Book club starts back up on Feb. 6

To bring students together and have relaxing discussions about books, Brian Lang, biology and psychology sophomore, is kicking off the new semester of the Arts and Literature Society Book Club that he started.

“I love to read, and I know there’s a lot of people who also love to read, but maybe they don’t feel like they have time because of their classes, or maybe they don’t have anyone to talk about the books with,” Lang said.

For this reason, Lang assigns what he considers manageable amounts of reading per week, and the club only discusses one book each semester.

“It’s not a lot of reading to do, but then it’s still a way to read a really good book that’s popular while talking to other students and kind of getting out of your comfort zone a little bit,” Lang said.

Grace Tsichlis, English sophomore, stays busy by being on the Model UN team and a member of the Amnesty Club, but she always makes time for book club.

“I didn’t have trouble making time for the book. The sections that we read aren’t that long, and even if you don’t have your reading done it’s okay because there’s no pressure,” Tsichlis said.

Not only do members of the book club say they enjoy the reasonable length of sections, but they also enjoy the environment that comes with it. Shelbi Stogdill, political science, history, and global studies junior, joined the book club because she said it seemed like a relaxing way to hang out with people and have a nice, easy-going conversation.

Stogdill said she first heard about the book club when Lang proposed it at a meeting for the Arts and Literature Society. After joining the club, she found that it was similar to what she expected.

“It’s just a fun time, and it’s not super stressful. You’re not going to get in trouble if you don’t read. People bring food, so that makes it even better. It’s just a fun environment where you get to hang out with like-minded people. It’s a nice, relaxing time where you don’t have to do school work or stress,” Stogdill said.

Another thing that students enjoy about the book club is that it brings students of all majors and classifications together.

“That’s definitely one of the big goals is to get people together,” Lang said. “It’s really cool to meet a lot of different new people, and then it’s so easy to become friends because you’re sitting there eating snacks and just talking about this good book.”

Lang holds the meetings in the honors hallway because he is the resident adviser for that hall.

“There’s people that live in that hallway that are friends. There’s also people that don’t even live on campus, and they’ll stay around after school just to go to the book club that night. There’s seniors and freshmen,” Lang said.

Tsichlis agreed that being in the book club is a great way to build friendships.

“I met some people I didn’t know before, and we all bond over the same book and talk about what we like. It’s a very good way to meet people and learn things that we have in common,” Tsichlis said. “It is a nice break from doing homework to go to the book club and see some of my friends.”

Stogdill also enjoys the friendships made through the club. She only knew a few people in the club before, but now she greets them in the hallways, and if they have nothing else to discuss, they can always talk about the book. She also said that the diversity in the club allows for more interesting discussion about the book.

“Everyone interprets it a little bit differently, and also people catch things that others didn’t. It was interesting to hear everyone’s ideas,” Stogdill said.

Tsichlis also appreciates the different points of view.

“I love hearing about what other people think, or if they have different ideas about what the symbolism means. It’s always good to hear something from a different perspective,” Tsichlis said.

Both of these members of the club are excited about the book selection for this semester. Lang presents a powerpoint at the end of each semester with a plethora of book options for the group to vote on.

“This way they feel more ownership about the book that they’re reading,” Lang said.

This semester, “Crazy Rich Asians” by Kevin Kwan won the vote, and Tsichlis said she was glad.

“I voted for it. I saw the movie. I enjoyed it, so I was interested in reading the book to see how it compared. It’s also very different than the other books we’ve read. It’s kind of more fun. ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Sharp Objects’ [the books chosen for previous semesters] were a little darker, so this is a very different vibe.”

Stogdill had already read the book, but she said she is excited to compare it to the movie.

“It was shot really well. There were a lot of  extravagant details. It also brought a lot of cool things for society because the main people in the cast were Asian, and you don’t really see that,” Stogdill said about the movie.