On Wednesday, May 23, 2018 we will meet to discuss  The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  We will meet at 11:30 a.m. in room 1603.

From the Kristin Hannah website –

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.



For our April Book Club, we will attend the Great Books Symposium featuring 1984 by George Orwell.  The symposium will be on Wednesday, April 25, 2018  here at Oakton in room 1610, from 12:30-1:45 p.m

Best of luck to all the students involved.

We will meet on Wednesday March 28, 2018 to discuss The Playboy of the Western World by John M. Synge. We will meet at 11:30 a.m. in room 103/105 in the Lee Center, adjacent to parking lot D. This conference room is on your right as you walk in the southern entrance of the building.

On Wednesday February 28, 2018 we will meet to discuss O Pioneers! by Willa Cather.  We will meet at 11:30 a.m. in room 103/105 in the Lee Center.  This conference room is on your right as you walk in the southern entrance of the building.  Please use Parking Lot D.

From amazon.com:

“Set on the Nebraska prairie where Willa Cather (1873–1947) grew up, this powerful early novel tells the story of the young Alexandra Bergson, whose dying father leaves her in charge of the family and of the lands they have struggled to farm. In Alexandra’s long flight to survive and succeed, O Pioneers! relates an important chapter in the history of the American frontier.
Evoking the harsh grandeur of the prairie, this landmark of American fiction unfurls a saga of love, greed, murder, failed dreams, and hard-won triumph. In the fateful interaction of her characters, Willa Cather compares with keen insight the experiences of Swedish, French, and Bohemian immigrants in the United States. And in her absorbing narrative, she displays the virtuoso storytelling skills that have made her one of the most admired masters of the American novel.”




On Wednesday, January 31, 2018 we will meet to discuss The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington.  We will meet at 11:30 a.m. in the Performing Arts Center Lobby (PAC Lobby).   Parking Lot A is closest to Exit Door 10 which leads to the PAC Lobby.

From Penguin Random House ~~

Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize when it was first published in 1918, The Magnificent Ambersons chronicles the changing fortunes of three generations of an American dynasty. The protagonist of Booth Tarkington’s great historical drama is George Amberson Minafer, the spoiled and arrogant grandson of the founder of the family’s magnificence. Eclipsed by a new breed of developers, financiers, and manufacturers, this pampered scion begins his gradual descent from the midwestern aristocracy to the working class.

Today The Magnificent Ambersons is best known through the 1942 Orson Welles movie, but as the critic Stanley Kauffmann noted, “It is high time that [the novel] appear again, to stand outside the force of Welles’s genius, confident in its own right.”

“The Magnificent Ambersons is perhaps Tarkington’s best novel,” judged Van Wyck Brooks. “[It is] a typical story of an American family and town–the great family that locally ruled the roost and vanished virtually in a day as the town spread and darkened into a city. This novel no doubt was a permanent page in the social history of the United States, so admirably conceived and written was the tale of the Ambersons, their house, their fate and the growth of the community in which they were submerged in the end.”


Oakton’s Great Books book club discussion group announces its December event.  On Wednesday, December 13, 2017, we will meet for a “Reader Round-up” at 11:30 p.m. in room 2442.

We will share our thoughts on the following:

  •  The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie  – From agathachristie.com:  “When a priceless ruby, belonging to a Far Eastern prince, is stolen from him whilst he is on a visit to England, Poirot is asked to make a quiet investigation. The ruby was destined for the prince’s bride-to-be and a scandal must be avoided.  Poirot does Christmas the English way, pursuing a case at the same time. This story was originally much shorter and appeared under the same title in The Sketch magazine, December 1923. This lengthened version wasn’t to appear in print until 1960, in the collection of the same name. It appeared in 1961 in the US collection Double Sin and Other Stories, under the title The Theft of the Royal Ruby.”
    From the forward by Agatha Christie:  “The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding is an indulgence of my own, since it recalls to me, very pleasurably, the Christmases of my youth. After my father’s death, my mother and I always spent Christmas with my brother-in-law’s family in the north of England—and what superb Christmases they were for a child to remember! Abney Hall had everything! The garden boasted a waterfall, a stream, and a tunnel under the drive! The Christmas fare was of gargantuan proportions. I was a skinny child, appearing delicate, but actually of robust health and perpetually hungry! The boys of the family and I used to vie with each other as to who could eat most on Christmas Day. Oyster Soup and Turbot went down without undue zest, but then came Roast Turkey, Boiled Turkey and an enormous Sirloin of Beef. The boys and I had two helpings of all three! We then had Plum Pudding, Mince-pies, Trifle and every kind of dessert. During the afternoon we ate chocolates solidly. We neither felt, nor were, sick! How lovely to be eleven years old and greedy!
  •  Books we’ve read this year and would recommend to others.  Books on your wish list, and books on our ‘To Be Read’ piles.

Here is where you can read a full text pdf version of The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, pages 6 – 67.

On Wednesday, November 29, 2017 we will meet to discuss The Tempest by William Shakespeare. We will meet at 11:30 a.m. in room 2442.

From Lyn Ward Page:

This is our fourth Shakespeare play, and we’ve now covered all of the types, or genres, in which the plays are written. We’ve read a history, a comedy and a tragedy, and now are reading a romance–the late genre which is based on comedy, but includes the element of reconciliation. You’ll see in the summary that forgiveness is an important part of the conclusion of this play.

So your attachments are: a summary of the plot and list of characters; two power points from the Great Books Shakespeare course–a review slide on Shakespearean language–this play is written in poetry, prose and the broken lines of the monster, Caliban, and a slide on historical background for the play and its place in Shakespeare’s overall career; and, finally, some suggested questions for our discussion.

Happy reading–this is a magical play, with a magician as the hero, a love story and even some supernatural characters. At this holiday time of year, what more could we ask?!

p.s.–The pre-wedding masque, with music and dancing for Miranda and Ferdinand, is heavy going–it’s sometimes even cut in production. This was another popular element when the play was written–Shakespeare as musical comedy?!

The full text of The Tempest is available on the Folger Shakespeare Library website.