Sunday, October 7, 2012

Not Just Good; These Books Are Great!

The 2012-2013 season of the CPL Great Books Discussion Group begins at 7:30 PM on Tuesday, October 16th.  The first selection is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

There are many book discussion groups meeting at our public libraries, but this one has quite a history. Hugh Crane, the current leader, has led the group for the last twenty years or so. The group was formed in the early 70's and originally led by library director Joseph Sakey.
Originally the group selected short readings from anthology sets published by the Great Books Foundation. Other book-length works were also used.  Currently the group meets 15 times between October and May. Ten shorter readings come from Great Books anthologies as well as other collections. There are also five longer readings, one of which is reserved for a long book to be read over the summer, and a second is reserved for a Shakespeare play. The membership votes on selections for the up-coming year at the last two meetings of the previous year. You can follow this link to see this year's schedule and meeting times.
There are only two requirements for membership: read the scheduled work and participate in the discussion. These requirements are waived for prospective members attending their first meetings. At the meetings, members employ the Great Books method of "Shared Inquiry" to exchange thoughts with each other. Examples of the questions used to guide the discussions can be found on the group’s blog. The library will provide a copy of the reading for anyone planning to attend.
Group leader Hugh Crane says, "One thing I get out of leading the group is what all long-time members get: I read books that I probably wouldn't have otherwise. And they are good books, and the difficulty of getting through some of them is rewarded by the pleasure of the group discussion. Left to my own inclinations, I would never have read any Henry James; now I have read five of his novels, and think the first chapter of The Wings of the Dove is one of most brilliant passages I have ever read. Few people with degrees in the liberal arts get to use them at work as much as I do, which is another satisfaction."

The group is always looking for new members, and you can join at any time. 

There are always great things happening at the library! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends and help to support our Cambridge libraries click here.

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