Fran Teague is UGA’s answer to Oprah.
The English professor heads the Bulldog Book Club, which is open to faculty, staff and students. Each semester, the club pores through six novels selected by members. The group started when Teague read a surprising factoid.
“There was a survey out in which UGA students said they didn’t read as much as students at other schools, and I just thought that was just nonsense,” she said. “So I thought I’d make a club for people who like to read and see how many people would show up.”
The club is a blue card event for students, which means that they earn some credit for attending. But, as Teague noted, students need to complete 10 blue cards per semester, which they can do by attending lectures or watching movies, both of which require less preparation than the Book Club.
“I would never have asked people to read Beloved by Toni Morrison. Some of their choices are tough, tough novels, but that’s what got the most votes,” Teague said. “That’s what the students and the others wanted to read and talk about it. So who was I to stop them?”
For each book, the club meets twice (on Wednesdays at 1:25 p.m. in the main library and Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m. in the Student Learning Center). There are roughly two weeks between novels.
The club is partnered with UGA Libraries to ensure that each novel they pick is held on reserve. And at least one librarian is present at each meeting. This semester the club read The Tipping Point, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Dracula and Good Omens.
The next book on the list is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (“It’s the controversial one,” Teague said). The club meets April 3 and April 11 to discuss it. Everyone is welcome to attend.