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Calling All Bibliophiles: Publishing and Writing Grad Students Launch Book Club

Last May, Madison Muschalek, MA ’23 decided to create a book club with a few of her friends just for fun. Since then, the “just for fun” book club has snowballed into 100 students and has served as a touchstone for graduate students spread far and wide.

Madison Muschalek
Madison Muschalek, MA ’23 started a book club for fun and it’s grown to scores of participants.

The Emerson College Book Club came into being when fellow Publishing and Writing graduate student Robin Van Impe, MA ‘23 suggested turning the club into an official student organization so more people could get involved.

“The community aspect is really big, especially for grad students. A lot of people are out of state, and you don’t really have that connection as much as you do in undergrad,” Muschalek said. “Then, of course, the cherry on top is that we get to read books.”

Bailey Barquin
Bailey Barquin, MFA ’24

The club’s social media manager, Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing student Bailey Barquin, MFA ‘24 said, “I really appreciate the book club since I don’t go to school in-person, so just being able to meet new people, make new connections, and talk about books is really fun.”

After a summer of gathering interest and writing a constitution to get the book club approved, they became official in August. September’s pick, Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel, was discussed via Zoom as club members casually discussed ratings, characters, theories, and more.

“We were lucky to have a good amount of people who wanted to do this with us. I was really surprised that we had so much interest,” Van Impe, club vice president, said.

Robin Van Impe
Robin Van Impe, MA ’23

For the October meeting, they decided to host an in-person event as well as Zoom, since several students noted that they would be more inclined to join if it were held in-person.

“I think a book club is better in person … you really connect with people more, but we also had to take into account that … almost half the people who expressed interest live out of state,” Muschalek, club president, said.

Book club treasurer and Writing and Publishing student Emma Struebing, MA’23, said she would like to see authors speak at book club meetings.

Emma Struebing
Emma Struebing, MA ’23

“We just really hope that graduate students find community with this book club and find new friendships, find great books, and find this connection to Emerson,” Muschalek said.

The Book Club will host a Halloween party on Friday, October 28 in the Owens Multipurpose Room at 172 Tremont Street from 7:00-9:00 pm. RSVP online through a Google Doc.

Attendees are encouraged to dress up as their favorite book character, as best costume will win a copy of a future Book Club pick. Those who cannot attend in person are able to send in costume photos for a chance to win. The next book is Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, which will be discussed in-person and via Zoom on Sunday, November 6. The following book will be Michelle Zauner’s Crying in H Mart, with a meeting date yet to be determined.

Emerson graduate students interested in joining the Emerson College Book Club can direct message the club on Instagram @emersonbookclub or email any member of the executive team:,,, or

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