Tuesday, June 29, 2021

July 30, 2021—1919 (The U.S.A. trilogy) by John Dos Passos

The next meeting of Great Books KC Will be July 30, 2021. We will discuss 1919 (The U.S.A. trilogy) by John Dos Passos

Meeting Location & Time:
Date: July 30, 2021
Time: 7:00 pm
 Zoom On-Line Meeting:
 —an email with link to join will be sent prior to meeting.
 —the link is sent to a limited mailing list of those who have either attended a meeting in the past year or have requested that their name be included on the mailing list. Requests to be added to the mailing list may be sent to GreatBooksKC@gmail.com 

Description of Book:
The U.S.A. trilogy is a series of three novels by American writer John Dos Passos, comprising the novels The 42nd Parallel (1930), 1919(1932) and The Big Money (1936). The books were first published together in a volume titled U.S.A. by Modern Library in 1937.

The trilogy employs an experimental technique, incorporating four narrative modes: fictional narratives telling the life stories of twelve characters, collages of newspaper clippings and song lyrics labeled "Newsreel", individually labeled short biographies of public figures of the time such as Woodrow Wilson and Henry Ford and fragments of autobiographical stream of consciousness writing labeled "Camera Eye". The trilogy covers the historical development of American society during the first three decades of the 20th century. In 1998, the US publisher Modern Library ranked U.S.A. 23rd on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Jun. 25, 2021—The 42nd Parallel (The U.S.A. trilogy) by John Dos Passos

The next meeting of Great Books KC Will be June 25, 2021. We will discuss The 42nd Parallel (The U.S.A. trilogy) by John Dos Passos

Meeting Location & Time:

Date: June 25, 2021

Time: 7:00 pm

 Zoom On-Line Meeting:

 —an email with link to join will be sent prior to meeting.

 —the link is sent to a limited mailing list of those who have either attended a meeting in the past year or have requested that their name be included on the mailing list. Requests to be added to the mailing list may be sent to GreatBooksKC@gmail.com 


Description of Book:

The U.S.A. trilogy is a series of three novels by American writer John Dos Passos, comprising the novels The 42nd Parallel (1930), 1919(1932) and The Big Money (1936). The books were first published together in a volume titled U.S.A. by Modern Library in 1937.

The trilogy employs an experimental technique, incorporating four narrative modes: fictional narratives telling the life stories of twelve characters, collages of newspaper clippings and song lyrics labeled "Newsreel", individually labeled short biographies of public figures of the time such as Woodrow Wilson and Henry Ford and fragments of autobiographical stream of consciousness writing labeled "Camera Eye". The trilogy covers the historical development of American society during the first three decades of the 20th century. In 1998, the US publisher Modern Library ranked U.S.A. 23rd on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Meetings During the Month of May 2021

 There will be two meetings of Great Books KC during the month of May. The first meeting will be May 14, 2021 to discuss The Real Life of Sebastian Knightby Vladimir Nabokov. The second meeting will be May 28, 2021 to discuss Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District, by Nikolai Leskov. 

First Meeting:

  • Date: May14, 2021
  • Time: 7:00 pm
  • Location: Zoom On-Line Meeting
  • Book Title: The Real Life of Sebastian Knightby Vladimir Nabokov.
  • An email with link to join will be sent prior to meeting.
  • The link is sent to a limited mailing list of frequent attenders. 
  • Requests to be added to the mailing list may be sent to GreatBooksKC@gmail.com .
  • The Real Life of Sebastian Knight is the first English language novel by Vladimir Nabokov, written from late 1938 to early 1939 in Paris and first published in 1941. A work centered on language and its inability to convey any satisfactory definition, it has been identified as a forerunner of the postmodernist novel.
Second Meeting:
  • Date: May 28, 2021
  • Time: 7:00 pm
  • Location: Zoom On-Line Meeting
  • Book Title: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District, by Nikolai Leskov
  • An email with link to join will be sent prior to meeting.
  • The link is sent to a limited mailing list of frequent attenders.
  • Requests to be added to the mailing list may be sent to GreatBooksKC@gmail.com .
  • Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District is an 1865 novella originally published in Fyodor Dostoyevshy's magazine Epoc. Among its themes are the subordinate role expected from women in 19th-century European society, adultery, provincial life and the planning of murder by a woman, hence the title inspired by the Shakespearean character Lady Macbeth from his play Macbeth.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Apr. 30, 2021— Notebook of a Return to My Native Land, by Aimé Césaire

