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Daily Hampshire Gazette | Great Books in the News

Daily Hampshire Gazette | Great Books in the News

What they did on their summer vacation: At the Great Books program at Amherst College, reading is a joy, not a chore

At first glance, it looked like a scene from a typical day at Amherst College: about 100 students in a lecture hall, on tiered seating on three sides of the room, notebooks and digital devices like iPads at hand, while a professor stood in the well of the room, looking up at some of the young people seated above him.

The subject matter seemed a serious one. Discussion revolved at first around “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” Harriet Beecher Stowe’s seminal anti-slavery novel that became a bestseller in the 1850s as the United States moved ever closer to civil war. “That was a time of growing division,” the professor said. “How different is our country today?”

In this case, though, it was early July, and the professor, Ilan Stavans, was wearing shorts and no shoes; as for the students, they looked a little young to be in college. They were, in fact, high school students, from their mid-to-late teens and from across the country and overseas, who had come to Amherst to do something not usually associated with summer camps: read.

Student Spotlight | Marijke from CT

Student Spotlight | Marijke from CT

"Great Books has helped me hone my ability to ask effective questions and to lead discussions to find the answers." - Marijke from CT

Marijke, who is celebrating her sixth summer at Great Books this year, shares her perspective on how Great Books continues to facilitate her growth both personally and academically. This fall she will be an incoming freshman at Middlebury College in VT, one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the country.

Student Spotlight | Leigh from FL

Student Spotlight | Leigh from FL

"Great Books was instrumental in helping me achieve the confidence that has guided me on my life path thus far." -  Leigh from FL 

Leigh is an enthusiastic Great Books' alumna who attended our Amherst College program for two weeks each summer for six years. Today, she is a student at Duke University School of Law. Leigh offered to share her perspective on Great Books and its impact on her life journey.

Living Irish Literature in Dublin

Living Irish Literature in Dublin

A trip to Literary Dublin is a breathtaking journey through the city and its suburbs including coastal towns and seaside villages with spectacular scenery and landscapes. It is also a book lover's paradise because some of literatures' most prolific authors and writers have called Dublin home. They include James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, William Butler Yeats, and George Bernard Shaw.

Living Literary History in Oxford

Living Literary History in Oxford

Live the literature! Great Book's Oxford University program takes students on an adventure-filled journey through English literature. Each morning begins with university-style seminars. reading classic texts, engaging in deep conversations and debate while honing critical thinking skills. Afternoons are spent exploring the bookish treasures found throughout Oxford. Two days are spent heading out of town to visit key points of interest in the English countryside. 

Spooky Reads For Halloween

Spooky Reads For Halloween

Here at Great Books' headquarters, the weather is turning crisp, the leaves are turning color, and candy corn can be found in every store. It is a sure sign Halloween is right around the corner, so here are a few spooky literary picks to get you ready for the holiday celebrating ghosts, goblins, and ghouls.

Nerd of the Month Eve Houghton

Nerd of the Month Eve Houghton

Eve taught a class on rare books and manuscripts for Great Books in the summer of 2015. They looked at some medieval manuscripts and early printed books at Amherst College Special Collections, and had a “traveling scriptorium” day where they practiced writing with a quill pen and parchment.

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