BOOK CLUB

Connect and read with fellow alumni

Join in with thought provoking discussions as we discover the set texts together, moderated by a dedicated group leader who will encourage debate and suggest critical points for analysis.

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Why be happy when you could be normal? By Jeanette Winterson

The book we are currently reading, as voted for by our book club members is: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson (St Catherine's, 1978).

Goodreads says: 'A memoir about a life's work to find happiness. It's a book full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a religious zealot disguised as a mother who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the dresser, waiting for Armageddon; about growing up in an north England industrial town now changed beyond recognition; about the Universe as Cosmic Dustbin.

It is the story of how a painful past that Jeanette thought she'd written over and repainted rose to haunt her, sending her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her biological mother.'

You can also subscribe to the Books & Learning mailing list to stay up to date on future books and activities.

Are you an alumni author?

If you have written a book which has been published in the last 12 months or is about to be released, and it is available to purchase from Blackwell's bookshop, you can email the editor of QUAD news to consider it for review on our QUAD website, please email Richard Lofthouse with the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Oxford Number (or college/year of matriculation)
  • Title and description of book
  • Date of publication
  • ISBN
  • Link to book on Blackwell's website

Book Club FAQs

Book one is pre-selected to get things going, and afterwards, we’ll vote between several options each period and select each book based on participants’ interests.

You will need either to buy, borrow or download a copy of the texts we select as a group. Readers are responsible for sourcing the texts themselves.

We’ll read a book every two months. If you have on average 30 minutes a week to read you should be fine. There is no required level of participation in group discussions; if don’t have time to read one of the books that's okay. The goal of the club is to make connections with other alumni through reading, so please take it at your own pace.

No, the book club will be entirely online. The advantage of this is that alumni living all over the world can participate, meaning we will get diverse perspectives on the texts we read.

There is no limit to the number of people who can join the book club; the more the merrier!

Participation is free for Oxford alumni. Readers are responsible for buying, borrowing or downloading the texts we read.

Our book club will have a dedicated moderator who manages the forum where discussions occur online. The moderator will pose questions to the group, share relevant articles, and facilitate conversation about topics in the book. Members will be encouraged to post and share as well. This format allows for ongoing conversation and makes it easy for alumni to connect with each other.

Feel free to send an email to enquiries@alumni.ox.ac.uk and we'd be happy to help.