 The next meeting of Great Books KC Will be April 30, 2021.  We will discuss Notebook of a Return to My Native Land, by Aimé Césaire.

Meeting Location & Time:

Date: April 30, 2021

Time: 7:00 pm

 Zoom On-Line Meeting:

 —an email with link to join will be sent prior to meeting.

 —the link is sent to a limited mailing list of those who have either attended a meeting in the past year or have requested that their name be included on the mailing list. Requests to be added to the mailing list may be sent to GreatBooksKC@gmail.com 


Description of Book:

Cahier d'un retour au pays natal (1939), variously translated as Notebook of a Return to My Native Land, Return to My Native Land, or Journal of a Homecoming, is a book-length poem by Martinican writer Aimé Césaire, considered his masterwork, that mixes poetry and prose to express his thoughts on the cultural identity of black Africans in a colonial setting.


Saturday, February 27, 2021

March 26, 2021—Lysistrata & Thesmophoriazusae, by Aristophanes

The next meeting of Great Books KC Will be March 26, 2021.  We will discuss the Greek plays, Lysistrata & Thesmophoriazusae, by Aristophanes.


Meeting Location & Time:

Date: March 26, 2021

Time: 7:00 pm

 Zoom On-Line Meeting:

 —an email with link to join will be sent prior to meeting.

 —the link is sent to a limited mailing list of those who have either attended a meeting in the past year or have requested that their name be included on the mailing list. Requests to be added to the mailing list may be sent to GreatBooksKC@gmail.com 


Descriptions of the Greek plays:

Lysistrata is an ancient Greek comedy by Aristophanes, originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BC. It is a comic account of a woman's extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War between Greek city states by denying all the men of the land any sex, which was the only thing they truly and deeply desired. The play is notable for being an early exposé of sexual relations in a male-dominated society. 

Women at the Thesmophoria, is one of eleven surviving plays by Aristophanes. It was first produced in 411 BC, probably at the City Dionysia. The play's focuses include the subversive role of women in a male-dominated society; the vanity of contemporary poets, such as the tragic playwrights Euripides and Agathon; and the shameless, enterprising vulgarity of an ordinary Athenian, as represented in this play by the protagonist, Mnesilochus.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

February 26, 2021—Othello, by William Shakespeare

The next meeting of Great Books KC will be February 26, 2021.
We will discuss the book, Othello, by William Shakespeare

Meeting Location & Time:
Date: February 26, 2021
Time: 7:00 pm
 Zoom On-Line Meeting:
 —an email with link to join will be sent prior to meeting.
 —the link is sent to a limited mailing list of those who have either attended a meeting in the past year or have requested that their name be included on the mailing list. Requests to be added to the mailing list may be sent to GreatBooksKC@gmail.com 

Description of Book:
Othello is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1603. The story revolves around its two central characters: Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, and his treacherous ensign, Iago. Given its varied and enduring themes of racism, love, jealousy, betrayal, revenge, and repentance, Othello is still often performed in professional and community theatre alike, and has been the source for numerous operatic, film, and literary adaptations.

Friday, January 8, 2021

January 29, 2021—The Adventures of Augie March, by Saul Bellow

The next meeting of Great Books KC will be January 29, 2021.

