English department to offer one-credit book club classes this spring

Books for each class will be centered on a theme, like “Stories of Identity.” Photo by Katelyn Kasella

Attention all bookworms: grab your snacks, throw on something comfortable, and get ready for some novel discussions. Beginning spring semester, Concordia will be offering one-credit literature courses in the form of books clubs.

Amy Watkin, chair of the English department, said four one-credit book club classes will be offered back-to-back this spring, with each lasting about one month. Students can take anywhere from one to four book club classes, which is perfect for students like sophomore Grace Weber.

“As a business major, some of my classes are only three credits, so it’s nice to fill in that missing credit with an English class,” Weber said. “I’m also a member of Concordia Speech team and we have a week-long national competition in the spring, so it’s really nice that these classes are not a whole semester long and I can take them when I have the most free time.”

Each book club will be centered on a different theme and will read two novels. The themes of next semester’s book clubs include Stories of Love in January, Stories of Identity in March, Stories of Conflict in February, and Stories of Loss in April. Watkin explained that offering a variety of themes gives students the opportunity to join whichever club sounds most interesting to them.

“They’re designed to be fun,” she said.

Watkin said the idea for one-credit book club classes came after she heard multiple students express frustration over the fact that they enjoyed reading, but did not have the time or means to during the school year. She decided that this was a solution that gave students a chance to read for pleasure.

“Although I love to read, my schedule doesn’t really give me a lot of flexible downtime to crack open a book, so I’m definitely looking forward to taking at least one of these book club classes,” Weber said.

Senior Shelby Kate Maly also hopes to participate in one of the book club classes next semester.

“It’s literally my grandma-self dream come true to sit and talk about books and I feel like there are a lot of students who would love to do more pleasure reading but are limited in time,” Maly said.

“Because these are offered as a credit, it gives students the opportunity to be involved and have a little bit of self-care already planned into their academic schedules.”

Watkin will be teaching the first round of book clubs in the spring, and the classes will rotate professors the following semester. Like any other English class, the book clubs will contain several writing assignments; however, Watkin said they are designed to be discussion-based and enjoyable, rather than rigorous. She says she plans to run it just like a real book club by holding it on Wednesday evenings once a week, providing snacks and a cozy, welcoming atmosphere.

Maly looks forward to the laid-back environment.

“Most of the clubs that we have at Concordia are very extrinsically focused. We are always planning some event or gathering,” Maly said.”It’s really nice to just have a group of people come together and chat without having the pressures of preparing something.”

Registration for books clubs will open in November. Witkin reminds students that even if they plan to join a book club that begins in February, March, or April, they must enroll in November.

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