Saturday, February 1, 2020

February 28, 2020 — Ecclesiastes

The next meeting of Great Books KC will be February 28, 2020.  

Meeting Content:
    We'll be discussing Ecclesiastes, from the Bible.

Meeting Time and Place:
    Location: Plaza Branch Kansas City Public Library
    Small Meeting Room
    Date: February 28, 2020
    Time: 7:00 pm
    Address: 4801 Main Street
    Kansas City, MO

Description of Book:
    Ecclesiastes is one of 24 books of the Tanakh. Originally written c. 450–200 BCE, it is also among the canonical Wisdom 
literature of the Old Testament of Christianity. The title Ecclesiastes is a Latin transliteration of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Kohelet, the pseudonym used by the author of the book.  

Thursday, January 16, 2020

January 31, 2020—The Varieties of Religious Experience

The next meeting of Great Books KC will be January 31, 2020.

Meeting Content:

We'll be discussing The Varieties of Religious Experience, by Henry James.

Meeting Time and Place:
Location: Plaza Branch Kansas City Public Library, Small Meeting Room
Date: January 31, 2020
Time: 7:00 pm
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO

Description of Book:
The Varieties of Religious Experience is a book by Harvard University psychologist and philosopher William James. It comprises his edited Gifford Lectures on natural theology, which were delivered at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland between 1901 and 1902. The lectures concerned the psychological study of individual private religious experiences and mysticism, and used a range of examples to identify commonalities in religious experiences across traditions. Soon after its publication, Varieties entered the Western canon of psychology and philosophy and has remained in print for over a century.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

2020 Book Schedule and Meeting Dates

January 31, 2020—The Varieties of Religious Experience, by William James
February 28, 2020—Ecclesiastes, from the Bible
March 27, 2020—Vindication of the Rights of Women, by Mary Wollstonecraft
April 24, 2020—Essay on Man, by Alexander Pope
May 29, 2020—Stoner, by John Williams
June 26, 2020—The Trees, from Awakening Land Trilogy by Conrad Richter 
July 31,2020—The Fields, from Awakening Land Trilogy by Conrad Richter 
August 28, 2020—The Town, from Awakening Land Trilogy by Conrad Richter
September 25, 2020—The Consolation of Philosophy, by Boethius
October 30, 2020—A Madman’s Diary, by Lu Xun
December 4, 2020—Richard III, by Shakespeare

Sunday, October 27, 2019

December 6, 2019 — The Ink Dark Moon, by Ono no Komachi & Izumi Shikibu

Meeting Content
We'll be discussing The Ink Dark Moon, by Ono no Komachi & Izumi Shikibu.
We will also be creating the schedule of books for 2020. Suggestions of books may be sent to greatbookskc@gmail.com.
Please note the following links to assist in plans for preparing the 2020 schedule:
G.B. KC Categories of Books 
G.B. KC What Makes a Great Book 
G.B. KC History of Previous Books 

Meeting Location & Time:
Location: Plaza Branch Kansas City Public Library
Small Meeting Room
Date: December 6, 2019
Time: 7:00 pm
Address: 4801 Main Street
Kansas City, MO

Description of Book:
The two poets whose work is collected in The Ink Dark Moon are central figures in the only Golden Age in literary history in which women writers were the predominant geniuses: Japan’s Heian era, which lasted from 794 to 1185. Ono no Komachi (834?-?) served at the imperial court in the capital city of Heiankyo (present-day Kyoto) during the first half century of its existence. Izumi Shikibu (974?-1034?) wrote during the time of the court culture’s greatest flowering.
These two women, the first a pivotal figure who became legendary in Japanese literary history, the second Japan’s major woman poet, illuminated certain areas of human experience with a beauty, truthfulness, and compression unsurpassed in the literature of any other age. 


Saturday, September 28, 2019

October 25, 2019 — The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James

The next meeting of Great Books KC will be October 25, 2019. 
We'll be discussing The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James.

Meeting Information:
Location: Plaza Branch Kansas City Public Library
Small Meeting Room
Date: October 25, 2019
Time: 7:00 pm
Address: 4801 Main Street
Kansas City, MO


The Turn of the Screw is an 1898 horror novella by Henry James that first appeared in serial format in Collier's Weekly magazine (January 27 – April 16, 1898). In October 1898 it appeared in The Two Magics, a book published by Macmillan in New York City and Heinemann in London. Classified as both gothic fiction and a ghost story, the novella focuses on a governess who, caring for two children at a remote estate, becomes convinced that the grounds are haunted.

