Book clubs offer a great opportunity for friends and book lovers to gather (whether virtually or in person) to catch up and discuss a good book. There’s only two problems with this activity and they seem to come up at every meeting: what book should the group read next and how do you find enough copies for everyone?
TBPL is here to help with our Book Club in a Bag service. Each bag includes 10 paperback copies of the same book, discussion questions for your group to ponder, author information, and book reviews. With over 200 different titles available, there is bound to be one that is the perfect next read for your group.
Visit our online catalogue to place holds on book club bags as well as individual copies of any of the books mentioned below. If you’re looking to view all of the book club bags available, simply click the link and search “book club bag”. Any library patron can place a hold on a bag for pick up at any of our open branches. These bags are loaned out for 8 weeks, which gives you and your book club plenty of time to read and discuss.
Every month, a new set of book club titles will be highlighted in The Book Club Hub post. This month features nonfiction titles. Nonfiction – that is, true stories – are not always something that readers are looking to pick up. Oftentimes, readers are looking to escape the real world and turn to fiction novels to achieve this. However, there is much to learn about our world, cultures and people from nonfiction titles. Whether your book club commonly reads nonfiction or not, any of these titles would add great discussion and debate between your members. Here are this month’s selections:
The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption by Dahr Jamail
After nearly a decade overseas as a war reporter, the acclaimed journalist Dahr Jamail returned to America to renew his passion for mountaineering, only to find that the slopes he had once climbed have been irrevocably changed by climate disruption. In response, Jamail embarks on a journey to the geographical front lines of this crisis—from Alaska to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, via the Amazon rainforest—in order to discover the consequences to nature and to humans of the loss of ice.
In The End of Ice, we follow Jamail as he scales Alaska’s Denali, the highest peak in North America, dives in the warm crystal waters of the Coral Sea only to find bleached coral reefs, and explores the tundra of St. Paul Island where he meets the last subsistence seal hunters of the Bering Sea and witnesses its collapsing food web.
Accompanied along the way by climate scientists and people whose families for centuries have fished, farmed, and lived in the areas he visits, Jamail begins to accept the fact that Earth, most likely, is in a hospice situation. Ironically, this allows him to renew his passion for the planet’s wild places, cherishing Earth in a way he has never been able to before.
The End of Ice offers an essential firsthand chronicle of the catastrophic reality of our situation and the incalculable necessity of relishing this vulnerable, fragile planet while we still can.
Winner of the BC National Award for Non-Fiction, and short-listed for both the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction and the 2011 Hilary Weston Writer’s Trust Award.
A tree planter’s vivid story of a unique subculture and the magical life of the forest.
Charlotte Gill spent twenty years working as a tree planter in the forests of Canada. During her million-tree career, she encountered hundreds of clearcuts, each one a collision site between human civilization and the natural world, a complicated landscape presenting geographic evidence of our appetites. Charged with sowing the new forest in these clearcuts, tree planters are a tribe caught between the stumps and the virgin timber, between environmentalists and loggers.
In Eating Dirt, Gill offers up a slice of tree planting life in all of its soggy, gritty exuberance, while questioning the ability of conifer plantations to replace original forests that evolved over millennia into complex ecosystems. She looks at logging’s environmental impact and its boom-and-bust history, and touches on the versatility of wood, from which we have devised countless creations as diverse as textiles and airplane parts.
Eating Dirt also eloquently evokes the wonder of trees, which grow from tiny seeds into one of the world’s largest organisms, our slowest-growing “”renewable”” resource. Most of all, the book joyously celebrates the priceless value of forests and the ancient, ever-changing relationship between humans and trees.
Peace Pipe Dreams: The Truth about Lies about Indians by Darrell Dennis
Darrell Dennis is a stereotype-busting, politically incorrect Native American/Aboriginal/Shuswap (Only he’s allowed to call himself an “Indian.” Maybe. Under some circumstances). With a large dose of humour and irreverence, he untangles some of the truths and myths about First Nations: Why do people think Natives get free trucks, and why didn’t he ever get one? Why does the length of your hair determine whether you’re good or bad? By what ratio does the amount of rain in a year depend on the amount of cactus liquor you consume?
In addition to answering these burning questions, Dennis tackles some tougher subjects. He looks at European-Native interactions in North America from the moment of first contact, discussing the fur trade, treaty-signing and the implementation of residential schools. Addressing misconceptions still widely believed today, Dennis explains why Native people aren’t genetically any more predisposed to become alcoholics than Caucasians; that Native religion doesn’t consist of worshipping rocks, disappearing into thin air, or conversing with animals; and that tax exemptions are so limited and confusing that many people don’t even bother.
Employing pop culture examples, personal anecdote and a cutting wit, Darrell Dennis deftly weaves history with current events to entertain, inform and provide a convincing, readable overview of First Nations issues and why they matter today.
The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben
In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware. Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group.
Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him. As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that eco-friendly practices not only are economically sustainable but also benefit the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth.
Selecting a nonfiction title for your next book club book can be insightful, surprising, and give your book club something different to discuss. Learning about climate change, Indigenous culture, or the importance of trees and nature as a whole can perhaps shake up your book club and provide some great thought-provoking dialogue.
Not in a book club? No problem! These books are also available as single copies in our online catalogue.
Book descriptions via GoodReads
Lindsay – www.tbpl.ca. If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you!
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