Veterans Book Group

Maryland’s veterans connect through humanities discussion

After a successful launch three years ago, Veterans Book Groups return for 2018.

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.

Browse what our groups are reading with the Veterans Booklist.

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

Check below for details on discussions near you!

  • Baltimore County - Towson Library
    Select Mondays, January to May 2018
    January 29, February 26, March 26, April 30, and May 21, 2018
    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. Participants should plan to attend all five sessions. Dinner and materials are provided. Registration is required.

    Register: Call (410) 887- 6166 or email

    Preview the syllabus   Get Directions

  • Harford County - Bel Air Library
    Select Wednesdays, February to May 2018
    February 14, March 14, April 11, May 9, and May 30, 2018
    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

  • Prince George's County - Montpelier Arts Center
    Second Tuesday of the month, March to May 2018
    March 13, April 10, and May 8, 2018
    6:30 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 three sessions. Registration is required.

    Register: Call  (301) 377- 7800

    Preview the Syllabus   Get Directions

  • St. Mary's County - Lexington Park Library
    1st Friday of the month, February to June 2018
    February 2, March 2, April 6, May 4, and June 1, 2018
    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

    Preview the Syllabus   Get Directions

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

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

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “[In Veterans Book Group,] I made connections with other vets.”

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

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

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

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
  • Thank you once again for the opportunity for me to share with your students a little about my Vietnam experiences. What you are doing is very special and I hope you will be able to continue this fine effort.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran 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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