In their enigmatic song “Once in a Lifetime,” Talking Heads ask:
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife/ And you may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”…
And you may tell yourself, “This is not my beautiful house”/ And you may tell yourself, “This is not my beautiful wife”…
You may ask yourself, “What is that beautiful house?”/ You may ask yourself, “Where does that highway go to?”/ And you may ask yourself, “Am I right, am I wrong?”/ And you may say to yourself, “My God, what have I done?”
Watching the days go by, we don’t hear the flow of underground currents; out of the blue, some inexplicable misfortune may arise. A new relation, a new identity is revealed; a void opens. Whether we are fortunate, as titled as kings or as wealthy as counselors; as humble as clerks or as earnest as students; as wise as teachers or as diligent as translators, all minding our own business; suddenly we find ourselves changed, in a world where we have become outcasts, pariahs, the marginalized, homeless, displaced. How did I get here? My God, what have I done?
In the “Outsiders” reading group, we will read and discuss a set of classic literary works from the most ancient and iconic to the contemporary, from other parts of the world to our own shores, to learn to understand with fresh eyes what it means to be an outsider.
Please note that there are two sections of this reading group, one held in person and one virtually.
The IN PERSON group has reached capacity. To be added to the waitlist, please email email@example.com with OUTSIDERS as the subject line.
The Athenæum is deeply grateful to our wonderful volunteer leaders. Please note library reading groups are not classes or courses, but rather a way for individuals to discuss readings together, guided by both expert and amateur enthusiasts. Participants should expect discussion-based, not lecture-style meetings.