Thursday, February 4, 2016

February 26, 2016 -- Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks

Next meeting is Friday, February 26, 2016. We will discuss Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks.

Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: February 26, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

Descriptions from Wikipedia:
Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks (June 7, 1917 – December 3, 2000) was an American poet and teacher. She was the first black person (the term she preferred over African-American) to win a Pulitzer prize when she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950 for her second collection, Annie Allen.

Selected Poems was published in 1963.

Friday, January 15, 2016

January 29, 2016 -- Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2

Next meeting is Friday, January 29, 2016. We will discuss the plays, "Henry IV Parts 1 and 2," by William Shakespeare.

Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: January 29, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

Descriptions from Wikipedia:
Henry IV, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written no later than 1597. It is the second play in Shakespeare's tetralogy dealing with the successive reigns of Richard II, Henry IV (two plays, including Henry IV, Part 2), and Henry V. Henry IV, Part 1 depicts a span of history that begins with Hotspur's battle at Homildon in Northumberland against the Douglas late in 1402, and ends with the defeat of the rebels at Shrewsbury in the middle of 1403. From the start it has been an extremely popular play both with the public and critics.
Henry IV, Part 2 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed written between 1596 and 1599. It is the third part of a tetralogy, preceded by Richard II and Henry IV, Part 1 and succeeded by Henry V.The play is often seen as an extension of aspects of Henry IV, Part 1, rather than a straightforward continuation of the historical narrative, placing more emphasis on the highly popular character of Falstaff and introducing other comic figures as part of his entourage, including Ancient PistolDoll Tearsheet and Justice Robert Shallow. Several scenes specifically parallel episodes in Part 1.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

2016 Schedule

January 29, 2016 -- Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 by Shakespeare
February 26, 2016 -- Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks
March 25, 2016 -- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

April 29, 2016 -- Look Homeward, Angel: A Story of the Buried Life by Thomas Wolfe
May 27, 2016 -- The Book of Ruth from the Bible
June 24, 2016 -- The Wreath by Sigrid Undset (Book 1 of the Kristin Lavransdatter Trilogy)
July 29, 2016 --The Wife by Sigrid Undset (Book 2 of the Kristin Lavransdatter Trilogy)
August 26, 2016 --The Cross by Sigrid Undset (Book 3 of the Kristin Lavransdatter Trilogy)
September 30, 2016 -- The Vicar of Wakefield by Goldsmith
October 28, 2016 -- Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
December 2, 2016 -- If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho – a translation by Anne Carson

Friday, November 6, 2015

November 20, 2015 -- Njáls Saga (part of Sagas of Icelanders)

We will discuss the Njáls saga.
Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: November 20, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

We will also select books for next year at this meeting.
Nominations received thus far for the 2016 Schedule are at THIS LINK.The following links can help you prepare for the book selection process:
G.B. KC What Makes a Great Book
G.B. KC History of Previous Books
G.B. KC Categories of Books
Send book suggestions to the following email address and I'll add it to a list.    greatbookskc@gmail.com

Njáls saga or ("The Story of Burnt Njáll") is a 13th century Icelandic saga that describes events between 960 and 1020. The principal characters are the friends Njáll Þorgeirsson, a lawyer and a sage, and Gunnar Hámundarson, a formidable warrior. Gunnar's wife instigates afeud that leads to the death of many characters over several decades including the killing by fire of the eponymous "Burnt Njáll". The saga deals with this process of blood feuds in the Icelandic Commonwealth, showing how the requirements of honor could lead to minor slights spiralling into destructive and prolonged bloodshed. Insults where a character's manhood is called into question are especially prominent and may reflect an author critical of an overly restrictive ideal of masculinity. Another characteristic of the narrative is the presence of omens and prophetic dreams. It is disputed whether this reflects a fatalistic outlook on the part of the author.
The work is anonymous, although there has been extensive speculation on the author's identity. The major events described in the saga are probably historical but the material was shaped by the author, drawing on oral tradition, according to his artistic needs. Njáls saga is the longest and most highly developed of the sagas of Icelanders. It is often considered the peak of the saga tradition.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

October 30, 2015 – “Bhagavad Gita”

Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: October 30, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

We will discuss the book Bhagavad Gita.


