The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Raider Reads: A New Club for an Old Pastime

This semester marks the launch of Raider Reads, a new student-led book club at Colgate University. The club held its first meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 8 p.m. in the O’Connor Campus Center (the Coop), and will be holding biweekly meetings on the same day and time throughout the semester. Colgate thus adds a new activity to its myriad of extracurricular options that is simultaneously ancient and, in the frenzied epoch of modern college schedules, revolutionary: reading for relaxation, pleasure and social connection.

Sophomore Riley Taylor, the club’s founder and president, sought to join a book club at the Student Involvement Fair in her first year at Colgate. Finding none, she decided to start Raider Reads, beginning the process last fall and launching the club this semester. Riley Taylor, explaining her motivations for starting the club, cited her hope to find fellow book-lovers within the Colgate community.

“I love to read, and if I could read with other people and meet new people that have similar interests, then that would be amazing,” Riley Taylor said.

At a school known for its challenging academics as well as a fairly stereotypical college party culture, Riley Taylor hopes that the club can serve as a social and literary space apart from the more hectic aspects of campus life.

“Everyone calls [Colgate] a work-hard, play-hard school, and this is a space for people who don’t want to be a part of that play-hard community, so we can still have lots of friends and not be going out every weekend,” Riley Taylor said.

Riley Taylor also noted that school textbooks, while very useful for learning, do not hold the same captivating attraction of a book selected independently and for fun.

“When I’m done with a long day of school and I’m in my dorm, I want to open a good book,” Riley Taylor said. “And I think the books we read academically are definitely not things that I would read outside of class, so I would like a book club to have the opportunity to read books as a group that are more entertaining and not just like school.”

The first such book, according to Riley Taylor, will be “Poor Things” by Alisdair Gray, a novel that she described as “a feminist retelling of Frankenstein.” She also hopes for the rest of the club to take an active role in future book selections.

“After that, we’re going to be taking input from the book club,” Riley Taylor said “We want everyone and their genres to be included.”

Riley Taylor is not alone in this mission; she is joined by her younger sister, Peyton Taylor, a first-year and the club’s social media manager. Peyton Taylor expressed hopes similar to those of her sister that the club could include a wide sample of Colgate students.

“We really want to include everybody and we don’t want to just have fun on our own,” Peyton Taylor said. “We want more and more people to sign up and read and really make this a big thing and make fun reading a thing again, like it was in fifth grade.”

Riley Taylor cited her connection to her sister — apart from her love of reading — as another reason why she was so excited to create Raider Reads.

“It’s really fun getting to work with my sister on a project; it means a lot to me,” Riley Taylor said. “She’s really good at the creative side of things.”

The sisters are joined by a committed core of like-minded officers. Sophomores Juliana Hallyburton, Lucy Brewer and Danielle Spyra serve as the club’s vice-president, treasurer and secretary, respectively.

Hallyburton, like the Taylors, wants to create an inclusive club that can spark a love of reading in the greater Colgate student body.

“I want this club to be for those people who really want to start getting into reading, but who maybe are intimidated by it because they have so much reading already for school,” Hallyburton said. “We all want this club to be their introduction back into reading.”

In a digital era where people of all ages are reading and socializing less than previously, Hallyburton also thinks that a book club can serve as a time to take a break from technology’s increasing omnipresence.

“I feel like this club should be a time when people are off their screens and away from their phones and really in a book,” Hallyburton said.

Such sentiments do not, however, imply that the club is totally opposed to technology, as evidenced by the existence of a club Instagram accoun: @colgateraiderreads. The club’s leaders encouraged anyone who is at all interested in the club to follow the account, in the hopes of spreading their passion for reading. Similarly, they provided a list of their personal book recommendations, for those who are unable to make it to club meetings but are looking for new, good books to read.

Current book-lover or not, Raider Reads has a place for everyone who wants to read for fun rather than for class, as well as for those who simply want to take a break from the fast pace of life with a new activity. After all, what better way is there to spend an evening than with a new book and new friends?

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