Virtual Alumni Book Club

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!

“Being in the Winthrop Virtual Alumni Book Club encourages me to read books I might not have been exposed to otherwise. Members vote on upcoming books to read, and the reading pace is realistic with our busy schedules. It is also a treat to attend the virtual author discussions and interact with other alumni through the online community. You are able to participate as much or as little as you like!”

-Pat Plexico Boutwell ’84


Demon CopperheadThe current book is ""Demon Copperhead" by Barbara Kingsolver.

Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, "Demon Copperhead" by Barbara Kingsolver, is the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father's good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities.

The reading period is May 25-July 26. We look forward to reading with you!

Click here to read a summary and reviews for it. Visit the Suggested Reading Schedule so you know the reading milestones we are striving for ahead of time.

Join the Virtual Alumni Book Club by signing up at


2024 Reading Schedule

Below is our reading schedule for 2024, which is a 10-week reading period. This allows members time to read the book, participate in the discussion and choose if they will participate in the next reading selection. 


Book 1: "Take My Hand" by Dolen Perkins-Valdez. Reading period, Jan. 5 - March 8. 
Book 2: "By Her Own Design" by Piper Huguley. Reading period, March 15 - May 17.
Book 3: "Demon Copperhead" by Barbara Kingsolver. Reading period, May 24 - July 26.
Book 4: Reading period, Aug. 2 - Oct. 4.
Book 5: Reading period, Oct. 11 - Dec. 13.


How It Works

Winthrop has partnered with PBC Guru to manage our book club. PBC Guru manages professional book clubs for companies and alumni associations and will be moderating the group to help make this program a great experience for all participants.

Members will connect through a private online forum where people can discuss the current book and network with each other. Joining the book club is completely free for alumni and friends. You are responsible for obtaining your own copy of each book. The group will spend two months on each book, so you'll have plenty of time to read.  There will be five books throughout the year and you can join or leave any book discussion you like.


Why You Should Join

Connect with fellow Winthrop alumni & friends

Joining the book club will introduce you to Winthrop 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.


Voting on Book Selections

PBC Guru will provide 3 book selections that alumni will vote on for each reading period.  Participants are sent a link to vote in the online forum.  Voting occurs about in the first few weeks of the previous reading period to allow 3-4 weeks to obtain the next book.


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 E-mails

For each book, PBC Guru sends out e-mails with content that prompt discussions in the online forum. An e-mail may include a link to a review, article, podcast, Ted Talk, video, or quote. Other specialty e-mails 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.


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 the Winthrop Alumni Association at  We look forward to reading with you!