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Pittsburg State University Alumni & Constituent Relations has partnered with Axe Library to create the Gorilla Alumni Book Club for alumni and friends.

Join our virtual book club to connect with fellow Gorillas while enjoying books authored by PSU alumni. The Gorilla Alumni Book Club connects members with a private forum where all participants can discuss the current book and network with one another. The group will read one book every two months, so readers have plenty of time for each book. Participation is free – you just need a copy of the book to enjoy!

How it works:

  1. Sign up for the Gorilla Alumni Book Club.
  2. Join the Gorilla Alumni Book Club Facebook group. This is where members will participate in weekly discussion questions regarding the books. Members can participate as much or as little as they like.
  3. Purchase or borrow the book from your local library. Axe Library will house copies of the selected book.

Frequently asked questions:

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

We plan for the group to read one book every six weeks. The books selected cover a range of genres and length. The maximum amount of pages to read in a week is approximately 60 pages, and at times, this number will be much lower. If you have between one to two hours a week to read and participate, you should be fine.

Will there be any in-person meetings for the book club?

The book club will mostly be virtual and online. At the end of some of the books, we plan to welcome members to campus to have an open discussion and enjoy coffee and other beverages. When these occur, we will do our best to live stream the discussion to the Facebook group to keep everyone involved. However, the goal of this group is to allow participation from anywhere you have internet access.

Is there any cost to participate?

Participation is free! You just need a copy of the book to enjoy.

How do I get the books?

Members can purchase the book or borrow the book from local libraries.

How do book club discussions work?

The book club will have a moderator from Axe Library who manages the Facebook group where discussions occur online. The moderator will pose questions to the group and facilitate conversation about topics in the book. Members will be encouraged to post, share, and discuss as well. The Facebook group allows for ongoing conversation and makes it easy for readers to connect with each other online.

What if I am unable to participate in a week's discussion?

Real life happens and we understand that. The benefit of a virtual book club is that you can go back and see what you missed, as well as further add to the discussion. The discussion does not stop, so feel free to contribute at any time! Just be aware if you have not finished reading the weekly portion, there might be spoilers.

I've already signed up. How do I log in?

If you have already signed up, click here to join the Facebook group. 


Contact Danielle Driskill, Assistant Director of Alumni & Constituent Relations, at ddriskill@pittstate.edu or Ruth Monnier, Learning Outreach Librarian and Assistant Professor, at rmonnier@pittstate.edu.

Happy Reading, and Go Pitt State!

Current Book:

A Parting Glass by Tess Banion (BSEd ’73, MSEd ’76) is our sixth reading and will begin October 7, 2020.

Bio: Tess Banion began her storytelling career at age two. It took a few years and a couple of Master’s degrees to finally find her calling. She grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, in a Catholic family of five children, a sweet mother and a father who left the earth at an early age. She attended both parochial and public schools, preferring public schools. Through the years she made friends, found love and started a family, worked as an advocate for the hungry and migrant workers and toiled in partisan politics, finally making a match with the joy of words. She has partnered to raise two beautiful humans and helped sustain a marriage of 38 years. Her book, A Parting Glass, is a story of hope and redemption culled through the sieve of truth, half-truths and flat-out lies.

Synopsis: Meet Elizabeth. She’s unruly—the kind of child you’d find playing in a train yard, or climbing trees. She has a secret, a hidden place where she stashes found objects and hides from scary monsters. 

An eleven-year-old with uneven bangs and a grand imagination, Elizabeth sees the world as she needs it to be and makes the real unreal—a proper skill to have when born into a family cursed with hard realities. She hopes to reach the age of twelve and leave Catholic school and her nemesis Sister Mary Paul behind. But before that can happen, she needs to make a change in her world.

With the aid of her brothers and sister, Elizabeth fights monsters, real and imagined, in a small Kansas town in the 1950’s. Her world revolves around her family—a sweet mother, and a brutal father who is shaped and defined by childhood diabetes. Elizabeth sees Sister Mary Paul and her father as two distinct monsters who are tethered together with a long rope that extends for miles. If one appeared she knew for sure the other was just around the corner, lurking. The only place to hide is in her make-believe world where she finds a unique way to deal with monsters, and a path to freedom. 

An adventure with a surprising twist, A Parting Glass is a tale of resilience and hope.

In homes where violence is a daily occurrence, or at the very least an expectation, children can develop symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD.  A disorder that can result in symptoms of detachment from reality. When Elizabeth flashes back to a moment of violence, it is not her but someone very much like her that she is watching; there is a separation between her body, and her essence, a depersonalization. She pulls at her eye lashes, rocks, and remembers. 

 “One of those rare novels that will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf.”
- James A Cox, The Midwest Book Review


  • October 7: Chapters 1-5
  • October 14: Chapters 6-9
  • October 21: Chapters 10-14
  • October 28: Chapters 15-18
  • November 4: Chapters 19-22
  • November 11: Chapters 23-29

A Parting Glass

Amazon     Barnes & Noble    Anamcara Press LLC

During COVID-19, many independent bookstores are providing delivery and curbside pick-up. Check with your local bookstores today!

Upcoming Books:

Previous Book Club Reads:

Questions? Contact PSU Alumni & Constituent Relations

Phone: 620-235-4758    
Toll Free: 877-PSU-ALUM
Fax: 620-235-4949
Email: alumni@pittstate.edu

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