Non-Fiction Book Group
Tuesday, Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m. Code Blue: Inside America's Medical Industrial Complex. By Mike Magee. 2019. A riveting, character-driven narrative that draws back the curtain on the giant industry that consumes one out of every five American dollars. Making clear for the first time the mechanisms, greed, and collusion by which our medical system was built over the last eight decades—and arguing persuasively and urgently for the necessity of a single-payer, multi-plan insurance arena of the kind enjoyed by every other major developed nation—Mike Magee gives us invaluable perspective and inspiration by which we can, indeed, reshape the future.
Tuesday, March 28, 7:30 p.m. A History of America in Ten Strikes. By Erik Loomis. 2018. Published in the wake of the teachers’ strike that swept the country in 2018—challenges all of our contemporary assumptions around labor, unions, and American workers. Labor historian Erik Loomis recounts ten critical workers’ strikes in American labor history in “chapters [that] are self-contained enough to be used on their own in union trainings or reading groups” (Labor Notes), and adds an appendix detailing the 150 most important strikes in American history.
Tuesday, April 25, 7:30 p.m. Seven and Half Lessons About the Brain. By Lisa Feldman Barrett. 2020. Have you ever wondered why you have a brain? Let renowned neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett demystify that big gray blob between your ears. In seven short essays (plus a bite-size story about how brains evolved), this slim, entertaining, and accessible collection reveals mind-expanding lessons from the front lines of neuroscience research. You’ll learn where brains came from, how they’re structured (and why it matters), and how yours works in tandem with other brains to create everything you experience.
Tuesday, May 24, 7:30 p.m. An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us. By Ed Young. 2022. A powerful and immersive deep dive into the perceptual lives of other organisms -- a persuasive case for more empathy and understanding of the complexity, sophistication and sheer riotous joy of the nonhuman world. A slow read, but with big payoffs. This 355-page book is unique in that each of its 13 chapters can be read as a separate and complete essay, doubling down on the author's premise that there are many more than the usually accepted five senses. Thirty-two pages of exquisitely colored photos enhance this mind and sense-bending instant classic.
Tuesday, June 27, 7:30 p.m. Having and Being Had. By Eula Biss. 2020. In this twenty-first century, how do we reconcile our values of living ethically with the demands made upon us by our capitalist economy? How much do we depend on others for our livelihood? What are the factors delineating necessities vs. luxuries, consumption vs. accumulation, and work vs. labor? Through a series of essays, the author sheds light on these disparities in her own life, as a wife, mother, writer and a member of “privilege.”
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