PROGRAM: Reading and Discussion

Presented by:
Vermont Humanities Council
Subject: Other, Varies Audience: All

People enjoy gathering to share the pleasure of examining life through literature, hearing their neighbors’ reactions to the stories and ideas in the books, and voicing their own views. Our book discussions are stimulating, facilitated gatherings where diverse perspectives on shared readings can be expressed and examined.

The discussions are grouped in thematic series and each theme is comprised of up to six different books. When a library or other group sponsors a book discussion series, VHC supplies copies of the books for participants to borrow.

A skilled and knowledgeable VHC discussion leader facilitates the group. The scholar is prepared to share background information and historical context about the book and the author, as well as to place the book in the overall theme of the series. The scholar helps draw everyone into the conversation and ensures a positive exchange of thoughts and opinions.

Reading and Discussion Topics

Founding Fathers

The founding fathers loom large in the history books, but who were these people really? This series removes the pedestal from beneath these historical luminaries to examine their full humanity – heroic and flawed, witty and scandalous, compassionate and sly, inventive and insecure, brilliant and brash. Books include: Joseph J. Ellis, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation; Richard Brookhiser, Founding Father (about George Washington); Walter Isaacson, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; David Hackett Fischer, Paul Revere’s Ride; Joseph Ellis, Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams; Joseph Ellis, American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson.

Blue Collar America

Who is the working class? Look past the stereotypes to examine the realities of minimum wage existence, small-town economics, social divisions, and what does or doesn’t constitute the good life. Books include: Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America; Richard Russo, Empire Falls; Philip Levine, What Work Is; Don Snyder, The Cliff Walk: A Memoir of a Job Lost and a Life Found.