26th April 2021: The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinction by David Quammen (1997)
Interweaving personal observation, scientific theory, and history, The Song of the Dodo, examines the mysteries of evolution and extinction as they have been illuminated by the study of islands. An unforgettable scientific adventure, a fascinating account of an eight-year journey of discovery, and a wake up call for out time, this is a beautifully written book that takes the reader on a globe-circling tour of wild places and extraordinary ideas. “A masterpiece, maybe the masterpiece of science journalism.” -Bill McKibben, Audubon Magazine Discussion leader: Kathy Darrow
24th May 2021: The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World by Patrik Svensson (2020) Drawing on a breadth of research about eels in literature, history, and modern marine biology, as well as his own experience fishing for eels with his father, Patrik Svensson crafts a mesmerizing portrait of an unusual, utterly misunderstood, and completely captivating animal. (Discussion leader: Wendy Feltham)
28th June 2021: The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey (2010) In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of extreme surfer Laird Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists’ urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves—from the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in 2004 to the 1,740-foot-wave that recently leveled part of the Alaskan coast. Like Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, The Wave brilliantly portrays human beings confronting nature at its most ferocious.
26th July 2021: Pacific Flyway: Waterbird Migration from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego by Audrey Benedict, Geoffrey Hammerson & Robert Butler (2020) The migratory waterbirds of the Pacific Flyway convert food, air, and water into a mileage plan that has few equals in the animal world. Defined by water, the flyway encompasses a sweeping expanse of coastal and offshore marine ecosystems and an inland archipelago of freshwater wetlands. Hemispheric in scope, this integrated network of ecosystems is linked by its moving parts–the millions of migratory birds whose lives depend on this 10,000-mile (16,000-km) corridor as they travel between their breeding and overwintering grounds. Pacific Flyway perfectly blends amazing photography, science writing, and storytelling to illuminate the profound challenges faced by migratory birds and to inspire a longterm commitment to global conservation efforts.
23rd August 2021: Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky (1998) This book is the biography of a single species of fish, but it may as well be a world history with this humble fish as its recurring main character. Cod, it turns out, is the reason Europeans set sail across the Atlantic, and it is the only reason they could. As we make our way through the centuries of cod history, we also find a delicious legacy of recipes, and the tragic story of environmental failure, of depleted fishing stocks where once their numbers were legendary. In this lovely, thoughtful history, Mark Kurlansky ponders the question: Is the fish that changed the world forever changed by the world’s folly?
27th September 2021: Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey by Jane Goodall (2000) Her revolutionary studies of Tanzania’s chimpanzees forever altered our definition of “humanity.” Now, intriguing as always, Jane Goodall explores her deepest convictions in a heartfelt memoir that takes her from the London Blitz to Louis Leaky’s famous excavations in Africa and then into the forests of Gombe. Here, thoughtfully exploring the challenges of both science and the soul, she offers an inspiring, optimistic message as profound as the knowledge she brought back from the forests, and that gives us all…reason for hope. (Discussion leader: Oma Landstra)
25th October 2021: The Blossoms are the Ghosts at the Wedding by Tom Jay (2020) “Essayist, poet, sculptor, and ecological and wild visionary, Tom Jay is an eloquent spokesman for the riverine realm of the Pacific Northwest. These poems and essays shimmer with insight and hard-won wisdom.They explore the hidden roots of language and commonplace mysteries of watersheds. and his words inevitably circle back home to the heart of what it means to be human in a wondrous but threatened world.” – Tim McNulty (Discussion leader: Holly Hughes)
All meetings will be via Zoom from 3:30-5:00 pm until the public health protocols change. Please contact Kathy Darrow at firstname.lastname@example.org for details if you would like to join in.
We hope to meet in person again at Illahee Preserve as soon as it is deemed safe to practice social distancing and enjoy being outdoors together. During colder winter months, we’ll meet at the Pink House next to PT Library, or schedule a Zoom meeting, depending on the public health situation.