NOVEMBER BOOK SELECTION: Sacred Economics – by Charles Eisentstein

This is the book selection for the November meetings of the non-fiction bookclub:

November 10th meeting being held at the home of Ed Adams, 1042 Oriole Drive, Peterborough at 2pm

November 24th meeting being held at the home of Linda Palmason, 3022 Westridge Blvd., Peterborough at 2pm

Sacred Economics traces the history of money from ancient gift economies to modern capitalism, revealing how the money system has contributed

sacred-economicsto alienation, competition, and scarcity, destroyed community, and necessitated endless growth. Today, these trends have reached their extreme—but in the wake of their collapse, we may find great opportunity to transition to a more connected, ecological, and sustainable way of being.

This book is about how the money system will have to change—and is already changing—to embody this transition. A broadly integrated synthesis of theory, policy, and practice, Sacred Economics explores avant-garde concepts of the New Economics, including negative-interest currencies, local currencies, resource-based economics, gift economies, and the restoration of the commons. Author Charles Eisenstein also considers the personal dimensions of this transition, speaking to those concerned with “right livelihood” and how to live according to their ideals in a world seemingly ruled by money. Tapping into a rich lineage of conventional and unconventional economic thought, Sacred Economics presents a vision that is original yet commonsense, radical yet gentle, and increasingly relevant as the crises of our civilization deepen

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

brain-on-musicThis 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 that resonates deep down in your being. Now imagine sitting down with someone who was there when the song was recorded and can tell you how that series of sounds was committed to tape, and who can also explain why that particular combination of rhythms, timbres and pitches has lodged in your memory, making your pulse race and your heart swell every time you hear it.
Remarkably, Levitin does all this and more, interrogating the basic nature of hearing and of music making (this is likely the only book whose jacket sports blurbs from both Oliver Sacks and Stevie Wonder), without losing an affectionate appreciation for the songs he’s reducing to neural impulses. Levitin is the ideal guide to this material: he enjoyed a successful career as a rock musician and studio producer before turning to cognitive neuroscience, earning a Ph.D. and becoming a top researcher into how our brains interpret music.
Though the book starts off a little dryly (the first chapter is a crash course in music theory), Levitin’s snappy prose and relaxed style quickly win one over and will leave readers thinking about the contents of their iPods in an entirely new way.

September 2016: The Return: Fathers, Sons And The Land In Between, by Hisham Matar

The ReturnThis is the September selection for the non-fiction book club. Meetings will be at 2pm on Thursday’s, September 8th and 22nd. All are welcome to join us at Joan Higginson’s home, 86 Auburn St.
From Man Booker Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Hisham Matar, a memoir of his journey home to his native Libya in search of answers to his father’s disappearance. In 2012, after the overthrow of Qaddafi, the acclaimed novelist Hisham Matar journeys to his native Libya after an absence of thirty years.
When he was twelve, Matar and his family went into political exile. Eight years later Matar’s father, a former diplomat and military man turned brave political dissident, was kidnapped from the streets of Cairo by the Libyan government and is believed to have been held in the regime’s most notorious prison.  Now, the prisons are empty and little hope remains that Jaballa Matar will be found alive. Yet, as the author writes, hope is “persistent and cunning.”
This book is a profoundly moving family memoir, a brilliant and affecting portrait of a country and a people on the cusp of immense change, and a disturbing and timeless depiction of the monstrous nature of absolute power.

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 wished to “live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and … learn what it had to teach.” Toward that end Thoreau built a cabin in the spring of 1845 on the shores of Walden Pond — on land owned by Ralph Waldo Emerson — outside Concord, Massachusetts. There he observed nature, farmed, built fences, surveyed, and wrote in his journal.

One product of his two-year sojourn was this book — a great classic of American letters. Interwoven with accounts of Thoreau’s daily life (he received visitors and almost daily walked into Concord) are mediations on human existence, society, government, and other topics, expressed with wisdom and beauty of style.

Walden offers abundant evidence of Thoreau’s ability to begin with observations on a mundane incident or the minutiae of nature and then develop these observations into profound ruminations on the most fundamental human concerns. Credited with influencing Tolstoy, Gandhi, and other thinkers, the volume remains a masterpiece of philosophical reflection.
A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Our May book club meetings will be on May 12th and 26th,  at the home of Gillian Trowbridge, 24 Cricket Place at 2pm 

Not offering a self-help book, but instead mounting a scientific explanation of the limitations of the human imagination and how it steers us wrong in our search for happiness, Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard, draws on psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy and behavioral economics to argue that, just as we err in remembering the past, so we err in imagining the future. “Our desire to control is so powerful, and the feeling of being in control so rewarding, that people often act as though they can control the uncontrollable,” Gilbert writes, as he reveals how ill-equipped we are to properly preview the future, let alone control it. Unfortunately, he claims, neither personal experience nor cultural wisdom compensates for imagination’s shortcomings. In concluding chapters, he discusses the transmission of inaccurate beliefs from one person’s mind to another, providing salient examples of universal assumptions about human happiness such as the joys of money and of having children. He concludes with the provocative recommendation that, rather than imagination, we should rely on others as surrogates for our future experience. Gilbert’s playful tone and use of commonplace examples render a potentially academic topic accessible and educational, even if his approach is at times overly prescriptive.

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. This Changes Everything

Our book at that  time will be This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein.

“This is the new environmentalism . . . and it has a powerful proponent in Naomi Klein. . . . This Changes Everything makes a muscular case for global warming as the defining, cross-sectional issue of our era. . . . This Changes Everything is a work of startling force, exhaustive reporting, and telling anecdote. Klein’s look at climate-change deniers is particularly gutting; my heart sank as I read a representative of the conservative American Enterprise Institute tell victims of Hurricane Sandy, ‘We need to suck it up and be responsible for taking care of ourselves.’. . . . Klein’s great gifts have always been synthesizing huge amounts of information and drawing connections between seemingly disparate issues; on those points, This Changes Everything is no different.”
—Drew Nelles, The Globe and Mail

Everyone is invited to join us for this vital discussion, even if you have not read the book.