on a member’s experience in another book club or if the teachers have a general intrigue in a specific book. Usually one book is read per month but during the holiday season, larger increments of reading are given. The medium of the reading does not matter, as sometimes the club decides to read from an electronic device instead of a hard paper copy.  

Often times, the book is not only discussed and analyzed during the once-a-month meetings. Members offer perspectives during the school day in between classes. They also share different articles via prominent news outlets that aid the material of reading.  Even takes on NPR stations are utilized as assets to the reading.   

Due to the increase of diversity within the club, more science-fiction has been introduced recently. Even graphic novels, a genre that many would not associate with a book club, has ventured its way into the club.  There was a time that teachers would read a book or a play and then proceed to see it on broadway or through a movie. Two co-authors of a book that the club read actually came in once and discussed their writing with the members.

Regular members of the club include Mr. Fleisher, Mrs. Dispenziere, Mrs. Maturano, Mrs. Hannon, Mrs. Rubenstein (retiree), Mrs. Burton (middle school teacher at Schuyler Colfax), Mrs. Ciriello, Ms. Condon, Mrs. Damiani-Heller, Mrs. Gainer (retiree), Mrs. Nagler, Mrs. McDevitt, Ms. Campbell and Mrs. Bardi.

Correction – In the print edition, we left out our media center specialist, Mrs. Bardi, one of the founding members of the club!  We are so sorry for the confusion!  

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