The Reading Circle

Join us every month as we read and discuss books and essays that speak to our individual and collective well being, and to reflect on how to practice it in our busy cities.

This will include writings on themes that connect us to each other and the natural world even as we celebrate the beauty and fragility of our existence.

What’s Brewing

  • We’ll discuss one book/essay every month
  • Share your favourites excerpts and quotes on the ‘Reading Circle’ WhatsApp group
  • Don’t worry if you haven’t read the whole book. We’ll send out a summary one week prior to our Reading Circle meeting.
  • Join us on Zoom for an hour long discussion

January 2021

How to Be a Good Creature: A memoir in thirteen animals by Sy Montgomery

Through this book, Sy explores themes like the otherness and sameness of people and animals; the various ways we learn to love and become empathetic; coping with loss and despair; gratitude; forgiveness; and most of all, how to be a good creature in the world. Read the summary and discussion themes here.

February 2021

Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

“This is an extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen. It’s also a nightmarish time. Full engagement requires the ability to perceive both.” With Hope in the Dark, Rebecca Solnit makes a radical case for hope as a commitment to act in a world whose future remains uncertain and unknowable. Read the summary and discussion themes here.

March 2021

A book cover of Wintering by Katherine May

Wintering by Katherine May

Wintering is a poignant and comforting meditation on the fallow periods of life, times when we must retreat to care for and repair ourselves. Katherine May thoughtfully shows us how to come through these times with the wisdom of knowing that, like the seasons, our winters and summers are the ebb and flow of life. Read the summary and discussion themes here.

April 2021

Cover page of the book braiding sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these lenses of knowledge together to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings are we capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learning to give our own gifts in return. Read the summary and discussion themes here.

July 2021

Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman

Every progressive milestone of civilization – from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy – was once considered a utopian fantasy. Bregman’s book, both challenging and bracing, demonstrates that new utopian ideas, like the elimination of poverty and the creation of the fifteen-hour workweek, can become a reality in our lifetime. Being unrealistic and unreasonable can in fact make the impossible inevitable, and it is the only way to build the ideal world. Read a summary of the book here.

August 2021

The cover page of the book Em and the Big Hoom which has the name written out in capitals against a black background with a something cooking and swirls all around. Jerry Pinto is underneath.

Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto

Em And The Big Hoom is a touching story about love and family relationships. It is a story of a mother, father and two children, and their everyday struggle in dealing with their tragedy stricken family. It is a narration by the son who speaks of the unconditional love that his father, The Big Hoom, had for his mother, Em. Though the story is about the chaos that exists in a family, it is different in the way it speaks of love. The novel is a study of a mental illness and contains dark humour. It is also a critical and deeply moving story by the author, Jerry Pinto. Read a summary of the book here.

September 2021

The cover of the book The Great Derangement: Climate change and the unthinkable by Amitav Ghosh. The cover has waves as a background on top of which is the text mentioned before.

The Great Derangement by Amitav Ghosh

The acclaimed Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh argues that future generations may well think so. How else to explain our imaginative failure in the face of global warming? Ghosh examines our inability—at the level of literature, history, and politics—to grasp the scale and violence of climate change. The extreme nature of today’s climate events, Ghosh asserts, make them peculiarly resistant to contemporary modes of thinking and imagining. In the writing of history, too, the climate crisis has sometimes led to gross simplifications. The Great Derangement serves as a brilliant writer’s summons to confront the most urgent task of our time.