Veterans Book Group

As all host sites are currently closed to the public due to COVID-19, Veterans Book Group events in 2021 will be held virtually until further notice.

Maryland’s veterans connect through humanities discussion

After a successful launch seven years ago, Veterans Book Groups return for 2021.

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 2021
    January 25, February 22, March 22, April 26, and May 24, 2021
    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: Check here for when registration goes live.  

    PREVIEW THE SYLLABUS   Get Directions

  • Harford County - Bel Air Library

    Select Wednesdays, February to May 2021
    February 10, March 10, April 14, May 5, and May 26, 2021
    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: Register here.

    PREVIEW THE SYLLABUS   GET DIRECTIONS

  • Howard County - Central Branch

    First Tuesdays of the Month from February to June 2021

    February 2, March 2, April 6, May 4, and June 1, 2021
    7:00 p.m. – 8:30 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

    Select Tuesdays, January to May 2021
    January 26, February 16, March 16, April 20, and May 18, 2021
    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.

     

    Register: Check here for when registration goes live.

    PREVIEW THE SYLLABUS   GET DIRECTIONS

  • St. Mary's County - Lexington Park Library

    First Saturdays of the Month, February to June 2021
    February 6, March 6, April 3, May 1, and June 5, 2021
    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: Check here for when registration goes live. 

     

    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.

 

image depicting Lockheed Martin logo
Baltimore County Commission on the Arts & Sciences logo
Logo of The Wawa Foundation
  • 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
  • “[In Veterans Book Group,] I learned a different way to explain combat experience to one who has never been in the service.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “[Veterans Book Group] was better than expected! [I got] a feeling of connection and pride with the other member [and] I’d love to participate again in any future book clubs—I enjoyed the stimulation.”

    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
  • “[In Veterans Book Group,] I considered other perspectives both of other service members and others who did not serve.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “I met some great people, read books I might never have otherwise, [and] had great discussion.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “I feel more connected to history.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “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
  • I just wanted to tell you, I really enjoyed the visit…Your students were wonderful and the questions were fair and good. I enjoyed the experience and hope it will helpful to your classroom experience…I like it when students ask questions on things they may have wondered about. 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…it is a really worthwhile experience for the students “as well” as us Vietnam vets.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
  • “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
  • “Being a part of the group provided me with a safe area to revisit my thoughts and feelings on my experience during the war.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • I enjoyed it as much as the students.

    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
  • “It was an amazing experience to meet and talk to a veteran.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • I thought it was a very good learning experience. We actually got to talk to someone who took place in the Vietnam War.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
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Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities.
Maryland Humanities
108 West Centre Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4565
(410) 685-0095
(410) 685-0795 fax
info@mdhumanities.org
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