Reading, discussing great books to begin Sept. 9 at Mesa Public Library

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By Kirsten Laskey

There seems to be an endless supply of books to stack up on the night stand or cram into a bookshelf, but how do you pick which ones to read?

The Los Alamos Great Books Discussion makes the decision process easy by selecting the books for the reader.

The book group not only selects the material for its members, it also invites them to participate in literary conversations.

The discussions will begin at 1 p.m. Sept. 9 at Mesa Public Library.

To get involved, all that is needed is the book, “Great Conversations 3,” which can be purchased for $24.95, plus shipping, from the Great Books Foundation, 35 East Wacker Drive, Suite 2300, Chicago, Ill., 60601-2205.

“Great Conversations” include excerpts from numerous authors such as Chaucer, Mary Shelley and Tolstoy.

Besides reading 15 literary selections, the group will also read two novels, Machiavelli’s “The Prince” and Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre.”

“It’s just a variety of reading selections,” said Mary Cernicek, the group moderator.

She explained the meetings begin with a question and then followed by dialogue in response to the question.

Elizabeth Aeillo, the orginial moderator for the group, said it has operated in Los Alamos 20-25 years.

In that time, the material has changed annually. Aeillo explained the Great Books Discussion was advertised in a magazine at the library and it was decided to initiate the program locally.

“We just jumped into it,” she said.

The Great Books Discussion, Cernicek said, was started at the University of Chicago in the 1930s.

She encourages people to get involved in the discussion group because, “it’s simply an opportunity to read good literature and discuss and apply it to today’s standards as well as the standards of the time it was published.”

She added, “it exposes (people) to literature they haven’t read in the past and secondly, it promotes a dialogue that comes from lots of different disciplines and experiences.”

Aiello added, the discussions are for anyone, in fact, differences are celebrated within the group.

“For one thing, the people who participate in it cover a variety of interests and things of that sort ee the variety of people really leads to good discussions,” she said.

For more information, call Cernick at 662-7100 or e-mail her at mcc@losalamos.com.