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.

Join the Club

The Age of Innocence book cover

The book we are currently reading, as voted for by our book club member is: The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton.

'They lived in a kind of hieroglyphic world, where the real thing was never said or done or even thought, but only represented by a set of arbitrary signs.' Edith Wharton's most famous novel, written immediately after the end of the First World War, is a brilliantly realised anatomy of New York society in the 1870s, the world in which she grew up, and from which she spent her life escaping. Newland Archer, Wharton's protagonist, charming, tactful, enlightened, is a thorough product of this society; he accepts its standards and abides by its rules but he also recognizes its limitations. His engagement to the impeccable May Welland assures him of a safe and conventional future, until the arrival of May's cousin Ellen Olenska puts all his plans in jeopardy. Independent, free-thinking, scandalously separated from her husband, Ellen forces Archer to question the values and assumptions of his narrow world. As their love for each other grows, Archer has to decide where his ultimate loyalty lies.

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, please email us with the following information.

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

We may feature this in our Books & Learning newsletter, submit it to the QUAD editor (Richard Lofthouse) for review or suggest for our alumni Book Club.

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.