This semester a new women’s book club has emerged on campus called BooKlub. And instead of discussing the latest New York Times Bestseller or Francis Chan devotional book, these women are talking about one thing – men.
According to BooKlub creator, sophomore Emilie Shannon, BooKlub is based around the book “Crushed” by Jessie Minassian and focuses primarily on developing Godly relationships with men and being content with singleness – the slogan being “How to not be crushed by crushes.”
“In college, especially at Harding, we focus a lot on, ‘I having to find the right person in a certain amount of time’,” Shannon said. “But there’s no need to be anxious about that kind of thing when you can’t really control it, and that is not why God put you on this earth.”
Shannon started BooKlub back in January after she received the book from her mom for Christmas. Shannon said she was originally offended by the gift because she viewed it as a fluffy book for middle school girls. Reluctantly, she decided to give the hot pink book a chance and she was immediately awe-stuck by its powerful and biblical messages.
Coming back to school, Shannon said she had no intentions of starting a book club. Nevertheless, she couldn’t stop talking about the book to all of her friends. Eventually, she decided to invite a bunch of girls on her hall to listen to her read the first chapter. Since then the small group of girls has blossomed into BooKlub and they now meet every Wednesday night to read the next chapter.
“The book club has been amazing,” sophomore Sarah Creeley said. “It’s given me a chance to meet other girls that I wouldn’t have probably met if it wasn’t for this book.”
What was once started as an accident is now a campus wide ministry. BooKlub now consists of three separate small groups, with them all meeting on different nights or times to insure girls with any schedule can attend.
According to Shannon, the growth of BooKlub has even motivated her to start setting short and long term goals for the book club. Her first goal is to help a new BooKlub study start every week. She said this is primarily to ensure that new girls on campus will always have the opportunity to join a group without feeling behind on the readings. Shannon said her hope is that girls will be so moved by the message that they will want to start their own small group with their own friends.
Shannon said her long term goal for is to y have the author come speak on campus. Shannon said she has already contacted the proper channels and is in the beginning stages of seeing if her dream is possible.
“I’ve realized that I can’t do everything to improve everyone, but through this at least I can help the girls on campus who are willing to be helped or willing to listen,” Shannon said. “If you can change the girls at Harding – change their mindset and perspectives on relationships – then you’ve won half the battle.”
Sophomore Haley Costello is one of the founding members of BooKlub and is the individual responsible for creating the BooKlub Facebook group. Costello said she created the group to help improve communication and organization. However, the girls have also been using the site to invite friends to join the study and the group currently has 44 members. Costello said that BooKlub is open to all women on campus..
“BooKlub has made us realize that, wow, we are more similar than we thought,” said Costello. “And it’s a good way to create friendships.”