Veterans Book Group

As all host sites are currently closed to the public due to COVID-19, Veterans Book Group events are cancelled until further notice.

Maryland’s veterans connect through humanities discussion

After a successful launch six years ago, Veterans Book Groups return for 2020.

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

    Select Mondays, January to May 2020
    January 27, February 24, March 23, April 27, and May 18, 2020
    6:00 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. Participants should plan to attend all five sessions. Dinner and materials are provided. Registration is required.

    Register: Call (410) 887- 6166 

    PREVIEW THE SYLLABUS   Get Directions

  • Harford County - Bel Air Library

    Select Dates, January to April 2020
    January 15, February 12, March 11, April 9, and April 29, 2020
    6:00 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. Dinner and materials are provided. Registration is required.

    Register: Call  (410) 638-3151

    PREVIEW THE SYLLABUS   GET DIRECTIONS

  • Howard County - Central Branch

    Select Sundays from January to May 2020

    January 5, February 2, March 1, April 5, and May 3, 2020
    1:00 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. Food and materials are provided. Registration is required.

    Register: Call (410) 313-7800

    PREVIEW THE SYLLABUS    GET DIRECTIONS

  • Prince George's County - Montpelier Arts Center

    Select Tuesdays, January to May 2020
    January 21, February 18, March 24, April 21, and May 19, 2020
    7:00 p.m. – 9:00 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. Dinner and materials are provided. Participants should plan to attend all five sessions. Registration is required.

    Registration deadline is Sunday, January 12, 2020.

    Register: Call  (301) 377- 7800

    PREVIEW THE SYLLABUS   GET DIRECTIONS

  • St. Mary's County - Lexington Park Library

    Select Fridays, February to June 2020
    February 7, March 6, April 3, May 1, and June 5, 2020
    11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.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. Lunch and materials are provided. Registration is required.

    Register: Call  (301) 863-8188

    Register by January 24, 2020.

    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
  • 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
  • “[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
  • “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 felt that I had a very unique oral history experience. It was very emotional and I feel that I learned valuable information. I got to learn stories and practice skills that normally I wouldn’t have been comfortable with.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • I thought the interview was gonna be boring but since it happened I had a lot of fun learning about my veteran’s experiences.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student 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 enjoyed it as much as the students.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
  • “[In Veterans Book Group,] I considered other perspectives both of other service members and others who did not serve.”

    Veterans Book Group 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
  • 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
  • “[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
  • “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
  • “The enthusiasm, and preparedness of your students was impressive. I have spoken about them at different forums, as the leaders of a new generation of Americans, who will study the past, so, not to repeat the mistakes.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran 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
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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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