With Sadness

Brenda Tipps, a longtime Great Books participant and OLLI member and instructor has passed away. More information will be forthcoming.

Contemporary Issues Highlight Fall 2020 Great Books Conference

October 24th Tampa Bay forum features notable works by Toni Morrison and John Lewis

The Tampa Bay Great Books Council resumes its series of seasonal literary conferences with an October event examining two selections designed to focus our attention on current societal issues.

Selections for the Fall 2020 Contemporary Issues Conference

The conference will be held on Saturday, October 24, 2020, with two sessions — from 10 AM to 12 Noon, and from 1-3 PM — as a ZOOM meeting, so you won’t have to leave your home computer.

Attendance is limited to 25. Visit this page for more information and to get the registration form. Wait list only is available.

Free Books

Fabulous, important and interesting books looking for a new home. 

From the estate of the founder of TBGBC, Sylvia Sorrentino, comes a library of wonderful books for you to bring home.  There are plays, travel, art books, novels, memoirs…..yours for the taking.  Contact Sara Cohen for more information and help her library find new readers.

These are the books you always wanted to read, have read already and miss owning, will give you insight, intelligent commentary and the joy of just indulging in a great book.  Please help these books find a new home.

Hyde, George 04 crop

George Hyde, a member of the Board of the Tampa Bay Great Books Council and the Immediate Past Chairman of the OLLI-USF Advisory Board, asked the most active members of TBGB for books what they would recommend for enjoyment and enlightenment during our mandated period of social distancing. See what they choose and why.

If you enjoy the intellectual stimulation and social interaction that OLLI-USF offers, you’re probably a little miffed at how the Coronavirus is affecting your daily life right now and for at least a few weeks to come.

Let’s face it…government and University officials are taking prudent steps to protect us from a disease with disproportionately adverse impact on older people – “the OLLI Generation,” if you will.  Now we’re being told that one of the most important behaviors under the COVID-19 threat is “social distancing,” just as we’re settling into a schedule of Spring classes with instructors and classmates whose company and whose ideas we enjoy!  So, with OLLI classes in hiatus or cancelled, how can you avoid going stir-crazy?

We asked some of OLLI’s most active members for books they would recommend for enjoyment and enlightenment during our mandated period of social distancing, and some of their ideas are listed below.  The criteria were simple – enjoyable and thought-provoking reads with easy availability (by Amazon delivery or Kindle download, for example).

Linda Feeney of New Tampa is a regular participant and discussion leader

Mystic River

in OLLI Great Books courses, and was one week into leading her new course (“Up for Discussion: Memoirs and Novellas”) when the ban on public gatherings went into effect, putting her course on hiatus. Here’s Linda’s list of “Five Books to Curl Up With”:  “The Man Who Smiled” (Henning Mankell), “Mystic River” (Dennis Lehane), “The Plot Against America” (Philip Roth), “Villette” (Charlotte Bronte), and “Alias Grace” (Margaret Atwood).

Barbara Brown of Temple Terrace managed to complete her

Water Dancer

latest OLLI course on Bob Dylan (“Jokerman: Dylan’s Personas, Masks, and Music”) before classes were suspended.  A former teacher of English in Hillsborough County, Barbara is also active in Literature and Poetry discussions, and serves as an Officer of the Tampa Bay Great Books Council. Barbara offers these ideas to enjoy during this period of enforced social distancing: “The Mirror and the Light” (Hilary Mantel), “The Water Dancer” (Ta-Nehisi Coates ), “American Dirt” (Jeanine Cummins), “The King at the Edge of the World” (Arthur Phillips), and “The Mercies” (Kiran MilIwood Hargrave).

Finally, we checked in with Patrick DeMarco of Riverview, a co-founder of Tampa Bay Great Books and moderator of the OLLI Great Books programs for more than a dozen years.  Patrick’s suggestions include: “Wolf Hall” (Hilary Mantel), “The Italians” (John Hooper), “The Cider House Rules” (John Irving), “On the Plain of Snakes” (Paul Theroux), and “Twenty-five Books That Shaped America” (Thomas Foster).

There you have it – fifteen terrific texts to interest, inspire, and entertain you during this period of reduced social and intellectual engagement. Enjoy!

Tampa Bay Great Books

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Joel Fyvolent offer his input during the Fall conference.

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For the past 12 years the Tampa Bay Great Books Council has provided a venue for book discussions, conferences, and other cultural events. Explore our site to learn more!