In the century following its publication, The Turn of the Screw became a cornerstone text of academics who subscribed to New Criticism. The novella has had differing interpretations, often mutually exclusive. Many critics have tried to determine the exact nature of the evil hinted at by the story. However, others have argued that the brilliance of the novella results from its ability to create an intimate sense of confusion and suspense within the reader.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

September 27, 2019-—The Histories, by Herodotus

The next meeting of Great Books KC will be September 27, 2019. 
We'll be discussing The Histories by Herodotus.

Meeting Information:
Location: Plaza Branch Kansas City Public Library
Small Meeting Room
Date: September 27, 2019
Time: 7:00 pm
Address: 4801 Main Street
Kansas City, MO

Information about the book:
The Histories of Herodotus is considered the founding work of history in Western literature. Written in 440 BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions politics, geography, and clashes of various cultures that were known in Western Asia, Northern Africa and Greece at that time. Although not a fully impartial record, it remains one of the West's most important sources regarding these affairs. Moreover, it established the genre and study of history in the Western world.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

August 30—Mask of Apollo, by Mary Renault

The next meeting of Great Books KC will be August 30, 2019. 

We'll be discussing The Mask of Apollo by Mary Renault.

Meeting Information:
Location: Plaza Branch Kansas City Public Library
Small Meeting Room
Date: August 30, 2019
Time: 7:00 pm
Address: 4801 Main Street
Kansas City, MO

Information about the book:
The Mask of Apollo is set in the ancient Greek world during the 4th century BC. The novel is written as the first-person narrative of a fictional character, Nikeratos (or 'Niko'), an actor. Throughout his professional life and his work in Syracuse and Athens, Nikeratos meets several historical characters and becomes a witness (and sometimes a marginal participant) in the political conflicts of Syracuse.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

July 26, 2019 — "The Bull from the Sea," by Mary Renault

The next meeting of Great Books KC will be July 26, 2019. 

We'll be discussing The Bull from the Sea, by Mary Renault.

Meeting Information:
Location: Plaza Branch Kansas City Public Library
Small Meeting Room
Date: July 26, 2019
Time: 7:00 pm
Address: 4801 Main Street
Kansas City, MO

Information about the book:
The story is a retelling of the life of mythological hero Theseus after his return from the Minoan palace of Knossos. The novel follows his later quests, his friendship with Pirithoos, and his liaison with Hippolyta and marriage to Phaedra.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

June 28, 2019 — "The King Must Die," by Mary Renault

The next meeting of Great Books KC will be June 28, 2019. 
We'll be discussing  The King Must Die, by Mary Renault.

Meeting Information:
Location: Plaza Branch Kansas City Public Library
Small Meeting Room
Date: June 28, 2019
Time: 7:00 pm
Address: 4801 Main Street
Kansas City, MO

Information about the book:
The King Must Die is a 1958 bildungsroman and historical novel by Mary Renault that traces the early life and adventures of Theseus, a hero in Greek mythology. Naturally, it is set in Ancient Greece: Troizen, Corinth, Eleusis, Athens, Knossos in Crete, and Naxos. Rather than retelling the myth, Renault constructs an archaeologically and anthropologically plausible story that might have developed into the myth. She captures the essentials while removing the more fantastical elements, such as monsters and the appearances of gods. 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

May 31, 2019 —A House for Mr. Biswas

The next meeting of Great Books KC will be May 31, 2019. We'll be discussing A House for Mr. Biswas, by V.S. Naipaul 

Meeting Information:
Location: Plaza Branch Kansas City Public Library
Small Meeting Room
Date: May 31, 2019
Time: 7:00 pm
Address: 4801 Main Street
Kansas City, MO

Information about the book:
A House for Mr Biswas is the story of Mohun Biswas, an Indo-Trinidadian who continually strives for success and mostly fails, who marries into the Tulsi family only to find himself dominated by it, and who finally sets the goal of owning his own house. The book is a sharply drawn look at life that uses postcolonial perspectives to view a vanished colonial world.

In 1998, the Modern Library ranked A House for Mr Biswas number 72 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. Time magazine included the novel in its "TIME 100 Best English language Novels from 1923 to 2005".