Virtual Alumni Book Clubs-Paideia III

Luther College Alumni, Parents and Friends are invited to join one of our Virtual Alumni Book Clubs (aptly named Paideia III)! The clubs were formed to engage our constituents with faculty emeriti and with one another.

The clubs are free, (You will need to purchase your own book ahead of time at your local book store or online, and you will need a computer capable of joining a Zoom meeting). Each club has a limited enrollment of 40. First-come; first-served.

Book clubs are moderated by volunteer faculty emeriti, Luther staff, and alumni. There are no expectations other than the group will meet at a specified time (for just one hour, or so, per week on Zoom) to discuss a book they have read together. A link to the Zoom meeting will be sent to the 40 participants each week. The book clubs will also have a Facebook group for members of the group (AND ALL OTHERS) to engage with one another and share thoughts and related articles during the days the clubs do not meet. If you are unable to be in the group due to time constraints, or miss the 40 person cutoff, you are invited and encouraged to find the recorded group discussions on the Luther College Virtual Alumni Book Clubs - Paideia III Facebook Page to watch on your own. We record every Zoom meeting and post a link to watch it within a few minutes after the meeting is ended. We want to engage as many alumni and friends in meaningful ways as possible.

Purple HibiscusBook Group #5  Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Fifteen-year-old Kambili's world is circumscribed by the high walls and frangipani trees of her family compound. Her wealthy Catholic father, under whose shadow Kambili lives, while generous and politically active in the community, is repressive and fanatically religious at home. When Nigeria begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili's father sends her and her brother away to stay with their aunt, a University professor, whose house is noisy and full of laughter. There, Kambili and her brother discover a life and love beyond the confines of their father's authority. The visit will lift the silence from their world and, in time, give rise to devotion and defiance that reveal themselves in profound and unexpected ways. This is a book about the promise of freedom; about the blurred lines between childhood and adulthood; between love and hatred, between the old gods and the new.

Alumnae Moderators:
Michele Minske '84, likes reading, reading, reading and her job as a corporate paralegal. She’s a Minnesotan living in Iowa who spends her spare time watching sports and classic television shows.
Marta Williams '19, just returned home from a Fulbright research grant in Bonn, Germany. She is currently keeping busy with medical school applications, nannying, music-making, baking, and lots of reading!

Purple Hibiscus Book Club will meet on Zoom Tuesdays at 5:00 p.m. CST Beginning in September 2020 (September 1, 8, 15, 22, 29).
Register for Purple Hibiscus online here!


How To Be An AntiracistBook Group #4   Black Lives Matter   How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi  (Optional additional books: The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, and Invisible No More by Andrea Ritchie).
A black woman said to her white friends: “I’ll be happy to talk to you about my experience. But do the work first.” This five-week book club is a start to “doing the work,” educating ourselves in order to understand the current movement following the killing of George Floyd and other black Americans. We will devote the first three weeks to our reading of Ibram X. Kendi’s thought provoking How to Be an Antiracist (2019). In the last two weeks participants may choose to read or simply to listen to discussion of two other perspectives: James Baldwin’s classic, The Fire Next Time (1963) and Andrea Ritchie’s Invisible No More (2017), which examines police violence against black women and women of color. 

Professor Emerita of French Ruth Caldwell and Professor Emeritus of Political Science Paul Gardner, will lead this alumni book club... It is open to everyone, regardless of experience. 

Black Lives Matter will meet on Zoom Thursdays at 5:00 p.m. CST Beginning on July 30, (July 30, August 6, 13, 20, 27).
*This book group is FULL and registration has closed.*


Growing Up DecorahBook Group #3   Growing Up Decorah: A Short Story by Peter Ylvisaker '84
Growing Up Decorah
 is not a National Book Award winner and will not make the New York Times best-seller list. Thanks, however, to word-of-mouth and the wonders of social media, this memoir by Luther College graduate Peter Ylvisaker ’84 is generating enough Oneota Valley buzz to warrant a conversation. Ylvisaker, son of Dr. Richard Ylvisaker ’50 and Joanne Ylvisaker moved to Decorah as a toddler in the mid-60s, and stumbled his way through childhood on Leif Erikson Drive and Meadow Court before traveling two small-town blocks to the Luther campus, where he applied himself just enough to earn an English degree. Growing Up Decorah is a coming-of-age story that is equal parts silly, sentimental and tragic. It is also the tale of a town – a magical place that continues to forgive the misdeeds of youth. The book is a very short read. The Zoom meeting will be a one-time opportunity to talk with the author and ask questions about the book and the collection of stories in it. Some of Peter's childhood friends may attend as well! (Note: Growing Up Decorah is published on demand, so can take a few weeks to arrive if ordered online, Dragonfly Books and Agora Arts in Decorah have copies available)

Moderator: Kirk Johnson '82, Associate Director of Alumni Relations (who lives next door to the house on Leif Erikson Drive where Peter grew up!)

Growing Up Decorah will meet on Zoom to discuss the book with the author on two separate occasions, Choose one: Tuesday, July 21 at 5:00 p.m., or Sunday, July 26 at 5:00 p.m. CST
Register for the Growing Up Decorah online here.

A number of Luther College alumni own book stores in the Midwest, and we encourage you to purchase your books from your local book store or one of ours!

Dragonfly Books

Dragonfly Books in Decorah offers discounts for organized reading groups and book clubs. The store is owned by Kate (Nelson) Rattenborg '83.


  Cream and Amber

Cream and Amber, a bookstore in Hopkins, Minnesota, offers discounts to Luther alumni purchasing books for the Virtual Alumni Book Clubs. The store is owned by Luther alumnae Kacey Hruby Wyttenhove '11, and Katie Terhune '11.



Book Club #1 EDUCATED, and Book Club #2 CHINA MEN are completed.

More book club groups and new titles will be available later this summer and fall.