The English Book Club
The English Book Club


As Mark Twain once put it, “a habit cannot be tossed out a window, it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.” We envision our book club’s metaphorical habit stairs as the evershifting stairs of one famous school for witchcraft and wizardry and do not really bother trying to coax anything down that route. We like to think that our habits have served us well, anyway.

#1Who may join our book club

Everyone is welcome! Our club is set up for students who would like to discuss books outside the typical seminar syllabuses and for anyone else interested in reading and discussing English literature. You can join at any time, for any session that interests you. If you like reading and talking in English, we are your club!

#2How we arrange our reading schedule

Each semester’s reading schedule is created by the book club members during a planning session on the second Thursday of April for summer terms and of October for winter terms. Everybody who comes to the planning session can bring along up to three book suggestions for the term and we decide as a group which books will make up our schedule. There are three important rules: all suggested books must be originally written in English, must be stand-alone texts or readable and discussible as stand-alone texts, and should be no longer than about 300 pages. We have not yet broken the first two rules, but we sometimes do break the third rule if there is simply too much excitement about a certain 300+ pages book to dismiss it. There are also some guidelines: we always try to have diversity in authors’ gender and nationalities and we usually mix contemporary novels with classic literature, graphic novels and occasionally non-fiction to create varied reading schedules.

#3What to expect of our discussions

Book club sessions take place on each month’s second Thursday, we meet at Paderborn University’s main campus in the English department’s conference room J4.319 at 6 p.m. For each session, we read the scheduled text in advance, meet up with a little snack and tea and then launch into discussion. There are some well-established routines: the book club member who suggested the scheduled text usually gives a short introduction to it, presenting for example some background information on the author, their oeuvre and the text’s critical acclaim and public success. We then share our first impressions of the text in a quick round of statements. By then, we have typically raised enough interesting points of discussion to last us till about 8 p.m. Of course, discussions work best if everybody has read the entire text, but with seminars and other activities it is only natural that not everybody manages to read everything all the time. If you couldn’t finish a book, you may still join the discussion, but you have to be fine with spoilers coming your way.

#4how we term our club activities

“Discussion”—a discussion is a regular book club session as described above in #3.
“Special”—a special is just like a discussion, only more—well, special. If special occasions coincide with book club dates, we usually plan special discussions, for example a Pride Month Special in June that features LGBTQ+ texts. Or if our reading schedule suggests it, we often plan a special double feature that includes a film adaptation viewing followed by a comparative discussion of both the original novel and the film adaptation.
“Extravaganza”—an extravaganza is even more special than a special because it is a separate event that does not involve any discussion and that may or may not be part of a regular book club session. Reading Week Book Fairs in summer terms and Secret Santa Book Swaps in winter terms are examples of extravangazas that we have organized.

#5How we organize our club activities

This website is used as a landing spot for those interested in joining our club and as a space to document our love for books. The immediate organization of our activities, especially each session’s “double who” (Who is coming? Who wants food?), takes place in a WhatsApp group chat. If you join one of our discussions for the first time, please ask to be added to that group chat.

#6What to do with other questions

Feel free to ask us anything! If you are unsure about something, you can drop us an email to or simply come to one of our sessions. We welcome anybody interested in our club with a smile and tea, so don’t worry about asking questions!