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Great Books Discussion Group

The Great Books Discussion Group

meets at the Keene Public Library
September through June

Welcome to the 30th year of our local Great Books discussion group!


The group meets at the Keene Public Library (60 Winter St) in the Trustees' Room on the second floor, which is accessible by elevator or stairway. Meetings are on Thursdays, starting at 6:30 pm and ending about 8:00 pm (no later than 8:30).   

Is NOT:     ... teaching    
                ... lecturing          
                ... imparting facts         
                ... forcing consensus        
                ... accepting authority      
But IS:     ... exploring
               ... questioning
               ... examing ideas
               ... inviting participation
               ... honoring diverse opinion

blue bullet A schedule of meeting dates and readings is below.  We take turns acting as discussion facilitator. Copies of the reading schedule are available at the library's circulation desk in the Great Books folder.

blue bullet Readings this year will be mainly from two anthologies: The World's Greatest Short Stories, ed. by James Daly (Dover Thrift editions, $4.50).  Order from Toadstool or your book source of choice; and Great Conversations 6 (order number ADU-GC6), published by The Great Books Foundation, $24.95 plus $4.50 for shipping.  Order from The Great Books Foundation, 1-800-222-5870, ext. 2 (weekdays 8 am - 5 pm Central Time).  A phone order usually takes a week to arrive.  You can also order online, or you can fax or mail an order (order forms are available at the circulation desk at the Keene Public Library).  NOTE:  These are the same two anthologies used last year, so discussion group members from 2015-2016 do not need to order new books.

blue bullet Some of the selections, but not all, can readily be found in other books.  Also, the Keene Public Library will have a copy of Great Conversations 6 available for loan. Links are provided below for readings that are available online.

blue bullet If you would like to know more about the Great Books Reading and Discussion Programs in general, please visit their web site at www.greatbooks.org. To find out more about our local discussion group, please call Ardis Osborn at 352-2198. Copies of the reading schedule listed below are available at the library's circulation desk in the Great Books folder.

The group heartily welcomes new people to the discussion group,
and will be glad to answer any questions you have about it.

Hope to see you all on Thursday, September 8, 2016!


Readings with an asterisk are in World's Greatest Short Stories. Others are in Great Conversations 6. Links are provided for readings that can be found online.
Sept. 8, 2016 John Locke, "A Letter Concerning Toleration"
Sept. 22, 2016 H.G. Wells, "The Man Who Could Work Miracles"
Oct. 6, 2016 Alexis de Tocqueville, "Democracy in America" (Xeroxes of this selection will be passed out at an earlier meeting.  The reading is also in Great Conversations 1, which the group used in 2006-2007.)
Oct. 20, 2016 Fitzgerald/Browning, "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam" & "Rabbi Ben Ezra"
Nov. 3, 2016 Francis Bacon, "The New Organon"
Nov. 17, 2016 Mansfield, "Daughters of the Late Colonel" & *"The Garden Party"
Dec. 1, 2016 *D.H. Lawrence, "The Prussian Officer"
Dec. 15, 2016 *Herman Melville, "Bartleby the Scrivener"
March 16, 2017 *Leo Tolstoy, "The Death of Ivan Ilyich"
March 30, 2017 Joshua Reynolds, "Discourse Seven"
Apr. 13, 2017 *Franz Kafka, "A Hunger Artist" & *Jorge Luis Borges, "Borges and I"
Apr. 27, 2017 [Poetry -- to be selected]  
May 11, 2017 *Kawabata, Hemingway & Achebe, "The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket", "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place", & "The Sacrificial Egg"
May 25, 2017 *John Updike, "A&P" & *James Joyce, "Araby"
June 8, 2017 Bring in a poem or prose selection (less than a page) that you find meaningful.  We'll each read our selection aloud and say something briefly about why it was chosen.  The group can discuss questions the selection may pose or comment on its ideas, imagery, language, etc. It's helpful if you can make copies of your reading to pass around.
June 15 or ?? Potluck supper -- we'll vote on a date.

Last updated: 7/30/2015