#BCReadalong: Reading THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER Like a Writer

Posted by August 18th, 2013

perks readalong draft 2One of the things we want to try with Book Country 2.0 is having a “readalong” every couple of weeks. What we envision is not just a book club (though I do love a good book club!), but rather reading a specific book as a community, from a writer’s perspective.

So what does it mean to read a book as a writer?

It means that we won’t just discuss what we like or don’t like about the book (though that’s fair game, of course!). We’ll also talk about the book as if the author was a Book Country member posting the manuscript for feedback. We’ll analyze what works and what doesn’t work in terms of structure, prose, dialogue, pacing, voice, and characterization. We can also talk about how this book was published, and what went into making it successful. Writing and publishing issues big and small will be up for debate, and the more people who join in on the conversation, the better!

The book I chose for our first #BCReadalong is the seminal Young Adult Contemporary novel THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky. (It’s one of our Landmark Titles on Book Country.) It’s a great kickoff to the #BCReadalong because:

  1. It’s short! (213 pages)
  2. It’s “genderless” (which can be rare in the world of YA)
  3. It is (at least, IMHO) a terrific book! (But that is all I am going to say about it now. No spoilers here!)

Here’s how the inaugural #BCReadalong will work:

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be reading THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER and chatting about it in a few places online :

  • Book Country Discussion Board: We’re dedicating this discussion thread to our #BCReadalong. Since I’m moderating the #BCReadalong for THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, I’ll ask questions about the book. Folks participating in the #BCReadalong should feel free to ask their own discussion questions as well, and mention what you are noticing happening in the book that inspires your own writing.
  • Twitter: If you don’t already, follow @BookCountry. Watch out for the hashtag #BCReadalong and be sure to let us know your thoughts about the book!
  • Facebook: Watch out for updates about the #BCReadalong on our Facebook page, and share images + quotes about the book with friends.
  • Pinterest: We’ll be pinning about PERKS on our Book Country Young Adult Fiction Pinterest board, too!

On Friday, August 30th, I’ll post takeaway tips for writers of all genres based on our discussion of THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER.

A few final thoughts:

  • THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER has more than a million copies in print. I found my copy at the New York Public Library. But it’s also great to support writers by buying a copy of their book, which you can do here.
  • Spoiler alert! Because we want to have an open, candid conversation about the book, the Discussion thread might have spoilers. Be aware!
  • The blog post on August 30th might have a couple spoilers as well (though I will try my very hardest to work around them). If you subscribe to the blog, and don’t have time to read the book now but don’t want to find out too much yet, please be careful reading the takeaway tips post!

Can’t wait to talk about THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER with Book Country members. I just posted my first discussion question on the discussion thread for this #BCReadalong. Check it out and join in!


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