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Welcome to Liz’s Lemonade Stand, where the lemons of life are twisted into the sweetest lemonade.

Calling all literate collegians: what have you been reading this summer? If your answer is Facebook posts and Buzzfeed gif pieces, then please do yourself a favor and dive into some literature as soon as you can. Summer provides ample reading time, for bookworms and magazine skimmers alike. Take advantage the extra minutes lazing about in the summer heat and gobble up the pages of that book you’ve been meaning to read since the middle of last semester.

Once you find yourself immersed in the inky wonders of printed characters bringing to life almost tangible worlds, you’re probably going to want to discuss it with someone. That’s right- discuss. Not just talk and have someone listen, but debate and analyze and nerd out. If you find yourself with extra time to snatch up a few pages, chances are your friends do, too. Solution? Summer book club! Unless you’re an English major of some sort, you probably won’t be taking many (if any) literature classes in college. Book club with your buddies is a chill way to get more out of what you read while exercising the skills you learned in high school English classes for getting the most out of your reading. Believe it or not, you may realize you miss it more than you ever thought imaginable!

Starting a book club with your amigos is simple in the age of electronics. Step one: get your friends excited about meeting as a bunch of faux intellectuals and bribe them with the promise of tasty snacks. Step two: make a Facebook page and invite said friends. Set a meeting time and location and you’re almost on your way to overly analytical shenanigans! Now for the crucial part: choosing a book.

The key to a successful book club is reading a great novel. Take into consideration the dynamics of the members within your group. Offer a few titles to choose from and have everyone cast a vote on your Facebook page, but be open to suggestions as well. As a personal suggestion, choose a novel with local ties, to home or your college scene. It’s an easy way to connect to your community. Reading a local author may let you pick up on subtle influences from the area that other readers will miss out on. Try out a book that features you town’s history, or better yet some old tidbits about your school. Getting to know the area you call home beyond face value is as important as establishing ties with people. Even if you don’t plan on staying settled for long, indulging in the local crumb is going to be far more valuable than just coexisting in your temporary home. It’s akin to searching out the best local coffee shop over hitting up the Starbucks nestled between Family Dollar and Walmart.

Found the perfect book, a story to be your guide during leisure time, a narrator in the back of your head as you wander around town? Perfect! It’s time to get sophisticated with your fellow book clubbers. If you want, bring discussion questions found with a quick Google search. Or, if impromptu is more your style, just start discussing your book. Delve into a quote you thought was cool, analyze the symbolism of that mountain, complain about the characters you can’t stand and rave about the ones you adore. Go over the top and be silly or really seriously get into it. This is your book club and no one’s giving you a grade for your enjoyment! The final key to an awesome discussion is a yummy treat- watermelon, leftover Cadbury eggs, s’mores- something to reward your intellectual selves with.

Now what are you waiting for? The summer clock is winding down so get your inner bookworm on!

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the author

Liz Winters is a freshman at Utah State University. She graduated from high school as a full IB Diploma Candidate. Now a member of USU's cross country and track teams, she is as busy and happy as ever. When she’s not running around her college town of Logan, Utah or up a mountain, chances are pretty good she’s either eating peanut butter or playing the flute. You’ll never catch Liz without her water bottle, though she is quite the tea and coffee aficionado (fair trade certified preferred!). Liz has a terminal case of wanderlust, fueled by plans to minor in French. A granola girl at heart, she's planning on majoring in Conservation and Restoration Ecology. Sustainability has blossomed into passion for the planet, and this translates into a love for learning and spreading the sustainable spirit. Liz still doesn't know what she wants to do when she "grows up," but that's just fine because the adventure is all in the journey!

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