ON FOREGIVENESS AND REVENGE by Ramin Johanbegloo

We will be meeting May 10th and 24th at 2pm for discussion of this book.  All are invited to join us on May 10th at the home of Helen Griffins, 1370 Armstrong Dr, and on the 24th at the home of Margeree Edwards, 1336 Centre Line, Lakefield.

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” – Nelson Mandela

Upon his release from Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo contemplated the words of Mandela as he grappled with demons arising from being unjustly imprisoned.

He then began to wrestle with ideas of forgiveness versus revenge, and wondered if the politics of forgiveness could offer salvation in a world where revenge endangers the social and political fabric of our lives.

“What is forgiveness, and how do we get there?” Jahanbegloo asks, in this follow-up to his internationally celebrated book Time Will Say Nothing: A Philosopher Survives an Iranian Prison.

Prevailing upon the wisdom of the Ancients, the Dalai Lama, and other great thinkers, this meditation on forgiveness and revenge offers insights into building a more peaceful world during this time of nationalism and ex

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 POWER OF HABIT by Charles Duhigg

Here  is a description of the book  we will be discussing on January 11th and 25th at 2pm, at the home of Brian Ling, 440 Carriage Lane, Peterborough.

Groundbreaking new research shows that by grabbing hold of the three-step “loop” all habits form in our brains–cue, routine, reward–we can change them, giving us the power to take control over our lives.
 
“We are what we repeatedly do,” said Aristotle. “Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” On the most basic level, a habit is a simple neurological loop: there is a cue (my mouth feels gross), a routine (hello, Crest), and a reward (ahhh, minty fresh). Understanding this loop is the key to exercising regularly or becoming more productive at work or tapping into reserves of creativity. Marketers, too, are learning how to exploit these loops to boost sales; CEOs and coaches are using them to change how employees work and athletes compete. As this book shows, tweaking even one habit, as long as it’s the right one, can have staggering effects.

In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes readers inside labs where brain scans record habits as they flourish and die; classrooms in which students learn to boost their willpower; and boardrooms where executives dream up products that tug on our deepest habitual urges. Full of compelling narratives that will appeal to fans of Michael Lewis, Jonah Lehrer, and Chip and Dan Heath, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: our most basic actions are not the product of well-considered decision making, but of habits we often do not realize exist. By harnessing this new science, we can transform our lives.