This year, Notre Dame’s book club is striving to go global by picking a book with an international connection each month. To maximize their multiculturalism, the officers plan to collaborate with Notre Dame’s cultural clubs that correspond with their monthly read.
“We are choosing books based on different cultures,” said book club president and graduate student Mayesha Sahir Mim.
It is the first year the club has taken on a theme with their book choice. Sahir Mim said the club wants to “make things more fun and interesting” through a theme since it was inactive last semester, and meetings have been held over Zoom since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each month, the club will pick a book that fits the theme, purchase it for interested members and then meet on a Thursday evening at the end of the month for an informal discussion about their thoughts on the book. September’s book was “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, a Brazilian author. At September’s meeting, the Brazilian Students Association gave a presentation on Brazil and Coelho’s life.
“We thought the theme would be just for the semester, but there’s so many countries. And when we collaborated with the Brazilian club, we had a lot of fun with it,” Sahir Mim said. “We thought three months won’t be enough time, so we’ll just continue with it even over the spring semester.”
This month, the club is reading “The Girl with the Louding Voice” by Abi Daré, a book about a Nigerian girl and written by a Nigerian author. For its Oct. 27 meeting, Sahir Mim said the African club plans to give a presentation on Nigeria and share African food while discussing the book.
“I love our global theme this year. I think it’s really important to seek out stories from all types of people and am happy to be learning about different parts of the world from it,” social chair Sarah Nano said in an email.
Sahir Mim also mentioned the book club is planning to collaborate with Notre Dame’s Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS), diversity council and international student and scholars affairs in their upcoming meetings.
Sahir Mim said she is hoping that establishing a theme and holding more engaging meetings will encourage current members to become more active and attract new ones.
“We definitely want more people to be aware of our club and join,” she said.
Currently, the club mostly consists of graduate students, but Sahir Mim said the group is open to undergraduates as well.
“You will make some friends, and you get to discuss your ideas about a book that you’re reading,” she said of the club.
Nano seconded that idea, saying she has enjoyed meeting new people as part of the club.
“I’ve already met so many great people who’d I’d love to get to know more about. I also like that book club pushes me to broaden my reading choices,” she said in an email.
Contact Kendelle Hung-Ino at firstname.lastname@example.org