The student-run Oxford Book Club has been holding second hand book fairs for a number of years, offering a diverse range of titles that is conducive both to long, expensive reading lists—and the simple pleasures of browsing and discovery. Now, the Oxford Book Club is looking to extend this element of discovery to an online forum, in the shape of a new website where readers can submit reviews and hold discussions.
Led by a team of three co-editors, Megan Husain, Yashwina Canter, and Victor Ajuwon, a major principle of the new website is that “everyone at some point will have read something—a book, a poem, an essay, or even a sentence—that will have changed them, redefined their perspective, or inspired infectious enthusiasm”. As Megan explains, the focus is not on a highly critical, academic style, but rather a sense of the personal claims people feel towards books.
The Club’s website is already displaying the kind of individuality and idiosyncrasy of personal response that it hopes to promote. Articles include The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-tongue: Why I Have Been Liking Vikings and Making a Poetry of Science: Why Darwin and Shelley Should Have Met, written by Victor. For example, he explains how the ethos of the Oxford Book Club has enabled him to intersect a love of literature with the scientific focus of his Biology degree. Yashwina also points out that many reviewing websites often coordinate specifically with publishing cycles, whereas the Oxford Book Club is more interested in how books can come into our lives at any time, or in any place, and in how we express the impact they have.
New and inclusive, the Oxford Book Club is hoping to attract contributors over the vacation and throughout next term. Anyone interested can get in touch via the Facebook page, www.theoxfordbookclub.com, or by contacting the editors at [email protected].