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Nonfiction Book Group

The Nonfiction Book Group starts in November 2014. Nonfiction titles selected cover a wide variety of topics. We meet the third Saturday of the month from 10:00 to 11:00 AM.

Nonfiction Book Group 2015-2016 Reading List

Cod: a biography of the fish that changed the world by Mark Kurlansky  - December 19, 2015

Yes please by Amy Poehler - January 16, 2016

Dead wake: the last crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson - February 20, 2016

The richest man who ever lived: the life and times of Jacob Fugger by Greg Steinmetz - March 19, 2016

H is for hawk by Helen MacDonald - April 16, 2016

Shadow work: the unpaid, unseen jobs that fill your day by Craig Lambert - May 21, 2016

Nonfiction Book Group December 2015

Cod : a biography of the fish that changed the world by Mark Kurlansky
Cod spans a thousand years and four continents. From the Vikings, who pursued the codfish across the Atlantic, and the enigmatic Basques, who first commercialized it in medieval times, to Bartholomew Gosnold, who named Cape Cod in 1602, and Clarence Birdseye, who founded an industry on frozen cod in the 1930s, Mark Kurlansky introduces the explorers, merchants, writers, chefs, and of course the fishermen, whose lives have interwoven with this prolific fish.  And he brings to life the cod itself: its personality, habits, extended family, and ultimately the tragedy of how the most profitable fish in history is today faced with extinction.  Join us on Saturday, December 19 at 10 AM.  

Nonfiction Book Group November 2015

Cubed: a secret history of the workplace by Nikil Saval
How did we get from Scrooge’s office to “Office Space”? From bookkeepers in dark counting houses to freelancers in bright cafes?  What would the world be like without the vertical file cabinet? What would the world be like without the office at all? In Cubed, Nikil Saval chronicles the evolution of the office in a fascinating, often funny, and sometimes disturbing anatomy of the white-collar world and how it came to be the way it is. Cubed is an all-encompassing investigation into the way we work, why we do it the way we do (and often don’t like it), and how we might do better.  Join us on Saturday, November 21 at 10 AM.

Nonfiction Book Group October 2015

The invention of air: a story of science, faith, revolution, and the birth of America by Steven Johnson — The story of the brilliant man who embodied the relationship between science, religion, and politics for America's Founding Fathers.  Joseph Priestley--scientist and theologian, protégé of Benjamin Franklin, friend of Thomas Jefferson--was an eighteenth-century radical thinker who played pivotal roles in the invention of ecosystem science, the discovery of oxygen, the founding of the Unitarian Church, and the intellectual development of the United States. Join us on Saturday, October 17 at 10:00 AM.

Nonfiction Book Group September 2015

Guns, germs, and steel: the fates of human societies by Jared Diamond — Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this brilliant work answers the question of why the peoples of certain continents succeeded in invading other continents and conquering or displacing their peoples. Until around 11,000 BC, all peoples were still Stone Age hunter/gatherers. At that point, a great divide occurred in the rates that human societies evolved. The people who gained a head start in producing food would collide with preliterate cultures, shaping the modern world through conquest, displacement, and genocide. Join us Saturday, September 19 at 10:00 AM.

Nonfiction Book Group August 2015

How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie
First published in 1936, Carnegie offered advice on how to get out of a mental rut and make life more rewarding, this work teaches readers how to: make friends easily, increase popularity, win people to a way of thinking, win new clients and customers, become a better speaker, and arouse enthusiasm among colleagues.  Does this classic work still stand the test of time?  Join us and find out. 

Nonfiction Book Group July 2015

One summer : America, 1927 by Bill Bryson
The summer of 1927 began with one of the signature events of the twentieth century: on May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first man to cross the Atlantic by plane nonstop. Meanwhile, Babe Ruth was beginning his assault on the home run record, and Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly sat atop a flagpole in Newark, New Jersey, for twelve days. At the same time, the gangster Al Capone tightened his grip on the illegal booze business and the first true "talking picture," Al Jolson's "The Jazz Singer," was filmed and forever changed the motion picture industry. All this and much, much more transpired in that epochal summer of 1927, and Bill Bryson captures its outsized personalities, exciting events, and occasional just plain weirdness with his trademark vividness.

