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Saturday Morning Book Club
Saturday Morning Book Club
Join us on the third Saturday of each month at 9:00am.
May 19th -- "The Lines Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border" by Francisco Cantu
“Cantú personalizes the U.S.-Mexican border and all of its complexity in a way I’ve never seen. His writing is beautiful, with haunting and detailed descriptions of the desert, the immigrants, the cartels, and his own fears about violence and identity confusion. The criminalization of searching for a better life and the dehumanization of the process is looked at from several angles, and his journalistic approach does not make judgments, but clearly tells the facts. A great new writer to follow.”
Pat Marsello, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM
June 16th -- "Phenomenon: The Secret History of the U.S. Government's Investigations Into Extrasensory PErception and Psychokinesis" by Annie Jacobsen
Jacobsen (The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency, 2015, etc.) journeys into the realm where the paranormal and the bureaucratic meet.
By the author’s account, places like Area 51 and Roswell are the real deal, landing sites and contact points for ETs and those who love them. In her latest book, she looks into the men-who-stare-at-goats investigations of the government, programs born of the Cold War and the need to combat the Red Menace on all fronts, including the extrasensory. So it is that, she writes, during the 1950s, the CIA was swept up in a “quest to locate an ESP-enhancing drug,” which included plenty of trial runs and a budget line for, as an official memo put it, “studying and collecting hallucinogenic species of mushrooms of interest.” Other projects, chemically assisted or not, fell under the aegis of various branches of the government, mostly military, with experiments taking place at venues like Fort Meade—home, of course, of the National Security Agency. Some venues were farther-flung. In an odd moment during the Apollo 14 moon landing, an astronaut conducted “mind-to-mind telepathy tests” with a couple of earthbound psychics. Later in the book, the Israeli phenomenalist Uri Geller enters the picture, which may set off the BS detectors of those who remember the controversies surrounding his heyday. Jacobsen’s narrative, punctuated by Zener cards and secret government outposts, makes for entertaining reading, but as with her book Area 51 (2011), either you’re disposed to believe it or not from the outset; there’s not much in the way of compelling evidence here despite all the players from various agencies and the large amounts of money spent on keeping them busy. And speaking of agencies, there’s the obligatory throwback to the paranormal researches of the Third Reich, the stuff of The Morning of the Magicians.
The occultly inclined will be duly enchanted. The materialists—well, not so much.
July 21st -- "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari
New York Times Bestseller
A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg
From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity's creation and evolution--a #1 international bestseller--that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be "human."
One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one--homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?
Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.
Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?
Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.