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Monthly Campus Bookclub hosted by Andi Stein and Elizbeth Housewright

From right, Andi Stein, Tuffy the Titan and Elizabeth Housewright

Book Club Brings Campus Community Together

“There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away.” — Emily Dickinson

December 10, 2007

By Pam McLaren

For those who work in academia, there is nothing quite like a book. A book can educate, help form ideas and understand the cultures around us.

So, what better reason to have a book club on campus? Andi Stein and Elizabeth Housewright would agree. The two, who work out at the Employee Wellness Center, came up with the idea earlier this year and out of a chance conversation, a group was formed.

This week, the group will meet to discuss their second selection of the academic year, “Life of Pi,” by Yann Martel. The book club, open to all faculty and staff members, will meet at noon, Thursday, Dec. 13, in Room 605 of the Educational Classroom.

Unlike earlier efforts, this club meets monthly at lunchtime on campus, making it convenient for faculty and staff members to get together.

And it has been welcomed. A dozen individuals took part in the discussion of the club’s initial section, “Water for Elephants.”

“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“I thought it seemed fitting with the anniversary and that the university mascot is Tuffy Titan, an elephant,” said Stein, associate professor of communications and a committee member of the campus Faculty Club, regarding the award-winning Sarah Gruen novel about an old man remembering the days when he worked with a circus during the Great Depression.

Housewright, who has led a Great Books Discussion group at the Placentia Library for several years, serves as moderator for the sessions.

“People always throw out comments about the books you’d never think of,” said Housewright. “I always walk out thinking you’ve experienced something new.”

Margie McMillan, confidential assistant in the office of the vice president of administration and finance, agrees. “I think the club is great.… I enjoy it.”

McMillan had been in a book club a couple of years go but noticed that the discussions easily strayed away from the books. “Elizabeth sets the tone and keeps everyone on track. I think it's delightful.”
“I like book clubs,” said Pat Lussier, a program developer in University Extended Education, who says part of the attraction of the university club is “the diversity of the group. The perspectives are so fascinatingly different.

“Belonging to a book club forces me to read things that I wouldn’t normally read. Its definitely different and a lot of fun,” Lussier said, “I get to meet people from across the campus that I wouldn’t normally meet.”

“In the highest civilization, the book is still the highest delight.”

For more information, call Stein at 278-5434 or
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