We will discuss the book, The Adventures of Augie March, by Saul Bellow


Meeting Location & Time:

Date: January 29, 2021

Time: 7:00 pm

 Zoom On-Line Meeting:

 —an email with link to join will be sent prior to meeting.

 —the link is sent to a limited mailing list of those who have either 

  attended a meeting in the past year or have requested that their 

  name be included on the mailing list.


Description of Book:

The Adventures of Augie March is a picaresque novel by Saul Bellow, published in 1953. It features the eponymous Augie March who grows up during the Great Depression and it is an example of Bildungsroman, tracing the development of an individual through a series of encounters, occupations and relationships from boyhood to manhood.


The Adventures of Augie March won the 1954 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. Both Time magazine and the Modern Library Board named it one of the hundred best novels in the English language.

2021 Schedule

Jan. 29, 2021— The Adventures of Augie March, by Saul Bellow

Feb. 26, 2021— Othello, by Shakespeare

Mar. 26, 2021— Lysistrata & Thesmophoriazusae, by Aristophanes

Apr. 30, 20201— Notebook of a Return to the Native Land, by 
                              Aimé Césaire
May 14, 2021 — The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, by Vladimir Nabokov 

May. 28, 2021— Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, by Nikolai Leskov

Jun. 25, 2021—The 42nd Parallel, The U.S.A. trilogy, by John Dos Passos

Jul. 30, 2021— 1919, The U.S.A. trilogy, by John Dos Passos

Aug. 27, 2021—The Big Money, The U.S.A. trilogy, by John Dos Passos

Sep. 24, 2021— The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

Oct. 29, 2021— Kakoro, by Natsume Soseki

Dec. 3, 2021— Story of David, 1 Samuel 16-31, 2 Samuel, and 
                         1 Kings 1-2 

Monday, November 2, 2020

December 4, 2020—Richard III, by William Shakespeare

Meeting Content:
We'll be discussing Richard III, by William Shakespeare.
We will also be creating the schedule of books for 2021. Suggestions of books may be sent to greatbookskc@gmail.com.
Please note the following links to assist in plans for preparing the 2021 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:
Date: December 4, 2020
Time: 7:00 pm
 Zoom on-line conference
          —an email with link to join will be sent prior to meeting.
          —the link is sent to a limited mailing list of those who have either 
              attended a meeting this year or have requested that their name 
              be included on the mailing list

Description of Book:
Richard III is a play by William Shakespeare. It was probably written around 1593. It is labelled a history in the First Folio, and is usually considered one, but it is sometimes called a tragedy, as in the quartoedition. Richard III concludes Shakespeare's first tetralogy (also containing Henry VI, Part 1, and Henry VI, Part 2, and Henry VI, Part 3) and depicts the Machiavellian rise to power and subsequent short reign of King Richard III of England.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

October 30, 2020—"A Madman's Diary," by Lu Xun

The next meeting of Great Books KC will be October 30, 2020.

Meeting Content:
     We will discuss "A Madman’s Diary," by Lu Xun.
     Greg Brown recommends the book, "Lu Xun : The Real Story of Ah-Q and 
     Other Tales of China," published by Penguin Classics.
     "A Madman's Diary" is in that book and only 20 pages long, so Greg Brown 
     recommended also reading "The Real Story of Ah-Q."

Meeting Time and Place:
     Date: October 30, 2020
     Time: 7:00 pm
     Zoom on-line conference
          —an email with link to join will be sent prior to meeting.
          —the link is sent to a limited mailing list of those who have either attended 
                 a meeting this year or have requested that their name be included 
                 on the mailing list.

Description of Book:
     "A Madman's Diary" is a short story published in 1918 by Lu Xun, a 
     Chinese writer. It was the first and most influential modern work written 
     in vernacular Chinese in the republican era, and would become a corner
     stone piece of the New Culture Movement. The story was often referred 
     to as "China's first modern short story." This book was selected as one 
     of the 100 best  books in history by the Bokklubben World Library.