Nonfiction Book Group June 2015

Bootstrapper: from broke to badass on a northern Michigan farm by Mardi Jo Link — When Link and her husband of 19 years call it quits, she is left with cash-flow problems and a looming divorce. She makes a seemingly impossible resolution: to hang on to her in northern Michigan farm and continue raising her three boys on well water and wood chopping. Armed with a sense of humor and three resolute accomplices, Link confronts blizzards and foxes, wrangles rampaging poultry, and withstands any blow to her pride to preserve the life she wants. Join us Saturday, June 13.

Nonfiction Book Group May 2015

A 1,000-mile walk on the beach: one woman's trek of the perimeter of Lake Michigan by Loreen Niewenhuis — In 2009, Loreen Niewenhuis walked completely around Lake Michigan. Most of the walk was done solo, an adventure in discovery of self and place. She conveys a sense of the magnitude of the lake she loves, a place so elemental to the states which form its shores. From a ground-level perspective, the book explores the natural and human history of Lake Michigan and raises important questions about preserving our wild places and protecting fragile ecosystems on which we all depend. Join us May 16 at 10:00 am.

Nonfiction Book Group April 2015

On Saturday April 18 at 10 AM we will be discussing:

Flash boys: a Wall Street revolt by Michael Lewis — A small group of Wall Street guys figure out that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders and that, post-financial crisis, the markets have become not more free but less, and more controlled by the big Wall Street banks. Working at different firms, they come to this realization separately; but after they discover one another, the flash boys band together and set out to reform the financial markets.

Nonfiction Book Group March 2015

On Saturday, March 21 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM we will be discussing:

The antidote: happiness for people who can't stand positive thinking by Oliver Burkeman — Burkeman introduces us to a group of people who share a surprising way of thinking about life. Whether experimental psychologists, terrorism experts, Buddhists, hardheaded business consultants, Greek philosophers, or modern-day gurus, they argue that it's our constant effort to be happy that is making us miserable. Their alternative path to happiness and success involves embracing failure, pessimism, and uncertainty--the very things we spend our lives trying to avoid.

Nonfiction Book Group February 2015

On Saturday, February 21 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM we will be discussing:

Factory man: how one furniture maker battled offshoring, stayed local—and helped save an American town by Beth Macy —The Bassett Furniture Company was once the world's biggest wood furniture manufacturer. Run by the same family for a century, it was also the center of life in Bassett, Virginia -- an unincorporated town that existed solely to fuel the business. But beginning in the 1980s, Bassett suffered from an influx of cheap Asian furniture as the first wave of imports struck, and ultimately moved nearly all its production to Asia. Only one man fought back: John Bassett III, a shrewd and determined third-generation factory man who used grit, tenacity, and will to compete against China and ultimately save his family's company.

Nonfiction Book Group December 2014

On Saturday, December 20 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM we will be discussing:

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain - At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh's sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer. Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.

Nonfiction Book Group January 2015

On Saturday, January 17 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM we will be discussing:

The secret rooms: a true story of a haunted castle, a plotting duchess and a secret family by Catherine Bailey — For fans of Downton Abbey , this New York Times bestseller is the enthralling true story of family secrets and aristocratic intrigue in the days before WWI. After the Ninth Duke of Rutland, one of the wealthiest men in Britain, died alone in a cramped room in the servants' quarters of Belvoir Castle on April 21, 1940, his son and heir ordered the room, which contained the Rutland family archives, sealed. Sixty years later, Catherine Bailey became the first historian given access. What she discovered was a mystery: The Duke had painstakingly erased three periods of his life from all family records;but why? As Bailey uncovers the answers, she also provides an intimate portrait of the very top of British society in the turbulent days leading up to World War I.

Nonfiction Book Group November 2014

Join us for the first meeting of the Nonfiction Book Group.
 
On Saturday, November 15 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM we will be discussing:

The monuments men: Allied heroes, Nazi thieves, and the greatest treasure hunt in history by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter — While Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloging the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: "degenerate" works he despised. In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Momuments Men, risked their lives to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture.

Nonfiction Book Group 2015 Reading List

The Nonfiction Book Group meets the third Saturday of the month from 10:00-11:00 AM. No registration required.


Nonfiction Book Group 2014 Reading List

The Nonfiction Book Group meets the third Saturday of the month from 10:00-11:00 AM. No registration required.

The monuments men: Allied heroes, Nazi thieves, and the greatest treasure hunt in history by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter - November 15, 2014