Skip to main content

Cowan-Blakley Literary Society - A Book Club

The Cowan-Blakley Literary Society provides space for the U-Dallas community to connect over reading. We hope you will join us for some fun, fellowship, and lively discussion.

Welcome to the Cowan-Blakley Literary Society


In December 2016, the Cowan-Blakley Memorial Library launched a book club for the University of Dallas community on the premise that reading enriches life and improves our capacity to see the world through the eyes of another. The vision of the Cowan-Blakely Literary Society is to be a resource that will bring University of Dallas readers together and encourage reading for enrichment and pleasure.

Our reading list includes classics of western literature, contemporary works, popular fiction, non-fiction, short stories, and essays. We read one book each month (longer books may require five weeks) and then meet to discuss it over brown bag lunches or refreshments.


The purpose of the Cowan-Blakley Literary Society is to form connections and encourage the reading of literary classics as well as contemporary works in a social atmosphere.

Selection Criteria

We strive to read as diverse a list each year as possible. The main criteria for inclusion are an interest by the University of Dallas community and the availability of the title.

Title suggestions may be made in advance on the Google shared document.  Reading selections are chosen for a four (4) month period. Voting on the reading choices takes place during a 2 week period prior to the next four-month period with notification of the online poll sent via email.

Note - Please send your email to with "Join the Book Club" in the subject line. This will ensure you receive all voting emails.

Our reading schedule sessions are 4-5 weeks long. The lunch discussions, unless otherwise noted, are held on the 2nd Thursday of the month, from 12-1:00 PM, in the library conference room on the lower level.

A shared Google suggested title list is maintained here with tabs for current and past selections.

  • Please add suggestions to CURRENT tab and include as much information as possible. To make the list manageable, please try to limit your suggestions to 1-4 titles.
  • An email reminder to add suggestions is sent periodically but at least two-three weeks prior to the fourx-month voting poll.
  • Titles not selected for current session may be kept for future possibilities.

A link to the online poll, with all title suggestions, is emailed 2 weeks prior to the next six-month period.

  • It is a multiple choice poll to select the titles for a 4 month period ranking them in order of preference.
  • The voting poll is open for 7 days and a simple majority determines the titles selected.
  • The four titles selected is sent via email and the current and upcoming reading selection is posted on the library digital sign, FlashReport, and Monday notifications.

As a reminder, most of the titles chosen are available through ILL (Interlibrary Loan) - please contact either Charlotte Vandervoort, extension 5282 or Elizabeth Belyeu at extension 4053 for assistance.

Discussions are held in the library conference room from 12-1:00 PM on the 2nd Thursday of the month, unless otherwise stated.

Moderating a discussion is not difficult and we try to rotate moderators to allow everyone to share the experience. Basically, all you need is to have read the book. Think about what the book was about, characters, themes, etc. Start the ball rolling and the discussions take care of themselves. As the moderator, you simply need to try to keep the conversation moving.

Feel passionate about the selected book? Volunteer to moderate the discussion. No experience necessary.