THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE by Karen Armstrong

We will be meeting this month on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of December at the home of Linda Palmason 3022 Westridge Blvd at 2pm.  All are invited for these discussions.

In the lucid yet reflective manner that is Armstrong’s trademark, The Spiral Staircase recalls her painful early life as a nun, her even more painful reentry into secular society, and most compellingly, the long-undiagnosed epilepsy that made her life a horror show of phantom visions and misplaced hours.

We follow Armstrong to the Middle East and elsewhere as she searches for answers to questions no less daunting than the significance of faith. Yet what drives Armstrong is her distaste for and distrust of those who see only black or white, never shades of grey. “I disliked the crusading certainty of Ayatollah Khomeini, yet I was also disturbed by the shrill rhetoric of some of Rushdie’s champions,” she writes in the wake of debate over Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses and the ensuing fatwa issued by the extremists on the Islamic right. Indeed, as religious dogma divides the world in ever new ways, Armstrong’s learned views are especially resonant.

But The Spiral Staircase, its name inspired by T.S. Eliot’s poem cycle Ash-Wednesday, is not a polemic, despite Armstrong’s forceful and persuasive arguments for religious tolerance. Rather, it’s a beautiful letter sent by a gifted writer attempting to decode the meaning of her life. Who can’t relate? –Kim Hughes

Freedom Evolves – Daniel Dennett

The book for November is Freedom Evolves.  The gatherings will be held at Gillie Trowbridge’s home, 24 Cricket Place at 2pm on November 9 & 23.

Can there be freedom and free will in a deterministic world? Renowned philosopher Daniel Dennett emphatically

answers “yes!” Using an array of provocative formulations, Dennett sets out to show how we alone among the animals have evolved minds that give us free will and morality. Weaving a richly detailed narrative, Dennett explains in a series of strikingly original

arguments—drawing upon evolutionary biology, cognitive  neuroscience, economics, and philosophy—that far from being an enemy of traditional explorations of freedom, morality, and meaning, the evolutionary perspective can be an indispensable ally. In Freedom Evolves, Dennett seeks to place ethics on the foundation it deserves: a realistic, naturalistic, potentially unified vision of our place in nature.

How’s Your Faith?: An Unlikely Spiritual Journey – David Gregory

Our October discussions will be held at Ed Adams home, 1042 Oriole Dr at 2pm on October 12th and 26th. All are welcome to join us,Join former NBC newsman and Meet the Press moderator David Gregory as he probes various religious traditions to better understand his own faith and answer life’s most important questions: who do we want to be and what do we believe?

While David was covering the White House, he had the unusual experience of being asked by President George W. Bush “How’s your faith?”

David’s answer was just emerging. Raised by a Catholic mother and a Jewish dad, he had a strong sense of Jewish cultural and ethnic identity, but no real belief—until his marriage to a Protestant woman of strong faith inspired him to explore his spirituality for himself and his growing family.

David’s journey has taken him inside Christian mega-churches and into the heart of Orthodox Judaism. He’s gone deep into Bible study and asked tough questions of America’s most thoughtful religious leaders, including evangelical preacher Joel Osteen and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Catholic Archbishop of New York. It has brought him back to his childhood, where belief in God might have helped him through his mother’s struggle with alcoholism, and through a difficult period of public scrutiny and his departure from NBC News, which saw his faith tested like never before.

David approaches his faith with the curiosity and dedication you would expect from a journalist accustomed to holding politicians and Presidents accountable. But he also comes as a seeker, one just discovering why spiritual journeys are always worthwhile.

 

UNSETTLING THE SETTLER WITHIN by Paulette Regan

The bookclub will begin the fall with this challenging book. We will be meeting at Helen Griffn’s home 1370 Armstrong Dr. on September 14 and 28 at 2.00pm.  All are invited to join us! In 2008, Canada established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to mend the deep...

THE MIRACLE OF MINDFULLNESS, by Thich Nhat Hanh

We will be meeting only once in June on the 8th at the home of Brian Ling – 440 Carriage Lane to discuss this book.   In this beautiful and lucid guide, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercise as a means of learning the skills of...

RISING STRONG by Brene’ Brown

Here is an introduction to the book we will be reading for May.  All are invited to join us even if you have not read the book. We will be meeting this month on May 11th and 25th at the home of Linda Palmason, 3022 Westridge Blvd. Social scientist Brené Brown has...

The Self Illusion – by Bruce Hood

Wonderful. Illuminating. Full of insight, beauty and-humor.” -David Eagleman, author of Incognito and Sum This month’s gatherings will be hosted by Helen Griffin on April 13th and 27th at 2pm at 1370 Armstrong Dr. TheSelf Illusion is about the science of...

When Breath Becomes Air.  By Paul Kalanithi

All are invited to join us at our March book club meetings, which will be on the 9th and 23rd at 2 pm at the home of Joan Higginson, 86 Auburn St. This inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic...

February Book Club: A Beautiful Question by Frank Wilczek

This is the non-fiction book club selection for February, We will be meeting at the home of Gillian Trowbridge, 24 Cricket Place., February 9th and 23rd.  All are welcome to join in these thoughtful discussions. Artists as well as scientists throughout human history...

DECEMBER BOOK SELECTION: SAPIENS – BY YUVAL HARARI

Note the December 22nd meeting will be held at the home of Gord & Helen Drew, 408-1742 Ravenwood Drive. This is the book selection for the December meetings of the non-fiction bookclub being held at the home of Gillie Trowbridge, 24 Cricket Place, Peterborough on...

October 2016: THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MUSIC, by Daniel J. Levitin

This is the book selection for the October meetings of the non-fiction bookclub being held at the home of Helen Griffin, 1370 Armstrong Drive on the 13th and 27th at 2.00pm All are welcome to attend and enjoy the discussion of this fascinating book. Think of a song...