In conjunction with UMaine faculty members, the Orono Public Library presents a new book group!
Patrons interested in reading the books and taking part may request copies at the circulation desk or call us at 866-5060.
|The White Darkness |
by David Grann
Dan Dixon (Director, Office of Sustainability and faculty Climate Change Institute) & Karl Kreutz (Professor, School of Earth and Climate Sciences and faculty Climate Change Institute). Watch the book trailer here and Read the original New Yorker feature here
|Nervous Conditions |
by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Mazie Hough, Associate Professor of History and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
|How Democracies Die |
by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
Mark Brewer, Professor of Political Science
|Just Mercy |
by Bryan Stevenson
Margo Lukens, Professor of English & Director of the the Clement and Linda McGillicuddy Humanities Center & Francois Amar, Dean of UM Honors College
|The Return of the Soldier |
by Rebecca West
Laura Cowan, Associate Professor of English
|The Big Burn |
by Timothy Egan
Mindy Crandall, Assistant Professor of Forest Landscape Management & Economics
The Tuesday Morning Book Group meets at 10:15am the third Tuesday of the month. Please check this page for updates.
The dates and titles for upcoming meetings:
January 15: The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood
February: Women of the Dawn by Bunny McBride
March: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
April: This Time Might Be Different by Elaine Ford
May: Still Life by Louise Penny
Previously discussed titles for this group include:
September (2017): The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff
October (2017): The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel
November (2017): Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance
December (2017): Notorious RBG: the Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik
January (2018): A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
February (2018): A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles
March (2018): The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan
September (2018) : Seed Of Sarah by Judith Magyar Isaacson
October (2018): The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
November (2018): Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold by Michael Benanav
December (2018): Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
Books to Movies is the theme for The Evening Book Group. The following books will be discussed at the assigned date at 6pm. The group will decide on a date and time to meet at a local theater to view the newly released movie.
- September 25 - Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
- October 23 - First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen
- November 27 - Boy Erased by Garrard Conley
September 13, 2018
Pepperberg, Irene. Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process. 2009. 232pp
Alex is the African gray parrot whose ability to master a vocabulary of more than 100 words and answer questions about the color, shape and number of objects garnered wide notice during his life as well as obituaries in worldwide media after his death in September 2007. Pepperberg has previously documented the results of her 30-year relationship with Alex in The Alex Studies. While this book inevitably covers some of the same ground, it is a moving tribute that beautifully evokes the struggles, the initial triumphs, the setbacks, the unexpected and often stunning achievements during a groundbreaking scientific endeavor spent uncovering cognitive abilities in Alex that no one believed were possible, and challenging science's deepest assumptions about the origin of human cognitive abilities. Pepperberg deftly interweaves her own personal narrative with more intimate scenes of life with Alex than she was able to present in her earlier work.
October 11, 2018
Aldersey-Williams, Hugh. The Tide: The Science and Stories Behind the Greatest Force on Earth. 2017. 368pp
Half of the world’s population today lives in coastal regions lapped by tidal waters. But the tide rises and falls according to rules that are a mystery to almost all of us. Aldersey-Williams weaves together centuries of scientific thinking with the literature and folklore the tide has inspired to explain the power and workings of this most remarkable force. Here is the epic story of the long search to understand the tide from Aristotle, to Galileo and Newton, to classic literary portrayals of the tide from Shakespeare to Dickens, Melville to Jules Verne. Aldersey-Williams visits the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, where the tides are the strongest in the world; arctic Norway, home of the raging tidal whirlpool known as the maelstrom; and Venice, to investigate efforts to defend the city against flooding caused by the famed acqua alta.
November 8, 2018
Keim, Brandon. The Eye of the Sandpiper. 2017. 266 pp.
Keim pairs cutting-edge science with a deep love of nature, conveying his insights in prose that is both accessible and beautiful. In an elegant, thoughtful tour of nature in the twenty-first century, Keim continues in the tradition of Lewis Thomas, Stephen Jay Gould, and David Quammen, reporting from the frontiers of science while celebrating the natural world's wonders and posing new questions about our relationship to the rest of life on Earth. The stories are arranged in four thematic sections. Each addresses nature through a different lens. The first is evolutionary and ecological dynamics, from how patterns form on butterfly wings to the ecological importance of oft-reviled lampreys. The second section explores the inner lives of animals, which science has only recently embraced: empathy in rats, emotions in honeybees, spirituality in chimpanzees. The third section contains stories of people acting on insights both ecological and ethological: nourishing blighted rivers, but also caring for injured pigeons at a hospital for wild birds and demanding legal rights for primates. The fourth section unites ecology and ethology in discussions of ethics: how we should think about and behave toward nature, and the place of wildness in a world in which space for wilderness is shrinking.
