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 2015-2016 Reading List

Cod: a biography of the fish that changed the world by Mark Kurlansky  - December 19, 2015

Yes please by Amy Poehler - January 16, 2016

Dead wake: the last crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson - February 20, 2016

The richest man who ever lived: the life and times of Jacob Fugger by Greg Steinmetz - March 19, 2016

H is for hawk by Helen MacDonald - April 16, 2016

Nonfiction Book Group August 2016

This post contains suggestions for how to earn your Great Outdoors: On the Scene badge.
Learn more and earn badges on the Connect Your Summer page.
Also available in: e-book | audiobook | e-audiobook

Henry David Thoreau's account of his adventure in self-reliance on the shores of a pond in Massachusetts--part social experiment, part spiritual quest--is an enduringly influential American classic. In 1845, Thoreau began building a cabin at Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts. The inspiring and lyrical book that resulted is both a record of the two years Thoreau spent in withdrawal from society and a declaration of personal independence. By virtue of its casual, offhandedly brilliant wisdom and the easy splendor of its nature writing, Thoreau's account of his immersion in solitude has become a signpost for the modern mind in an increasingly bewildering world.

Upcoming sessions

Saturday, August 20 -
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Group Study Room A

Nonfiction Book Group July 2016

This post contains suggestions for how to earn your Explore History: On the Scene badge.
Learn more and earn badges on the Connect Your Summer page.
Also available in: e-book

The idea that "home" is a special place, a separate place, a place where we can be our true selves, is so obvious to us today that we barely pause to think about it. But, as Judith Flanders shows in her most ambitious work to date, "home" is a relatively new idea. Flanders traces the evolution of the house from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century across northern Europe and America, showing how the homes we know today bear only a faint resemblance to homes though history. Flanders uncovers the fascinating development of ordinary household items--from cutlery, chairs and curtains, to fitted kitchens, plumbing and windows--while also dismantling many domestic myths. 

Upcoming sessions

There are no upcoming sessions available.

Nonfiction Book Group June 2016

This post contains suggestions for how to earn your Explore History: On the Scene badge.
Learn more and earn badges on the Connect Your Summer page.
The Wright brothers by David G McCullough
Also available in: e-book | audiobook | large print

On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened: the age of flight had begun, with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot. David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, tells the profoundly American story of Wilbur and Orville Wright. Far more than a couple of unschooled Dayton bicycle mechanics who happened to hit on success, they were men of courage, determination and ceaseless curiosity.

Upcoming sessions

There are no upcoming sessions available.

With the exception of sleep, humans spend more of their lifetimes on work than any other activity. It is central to our economy, society, and the family. Given the overriding importance of work, we need to recognize a profound transformation in the nature of work that is significantly altering lives: the incoming tidal wave of shadow work. Shadow work includes all the unpaid tasks we do on behalf of businesses and organizations. It has slipped into our routines stealthily; most of us do not realize how much of it we are already doing, even as we pump our own gas, scan and bag our own groceries, and build our own unassembled furniture. But its presence is unmistakable, and its effects far-reaching. Join us on Saturday, May 21 at 10 AM.

H is for hawk by Helen Macdonald
Also available in: e-book | e-audiobook

When Helen Macdonald's father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer, she'd never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk's fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise a goshawk as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel, and turned to the guidance of author T.H. White's chronicle, The Goshawk. This book is an unflinching account of bereavement and a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, with a parallel examination of a legendary writer's eccentric falconry. Obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history combine to achieve a distinctive blend of nature writing and memoir. Join us at Saturday, April 16 at 10 AM.

Also available in: e-audiobook

"The life and times of the wealthiest man who ever lived--Jacob Fugger--the Renaissance banker who revolutionized the art of making money and established the radical idea of pursuing wealth for its own sake. Jacob Fugger lived in Germany at the turn of the sixteenth century, the grandson of a peasant. By the time he died, his fortune amounted to nearly two percent of European GDP. Not even John D. Rockefeller had that kind of wealth. Most people become rich by spotting opportunities, pioneering new technologies, or besting opponents in negotiations. Fugger did all that, but he had an extra quality that allowed him to rise even higher: nerve. In an era when kings had unlimited power, Fugger had the nerve to stare down heads of state and ask them to pay back their loans--with interest. It was this coolness and self-assurance, along with his inexhaustible ambition, that made him not only the richest man ever, but a force of history as well. Join us Saturday, March 19 at 10 AM.

Also available in: audiobook | large print

On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic "Greyhounds"--the fastest liner then in service--and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game. Join us on Saturday, February 20 at 10:00 AM.

Nonfiction Book Group September 2015

Guns, germs, and steel: the fates of human societies by Jared Diamond ?? Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this brilliant work answers the question of why the peoples of certain continents succeeded in invading other continents and conquering or displacing their peoples. Until around 11,000 BC, all peoples were still Stone Age hunter/gatherers. At that point, a great divide occurred in the rates that human societies evolved. The people who gained a head start in producing food would collide with preliterate cultures, shaping the modern world through conquest, displacement, and genocide. Join us Saturday, September 19 at 10:00 AM.

Nonfiction Book Group July 2015

One summer : America, 1927 by Bill Bryson

The summer of 1927 began with one of the signature events of the twentieth century: on May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first man to cross the Atlantic by plane nonstop. Meanwhile, Babe Ruth was beginning his assault on the home run record, and Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly sat atop a flagpole in Newark, New Jersey, for twelve days. At the same time, the gangster Al Capone tightened his grip on the illegal booze business and the first true "talking picture," Al Jolson's "The Jazz Singer," was filmed and forever changed the motion picture industry. All this and much, much more transpired in that epochal summer of 1927, and Bill Bryson captures its outsized personalities, exciting events, and occasional just plain weirdness with his trademark vividness.
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