After an hour of cookies and talking about the goals for the new Honor’s Program Book Club, the small group of students in attendance chose Blonde Indian, by Ernestine Hayes, as the first members plan to read and discuss.
Sarah Hartman, the Honor’s student who is spearheading the effort to start the book club, says that she is interested in giving students a chance to not only read new books, but talk and write about them in a way that is meaningful to them personally.
The club will not require any writing, but suggested writing prompts will serve as a starting point for discussions. Hartman hopes that this will help students reflect on how the books they are reading impact their views of the world, and themselves.
While not all students were interested in writing in response to the prompts, the club provides a forum for members to read and talk about books that wouldn’t normally be covered in their required classes.
The organizing meeting drew several science majors who felt they didn’t have a great way to connect to literature now that they are taking upper-division classes.
One concern addressed by the group was the cost of books.
Club members decided to try to stick with books that could be checked out from the library, or that were available online. The first selection, Blonde Indian, has “4 copies available at the Rasmuson Library,” as well as 2 more available at the Noel Winn Library, Hartman said in an email to interested students.
Blonde Indian was chosen both because it is a relatively short book, at 172 pages, and because Hayes is an Alaska author, writing about her experiences returning to Alaska.
Students do not need to be in the Honor’s program to join the book club, which is scheduled to meet every other Friday at the Honor’s House. A Doodle poll will be used to set meeting times. Anyone interested in taking part in the poll can email Hartman at email@example.com for an invite. Or contact the Honor’s Program through Melissa Sparks, firstname.lastname@example.org, the program’s student services manager.