College of Liberal Arts Online Book Club

Read and connect with CLA alumni

Join the online CLA Alumni Book Club to connect with fellow Gophers! In this online community, alumni can connect with each other and enjoy books related to lifelong learning, professional development, social issues and more. There is no cost to participate – just get a copy of the book to enjoy! 

Join the virtual alumni book club


Book cover for "long bright river"

Current Book Discussion

Long Bright River: A Novel by Liz Moore

"Two sisters travel the same streets, though their lives couldn’t be more different. Then one of them goes missing.

In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks on her police beat. They don’t speak anymore, but Mickey never stops worrying about her sibling.

Then Kacey disappears, suddenly, at the same time that a mysterious string of murders begins in Mickey’s district, and Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit–and her sister–before it’s too late.

Alternating its present-day mystery with the story of the sisters’ childhood and adolescence, Long Bright River is at once heart-pounding and heart-wrenching: a gripping suspense novel that is also a moving story of sisters, addiction, and the formidable ties that persist between place, family, and fate."

Book discount: Order from our independent University of Minnesota Bookstore and receive a special 20 percent discount

Why You Should Join

Connect with fellow CLA alumni & friends

Joining the book club will introduce you to CLA alumni and friends across industries, generations and geographies, while accommodating your engagement when and where you are most comfortable.

Be a part of a lifelong learning community

Improve your mind, gain wisdom, keep up with a constantly changing world and nurture a thirst for knowledge through the discussion, reflection and sharing of perspectives with likeminded people in a safe platform.

Reading is good for you

Research has proven that when we read we become mentally stronger.  From improving on focus and concentration, to developing stronger analytical thinking skills, to reducing stress, to reducing the chances of developing Alzheimer's later in life, the health benefits derived from reading are innumerable.

What to Expect Once You Join

Sign-up page

The sign-up page will include a description of how the book club works, answers to frequently asked questions, and information about the first book. The sign-up page will still be open for new participants throughout the year.

Content emails

This book club will be managed by PBC Guru. For each book, PBC Guru sends out emails with content that prompt discussions in the online forum. An email may include a link to a review, article, podcast, Ted Talk, or video. Other specialty emails provide a way to announce the vote for the next book, communicate with discussion leaders, and send out periodic surveys.

Online forum

The online forum is where book club members can introduce themselves, discuss the book and learn from other participants. Participants log in with the username and password that they created during the sign-up process.


How are the books selected?

The first book has been pre-selected in order to get the club up and running. Afterwards, alumni book club members will vote between several options each period and select each book based on participants’ interests.

How often will books be read, what is the time commitment and what are the expectations?

Books will be read every two months. Each book will take an average of six hours to read, so if you have 30 minutes a week to read you’ll do just fine. If members of this virtual community are particularly busy with work, family or other obligations and can't read or finish a book, that’s okay. If you can only read part of a book and contribute a little to the online discussion then that's okay too. The goal of this program is simply to connect CLA alumni through relevant, interesting topics. 

Will there be any in person meetings of the book clubs?

No, the book club will be entirely online. The advantage is you can participate anywhere you have internet access and on days and times that are convenient to you.

Is there any cost to participate? How do I get the books?

Participation is free for CLA alumni! You are responsible only for obtaining a copy of the book - you can either buy, borrow or download a copy of the chosen book. 

How do book discussions work? 

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.

What is PBC Guru and how is it connected to the book club?

Professional Book Club (PBC) Guru helps companies and alumni associations implement and manage professional reading programs. The College of Liberal Arts is teaming up with PBC to help make this alumni program a great experience for all participants.

I still have questions!

We have answers! Feel free to send an email directly to Megan Mehl ( with CLA Alumni Relations and she’ll be happy to help.

Alumni can join the book club at any time and do not have to participate in every reading session. If you have questions please contact Megan Mehl in the CLA Alumni Relations Office at We look forward to reading with you!