Book club antagonists battle for readers’ attention

Fiona Lacroix '22, Page Editor

RAVENOUS READER Julia Kado ‘24 is absorbed in the Next Chapter book club’s current read. “The Next Chapter book club is covering particularly young adult fantasy and contemporary” Club President Maddie Kitchen ‘24 said. Photo courtesy: (Fiona LaCroix ’22)

Both the “Next Chapter” and “Coffee Clutch” book clubs are waging a battle for the membership of South’s avid readers.

Founded at the beginning of the year, the Next Chapter club is led by Maddie Kitchen ‘24, and focuses entirely on Young Adult fantasy. Kitchen maintains that there’s no hard feelings between the clubs, since the divided membership allows for smaller, more intimate discussion.

“I think that having two book clubs allows for more participation among the members, and it’ll allow us to get to know each other and get to know each other’s interests really well,” Kitchen said.

According to the leaders of the Coffee Clutch club, Leah Manous and Anna Andrews both ‘23, the division between the clubs wasn’t expected. Both groups had reached out to student activities director Ms. Petz, who decided the groups should consider merging. Kitchen reached out, in favor of the merge, but the groups quickly realized they had different ideas of how the club should run.

“(Kitchen) wanted to focus solely on fantasy books, which we weren’t about,” Manous said. “We wanted it to be about trying new things, trying different genres, that kind of thing. So she decided to go her own way.”

Coffee Clutch is excited to focus on an array of genres, all democratically chosen, and out of member’s comfort zones. They first voted on “The Murder on the Orient Express” but have decided to scrap it.

“We’re starting, ironically, a YA book next week,” Manous said, “I guess we are kind of working really similar to the other club right now, but hopefully we’ll branch out into short stories or classics.”

Both clubs are still accepting members, meet biweekly, and agree reading in either group will enhance the experience.

“I think reading with a group makes the whole experience so much more interactive, because you get to hear what everyone else is thinking and how they’re building the world in their mind,” Kitchen said, “And to have that addition (a club) just makes everything seem so much more real and so much more entertaining.”

The competition between clubs has also invigorated Manous and Andrews to make Coffee Clutch as engaging and fun as possible.

“(The competition) spices it up,” Manous said. “Book club is fun on its own, but if you have a competing book club then it’s a whole new dynamic. Every time we meet it feels like we’re meeting our war generals.”