University Honors program offers Book Club course

To the avid readers and dedicated book lovers at our university, this article is for you.

Have you been looking for up-and-coming novels to read but haven’t found one you’re interested in? Well, you’re in luck; the university Honors program is offering a Book Club course that may be just what you’re looking for.

The course is currently being taught by the Director of the Honors Program and senior lecturer in history, Matthew Wranovix, who encourages students of all grades and majors to register if they are interested. He says, “It is open to Honors students in all majors, and students in all majors are encouraged to take the course if they can.”

“The purpose of the course is to create a space for small group discussion about great books,” Wranovix said. “I think students benefit from being able to spend a full month reading and thinking about and discussing each book in a more deliberative way than is usually possible in a regular course. It’s also a great way for students and faculty to get to know each other better since the groups are so small.”

Groups of students enrolled in this course can meet both in-person and online. Each discussion group consists of one faculty member and three to five students.

Wranovix also shared what students can look forward to if they choose to enroll in the class. He said, “This course has run several times and each time prior to this year faculty could choose any book they wanted, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, literally any book on any topic. This year the program decided that the course would run with a theme of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and faculty were asked to pick books related to that theme.”

A few of the books and topics discussed in the course include, but are not limited to, Ibram Kendi’s “How to Be an Anti-Racist” and Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste: The Origins of our Discontents.

“The list [of books] still contains non-fiction and fiction, but all the books are related to the theme,” he said. “Each student would end up reading and discussing three of the books on the list.”

Logan Dumas, a sophmore music and sound recording major, shared about his experience. He said, “My favorite part of the course is the ability to compare acquired knowledge. I also enjoy the discussion aspect of the course. Listening to other people’s interpretations and [their] own perspectives is fascinating to me.”

“I have learned a lot through this course,” he said. “The expression, ‘actions speak louder than words’ holds so much more value to me. Our university students can benefit by knowing the difference between the two for themselves and others on this campus as well as how to advocate for themselves.”

Dumas gave a few pieces of advice for students interested in registering for the course. He said, “Take in as much information as possible. Take it from your book, your peers, and your own perspective. This is a great opportunity to learn from others as well as create your own ideas on the topics of the readings.”

Jonah Junga, a sophmore art major, says that his favorite part of the course is “the ability to discuss the books in small groups with faculty members.”

“It’s a very unique environment that isn’t like any other classes I have taken at the university in that aspect,” he said, “and I feel like I am able to get a lot out of the class because of these close interactions with faculty and other students. I think it’s beneficial to take this course because of how it promotes good conversation.”

“Some advice I would give to students thinking about taking this class is to be willing to participate and share ideas during discussions,” Junga said. “Your contributions are just as important as anyone else’s in the class, and everyone participating in this way is what makes the class so enjoyable for me.”

Faith Alves, a senior criminal justice major said that her favorite part of the course is “not only reading books that normally I wouldn’t have gravitated towards because I prefer fiction and mystery but being able to discuss important themes and topics with other classmates in which we are able to challenge our own world views that sometimes we see through privilege tinted glasses in a safe environment.”

For more information regarding this course, students can visit online or email Professor Matthew Wranovix directly at [email protected].