Odyssey: Afternoon book discussion series, Sunday Shorts

Twenty-First Century Award-Winning Short Story Writers

For this semester's edition of the Odyssey book discussion series Sunday Shorts, we are focusing on 21st-century award-winning short story collections. Join us for six sessions, every other Sunday afternoon, for a lively discussion over tea of three of the most highly acclaimed short story writers of our time.

Sept. 20 and Oct. 4: Dianne Scheper leads discussions of Jennifer Egan, A Visit From the Goon Squad (2010). Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Award, this short story cycle imagines the intersecting lives of people struggling with the allurements and confusions of our digital age. Using pop music as a rhythmical subtext, Egan takes the pulse of postmodern life with breathtaking, genre-bending virtuosity.

Oct. 18 and Nov. 1: Pat Schultheis leads discussions of William Trevor, Cheating at Canasta (2007). Trevor's wonderful collection is fixed firmly in the 21st century, but the subject matter, character study, and treatment within these 12 stories is timeless. Trevor is as masterful in his artistry as he is forgiving of his characters' foibles and foolish choices.

Nov. 15 and 29: Gregg Wilhelm leads discussion of George Saunders' The 10th of December (2013), winner of the 2013 Story Prize for short story collections, and selected as one of the 10 Best Books of 2013 by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. The Times boldly proclaimed that it would be the "best book you'll read this year." Let's see if this collection by Saunders—a MacArthur genius grant winner and erstwhile Letterman regular—stands the test of time and whether he is indeed, as Mary Karr posits, "the best short story writer in English" alive today.

911.286.01 Homewood Campus Sunday, Sept. 20; Oct. 4 and 18; Nov. 1, 15, and 29 2 to 4 p.m. Cost: $186

JHU full-time faculty and staff members are eligible for 80 percent tuition remission. Spouse/same-sex domestic partners are eligible for 50 percent remission. Please be aware that you will be unable to register online and receive the discount. Contact 410-516-8516 for more details.