June 20, 2024

Book Club: Reading between the lines

In January 2023, The Capital Book Club joined the growing list of clubs and organizations on campus in order to provide a place for students to indulge in fictional stories with important messages. 

“We wanted to create a community of readers outside of school-work reading because a lot of times, students are just constantly reading for classes and don’t really have an opportunity to get together and discuss a common book or read for fun,” said senior student and executive board member, Hannah Welly. 

Book Club executive board members Hannah Welly and Haley Rhoades tabling in the spring semester. Photo from Hannah Welly.

The club typically meets twice a month. They meet once at the beginning of the month to introduce the new book and once at the end for a full-book discussion. 

Haley Rhoades, a senior student and executive board member, said, “Our meetings, they’re about the book, but they’re also about the circumstances that make up the book. So, in this case, we’re going to be talking about mental health. So you don’t necessarily need to finish the book to come to our meetings. It’s very low pressure.” 

The current book of the month is “Holding Up the Universe” by Jennifer Niven in congruence with September being Suicide Awareness Month. The book discussion will be held at 2 p.m. on Oct. 1, 2023. 

“Some of the mental health issues covered in this month’s book are mental health, grieving the loss of a family member, social anxiety, panic attacks, just getting along as a teenager, which is notoriously difficult. We’re planning to table this month to raise awareness for suicide prevention, we’re working on a date for that,” said Rhoades. 

Book Club provides a non-judgmental space for avid readers, students who want to read more and people who do not read at all. 

“We want people to know that we aren’t an organization just for people who are super readers, who are constantly reading a ton of books. We’re for people who maybe just want to read one book this year,” said Hannah Rose, a senior student and executive board member. 

A full-book discussion meeting from the spring semester. Photo by Charlotte Keller.

Every month, the club chooses a modern and contemporary fiction book with a special focus on diversity. This month centers around mental health, but in the past they have covered topics such as deaf culture. 

The goal is also to try to pick books that have a free online option or an audiobook option in order to make sure the material is accessible for everyone. The club gave away around 75 books last semester to provide students with physical copies of the monthly books for those who cannot afford it. Students can also typically find the monthly book on hold in the library for three days after the book announcement to be checked out for free. 

Plans for the next book are currently in the works, with the hope of choosing a spookier book for the month of October. 

Rhoades shared, “For October, we’re looking at reading a spookier book that would have a movie accompaniment and collaborate with other organizations to put on a franken-event. Basically we want to read a spooky book, watch a semi-spooky movie and do a movie viewing or something like that.” 

Students should keep an eye out for further information on the Book Club and their future events, which can be found on Engage and the Book Club’s Instagram @capitalbookclub.

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