Clare Hall Book Club

All College members and their partners are invited to join the Clare Hall Book Club. We discuss a book every month, and you can come as regularly or as occasionally as you like.

Meetings are on the first Tuesday of each month. Until we can meet without face coverings, we will be holding Book Club meetings online by video conference (Zoom). All those on the Book Club mailing list will receive a link to join each month's Zoom meeting. If you are not on the mailing list and would like to be, please send an email to Katrina Wilkinson, Office Administrator ( putting the following as the email title: I would like to join the Book Club mailing list

Next books for discussion

2 February 2021Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.

2 March 2021Explaining Humans: What Science Can Teach Us about Life, Love and Relationships by Camilla Pang.

About the Book Club

As cosmopolitan as the Fellowship, Clare Hall Book Club discusses books from around the globe – either written in, or translated into, English.

Generally between six and twelve of us turn up to discuss a book. Regulars include Clare Hall Fellows and Emeritus Fellows, graduate students, Life Members who live in Cambridge, partners of Clare Hall members, and friends introduced by Clare Hall members. No two months are the same. Often a new Visiting Fellow, Visiting Fellow’s partner or postdoc walks through the door and brings us another perspective.

We select books two to three months in advance. Typically someone proposes a few options from the literature of a country they know – books that they have read, or books that they wanted to get round to – and we choose from these options. The books may be recent, twentieth century, or much older. In our quest to read something of substance from different cultures, the choice has quite often fallen to a Nobel Prize-winner. Sometimes, for a change, we read non-fiction, such as biography or anthropology. 

Founded in 2003 by Ruth Eppele Dickens, (whose husband Mark Dickens was a Clare Hall PhD student and then Research Fellow) and later run for several years by Rosie Luff and Celia Honeycombe, the Book Club thrives on its constantly evolving membership. One of Clare Hall’s great traditions is to make Visiting Fellows and their families instantly at home. The Book Club provides one facet of that welcome into the Clare Hall community.

- Gillian Moore

Recent books

  • In Praise of Shadows, a 1933 essay on Japanese aesthetics by  Jun’ Ichiro Tanizaki
  • The Concert by Albanian author Ismail Kadare (1992)
  • Out of Place by Edward Said
  • The Plague by Albert Camus
  • The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  • Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Laclos (1782)
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, winner of the 2019 Booker Prize. 
  • Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, 1997
  • L’assomoir (sometimes translated as The Dram Shop or The Drinking Den) by Emile Zola; 1877
  • The Man who was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton (1908)
  • Solaris, the science fiction classic by Stanislaw Lem
  • Everything Flows by Vasily Grossman


Books we have read in recent years