A Book Club for Gifted Learners to Discover Literary Criticism
John McDonald lives in Portland, Oregon (home of Powell’s- the world’s largest book store!) and spends his days writing plays, baking from vintage cookbooks, and absorbing the unique visual art of his city. He has a BA from Portland State University and a variety of plays and screenplays in his repertoire for use at a moment’s notice. He’s a fan of Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Vincent Price. Mr. McDonald is a big believer in the creative process as a unique entity for each creative person and likes to push students into working to find their voice at the moment in which they live.
Connect with fellow book lovers and those who’d love to love books more in order to talk about your interests and find new writers and titles to enjoy.
This course is about two things: community and discovery. As a gifted student, it can be easy to get into a rut by focusing on one or two interests. But the key to lifelong learning is to be able to connect several interests together or to have a varied diet of discovery. It’s also important to begin the process of learning how to talk about things you love, which is harder than you’d think.
The easiest way to talk about books is to begin with different genres. Now, within these genres you have to start to learn two things: how different authors interpret the genre and how the genre resonates with you. From there, you can talk about individual motivations, the kind of themes that inform where you are currently in your life and about authors that align with what you currently enjoy and might enjoy in the future. In this way, you see the ongoing dialogue of literary art and how it influences you and how you influence it through your choices and how you talk about them.
As a more social course that is about dialogue, this is a rare course I am offering without a final project. But it’s a lot of work week to week and there’s many times where I’ll be pushing students further into discussing things they like- beyond using phrases like “I just enjoy it, ya know?”
Sample Course Outline
This class meets 8 times where each meeting is dedicated to a specific genre. Genres may change depending on the interests of the class. The following is meant to be a sample.
- Science Fiction
- Fantasy and Horror
- Favorite Characters
- Favorite Storybook Places and Music (Narnia, Discworld, Treasure Island, Etc)
- Books Made into Film/TV (Harry Potter, Roald Dahl, Etc)
- Stage Plays (Shakespeare, Broadway, Etc)
- Animals, Pets, and Dragons
- Biography, History, and Historical Fiction
A Few of My Favorite Books is offered Summer 2019 and Fall 2019.