Great Books discussion Courses

Great fun. Great people. Great books.

Two new Tampa Bay Great Books courses begin in October and November.

The courses are offered through USF’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI USF).  OLLI USF registration is now open. To register, call (813) 974-2403, prompt #1, or you may register online by clicking on this handy link or go to

Membership and registration is required, and enrollment is limited.


Two Great Books courses are being offered with OLLI-USF this Fall.

  •  Great Books: International Potpourri, Wednesday mornings, 10/2/19 – 11/20/19, 10:00 – 12:00
  •  Up for Discussion: Some Pretty Good Books, Tuesday afternoons, 11/05/19 – 12/10/19, 1:00 to 3:00

COURSE TITLE:  Great Books: International Potpourri

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Are you an enthusiastic reader? Do you enjoy vigorous discussions? Welcome to this 100% discussion course based on a trove of literature including plays and sonnets. Using the Shared Inquiry method of civil discourse, we’ll explore a variety of the classics including Shakespeare, Chekhov, Eugene O’Neill, Moliere and more. Texts will be provided by the instructor when you register. Cost $19 to be paid at the first class. Check the website or OLLI-USF course catalog for location information and map.



COURSE TITLE:  Up for Discussion: Some Pretty Good Book

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Better than pretty good? Explore form and meaning in two groups of memoirs and novellas. Discover the expat writers in Paris: read Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast; James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room; and Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea. Next, turn to war and and other terrors with Michael Herr’s Dispatches; Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent and Heinrich Boll’s The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum. Read A Moveable Feast before the first class and join our lively discussion. Any edition of these texts will work. Check the website or OLLI-USF course catalog for location information and map.




  • Read the text in its entirety. Only those who have done this should participate  in the discussion.
  • Listen carefully to the ideas and opinions of others. Feel free to respond to their comments or to ask questions of them, but always in a spirit of “shared inquiry.”  Participants should not be trying to score debating points.
  • Focus on the text as the primary avenue of discussion. It is acceptable to refer to outside sources or quotes, as long as they bear directly on the text or discussion at hand.  Extended digressions or personal anecdotes are discouraged.
  • Interact with other participants in a civil way at all times. Vigorous discussion and debate are encouraged, but always in an atmosphere that recognizes the worth and dignity of other participants.  Comments such as “I know I’m right” and “It’s obvious that you don’t know what you’re talking about” are not helpful or welcome.
  • Bring your own questions to the discussion table. While the study group moderator opens the discussion with a “focus” question and later follow-up questions, participants are strongly encouraged to be questioners as well.