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summer Message from Sara Cohen, President

The summer is going past in the blink of an eye.  It’s the time of casual summer reading in the mountains, or at the beach.   Enjoy that pile of books you’ve been accumulating……summer seems much too short and there’s so much to read, digest and think about.

We here at Great Books have started the summer with a bang at our June Drama Retreat, reading and analyzing two plays: “The Humans” by Stephen Karam and “Three Sisters” by Anton Chekhov.  Heady stuff, but incisive in translating everyday drama and coping mechanisms we all employ just to get by in these highly fragmented times.  Some things never seem to change.

This fall we will continue the exploration of our responsibility to understand ourselves and others by diving into the heart of racial awareness.  On September 15, we will read James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time”, written more than 50 years ago and the contemporary thesis, “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  Both books employ the use of letters to convey highly personal accounts of racism and injustice in America.  It’s a conversation we at Great Books need to have.

Further down the pike we have our grand 3 day conference, January 19 – 21, 2018. The focus is the Vietnam war, strictly from a Vietnamese point of view.  No matter our personal experience during this seminal time, we will stretch our minds around colonialism, invasion and the political ramifications of the war that changed both countries.

The vast majority of us may be outside our comfort zone, reading, and digesting this perspective for the first time. We will read “The Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen, “Paradise of the Blind” by Duong Thu Huong and “The Sorrow of War: A Novel of North Vietnam” by Bao Ninh.

Won’t you join us for one of these events.  Look us up on Facebook or here on our website for more information and registration.

Looking forward to sharing insightful, satisfying reading with you.

Sara Cohen


fall 2017 Great books announced

The Fall 2017 Great Books reading series has been announced.

Two exciting Great Books Roundtable discussions – Rereading the Western Canon of Classics in Literature and Philosophy and  Classic to Modern – start in October and run for 8 weeks.

Click here to view more information for each series and registration instructions.

RAce Matters: from Baldwin to coates

The Tampa Bay Great Books Council is pleased to invite you to join us for its eighth annual Fall Conversation Conference this September 15, 2017. 

Our themes for past fall conferences have tried to focus on controversial and thought-provoking topics that often have contemporary relevance. This year, we believe that we are reaching that objective again by offering you two classic books on race and racism in the American experience: James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me.

Written more than fifty years apart, these two studies of race in America provide an opportunity for the Tampa Bay community to engage in a timely and necessary conversation.

Click here for more information.


Are you interested in learning more about the “Shared Inquiry” method?  Are you curious what it takes to be a  Great Books Moderator?  Contact Great Books Council Member Barbara Brown at to begin the dialogue.







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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!