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Virtual Book Club

Virtual Book Club
The Core Curriculum is one of the most profound intellectual and personal experiences students have at Columbia College.

Core Conversations invites you to join fellow alumni and Columbia faculty in an exciting program that encourages critical reading and thought-provoking discussions characteristic of the Core classroom, from wherever you are and at your own pace. In one to two month long sessions, alumni will read and discuss Core or Core-like texts through this private book club.

There are a couple ways to participate in Core Conversations:

  • Follow along through weekly emails that include a faculty created reading guide and additional inspiration

  • Discuss the book with fellow readers through our private Goodreads forum

join the discussion

Upcoming Session

Please stay tuned for the next Core Conversations class.

Past Sessions

Pat Barker's The Silence of the Girls with Nicole Gervasio GF'12 GF'14 GF'18, Lecturer, Department of English and Comparative Literature

Hamlet, William Shakespeare and Haider, Vishal Bhardwaj with Professor Benjamin VanWagoner

Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric

Boccacio’s Decameron with Associate Dean Martinsen, Maude Meisel, Margo Shohl Rosen and Adjunct Assistant Professor Nancy Workman

To the Lighthouse and Virginia Woolf with Professor Joanna Stalnaker

The Works of James Baldwin with Yujhán Claros, PhD candidate, Department of Classics

The Iliad, Homer with Kate Meng Brassel, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Republic, Plato with Associate Professor Marcus Folch

Julius Caesar and Othello, William Shakespeare with Professor Julie Crawford

Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville with Professor Richard John

Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky with Associate Dean Deborah Martinsen

How to Register

To join the book club, simply fill out this form by providing your name, email address, and class year. Once you sign up, you will receive emails from us throughout the current and future Core Conversations sessions.

Once you have signed up, you also have the option of joining the Core Conversations group on, which has a private discussion forum for members of the group.

  • If you are new to Goodreads, click "Create an Account" and proceed through the provided instructions to create an account.

  • If you have a Goodreads account, sign in and click the “Join Group” button on the Core Conversations page.

In the message box that appears, type your full name and your Columbia College class year so we can verify your Columbia College connection.

If you are not a graduate of Columbia College and would still like to participate as a guest of an alum, include the full name and Columbia College class year of the alumnus with whom you are joining.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m a member of the Goodreads group already. Do I still need to fill out the form to sign up?

If you joined the Goodreads group prior to October 2020, you’re all set! We’ve recently updated the registration process with the new sign up form to make it simpler to join. Joining the Goodreads group is now optional.

Do I need a certain edition or version of the book?

Faculty will likely not require a specific edition, although they may reference page numbers from the edition they are using. If a specific edition is recommended, it will be shared with the group before the session starts.

Do I need to read the entire book by the first session?

No. The reading plans provided assume you have not read any of the book before the first session.

Can non-alumni join?

Yes! Feel free to invite friends, spouses and family members to join you in a Core Conversation experience. Non-alums cannot join on their own, though, as our goal is to maintain the Columbia College connection. When your non-alum clicks the "Join Group" link, they must list the name and class year of their affiliate alumnus/a in the Note section.