The Queer Reader book club at Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews is a community space that Gaby Iori, Epilogue's events and social media manager, wishes she had in high school or college.
Queer Reader, a monthly book club hosted at Epilogue, intends to provide an affirming and accessible space for LGBTQ+ readers to create connections while discussing queer literature.
“Sometimes you don't know how badly you need a community space until one is advertised to you,” Iori said.
She said that Queer Reader was inspired by her desire to create a community space for queer people that didn’t revolve around nightlife.
Molly Hoch, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Biostatistics, said that there’s so much to learn from the experiences of other readers and authors within the LGBTQ+ community.
“If you look at the political climate in the country, in North Carolina more specifically, there's a lot of queer issues that are at the forefront, a lot of issues with trans rights and stuff,” Hoch said. “It's something that you think about all the time, and then to have a space where you're not the only one thinking about it too, I think is an important thing to cultivate.”
A typical meeting will consist of ten minutes of chat, where everyone catches up. The group then moves into basic questions, like if the attendees enjoyed the book. Then, it slowly transitions to a deeper discussion about the assigned literature.
During the first few months of running Queer Reader, Iori said that she prepared a list of thought-provoking discussion questions before each meeting. Although she still prepares for the discussions, she is now more comfortable as host of the book club and lets the conversation flow naturally.
“The great thing about everyone that comes to Queer Reader is that they're all so smart and willing to share their thoughts about whatever we're reading,” Iori said.