lifelong learning

UW Alumni Book Club

Personal stories, timely topics, transformative fiction… Let’s dig into some amazing books together! All curious readers are welcome at the UW Alumni Book Club.

Together, we read a book about every two months. Choose just one or all five — whatever works for you.

The free online forum has suggested timelines and prompts for online discussion. Join us for special events that take the conversation to the next level!

“So often we think of reading as a solo activity, but with discussion it improves and elevates the experience.” —Marilyn Conover Watt, ’76, ’81

Now Reading:

“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley

Reading period: Oct. 14–Dec. 16, 2022

We are throwing it back to 1818 — just in time for Halloween! “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus” is an acclaimed gothic novel with elements of both horror and science fiction. Behind the lumbering monsters and dramatic murders, Mary Shelley’s story has a deeply political and philosophical slant. What are the consequences when scientists are not willing to take responsibility for their creations? Who is the real monster here: the irresponsible researcher determined to play God, the strange creature reanimated on stormy November eve, or the society that universally responds to difference with fear and rejection?

“Learn from me… at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge.” —Victor Frankenstein

Get your copy:

UWAA Members save 20% on “Frankenstein.” Use code UWAAFRANK in-store and at 
*Some restrictions apply; visit for full details. Coupon code must be given to cashier to receive discount in-store; non-Pack Rewards members receive a 10% discount with this coupon code. Valid for the Penguin Classics Edition (ISBN 9780141439471) through Dec. 31, 2022, in-store and at

More to explore:

Nancy’s Picks: Diving Deeper into Frankenstein

Nancy Pearl is an American librarian, best-selling author, literary critic, well known speaker and the former Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library.

She is also a legend among librarians. During her time on the faculty at the Information School at UW, Nancy trained new librarians in the art and science of helping patrons find their next good reads. UW Alumni Book Club invited her to recommend some other books after they’d picked up “Frankenstein” this reading period.

The juicy list she compiled offers a few different angles on Mary Shelley’s classic gothic novel. Dig into more spooky stories and early science fiction from the Victorian age. Explore the unconventional lives of the writers, artists and poets of Mary Shelley’s circle. Then discover modern women writers who are taking science fiction in bold new directions, as well!

Meet Nancy Pearl

Book Chat with Sarah Faulkner

Wed. Dec. 7, 2022  |  5 p.m. PDT  |  online

Join the UW Alumni Book Club for a conversation about “Frankenstein” with noted Shelley scholar and UW lecturer Sarah Faulkner, ’20. While a student, Sarah spearheaded the UW Frankenreads celebration, and her studies focus on women writers of the 18th and 19th centuries. She loves helping communities form meaningful connections to and through literature. Get together online with Sarah and your fellow readers to talk about the book!

Meet Sarah Faulkner

Plan Ahead:

Portrait of Ruth Ozeki with "Book of Form and Emptiness" book cover“The Book of Form and Emptiness” by Ruth Ozeki

Reading Period: Jan. 6–Mar. 10, 2023

Booker Prize-finalist Ruth Ozeki brings us “The Book of Form and Emptiness,” a tender and original coming-of-age novel. Thirteen-year-old Benny Oh starts hearing the voices of inanimate objects after his father’s death. The noisy clutter of his mother’s hoarding drives him to take refuge in a local library, where at least the books know how to whisper! This complex, offbeat and magical story will have you thinking about the roots of creativity — and the ways we try to fill the empty spaces in our lives — in all new ways.

2022-2023 Reading List

Free Speech by Jacob Mchangama

Reading Period:
Aug. 5–Oct. 7, 2022

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Reading Period:
Oct. 14–Dec. 16, 2022

The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

Reading Period:
Jan. 6–Mar. 10, 2023

The Half Known Life in search of Paradise by Pico Iyer

Reading Period:
Mar. 18–May 20, 2023

Readers Choice: Favorite Fiction

Reading Period:
May 27–July 29, 2023

2022-2023 UW Alumni Book Club Archive

“Free Speech: A History From Socrates to Social Media” by Jacob Mchangama

We teamed up with our partners at UW Impact to delve into a very timely topic! From the lawyer and human rights advocate who brought us the “Clear and Present Danger” podcast comes “Free Speech: A History From Socrates to Social Media.” This debut book traces the first recorded glimmers of free speech in ancient history. Follow its progress (and setbacks) through conquests, revolutions and changing technology. Why has free speech so often has led to societal panic and brutal backlash throughout the course of history?

“A vivid, highly readable account of how today’s most pitched battles over free speech reflect tensions and impulses that are as old as history itself.”
― Suzanne Nossel

Recorded Event


Share Your Book Ideas!

Have suggestions for upcoming book club titles?
Submit your ideas to our Book Club Suggestion Form.

Check out the books that have already been suggested.

The UW Alumni Book Club is a collaboration between UWAA, the UW Libraries, the University Book Store—and passionate readers like you.

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