recreational literature

An advanced book club privileging animated conversation

The primary objective will be to enjoy literary classics by participating in animated group discussions. Discover new ways of interacting with text which are not from scholarly models, but which explore and play with the reader’s creativity and interests. Share your interpretations with the group in ways which emerge from your interests and talents, providing ways to access these literary worlds in personal ways.

Scroll down for a list of works already discussed. Anyone wanting to form a new group is welcome to contact me.


Extreme sport: take on the heavyweights


Round 9 – 2020

Beloved – Toni Morrison (winter 2020)

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte (spring 2020 – zoom)

 Who Has Seen the Wind – W.O. Mitchell (summer 2020 – zoom)


Foundational works from literary history unlocked by your wonder


What might have seemed a daunting task has been made accessible and highly enjoyable and educational through Allison’s skill and enthusiasm as a teacher.  Her research is impeccable, her sense of humour infectious, and her ability to draw even the most tenuous “student” out, is impressive. (Pat, Primary school teacher. M.A. education.)

She challenged my abilities at a level I could understand. She required that I think. Altogether I learned and was given confidence. (Merilyn, nurse)

She encourages participation in a very inclusive and positive way so that everyone feels they have made a real contribution. She takes a very varied group in terms of education and experience and creates a coherent learning experience. Everyone has fun and learns a lot. (Kay,translator)

The conversations abut William Blake felt like a PHD seminar. (Elizabeth, psychologist and professor)


Round 8 -2018-19

Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes

Song of Myself – Walt Whitman


Round 7 -2018

Medieval Literature: Chaucer and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Autobiography of Red – Anne Carson

Endgame – Samuel Beckett


ROUND 6 -2017

Sheila Watson, The Double Hook Fall 2016

Homer,  The Odyssey,  (trans. Fagles) Winter 2017

Derek Walcott, Omeros, Spring 2017

Round 5 – 2016

Ben Lerner, Leaving the Atocha Station (winter 2016)

William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, (spring 2016)

William Shakespeare, Midsummer Night’s Dream, (summer 2016)

Round 4 – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen – November 2014

Ars Poetica (What is A Poem?) Contemporary Poetry – Dec 2014

Alan Ginsberg, Howl, Spring 2015

Round 3 – Fall 2013 to Summer 2014

Winnie-the Pooh, by A.A. Milne November 2013

Sula, Toni Morrison, January 2014

Round 2

Thomas King: Green Grass Running Water – January 2013

Gilgamesh – Derrek Hines translation – April 2013

Shakespeare: Hamlet  – May/June 2013

Round One:

The Iliad

recommended translation – Fagles

Homer’s epic poem about the fall of Troy is foundational to Western thought: Rage, jealousy and epic storytelling. Fagles’ new translation is an easy and engaging narrative. Suggested price 40$ (4 conferences )

King Lear 

Shakespeare’s unflinching tragedy explores the consequences of not discriminating between flattery and honesty, written with the bard’s characteristic puns, fool’s wisdom and verse. Suggested price 30$ (3 conferences)


George Eliot’s fairly “heavy” novel of provincial Victorian England; yet because of its narrator’s wry humour, is well worth toting. Suggested price 40$ ( 4 conferences).

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