Earlier this month, Villanova University had the great honor of celebrating the class of 2021 with a lineup of memorable events leading up to Commencement. The Senior Picnic, the Blue and White Bash, a champagne toast with Fr. Peter: these events helped to mark the occasion as something truly special for seniors after facing an exceptionally challenging year.
With a group of freshly minted Villanova grads now out in the world, we want to remind alumni that they can stay connected to the Villanova community long after they leave campus.
The University’s Alumni Association offers many channels of support to Villanova graduates. Among the countless resources and programs available to alumni, as a Library we are particularly interested in sharing a fun one: The Villanova University Virtual Book Club.
The Villanova University Virtual Book Club is sponsored by the Villanova University Alumni Association in partnership with Professional Book Club (PBC) Guru. It is a virtual forum that offers Villanovans a platform to discuss an assortment of books on a wide variety of thought-provoking topics and genres.
The book club is entirely virtual and participation is free for alumni and staff as a benefit through the Alumni Association. Participants are responsible for obtaining a copy of the book. Otherwise, there is no cost.
So how does it work? One book is selected by the group every two months and selections are voted on by the book club members. Most books will take an average of about nine hours to read, so the time required is not too overwhelming. Members can choose the level of their participation, depending on their availability and interest—there is no specific commitment.
A representative from PBC Guru moderates this private forum and helps facilitate meaningful discussion about the current book with members by providing access to related articles as well as questions to prompt deeper reflections on the books. Members are invited to introduce themselves and share their thoughts on the book as well as their personal responses to the moderator’s questions. The hope is that this sparks ongoing conversations by members.
Becoming a member of the book club has many advantages. It is a great way to expose yourself to unexplored ideas and perspectives that could help you gain new understandings on a range of topics. Selections may also contribute to strengthening skills that can carry over into the workplace, such as the ability to listen and communicate effectively. The basic act of reading may also be a good way to relax!
One of the biggest benefits of the club, however, is the opportunity to network and bond with fellow Villanova community members over a shared interest. This is a safe and easy way to connect with Wildcats from all over the globe, many of whom you might not have the opportunity to interact with otherwise.
The March to May book selection was Matthew Haig’s novel, The Midnight Library, which is a book that makes you ponder what life would be like if you made different choices along the way—whether big or small. The main character, Nora Seed, is a woman who has reached the depths of despair due to her perceived regrets in life. Through the book, we are able to follow Nora as she lands unexpectedly into the mystical “Midnight Library,” a place between life and death. The library holds countless versions of Nora’s lives, which are detailed in books found in the library. We we are able to follow Nora on different paths and travel along her journey of self-discovery.
As a special treat, book club members had exclusive access to a live Q&A discussion with Matthew Haig the author of The Midnight Library on May 20.
The next book selection for the May 27 -July 29 reading period is The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir by Michele Harper, a female African American ER physician.
“The Beauty in Breaking is the poignant true story of Harper’s journey toward self-healing. Each of the patients Harper writes about taught her something important about recuperation and recovery. How to let go of fear even when the future is murky: How to tell the truth when it’s simpler to overlook it. How to understand that compassion isn’t the same as justice. As she shines a light on the systemic disenfranchisement of the patients she treats as they struggle to maintain their health and dignity, Harper comes to understand the importance of allowing ourselves to make peace with the past as we draw support from the present. In this hopeful, moving, and beautiful book, she passes along the precious, necessary lessons that she has learned as a daughter, a woman, and a physician.” (Amazon.com)
If you are interested in joining the Villanova University Virtual Book Club, please click here to sign up to be a member.
We hope that you always feel welcome and stay involved at Villanova. The book club is one avenue to do that. Please remember that “Once a Wildcat, Always a Wildcat!”
Dig Deeper: Additional Resources for Alumni
Regina Duffy is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.