Words to live by

Do you remember that thrill of connecting to words on the page (in that huge stack of books) when you were doing your degree? How about those many hours in tutorial or late-night study sessions chatting with classmates and feeling inspired by what you were reading? The Massey University Alumni Book Club is one way you can reignite that magic. No matter where in the world you are, you can join a lively community of book lovers.

We talk to some of our Book Club members about the joys of reading and connecting with fellow alumni. As Gillian White says, “Come join us. There are no wrong thoughts or opinions because we join to expand our minds and cognitive abilities. After all, reading a story is a personal journey so we are never wrong!”

Grant Goodman’s lifelong learning

Now newly retired, I spent my life as a medical laboratory scientist (first half) and as a healthcare consultant in IT (second half). As a lifelong learner, I have graduated with the following from Massey: Grad Diploma in Business, Postgrad Diploma in Business Studies (Management) and an MA in Business Studies (Health Management). Along the way, I also did a BA (Humanities) through TOPNZ.

I love reading widely and often. When the Book Club came up, I joined immediately. I have enjoyed the lively discussions and wide range of alumni who have joined. The first two books have etched their respective presences into me. Big thanks to the lovely moderator and other members. As an interesting aside, my first book club was with three Massey alumni in Wellington in the 1990s – Bronwyn, Pat, and Sharon, thanks for the books, food, and laughs.

Gillian White’s Book Club friends

Hello thinkers, problem solvers, philosophers, critics, book lovers. I joined the Book Club for two reasons:

Firstly, I love books but have no one to discuss them with, which lacks personal satisfaction because I feel I miss out on varying perspectives or in-depth character analysis. This can lead to superficial reading and forgetting about the stories as one moves onto other books.

Secondly, Massey University gave me a second-chance education through the extramural programme. I achieved a BEd and a Dip Soc Sci in Social Sciences. One inspiring lecturer suggested I work with another inspiring professor at the University of Auckland where I achieved a First-Class Hons MA. I was living in Auckland so took up research at the AU Medical School, being invited to complete a PhD at the University of Tasmania Medical School in Community Health. I relate this story to thank Massey University for opening the door.

My connection with my alma mater continued when I joined the staff at Massey Albany and on promotion to Associate Prof moved to the Wellington campus. Later I was invited to the MoH Sultanate of Oman as a full Professor where I acted as a consultant in education and research for eight years.

From membership in Book Club, I feel I am still connected to Massey. I am stimulated by the discussions, I can argue, debate, and learn. This circle of book friends is amazing for one’s mental health and fulfilling the need we all have as scholars to continue contributing. Also, sometimes I stumble across someone I know, and we catch up on each other’s lives.

Michael Green’s lively discussions

I graduated with my BBS in Information Systems many years ago now. While I spend most of my days conducting deep dives to resolve technical issues with computer systems, I have found the broad base of a business degree has helped with the statistics and accounting aspects especially within the large financial company I work for. I live with my family in the lovely suburb of Greenwich in London. This has proved a wonderful base for taking many enjoyable European road trips. 

When I joined the Massey Alumni Book Club, I didn’t know what to expect not having been in one before. Would the members be welcoming? What if I don’t like the book chosen to read? Will I be able to use the format to convey my ideas to the group? I needn’t have worried. The group is a friendly welcoming community that encourages members to share their views and ideas as we work our way through the chosen books. What I really value is when members contribute their experiences and offer related references such as other authors, books, and interviews, which also contributes to the value of the exchanges. 

 We all see different things in the book and that is what I value and love. My perspective of the book is greatly enhanced by the contributions of the other members. My hope is for more people to make contributions, which will enrich the reading experience for the group even more.

Stuart MacPherson’s global network

Coming from a working life in industrial engineering and manufacturing, as a mature student at Massey (loved every minute of it), I completed a BFA in 2012 and an MFA in 2015 proudly with honours at Whiti o Rehua School of Art, College of Creative Arts. The combination of my work experience and art studies led me to having success in sculpture and painting commissions [Stuart’s photo shows his sculpture ‘Coupled’, which won an award at the Richard T Nelson sculpture awards June last year].

I miss the Massey campus, the people, discourse, and the buzz!

The Massey Alumni Book Club for me (first time in a book club) put me right back in my student days, with the bonus of interacting globally with members from various academic disciplines.



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