Science Saturday Book Discussion Group

The Sixth Extinction: an Unnatural History

Current Book Selection

Saturday, June 2 at 12pm
Forks Branch Library

The Sixth Extinction: an Unnatural History
by Elizabeth Kolbert

Over the last half billion years, there have been five major mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on Earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In this book the author tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. She provides a moving account of the disappearances of various species occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up to Lyell and Darwin, and through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankinds’ most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

Request a copy here

Complete Science Saturday Book Selection List

H is for Hawk

February 3 at 12pm
H is for Hawk
by Helen Macdonald

When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer, Helen had never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk, but in her grief, she saw that the goshawk’s fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel, and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T.H. White’s chronicle The Goshawk to begin her challenging endeavor. Projecting herself “in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her” tested the limits of Macdonald’s humanity and changed her life.

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The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness

March 3 at 12pm
The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness
by Sy Montgomery

Montgomery explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus – a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature – and the remarkable connections it makes with humans. Montgomery chronicles this growing appreciation of the octopus, but also tells a love story. Funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, The Soul of an Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about consciousness and the meeting of two very different minds.

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First Bite : how we learn to eat

April 7 at 12pm
First Bite
by Bee Wilson

What are the origins of taste? In First Bite, beloved food writer Bee Wilson draws from the latest research from food psychologists, neuroscientists, and nutritionists to reveal that our food habits are shaped by a whole host of factors, including family, culture, memory, gender, hunger, and love. An exploration of the extraordinary and surprising origins of our tastes and eating habit—from people who can only eat foods of a certain color to an amnesiac who can eat meal after meal without getting full. First Bite also shows us how we can change our palates to lead healthier, happier lives.

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The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest

May 5 at 12pm
The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest
by Jack Nisbet

The story of David Douglas, the premier botanical explorer in the Pacific Northwest and other areas of western North America. Douglas’ discoveries include hundreds of western plants – most notably the Douglas Fir. The Collector tracks Douglas, from his humble birth in Scotland in 1799 to his botanical training under the famed William Jackson Hooker to his adventures in North America discovering “exotic” new plants for the English and European market.

Request a copy here

The Sixth Extinction: an Unnatural History

June 2 at 12pm
The Sixth Extinction: an Unnatural History
by Elizabeth Kolbert

Over the last half billion years, there have been five major mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on Earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In this book the author tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. She provides a moving account of the disappearances of various species occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up to Lyell and Darwin, and through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankinds’ most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

Request a copy here

2018-06-03T13:36:25+00:00
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