Book club

What is the book club?

Pile of books on a tableThe CoSS Wellbeing Taskforce Book Club is a monthly book club for all members of the College who enjoy reading and engaging in discussions about books. The books chosen each month have been submitted by our members and there is no limitation on genre or whether the book is fiction or non-fiction, meaning there is something for everybody. We pick the next month’s book at random and then come together at the end of the month to discuss what we thought of the book.  Members bring their own questions and I prepare some questions from my own reading, from online sources, and from critical reviews to spark debate. The books can be loaned from local libraries, members sometimes choose to purchase them, or there are audio books available for most as well. We meet at the end of each month during lunch hours, full details below.

When: Last Monday of each month at 12:30pm – 1:30pm.

Where: Zoom until campus is fully reopened; usual on campus meet-ups happen in cafes e.g. Education, University House, Park House Dining Room.

Iola Jones - why I engage in this activity

Iola JonesBefore starting the book club, I had let myself get out of the “swing” of reading and needed to give myself a push to make it a priority again. I felt guilty if I was reading books that weren’t to do with my degree and forgot about how important my own downtime was to help me recharge and then come to my degree, work, family and friendships with a new energy. I thought there were probably others feeling the same way as me across the College, not taking a break or feeling guilty if they did take a break, and I wanted to give people the space to pursue their interests at work. 

The books that have been put forward by the members of the book club have pushed me outside of my reading comfort zone and I have discovered genres, authors, and characters that have widened my interests, challenged my views, and improved my knowledge. Likewise with the members, it’s been so great to connect with people across the College and get to know them through a shared interest, I look forward to our meet-ups each month so much! It’s great to have some downtime during a lunch hour and also throughout the month while reading the book, I now don’t go a day without reading a book for pleasure and my wellbeing has definitely improved as a result of the book club. The book club allows us to:

  • Keep Learning
  • Take Notice
  • Connect

Find out more

The book club started out in December 2019 with three of us meeting in the University House Café to talk about “This is Going to Hurt” by Adam Kay and since then the membership has grown. We have continued to meet during lockdown via Zoom, it is great that the format of the Club allowed us to do this as continuing reading and meeting up during that time really helped with wellbeing. We have explored many topics in our discussions, ranging from family and friendships, the impact of wars, mental health and wellbeing, and politics (linking “1984” to the Trump Administration was a particularly eye-opening article one of our members found!). 

Sometimes people don’t have time to read the full book before the meet-up or people want to join if they have watched the adaptations of the book and that is absolutely fine as it is great that people want to engage in these discussions and connect with others. We talk about themes, how the book made us feel, how the book is received in today’s world, and if people have seen the adaptations or would recommend the adaptations. For example, the adaptation of “Little Fires Everywhere” is out on Amazon Prime now and it is definitely worth a watch!

If you would like to join the book club, please email Iola Jones to be added to the mailing list: i.jones.1@bham.ac.uk

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