Veterans Book Group

Veterans Book Group events in 2022 will be mostly virtual. Please see below for details.

Maryland’s veterans connect through humanities discussion

After a successful launch eight years ago, Veterans Book Groups return for 2022.

At Maryland Humanities, we know that the humanities can play an important role in articulating the unique issues and concerns faced by veterans. Using literature to discuss service fosters connection, reduces feelings of isolation, and provides a safe context in which to explore issues regarding military service.

Veterans Book Groups aim to bring veterans of all eras together to talk about military experiences and returning to civilian life while providing an informal, supportive environment for discussion.

Readings range from classics to contemporaries – that means Herman Melville to Khaled Hosseini and everywhere in between! Syllabi vary, but all groups read the full gamut of literature including memoirs, novels, poetry, short stories, and essays.

Here’s a selection of titles, some of which are read by our Veterans Book Groups.

Groups gather regularly in Baltimore, Harford, Howard, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s Counties.

Check below for details on discussions near you!

  • Baltimore County - Towson Library

    Fourth Mondays of the month, January to May 2022
    January 24, February 28, March 28, April 25, and May 23, 2022
    6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

    Led by Dr. Karen Arnold, former visiting professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, this book group is open to current service members and veterans from all eras. Participants should plan to attend all five sessions. Materials are provided. Registration is required.

    Register: Please email ace@bcpl.net or call 410-887-0238 to register.

    PREVIEW THE SYLLABUS   Get Directions

  • Harford County - Bel Air Library

    Second Wednesdays of the Month, January to May 2022
    January 12, February 9, March 9, April 13, and May 11, 2022
    6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

    Led by Dr. Karen Arnold, former visiting professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, this book group is open to current service members and veterans from all eras. Materials are provided. Registration is required.

    Register here.

    PREVIEW THE SYLLABUS   GET DIRECTIONS

  • Howard County - Central Branch

    First Sundays of the Month from February to June 2022

    February 6, March 6, April 3, May 1, and June 5, 2022
    1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    Led by David Owens, United States Naval Academy, Class of 1994, this book group is open to current service members and veterans of all eras. Participants should plan to attend all five sessions. Materials are provided. Registration is required.

    Register here

    PREVIEW THE SYLLABUS    GET DIRECTIONS

  • Prince George's County - Montpelier Arts Center

    Third Tuesdays of the Month, January to May 2022
    January 18, February 15, March 15, April 19, and May 17, 2022
    7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

    Led by Dr. Karen Arnold, former visiting professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, this book group is open to current service members and veterans from all eras. Materials are provided. Participants should plan to attend all five sessions. Registration is required.

    Montpelier Arts Center
    9652 Muirkirk Road
    Laurel, MD 20708

    Please note that these sessions will be in person, but could switch to virtual.

    Register: Please email Montpelierarts@pgparks.com or call 301-377-7800 to register.

    PREVIEW THE SYLLABUS   GET DIRECTIONS

  • St. Mary's County - Lexington Park Library

    First Saturdays of the Month, February to June 2022
    February 5, March 5, April 2, May 7, and June 4, 2022
    10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

    Led by Vietnam Veteran, Author, and College of Southern Maryland Professor, Wayne Karlin, this book group is open to current service members and veterans from all eras, as well as their spouses, children, and other family members. Participants should plan to attend all five sessions. Materials are provided. Registration is required.

    Register here

     

    Preview the Syllabus   Get Directions

Veterans Book Group is coordinated statewide by Maryland Humanities and presented locally in partnership with the Baltimore, Harford, Howard, and St. Mary’s County public libraries and Montpelier Arts Center. The program was created by the Maine Humanities Council to promote understanding of the military experience and to support returning veterans.

Veterans Book Group is supported in part statewide by Lockheed Martin, David Bruce Smith, and The Wawa Foundation, with additional support for Baltimore County from the Citizens of Baltimore County via the Baltimore County Commission on the Arts & Sciences.

 

Baltimore County Commission on the Arts & Sciences logo
Logo of The Wawa Foundation
  • “Talking with students also helps those of us who have said little about our combat experiences because, in a sense, we feel guilty about why others died and not us/me? So, to be able to talk about it helps the veterans. The opportunity you provided to both students and veterans is wonderful and I do hope that our messages are meaningful to students.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
  • Good way to make learning real world. I learned first-hand what it was like in Vietnam, I learned a lot from this and enjoyed the experience.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • In history class you always read books written by people who didn’t experience it so it was nice to get an actual view on it. It was different because you got actual stories from history that many people don’t learn. I would like to thank you for giving me this experience in my freshman year.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “Again it was a wonderful experience with your students and a great project for them. To see and talk to real Vietnam vets is important to get real stories. You have a lot of work to do but it is a really worthwhile experience for the students “as well” as us Vietnam vets.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
  • I enjoyed it very much and I learned quite a lot. I think there is a lot that can be learned from these experiences and I think this could be a positive experience for the veterans also.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “[In Veterans Book Group,] I made connections with other vets.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • We were really moved by the testimony of the veterans and impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the students.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, parent
  • “This oral history experience was amazing. I learned so much and will never forget this. I LOVED IT, I was super skeptical at first. I felt like we had a lack of planning but I think everything went so great.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • We were enabled to go into the community and get information from real people. Also, the assignment was pretty subjective so we were able to take it in any way we liked. We led the projects and each one is so different from the next.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “This was the first time I felt comfortable admitting that I was a female Viet Nam vet!”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • It’s different from other projects because I actually got to interact with someone and get information from something other than a history book.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “It was an interesting thing to do. The process of digging through photos, souvenirs, copies of old orders, and other memorabilia was meaningful after 43 years. I WAS impressed with all of the students I met.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
  • I’m so glad I did the interview and would do it again. Now I realize just how much history affects people.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “I feel very proud and happy that I did this, it motivates me to learn more about history. My opinion of history has changed. It made me more motivated to learn about history and it seems much more interesting now.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “I feel more connected to history.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
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Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports bold experiences that explore and elevate our shared stories to connect people, enhance lives, and enrich communities.
Maryland Humanities
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Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4565
(410) 685-0095
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info@mdhumanities.org
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