Book Club Central creates reading community

Story by: Becky Particka

Book Club Central helps Central Michigan University students find a way to de-stress and connect with a reading community.

“We’re all trying to be the best college students we can be, but that’s a lot of pressure,” said Lucas Ashby, current Book Club Central president. “Being in an RSO (registered student organization) that doesn’t have attendance and that’s fun to do is a good out for students.”

Ashby, a junior studying English, describes the organization as low pressure and says members do not have to read the books to participate.

“You read what you have time for or what you’re interested in at any point,” Ashby said.

Book Club Central meets every other Wednesday, alternating between book discussions and activity meetings.

The organization reads one book a month and usually tries to keep its selection to 350 pages or less.

Ashby explained the activities usually relate to the book or the genre that the club is reading. Past activities include watching movies based on the book and inviting professors to come speak about their writing.

“It’s a way to play into what we’re reading about,” Ashby said.

For the month of October, Ashby said Book Club Central is focusing on mysteries and will be hosting a scavenger hunt for that month’s activity.

Ashby is also working on getting Book Club Central to be more involved with the community. At their most recent meeting, the organization partnered with Central Gives to make bookmarks to donate to a local elementary school.


Book Club Central partnered with Central Gives to create bookmarks on Sept. 21st, 2022. Photo courtesy of Book Club Central

Seeing the organization engage with the community is a goal Ashby shares with his predecessor, Megan Peterson.

Peterson, a senior majoring in English and non-profit administration, now attends Book Club Central as a general member. She stepped down from her role to ensure continued interest in the organization and to support the new leadership.

“If Lucas has any questions, I can help him out,” Peterson said.

Peterson founded Book Club Central during her sophomore year. She enjoyed her high school’s book club and was surprised that CMU did not have one.

Book Club Central began in what Peterson describes as peak COVID times.

Peterson said hosting a virtual book discussion helped students de-stress and find escapism from the pandemic.

“A lot of people told us it was something that they needed and enjoyed having during that time,” she said.

Peterson emphasized creating a community around reading promotes meaningful discussion and enhances the reader’s experience with a book.

“There’s a lot of passions out there that are better shared with others, and I think reading is one of them,” she said.

Book Club Central will be discussing The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood on Oct. 5th and reading Finaly Donvan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano for the month of October.