Participating in class discussions over Jane Austen adaptations inspired three students to create a club where they could hold discussions over books.
A Novel Idea, Lehigh’s new book club, was founded by Olivia Haley, ’17, Raquel Carrasco, ’16, and Miranda Reyes, ‘16. The three met and collaborated in many discussions in their Modern Approaches to Jane Austen class. It was in this class that they often found themselves holding in-depth conversations about the books they were reading.
Their professor, Lyndon Dominique, took note of this and took it upon himself to inspire them to go beyond the classroom and into a more expansive discussion. Dominique, an English professor at Lehigh, suggested that the students start a book club.
“(Professor Dominique) was a motivating source,” Haley said. “Especially because we had no idea where to start.”
Now that the club has been established, Dominique serves as the staff adviser.
A Novel Idea plans on having its meetings every month or two. It has held one meeting so far, and is planning on picking up again after break. Each meeting is held in the Humanities Center on campus in the lounge area.
In addition, students can still participate even if they haven’t read or finished the book. The club founders created packets that included passages from the book to help facilitate discussion points, making it easy to be involved in the discussion without actually having read the book, as they felt it was important that anyone who wanted to get involved should be able to do so easily.
At the club’s first meeting, the students prepared and discussed a version of “Pride and Prejudice,” the classic novel by Jane Austen that included erotic fiction. The book was called, “Pride and Prejudice-a Clandestine Classic.” Individuals discussed key ideas and themes while enjoying snacks and tea. Among the participants in the discussion were professors, people who work in the library and other individuals in the same English class as the co-founders.
In the future, the co-founders are looking to establish a general theme for each meeting and book and possibly an overarching theme for the entire year or even for each semester. They are open to suggestions from club members, especially if there is a topic that a member is very interested in exploring. Eventually the club may expand into the analysis of movies as well. They will also be working on finding a set time that works for the meetings next semester. The theme of the semester is leaning towards adaptations, considering the origins of the club and the book that was covered. A Novel Idea plans to host at least two more meetings in the spring semester.
A Novel Idea is sponsored and supported by many on campus resources. Its sponsors include the Humanities Department, the English department and the Women’s Center. These sponsors provide many resources to the club, including a meeting location, snacks, and even free copies of the book to club members.