Located in the basement of Sulzberger Hall, WBAR is Barnard College’s freeform campus radio station that launched back in the 1990’s and is now streaming online-only. Every September, WBAR receives an influx of applications and decides which first-years will be taking over their radio room at the break of dawn. Madeleine Martin (BC’27 she/her) and Claire Garvin (BC’27 she/her) are the hosts of one of WBAR’s newest and eclectic shows: Book Club.
Book Club came to be through Martin and Garvin’s shared love of books, music, and crafting of niche Spotify playlists. Every Friday from 6 to 8 a.m, they go on air to discuss a specific literary work and play songs that reflect its themes, characters, and quotes. For their show based on Sally Rooney’s Normal People, they dedicated a handful of songs that appertained to the novel’s famous quote: “I’m not a religious person but I do sometimes think God made you for me.” They most definitely do not shy away from diving in deeper and pride themselves on being keen on details.
Aside from Normal People, Martin and Gavin have discussed The Catcher in The Rye, a set of short stories from prominent authors like James Baldwin and Flannery O’Connor, and even some spooky tales in preparation for Halloween. And while doing so, they’ve spotlighted a variety of Indie artists like Phoebe Bridgers, Big Thief, and Sufjan Stevens. However, they don’t feel tied to the genre, and are planning on highlighting others in the near future. So for all of you with wide-ranging music tastes, don’t worry! This is still the show for you.
“When you read Joan Didion, all of the words start to feel like they’re through this very poetic lens, and when you listen to Joni Mitchell’s lyricism you have such a specific idea of what she was seeing and speaking to,” says Martin. Although not often grouped together, music and literature largely accomplish the same thing: they convey feelings and connect individuals. That’s where their decision to host Book Club stems from. “Art is just everywhere …I think its really cool to see how people relate to two forms of media,” says Gavin. Garvin says that she has always loved connecting different forms of media together as it helps her gain a better understanding of one or the other. That’s what she hopes her and Martin can achieve through Book Club.
Martin and Garvin formed an instant connection over their musical and literary tastes. Now, they look forward to expanding it to the greater Barnumbia community. They want to echo just how interesting multimedia connection is. Additionally, they hope listeners gain new book and music recommendations, while simultaneously finding a newfound sense of community.
Getting up really early on a Friday sounds less than ideal. However, Martin and Garvin are both freshmen— meaning they were bound to get the worst show times. But their sheer passion for the show is definitely worth waking up for.
Book Club is on air every Friday of the semester from 6 to 8 a.m. You can follow them on instagram @wbar.bookclub to learn about the literary works that they’ll be discussing ahead of time. Make sure to tune in!