Alumni Book Club

Western University Alumni Book Club

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Book-lovers unite!

Connect with the Western community online to read and discuss a variety of engaging books of genres ranging from novels to memoirs, social justice to personal growth, and more.

Joining the book club is completely free and exclusive to Western Alumni and Friends.

How it works:

Pick up a copy of the book - Western Libraries, Western Bookstore, your library or online to enjoy. Book club members will connect through a private forum where they can discuss the current book and network with each other. We will spend about two months on each book that take an average of nine hours to read cover to cover. If you have between one and two hours a week to read, you can make it happen! Plus, you don’t have to commit to reading every book—we’re not grading you.

Current Reading Period: January 5 – March 8, 2024

Daughters of the Deer  by Danielle Daniel

daughters of the deer book

In this haunting, groundbreaking, historical novel, Danielle Daniel imagines the lives of her ancestors in the Algonquin territories of the 1600s, a story inspired by her family link to a girl murdered near Trois-Rivières in the early days of French settlement.

Marie, an Algonquin woman of the Weskarini Deer Clan, lost her first husband and her children to an Iroquois raid. In the aftermath of another lethal attack, her chief begs her to remarry for the sake of the clan. Marie is a healer who honours the ways of her people, and Pierre, the green-eyed ex-soldier from France who wants her for his bride, is not the man she would choose. But her people are dwindling, wracked by white men's diseases and nearly starving every winter as the game retreats away from the white settlements. If her chief believes such a marriage will cement their alliance with the French against the Iroquois and the British, she feels she has no choice. Though she does it reluctantly, and with some fear--Marie is trading the memory of the man she loved for a man she doesn't understand at all, and whose devout Catholicism blinds him to the ways of her people.

This beautiful, powerful novel brings to life women who have literally fallen through the cracks of settler histories. Especially Jeanne, the first child born of the new marriage, neither white nor Weskarini, but caught between worlds. As she reaches adolescence, it becomes clear she is two-spirited. In her mother's culture, she would have been considered blessed, her nature a sign of special wisdom. But to the settlers of New France, and even to her own father, Jeanne is unnatural, sinful--a woman to be shunned, and worse.

And so, with the poignant story of Jeanne, Danielle Daniel imagines her way into the heart and mind of a woman at the origin of the long history of violence against Indigenous women and the deliberate, equally violent, disruption of First Nations culture--opening a door long jammed shut, so all of us can enter.

danielle daniel's headshot

DANIELLE DANIEL is a writer and artist, an award-winning author and illustrator — she writes books for children and adults. She has written two novels, Forever Birchwood, a middle grade novel set in her northern hometown and Daughters of the Deer, a historical fiction novel inspired by the lives of her ancestors — an Algonquin woman and a soldier/settler from France, and their first born daughter Jeanne.

Upcoming Read Period: March 9 – May 17, 2024 Jennie’s Boy by Wayne Johnston



Bestselling novelist Wayne Johnston reaches back into his past to bring us a sad, tender and at times extremely funny memoir of his Newfoundland boyhood. For six months between 1966 and 1967, Wayne and his family lived in a wreck of a house across from his grandparents in Goulds, Newfoundland. At seven, Wayne was sickly and skinny, unable to keep food down, plagued with insomnia and a relentless cough that no doctor could diagnose, though they had already removed his tonsils, adenoids and appendix. To the neighbours, he was known as "Jennie's boy," a back-handed salute to his tiny, ferocious mother, who felt judged for Wayne's condition at the same time as worried he might never grow up. Unable to go to school, Wayne spent his days with his witty, religious, deeply eccentric mater¬nal grandmother, Lucy. During these six months of Wayne's childhood, he and Lucy faced two life-or-death crises, and only one of them lived to tell the tale. Jennie's Boy is Wayne's tribute to a family and a community that were simultaneously fiercely protective of him and fed up with having to make allowances for him. His boyhood was full of pain, yes, but also tenderness and Newfoundland wit. By that wit, and through love--often expressed in the most unloving ways--Wayne survived.


Wayne Johnston was born and raised in Goulds, Newfoundland. After a brief stint in pre-Med, Wayne obtained a BA in English from Memorial University. He worked as a reporter for the St. John's Daily News before deciding to devote himself full-time to writing.

Joining the alumni book club is the perfect way to stay connected with Western, the friends you’ve made, and learn something new at the same time. All this on your own timeline and from the comfort of your home!

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