“On the same page” is a series featuring Utah book clubs and will run every other week.

If you have a book club and you are interested in being featured, please contact us at features@deseretnews.com. Please include your name, your contact information and one or two sentences describing your book club.

The Five Pillar book group, located in the Bountiful area, aims to help adults — especially couples — gain a deeper understanding of classic literature by analyzing and writing about it. The group follows Oliver DeMille's “A Thomas Jefferson Education” philosophy, focusing on its five pillars of statesmanship: classics, mentors, simulations, field experience and God.

Group member Jorgina Hancock said the main ingredient of commonality among Five Pillar book group members is that they are all home-school parents, but the group is open to anyone interested in reading and discussing the classics.

How did this book group start?

Jorgina Hancock: The first initial group started at George Wythe College in Cedar City by Dr. DeMille; he was the founder of the college. It started there as a class that you could do online, and I went through that; it was a certification course. And then the college decided not to do it anymore, and they matriculated into a university, and then the university has since closed. But our home-school group has been keeping this book group going for probably 20 years.

Do you just read the classics?

JH: We do, and of course, each presenter who facilitates the course may discover other classics that are more modern. And so we can read Shakespeare, or we could read something even written recently, depending on the inspiration of the presenter or the needs of the class. We also read biographies of great people. We read fiction, Louis L'Amour, we’ve read Ralph Moody’s books, we read philosophies of government forms, “Understanding the Times” worldviews; we’ve read such a variety of books. ... And then we also write papers about what we read; we write essays. ... We use a Greek approach to proposing a question, answering the question, researching it — so it’s a different approach. It’s the Greek Socratic method of writing and discussing.

What are you reading right now?

JH: We’re going to be reading “Les Misérables” and “Jane Eyre.”

What books have been a hit with everyone in the group?

JH: Always things like “Pride and Prejudice” and “Les Misérables” — that’s probably one of the two top books that they really like — and of course, Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s one of the favorites because it’s so much about human nature, and it’s not stuck in an era. It’s applicable across the periods of time.

What books did the group like least?

JH: The one people had the most difficult time with — it’s not so much they disliked it, they just had a really hard time understanding it — was “The Abolition of Man.” …Even though it’s the size of a pamphlet, it takes a lot to understand that, especially if you're not well-read in [C.S. Lewis’] other writing.

Which author, dead or alive, would you most want to attend your group?

JH: For me, it would be Tolstoy, definitely, because of what he experienced in Russia with the takeover of communism and his deep understanding of religion and his fortitude of freedom; he was a pretty amazing man. That’s why I would love to have him come.

Jorgina Hancock of the Five Pillar book group recommends the following books, several of which are books for youths, which she believes are a great introduction to history and scholarship without heavy reading.

A Thomas Jefferson Education” by Oliver DeMille, TJEd.org, 198 pages (nf)

Teach the Children” by Neil J. Flinders, Book of Mormon Research, 442 pages (nf)

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey, Free Press, 384 pages (nf)

Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, Barnes & Noble, 512 pages (f)

Understanding the Times” by David A. Noebel, Summit Press, 510 pages (nf)

Farmer Boy” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, HarperCollins, 384 pages (f)

Little Britches” by Ralph Moody, Bison Books, 260 pages (nf)

Education of a Wandering Man” by Louis L’Amour, Bantam, 240 pages (nf)

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” by Benjamin Franklin, Dover Publications, 144 pages (nf)

Gandhi, Fighter Without a Sword” by Jeanette Eaton, William Morrow & Co., 253 pages (nf)

Johnny Tremain” by Esther Forbes, HMH Books for Young Readers, 320 pages (f)

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch” by Jean Lee Latham, HMH Books for Young Readers, 256 pages (f)

Email: sharris@deseretnews.com