What we're about

Great Books promotes reading, thinking, and the exchange of ideas through the “shared inquiry” method.

We are a diverse group of readers who enjoy exploring the written word, thinking about a work and then coming together as a small group to discuss our ideas. We've been around for eight years now, and I continuously hear feedback that the group introduces people to books that they might never have heard about on their own, and even if a book is "not for them" they leave the discussion generally liking the book more than before the discussion started.

Sounds lame? Move on, we aren't for you!

Sounds like fun? It is. JOIN US!

How we approach our discussions:


Great Books uses a method called "shared inquiry", which is a discussion process that enables participants who have carefully read the same work to help each other explore and understand the work. A leader provides questions that challenge the participants to think for themselves. The conversation allows participants to share their perspectives and respond to the interpretations of others; it uncovers new and deeper meanings for everyone engaged in this dialogue. It is a method that works, that is exciting, and fun. If you like to share your ideas and enjoy being challenged, "shared inquiry" will work for you.


Philadelphia Great Books is associated with over 30 book groups in the PA/NJ/DE area. Please contact us if you would like a listing of available book groups, or if your current book group is interested in shared inquiry and in joining Great Books.

Upcoming events (4)

1Q84 by Murakami
Needs a date and time

Panera Bread


From Amazon.com: “Murakami is like a magician who explains what he’s doing as he performs the trick and still makes you believe he has supernatural powers . . . But while anyone can tell a story that resembles a dream, it's the rare artist, like this one, who can make us feel that we are dreaming it ourselves.” —The New York Times Book Review
The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s—1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.

Read something by Zadie Smith
Needs a date and time

Needs a location

Past events (211)

Discuss "The Year of the Flood" by Margaret Atwood

Online event

Photos (144)