If you enjoy meeting new people, exchanging ideas, expanding your literary knowledge, and sampling gourmet cuisine, MSOE’s Great Books Dinner and Discussion Series is an adventure you must experience. Partake in a lively discussion, or simply sit back, observe and enjoy the haunting atmosphere of MSOE’s beautiful Alumni Partnership Center. Your reading experiences will spring to life as we gather once again! Whet your appetite in a delightful exchange of great books, great food, and great conversation.

Register for Great Books

***[SOLD OUT]*** October Selection: The Great Alone

by Kristin Hannah
October 17, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Presenter: Judith Steininger, Professor Emerita

This novel was published near or at the top of all book lists. Hannah has a reputation after all. The Vietnam War and Alaska, for very different reasons, loom large in the minds of contemporary Americans; each is illuminated here. To escape one, former POW Ernt Allbright moves his family to the other. The changing season is your first clue. Lots can be accomplished in the long sunlight of summer, but darkness lies ahead. Our magnificent 49th state is no hiding place—Hannah makes that perfectly clear. At some point, read Robert Service’s poem “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” written in 1907.

Appetizer Shrimp Spring Roll
First Course Beef Pho

Pad Thai Chicken
White Rice
Roasted Zucchini

Dessert Baked Alaska

***[SOLD OUT]*** November Selection: The Radium Girls

by Kate Moore
November 14, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Presenter: Katherine Wikoff, Ph.D.
Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

Appetizer Garlic Bread and Grilled Cheese
First Course Bean Salad
Entrée Fettuccine Pasta
Red Sauce and Meatballs
Dessert Fresh Fruit Cocktail Cups with Marshmallows


***[SOLD OUT]*** January Selection: The Hamilton Affair

by Elizabeth Cobbs
January 16, 2019
5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Presenter: Judith Steininger, Professor Emerita
Perhaps someone on the planet has not heard about the musical Hamilton? For those of us who can’t attend the expensive, record setting, award-winning show, we can read this historical fiction about Alexander Hamilton. He is surely worthy of many books after an unbelievable life story: impoverished child from the island of Nevis, first United States Secretary of the Treasury only to die in a dual with Aaron Burr. His picture remains on our ten dollar bill. Cobbs’ work weaves in detail the very personal and the very public life of this man; the book makes for an entertaining history. We are debating Hamilton’s issues to this very day.

Appetizer Codfish Fritters
First Course Spiced Corn Soup
Entrée Jerk Braised Chicken
Mango Fried Rice
Fried Plantains
Dessert Apple Tart


***[SOLD OUT]*** February Selection: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

by Jonas Jonasson
February 20, 2019
5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Presenter: David Howell, Ph.D.
Desperate to avoid his 100th birthday party, Allan Karlsson climbs out the window of his room at the nursing home and heads to the nearest bus station, intending to travel as far as his pocket money will take him. But a spur-of-the-moment decision to steal a suitcase from a fellow passenger sends Allan on a strange and unforeseen journey involving, among other things, some nasty criminals, a very large pile of cash, and an elephant named Sonya. It’s just another chapter in a life full of adventures for Allan, who has become entangled in the major events of the 20th century, including the Spanish Civil War and the Manhattan Project. As Allan’s colorful and complex history merges with his present-day escapades, readers will be treated to a new and charmingly funny version of world history and get to know a very youthful old man whose global influence knows no age limit. An international best-seller, this is an engaging tale of one man’s life lived to the fullest.

Appetizer Shrimp Cocktail
First Course Baked Potato Soup
Entrée Roasted Chicken
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Buttermilk Whipped Potato and Gravy
Dessert Chocolate Mousse


March Selection: Autonomous

by Annalee Newitz
March 13, 2019
5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Presenter: Jennifer Farrell, Ph.D.
Earth, 2144. Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate, traversing the world in a submarine as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can’t otherwise afford them. But her latest drug hack has left a trail of lethal overdoses as people become addicted to their work, doing repetitive tasks until they become unsafe or insane. Hot on her trail, an unlikely pair: Eliasz, a brooding military agent, and his robotic partner, Paladin. As they race to stop information about the sinister origins of Jack’s drug from getting out, they begin to form an uncommonly close bond that neither of them fully understands. And underlying it all is one fundamental question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?

Appetizer Oyster Rockefeller
First Course Chopped Salad
Entrée Fried Coconut Shrimp
Baked Potato
Steamed Broccoli and Carrots
Dessert Peanut Butter Crunch 
Vanilla Ice Cream


April Selection: The Miner

by Natsume Soseki
April 10, 2019
5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Presenter: David Howell, Ph.D.
The Miner is the most daringly experimental and least well-known novel of Japanese writer Natsume Soseki. An absurdist tale written in 1908, it was in many ways a precursor to the work of James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. Translated by Jay Rubin, and with an introduction from Haruki Murakami, this is bound to appeal to fans of Japanese literature.

Appetizer Assorted Sushi
First Course Miso Soup
Entrée Teriyaki Glazed Salmon
Sobe Noodle Stir-fry
Dessert Green Tea Ice Cream


May Selection: The Windup Girl

by Paolo Bacigalupi 
May 15, 2019
5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Presenter: Jennifer Farrell, Ph.D.
Reviewers seemed to struggle with The Windup Girl, but in the same way one struggles with a great work of art. All were bewildered by the world Bacigalupi has created and by his ability to create characters that effectively dramatize its many differences from (as well as crucial similarities to) our own. Yet all felt the need to dwell upon some aspect of the book that did not quite sit right with them— whether it was the intense (though not gratuitous) violence or the sleights of hand Bacigalupi uses to craft the plot. Perhaps such reactions were not surprising, though, for a book that many hailed as a masterpiece of the unsettling.

Appetizer Pork Satay
First Course Thai Crunch Salad
Entrée Thai Beef Stew
Lemongrass and Noodles
Dessert Pecan Pie


June Selection: The Great Train Robbery

by Michael Crichton 
June 5, 2019
5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Presenter: Katherine Wikoff, Ph.D.
In teeming Victorian London, where lavish wealth and appalling poverty live side by side, Edward Pierce charms the most prominent of the well-to-do as he cunningly orchestrates the crime of the century. Who would suspect that a gentleman of breeding could mastermind the daring theft of a fortune in gold? Who could predict the consequences of making the extraordinary robbery aboard the pride of England’s industrial era, the mighty steam locomotive? Based on fact, as lively as legend, and studded with all the suspense and style of a modern fiction master, here is a classic caper novel set a decade before the age of dynamite—yet nonetheless explosive.

Appetizer Victorian Assorted Cheese and Sausage Tray
First Course Old Fashioned Beef Barley Vegetable Soup
Entrée Pan Roasted Chicken
Potato and Asparagus
Fresh Bread and Comb Honey
Dessert Apple Rhubarb Cobbler