February 14, 2019
Egan, Dan. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes. 2018. 384pp
The Great Lakes―Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Superior―hold 20 percent of the world’s supply of surface fresh water and provide sustenance, work, and recreation for tens of millions of Americans. But they are under threat as never before, and their problems are spreading across the continent. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is prize-winning reporter Dan Egan’s compulsively readable portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening right before our eyes, blending the epic story of the lakes with an examination of the perils they face and the ways we can restore and preserve them for generations to come.
March 14, 2019
Beehler, Bruce M. North on the Wing: Travels with the Songbird Migration of Spring. 2018. 256pp
In late March 2015, ornithologist Beehler set off on a solo four-month trek to track songbird migration and the northward progress of spring through America. Traveling via car, canoe, and bike and on foot, Beehler followed woodland warblers and other Neotropical songbird species from the southern border of Texas, where the birds first arrive after their winter sojourns in South America and the Caribbean, northward through the Mississippi drainage to its headwaters in Minnesota and onward to their nesting grounds in the north woods of Ontario. Beehler describes both the epic migration of songbirds across the country and the gradual dawning of springtime through the U.S. heartland and also tells the stories of the people and institutions dedicated to studying and conserving the critical habitats and processes of spring songbird migration. Inspired in part by Edwin Way Teale's landmark 1951 book North with the Spring, this book is a fascinating first-hand account of a once-in-a-lifetime journey. It engages readers in the wonders of spring migration and serves as a call for the need to conserve, restore, and expand bird habitats to preserve them for future generations of both birds and humans.
April 11, 2019
Goldfarb, Ben. Eager: The Surprising Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter. July 2018. 304pp.
In Eager, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America’s lakes and rivers. The consequences of losing beavers were profound: streams eroded, wetlands dried up, and species from salmon to swans lost vital habitat. Today, a growing coalition of “Beaver Believers” recognizes that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier, for humans and non-humans alike, than those without them. From the Nevada deserts to the Scottish highlands, Believers are now hard at work restoring these industrious rodents to their former haunts. Eager is a powerful story about one of the world’s most influential species, how North America was colonized, how our landscapes have changed over the centuries, and how beavers can help us fight drought, flooding, wildfire, extinction, and the ravages of climate change.
May 9, 2019
Wilcox, Christie. Venomous: How Earth's Deadliest Creatures Mastered Biochemistry. 2016. 256pp
Molecular biologist Wilcox investigates venoms and the animals that use them, revealing how they work, what they do to the human body, and how they can revolutionize biochemistry and medicine today. He takes us from the coast of Indonesia to the rain forests of Peru in search of the secrets of these mysterious animals. We encounter jellyfish that release microscopic venom-packed darts known to kill humans in just two minutes, a two-inch caterpillar with toxic bristles that trigger hemorrhaging throughout the body, and a stunning blue-ringed octopus with saliva capable of inducing total paralysis. How could an animal as simple as a jellyfish evolve such an intricate, deadly poison? And how can a snake possess enzymes that tear through tissue yet leave its own body unscathed? Wilcox meets the scientists who often risk their lives studying these lethal beasts to find out, and puts her life on the line to examine these species up close. She also shows how venom is helping us untangle the complex mechanisms of some of our most devastating diseases.
June 13, 2019
Jasanoff, Alan. The Biological Mind: How Brain, Body, and Environment Collaborate to Make Us Who We Are. 2018. 304 pp.
To many, the brain is the seat of personal identity and autonomy. But the way we talk about the brain is often rooted more in mystical conceptions of the soul than in scientific fact. This blinds us to the physical realities of mental function. We ignore bodily influences on our psychology, from chemicals in the blood to bacteria in the gut, and overlook the ways that the environment affects our behavior, via factors varying from subconscious sights and sounds to the weather. As a result, we alternately overestimate our capacity for free will or equate brains to inorganic machines like computers. But a brain is neither a soul nor an electrical network: it is a bodily organ, and it cannot be separated from its surroundings. Our selves aren't just inside our heads--they're spread throughout our bodies and beyond. Only once we come to terms with this can we grasp the true nature of our humanity.