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Contact Sheri Kindsvater 
Great Books Council of San Francisco


Friday April 26, 2019 at 3:00 PM PDT
Sunday April 28, 2019 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 2019


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.

Party Like It's 1959!

This year we are celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Great Books at Asilomar event.  We've chosen to take a fresh look at works published in 1959, the event's first year.

For our non-fiction selection this year we will be discussing The Two Cultures by C.P. Snow.  Snow's lecture describing Western culture's split between science and the humanities was hugely influential, and became the subject of countless re-examinations.  With the benefit of 60 years of hindsight, let's take a fresh look at his thesis.

Our fiction selection is Miguel Street by V.S. Naipaul.  With a set of linked, humorous character portraits set on a street in Port of Spain, Naipaul immerses us in wartime Trinidad and Tobago, the land of his childhood.  The book won the Somerset Maugham Prize and helped establish Naipaul's literary reuptatoin, leading eventually to his Nobel Prize in 2001.

The play is The Possessed by Abert Camus.  Camus adapted Dostoevsky's novel Demons for the stage, financing the first production in part using the money he received with his 1957 Nobel Prize.

Asilomar 2shadeOf course, we can't forget poetry.  As usual, we'll kick off the weekend with an evening of poetry discussions. 

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 26 in the main lodge. Your departure will be after lunch on Sunday, April 28.
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 but there are still rooms available so we've extended it.  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 and Friends! Should you need a triple or quad room, please contact Sheri Kindsvater at or 916-761-7349 for more information and for availability.  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.