Books & Beyond brings together a community of readers and writers

Club+Profile

Courtesy of Books & Beyond

Marziya Hasan

Books & Beyond is a new club at Baruch College working to bring together students with like-minded interests in reading and creative writing.

The club, originally called “Readers of Baruch,” became official during spring 2021 and changed its name to Books & Beyond.

Despite her pessimism about the popularity of the club, President Parmjeet Kaur was surprised by the number of people willing to join.

“I didn’t really know anyone since we went into quarantine and I was a freshman so I was really nervous that no one would be interested,” she said. “I put out the idea and got so many people who were interested and from there we just took off.”

Books & Beyond is more than just a book club to its Chair of Outreach Kamilla Sharipova.

“I think it’s a hub for creatives to get their juices flowing, whether it be through reading, scrapbooking, painting/drawing,” Sharipova said. “It’s just there as your comfort club to help you and keep you company in your reading journey.”

With the frustrations of online and in-person learning, the club hopes to be a place of relaxation for those looking to take a break. It wants students to be able to enjoy reading.

“It is very important to us to create a space here at Baruch for recreational reading,” Treasurer Jenny Chu said. “Although students read abundantly already, the majority of the readings are required and not for recreational purposes. By creating this club, it allows students to read recreationally in a structured form.”

Kaur shared a similar sentiment. She explained that it is understandable for students, after reading so much for their classes, to not enjoy reading. Despite this, she hopes to make reading more than an assignment for the club’s members.

“It may seem like a lot of work but sometimes reading can be a form of de-stressing,” Kaur said. “And just entering another world and that’s why we also add in the creative writing part.”

As highlighted in the club’s name, it is not exclusive to readers and writers. It is also open to anyone hoping to find a community and make new friends.

“You can be a student who’s just struggling to find an environment that you want to get to know people in, like a club family…” Anna Lan, a member of the club, said. “There are no necessary expectations for you as a member.”

Like most members, Secretary Alina Li wanted to reconnect with a hobby she loved as a child.

“Personally, I have always loved reading books ever since I was a kid, but I could never find a community with people who also liked to read books and there was never a book club where I could engage in reading with other people,” she said. “It was always my getaway safe place.”

The club has already hosted a couple of events, some of those revolving around creative writing and reading, while others were simply for relaxing and having fun.

“In the event ‘Sincerely Me,’ the members write a letter to our future self,” Chu said. “The purpose of this event was to allow the members to relax and be able to self-reflect both in the present and in the future.”

“The event ‘Rewriting Fairy Tales + Did someone say Meme’ is one of our more creative events,” she added. “The members will be separated into groups and would have to rewrite fairy tale endings using a word generator and creating a meme at the end.”

Vice President Manisha Singla shared future plans for the club.

“Since we started this club during the pandemic,around October 2020, we haven’t had the chance to hold in-person events, but we have a lot planned for when we do get the chance,” she said. “Overall, we aim to go beyond a traditional book club and show that we don’t just read books, we do so much more than that.”