About the Wartburg College Book Club

One book is selected for discussion each month within the Wartburg community. All are invited – students, alumni, parents, donors – to join the conversation and learn from other Knights. This community is intended to be an inclusive environment. Topics and opinions discussed each month do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of Wartburg College.

Those who sign up for the bimonthly newsletter will receive book announcements, discussion questions, educational information, highlights from the Facebook group, invitation for virtual events, and more. The Facebook group will host the majority of content and interactions, with daily posts Monday through Friday.

“Parable of the Sower” is the Butlerian odyssey of one woman who is twice as feeling in a world that has become doubly dehumanized. The time is 2025. The place is California, where small walled communities must protect themselves from hordes of desperate scavengers and roaming bands of people addicted to a drug that activates an orgasmic desire to burn, rape, and murder. When one small community is overrun, Lauren Olamina, an 18-year-old black woman with the hereditary train of “hyperempathy”—which causes her to feel others’ pain as her own—sets off on foot along the dangerous coastal highways, moving north into the unknown. Click here to learn more.

Discussion Schedule:
Week of April 6 (off for Easter Monday): Foreword-Chapter 9
Week of April 12: Chapters 10-18
Week of April 19: Chapter 19-end
Tuesday, April 27, 5 p.m. (CST): Virtual book club discussion

Parable of the Sower book cover

Where to find this book:

In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for a Chicago art gallery, is about to pull off a coup, bringing an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDs epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico’s funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico’s little sister. Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago epidemic, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways the AIDS crisis affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. Yale and Fiona’s intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of 80’s and the chaos of the modern world, as both struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster. Click here to read more.

Discussion schedule
This book is divided by years rather than parts or chapters. We will read one-third of the book per week, and I will note which year the chapter ends in and what the final words of that chapter are, along with the page numbers from the first edition of the novel.
Week of May 3: First third of the novel
    Pages 1-133 (Ends in 2015)
    The final sentence of this section reads, “It would take a couple of days.” 
Week of May 10: Second third of the novel
    Pages 134-284 (Ends in 2015)
    The final sentence of this section reads, “Part of her actually meant it.” 
Week of May 17: Final third of the novel
    Pages 285-end
Discusion: May 25, 5 p.m. (CST)

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai book cover

Where to find this book:

Upcoming Reads

  • May 2021: “The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai (Learn more)
  • June 2021: The Kitchen God’s Wife” by Amy Tan (Learn more)