Welcome to the Catholic Book Club

FUN WITH FLANNERY! - Adult Book Club


Maximum number of attendees: 50

Meetings: Second Thursday of the month, beginning March 11, 2021

Starting time: 8:00 pm Eastern (7:00 pm Central / 6:00 pm Mountain / 5:00 pm Pacific)

Duration: 2 hours per session

Fee: $5.00 per month

Instructor: Kevin O’Brien

Book club description:

I honestly think that these stories are really good for you. Good for your humanity, and good for your soul. - A student of Kevin O’Brien’s Homeschool Connections Flannery O’Connor course - which will now be a book club for adults!


Flannery O’Connor was a deeply Catholic woman, and her profound Catholic faith infuses everything she wrote, especially her short stories.  And yet they don’t seem Catholic at all!  They’re violent and shocking and sometimes funny - so where is Jesus in Flannery’s fiction?


This is what Kevin O’Brien will explain as we will read and discuss a different short story every month, with quotations from some of Flannery’s essays and letters thrown in, to help us understand how her stories work.


This will be an ongoing monthly book club, which will work its way through Flannery O’Connor’s short stories and novels at a pace that’s perfect for parents and other busy adults!  Subscribe to the book club and attend any session you wish - live on Zoom!  This club will be interactive and fun - and ongoing, through 2021 and beyond!


Kevin says, “I’m firmly convinced that an appreciation of Flannery’s fiction will deepen the faith of any reader, and is exactly the sort of thing the Church needs in these troubled times.”


In fact, here are some comments from high school student’s who took Kevin O’Brien’s summer course on Flannery O’Connor at Homeschool Connections a few years ago …



Because of these stories, I have more often been contemplating this question: Am I living my faith and taking it as seriously as I should, or am I putting my faith aside and living only a shadow of me, not the best version of myself? I am disturbed by this question, still wrestling with it and the grace that is offered to me.



I can relate to Flannery in many ways and if she was still alive I would want to be friends with her.  I understand her stories in a way I don’t know how to describe.



I honestly think that these stories are really good for you. Good for your humanity, and good for your soul.



Her life and work have inspired me in my own life. O’Connor’s daily focus on Mass, theology, and writing is the kind of life that I aspire towards. Because of her essay that we read, I now fully understand how I can make my own stories Catholic without filling them with devout characters and keeping them completely inoffensive. It has lifted the illusion that to be a Catholic writer is to be limited in what you can appropriately portray.



I have found a new favorite writer!



In our first class I was blown away. The things we talked about -- I had read them before and missed all that was now being explained to me.



I think that these stories and our discussions about them have honestly changed the way I see the world



These stories have shown me that God’s Grace isn’t just a gentle clean wind whispering in your ear, but can be a tornado, a dusty, gritty tornado which grabs hold of you, and if you let it, flings you in the right direction. The ride will not always be pleasant, nor will the landing. But where your soul ends up will always be worth it.



This class was not my idea. My mother wanted me to take a summer literature course and branch out in my literature experience. I flat out told her “no” and resisted like a mule every step of the course registration. I did not expect anything exciting from this course, and certainly not the profound insights that Flannery O’Connor had on the Faith and Catholic life. … but these stories and letters of Flannery O’Connor are more profound and faith-filled than I ever thought they would be.



So, as you can see, this Book Club is bound to be “Fun with Flannery”!



(Note that though these stories are deeply Catholic and perhaps the most profoundly Christian fiction of the 20th century, they can be disturbing; they also contain characters who use racist terms that were once common in the South - though their prejudice is put in its proper place in each story.)

When does Fun with Flannery meet?

  • Thursday, March. 11 - “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
  • Thursday, April 8 - “The River”
  • Thursday, May 13 - “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”
  • Thursday, June 10 - “A Stroke of Good Fortune”
  • Thursday, July 8 - “A Temple of the Holy Ghost”
  • Thursday, Aug. 12 - “The Artificial N.”
  • Thursday, Sept. 9 - “A Circle in the Fire”
  • Thursday, Oct. 14 - “A Late Encounter with the Enemy”
  • Thursday, Nov. 11 - “Good Country People”
  • Thursday, Dec. 9 - “The Displaced Person” and Online Book Club Christmas party!

Text:  Either A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories (which contains all of these short stories); or The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor; or The Collected Works of Flannery O’Connor, which contains all of her stories, essays and letters.