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 December 2016

Please join the Nonfiction Book Group to discuss:

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

Bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending. Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.

Upcoming sessions

Saturday, December 17 -
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Community Room

Nonfiction Book Group October 2016

Please join the Nonfiction Book Group to discuss:

The Vanderbilt family patriarch, the Commodore, built a fortune that made him the world's richest man by 1877. Less than 50 years after his death, not a single Vanderbilt descendent was counted among the world's richest people. As Publisher's Weekly noted in the review of this book, "Stories about the author's ancestors have been told before, but not so vividly as in his evocations of the snobbery, ostentation and profligacy.Today's Vanderbilts are not rich-rich; the money is gone with the clan's grand homes, felled by wrecking balls in New York and elsewhere, leaving only memories of a singular time in the American past."

Upcoming sessions

There are no upcoming sessions available.

Nonfiction Book Group September 2016

Please join the Nonfiction Book Group to discuss:

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

A loving and hilarious--if occasionally spiky--valentine to Bill Bryson's adopted country, Great Britain. Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to discover that green and pleasant land. The result was Notes from a Small Island, a true classic and one of the bestselling travel books ever written. Now he has traveled about Britain again, by bus and train and rental car and on foot, to see what has changed--and what hasn't. Following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis in the south to Cape Wrath in the north Bryson rediscovers the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly singular country.

Upcoming sessions

There are no upcoming sessions available.

Nonfiction Book Group August 2016

This post contains suggestions for how to earn your Great Outdoors: On the Scene badge.
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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

There are no upcoming sessions available.

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.

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