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Faculty Leaders Inspire Library Book Club Members

A group of devoted readers from the community gathers in the library each month for stimulating discussion of books by significant contemporary writers. But the UCI Libraries Book Club is not just any book group: it features the participation of UCI faculty and librarians as discussion leaders.

Professor Michelle Latiolais, who teaches fiction writing in the M.F.A. Programs in Writing, led the discussion of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, an alumna of the program. Latiolais’ in-depth knowledge of the author and her writing process led to a stimulating discussion of Sebold’s runaway bestseller. “I was delighted to be asked to lead a book group,” says Latiolais. “It was a pure joy to be in a room with about twenty women, all of whom had read the novel and all of whom had much to say about it. To be given the opportunity to discuss the serious issues this novel raises with such an avid and intelligent group of readers really set me up to start the quarter teaching.”

Susan Jarratt, Professor of English and Comparative Literature led the group through Arundhati Roy’s Booker Prize-winning novel, The God of Small Things. Jarratt reports that “I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with the book club. The participants came with strong opinions about this vivid and painful story set in a southern province of India in the 1960s. They brought careful readings, excellent questions, and a passion for exchange about the ways in which narrative works to open up new worlds. I learned from our discussion and have carried some of the ideas we developed into my class in Global Women’s Literature.”

Research librarians Cathy Palmer, Christina Woo, and John Novak also have led Book Club discussions. A sampling of other books featured in recent months includes Daughter of Fortune by Isabelle Allende, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, and In America by Susan Sontag. Upcoming titles include Ian McEwan’s Atonement and The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

Faculty from all disciplines are invited to participate as discussion leaders. For further information please contact Julie Sully (jsully@uci.edu or x44658).


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