Nonfiction Book Group

Nonfiction titles selected cover a wide variety of topics. We meet the third Saturday of the month from 10:00 to 11:00 AM.

Nonfiction Book Group September 2017

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Also available in: e-book

Much of what will happen in the next thirty years is inevitable, driven by technological trends that are already in motion. In this fascinating, provocative new book, Kevin Kelly provides an optimistic road map for the future, showing how the coming changes in our lives - from virtual reality in the home to an on-demand economy to artificial intelligence embedded in everything we manufacture - can be understood as the result of a few long-term, accelerating forces. Kelly both describes these deep trends:flowing, screening, accessing, sharing, filtering, remixing, tracking, and questioning - and demonstrates how they overlap and are codependent on one another. These larger forces will completely revolutionize the way we buy, work, learn, and communicate with each other. By understanding and embracing them, says Kelly, it will be easier for us to remain on top of the coming wave of changes and to arrange our day-to-day relationships with technology in ways that bring forth maximum benefits.

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Nonfiction Book Group August 2017

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A true story of tenacity and imagination describes how an African teenager built a windmill from scraps to create electricity for his home and his village, improving life for himself and his neighbors.

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Nonfiction Book Group July 2017

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Also available in: e-book

Why are the Danes so happy, despite having the highest taxes? Do the Finns really have the best education system? Are the Icelanders as feral as they sometimes appear? How are the Norwegians spending their fantastic oil wealth? And why do all of them hate the Swedes? Michael Booth explains who the Scandinavians are, how they differ and why, and he explores why these societies have become so successful and models for the world. Along the way a more nuanced, often darker picture emerges of a region plagued by taboos, characterized by suffocating parochialism, and populated by extremists of various shades. They may very well be almost nearly perfect, but it isn't easy being Scandinavian.

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Nonfiction Book Group June 2017

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Amid the fervor of the religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening, John Humphrey Noyes, a spirited but socially awkward young man, attracted a group of devoted followers with his fiery sermons about creating Jesus' millennial kingdom here on Earth. Noyes established a revolutionary community in rural New York centered around achieving a life free of sin through God's grace, while also espousing equality of the sexes and "complex marriage," a system of free love where sexual relations with multiple partners was encouraged. When the Community disbanded in 1880, the Oneida Community, Limited, would go on to become one of the nation's leading manufacturers of silverware, and their brand a coveted mark of middle-class respectability in pre- and post-WWII America.

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Nonfiction Book Group May 2017

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Also available in: e-book | audiobook | large print

Oxford English Dictionary began in 1857, took seventy years to complete, drew from tens of thousands of brilliant minds, and organized the sprawling language into 414,825 precise definitions. Hidden within the rituals of its creation is the story of two remarkable men.

Professor James Murray was the distinguished editor of the OED project. Dr. William Chester Minor was one of thousands of contributors. Minor was remarkably prolific, sending thousands of neat, handwritten quotations from his home in the small village of Crowthorne, fifty miles from Oxford. On numerous occasions, Murray invited Minor to visit Oxford, but Murray's offer was regularly--and mysteriously--refused.

Finally, in 1896, after Minor had sent nearly ten thousand definitions to the dictionary, a puzzled Murray set out to visit him. It was then that Murray finally learned that Minor was a murderer locked up in Broadmoor, England's harshest asylum for criminal lunatics.

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Nonfiction Book Group April 2017

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Also available in: e-book | audiobook | e-audiobook

An eye-opening vision of how our relationship to information has transformed the very nature of human consciousness. A fascinating intellectual journey through the history of communication and information, from the language of Africa's talking drums to the invention of written alphabets; from the electronic transmission of code to the origins of information theory, into the new information age and the current deluge of news, tweets, images, and blogs.

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Nonfiction Book Group March 2017

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Also available in: e-book | audiobook | e-audiobook

What moves the world is what moves each of us: desire. Jewelry—which has long served as a stand-in for wealth and power, glamor and success—has birthed cultural movements, launched political dynasties, and started wars. Masterfully weaving together pop science and history, Stoned explains what the diamond on your finger has to do with the GI Bill, why green-tinted jewelry has been exalted by so many cultures, why the glass beads that bought Manhattan for the Dutch were initially considered a fair trade, and how the French Revolution started over a coveted necklace.

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Nonfiction Book Group February 2017

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Also available in: e-audiobook

In Dead Presidents, Carlson takes readers on an epic trip to presidential gravesites, monuments, and memorials from sea to shining sea. With an engaging mix of history and contemporary reporting, Carlson recounts the surprising origin stories of the Washington Monument, Mount Rushmore, Grant’s Tomb, and JFK’s Eternal Flame.

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Nonfiction Book Group January 2017

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A room of one's own by Virginia Woolf
Also available in: e-book

In A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf imagines that Shakespeare had a sister: a sister equal to Shakespeare in talent, equal in genius, but whose legacy is radically different.This imaginary woman never writes a word and dies by her own hand, her genius unexpressed. But if only she had found the means to create, urges Woolf, she would have reached the same heights as her immortal sibling. In this classic essay, Virginia Woolf takes on the establishment, using her gift of language to dissect the world around her and give a voice to those who have none.

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