by Jonathan Moniz, Staff Writer
Starting this year, the Dystopian Book Club has changed, naming itself the Science Fiction Book Club and shifting its focus from primarily dystopian novels to the entire genre of science fiction.
Co-founded between librarians Hilary Kraus, Kari Mofford, and the English Director of First Years, Alexis Teagarden, the group started in the fall of 2014.
After their first year, the club decided that it wished to expand beyond the genre of dystopian fiction and branch out onto the wider area of science fiction.
Kari Mofford felt that with their new, broader focus they would “get into really deep topics about life and everything.”
Mofford and Kraus were both very excited about the new prospects of the different club and all that it might mean for the new year, commenting that they were always appreciative of the students who came and how they had such a great year.
Due to the new change with the club and with the oncoming year, the club will often be directed by student input. Kraus commented further on this, stating that the club does not mandate specific books and allows the students to vote via surveys to decide what books they would like to read and discuss.
She continued, stating that they had used the same method when they were the Dystopian Book Club, and that the students had appreciated it. The club had also gone really well with the discussions and such, with Kraus and Mofford noting how enthusiastic the students were and how involved they had become.
When it first started in 2014, the club read The Handmaid’s Tale as a way to structure the club’s activities and provide an opening forum for the students to immerse themselves in the club’s mission.
After reading The Handmaid’s Tale, the club was opened up to more student input and from there the student’s selected the books, picking notable titles such as Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, Brave New World, Oryx and Crake, Watchmen, The Man in the High Castle, and Ender’s Game.
Going forward, the club will generally cover about two to three books a semester in order to accommodate student schedules. Two books are planned for this semester and three are planned for the spring.
Along with the flexible times, one of Mofford’s main goals this year is to “increase membership. A lot of people will show up for the kick off meeting, but they vary [in attendance later in the semester].” Meeting schedules vary in the hope that the changed schedule will allow more students to attend.
Kraus also spoke about student schedules, and said that even reading half of a book is fine to participate in discussions. Students do not need to “feel intimidated by not finishing the book, and the speaking and participating in the discussions is voluntary, not a necessity. They can just come and listen to the discussion.”
When the founders were asked about the decision to switch to sci-fi, they responded, “It’s a really popular genre-and we decided to broaden [the genre] to appeal to more people.”
For contacts and dates, Kraus encouraged becoming part of the mailing list, saying that she sends out roughly two emails monthly to inform students of meeting dates and to offer surveys for book choices.
The first meeting for the Science Fiction Book Club was this Tuesday, September 20, at 2 p.m. in Library 314. They will be meeting in the future on Wednesday, October 26 from 12 to 1 p.m., and Monday November 28 from 1 to 2 p.m. this semester.
The room numbers, meeting reminders, book surveys, and more will be announced by email. Email Hilary Klaus at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.