The Bhagavad Gita is made up of 700 Sanskrit verses of Hindu scripture that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. English translations of it are available on-line and usually consists of about 250 pages.

The setting of the Bhagavad Gita is in a battlefield and has been interpreted as an allegory for the ethical and moral struggles of the human life. It is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide and charioteer Krishna. Krishna counsels Arjuna to face his duty as a warrior to fight the righteous war. Inserted in this appeal is a dialog between diverging attitudes concerning and methods toward the attainment of liberation.

The Bhagavad Gita's call for selfless action inspired many leaders of the Indian independence movement including Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Gandhi referred to the Bhagavad Gita as his "spiritual dictionary".

Saturday, August 29, 2015

September 18, 2015 -- "On the Nature of Things," by Lucretius

Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: September 18, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

We will discuss the book (poem) "On the Nature of Things" by Lucretius.

On the Nature of Things is a first-century BC didactic poem by the Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius (c. 99 BC – c. 55 BC) with the goal of explaining Epicurean philosophy to a Roman audience. The poem, written in some 7,400 dactylic hexameters, is divided into six untitled books, and explores Epicurean physics through richly poetic language and metaphors. Lucretius presents the principles of atomism; the nature of the mind and soul; explanations of sensation and thought; the development of the world and its phenomena; and explains a variety of celestial and terrestrial phenomena. The universe described in the poem operates according to these physical principles, guided by fortuna, "chance," and not the divine intervention of the traditional Roman deities.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August 28, 2015 -- "The Mansion," Vol. 3 of Snopes Trilogy, by William Faulkner

Meeting Information:

Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: August 28, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

We will discuss The Mansion by William Faulkner.

The Mansion is a novel by the American author William Faulkner, published in 1959. It is the last in a trilogy of books about the fictional Snopes family of Mississippi, following The Hamlet and The Town. It charts the downfall of Flem Snopes at the hands of his relative Mink Snopes, in part aided by Flem's deaf Spanish-Civil-War-veteran daughter, Linda Snopes.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

July 31, 2015 -- "The Town," Vol. 2 of Snopes Trilogy, by William Faulkner

Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: July 31, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

We will discuss The Town by William Faulkner.


The Town is a novel by the American author William Faulkner, published in 1957, about the fictional Snopes family of Mississippi. It is the second of the "Snopes" trilogy, following The Hamlet (1940) and completed by The Mansion(1959).

June 29 Group

Photo of group that met on June 26 to discuss The Hamlet, Vol. 1 of Snopes Trilogy by William Faulkner. Those present: Tim Thurman, Andy West, Jack Granath, Bernard Norcott/Mahany, Jan Carter, Ruth Evans, Tom Brown, Rex Nolan, Don Pepper, Marty Hatton, Karen Hostetler and Clif Hostetler (behind camera).

Saturday, May 30, 2015

June 26 -- The Hamlet, Vol. 1 of Snopes Trilogy, by William Faulkner

Meeting Information:
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Small Meeting Room
Address: 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
Date: June 26, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

We will discuss The Hamlet by William Faulkner

The Hamlet is a novel by the American author William Faulkner, published in 1940, about the fictional Snopes family of Mississippi. The Hamlet is the first of the "Snopes" trilogy, completed by The Town (1957), and The Mansion (1959).

Bernard Norcott/Mahany (member of our group) has recommended reading the short story, Barn Burning, before reading The Hamlet because it is a prequel and explains some background information.

The novel, The Hamlet follows the exploits of the Snopes family, beginning with Ab Snopes, who is introduced more fully in Faulkner's The Unvanquished. Most of the book centers around Frenchman's Bend, into which the heirs of Ab and his family have migrated from parts unknown. In the beginning of the book Ab, his wife, daughter, and son Flem settle down as tenant farmers beholden to the powerful Varner family.

As the book progresses, the Snopes move from being poor outcasts to a very controversial, if not dangerous, element in the life of the town. In contrast, V.K. Ratliff stands as the moral hero of the novel. Faulkner uses the eccentricities of the Snopes to great comic effect, most notably in his description of Ike Snopes and his carnal inclinations towards livestock.

A section towards the end of this book, detailing Flem's return from Texas and the auction of several horses, has also been published as the short story Spotted Horses.