Book Club

Next gathering: January 14, evening – Virgil’s Aeneid, Books 5-8

Like many, I’ve long had a goal of reading classical literature – both for my own personal growth, and to enrich my homeschool. The HLN Book Club provided just the motivation, camaraderie, and accountability I needed to finally make it happen! It’s been an honor and a blessing to read, discuss, and share this journey through great books with other HLN parents and teachers. I’m thankful for the opportunity, and look forward to it continuing to be a meaningful part of my family’s HLN experience. 

-HLN Parent

HLN supports parents in continuing their own education by providing a classics book club. We employ the guiding principle of multum non multa which means “much, not many.” A modern phrasing would be “quality, not quantity.” As a classical tutorial we want to draw parents and teachers into some of the foundational texts of the classical tradition. We meet three times during the school year and once in the summer. The series is a five year sequence you can begin at any time.

I’m grateful for this book club that gave me the courage to conquer this epic poem.  The Iliad was intimidating, but well worth the effort. I enjoyed reading it and learning about the culture, mythology, and military of the Greeks. Most of all, I loved getting together to discuss it with new friends over good food.  

-HLN Parent

Following the suggested Memoria Press Classical Studies sequence, each year we will focus on the following:

  • One classical studies text. These are texts that every student will read in their time at HLN and that parents may not have read, or may not have read in full, on their own. Through reading and discussion we desire to foster enjoyment and growth as well as to help parents prepare to engage with their children about these stories when the time comes. We follow a five-year cycle, but you are welcome to join in at any point.
  • One Shakespearian play. (Paused for summer 2021) Each summer we will read the selection that will be performed the following fall at Shakespeare in the Park. HLN families have an annual back-to-school tradition of attending this play together in September. The specific play is announced each spring once selected by the Nashville Shakespeare Festival.

Pre-reading suggestions are listed beneath the text for those who are new to the stories. Almost all of these texts are part of the standard Memoria Press curriculum and are available with Teacher Guides if you need more help. Many of you will already own these materials and teacher resources in your homeschool library.

2021-2022

  • Year Three, 2021-2022: Virgil’s Aeneid, Shakespeare TBD
    • Dates:
      • October 22 – Aeneid Books 1-4
      • January 14 –Aeneid Books 5-8
      • April 8 –Aeneid Books 9-12
      • July, date TBD-Shakespeare Play
    • A few translation options of Virgil’s Aeneid:
      • David West (This is the translation used in the Memoria Press set and at HLN)
      • Robert Fagles
      • Robert Fitzgerald
      • Stanley Lombardo
    • Ideas for pre-reading if you are new to the Aeneid.
      • D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, D’Aulaires. This book is very accessible for a basic overview of Greek (and thus, Roman) mythology. It is also a great audiobook.
      • The Trojan War, Coolidge. This is a summary of the entire Trojan War and goes beyond the content of the Aeneid but provides a great overview of the entire Trojan War cycle.
      • The Aeneid for Boys and Girls by Alfred Church. Excellent middle-school age level retelling of the adventures of Aeneas.
      • Not required, but knowledge of Homer’s Iliad & Odyssey is helpful.
      • Not included in the MP cores, but another excellent introduction to this story with beautiful illustrations: In Search of a Homeland by Penelope Lively (look for used copies).
      • If your child has already read the Iliad or Odyssey they will be a fantastic resource for you as well.
    • Shakespeare play: Twelfth Night Families are encouraged to join other HLN families at a Nashville Shakespeare Festival presentation during Summer Shakespeare. Date TBD.

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“Until a few years back, I had never read the Odyssey and never thought to do so, except in the eat-your-broccoli sense that all cultured Westerners must eventually read Homer. When my young son Matthew’s class took up the ancient Greek epic, I read along with him. It turned out to the one of the most thrilling intellectual adventures of my life, one that was even more pleasurable because it was a voyage I made with my son.”

-Rod Dreher, How Dante Can Save Your Life

Year One 2024-2025, The Iliad, Homer & Shakespeare

  • Year One Dates:
    • October – Iliad Books 1-8
    • January – Iliad Books 9-16
    • April – Iliad Books 17-24
    • July Shakespeare’s TBD – entire play. Join us as we read aloud the play.
      • Shakespeare in the Park, dates TBD
  • A few translations of the Iliad:
    • Samuel Butler (This is the version used in the MP sets. It is both scholarly but very accessible. It is written in prose, not metered poetry.)
    • Richmond Lattimore
    • Robert Fagles
    • Robert Fitzgerald
    • Stanley Lombardo
    • For those who want to know more about how the translations differ, this YouTube playlist is very enjoyable.

Year Two 2025-2026, The Odyssey, Homer, Shakespeare

  • Year Two dates:
    • October – Odyssey Books 1-8
    • January – Odyssey Books 9-16
    • April – Odyssey Books 17-24
    • July – Shakespeare TBD
  • Purchase the Odyssey through Memoria Press here and the Teacher Guide as well for extra help.
  • Ideas for pre-reading if you are new to the Odyssey:
  • Shakespeare play: Families are encouraged to join other HLN families at a Nashville Shakespeare Festival presentation during Summer Shakespeare. Date TBD.