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Book Group: Past books

Book Group Information

A list of books selected and read by this book group from 2008 to 2013 can be found here. For recent books, see below.

12/18/2013 - 3:30pm Book Group - Krause, Universe From Nothing

In this 2012 book, Lawrence Krause explores A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing.

11/20/2013 - 3:30pm Book Group: The Price of Inequality, by Joseph Stiglitz (2012)

paperback April 2013. Nobel-winning economist. How America has become the most unequal advanced country, how such inequality is damaging us, and what we can do about it. Serious analysis written in an accessible style.

10/16/2013 - 3:30pm Book Discussion Group--Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story, by Jim Holt (2012)

Discusses "why is there something rather than nothing," exploring views of e.g. Aristotle, Leibniz, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, as he journeys to visit a number of contemporary philosophers and cosmologists.

09/18/2013 - 3:30pm Book Discussion Group--The Brain that Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge (2007)

The brain should not be viewed as strictly "hard-wired"; neuroplasticity is real. This book discusses both the current scientific findings about neuroplasticity and includes stories of personal transformations.

08/21/2013 - 3:30pm Book Group Discussion for August is CANCELLED

Several members will not be available for August, and "don't want to miss anything." The rest of us "don't want to miss" those members. So we push everything forward one month.

07/17/2013 - 3:30pm Book Discussion Group--Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel (1999)

Using letters written to Galileo by his daughter, and other sources, Dava Sobel illuminates a loving personal relationship and some of the events of Galileo's life.

06/19/2013 - 3:30pm Book Group Discussion -- Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by Jared Diamond (2011) NOTE NEW DAY AND TIME

Examining selected societies around the world and through time, Jared Diamond identifies a pattern of collapse involving environmental damage, population change, and political choices. Diamond helps us see why some societies fell apart, while others avoided collapse. We might extrapolate some of this information to our own current environmental challenges. This book followed Diamond's Pulitzer Prize-winning Guns, Germs and Steel, which our book group read in April 2012.

05/15/2013 - 3:30pm Book Group Discussion -- Thomas Jefferson: Author of America by Christopher Hitchens (2009) NOTE NEW DAY AND TIME

This brief biography of the namesake of The Jefferson Center is written by someone familiar to us--Christopher Hitchens, one of the famous "new Atheists." In a "startlingly new and provocative interpretation of our Founding Father," Hitchens discusses such Jeffersonian contradictions as slavery, human rights, size of government, states rights, and separation of church and state. Jefferson, the "author of America," virtually embodied contradictions. Hitchens can identify and skewer them.

04/16/2013 - 1:00pm Book Group Discussion - The Belief Instinct: The psychology of souls, destiny, and the meaning of life (2011) by Jesse Bering

Jesse Bering (2011) provides secular, science-based examinations of questions often raised in religious contexts, but that tend to persist even for those of us who have rejected supernatural explanations.

03/19/2013 - 1:00pm Book Group Discussion - The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are divided by Politics and Religion

Jonathan Haidt (2012) reviews recent scholarship on brain function and anatomy, with special attention to moral emotions and why they divide us.