LitClub: Read3r'z Re-Vu
Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia
HELLO...AUSTRALIA! Leave it up to Down Under to turn a book club on its head. This group of young people has come up with a remarkable way to run a club. Take a look.
Start with your name—how do you say it?
It's pronounced Reader's Review. But that name was taken (online), and we wanted something different anyway. So Annie, our founder, came up with Read3r'z Re-Vu.
But what's the 3 doing there?
Back in 2009, when the club first launched, everyone was using the number 3 on their instant chat nicknames to represent "E" —like Ann|3 for Annie.
Got it. So...a different name and a very different club. You're not like other book clubs, are you?
No. We are like them in that we meet monthly, but we don't chose one book and discuss it. We all read different books and then give reviews (that's the "Re-Vu" part of our name).
Isn't that a bit loosey-goosey—everyone doing their own thing?
Nothing wrong with that. But, no. We set a theme that ties all the books together.
Cool. What are some of your themes?
Here's what we've come up with so far:
My Favourite Book
Schools / Boarding Schools
Harry Potter Night
Manga & Graphic Novels
When I Grow Up
Sometimes we devote a night to a single author, like John Marsden and Roald Dahl. And we've got some pretty good themes for future meetings, like Banned Books, Myths and Legends, and Literary Award winners.
But you do a lot more, don't you?
Right. We also review movies based on books. And one of our members always tells us about bookstores, sometimes ones we've never heard of. We're also kept up-to-date on events surrounding books, like Australia's huge Supanova convention for comic books and fantasy books.
Tell us about your Bookstore Crawl.
It was one of our most memorable events! We created it in 2010 as a way for members to visit all the bookstores reviewed at our meetings, and we treated it like an adventure—every member had a "passport" which got stamped at every store visited. Store managers cooperated, too, giving us an overview of their store, how long they've been in business, and what types of books they specialize in. We're looking to have another crawl in February 2012.
And there's more, too, right? Why don't you list thy ways...
How old are your members? You seem like a young group?
Most of us are young adults, but actually we're a diverse group—our youngest member is 14 and our oldest is 52!!
Well, how does a group such as yours get started?
In 2008 we were meeting up on Messenger (an online chat) to discuss Twilight. That was when Annie, the group's founder, thought it would be good to meet and have fun and reading and talking in person. She also wanted to focus on where to find the books and other venues that dealt with things literary.
Soon Sarah, Scott, and Amanda joined Annie, and the four of us began to divvy up responsibilities for getting the group together, finding a meeting spot, creating meaningful sessions, and researching relevant events.
Yet, with all you do, you even manage to volunteer.
Yes, we volunteered to read during children's hour at Borders. We're also organising volunteer work for Ronald McDonald House and a visit to Westmead Children's Hospital. We've done a few funrdaisers, the first for Multiple Sclerosis Australia, doing the MS Australia Readathon in which we raised $300 in 2009. We also participated in a smaller fundraiser for Youth Beyond Blue, raising $50.
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