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Reading Women: 100 Books & Countless Memories

Category: Fraternity

Andrea Brown Kleekamp

Delta Eta, Kansas State

I can still remember the excitement I felt when I saw the announcement for Reading Women. A Facebook group that combined my love of Theta sisterhood with my love of reading? What could be better? In May 2020, I had the opportunity to take over leadership of the group. Of all the volunteer roles I've held for Theta, this is my favorite. It has been such an honor to lead a group consisting of more than 1,900 members, and we continue to grow in numbers and experience.

The core of the Reading Women group is the monthly discussion that takes place on the second Wednesday evening of each month. The discussions are only 30 minutes, and while the time can feel too short given the robust chatter, it's also the perfect amount of time to easily fit into any evening schedule to provide that a boost of sisterhood and reading. Most of those who join are sisters I've never met in person, but I feel that connection across the miles as we reflect and converse on what we've all read together. There is no obligation to join every month, and the group eagerly welcomes all. Long ago, I was even nervous to join the live discussions. Once I finally did (thanks to a nudge from a Theta sister), I was immediately hooked, and this time each month is now a highlight for me. The group also has members who read along independently, as well as others who discuss the books in-person or virtually on their own set times.

We have an exciting list set for 2023, and I'm especially excited as we approach our 100th book together. Over the years, we've read a variety of books in a variety of genres and many by Theta authors. We've even been able to have these sisters join for some of these discussions. In selecting the book that would take the milestone spot, a Theta author seemed fitting. Our 100th book will be Twice a Daughter: A Search for Identity, Family, and Belonging by Julie Ryan McGue, Beta/Indiana. It's so special that we're not only reading a Theta author, but a book sharing that sister's life story. We also have two additional Theta author selections set for 2023, in addition to nine other outstanding books.

It is truly incredible to look at what we’ve read since the group started in 2013. Many of these books I would have never picked up on my own, and I am better for how my reading palate has expanded. I also love the built-in opportunity each month to talk books, and I love reviewing the answers to the group’s discussion questions. My reading and love for Theta continues to be enriched by Reading Women. I am so grateful for sisters who share my love of reading, the space in which we can share that hobby with one another, and I cannot wait to see where else Reading Women can go.

To join the Reading Women Book Club, visit the Reading Women Facebook group.