Call me Ishmael. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
Do any of these phrases ring a bell? Do they take you to somewhere far away? These are opening lines of some of our most treasured stories. Stories can take us on a journey at sea, throw us in the midst of revolution, or even enter us into a school of witchcraft and wizardry. It’s doubtful that a calculus assignment or research paper can have the same effect.
Gabrielle Glennon, a sophomore at the College of Charleston, started the Book Club to give “CofC students a place and reason to read a great book and discuss them with other students.” A different book is assigned each month, and past books include The Hunger Games series, Gone Girl and their current read, Swamplandia!
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell was one of the The New York Times “Ten Best Books” of 2011 and has also been picked up as a pending project for HBO. Swamplandia! tells the story of a young girl named Ava Bigtree and her family owned alligator theme park in the Florida Everglades. Any interested students can pick up a copy of the book or just come to a book club meeting to discuss.
“Getting involved is easy; all you have to do is attend any meeting the Book Club has on Mondays at 3:30 in Stern Center Gardens.” The Book Club turnout varies depending on the book being read and typically averages to about ten students.
But this isn’t the stereotypical, pretentious book club that meets in a library. “Book Club is fun [and] easygoing. It’s very laid back and relaxed. We do not assign specific pages or force you to read the book each month,” Glennon explained. “It’s just a way to read for one’s pleasure rather than because a professor is telling you to.”
And for those students who prefer movies, Book Club also attends late night premieres of their group reads, like the Hunger Games last March.
Gabrielle Glennon and the members of the Book Club are proving that “reading isn’t nerdy or too academic… it’s simply enjoyable and a good way to enter a different world.”
So the next time Monday roles around and a student is swamped with reality, they can go sit in on the Book Club in Stern Center Gardens for an easy escape.