The Jones White Writing Center is excited to debut a free book club!  

The book club is for anyone in the IUP community (students, faculty, and staff) who are interested in a fun and engaging reading group. The sessions, which will be held via Zoom, will be moderated by Jeff Ambrose, PhD candidate in Literature and Criticism. Two books will be covered—Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel Passing and Yishai Sarid’s 2017 novel The Memory Monster. Both novels contain themes of social justice, and both were also chosen because—at 100 pages and 160 pages—they should not take too much time away from your coursework or job! Your book(s) will be provided free of charge by the Writing Center.  Descriptions of both works and a link to sign up are found below:

Book One: Passing, by Nella Larsen

The novel follows Irene Redfield, a light-skinned black woman in 1920s New York City, and the problems that arise when she runs into an old friend, Claire Kendry. Claire is also light-skinned, but she “passes” as white, and her reemergence in Irene’s life brings questions of infidelity and racial identity to the surface. You will perform brief writing activities to develop not only your academic writing but also your creative writing, and our discussions will engage with the themes of racial justice and personal identity. There will be three meeting sessions for this book from mid-February through early March. 

Book Two: The Memory Monster, by Yishai Sarid

Sarid’s novel is short but also very complex and unsettling. The book was just translated into English in 2019, and the ending will never be forgotten. The novel is a report written by the unnamed narrator to his boss, the head of Yad Vashem, Israel’s organization that serves as a memorial to victims of the Holocaust. Featuring themes of racism, genocide, identity, and disillusionment, Sarid’s book packs a lot of emotional and culturally significant punches. A brief writing activity will also be given on trauma and identity. There will be two meeting sessions for this book in April. 

If you're interested in participating, please sign up for one or both book groups by completing this short form. The deadline to sign up is Sunday, February 6, 2022. 

Questions regarding the book club may be directed to Jeff Ambrose at