Alumni Book Club

Alumni Book Club

  • Pile of colourful books

Read and connect with your fellow alumni

Join Cambridge alumni for stimulating conversations about our bimonthly book selection. Discussions will be moderated by a dedicated group leader, who will share additional content and ask questions to prompt debate.

Join the Club

A Long Petal of the Sea front cover

May - July 2022

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende's

In the late 1930s, civil war grips Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them desires. Check out a summary and reviews for it here.

Suggested Reading Schedule

  • On May 27th, reply to our Before the Book question and start reading
  • By June 10th, finish reading through Part One, Chapter 3
  • By June 17th, finish reading through Part Two, Chapter 6
  • By June 24th, finish reading through Part Three, Chapter 9
  • By July 8th, finish reading through Part Three, Chapter 11
  • By July 22nd, finish reading the book and comment in our After the Book discussion topic

How are books selected?

Alumni Book Club members vote during each reading period to choose the next book. The selection of books on which you vote is usually based on participants’ interests, member recommendations and Cambridge authors. The very first book in June 2020 was pre-selected to get the group started.

How do I get hold of the books?

Alumni are responsible for sourcing their own books.

Participants can either buy, borrow or download a copy of the chosen book.

Will the book club meet in person?

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.

How do book discussions work?

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. 

How often will books be read and what is the time commitment?

Books will be read 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 if you don’t have time to read one of the books, that’s ok.

Is there a cost to participate?

Participation is free for Cambridge alumni.

Readers are responsible for buying, borrowing or downloading the texts we read.

What if my question isn’t answered here?

Feel free to send an email to contact@alumni.cam.ac.uk and we'd be happy to help.