Toby and I want to thank everyone who filled out our survey about studies for 2017. We had a robust response, and results have been very helpful—especially your write-in comments. We’re still sifting through all the ideas, but you’ve already helped us decide on several of the studies we’re scheduling for January. We’ll have our January 2017 studies posted and open for registration in just a couple days, so keep an eye out for those!

In the survey, we asked about your interest in a dozen studies we’ve been considering. In order of popularity, the results came back like this:

Virgil’s Aeneid
Virginia Woolf’s The Waves
Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man
Elizabeth Smart’s By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept
The Five Books of Moses
Plato’s Republic
George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda
Stories and Plays of Anton Chekhov
Toni Morrison’s A Mercy
Herodotus’ Histories
Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose
Halldor Laxness’ Independent People

You’ll see much of this reflected in our 2017 schedule. In fact, the Aeneid  received so many requests that we’ll be offering it twice in the new year, once starting in January, and again starting in March.

Of even more interest to us were all the write-in suggestions you submitted. We received requests ranging from Cervantes, Tolstoy, Melville and Chaucer to Phillip Roth, Flannery O’Connor, Derek Walcott, Sylvia Plath, Kate Tempest and Bob Dylan. Henry James was the most frequently mentioned author in the write-in votes. We also saw a number of requests for poetry studies, and for weekend studies. We won’t be able to offer studies for all of these, but they have definitely set our imaginations in motion for late spring and the rest of 2017!

Below, in no particular order, are the write-ins. Which of these catch your fancy? Let us know and add some more in the Comments section.



  • Toni Morrison’s ‘Paradise‘ – even better than ‘Beloved‘ and very difficult.
  • Any Henry James, but if possible ‘The Ambassadors’
  • I also like the idea of a Henry James novel or two.
  • I’d be an enthusiast for a Middlemarch study and I see that Philip Roth was mentioned. Thomas Hardy would also interest me.
  • I would be interested in studies on Saramago, and Javier Marias.
  • So hard to choose! Following The Waste Land, would love to do some more poetry. The Romantics? Or W.B. Yeats. Elizabeth Bishop. Emily Dickinson!
  • Derek Walcott ‘Omeros’. Cervantes ‘Don Quixote’. All of your complete list above is tempting!
  • William Faulkner – Henry James – TS Eliot
  • Philip Roth or Cormac McCarthy
  • Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil; Robert Musil: The Man Without Qualities; Jose Saramago; Javier Marias; Joseph Conrad
  • Philip Roth, John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O’Connor
  • Middlemarch please. Also, I have loved previous poetry salons where you have covered multiple works by the same poet rather than one huge poem (Emily Dickinson was brilliant). Would you consider Larkin, Plath, Hughes, Berryman…?
  • The work of Jeannette Winterson, Zadie Smith or Sarah Waters
  • Anthony Powell: A Dance to the Music of Time; Kazuo Ishiguro: The Unconsoled; Henry James: The Golden Bowl
  • I would be game for Wallace Stevens
  • The poetry of Matthew Arnold. Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd
  • Paradise Lost; War and Peace; King Lear
  • Moby Dick
  • Shakespeare’s plays or sonnets; Vanity Fair; Modern poets—Carol Ann Duffy, etc.
  • I would love to read Milton’s Paradise Lost and Dante’s Inferno. Like the Proust, I never will alone. Also Tristram Shandy, I’ve failed several times at that – as I did Proust before starting the salon.
  • Henry James?
  • I like a topic which is covered in several books eg the Imaginary homelands idea. Maybe slavery, or family breakdown – and other topics about which much has been written. Or the work of a particular author – not just one book but a few showing how the author has developed.
  • Canterbury Tales
  • Kate Tempest, Bob Dylan – not sure I should put those two together. And, Seamus Heany with the Aeneid as well .
  • Marlon James – A Brief History of Seven Killings
  • I would love to study Ford Madox Ford
  • The Odyssey, myths