Conservatism, life, faith, and culture are but a few of the topics under discussion at this semester’s crop of campus book clubs.
The Lyceum, Symposium, Faith and Works, and Students for Middle Eastern Discourse book clubs are all back this semester offering an assortment of reading and discussion options for students.
Book clubs are about bringing discussions outside the classroom, said sophomore Sammy Roberts, leader of the Lyceum’s freshman book club. Some people want to shut the door on their classwork, but students should fight to pursue truth both inside and outside of class, Roberts said.
“I was kind of hesitant to join the Lyceum book club, because I thought I was doing enough reading already with Heritage and Great Books classes,” Roberts said. “But once I got in there, it was so much fun. Usually someone brings baked bread or jam or something like that, and instead of being forced to have a discussion like in a classroom, we really enjoyed discussing the text.”
Roberts said he joined the Lyceum’s freshman book club during spring 2016 and read “The Intellectual Life” by French Dominican monk Antonin Sertillanges. Roberts then became a Lyceum board member and now assists with this year’s book club.
“We talked about getting a different book for the freshmen,” Roberts said. “But the ‘Intellectual Life’ is a really good introduction because it talks about what we’re doing here at Hillsdale.”
The Lyceum also offers a book club for upperclassmen. This semester, the club is reading “Festivity” by Joseph Weaver.
After a semester-long hiatus, the Symposium book club is back to discuss Walker Percy’s “Lost in the Cosmos,” a self-help parody about finding oneself in a seemingly meaningless modern world, book club leader sophomore Nic Rowan said.
“The Symposium is interested in exploring intellectual conservatism, which means reading outside the traditional curriculum,” Rowan said. “We look at more modern conservatives like Alasdair MacIntyre or Patrick Deneen.”
For those looking for more ways to work their faith into their everyday lives, The Faith & Works Project is diving into “For the Least of These: A Biblical Answer to Poverty” by Anne Bradley and Arthur Lindsley.
“The book this semester tries to answer the question of what role Christians play in alleviating poverty by combining exegesis with economic principles,” sophomore co-leader Anna Perry said.
Perry said the Institute of Faith, Work, and Economics recommends the book and provides the group with study guides to further discourse.
Additionally, for those interested in Israel or Middle Eastern affairs, the Middle Eastern club is reading “Israel: a Concise History of a Nation Reborn” by Daniel Gordis.
The club’s president, junior Hannah Brewer, said the book club is meant to inform those interested in the Middle East and also to provide an outlet whereby Hillsdale students who visited Israel through the Passages trip to the Holy Land can stay engaged in Middle Eastern affairs.
Associate Professor of English, Justin Jackson, is also holding a book club this semester on Athanasius’ “On the Incarnation,” a book C.S. Lewis called “a picture of the Tree of Life.” The club takes place on Fridays from 12 – 1 p.m. in the Delp Hall Ground Floor Conference Room.