BOOK CLUB

Connect and read with fellow alumni

Join in with thought provoking discussions as we discover the set texts together, moderated by a dedicated group leader who will encourage debate and suggest critical points for analysis.

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'The Frozen River' by James Crowden front cover

The book we are currently reading, as voted for by our book club member is: The Frozen River: Seeking Silence in the Himalaya by James Crowden (Magdalen, 1977).

Goodreads says: 'In 1976 James Crowden left his career in the British army and travelled to Ladakh in the Northern Himalaya, one of the most remote parts of the world. The Frozen River is his extraordinary account of the time he spent there, living alongside the Zangskari people, before the arrival of roads and mass tourism.

James immerses himself in the Zangskari way of life, where meditation and week-long mountain festivals go hand in hand, and silence and solitude are the hallmarks of existence. When butter traders invite James on their journey down the frozen river Leh, he soon realises that this way of living, unchanged for centuries, comes with a very human cost.

In lyrical prose, James captures a crucial moment in time for this Himalayan community. A moment in which their Buddhist practices and traditions are in flux, and the economic pull of a world beyond their valley is increasingly difficult to ignore.'

You can also subscribe to the Books & Learning mailing list to stay up to date on future books and activities.

Are you an alumni author?

If you have written a book which has been published in the last 12 months or is about to be released, and it is available to purchase from Blackwell's bookshop, you can email the editor of QUAD news to consider it for review on our QUAD website, please email Richard Lofthouse with the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Oxford Number (or college/year of matriculation)
  • Title and description of book
  • Date of publication
  • ISBN
  • Link to book on Blackwell's website

Book Club FAQs

Book one is pre-selected to get things going, and afterwards, we’ll vote between several options each period and select each book based on participants’ interests.

You will need either to buy, borrow or download a copy of the texts we select as a group. Readers are responsible for sourcing the texts themselves.

We’ll read a book every two months. If you have on average 30 minutes a week to read you should be fine. There is no required level of participation in group discussions; if don’t have time to read one of the books that's okay. The goal of the club is to make connections with other alumni through reading, so please take it at your own pace.

No, the book club will be entirely online. The advantage of this is that alumni living all over the world can participate, meaning we will get diverse perspectives on the texts we read.

There is no limit to the number of people who can join the book club; the more the merrier!

Participation is free for Oxford alumni. Readers are responsible for buying, borrowing or downloading the texts we read.

Our book club will have a dedicated moderator who manages the forum where discussions occur online. The moderator will pose questions to the group, share relevant articles, and facilitate conversation about topics in the book. Members will be encouraged to post and share as well. This format allows for ongoing conversation and makes it easy for alumni to connect with each other.

Feel free to send an email to enquiries@alumni.ox.ac.uk and we'd be happy to help.