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Tuesday, August 20, 2013


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2013 IS FILLED UP, but we still have openings on 



The Man Who Would  Be King by Rudyard Kipling is the story we will discuss in the morning.  After lunch we will view the movie of the same name.  This story is available in many editions, print, e-books, or online.  It is only 25 to 35 pages long.

This is a one day mini-retreat at Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, 1006 Washington St., Calistoga, CA 94515 707-942-6269  Register for Sunday on the form below.  We have limited space available and we expect this event to fill up soon.  Saturday fills up sooner so if you can make it on Sunday that would be great.  Please register as soon as you can.  Calistoga is a lovely small town at the northern end of the Napa Valley at the foot of Mt. St. Helena.  You are on your own for lunch.  There are many excellent restaurants and delis in town, but no fast food, it’s against the law. 

Plan to arrive around 9am.  We will have breakfast available if you need something to start the day.  We will discuss the story beginning at 10am for two hours and break for lunch.  In the afternoon we will watch the movie and have a short discussion after that.  We will close the day with some cheese and a sip of wine and be finished by around 5pm.

This story, one of Kipling’s best, describes the journey of two half-mad yet determined Englishmen from obscurity in India to divine rule in far-off Kafiristan. They smuggle themselves into Afghanistan, steal mules when their camels give out, trek over vast mountains, and one sets himself up as a god-king of the more primitive locals.  Soon, they are discovered to be only human. A great adventure story.

The movie, directed by John Huston, stars Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer, and Saeed Jaffrey.  It received Oscars for Art-Set Decoration, Costume Design, Film Editing, and Writing, Screenplay Adapted From Other Material.

Cost: $30.00 per person.

For a printable registration form to be mailed with a check CLICK HERE.

To register online and pay by credit card through PayPal or by check:

Monday, August 19, 2013


NOVEMBER 2-3, 2013

and new registration deadline:  September 30, 2013

This year, the Great Books Poetry Weekend will be held at Vallombrosa Center in Menlo Park.  It is a beautiful, peaceful, enclosed ten acre site shaded by trees from all over the world.  Every room has a private bathroom:  single occupancy rooms are also available; there are no dormitory-style rooms. 

As usual, we will have our Saturday evening pre-dinner wine and cheese party and after dinner party with interactive entertainment.  All meeting rooms are accessible via 8 stair steps.

The price for the whole package will be the same at Vallombrosa as it was at Westminster last year:  $175.00 per person based on a double-occupancy room, except this year your room will have its own bathroom.  Single occupancy rooms are also available for $189.00 with your own twin bed and your own private bathroom.  Vallombrosa does not give as much of a price break for commuters as was possible at Westminster; regrettably, those not staying overnight will have to pay $154.00 per person.

The registration deadline is somewhat earlier than last year as Vallombrosa has to have payment in full by September 30, 2013 so don’t let this application slip into the lower strata of that paper embankment on your desk.  Send it in now.  More information is available on the registration form on our website or CLICK HERE to go directly to the registration form.  Please note:  The registration deadline for this event has changed to September 30, 2013.  We have a few spots left.

This year's poetry selections:

Saturday Morning:  Proverbs and Axioms:
The Imperfect Paradise by Linda Pastan; The Calf Path by Sam Walter Foss; Proverb by Kenneth Koch; Home to Roost by Kay Ryan; On His Blindness by John Milton; The Lumberjacks by Linda Pastan.

Saturday Afternoon:  Our Animal Nature:
The Owl by Ted Hughes; 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens; The Horses by Edwin Muir; The Centaur by May Swenson; The Fish, The Man and the Spirit by Leigh Hunt; Reading the Body by Jenny Bornholdt.

Sunday Morning:  Men and Women:
The Imagined by Stephen Dunn; Privilege of Being by Robert Hass; Observations by Hilaire Kirkland; Eros Turannos by Edwin Arlington Robinson; Toes by Raymond Carver; Love Songs in Age by Philip Larkin.

                             REGISTRATION DEADLINE

 IS SEPTEMBER 30, 2013