Following are the books we will be discussing in the 2021-2022 Season.
Schedule is tentative.
November 1, 2021
Hamnet: A Novel of the Plague by Maggie O'Farrell.
"Set in Stratford, England, in the late 16th century, Hamnet
imagines the emotional, domestic, and artistic repercussions after
the world's most famous (though never named) playwright and his wife
lose their only son, 11-year-old Hamnet, to the bubonic plague in
1596. Four years later, the boy's father transposes his grief into
his masterpiece — titled with a common variant of his son's name —
in which the father dies and the son lives to avenge him.” [NPR].
One of NYT’s ten best for 2020 and winner of the Nation Book Critics
Circle award for fiction.
December 6, 2021
Metazoa: Animal Life and the Birth of the Mind by Peter
Godfrey-Smith. 336 pp
As in his Other Minds (2016), the Australian
philosopher/scuba diver engagingly grapples with the oldest and most
personal of scientific conundrums: consciousness.
In Metazoa, "the way I will proceed is by starting with
life -- understood in a materialist way -- and trying to show how
the evolutionary development of living systems can give rise to
January 3, 2022
Piano Notes by Charles Rosen. 256 pp
In Piano Notes, a finalist for a 2003 National Book Critics
Circle Award, Charles Rosen, one of the world's most talented
pianists, distills a lifetime of wisdom and lore into an
unforgettable tour of the hidden world of piano playing. Somewhat
autobiographical, somewhat technical, and often laugh-out-loud
funny. "If your shelves have room for one volume about the piano
from glory to decline, Piano Notes is the book of choice." --New
York Review of Books
February 7, 2022
The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould. 352 pp
Stephen Jay Gould's masterful demolition of the IQ industry is
brilliant, funny, engaging prose that dissects the motivations
behind those who would judge intelligence, and hence worth, by
cranial size, convolutions, or score on extremely narrow tests. How
did scientists decide that intelligence was unipolar and
quantifiable? Gould's answer is clear and simple: power maintains
March 7, 2022
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). 455
This is the first (2013) Cormoran Strike novel of the J.K. Rowling
new mystery series. Strike is a brilliant, war-wounded private
investigator, who, with his very efficient office assistant, meets
situations that get increasingly strange as the book goes on.
Rowling's writing is as great as ever as is her collection of
April 4, 2022
Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic
by Matthew Stewart 566 pp
The American Revolution led to the creation of the world’s first
secular republic . It was this secular break from the supernatural
religion of the British that made America’s independence truly
revolutionary. The book offers a reappraisal of the religious and
philosophical origins of America’s revolution and shows that it was
secularist ideals, not Christian values, that drove the
establishment of America’s most cherished freedoms.
May 2, 2022
Tree Story: The History of the World Written in Rings by
Valerie Trouet 256 pp
Tracing her own professional journey while exploring
dendrochronology's history and applications, Trouet describes the
basics of how tell-tale tree cores are collected and dated with
ring-by-ring precision, explaining the unexpected and momentous
insights we've gained from the resulting samples. Blending popular
science, travelogue, and cultural history, Tree Story
highlights exciting findings of tree-ring research, including the
fate of lost pirate treasure, successful strategies for surviving
California wildfires, the secret to Genghis Khan's victories, the
connection between Egyptian pharaohs and volcanoes, and even the
role of olives in the fall of Rome. These fascinating tales are
deftly woven together to show us how dendrochronology sheds light on
global climate dynamics and uncovers the clear links between humans
and our leafy neighbors.
Harvard Book Club meets on the first Monday afternoon of each month in
winter months. Come join us for one or all of the discussions.
the pandemic, we have met virtually via Zoom. In 2022, we hope to
meet in face-to-face mode, at members' homes.
For details contact:
George Timson: GTimson@q.com