Learn more about our upcoming Celebration of Literary Discussion!
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Houston Great Books Newsletter

Celebration of Literary Discussion
Gulf Coast Reads
Award Alert
Museum of Fine Arts Book Club Tour
Great Books at UT
Spotlight on Discussion Groups
Find us Online
Donate Today

Houston Great Books presents

A Celebration of Literary Discussion

Workshops and Discussions All Day Long
Open to the Public
Options for Beginners and Experts Alike
This is our biggest event ever!


Saturday, October 17
Bayou Bend, Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor Center
6003 Memorial Drive at Westcott Street, Houston, Texas 77007

Meet and greet begins at 9:30 am, sessions are at 10:15 am, 1 pm, and 2:45 pm.
Lunch will be provided to those who RSVP.

Discussions and Workshops Include:
Short Stories with Gulf Coast Reads
How to Include Philosophy in Discussion Groups
Shared Inquiry Beginner's Workshop
Reading the Classics: Choosing Works from Great Books Anthologies
Storms in the Decameron, partnering with Gulf Coast Reads
Comics in Literature

Go to our webpage to sign up today: 


Gulf Coast Reads
for October is reading
The Promise by Ann Weisgarber

Gulf Coast Reads is an annual regional reading initiative focused on promoting the simultaneous reading or listening to a selected title by those living along the upper Texas Gulf Coast. They hold an extensive range of events during the month of October for their selected title.

Houston Great Books has worked closely with Gulf Coast Reads, and we encourage people to participate. Please check out their website for events:
gulfcoastreads.org and click on their events button.

The Clear Lake Great Books Group will be discussing this book on Thursday, October 22, 7pm, at the Freeman Branch Library. To learn more about this group, to go 

For our Celebration of Literary Discussions, we will be having two different discussions on short works with similar themes (please see above).


Award Alert
Literacy Advance of Houston had awarded our very own Frances Leland their Volunteer of the Year. Her discussion group with them has been on our website and featured in our previous newsletter. Frances is an amazing volunteer, and we are so happy to see her win this recognition!

You can find out more at www.literacyadvance.org

Museum of Fine Arts Book Club Tour
The Fall 2015 selection is An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine. It was the finalist/shortlisted in 2014 for National Book Award for Fiction, National Book Critics Circle Awards, PEN Open Book Awards, and Editor's Pick for World Literature Today.

Tours related to Rabith Alameddine's An Unnecessary Woman are available between September 1 and December 31 on specific days and times, to groups of six people or more. Go to www.mfah.org/programs-for/adults/mfah-book-club for more information.

Houston Great Books will put together another event for individuals, especially since the last book club tour on All the Light We Cannot See this past summer was such a success. Be on the lookout for future emails on this!

Great Books Gains Foothold at UT 
by Kent Guida

A Great Books program for undergraduates at University of Texas at Austin is gaining enthusiastic acceptance from students under the banner of the 
Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas.
Philanthropists, alumni and Great Books supporters in Houston heard Lorraine and Thomas Pangle, co-directors of  the Center and professors of Government, describe their breakthrough program at a Hess Club reception in June.
Lorraine Pangle stressed the aims of the Center’s Great Books approach to the humanities: providing models of great thinkers, learning how to understand and examine claims about right and wrong, and taking part in the continuing conversation about the great questions that face every generation. In short, a program make better citizens through cultivating both the intellectual and moral virtues – especially practical wisdom, the skill citizens need most to participate in public life.
Tom Pangle outlined the ways in which all undergraduates can participate. 
The Certificate Program in Core Texts and Ideas provides an integrated path through UT’s core curriculum and allows them that to acquire most of their required credits through Great Books courses. Enrollment is open to students at any point in their undergraduate career.  The program has been popular with liberal arts majors, but was not attracting many students from other disciplines. Upperclassmen outside liberal arts liked the idea, but thought they couldn’t afford the time.
To broaden the appeal, two years ago the Center created the flagship 
Jefferson Scholars Program, offered to incoming freshmen. It is the same six courses, but by starting as a freshman, the student could complete all the courses in their first two years, before becoming immersed in time-consuming professional courses. The hope was the program might attract some majors from other fields.
“We were hoping for maybe 60 applicants, and ultimately 30 students, but we got 450 applicants,” Pangle said. “By scrambling to meet the demand, we were able to admit 65 students. The students love it, and best of all, three quarters of them are not in liberal arts – we’ve finally broken through to students in business, engineering and the sciences. For the fall of 2015, we’re expecting a class of about 120, and for the next year, 150.”
And the Jefferson Scholars program includes a variety of programs and events designed to create close-knit community of learning among the students and faculty – lunches, book clubs, outings, prizes and mentor programs. 
“We wanted an atmosphere where students would form the habit of continuing their discussions outside of class, and this is happening now,” Pangle added.  
If you know high school students planning to attend UT Austin, you should tell them about the Jefferson Center. It is a great opportunity for them to embark on a Great Books education while they meet their core requirements. And, as you know from the HGBC experience, it may change their lives.

Pangle co-director of The Thomas Jefferson Center, tells Houston audience about the success of UT’s Great Books program.

Spotlight on Discussion Groups:
Connie Tells Us About Her Schedule

by Connie Lewis

I have regularly attended Monday night Central Market for more than 10 years. The books decided upon are choices that have been suggested and voted on by core members. The options are often the classics and some currently produced literature, which, if hadn't been presented, I may not have picked up to read. This has been a great way for me to broaden my reading experience. You can find out more about this group at 

My second regularly attended book club is Monumental. Book suggestions must be at least 350 pages. Since it meets quarterly, this club allows me to read the bigger books that my schedule cannot manage in one month. There is always a great selection of eclectic books chosen. You can find out more about this group at www.houstongreatbooks.net/monumental.

My third regularly attended club is the Life & Times, which meets once a month. We focus on one author at a time. Currently, we are reading James Joyce and have finished The Dubliners, Portrait of an Artist, Ulysses and currently are working our way through Finnegans Wake. After 4 years, we have just finished book one, with a great sense of accomplishment. You can find out more about this group at www.houstongreatbooks.net/life-and-times.

I always look at what other groups are reading, in case I can squeeze in one more book club discussion. Reading books is a passion, but it is the discussions that make the experience memorable!

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WendyReadsBooks is a blog dedicated to book groups. Wendy writes reviews on books with a focus on its discussability. For all recommended titles, Wendy also includes discussion questions. You can sign up for the blog at wendyreadsbooks.wordpress.com which will send you updates to the blog through email. You can follow her blog as well on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wendyreadsbooks.
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