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Contact Sheri Kindsvater 
Great Books Council of San Francisco


Friday April 13, 2018 at 3:00 PM PDT
Sunday April 15, 2018 at 1:00 PM PDT

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Asilomar Conference Grounds 
800 Asilomar Avenue
Pacific Grove, CA 93950-5310

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Barbara McConnell Asilomar Great Books Weekend 2018


One of the major events of the year for the Great Books Council of San Francisco is the Asilomar 2011 boardwalk spring weekend at the Asilomar Conference Center in Monterey, California, named in honor of beloved Great Books leader Barbara McConnell. During the weekend there are discussions of poetry, a work of nonfiction, a work of theatre and a work of fiction. The beauty of the area is conducive to stimulating discussions and convivial parties.

  In 2018, the Asilomar Weekend will discuss American Classics, focussing on American writers of significant works.

Our novel will be The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin.  This year we go sci-fi!  Le Guin's classic work, which won the Hugo and Nebula Awards and sits on almost every top-ten list of science fiction masterpieces, is now approaching the fiftieth anniversary of its publication.  We'll celebrate by going on the Gethen world tour and discussiong what we find there.

For our non-fiction selection, we'll discuss The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois.  Du Bois was a key figure in post-Civil War America, studying and speaking on behalf of those who lived "beyond the Veil of Color."  These 1903 essays occupy an important place in African-American history, as well as in the development of sociology as a field of study.  This is no dry treatise, though: Du Bois uses music, poetry and humor to explore his subject with grace.

For our theatrical work, we'll discuss The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill.  The rough denizens of Harry Hope's bar sustain themselves with pipe dreams and look forward to the annual visit of the fast-talking salesman Hickey -- but this year's visit may be different.  We'll close the weekend with a discussion of O'Neill's great modern tragedy.

Asilomar 2shade    Of course, we can't forget poetry.  As usual, we'll kick off the weekend with an evening of poetry discussions.  This year's poems are by Paisley Rekdal, Theodore Roethke, Clive James, Emily Dickinson and Howard Nemerov.

Our weekend plans also include a Saturday-evening party with entertainment and refreshments.


Asilomar Dining Hall



Asilomar Dining Hall

Arrival and Departure: Registration at the conference is between 3:00 and 5:30 on Friday, April 13 in the main lodge. Your departure will be after lunch on Sunday, April 15.
Cost: The costs shown include lodging, six meals and books, which will be mailed soon after you register.  Costs vary based on single or double occupancy and are shown on the registration form.  Registration deadline is March 1.  All rooms have private baths.  There is a reduced rate available for those living or staying offsite which does not include room or meals.  Please contact Sheri Kindsvater at or 916-761-7349 for more information.
Refunds: Cancellation notices postmarked before February 1 will receive refunds less $50 for book and postage/handling costs. Cancellations after that date will receive no refunds.
Added Attractions: There will be an orientation for newcomers late Friday afternoon. A party will be held on Saturday with entertainment, refreshments and a good time for all.
Box Lunches: Box lunches are available instead of lunch at the Dining Hall on Saturday and Sunday, but must be ordered when you register.
Asilomar is for Families! Please contact Sheri Kindsvater at or 916-761-7349 for more information and for special discounted family rates.  Phone messages take up to 24 hours to be returned.  Email is generally answered more quickly. Asilomar 1sunset

Take a deep breath and settle in for a time of serene relaxation, reflection and rejuvenation. Celebrated as Monterey Peninsula's "Refuge by the Sea" - Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds is a breathtakingly gorgeous 107 acres of ecologically diverse beachfront land. Asilomar is situated within the quaint and scenic town of Pacific Grove.

 For more information, contact Rob Calvert at or Sheri Kindsvater at or call 916-761-7349.

To obtain a printable registration form to register by postal mail click here or go to our website at

To register online and pay by PayPal or credit card or via postal mail click on the Register Now! button below.  For a $10 discount, register by January 1.