1491 By Charles Mann

The UFP Book Club will be discussing this book at our April 12th and 26th meetings.  All are invited to join us at the home of Helen & Gord Drew, 1742 Ravenwood Drive, Unit 408, Peterborough, Ontario, K9K 2R6.

In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Charles C. Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492.

Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized breeding process that it has been called man’s first feat of genetic engineering. Indeed, Indians were not living lightly on the land but were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we are only now beginning to understand. Challenging and surprising, this a transformative new look at a rich and fascinating world we only thought we knew.

SOLITUDE: A  Singular Life in a Crowded World – Michael Harris

Our March meetings will be held at 2pm at two different homes: March 8 at the home of Linda Palmason, 3022 Westridge Blvd, and March 22nd at the home of Helen Griffin, 1370 Armstrong Drive

The capacity to be alone–properly alone–is one of life’s subtlest skills. Real solitude is a contented and productive

state that garners tangible rewards: it allows us to reflect and recharge, improving our relationships with ourselves and, paradoxically, with others. Today, the zeitgeist embraces sharing like never before. Fueled by our dependence on online and social media, we have created an ecosystem of obsessive distraction that dangerously undervalues solitude. Many of us now lead lives of strangely crowded loneliness–we are ever-connected, but only shallowly so.

 

Award-winning author Michael Harris examines why our experience of solitude has become so impoverished, and how we may grow to love it again in the frenzy of our digital landscape. Solitude is an optimistic and encouraging story about discovering true quiet inside the city, inside the crowd, inside our busy and urbane lives. Harris guides readers away from a life of ceaseless pings toward a state of measured connectivity, one that balances solitude and companionship.

Rich with true stories about the life-changing power of solitude, and interwoven with reporting from the world’s foremost brain researchers, psychologists and tech entrepreneurs, Solitude is a beautiful and convincing statement on the benefits of being alone.

THE RIGHT TO BE COLD – Sheila Watt-Cloutier

We will be meeting to discuss this book on February 8 & 22,  at the home of Linda Palmason, 3022 Westridge Blvd., Peterborough. All are welcome to join us for our usual invigorating discussion

While it was both enlightening and revealing to learn about her earlier life and intricate details of the forced assimilation imposed on Inuit children, the rest of Sheila-Watt Cloutier’s journey in becoming one of the most influential and decorated environmental, cultural, and human rights advocate in the world, is all the more inspiring — and a departure from the cultural genocide narrative that has come to the fore in CanLit.

In the language of the Inuktitut, there are myriad subtle ways in describing the ice, the snow, and the environment that are part and parcel of the Inuit way of life — a life that they have knew for millennia prior to Western colonization yet with the steady drumbeat of industrialization, material culture, and human activity in the Anthropocene, all of this is changing rapidly. The change in climate evokes a change in the way of life, and by extension an erosion of a culture that has been brutalized yet still clings to life.

Sheila-Watt has articulated the case for action against the climate change that native cultures have been seeing for the past generation. Those that live in tandem with and are closest to the land and nature are the proverbial canary in the coal mine; they remind us that the world must act now in order to stave off significant environmental changes years from now.

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...

JUNE 2016: Thoreau’s “Walden”

The book Club will be meeting only once in June, on the 16th at the home of Brian Ling, 440 Carriage lane, at 2pm. Nature was a form of religion for naturalist, essayist, and early environmentalist Henry David Thoreau (1817–62). In communing with the natural world, he...

APRIL 2016: THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING BY NAOMI KLEIN

The non-fiction book club will be meeting in April at the home of Isobel Knowles, 1690 Cherryhill Road, on the 14th and 28th at 2pm.  Our book at that  time will be This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein. “This is the new environmentalism . . . and it has a powerful...