Meets Second Wednesday of the month at 1:30 p.m.  Various literary genres are read and discussed–short stories, novels, poetry, essays.  Sometimes Great Books shows film adaptations in conjunction with Cinema Studies. Most, but not all, selections are from anthologies published by the Great Books Foundation, including Imperfect Ideal: Utopian and Dystopian Visions, Great Conversations 6, Great Conversations 5 and The Seven Deadly Sins Sampler; and The World’s Greatest Short Stories published by Dover Thrift Editions.

Upcoming Events

Past Books


Favorite Poems


  • Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely
  • Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We and E. M. Forster’s The Machine Stops
  • Jennifer Egan’s The Black Box and George Saunder’s Jon
  • Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice
  • William Faulkner’s A Bear Hunt and Alice Munro’s The Bear Came Over the Mountain
  • James Joyce’s The Dead
  • Gustave Flaubert’s A Simple Heart and The Legend of St. Julian Hospitator
  • Franz Kafka’s The Trial
  • Joseph Conrad’s Typhoon
  • Herman Melville’s Billy Budd
  • Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience
  • Washington Irving’s Rip van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow


  • D.H. Lawrence, The Rocking Horse Winner, and Elizabeth Bowen,The Inherited Clock
  • Raymond Carver, Fat, and Xu Xi, Famine
  • Perri Klass, Not a Good Girl, and Nathan Englander, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges
  • Sir Thomas More, Utopia, and Ursula K. Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
  • Wislawa Szymborska, Utopia, and Homer, The Shield of Achilles from The Iliad
  • Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, The Leopard
  • Rebecca Solnit, A Paradise Built in Hell, and Riichi Yokomitsu, Time
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Michel de Montaigne, On the Cannibals
  • Aristotle, Selections from Politics, and Robert Nozick, A Framework for Utopia
  • Augustine, Selections from The City of God, and Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State
  • Members share and discuss favorite poems
  • L. Frank Baum, A Kidnapped Santa Claus
  • E. T. A. Hoffman, The Nutcracker and The Mouse King
  • Willa Cather, The Burglar’s Christmas
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle


  • Virginia Woolf, The Mark on the Wall, and D.H. Lawrence, The Prussian Office
  • James Joyce, Araby; Luigi Pirandello, Mrs. Frola and Mr. Ponza, Her Son-in-Law; Franz Kafka, The Hunger Artist
  • Chinua Achebe, The Sacrificial Egg, and John Updike, A&P
  • Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton, and The Federalist Papers, Nos. 1, 10 and 30
  • William Faulkner, A Rose for Emily, and Flannery O’Connor, Good Country People
  • Edith Wharton, Roman Fever, and Tobias Wolff, Smokers
  • Rudyard Kipling, Mary Postgate, and Margaret Atwood, Hairball
  • Henry James, The Turn of the Screw
  • Anton Chekov, The House with the Mezzanine, and Bobbie Ann Mason, Shiloh
  • Isak Dinesen, Babette’s Feast


  • Karel Capek, R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots)
  • Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence
  • Katherine Mansfield, The Daughters of the Late Colonel
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, Rappaccini’s Daughter
  • George Eliot, The Lifted Veil
  • John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration
  • Mark Twain, The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg
  • Mary McCarthy, My Confession
  • Herman Melville, Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street, and Guy de Maupassant, The Necklace
  • Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich
  • Rudyard Kipling, The Man Who Would Be King, and Catherine Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper
  • Ernest Hemingway, A Clean Well-Lighted Place, and Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, The Fortune Teller


  • Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Hell Screen
  • Richard Wright, Bright and Morning Star
  • Jean-Paul Sartre, What Is Literature?
  • Iris Murdoch, The Bell
  • Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit
  • Doris Lessing, To Room Nineteen
  • George Santayana, Soliloquies from England
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man
  • H.G. Wells, The Man Who Could Work Miracles
  • Jane Addams, The Devil-Baby at Hull House
  • Thomas Mann, Mario and the Magician


  • Ruth Benedict, Anthropology and the Abnormal
  • D.H. Lawrence, The Man Who Loved Islands
  • John Keats, Selected Poems
  • Euripides, Hekabe
  • George Santayana, Philosophy and Knowledge
  • John Stuart Mill, The Criterion of a Good Form of Government
  • Eudora Welty, A Still Moment
  • Reinhold Niebuhr, The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness
  • Herman Hesse, Siddhartha
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ethan Brand