A Novel Idea - Alumni and Friends Book Club

At Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, learning doesn't end when your diploma arrives in the mail. We are a community of lifelong learners, who continue to wonder, inquire, and grow beyond the classroom. A Novel Idea is a virtual book club for alumni and friends of Saint Mary's. An opportunity to enjoy and discuss books with your peers.

You can chat, participate, and add comments and questions on our private discussion boards. Join from your home or on the go. There's no cost to participate and discussions will take place on Goodreads. A virtual gathering/discussion will take place at the end of each reading period.

register for Summer 2022 Discussion August 16

register on goodreadS

Attendee List

OUR CURRENT BOOK -11/22/63 by Stephen King

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King’s heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination—a thousand page tour de force. Following his massively successful novel Under the Dome, King sweeps readers back in time to another moment—a real life moment—when everything went wrong: the JFK assassination. And he introduces readers to a character who has the power to change the course of history.

Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk. Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.



What books will be chosen for A Novel Idea?
Selected books will vary in topic/theme. Nonfiction and fiction books will be considered, and final picks will reflect the varied interests of our Saint Mary’s community. We will read 3-4 books per year. The book will be selected by participants through a survey which will be available through Goodreads and will be announced 6-8 weeks before the online discussions begin.

How do I participate/register?
First, we ask that you register with us using the button above.

Then you can simply register online at Goodreads so we are aware you are reading the book. Once you register, you are welcome to participate in optional discussions in our A Novel Idea group on Goodreads and you will be emailed a Zoom virtual event link to participate in our recap of the book discussion.

There is no formal time commitment for the book club. You can spend as much or as little time participating as you would like. We won’t cause a guilt trip if you don’t finish the book on time—and certainly no quizzes or forcing you to share any opinions or perspectives on the book if you would rather just read.

How does a virtual discussion work?
Once you’re a member of the Saint Mary’s Book Club group, you’ll be able to participate by commenting, posing questions to your fellow readers, and reacting to others' comments. The book club moderators will help lead discussions, but all are welcome to chime in with their own questions and takeaways from the book.

Is there a cost to participate?
There is no cost to participate, but registrants will be responsible for obtaining the book on their own.

How do I obtain a copy of the book?
We invite you to purchase the book from wherever you typically shop, and in whatever format you prefer—purchased/loaned hard copy, e-book, or audiobook.

Can non-alumni participate?
Of course! The more, the merrier.

What is Goodreads and how will it be used?
Goodreads is a third-party online community of readers and book lovers. There is no cost to join Goodreads.
Goodreads is not an official partner of the SMUMN Alumni Association; it is simply a free platform to foster group discussions of our books. Participating in Goodreads discussions is optional and not a requirement.

Still have questions? Please email alumni@smumn.edu.