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"Friends of Eastcliff" logo.

U's first couple lead new book club

By University News Service

From eNews, May 13, 2004

Want to know what University of Minnesota president Bob Bruininks and his wife, Susan Hagstrum, are reading? Join their new book club and you'll find out. The Friends of Eastcliff Book Club will hold its first gathering on Tuesday, May 25, at Eastcliff--the historic home of the president and his family. The book club was created by the Friends of Eastcliff to promote the sharing of literature and to showcase University of Minnesota authors-faculty, staff, alumni, or others with strong connections to the University. For its inaugural discussion, the book club is reading Saul and Patsy by Charles Baxter, an adjunct professor of creative writing. Friends of Eastcliff is a volunteer group that raises funds to maintain, enhance, and preserve Eastcliff, which was built in 1922 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. "We want to feature Eastcliff as a location for engaging intellectual discussions and a gathering place where faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the public can come and feel a sense of community," says Hagstrum. Eastcliff already plays host to more than 100 dinners, receptions, and award ceremonies each year. Although book clubs have gained popularity in recent years, Hagstrum says she understands that it may not be easy for some people to find time to join such a club, let alone to read for leisure. But if you can make time, a book club is a worthwhile venture, she says. "Bob and I love to read," says Hagstrum. "And we always find time to read, and not just reading related to work." Hagstrum enjoys discussing books she's read because it allows her to see the book with new eyes or from a different perspective. "A discussion can often deepen the meaning a book has for me and change how it impacts my life," she says. Hagstrum and Bruininks will lead the discussion on May 25 at 7 p.m. with Baxter, who earned a Minnesota Book Award nomination for Saul and Patsy. You can participate in this discussion and others throughout the year by joining the Friends of Eastcliff Book Club for an annual membership of $100 (single person) or $150 (couple). If you join now and wish to be part of the first event, you will receive a free copy of Saul and Patsy. To learn more about the book club or the Friends of Eastcliff, see For more information about Eastcliff, the historic home, see

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