The new list of books to be featured in the 18th year of BRTC’s Serendipity lifelong learning project has been selected.  The titles include a blend of works of fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, and memoirs.  Many of the books are new releases including several selections that have won literary awards and critical acclaim.

According to Dr. Jan Ziegler, Serendipity membership is open to anyone who enjoys reading, and even to those who just like to share ideas or ask questions about books.  Together with BRTC’s Corporate and Community Education Director PattiBlaxton, Ziegler develops and facilitates the monthly meetings where Serendipity members meet for discussion and programs on a wide range of books.  The program’s goal is to provide the community opportunity to engage with ideas and perspectives that represent diverse people, places, and concepts.  “In Serendipity, we look at the world beyond our own, yet often discover that in ways that matter, people may be more alike than different,” Ziegler explained.

The theme for the 2022-2023 Serendipity book list is “To Seek…Perchance to Find.” It includes a range of stories set in places near to home as well as far-flung times and places.  “These stories include a Depression-era WPA project to bring books to the back woods of Kentucky and a true story about one family’s struggle to survive the Holocaust.  “The books will take readers to distant places, including Ukraine and Afghanistan, and to not-so-distant places, including the Jim Crow South,” Ziegler said.  “Everyone—whether a real or fictional character—is seeking, searching for something.”

A special feature of this year’s programs is one of the books was written by a Pocahontas native who recently returned.  “We are super excited that Paula Huntley will be our special guest when we read her book, The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo, which flows from a journal of her experiences while living and working a few years ago on-site in the Balkans,” said Ziegler.

The Serendipity program begins on Thursday, August 25.  Monthly meetings are held on Thursday mornings from 9:30 to 11 a.m.  

To learn more about Serendipity, including how to register, contact the Office of Corporate & Community Education at 870-248-4181 or visit

Black River Technical College is a 2-year community college in Pocahontas and Paragould which offers associate degrees and certificates in general education and technical and career education.  The College houses one of the state’s law enforcement training academies and fire science academies.  BRTC has 1,500 full- and part-time students.

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