As the weather cools and the leaves turn, you may be looking for an indoor activity to keep warm. The College Park Arts Exchange’s monthly book club provides a warm, virtual community. 

About the College Park Arts Exchange

The College Park Arts Exchange, is a multimedia, non-profit organization for the arts, created to bring people from different neighborhoods, ethnic groups, and generations in College Park together. In its endeavor, the College Park Arts Exchange makes “artistic, cultural, creative, and educational resources available to local residents of all ages and backgrounds, enhancing their quality of life and strengthening relations among the University of Maryland, the City of College Park, public schools, and other community institutions.” The organization offers a variety of resources both in-person and online for adults, such as: Book Club, Soul Line Dancing, and Intro Tap Dancing (all online); as well as Brazilian Dancing and Percussion offered in partnership with Educarté in-person. 

This fall, the College Park Arts Exchange is offering a number of youth programs, including: Youth Orchestra, Youth Band, Youth Choir and Vocetti, Youth Music Traditions, and Chorale. They also offer ballet classes for kids along with several occasional events. 

College Park Arts Exchange makes a concerted effort to offer something for everyone; their events are a great opportunity for residents to meet their neighbors. 

Virtual Book Club 

The College Park Arts Exchange’s Virtual Book Club meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month from 7:00-8:30 p.m. The theme is literary nonfiction by women, though [they] “have been known to read a novel or something by a man”. Previous Book Club favorites have included: “Alex and Me, by Irene Pepperberg (a scientist writes about the amazing parrot she worked with for 28 years); Reading Lolita in Tehran, by


Azar Nafisi (an Iranian professor of English Literature writes about her experience of the Revolution and her belief in the importance of English literature); Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel (an illustrated autobiography, comic book style); and Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi (another “graphic novel” by another Iranian woman)”.

Meetings are generally informal; you are welcome to join if you haven’t completed the book. There is the occasional outing – including trips to see movies such as “Julie and Julia” and “Hidden Figures.” Here is the reading list, along with meeting dates for remainder of the year:

Oct. 18.  The Haunting of Alma Fielding: A True Ghost Story, by Kate Summerscale. 368 pages. 

Nov. 15.  Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets, by Svetlana Alexievich. 496 pages.

Dec. 20.  Without You, There Is No Us: Undercover Among the Sons of North Korea’s Elite, by Suki Kim. 322 pages.

October’s reading, The Haunting of Alma Fielding, is a clever story of the supernatural perfectly suited to the season. The book details London suburbanite Alma Fielding’s search for succor as a poltergeist overruns her home. Read a summary of Kate Summerscale’s novel, written by Ilana Masad, here.  

If you are interested in attending the book club’s October meeting, RSVP by emailing to receive the Zoom link. If you would like to learn more about the College Park Arts Exchange visit their website. For a full list of events, view their calendar here. Sign up for their newsletter here.

Join College Park Arts Exchange’s Virtual Book Club this Fall!