Official Student Media of Valencia College

Valencia Voice

Official Student Media of Valencia College

Valencia Voice

Official Student Media of Valencia College

Valencia Voice

Readers Rejoice As Valencia Book Nerds Launch Winter Park Chapter

During the February 27 inaugural meeting, students discussed both “The Sunbearer Trials” by Aiden Thomas and “The Collected Regrets of Clover” by Mikki Brammer. (Kat Johnson)

Valencia Book Nerds is a campus book club uniting students through a shared love for reading and thought-provoking discussion centering around a diverse selection of literature. 

The Book Nerds’ inaugural chapter launched on East Campus in 2015 and is followed by the Winter Park chapter nearly a decade later, which held their first official meeting on Tuesday, Feb 27, 2024.

The Winter Park Book Nerds discuss two different book options at each meeting, giving attendees the freedom to choose the text that resonates most with their interests. Members of the club have access to limited free copies of the selections on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Miranda Scotti, an Emerging Tech Library Specialist at the Winter Park Campus Library, serves as the Winter Park Book Nerds’ Staff Advisor. Working in the library, Scotti was aware that there was a demand for a reading discussion group in Winter Park. She was happy to offer her services as an advisor when the chapter’s founder Sterling Secor decided to make the idea a reality. Scotti credits Secor as the driving force behind the group’s formation stating, “Sterling made it all happen.”

Secor, a Library Assistant at Valencia’s Winter Park Campus, acts as the leader of the Winter Park Book Nerds. On top of organizing the meetings and originating discussion-guiding questions, Secor is the person responsible for selecting the books for the club. So far, Secor’s picks have been crowd-pleasers with Tuesday’s attendees already eager to dig into the selections for March. When it comes to choosing what stories to feature, Secor mindfully hand-picks texts, stating, “I have a list of books, I’m an avid reader myself.”

Assigned readings for the club range in genre, appealing to every kind of reader. To get an idea of the kind of books Valencia College students are interested in, Secor conducted a survey to determine which genres are most popular on campus. Along with curating a collection of books that align with students’ interests, Secor prioritizes highlighting stories that feature themes and characters representing a varied range of cultures, social backgrounds, and lived experiences.

“I try to pick a lot of books with diverse characters,” he said “That’s something that’s really important.”

The value of choosing readings that showcase diverse perspectives was evident in the club’s first meeting on Tuesday where attendees discussed both a young adult fantasy about Mexican gods and the poignant self-discovery story of a death doula. Though very different novels, each presented themes with which group members could identify.

Discussion of this month’s books brought up topics including immigration, LGBTQIA+ representation, class relations, cultural norms, trauma, grief, friendship, isolation, empathy, regret, and more. Students attending the meeting had positive feedback on the selections, with repeated emphasis on the significance of the diversity found in each.

Book Nerds member Amelia Hernandez, 19, read the “Sunbearer Trials” by Aiden Thomas for the February meeting and was impressed by the novel’s depth and inclusivity.

“The representation is amazing,” she said. “I have to loan this book to my friends now.”

Those interested in joining the Winter Park Book Nerds can attend the next meeting on the last Wednesday of March at 1pm in the Winter Park Campus Library. The two titles for the month are “Ninth House” by Leigh Bardugo and “Love & Other Disasters” by Anita Kelly.

To find more information on club activities, meetings, and readings see @BookNerdsWP on Instagram.

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