Great Books Reading & Discussion Group
GreatBooksA dynamic, liberal arts education, for free at the public library!  Huntington Public Library's Great Books Reading and Discussion Group meets once a month to discuss works from a curriculum designed and published by the Great Books Foundation, an independent, nonprofit educational organization established in 1947 by University of Chicago educators Robert Maynard Hutchins and Mortimer Adler. Its mission is “to empower readers of all ages to become more reflective and responsible thinkers.”  To register, please use the program code HMA302.  For more information, contact Tom Cohn at .

Upcoming Great Book Discussions

Great Conversations 4

Monday, February 27, 2017 · 7:00pm to 9:00pm · Auditorium

Register using code HMA302
“Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking,” by
William James (1842–1910)
.  William James came from a highly educated and literary family (his brother was the great fiction writer Henry James). William made important contributions to the fields of both psychology and philosophy. We look at two of James’s lectures on the philosophy of pragmatism. “Pragmatism” looks at metaphysical disputes in a new light. It settles potentially interminable arguments by homing in on their practical consequences. It is a shift away from a traditional quest for first principles; instead, it considers end results..

Great Conversations 3

Monday, March 27, 2017 · 7:00pm to 9:00pm · Auditorium

Register using code HMA302
“Major Barbara” by
George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)
. George Bernard Shaw was a brilliant social commentator and critic; however, it is as a playwright that he gained the most notoriety. In “Major Barbara,” Shaw examines ethical dilemmas of capitalism through this drama of the Undershaft family where the father is an arms manufacturer, and daughter Barbara is a major in the Salvation Army.

Great Conversations 3

Monday, April 24, 2017 · 7:00pm to 9:00pm · Auditorium

Register using code HMA302
“The Darling” by
Anton Chekhov (1860–1904)
. Chekhov, like Shaw, was a versatile man of letters who wrote both stories and plays. In “The Darling,” he offers a portrait of Olenka, a woman who loves Kukin, the theater owner, Vassily the timber agent, and Smirnin, the veterinary surgeon in succession. “She was always fond of someone, and could not exist without loving,” Chekhov writes.

Kiss Me, Kill Me Book Discussion Group

Ordinary Grace

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 · 2:00 - 4:00 pm · Main Meeting Room

Register using code HMA165
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
.  Frank begins the summer of 1961 in Minnesota preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy. When tragedy strikes his immediate family, he finds himself thrust into an adult world of secrets, lies, adultery and betrayal. Told from Frank’s perspective forty years later, this is an unforgettable novel of a boy trying to understand a world that is falling apart around him.  Registration required. Open to all

The Kind Worth Killing

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 · 2:00 - 4:00 pm · Main Meeting Room

Register using code HMA165
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
.  A modern day “Strangers on a Train” ... On a red-eye from London to Boston, Ted meets the stunning and mysterious Lily. They engage in an intimate sharing of secrets, until Ted, an unhappily married businessman, is entangled in a psychologically twisted game of cat-and-mouse involving a plot to kill his wife.  Registration required. Open to all

Author Talks and Book Signings


Wedneday, February 22, 2017 · 7:00pm · Main Auditorium

Register using code HMA814
“Henry Alsberg: Driving Force of the New Deal Federal Writers’ Project” by Susan DeMasi
. Susan DeMasi presents her biography on journalist and social justice pioneer Henry Alsberg. She looks at Alsberg’s work as a pre-civil rights era human rights champion and provides close-up examinations of WPA ex-slave narratives, including photographs, and print and audio oral histories from the 1930s. During the 1920s, Henry Alsberg led the struggle to aid Jewish pogrom survivors in Eastern Europe and initiated the first major effort to assist international political prisoners. During the Great Depression, he directed the WPA Federal Writers’ Project, which employed thousands of writers and produced more than 1,000 publications from 1935-39. He recruited African Americans to help write their own history and gathered oral histories from former slaves. Some writers went on to storied careers. Alsberg’s friends included literary and cultural luminaries like Richard Wright, Emma Goldman, Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, and NAACP leader Walter White. DeMasi’s book will be on sale after the talk with 10% of proceeds donated to the Friends of Huntington Public Library. Susan DeMasi is a professor at Suffolk County Community College and an award-winning journalist, playwright, and screenwriter. Her work has appeared in the New York Times and other publications. Registration required. Open to all.


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