Try passing the cold, indoor month of February with books

NEIGHBORS

February 07, 1994|By LYN BACKE

When I lived in New Hampshire we had a number of words for February, most of which were negative, and some of which are inappropriate for a family newspaper.

There was a good side to February, however, which was in a way a natural outgrowth of the cold, dreary weather we lived with . . . weather not dissimilar to the unusual stew Mother Nature has treated us to this year in Maryland.

In February we couldn't garden and we couldn't sail and we couldn't play tennis under the lights at 10 p.m. and we couldn't do all sorts of distracting things that ran our summers. So between storms we shared books and argued philosophy and considered our lives and shared with our friends.

Happily, this wasn't just a New Hampshire thing; it's a February thing, as alive in Maryland in 1994 as it was in New England in 1974, to judge by what I have for today's column.

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For instance: in South County there's a very active Great Books discussion group, that meets every Tuesday at the South County Library.

It was started three years ago by Henry Burroughs and a couple of friends who had been enjoying the Great Books discussions at Anne Arundel Community College when the course was discontinued.

The weekly meetings attract an average of a dozen people who have read a common text to discuss its meaning and how it has affected the world in general, and their own lives.

The group follows the general curriculum of the Great Books Foundation, according to Mr. Burroughs. "It becomes pretty obvious that the books were chosen carefully. We find we keep referring back to works we read six months or a year ago -- everything relates to everything else."

Open on the table in coming weeks for the Great Books group are works by Sophocles, Freud, Kafka, and Goethe. "We have great fun," said Mr. Burroughs.

For information on joining the group, or some suggestions on starting your own, call him at 867-0366.

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And more books: the Annapolis Chapter of the Brandeis University National Women's Committee

(BUNWC) is welcoming used paperback books for its April 8 sale at Annapolis Harbor Center.

Pickup co-chairwoman Harriet Raffel said, "There's room for all sorts of books besides pulp novels -- we have a lot of those so far."

They're looking for computer books, cookbooks, how-tos, classics, reference, poetry, nonfiction -- the kind of thing people are thrilled to find at 50 cents to $2.

Books are published because there's interest. If some that you have aren't interesting to you, give them to the Brandeis book sale, so they can find a receptive home.

Among its local projects, the BUNWC promotes reading by

tutoring students for whom English is a second language. Members also donated new books to the Eastport Head Start during the holidays. Some were for the children to take home and others were for the Head Start library.

To arrange pickup of books for the Brandeis sale, call Harriet Raffel, 224-0753, or Julia Feldman, 269-0563.

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Also offering learning assistance is Project Politae, a free tutoring service run by students at St. John's College (whose curriculum is based on the Great Books Program -- I promise, this is February coincidence.)

The goal of the program is to help at-risk students reach their academic potential and have the experience of a college environment. For families in need the service is free, "but Johnnies are also available to tutor students whose families [can] afford to pay," said coordinator Terry Moore, a junior at the college.

For more information, call the college placement office, 626-2501, or Terry Moore, 268-5032.

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The "Red Stocking Follies," scheduled for May 6, 7, and 8 at

Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, is a production of the Severn Town Club, which meets in Annapolis.

A "Meet the Director Night" is scheduled next Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Maryland Hall gym. Potential performers or stage hands can learn about the theme of this year's show and audition to perform.

The Follies, now in its 11th year, benefits Maryland Hall.

For more information on the Red Stocking Follies, call co-Chairwomen Doris Dunker, 647-0590, or Peg Colt, 798-1445, or Talent Chairwoman Laurie Davis, 544-1062.

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Jane Haslem, scheduled to speak at St. John's College tomorrow as part of the Honore Daumier Exhibit program, has had to cancel for health reasons.

R. Wayne Reynolds, an expert on the conservation and restoration of gilded decorative art objects, will substitute for her. He will speak at 5:30 p.m. in the Conversation Room of Mellon Hall.

Reynolds' clients include the White House, the Department of State and the National Gallery.

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