Reading is a medium that just about all people are able to enjoy in one way or another. The students of SUNY New Paltz are no exception to that.
When first-year history major Abigail Petteys came to New Paltz and looked for a club to be able to express her love of reading, she was shocked to find that there was no book club on campus that encompassed all genres of books.
She then set out to start one of New Paltz’s newest clubs “Long Story Short Book Club.” She is now their founding member and president.
A quick search on Engage, the club and activity directory that the university uses, for “book club” shows that there are only two clubs that refer to themselves as such: “Communication Disorders Book Club” and the “SUNY New Paltz Fantasy Book Club.” These clubs offer a place for people interested in those genres of writing to meet.
Petteys wanted something broader so she came up with the tagline “For all readers. For all stories,” to cultivate a more inclusive environment for readers.
“‘For all readers’ really encompasses the aspect that can be at any reading level and join us,” Petteys said. “You do not have to be slamming four books a week to come join. If you haven’t read since middle school that’s why we’re here.”
“‘For all stories’ shows that we’re making a conscious effort to read stories that are from characters or authors that are queer, disabled people of color, and also stories that are translated from other countries, which is also really important,” said Petteys. “That’s another aspect of literature that really gets overlooked sometimes.”
She does not fail to acknowledge the fact that reading is something that needs to be kept up with. “Reading is definitely something that you have to stick with for a really long time,” Petteys said. “A lot of times people fall off of reading like me. I did not read in high school.”
Long Story Short is taking measures to actively include people of any reading level so those just getting back into reading can have a space to do so.
The club is not yet recognized by the Student Association but has been working to be affiliated with the school by the spring 2023 semester.
“The way that it works is I curate, so everybody sends me genres that they’re interested in reading and genres that they’re not interested in reading,” Petteys said. “ I chose four books, and then the people will vote on them because it’s a democracy and I want to hear what the people want to read.”
After they have chosen what book the club will read, they then set a target for everyone to read by the next meeting. Depending on the length of the book, they may choose to read a quarter, or even a half of the book to read and discuss at their next meeting. The club has no set meeting time and place as they are not yet recognized by the university. However, their Instagram, @longstoryshortbookclubnp, will announce meeting information as it is released. Check there for updates in the future as they look to be recognized in the spring!