Multicultural Affairs turns a new page, hosts first book club meeting of the semester

The Multicultural Affairs book club holds its first meeting of the semester. Grace Everett | Photo Editor

By Samantha Garza | Staff Writer

Multicultural Affairs hosted its first official book club meeting of the school year Thursday in the Bill Daniel Student Center. Students got to sit down with each other and discuss the assigned novel and its themes.

The chosen book for this semester is “When No One Is Watching” by Alyssa Cole — a psychological thriller about gentrification in Brooklyn.

According to graduate apprentice Kristen McDowell, the book club currently has about three members, and every semester, the students get to vote on a novel they want to read for that term. The book club meets three times a semester, and the novel is provided for students.

McDowell, who has been in charge of the book club for three semesters now, said she hopes it becomes a space that highlights diversity and allows students to come together and bond over something as simple as a book.

“I know that we all have required reading for class, but sometimes you just want to read something for fun,” McDowell said.

The purpose of the book club is for students to learn about topics and subjects that they are not familiar with through fiction and nonfiction books, according to McDowell.

McDowell also said she likes to look for authors who don’t have as much space to promote their novels or authors who don’t get enough front-running on the shelves.

“Mysteries, thrillers, sci-fi — those are really white-dominated,” McDowell said. “So to showcase authors that just bring a different point of view is really important as well.”

The book club has a very “low-pressure” atmosphere, in which students are welcome to come and go as they please. McDowell said even if members don’t feel like doing the readings, they can just go to the meetings and listen to what other people have to say.

Brownsville sophomore Alyssa Guajardo Salinas said she decided to join the book club because she wanted to join a small organization in which she could get to know people and talk about books.

Salinas said one thing she is looking forward to at the book club is “finding out about different authors and why they write, and different genres of books that I normally don’t feel I read too much of.”

El Paso sophomore Jayna Fegans said she joined the book club because during her freshman year, she was involved in another book club that her residence hall led. She said she wanted to join another book club because she likes reading for fun.

“I’m looking forward to getting a chance to analyze fiction because I just want to take a break from reading all the science textbooks,” Fegans said.

The book club, according to McDowell, is a great way to meet people from different backgrounds who may connect through similar interests, such as reading.

“Having time to just bond and chat over a shared topic is really great, especially in such a small setting,” McDowell said. “We can get really personal.”

McDowell also said the Multicultural Affairs book club is open to any undergraduate student, graduate student, faculty or staff who is interested in joining.

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