Notes from a Great Books “Newbie”

By Barbara Brown

I have always lived a “reading life” to whatever degree the realities of the everyday would allow.  Sometimes it wasn’t easy:  carrying a book with me while I walked the dog;  staying in the car a few extra minutes before beginning the evening routine of the family dinner; staying up way too late to catch just one more chapter; reading frantically in the grocery/bank/DMV/whatever line I found myself in – yadayada.  I longed for that seemingly unreachable heaven-on-earth that would be …RETIREMENT!

Well, heaven has finally arrived!

I find I’m sometimes gloriously reading six or seven books at a time and having plenty of hours to enter the world of each one every day.  Add that to book club, and I felt that my “reading life” was finally a reality.   I didn’t think I needed any more.

But a friend kept insisting that Great Books classes were meant for me.  So I went all in.  I signed up for all of them I could – and I fell in love!

The fascinating reading selections are just the starting point.  The real wonder of the Great Books program is the level of discourse and discussion that are the true heart of it all.  I am a career educator, and I have always understood that open, safe, engaging discussion should be the bedrock of any classroom at any level in any discipline.  In these amazing Great Books classes, there is an able moderator/facilitator directing the discussion, but it’s what each participant brings in the way of background, expertise, and passion that drives everything.

If you are looking at this website for the first time, and you, too, want a life enriched by reading and sharing of ideas, then I strongly urge you to join us!  You can contact us directly for information, or, if you live in the Tampa Bay area, check us out through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of South Florida.  I promise that you will find ideas and passions in yourself, in others, and in your reading that will excite and stimulate you.

I look forward to meeting you in our next Great Books class!