Alumni Book Club

Alumni Book Club

  • Pile of colourful books

Read and connect with your fellow alumni

Join fellow Cambridge alumni in stimulating discussions 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

Hamnet front cover

August - October 2021

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

Drawing on Maggie O'Farrell's long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare's most enigmatic play, Hamnet is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.

Award-winning author Maggie O'Farrell's new novel breathes full-blooded life into the story of a loss usually consigned to literary footnotes, and provides an unforgettable vindication of Agnes, a woman intriguingly absent from history.

Suggested Reading Schedule

  • By August 19th, finish reading to the chapter beginning with, “There is suddenly nothing so excellent as teaching Latin.”
  • By August 26th, finish reading to the chapter beginning with, “Three heavy knocks t the door of the apartment: boom, boom, boom.”
  • By September 2nd, finish reading to the chapter beginning with, “Eliza’s letter is taken by a lad from a few houses along…”
  • By September 16th, finish reading to the chapter beginning with, “A room. Long and thin, with flags fitted together…”
  • By September 30th, finish reading the book and join us in our End-of-Book Discussion in the Online Forum

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.