Our Bliss with Books: A Fall Writing and Reading Course

I have sometimes dreamt that when the Day of Judgment dawns and the great conquerors and lawyers and statesmen come to receive their rewards — their crowns, their laurels, their names carved indelibly upon imperishable marble — the Almighty will turn to Peter and will say, not without a certain envy when He sees us coming with our books under our arms, ‘Look, these need no reward.  We have nothing to give them.  They have loved reading.’”

—Virginia Woolf


In this fall writing and reading course we will explore ways of deepening our reading practice, reflecting on our reading history, and sharing with others  the fruits of our reading.  Themes we will consider include:  courtesy and answerability, the canon and the syllabus, intensive and extensive reading, commonplace books (paper and digital), learning by heart, skimming, browsing, planning and spontaneity,  slow reading, a saturation  job, being a scholar of words, Kafka’s Axe, grateful dependence on translators, the joy of recommendation, and more.

Each session will  feature one or more themes, and allow time for individual writing, paired exchange, and open forum. We’ll also discuss Alberto Manguel’s A History of Reading.

Between class sessions, participants will post reflections, lists, questions, responses, and recommendations at a class blog.

We’ll meet on Wednesdays for 7 weeks, beginning October 25, and continuing on November  1, 8, 15, 29, and December 6, and 13,  from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m. at my home—4514 Chouteau Avenue (63110).

An on-line class will also be available for those interested.  Agendas will be shared on Wednesdays via email and provide guidance for writing, reading, exchanging during the week.

Writing instruments (notebook, laptop)
Alberto Manguel’s A History of Reading

Tuition: $160, payable by check. On-line tuition: $115.

If interested, write me at markjchmiel@gmail.com.
If you know a reader who might be interested in this class, please pass along this announcement.



It came to my attention
Just in the last week or so

That Tony Albrecht sawThe Book of Mev on the Arandas’ bookshelves, borrowed it, and started reading it
Abbie Amico is going over Faces of Poverty Faces of Christ

Liz Vestal gave her sister Hannah The Book of Mev to read and she is
Nebu Kolenchery encouraged Lizzie Corcoran to read The Book of Mev and she did

Carol Wright found her mother’s copy of Faces of Poverty Faces of Christ at her sister’s home in Kentucky, and brought it back to Saint Louis to read
Cami Kasmerchak read The Book of Mev for the third time over winter break and sent me a long letter about it


Claire Peterson, SLU Library

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