“One School, Many Books” Turns Campus Into Giant Book Club


Dr. Christopher Weeks chose “The Great Divorce” by C.S. Lewis. Photo by Peyton Parker

At the end of the 2013-2014 school year, students were introduced to a unique experience by being given the opportunity of choosing one of their summer reading books from a wide assortment suggested by faculty and staff.

This idea, which came to be known as “One School, Many Books,” was conceived years ago by longtime Prep English teacher and librarian Ms. Diann Arinder. Current English department chair Dr. Lisa Whitney got the proposition approved last year for this summer.

During the summer the students were allowed to choose a book from a list of over 40 works.  Each of these works was chosen by a teacher or member of the Prep staff, who submitted a book they thought the students would enjoy.  There were a variety of different styles such as sports, dramas , adventure, science fiction, and mystery.

On September 10, it was time for students to meet with the people who chose the same book as they did.  Then the students took a short quiz and began to discuss their book with their teacher who chose the book.

Some of the group discussions seemed to be about life.”

— Dr. Lisa Whitney, event organizer

After the discussions were over the student body came out for cake and coffee on Patriot Avenue.

Once the event was over, Dr. Whitney noted, “Some of the group discussions seemed to be about life.  I think they were different from English classes and seemed more like book club situations.”

Dr. Whitney said she considered the day a success.  So did junior Vann Crawford, who said he “really enjoyed the event!”.  Sophomore Brianne Powers said, “The experience is different because you go to discuss things with people you don’t normally see every day.”

Head of School Dr. Jason Walton said that one of the things he found enjoyable about the day was that it had an element of surprise to it.

The most popular book chosen was the John Grisham novel Bleachers which was followed closely by Ben Carson’s Gifted Hands. Some groups had dozens of people in them, while a handful of books had only one or two students who chose them.

Overall the event was a unique experience for the school, and one that seems likely to become a regular part of Prep’s academic year.