One October morning, during Dr. Hakkenberg’s 8:30 Honors 105 class, a conversation arose amongst students about how much they enjoyed reading but rarely had time to read anything for any reason beyond homework. With that came the rather shocking realization that Roanoke College did not have a book discussion group that focused specifically on reading for pleasure.
That afternoon, Emma Webb ’15 sent out an email to the entire Honors program, attempting to ignite and engage interest in starting a book discussion group. Within 24 hours, she had assembled her planning committee: herself, Mackenzie Sullivan ’15, Victoria Trumbo ’15, and myself. After an initial planning meeting, parameters were set for the group: monthly meetings, discussing books chosen by participating students.
“The second someone suggests War and Peace, I’m quitting.Â The focus of the group from the beginning has been pleasure reading, not reading for school work. Books people want to read,” Webb said.
The first book was chosen with that in mind: “The Hunger Games”, a best-selling young adult trilogy by Suzanne Collins that has generated a lot of publicity and word-of-mouth since its first and titular book was published in 2008. The selection was chosen by Webb, a fan of the series, who decided that the planning board would choose the first two selections. After that, future books would be chosen by a combination of a listing made by students in attendance and various means of social media polling.time to do it, but there are always certain books I want to talk about with my friends, but some of them have not read any of them or just don’t enjoy to read
The first meeting was held January 29th. Nearly 20 students arrived at Monterey House at 4 PM, eager to discuss what had proven to be a popular boom choice. They were greeted with “Hunger Games” themed foods.
“â€˜The Hunger Games’ series was amazing!” said Rebecca Siar ’15. “I read all three books over Winter Break, and I honestly could not put the books down because I always wanted to know what would happen next!”
Participants divided into two categories: those who had read just the first book, and those who read the entire series. Discussion questions were specific to each group.
“It was very informal, and it was really easy to discuss the book because there was no pressure of getting something right or wrong. The book club is a helpful opportunity to step away from the chaos of every day college life and just enjoy a good book and the discussions that ensue,” Trumbo â€˜15 said.
“I hope more people will become interested and attend because the more people, the better the discussion,” said Taylor Robertson â€˜15
The club meets the last Sunday of every month at 4 PM in Monterey House. The next meeting will be on February 26th. The book for discussion will be The Help, the best-selling 2009 novel by Kathryn Stockett. All students are welcome and encouraged to attend.