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.

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

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!

Now Reading:

Readers’ Choice:
“Demon Copperhead”
by Barbara Kingsolver

Reading Period: May 24–July 26, 2024

Winner of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize! This fast-paced novel is a modern retelling of “David Copperfield,” set in the Appalachian Mountains. Our young hero braves the modern perils of foster care and derelict schools — all with a bright spark of resourcefulness, a wry sense of humor and a deep love for his rural home.

“I absolutely loved Barbara Kingsolver’s ‘Demon Copperhead,’ an Appalachian retelling of Charles Dickens’s ‘David Copperfield.’ Kingsolver attends to the ecology of the woods and hollows, and the cadences of their language. The result is a novel that looms up around you and seems more real than the world. If you know Dickens, you will love the way Kingsolver reimagines his characters… But if you don’t, the book absolutely stands on its own. Thus, don’t put off reading ‘Demon Copperhead’ until you finally get around to ‘David Copperfield.’ Trust me, it’s OK. Dickens isn’t going anywhere. Your Victorian literature professor from West Virginia said so.

Jesse Oak Taylor, UW Department of English

Get your copy:

UW Alumni Book Club readers can save 20% on “Demon Copperhead.” Use code UWAAKINGSOLVER in-store and at
*Some restrictions apply. Visit for full details. Coupon code must be given to cashier to receive discount in-store. Valid through July 28, 2024, in-store and at

Recorded Author Talk:

Portrait of Barbara KingsolverSAL/on air: Barbara Kingsolver

Recorded event from October 16, 2023

Seattle Arts and Lectures welcomed Kingsolver to Benaroya Hall in 2023 for a discussion of her Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, “Demon Copperhead.” You can listen to the audio from her lecture at the link below. (Podcast length: 1 hour 27 minutes)

Campus Connections:

ADAI Institute

“Demon Copperhead” takes place in a community that is wracked with issues of addiction. The UW’s Addictions, Drug and Alcohol Institute advances research, policy, and practice in order to improve the lives of individuals and communities affected by alcohol and drug use and addiction.

Learn about their research projects and community programs at the ADAI website, via the link below.

UW Champions Program

The lead character in “Demon Copperhead” grows up in the challenging environment of the foster care system. The UW Champions Program was established in 2011 to serve foster care youth and alumni at the UW, and has since expanded to include students who experienced unaccompanied homelessness as youth. Melissa Raap, ’11, shares how she draws on her own experience as the first in her family to attend college to support the students in this program. And Barbara Lord MacLean, ’80, talks with UW Magazine about how she rallies her social circle to give the Champions extra support around the holidays.

Up Next: 

Readers’ Choice:
“Remarkably Bright Creatures”
by Shelby Van Pelt

Reading Period: Aug. 2–Oct. 4, 2024

New York Times Bestseller! Tova, a stubborn widow, is on the cleaning crew of her small town’s aquarium. Marcellus, a snarky octopus, is a keen observer of humanity. Set in Puget Sound, this quirky bestselling novel follows their cross-species friendship as it sends ripples across the community.

2023-2024 Reading List

The Maid book cover

Reading Period:
Aug. 4–Oct. 6

Gilead book cover

Reading Period:
Oct. 13–Dec. 15

Killers of the Flower Moon book cover

Reading Period:
Jan. 5–Mar. 8

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow book cover

Reading Period:
Mar. 15–May 17

Demon Copperhead Book Cover

Reading Period:
May 24–July 26

2023-2024 UW Alumni Book Club Archive

Readers’ Choice:
“The Maid: A Novel”
by Nita Prose

The votes are in and Book Club readers are ready to meet the maid! Molly Gray struggles with social skills. She misreads people’s intentions and is frequently mocked by her co-workers. But no matter — Molly still adores her job working as a maid in a classy, historic hotel. When she finds a famous guest dead in his bed, Molly’s reactions strike the police as a little unusual. Soon, they have targeted her as the lead suspect in their murder investigation! This cozy mystery will have you rooting for our hero through every twist and turn of the plot. 

“A heartwarming mystery with a lovable oddball at its center.”

–Real Simple, UK

The Maid: Campus Connections

Readers’ Choice:
by Marilynne Robinson

Readers’ Choice! Marilynne Robinson, ’77, is one of the world’s premiere fiction writers.  In this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, John Ames, an Iowan preacher with a terminal illness, writes a letter to his young child, chronicling his own life and that of his forefathers. As Ames writes, he captures important moments in history and fleeting experiences of everyday life in a plainspoken but poetic way. This tender, meditative tale explores the accumulation of wisdom and the precious bonds between fathers and sons. 

“’Gilead’ is a beautiful work — demanding, grave and lucid.”

–NYT Book Review

Gilead: Campus Connections

Readers’ Choice:
“Killers of the Flower Moon”
by David Grann

Reading Period: Jan. 5–March 8, 2024

The year is 1921. Oil has been discovered in the Osage territory of Oklahoma, and the Osage are now the wealthiest people per capita in the world. But when more and more tribal members start turning up dead, will the country’s fledgling justice system be able to get to the bottom of the murders? Journalist David Grann presents a true-crime mystery that is engrossing and meticulously researched, and whose shocking revelations still echo into the present day. 

“With the help of contemporary Osage tribe members, Grann illuminates a sickening conspiracy that goes far deeper than those four years of horror. It will sear your soul.”

–The New York Times

Killers of the Flower Moon: Campus Connections

“Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow”
by Gabrielle Zevin

Reading Period: March 15–May 17, 2024

Is this a love story about… video games? Samson and Sadie were childhood pals whose friendship came to an awkward end. They cross paths again as scrappy, creative college students and end up making a blockbuster video game together. However, instant wealth and fame bring all sorts of new challenges to this duo. Much like a video game allows for infinite lives, does real life give our friendships infinite chances to start again? 

“A thoroughly enjoyable novel about friendship — a trip down memory lane for the millennial gamers among us and a manifesto for the art of play.”

–Harvard Review

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: Campus Connections

 Past UW Alumni Book Club Archives

Curious what books we have read before? Use the links below to access our book club archives, which include recorded events and resource lists.

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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