The Houston Montrose Great Books discussion group is affiliated with Great Books and meets at 6pm on the first Thursday of every month.
Our location is in the downstairs conference room of The Houston Freed-Montrose Public Library at 4100 Montrose Boulevard, one black south of Richmond in the same shopping center as The Black Lab Restaurant.
Parking for attendees is available in a parking garage behind the Library. You may have to take a ticket when you enter the garage but the attendant leaves at 7pm so you don't need to pay on your way out.
We love to have new members. We ask that you read the book if you want to participate in the discussion but everyone is welcome to attend and listen whether they have read the selection or not. Call or email me if you would like more info.
Hope to see you soon!
Our main website info is at:
Our blog is at:
An archive of previous meeting reminders (and such) is at:
We are affiliated with Houston Great Books as reflected at:
And here is a guide to Shared Inquiry which is basically how we try to conduct the discussion.
- Readings for 2013
- Jan 3 - NO MEETING THIS MONTH! [holiday week]
This gives us time to start reading next month's LONG book early!
- Feb 7 - ALL THE KING'S MEN by Robert Penn Warren [publ 1946] 600 pages
Pulitzer Prize winner. Rated the 36th greatest novel of the 20th century by Modern Library and one of 100 best novels since 1923 by TIME magazine. Pronounced by Sinclair Lewis as "one of our few national galleries of character."
Story traces career of a demagogue - loosely based on Governor Huey "Kingfish" Long of Louisiana. An idealistic man of the people soon becomes corrupted by success and is caught between dreams of service and an insatiable lust for power.
[LONG BOOK CATEGORY - have more time to read if you use extra time from January]
--Marcella leading discussion
- Mar 7 NEUROMANCER by William Gibson [publ 1984] 288 pages
First winner of the science-fiction "triple crown": the Nebula Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, and the Hugo Award.
The novel tells the story of a washed-up computer hacker hired by a mysterious employer to pull off the ultimate hack.
--Wendy leading discussion
- Apr 4 SATURDAY by Ian McEwan [pub 2006] 304 pages
James Tait Black Memorial Prize winner in 2005. Author has been nominated for the Man Booker prize six times to date, winning the Prize for Amsterdam in 1998. The Times featured the author on their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
Story is set in London during a large demonstration against the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The reader follows Perowne, a London neurosurgeon, mainly via an interior monologue, through his day which is disrupted by an encounter with a violent, troubled man.
-- Charles leading discussion
- May 2 A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA by Richard Hughes (publ 1929) 279 pages
Included as number 71 in the Modern Library's 100 Best English-language novels of the 20th century.
Story is a reckoning with the secret reasons and otherworldly realities of childhood. Action begins among the decayed plantation houses of late nineteenth-century Jamaica, before moving out onto the high seas, as Hughes tells the story of a group of children thrown upon the mercy of a crew of down-at-the-heel pirates
--Will leading discussion
- Jun 6 BELOVED by Toni Morrison - [publ 1987] 352 pages
Author is winner of Nobel Prize in literature in 1993. Pulitzer Prize winner in 1988 for BELOVED which was also selected as single best work of American fiction in past 25 years as determined by a New York Times poll of 200 prominent writers, critics and editors.
Book examines both the mental and physical trauma caused by brutal effects of slavery. Sethe struggles to survive in the aftermath of slavery, haunted by her dead daughter. The author has said "Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another."
--Nicole leading discussion
- Jul 4 Our book club will not meet on this holiday. (Conveniently providing more time to read next month's selection). Alternative recommendation is for everyone to attend the 11th Annual Independence Day discussion being organized by the Houston Great Books Council. Usually an excerpt of the U.S. Constitution is discussed but details are not available yet to confirm so please stay tuned.
- Aug 1 THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner (publ 1929) 350 pages
Notoriously "difficult," this novel is actually one of Faulkner's more accessible works once you get past the abrupt, unannounced time shifts--and certainly the most powerful emotionally according to some reviews. One of the greatest novels for those who appreciate classic literature.
This story of the fall of the Compson family, an aristocratic Southern family, mirrors the fall of the Old South after the Civil War.
--David leading discussion
- Sep 5 THE TRIAL by Franz Kafka (publ 1925) 300 pages
(Breon Mitchell translation recommended and available HERE on Amazon)
The terrifying tale of Josef K., a respectable bank officer who is suddenly and inexplicably arrested and must defend himself against a charge about which he can get no information. Whether read as an existential tale, a parable, or a prophecy of the excesses of modern bureaucracy wedded to the madness of totalitarianism, Kafka's nightmare has resonated with chilling truth for generations of readers.
--Will leading discussion