Book club celebrates reading

Megan Thorne

Kirsten Williams said book lovers should definitely join the Reading Eagles Book Club.

“Our main reason for starting this is because we like to read,” Kirsten Williams said.  “We are book lovers and we want to talk with other people that like to read. It’s not meant to be education per say, it’s just more meant to be fun.  If you like to read and want to talk about books with people then that’s why you come.”

The Library associate said the reading group was formed a year ago by the Rice Library.  The group reads at least two books a semester ranging from fiction to nonfiction with copies of the books available at the library for students and faculty to check out.

English professor Yu-Li Alice Shen said she joined the reading group to find different perspectives from younger generations or other diverse populations.

“I work at USI so I rarely get to read for pleasure. So I’ve been on the lookout for a book club, and since it was on campus I thought ‘oh well that’s perfect and it (might be) a mix of faculty and students,’” said Shen. “I think students tend to think that fiction doesn’t matter because it’s made up,” Shen said.  “Fiction allows us to step into the shoes of someone else and live a life that we don’t live.  We forget there’s a world outside of our own lives.  I think that’s an important aspect of having a book club.”

Shen believes many college students might think of literature as being old-fashioned because they’ve been assigned to read since high school or middle school.

“I think a more contemporary shift would spark their interest,” she said.  “Maybe some more edgy themes might also excite them.”

Shen said that people do read a lot, but in short burst online on social media. Even then, she said people are just skimming.

“The idea of reading a book, the traditional book, with a story arch and character arch I think requires a different kind of concentration and it requires a different kind of mindset,” she said. “It’s a skill, a focusing skill, that we’ve kind of lost a little bit with technology and our fast-paced lives.  Just sitting down and finishing a book from beginning to end gives us a little more focus and attention span and the opportunity to think about a full book than just short bursts of thought or whatever tweet we are looking at.”

The next book the club is reading is “The Last Days of Night” by Graham Moore is historical fiction focusing on the debate of who invented the light bulb through the eyes of the young lawyer who takes the seemingly impossible case.

Shen believes the newest novel will appeal to many readers as it focuses on the history and adds a light to the backstory of the light bulb.  “A lot don’t know about the controversy around Edison,” Shen said.  “We’re doomed to repeat the past if we don’t remember it.  I think that’s probably a topic that can resonate with a lot of students regardless of their major.”

The meetings for “The Last Days of Night” will be held on April 4 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. and April 5 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. in UC 2203.

Williams encourages anyone interested in joining or learning more to follow the reading eagles book club Facebook page or email Williams at [email protected].