About the Reading Odyssey
Our History and Mission
The Reading Odyssey, a global non-profit, aims to reignite curiosity and lifelong learning. Through partnerships with scholars, we run reading groups and lecture series for intellectually curious adults.
Reading Odyssey was formed when Phil Terry, a businessman and passionate reader, asked his longtime friend, Pat Wictor, a musician and equally passionate reader, for help. Phil had decided to read the three hundred or so great books of the human tradition over the remainder of his lifetime but knew he could not and would not be able to do it alone. So in 2005 he asked pat to join him on a reading journey—and the odyssey began.
While reading their first book together, Homer’s Odyssey, they learned they could work through it without any special expertise. Contrary to reading in school, there was no “correct” way to read these texts, no teachers, no grades. They found that as adults with a variety of life experiences they could bring meaning and insight to the text on their own.
While reading their second book, Herodotus’ Histories, along with Pat and several more friends who joined the odyssey, Phil decided to reach out to scholars to see if they would be willing to join the conversation. Phil first contacted professor John Marincola, editor of the penguin edition of Herodotus, to ask if he would be willing to participate in a conference call at the end of their reading. Professor Marincola agreed without hesitation. He called in and was delighted (maybe even surprised) at the high level of conversation and quality of the questions. As a result, he began to introduce Reading Odyssey to other scholars. Thus began the partnership with scholars that has come to define a core part of the Reading Odyssey experience.
Reading Odyssey is peer-led so each adult can share responsibility for creating the conversation that makes the learning and reading possible for everyone. The assistance and participation of scholars from leading universities such as Cambridge and Harvard, among many others, make Reading Odyssey’s programs richer and the individual’s experience deeper. Reading Odyssey today combines the passion ignited by adult readers who discover the joy of reading these texts with the delight of scholars who love the experience of talking to—and supporting—interested, curious adults.
Marathon2500 Anniversary Celebration
The Reading Odyssey ran a yearlong program commemorating the 2,500-year anniversary of the Battle of Marathon. With 9 lectures from leading scholars, multiple sections of Herodotus reading groups and a dedicated website, The Reading Odyssey created an online library of lectures aimed at understanding the significance of Marathon from multiple perspectives.
We are currently designing our 2014 programs.
– Homer’s Odyssey (registration closed)
– Herodotus’ Histories (registration closed)
– Thucydides (registration closed)
– Cicero (registration closed)
We are redesigning our web presence, digital archive and social media strategy.