Several times each semester, Dean Richard Garner invites students to his home to discuss a book they have all read. But before discussion, the evening begins with dinner, homemade by the dean himself. Whatever the menu, a lot of food is always consumed. Once everyone is full, the group moves to the living room to consider the evening’s choice.
The books chosen for Reading Circle vary considerably. Sometimes the fiction choices are literary classics such as Henry James’ The Wings of the Dove or Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. On other evenings the chosen works are newly published, such as Tom Rachman’s the imperfectionists or Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall or Bring Up the Bodies. Historical fiction sometimes appears. Recent choices have been Renault’s novels of ancient Greece and John Hersey’s The Conspiracy, a hilarious but thoughtful account of Nero’s Rome. But the Reading Circle is not only devoted to fiction. Two evenings were recently devoted to Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and Larson’s Summer for the Gods, a complex account of the Scopes Trial.
Whatever the material, the Reading Circle evenings are one more forum in which the Honors College learning community grows in depth and complexity, adding to the total Honors experience.
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