Books & Banter, new student-led book club, welcomes all current Wallace State students

By:
0
747
Members of the Books & Banter book club at Wallace State Community College meet for the first time. (Wallace State)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Wallace State Community College students have a new opportunity to expand their literary horizons with the launch of Books & Banter, a student-led book club on campus. The club welcomes all current students to engage in lively discussions and discover new literature among peers.    

The club meets every third Tuesday. Additionally, virtual meetings are held every Tuesday to facilitate discussions on weekly progress.    

The club plans to read from a wide selection of different books, with new club members getting the chance to suggest books to read. Recommendations are collected in a mug, and each month, members draw two or more options to vote on the selected book. The club kicked things off with “Forging Silver Into Stars” by Brigid Kemmerer.   

Vianney Verdin Maldonado is a Wallace State student and the one who spearheaded the new Books & Banter book club. Originally from Oneonta, Maldonado took dual enrollment classes offered by Wallace State while in high school. In 2022, she enrolled in classes full-time at the college in pursuit of an associate degree. Upon graduating this May, she plans to transfer to Auburn University to study biology and psychology, following her dream of becoming a neuropsychologist. Maldonado has a deep passion for literature and has been a bookworm since she was a child.    

“Growing up, I always loved the millions of stories that books could easily create. I found it so fascinating how words could become whole worlds. I had few friends who truly enjoyed reading as much as I did, and as I grew older, those friends became fewer. It became harder and harder to find people who read, especially in college where everyone is so busy with schoolwork, jobs and extracurriculars,” said Maldonado. “I knew there must be at least another person who found reading as fascinating as I did, so I built up my courage and proposed a book club to be started here at Wallace State. The general idea of Books & Banter is to create a welcoming community of like-minded people who just want to talk about books.”   

Gracie Fendley is a Books & Banter club member, and she said meetings are a great place to connect with other Wallace State students.   

“I think having the book club is very important since it gives a lot of individuals the opportunity to meet new people,” said Fendley. “The first meeting we had was amazing and everyone got along well, we were able to make jokes and laugh a lot. I’m very excited about our next meeting and the next book we will read. So far, I have loved being able to talk to the group about their favorite books and characters.”  

Bridget Walker is another member of Books & Banter. She said she is grateful to have the club on campus and enjoys chatting about the same book with different people.  

“I think it’s important to have a book club on campus because many people on campus like to read for a hobby. I’ve enjoyed the feeling of being able to talk about something I’m reading with someone else who understands what I’m talking about,” said Walker. “I’m most excited about having more books we can read and discuss with each other in the club.”  

Maldonado said her favorite part about club meetings is the different interpretations that arise when discussing a book. She said discussion points range from personal thoughts on characters, setting, plot and the author’s writing style.  

“My favorite part about discussing a book as a group is getting to see how others react to something you’ve read. It’s fun to get to know someone through their thoughts on a book, because perspective is so interesting among a diverse group of people,” said Maldonado.  

Maldonado said the friendly and supportive atmosphere she experienced during her dual enrollment classes at Wallace State was a crucial factor in her decision to attend the college after graduating high school.  

“Even back then, I loved the people I interacted with. Everyone seemed so invested in my success, which encouraged me to keep studying. I didn’t really give other schools much thought because I knew I was going to Wallace State after I graduated. I just knew I had found my school,” said Maldonado. “When I first mentioned the book club idea to Mrs. Kristen Holmes, she immediately showed support and encouragement. I feel like it’s so easy to build a connection with anyone here on campus and I love that everyone is so supportive.”  

Maldonado said she is excited for the future of Books & Banter and hopes for continued growth. She said she encourages every Wallace State student to swing by Room 504 of the Wallace State Library for a meeting.   

“I am excited for the community that we are building on campus. It has only been a month, but I have already bonded with people who I consider friends because of this book club,” said Maldonado. “Just join because you never know what you will miss out on if you don’t try. Everyone who joins the club loves books, so we already have that in common! Give it a try, you won’t regret it.”

For more information about Books & Banter, contact club sponsor and Wallace State English instructor Katie McGee at 205-762-0625 or katie.mcgee@wallacestate.edu.