One thing to know about our club: In 1958, Allen Schwartz went to the Skokie Public Library and met Mary Radmacher. He asked her if the library would be willing to provide two hours of time and space every other week for about 12 to 15 people to discuss readings from the "Great Books of the Western World" collection. She enthusiastically welcomed the proposal and thus was born a lifelong collaboration. This year marks the 51st year of conversation and warm friendship discussing "Great Books" titles at the Skokie Public Library. The group has seen four members get married and, unfortunately, has experienced several deaths, but through it all the ever-eager "Great Bookers" continue to meet.
Authors we'd most like to meet: Socrates, Shakespeare, Joseph Conrad and David Hume.
Worst reason anyone has given for not reading an assigned book: It is a "Great Books" rule that if a member has not read or finished the assigned book, he may listen to the discussion but may not participate.
Average time we spend talking about a book before the conversation swerves off into politics and family issues: Our two-hour discussions are led by trained facilitators who follow the "Great Books" four rules of shared inquiry. The leader is not allowed to answer questions and all members should support their opinions with evidence from the week's selection. Discussion contributions may come from individual perspectives and life experiences, but personal stories are not allowed. The Skokie Public Library closes at 9 p.m., and the discussion is sometimes continued outside.
Favorite books: We loved them all! We recently finished "The Seven Deadly Sins Sampler," which included stories such as "Hairball" by Margaret Atwood and "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner.
Next book: We are starting from the beginning of the "Great Conversations" series, which some of us have read multiple times, with "The Epic of Gilgamesh" from "Great Conversations 1."