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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Read a summary of the book here.
October and November 2021
In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore
On the edge of exhaustion, we are constantly reminded by our bodies and minds that the pace of life is spinning out of control. In Praise of Slowness traces the history of our increasingly breathless relationship with time and tackles the consequences of living in this accelerated culture of our own creation. Why are we always in such a rush? What is the cure for time sickness? Is it possible, or even desirable, to slow down? Realizing the price we pay for unrelenting speed, people all over the world are reclaiming their time and slowing down the pace — and living happier, healthier, and more productive lives as a result. A Slow revolution is taking place. Read the summary here.
December 2021 and January 2022
In a world that seems so troubled, how do we hold on to hope? Looking at the headlines–a global pandemic, the worsening climate crisis, political upheaval–it can be hard to feel optimistic. And yet hope has never been more desperately needed. In this urgent book, Jane Goodall, the world’s most famous living naturalist and Douglas Abrams, internationally-bestselling author, explore–through intimate and thought-provoking dialogue–one of the most sought after and least understood elements of human nature: hope. Read a summary here.