Veterans Reading Group - Greenville VA Health Center

The humanities can play an important role in articulating the unique issues and concerns faced by veterans. The North Carolina Humanities Council's Veterans Book Groups provides access to the humanities through stories, literature and poetry which foster connections and provide context for veterans to explore issues regarding military service. The North Carolina Humanities Council is proud to offer this small-group reading and discussion series to the veterans in our state as a place where they can reflect on their experiences together.

The Veterans Book Group program is offered by the North Carolina Humanities Council in partnership with the Maine Humanities Council and eleven other state humanities councils across the country. The program has received major support from the National Endowment for the Humanities' Standing Together initiative, created to promote understanding of the military experience and to support returning Veterans.

Syllabus for Greenville Veterans Reading Group

Location: Greenville VA Health Care Center

Time: 5:00 – 7:00 PM

Session 1:  May 14

Pearl Buck, “The Enemy” (1942), Harper’s Magazine, reprinted in Phyllis and Albert Blaustein, eds., Doctors’ Choice: Sixteen Stories about Doctors and Medicine (New York: Wilfred Funk, Inc., 1957), 40-59. (short story)

John Stone, “An Infected Heart,” in Stone, In the Country of Hearts (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1990). (Echoes, 176-178)  (short story)

Pete Fromm, “The Topic of Cancer,” in Fromm, Dry Rain (New York: Lyons & Burford, 1997). (short story)


Session 2:  June 4

Nancy Mairs, “On Being a Cripple,” from Mairs, Plain Text: Essays by Nancy Mairs (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1986). (Echoes, pp 119-128)  (memoir)

Andre Dubus, “Dancing After Hours,” in Dubus, Dancing After Hours (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1995). (Echoes, pp 40-62)  (short story)

Anne Brashler, “He Read to Her,” in Jon Mukand, ed., Vital Lines: Contemporary Fiction about Medicine (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990), pp 84-87. (Echoes, pp 7-9)  (short story)

Robert Hass, “A Story About the Body,” in Jon Mukand, ed., Articulations: The Body and Illness in Poetry (Iowa City: U of Iowa Press, 1994). (very short story)


Session 3: July 9

Writing Assignment: “Where I’m From” – See page 4 – Be sure to bring your poem with you to read to the group.

William Carlos Williams, “The Girl With a Pimply Face” (1938), (Echoes, pp 192-201) (short story)

Arthur Kleinman, “Winthrop Cohen,” from Kleinman, What Really Matters: Living a Moral Life Amidst Uncertainty and Danger (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).  (Echoes, pp 111-117)  (memoir-essay)

Platon, “Service,” Photographed for The New Yorker (2008).  (Echoes, pp 154-169)  (photographic essay)


Session 4: August 13

Raymond Carver, “Cathedral,” in Carver, Cathedral: Stories (New York: Random House, 1989), pp 209-228. (Imagine, pp 417-428)  (short story)

Brian Turner, “AB Negative (The Surgeon’s Poem),” from Turner, Here, Bullet (Farmington, ME: Alice James Books, 2005). (Echoes, pp 186-187)  (poem)

William Carlos Williams, “A Face of Stone” (1938), reprinted in Robert Coles, comp., William Carlos Williams: The Doctor Stories (New York:  New Directions, 1984), 78-87.  (short story)

Richard Selzer, “Whither Thou Goest,” (1990), reprinted in Selzer, The Doctor Stories (New York:  Picador USA, 1998), pp 64-82.  (short story)


Session 5: September 10

Richard Selzer, “Fetishes,” (1979), reprinted in Selzer, The Doctor Stories (New York: Picador USA, 1998), pp 98-107. (short story)

William Carlos Williams, “The Use of Force,” (1938), reprinted in Robert Coles, comp., William Carlos Williams: The Doctor Stories (New York:  New Directions, 1984).  (Echoes, pp 189-191)  (short story)

Raymond Carver, “Where I’m Calling From,” in Carver, Cathedral: Stories (New York: Random House; 1989). (Echoes, pp 10-21) (short story)